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Title: History of Friedrich II of Prussia — Volume 16
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 16" ***

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HISTORY OF FRIEDRICH II. OF PRUSSIA

FREDERICK THE GREAT

By Thomas Carlyle



BOOK XVI.--THE TEN YEARS OF PEACE.--1746-1756.



Chapter I.--SANS-SOUCI.

Friedrich has now climbed the heights, and sees himself on the upper
table-land of Victory and Success; his desperate life-and-death
struggles triumphantly ended. What may be ahead, nobody knows; but here
is fair outlook that his enemies and Austria itself have had enough of
him. No wringing of his Silesia from this "bad Man." Not to be overset,
this one, by never such exertions; oversets US, on the contrary, plunges
us heels-over-head into the ditch, so often as we like to apply to him;
nothing but heavy beatings, disastrous breaking of crowns, to be had
on trying there! "Five Victories!" as Voltaire keeps counting on his
fingers, with upturned eyes,--Mollwitz, Chotusitz, Striegau, Sohr,
Kesselsdorf (the last done by Anhalt; but omitting Hennersdorf, and
that sudden slitting of the big Saxon-Austrian Projects into a cloud of
feathers, as fine a feat as any),--"Five Victories!" counts Voltaire;
calling on everybody (or everybody but Friedrich himself, who is easily
sated with that kind of thing) to admire. In the world are many opinions
about Friedrich. In Austria, for instance, what an opinion; sinister,
gloomy in the extreme: or in England, which derives from Austria,--only
with additional dimness, and with gloomy new provocations of its own
before long! Many opinions about Friedrich, all dim enough: but this,
that he is a very demon for fighting, and the stoutest King walking the
Earth just now, may well be a universal one. A man better not be meddled
with, if he will be at peace, as he professes to wish being.

Friedrich accordingly is not meddled with, or not openly meddled with;
and has, for the Ten or Eleven Years coming, a time of perfect external
Peace. He himself is decided "not to fight with a cat," if he can get
the peace kept; and for about eight years hopes confidently that this,
by good management, will continue possible;--till, in the last three
years, electric symptoms did again disclose themselves, and such hope
more and more died away. It is well known there lay in the fates a Third
Silesian War for him, worse than both the others; which is now the
main segment of his History still lying ahead for us, were this
Halcyon Period done. Halcyon Period counts from Christmas-day,
Dresden, 1745,--"from this day, Peace to the end of my life!" had been
Friedrich's fond hope. But on the 9th day of September, 1756, Friedrich
was again entering Dresden (Saxony some twelve days before); and the
Crowning Struggle of his Life was, beyond all expectation, found to be
still lying ahead for him, awfully dubious for Seven Years thereafter!--

Friedrich's History during this intervening Halcyon or Peace Period
must, in some way, be made known to readers: but for a great many
reasons, especially at present, it behooves to be given in compressed
form; riddled down, to an immense extent, out of those sad Prussian
Repositories, where the grain of perennial, of significant and still
memorable, lies overwhelmed under rubbish-mountains of the fairly
extinct, the poisonously dusty and forgettable;--ACH HIMMEL! Which
indispensable preliminary process, how can an English Editor, at this
time, do it; no Prussian, at any time, having thought of trying it! From
a painful Predecessor of mine, I collect, rummaging among his dismal
Paper-masses, the following Three Fragments, worth reading here:--

1. "Friedrich was as busy, in those Years, as in the generality of his
life; and his actions, and salutary conquests over difficulties, were
many, profitable to Prussia and to himself. Very well worth keeping in
mind. But not fit for History; or at least only fit in the summary form;
to be delineated in little, with large generic strokes,--if we had the
means;--such details belonging to the Prussian Antiquary, rather than
to the English Historian of Friedrich in our day. A happy Ten Years of
time. Perhaps the time for Montesquieu's aphorism, 'Happy the People
whose Annals are blank in History-Books!' The Prussian Antiquary, had
he once got any image formed to himself of Friedrich, and of Friedrich's
History in its human lineaments and organic sequences, will glean many
memorabilia in those Years: which his readers then (and not till then)
will be able to intercalate in their places, and get human good of. But
alas, while there is no intelligible human image, nothing of lineaments
or organic sequences, or other than a jumbled mass of Historical
Marine-Stores, presided over by Dryasdust and Human Stupor (unsorted,
unlabelled, tied up in blind sacks), the very Antiquary will have uphill
work of it, and his readers will often turn round on him with a gloomy
expression of countenance!"

2. "Friedrich's Life--little as he expected it, that day when he started
up from his ague-fit at Reinsberg, and grasped the fiery Opportunity
that was shooting past--is a Life of War. The chief memory that will
remain of him is that of a King and man who fought consummately well.
Not Peace and the Muses; no, that is denied him,--though he was so
unwilling, always, to think it denied! But his Life-Task turned out to
be a Battle for Silesia. It consists of Three grand Struggles of War.
And not for Silesia only;--unconsciously, for what far greater things to
his Nation and to him!

"Deeply unconscious of it, they were passing their 'Trials,' his Nation
and he, in the great Civil-Service-Examination Hall of this Universe:
'Are you able to defend yourselves, then; and to hang together coherent,
against the whole world and its incoherencies and rages?' A question
which has to be asked of Nations, before they can be recognized as such,
and be baptized into the general commonwealth; they are mere Hordes
or accidental Aggregates, till that Question come. Question which this
Nation had long been getting ready for; which now, under this King, it
answered to the satisfaction of gods and men: 'Yes, Heaven assisting, we
can stand on our defence; and in the long-run (as with air when you
try to annihilate it, or crush it to NOTHING) there is even an infinite
force in us; and the whole world does not succeed in annihilating us!'
Upon which has followed what we term National Baptism;--or rather this
was the National Baptism, this furious one in torrent whirlwinds of
fire; done three times over, till in gods or men there was no doubt
left. That was Friedrich's function in the world; and a great and
memorable one;--not to his own Prussian Nation only, but to Teutschland
at large, forever memorable.

"'Is Teutschland a Nation; is there in Teutschland still a Nation?'
Austria, not dishonestly, but much sunk in superstitions and involuntary
mendacities, and liable to sink much farther, answers always, in gloomy
proud tone, 'Yes, I am the Nation of Teutschland!'--but is mistaken,
as turns out. For it is not mendacities, conscious or other, but
veracities, that the Divine Powers will patronize, or even in the end
will put up with at all. Which you ought to understand better than you
do, my friend. For, on the great scale and on the small, and in all
seasons, circumstances, scenes and situations where a Son of Adam finds
himself, that is true, and even a sovereign truth. And whoever does not
know it,--human charity to him (were such always possible) would be,
that HE were furnished with handcuffs as a part of his outfit in this
world, and put under guidance of those who do. Yes; to him, I
should say, a private pair of handcuffs were much usefuler than a
ballot-box,--were the times once settled again, which they are far from
being!"...

"So that, if there be only Austria for Nation, Teutschland is in ominous
case. Truly so. But there is in Teutschland withal, very irrecognizable
to Teutschland, yet authentically present, a Man of the properly
unconquerable type; there is also a select Population drilled for him:
these two together will prove to you that there is a Nation. Conquest
of Silesia, Three Silesian Wars; labors and valors as of Alcides, in
vindication of oneself and one's Silesia:--secretly, how unconsciously,
that other and higher Question of Teutschland, and of its having in it
a Nation, was Friedrich's sore task and his Prussia's at that time. As
Teutschland may be perhaps now, in our day, beginning to recognize; with
hope, with astonishment, poor Teutschland!"...

3. "And in fine, leaving all that, there is one thing undeniable: In all
human Narrative, it is the battle only, and not the victory, that can
be dwelt upon with advantage. Friedrich has now, by his Second
Silesian War, achieved Greatness: 'Friedrich the Great;' expressly
so denominated, by his People and others. The struggle upwards is the
Romance; your hero once wedded,--to GLORY, or whoever the Bride may
be,--the Romance ends. Precise critics do object, That there may
still lie difficulties, new perils and adventures ahead:--which proves
conspicuously true in this case of ours. And accordingly, our Book not
being a Romance but a History, let us, with all fidelity, look out
what these are, and how they modify our Royal Gentleman who has got his
wedding done. With all fidelity; but with all brevity, no less. For,
inasmuch as"--

Well, brevity in most cases is desirable. And, privately, it must be
owned there is another consideration of no small weight: That,
our Prussian resources falling altogether into bankruptcy during
Peace-Periods, Nature herself has so ordered it, in this instance!
Partly it is our Books (the Prussian Dryasdust reaching his acme on
those occasions), but in part too it is the Events themselves, that are
small and want importance; that have fallen dead to us, in the huge new
Time and its uproars. Events not of flagrant notability (like battles or
war-passages), to bridle Dryasdust, and guide him in some small measure.
Events rather which, except as characteristic of one memorable Man
and King, are mostly now of no memorability whatever. Crowd all these
indiscriminately into sacks, and shake them out pell-mell on us: that is
Dryasdust's sweet way. As if the largest Marine-Stores Establishment in
all the world had suddenly, on hest of some Necromancer or maleficent
person, taken wing upon you; and were dancing, in boundless mad whirl,
round your devoted head;--simmering and dancing, very much at its ease;
no-whither; asking YOU cheerfully, "What is your candid opinion, then?"
"Opinion," Heavens!--

You have to retire many yards, and gaze with a desperate steadiness;
assuring yourself: "Well, it does, right indisputably, shadow forth
SOMEthing. This was a Thing Alive, and did at one time stick together,
as an organic Fact on the Earth, though it now dances in Dryasdust at
such a rate!" It is only by self-help of this sort, and long survey,
with rigorous selection, and extremely extensive exclusion and oblivion,
that you gain the least light in such an element. "Brevity"--little
said, when little has been got to be known--is an evident rule!
Courage, reader; by good eyesight, you will still catch some features
of Friedrich as we go along. To SAY our little in a not unintelligible
manner, and keep the rest well hidden, it is all we can do for you!--



FRIEDRICH DECLINES THE CAREER OF CONQUERING HERO; GOES INTO LAW-REFORM;
AND GETS READY A COTTAGE RESIDENCE FOR HIMSELF.

Friedrich's Journey to Pyrmont is the first thing recorded of him by
the Newspapers. Gone to take the waters; as he did after his former War.
Here is what I had noted of that small Occurrence, and of one or
two others contiguous in date, which prove to be of significance in
Friedrich's History.

"MAY 12-17th, 1746," say the old Books, "his Majesty sets out for
Pyrmont, taking Brunswick by the way; arrives at Pyrmont May 17th; stays
till June 8th;" three weeks good. "Is busy corresponding with the King
of France about a General Peace; but, owing to the embitterment of both
parties, it was not possible at this time." Taking the waters at least,
and amusing himself. From Brunswick, in passing, he had brought with him
his Brother-in-law the reigning Duke; Rothenburg was there, and Brother
Henri; D'Arget expressly; Flute-player Quanz withal, and various musical
people: "in all, a train of above sixty persons." I notice also that
Prince Wilhelm of Hessen was in Pyrmont at the time. With whom, one
fancies, what speculations there might be: About the late and present
War-passages, about the poor Peace Prospects; your Hessian "Siege" so
called "of Blair in Athol" (CULLODEN now comfortably done), and other
cognate topics. That is the Pyrmont Journey.

It is no surprise to us to hear, in these months, of new and continual
attention to Army matters, to Husbandry matters; and to making good, on
all sides, the ruins left by War. Of rebuilding (at the royal expense)
"the town of Schmiedeberg, which had been burnt;" of rebuilding, and
repairing from their damage, all Silesian villages and dwellings; and
still more satisfactory, How, "in May, 1746, there was, in every Circle
of the Country, by exact liquidation of Accounts [so rapidly got done],
exact payment made to the individuals concerned, 1. of all the hay,
straw and corn that had been delivered to his Majesty's Armies; 2.
of all the horses that had perished in the King's work; 3. of all the
horses stolen by the Enemy, and of all the money-contributions exacted
by the Enemy: payment in ready cash, and according to the rules of
justice (BAAR UND BILLIGMASSIG), by his Majesty." [Seyfarth, ii. 22,
23.]

It was from Pyrmont, May, 1746,--or more definitely, it was "at Potsdam
early in the morning, 15th September," following,--that Friedrich
launched, or shot forth from its moorings, after much previous
attempting and preparing, a very great Enterprise; which he has never
lost sight of since the day he began reigning, nor will till his reign
and life end: the actual Reform of Law in Prussia. "May 12th, 1746,"
Friedrich, on the road to Pyrmont, answers his Chief Law-Minister
Cocceji's REPORT OF PRACTICAL PLAN on this matter: "Yes; looks very
hopeful!"--and took it with him to consider at Pyrmont, during his
leisure. Much considering of it, then and afterwards, there was. And
finally, September 15th, early in the morning, Cocceji had an Interview
with Friedrich; and the decisive fiat was given: "Yes; start on it, in
God's name! Pommern, which they call the PROVINCIA LITIGIOSA; try it
there first!" [Ranke, ii. 392.] And Cocceji, a vigorous old man of
sixty-seven, one of the most learned of Lawyers, and a very Hercules in
cleaning Law-Stables, has, on Friedrich's urgencies,--which have been
repeated on every breathing-time of Peace there has been, and even
sometimes in the middle of War (last January, 1745, for example;
and again, express Order, January, 1746, a fortnight after Peace was
signed),--actually got himself girt for this salutary work. "Wash me out
that horror of accumulation, let us see the old Pavements of the place
again. Every Lawsuit to be finished within the Year!"

Cocceji, who had been meditating such matters for a great while, ["1st
March, 1738," Friedrich Wilhelm's "Edict" on Law Reform: Cocceji ready,
at that time;--but his then Majesty forbore.] and was himself eager
to proceed, in spite of considerable wigged oppositions and secret
reluctances that there were, did now, on that fiat of September 15th,
get his Select Commission of Six riddled together and adjoined to
him,--the likeliest Six that Prussia, in her different Provinces,
could yield;--and got the STANDE of Pommern, after due committeeing and
deliberating, to consent and promise help. December 31st, 1746, was the
day the STANDE consented: and January 10th, 1747, Cocceji and his Six
set out for Pommern. On a longish Enterprise, in that Province and the
others;--of which we shall have to take notice, and give at least the
dates as they occur.

To sweep out pettifogging Attorneys, cancel improper Advocates, to
regulate Fees; to war, in a calm but deadly manner, against pedantries,
circumlocutions and the multiplied forms of stupidity, cupidity and
human owlery in this department;--and, on the whole, to realize from
every Court, now and onwards, "A decision to all Lawsuits within a
Year after their beginning." This latter result, Friedrich thinks,
will itself be highly beneficial; and be the sign of all manner of
improvements. And Cocceji, scanning it with those potent law-eyes of
his, ventures to assure him that it will be possible. As, in fact,
it proved;--honor to Cocceji and his King, and King's Father withal.
"Samuel von Cocceji [says an old Note], son of a Law Professor, and
himself once such,--was picked up by Friedrich Wilhelm, for the
Official career, many years ago. A man of wholesome, by no means weakly
aspect,--to judge by his Portrait, which is the chief 'Biography' I
have of him. Potent eyes and eyebrows, ditto blunt nose; honest, almost
careless lips, and deep chin well dewlapped: extensive penetrative face,
not pincered together, but potently fallen closed;--comfortable to see,
in a wig of such magnitude. Friedrich, a judge of men, calls him 'a
man of sterling character (CARACTERE INTEGRE ET DROIT), whose
qualities would have suited the noble times of the Roman Republic.'"
[--OEuvres,--iv. 2.] He has his Herculean battle, his Master and he
have, with the Owleries and the vulturous Law-Pedantries,--which I
always love Friedrich for detesting as he does:--and, during the next
five years, the world will hear often of Cocceji, and of this Prussian
Law-Reform by Friedrich and him.

His Majesty's exertions to make Peace were not successful; what does lie
in his power is, to keep out of the quarrel himself. It appears great
hopes were entertained, by some in England, of gaining Friedrich over;
of making him Supreme Captain to the Cause of Liberty. And prospects
were held out to him, quasi-offers made, of a really magnificent
nature,--undeniable, though obscure. Herr Ranke has been among the
Archives again; and comes out with fractional snatches of a very strange
"Paper from England;" capriciously hiding all details about it, all
intelligible explanation: so that you in vain ask, "Where, When, How, By
whom?"--and can only guess to yourself that Carteret was somehow at
the bottom of the thing; AUT CARTERETUS AUT DIABOLUS. "What would
your Majesty think to be elected Stadtholder of Holland? Without a
Stadtholder, these Dutch are worth nothing; not hoistable, nor of use
when hoisted, all palavering and pulling different ways. Must have
a Stadtholder; and one that stands firm on some basis of his own.
Stadtholder of Holland, King of Prussia,--you then, in such position,
take the reins of this poor floundering English-Dutch Germanic
Anti-French War, you; and drive it in the style you have. Conquer back
the Netherlands to us; French Netherlands as well. French and Austrian
Netherlands together, yours in perpetuity; Dutch Stadtholderate as good
as ditto: this, with Prussia and its fighting capabilities, will be a
pleasant Protestant thing. Austria cares little about the Netherlands,
in comparison. Austria, getting back its Lorraine and Alsace, will be
content, will be strong on its feet. What if it should even lose Italy?
France, Spain, Sardinia, the Italian Petty Principalities and Anarchies:
suppose they tug and tussle, and collapse there as they can? But let
France try to look across the Rhine again; and to threaten Teutschland,
England, and the Cause of Human Liberty temporal or spiritual!"

This is authentically the purport of Herr Ranke's extraordinary
Document; [Ranke, iii. 359.] guessable as due to CARTERETUS or DIABOLUS.
Here is an outlook; here is a career as Conquering Hero, if that were
one's line! A very magnificent ground-plan; hung up to kindle the fancy
of a young King,--who is far too prudent to go into it at all. More
definite quasi-official offers, it seems, were made him from the same
quarter: Subsidies to begin with, such subsidies as nobody ever had
before; say 1,000,000 pounds sterling by the Year. To which Friedrich
answered, "Subsidies, your Excellency?" (Are We a Hackney-Coachman,
then?)--and, with much contempt, turned his back on that offer. No
fighting to be had, by purchase or seduction, out of this young man.
Will not play the Conquering Hero at all, nor the Hackney-Coachman
at all; has decided "not to fight a cat" if let alone; but to do and
endeavor a quite other set of things, for the rest of his life.

Friedrich, readers can observe, is not uplifted with his greatness.
He has been too much beaten and bruised to be anything but modestly
thankful for getting out of such a deadly clash of chaotic swords. Seems
to have little pride even in his "Five Victories;" or hides it well.
Talks not overmuch about these things; talks of them, so far as we can
hear, with his old comrades only, in praise of THEIR prowesses; as
a simple human being, not as a supreme of captains; and at times
acknowledges, in a fine sincere way, the omnipotence of Luck in matters
of War.

One of the most characteristic traits, extensively symbolical of
Friedrich's intentions and outlooks at this Epoch, is his installing
of himself in the little Dwelling-House, which has since become so
celebrated under the name of Sans-Souci. The plan of Sans-Souci--an
elegant commodious little "Country Box," quite of modest pretensions,
one story high; on the pleasant Hill-top near Potsdam, with other little
green Hills, and pleasant views of land and water, all round--had been
sketched in part by Friedrich himself; and the diggings and terracings
of the Hill-side were just beginning, when he quitted for the Last
War. "April 14th, 1745," while he lay in those perilous enigmatic
circumstances at Neisse with Pandours and devouring bugbears round him,
"the foundation-stone was laid" (Knobelsdorf being architect, once more,
as in the old Reinsberg case): and the work, which had been steadily
proceeding while the Master struggled in those dangerous battles and
adventures far away from it, was in good forwardness at his return. An
object of cheerful interest to him; prophetic of calmer years ahead.

It was not till May, 1747, that the formal occupation took place:
"Mayday, 1747," he had a grand House-heating, or "First Dinner, of 200
covers: and May 19th-20th was the first night of his sleeping there."
For the next Forty Years, especially as years advanced, he spent the
most of his days and nights in this little Mansion; which became more
and more his favorite retreat, whenever the noises and scenic etiquettes
were not inexorable. "SANS-SOUCI;" which we may translate "No-Bother." A
busy place this too, but of the quiet kind; and more a home to him
than any of the Three fine Palaces (ultimately Four), which lay always
waiting for him in the neighborhood. Berlin and Charlottenburg are
about twenty miles off; Potsdam, which, like the other two, is rather
consummate among Palaces, lies leftwise in front of him within a short
mile. And at length, to RIGHT hand, in a similar distance and direction,
came the "NEUE SCHLOSS" (New Palace of Potsdam), called also the "PALACE
of Sans-Souci," in distinction from the Dwelling-House, or as it were
Garden-House, which made that name so famous.

Certainly it is a significant feature of Friedrich; and discloses the
inborn proclivity he had to retirement, to study and reflection, as the
chosen element of human life. Why he fell upon so ambitious a title for
his Royal Cottage? "No-Bother" was not practically a thing he, of all
men, could consider possible in this world: at the utmost perhaps, by
good care, "LESS-Bother"! The name, it appears, came by accident. He had
prepared his Tomb, and various Tombs, in the skirts of this new Cottage:
looking at these, as the building of them went on, he was heard to say,
one day (Spring 1746), D'Argens strolling beside him: "OUI, ALORS JE
SERAI SANS SOUCI (Once THERE, one will be out of bother)!" A saying
which was rumored of, and repeated in society, being by such a man. Out
of which rumor in society, and the evident aim of the Cottage Royal,
there was gradually born, as Venus from the froth of the sea, this name,
"Sans-Souci;"--which Friedrich adopted; and, before the Year was out,
had put upon his lintel in gold letters. So that, by "Mayday, 1747," the
name was in all men's memories; and has continued ever since. [Preuss,
i. 268, &c.; Nicolai, iii. 1200.] Tourists know this Cottage Royal:
Friedrich's "Three Rooms in it; one of them a Library; in another, a
little Alcove with an iron Bed" (iron, without curtains; old softened
HAT the usual royal nightcap)--altogether a soldier's lodging:--all this
still stands as it did. Cheerfully looking down on its garden-terraces,
stairs, Greek statues, and against the free sky:--perhaps we may visit
it in time coming, and take a more special view. In the Years now on
hand, Friedrich, I think, did not much practically live there, only
shifted thither now and then. His chief residence is still Potsdam
Palace; and in Carnival time, that of Berlin; with Charlottenburg for
occasional festivities, especially in summer, the gardens there being
fine.

This of Sans-Souci is but portion of a wider Tendency, wider set of
endeavors on Friedrich's part, which returns upon him now that Peace has
returned: That of improving his own Domesticities, while he labors at
so many public improvements. Gazing long on that simmering "Typhoon
of Marine-stores" above mentioned, we do trace Three great Heads of
Endeavor in this Peace Period. FIRST, the Reform of Law; which, as above
hinted, is now earnestly pushed forward again, and was brought to what
was thought completion before long. With much rumor of applause from
contemporary mankind. Concerning which we are to give some indications,
were it only dates in their order: though, as the affair turned out
not to be completed, but had to be taken up again long after, and is an
affair lying wide of British ken,--there need not, and indeed cannot,
be much said of it just now. SECONDLY, there is eager Furthering of the
Husbandries, the Commerces, Practical Arts,--especially at present, that
of Foreign Commerce, and Shipping from the Port of Embden. Which shall
have due notice. And THIRDLY, what must be our main topic here, there
is that of Improving the Domesticities, the Household Enjoyments such
as they were;--especially definable as Renewal of the old Reinsberg
Program; attempt more strenuous than ever to realize that beautiful
ideal. Which, and the total failure of which, and the consequent
quasi-abandonment of it for time coming, are still, intrinsically and by
accident, of considerable interest to modern readers.

Curious, and in some sort touching, to observe how that old original
Life-Program still re-emerges on this King: "Something of melodious
possible in one's poor life, is not there? A Life to the Practical
Duties, yes; but to the Muses as well!"--Of Friedrich's success in
his Law-Reforms, in his Husbandries, Commerces and Furtherances,
conspicuously great as it was, there is no possibility of making
careless readers cognizant at this day. Only by the great results--a
"Prussia QUADRUPLED" in his time, and the like--can studious readers
convince themselves, in a cold and merely statistic way. But in respect
of Life to the Muses, we have happily the means of showing that in
actual vitality; in practical struggle towards fulfillment,--and how
extremely disappointing the result was. In a word, Voltaire pays his
Fifth and final Visit in this Period; the Voltaire matter comes to its
consummation. To that, as to one of the few things which are perfectly
knowable in this Period of TEN-YEARS PEACE, and in which mankind still
take interest, we purpose mostly to devote ourselves here.

Ten years of a great King's life, ten busy years too; and nothing
visible in them, of main significance, but a crash of Author's Quarrels,
and the Crowning Visit of Voltaire? Truly yes, reader; so it has been
ordered. Innumerable high-dressed gentlemen, gods of this lower world,
are gone all to inorganic powder, no comfortable or profitable memory to
be held of them more; and this poor Voltaire, without implement except
the tongue and brain of him,--he is still a shining object to all the
populations; and they say and symbol to me, "Tell us of him! He is the
man!" Very strange indeed. Changed times since, for dogs barking at the
heels of him, and lions roaring ahead,--for Asses of Mirepoix, for foul
creatures in high dizenment, and foul creatures who were hungry valets
of the same,--this man could hardly get the highways walked! And
indeed had to keep his eyes well open, and always have covert within
reach,--under pain of being torn to pieces, while he went about in the
flesh, or rather in the bones, poor lean being. Changed times; within
the Century last past! For indeed there was in that man what far
transcends all dizenment, and temporary potency over valets, over
legions, treasure-vaults and dim millions mostly blockhead: a spark
of Heaven's own lucency, a gleam from the Eternities (in small
measure);--which becomes extremely noticeable when the Dance is over,
when your tallow-dips and wax-lights are burnt out, and the brawl of the
night is gone to bed.



Chapter II.--PEEP AT VOLTAIRE AND HIS DIVINE EMILIE (BY CANDLELIGHT) IN
THE TIDE OF EVENTS.

Public European affairs require little remembrance; the War burning well
to leeward of us henceforth. A huge world of smoky chaos; the special
fires of it, if there be anything of fire, are all the more clear far
in the distance. Of which sort, and of which only, the reader is to have
notice. Marechal de Saxe--King Louis oftenest personally there, to
give his name and countenance to things done--is very glorious in
the Netherlands; captures, sometimes by surprisal, place after place
(beautiful surprisal of Brussels last winter); with sieges of Antwerp,
Mons, Charleroi, victoriously following upon Brussels: and, before the
end of 1746, he is close upon Holland itself; intent on having Namur and
Maestricht; for which the poor Sea-Powers, with a handful of Austrians,
fight two Battles, and are again beaten both times. [1. Battle of
Roucoux, 11th October, 1746; Prince Karl commanding, English taking
mainly the stress of fight;--Saxe having already outwitted poor Karl,
and got Namur. 2. Battle of Lawfelt, or Lauffeld, called also of VAL, 2d
July, 1747; Royal Highness of Cumberland commanding (and taking most
of the stress; Ligonier made prisoner, &c.),--Dutch fighting ill, and
Bathyani and his Austrians hardly in the fire at all.] A glorious,
ever-victorious Marechal; and has an Army very "high-toned," in more
than one sense: indeed, I think, one of the loudest-toned Armies ever
on the field before. Loud not with well-served Artillery alone, but with
play-actor Thunder-barrels (always an itinerant Theatre attends), with
gasconading talk, with orgies, debaucheries,--busy service of the Devil,
AND pleasant consciousness that we are Heaven's masterpiece, and are
in perfect readiness to die at any moment;--our ELASTICITY and agility
("ELAN" as we call it) well kept up, in that manner, for the time being.

Hungarian Majesty, contrary to hope, neglects the Netherlands, "Holland
and England, for their own sake, will manage there!"--and directs all
her resources, and her lately Anti-Prussian Armies (General Browne
leading them) upon Italy, as upon the grand interest now. Little to the
comfort of the Sea-Powers. But Hungarian Majesty is decided to cut
in upon the French and Spaniards, in that fine Country,--who had been
triumphing too much of late; Maillebois and Senor de Gages doing their
mutual exploits (though given to quarrel); Don Philip wintering in Milan
even (1745-1746); and the King of Sardinia getting into French courses
again.

Strong cuts her Hungarian Majesty does inflict, on the Italian side;
tumbles Infant Philip out of Milan and his Carnival gayeties, in plenty
of hurry; besieges Genoa, Marquis Botta d'Adorno (our old acquaintance
Botta) her siege-captain, a native of this region; brings back the
wavering Sardinian Majesty; captures Genoa, and much else. Captures
Genoa, we say,--had not Botta been too rigorous on his countrymen, and
provoked a revolt again, Revolt of Genoa, which proved difficult to
settle. In fine, Hungarian Majesty has, in the course of this year 1746,
with aid of the reconfirmed Sardinian Majesty, satisfactorily beaten the
French and Spaniards. Has--after two murderous Battles gained over the
Maillebois-Gages people--driven both French and Spaniards into corners,
Maillebois altogether home again across the Var;--nay has descended in
actual Invasion upon France itself. And, before New-year's day,
1747, General Browne is busy besieging Antibes, aided by English
Seventy-fours; so that "sixty French Battalions" have to hurry home,
from winter-quarters, towards those Provencal Countries; and Marechal de
Belleisle, who commands there, has his hands full. Triumphant enough
her Hungarian Majesty, in Italy; while in the Netherlands, the poor
Sea-Powers have met with no encouragement from the Fates or her.
["Battle of Piacenza" (Prince Lichtenstein, with whom is Browne, VERSUS
Gages and Maillebois), 16th June, 1746 (ADELUNG, v. 427); "Battle of
Rottofreddo" (Botta chief Austrian there, and our old friend Barenklau
getting killed there), 12th August, 1746 (IB. 462); whereupon, 7th
SEPTEMBER, Genoa (which had declared itself Anti-Austrian latterly, not
without cause, and brought the tug of War into those parts) is coerced
by Botta to open its gates, on grievous terms (IB. 484-489); so that,
NOVEMBER 30th, Browne, no Bourbon Army now on the field, enters Provence
(crosses the Var, that day), and tries Antibes: 5th-11th DECEMBER,
Popular Revolt in Genoa, and Expulsion of proud Botta and his Austrians
(IB. 518-523); upon which surprising event (which could not be mended
during the remainder of the War), Browne's enterprise became impossible.
See Buonamici,--Histoire de la derniere Revolution de Genes;--Adelung,
v. 516; vi. 31, &c. &c.] All which the reader may keep imagining at his
convenience;--but will be glad rather, for the present, to go with us
for an actual look at M. de Voltaire and the divine Emilie, whom we have
not seen for a long time. Not much has happened in the interim; one or
two things only which it can concern us to know;--scattered fragments of
memorial, on the way thus far:--

1. M. DE VOLTAIRE HAS, IN 1745, MADE WAY AT COURT. Divine Emilie picked
up her Voltaire from that fine Diplomatic course, and went home with him
out of our sight, in the end of 1743; the Diplomatic career gradually
declaring itself barred to him thenceforth. Since which, nevertheless,
he has had his successes otherwise, especially in his old Literary
course: on the whole, brighter sunshine than usual, though never without
tempestuous clouds attending. Goes about, with his divine Emilie, now
wearing browner and leaner, both of them; and takes the good and evil of
life, mostly in a quiet manner; sensible that afternoon is come.

The thrice-famous Pompadour, who had been known to him in the Chrysalis
state, did not forget him on becoming Head-Butterfly of the Universe. By
her help, one long wish of his soul was gratified, and did not hunger or
thirst any more. Some uncertain footing at Court, namely, was at length
vouchsafed him:--uncertain; for the Most Christian Majesty always rather
shuddered under those carbuncle eyes, under that voice "sombre and
majestious," with such turns lying in it:--some uncertain footing at
Court; and from the beginning of 1745, his luck, in the Court spheres,
began to mount in a wonderful and world-evident manner. On grounds
tragically silly, as he thought them. On the Dauphin's Wedding,--a
Termagant's Infanta coming hither as Dauphiness, at this time,--there
needed to be Court-shows, Dramaticules, Transparencies, Feasts of
Lanterns, or I know not what. Voltaire was the chosen man; Voltaire and
Rameau (readers have heard of RAMEAU'S NEPHEW, and musical readers still
esteem Rameau) did their feat; we may think with what perfection, with
what splendor of reward. Alas, and the feat done was, to one of the
parties, so unspeakably contemptible! Voltaire pensively surveying Life,
brushes the sounding strings; and hums to himself, the carbuncle eyes
carrying in them almost something of wet:--

         "MON Henri Quatre ET MA Zaire,
         ET MON AMERICAIN Alzire,
         NE M'ONT VALU JAMAIS UN SEUL REGARD DU ROI;
         J'AVAIS MILLE ENNEMIS AVEC TRES PEU DE GLOIRE:
         LES HONNEURS ET LES BIENS PLEUVENT ENFIN SUR MOI
                POUR UN FARCE DE LA FOIRE."

["My HENRI QUATRE, my ZAIRE, my ALZIRE [high works very many], could
never purchase me a single glance of the King; I had multitudes of
enemies, and very little fame:--honors and riches rain on me, at last,
for a Farce of the Fair" (--OEuvres,--ii. 151). The "Farce" (which by no
means CALLED itself such) was PRINCESSE DE NAVARRE (--OEuvres,--lxxiii.
251): first acted 23d February, 1745, Day of the Wedding. Gentlemanship
of the Chamber thereupon (which Voltaire, by permission, sold, shortly
after, for 2,500 pounds, with titles retained), and appointment as
Historiographer Royal. Poor Dauphiness did not live long; Louis XVI.'s
Mother was a SECOND Wife, Saxon-Polish Majesty's Daughter.] Yes, my
friend; it is a considerable ass, this world; by no means the Perfectly
Wise put at the top of it (as one could wish), and the Perfectly Foolish
at the bottom. Witness--nay, witness Psyche Pompadour herself, is not
she an emblem! Take your luck without criticism; luck good and bad
visits all.

2. AND GOT INTO THE ACADEMY NEXT YEAR, IN CONSEQUENCE. In 1746, the
Academy itself, Pompadour favoring, is made willing; Voltaire sees
himself among the Forty: soul, on that side too, be at ease, and hunger
not nor thirst anymore. ["May 9th, 1746, Voltaire is received at the
Academy; and makes a very fine Discourse" (BARBIER, ii. 488).--OEuvres
de Voltaire,--lxxiii. 355, 385, and i. 97.] This highest of felicities
could not be achieved without an ugly accompaniment from the surrounding
Populace. Desfontaines is dead, safe down in Sodom; but wants not for
a successor, for a whole Doggery of such. Who are all awake, and giving
tongue on this occasion. There is M. Roi the "Poet," as he was then
reckoned; jingling Roi, who concocts satirical calumnies; who collects
old ones, reprints the same,--and sends Travenol, an Opera-Fiddler,
to vend them. From which sprang a Lawsuit, PROCES-TRAVENOL, of famous
melancholy sort. As Voltaire had rather the habit of such sad melancholy
Lawsuits, we will pause on this of Travenol for a moment:--

3. SUMMARY OF TRAVENOL LAWSUIT. "Monday, 9th May, 1746, was the Day
or reception at the Academy; reception and fruition, thrice-savory to
Voltaire. But what an explosion of the Doggeries, before, during and
after that event! Voltaire had tried to be prudent, too. He had been
corresponding with Popes, with Cardinals; and, in a fine frank-looking
way, capturing their suffrages:--not by lying, which in general he
wishes to avoid, but by speaking half the truth; in short, by advancing,
in a dexterous, diplomatic way, the uncloven foot, in those Vatican
precincts. And had got the Holy Father's own suffrage for MAHOMET (think
of that, you Ass of Mirepoix!), among other cases that might rise. When
this seat among the Forty fell vacant, his very first measure--mark it,
Orthodox reader--was a Letter to the Chief Jesuit, Father Latour, Head
of one's old College of Louis le Grand. A Letter of fine filial
tenor: 'My excellent old Schoolmasters, to whom I owe everything; the
representatives of learning, of decorum, of frugality and modest human
virtue:--in what contrast to the obscure Doggeries poaching about in
the street-gutters, and flying at the peaceable passenger!'
[In--Voltairiana, ou Eloges Amphigouriques,--&c. (Paris, 1748), i.
150-160, the LETTER itself, "Paris, 7th February, 1746;" omitted
(without need or real cause on any side) in the common Collections
of--OEuvres de Voltaire.--] Which captivated Father Latour; and made
matters smooth on that side; so that even the ANCIEN DE MIREPOIX said
nothing, this time: What could he say? No cloven foot visible, and the
Authorities strong.

"Voltaire had started as Candidate with these judicious preliminaries.
Voltaire was elected, as we saw; fine Discourse, 9th May; and on the
Official side all things comfortable. But, in the mean while, the
Doggeries, as natural, seeing the thing now likely, had risen to
a never-imagined pitch; and had filled Paris, and, to Voltaire's
excruciated sense, the Universe, with their howlings and their
hyena-laughter, with their pasquils, satires, old and new. So that
Voltaire could not stand it; and, in evil hour, rushed downstairs
upon them; seized one poor dog, Travenol, unknown to him as Fiddler or
otherwise; pinioned Dog Travenol, with pincers, by the ears, him for
one;--proper Police-pincers, for we are now well at Court;--and had a
momentary joy! And, alas, this was not the right dog; this, we say, was
Travenol a Fiddler at the Opera, who, except the street-noises, knew
nothing of Voltaire; much less had the least pique at him; but had taken
to hawking certain Pasquils (Jingler Roi's COLLECTION, it appears), to
turn a desirable penny by them.

"And mistakes were made in the Affair Travenol,--old FATHER Travenol
haled to prison, instead of Son,--by the Lieutenant of Police and
his people. And Voltaire took the high-hand method (being well at
Court):--and thereupon hungry Advocates took up Dog Travenol and his
pincered ears: 'Serene Judges of the Chatelet, Most Christian Populace
of Paris, did you ever see a Dog so pincered by an Academical Gentleman
before, merely for being hungry?' And Voltaire, getting madder and
madder, appealed to the Academy (which would not interfere); filed
Criminal Informations; appealed to the Chatelet, to the Courts above
and to the Courts below; and, for almost a year, there went on the
'PROCES-TRAVENOL:' [About Mayday, 1746, Seizure of Travenol; Pleadings
are in vigor August, 1746; not done April, 1747. _In--Voltairiana,--_ii.
141-206, Pleadings, &c., copiously given; and most of the original
Libels, in different parts of that sad Book (compiled by Travenol's
Advocate, a very sad fellow himself): see also--OEuvres de
Voltaire,--lxxiii. 355 n., 385 n.; IB. i. 97; BARBIER, ii. 487. All in a
very jumbled, dateless, vague and incorrect condition.] Olympian Jove
in distressed circumstances VERSUS a hungry Dog who had eaten dirty
puddings. Paris, in all its Saloons and Literary Coffee-houses (figure
the ANTRE DE PROCOPE, on Publication nights!), had, monthly or so,
the exquisite malign banquet; and grinned over the Law Pleadings: what
Magazine Serial of our day can be so interesting to the emptiest mind!

"Lasted, I find, for above a year. From Spring, 1746, till towards
Autumn, 1747: Voltaire's feelings being--Haha, so exquisite, all the
while!--Well, reader, I can judge how amusing it was to high and low.
And yet Phoebus Apollo going about as mere Cowherd of Admetus, and
exposed to amuse the populace by his duels with dogs that have bitten
him? It is certain Voltaire was a fool, not to be more cautious of
getting into gutter-quarrels; not to have a thicker skin, in fact."

PROCES-TRAVENOL escorting one's Triumphal Entry; what an adjunct! Always
so: always in your utmost radiance of sunshine a shadow; and in your
softest outburst of Lydian or Spheral symphonies something of eating
Care! Then too, in the Court-circle itself, "is Trajan pleased," or are
all things well? Readers have heard of that "TRAJAN EST-IL CONTENT?" It
occurred Winter, 1745 (27th November, 1745, a date worth marking), while
things were still in the flush of early hope. That evening, our TEMPLE
DE LA GLOIRE (Temple of Glory) had just been acted for the first time,
in honor of him we may call "Trajan," returning from a "Fontenoy
and Seven Cities captured:" [Seven of them; or even eight of a kind:
Tournay, Ghent, Bruges, Nieuport, Dendermond, Ath, Ostend; and nothing
lost but Cape Breton and one's Codfishery.]--

    "Reviens, divin Trajan, vainqueur doux et terrible;
     Le monde est mon rival, tous les coeurs sont a toi;
     Mais est-il un coeur plus sensible,
     Et qui t'adore plus que moi?"
     [TEMPLE DE LA GLOIRE, Acte iv. (--OEuvres,--xii. 328).]

    "Return, divine Trajan, conqueror sweet and terrible;
     The world is my rival, all hearts are thine;
     But is there a heart more loving,
     Or that adores thee more than I?"

An allegoric Dramatic Piece; naturally very admirable at Versailles.
Issuing radiant from Fall of the Curtain, Voltaire had the farther honor
to see his Majesty pass out; Majesty escorted by Richelieu, one's
old friend in a sense: "Is Trajan pleased?" whispered Voltaire to his
Richelieu; overheard by Trajan,--who answered in words nothing, but in
a visible glance of the eyes did answer, "Impertinent Lackey!"--Trajan
being a man unready with speech; and disliking trouble with the people
whom he paid for keeping his boots in polish. O my winged Voltaire,
to what dunghill Bubbly-Jocks (COQS D'INDE) you do stoop with homage,
constrained by their appearance of mere size!--

Evidently no perfect footing at Court, after all. And then the
Pompadour, could she, Head-Butterfly of the Universe, be an anchor that
would hold, if gales rose? Rather she is herself somewhat of a gale, of
a continual liability to gales; unstable as the wind! Voltaire did
his best to be useful, as Court Poet, as director of Private
Theatricals;--above all, to soothe, to flatter Pompadour; and never
neglected this evident duty. But, by degrees, the envious Lackey-people
made cabals; turned the Divine Butterfly into comparative indifference
for Voltaire; into preference of a Crebillon's poor faded Pieces:
"Suitabler these, Madame, for the Private Theatricals of a Most
Christian Majesty." Think what a stab; crueler than daggers through
one's heart: "Crebillon?" M. de Voltaire said nothing; looked nothing,
in those sacred circles; and never ceased outwardly his worship, and
assiduous tuning, of the Pompadour: but he felt--as only Phoebus Apollo
in the like case can!"Away!" growled he to himself, when this atrocity
had culminated. And, in effect, is, since the end of 1746 or so, pretty
much withdrawn from the Versailles Olympus; and has set, privately in
the distance (now at Cirey, now at Paris, in our PETIT PALAIS there),
with his whole will and fire, to do Crebillon's dead Dramas into
living oues of his own. Dead CATILINA of Crebillon into ROME SAUVEE of
Voltaire, and the other samples of dead into living,--that stupid old
Crebillon himself and the whole Universe may judge, and even Pompadour
feel a remorse!--Readers shall fancy these things; and that the world is
coming back to its old poor drab color with M. de Voltaire; his divine
Emilie and he rubbing along on the old confused terms. One face-to-face
peep of them readers shall now have; and that is to be enough, or more
than enough:--



VOLTAIRE AND THE DIVINE EMILIE APPEAR SUDDENLY, ONE NIGHT, AT SCEAUX.

About the middle of August, 1747, King Friedrich, I find, was at
home;--not in his new SANS-SOUCI by any means, but running to and fro;
busy with his Musterings, "grand review, and mimic attack on Bornstadt,
near Berlin;" INVALIDEN-HAUS (Military Hospital) getting built; Silesian
Reviews just ahead; and, for the present, much festivity and moving
about, to Charlottenburg, to Berlin and the different Palaces;
Wilhelmina, "August 15th," having come to see him; of which fine visit,
especially of Wilhelmina's thoughts on it,--why have the envious Fates
left us nothing!

While all this is astir in Berlin and neighborhood, there is, among the
innumerable other visits in this world, one going on near Paris, in the
Mansion or Palace of Sceaux, which has by chance become memorable. A
visit by Voltaire and his divine Emilie, direct from Paris, I suppose,
and rather on the sudden. Which has had the luck to have a LETTER
written on it, by one of those rare creatures, a seeing Witness, who
can make others see and believe. The seeing Witness is little Madame de
Staal (by no means Necker's Daughter, but a much cleverer), known as one
of the sharpest female heads; she from the spot reports it to Madame du
Deffand, who also is known to readers. There is such a glimpse afforded
here into the actuality of old things and remarkable human creatures,
that Friedrich himself would be happy to read the Letter.

Duchesse du Maine, Lady of Sceaux, is a sublime old personage, with whom
and with whose high ways and magnificent hospitalities at Sceaux, at
Anet and elsewhere, Voltaire had been familiar for long years past.
[In--OEuvres de Voltaire,--lxxiii. 434 n, x. 8, &c., "Clog." and
others represent THIS Visit as having been to Anet,--though the record
otherwise is express.] This Duchess, grand-daughter of the great Conde,
now a dowager for ten years, and herself turned of seventy, has been a
notable figure in French History this great while: a living fragment
of Louis le Grand, as it were. Was wedded to Louis's "Legitimated"
Illegitimate, the Duc du Maine; was in trouble with the Regent d'Orleans
about Alberoni-Cellamare conspiracies (1718), Regent having stript her
husband of his high legitimatures and dignities, with little ceremony;
which led her to conspire a good deal, at one time. [DUC DU MAINE
with COMTE DE TOULOUSE were products of Louis XIV. and Madame de
Montespan:--"legitimated" by Papa's fiat in 1673, while still only young
children; DISlegitimated again by Regent d'Orleans, autumn, 1718; grand
scene, "guards drawn out" and the like, on this occasion (BARBIER, i.
8-11, ii. 181); futile Conspiracies with Alberoni thereupon; arrest
of Duchess and Duke (29th December, 1718), and closure of that poor
business. Duc du Maine died 1736; Toulouse next year; ages, each about
sixty-five. "Duc de Penthievre," Egalite's father-in-law, was Toulouse's
son; Maine has left a famous Dowager, whom we see. Nothing more of
notable about the one or the other.] She was never very beautiful; but
had a world of grace and witty intelligence; and knew a Voltaire when
she saw him. Was the soul of courtesy and benignity, though proud
enough, and carrying her head at its due height; and was always very
charming, in her lofty gracious way, to mankind. Interesting to all,
were it only as a living fragment of the Grand Epoch,--kind of French
Fulness of Time, when the world was at length blessed with a Louis
Quatorze, and Ne-plus-ultra of a Gentleman determined to do the handsome
thing in this world. She is much frequented by high people, especially
if of a Literary or Historical turn. President Henault (of the ABREGE
CHRONOLOGIQUE, the well-frilled, accurately powdered, most correct old
legal gentleman) is one of her adherents; Voltaire is another, that may
stand for many: there is an old Marquis de St. Aulaire, whom she calls
"MON VIEUX BERGER (my old shepherd," that is to say, sweetheart or flame
of love); [BARBIER, ii. 87; see ib. (i. 8-11; ii. 181, 436; &c.) for
many notices of her affairs and her.] there is a most learned President
de Mesmes, and others we have heard of, but do not wish to know. Little
De Staal was at one time this fine Duchess's maid; but has far outgrown
all that, a favorite guest of the Duchess's instead; holds now mainly by
Madame du Deffand (not yet fallen blind),--and is well turned of fifty,
and known for one of the shrewdest little souls in the world, at the
time she writes. Her Letter is addressed "TO MADAME DU DEFFAND, at
Paris;" most free-flowing female Letter; of many pages, runs on, day
after day, for a fortnight or so;--only Excerpts of it introducible
here:--

"SCEAUX, TUESDAY, 15th AUGUST, 1747.... Madame du Chatelet and Voltaire,
who had announced themselves as for to-day, and whom nobody had heard
of otherwise, made their appearance yesternight, near midnight; like two
Spectres, with an odor of embalmment about them, as if just out of their
tombs. We were rising from table; the Spectres, however, were hungry
ones: they needed supper; and what is more, beds, which were not ready.
The Housekeeper (CONCIERGE), who had gone to bed, rose in great haste.
Gaya [amiable gentleman, conceivable, not known], who had offered his
apartment for pressing cases, was obliged to yield it in this emergency:
he flitted with as much precipitation and displeasure as an army
surprised in its camp; leaving a part of his baggage in the enemy's
hands. Voltaire thought the lodging excellent, but that did not at all
console Gaya.

"As to the Lady, her bed turns out not to have been well made; they
have had to put her in a new place to-day. Observe, she made that
bed herself, no servants being up, and had found a blemish or DEFAUT
of"--word wanting: who knows what?--"in the mattresses; which I believe
hurt her exact mind, more than her not very delicate body. She has got,
in the interim, an apartment promised to somebody else; and she will
have to leave it again on Friday or Saturday, and go into that of
Marechal de Maillebois, who leaves at that time."

--Yes; Maillebois in the body, O reader. This is he, with the old
ape-face renewed by paint, whom we once saw marching with an "Army
of Redemption," haggling in the Passes about Eger, unable to redeem
Belleisle; marching and haggling, more lately, with a "Middle-Rhine
Army," and the like non-effect; since which, fighting his best in
Italy,--pushed home last winter, with Browne's bayonets in his back;
Belleisle succeeding him in dealing with Browne. Belleisle, and the
"Revolt of Genoa" (fatal to Browne's Invasion of us), and the Defence
of Genoa and the mutual worryings thereabout, are going on at a great
rate,--and there is terrible news out of those Savoy Passes, while
Maillebois is here. Concerning which by and by. He is grandson of the
renowned Colbert, this Maillebois. A Field-Marshal evidently extant, you
perceive, in those vanished times: is to make room for Madame on Friday,
says our little De Staal; and take leave of us,--if for good, so much
the better!

"He came at the time we did, with his daughter and grand-daughter: the
one is pretty, the other ugly and dreary [l'UNE, L'AUTRE; no saying
which, in such important case! Madame la Marechale, the mother
and grandmother, I think must be dead. Not beautiful she, nor very
benignant, "UNE TRES-MECHANTE FEMME, very cat-witted woman," says
Barbier; "shrieked like a devil, at Court, upon the Cardinal," about
that old ARMY-OF-REDEMPTION business; but all her noise did nothing].
[Barbier, ii, 332 ("November, 1742").]--M. le Marechal has hunted here
with his dogs, in these fine autumn woods and glades; chased a bit of
a stag, and caught a poor doe's fawn: that was all that could be got
there.

"Our new Guests will make better sport: they are going to have their
Comedy acted again [Comedy of THE EXCHANGE, much an entertainment with
them]: Vanture [conceivable, not known] is to do the Count de Boursoufle
(DE BLISTER or DE WINDBAG); you will not say this is a hit, any more
than Madame du Chatelet's doing the Hon. Miss Piggery (LA COCHONNIERE),
who ought to be fat and short." [L'ECHANGE, The Exchange, or WHEN SHALL
I GET MARRIED? Farce in three acts:--OEuvres, x. 167-222; used to be
played at Cirey and elsewhere (see plenty of details upon it, exact or
not quite so, IB. 7-9).]--Little De Staal then abruptly breaks off, to
ask about her Correspondent's health, and her Correspondent's friend old
President Henault's health; touches on those "grumblings and discords in
the Army (TRACASSERIES DE L'ARMEE)," which are making such astir; how M.
d'Argenson, our fine War-Minister, man of talent amid blockheads, will
manage them; and suddenly exclaims: "O my queen, what curious animals
men and women are! I laugh at their manoeuvres, the days when I have
slept well; if I have missed sleep, I could kill them. These changes of
temper prove that I do not break off kind. Let us mock other people, and
let other people mock us; it is well done on both sides.--[Poor
little De Staal: to what a posture have things come with you, in that
fast-rotting Epoch, of Hypocrisies becoming all insolvent!]

"WEDNESDAY, 16th. Our Ghosts do not show themselves by daylight. They
appeared yesterday at ten in the evening; I do not think we shall see
them sooner to-day: the one is engaged in writing high feats [SIECLE DE
LOUIS XV., or what at last became such]; the other in commenting Newton.
They will neither play nor walk: they are, in fact, equivalent to
ZEROS in a society where their learned writings are of no
significance.--[Pauses, without notice given: for some hours, perhaps
days; then resuming:] Nay, worse still: their apparition to-night has
produced a vehement declamation on one of our little social diversions
here, the game of CAVAGNOLE: ["Kind of BIRIBI," it would appear; in the
height of fashion then.] it was continued and maintained," on the part
of Madame du Chatelet, you guess, "in a tone which is altogether unheard
of in this place; and was endured," on the part of Serene Highness,
"with a moderation not less surprising. But what is unendurable is my
babble"--And herewith our nimble little woman hops off again into the
general field of things; and gossips largely, How are you, my queen,
Whither are you going, Whither we; That the Maillebois people are
away, and also the Villeneuves, if anybody knew them now; then how
the Estillacs, to the number of four, are coming to-morrow; and Cousin
Soquence, for all his hunting, can catch nothing; and it is a continual
coming and going; and how Boursoufle is to be played, and a Dame Dufour
is just come, who will do a character. Rubrics, vanished Shadows, nearly
all those high Dames and Gentlemen; LA PAUVRE Saint-Pierre, "eaten with
gout," who is she? "Still drags herself about, as well as she can;
but not with me, for I never go by land, and she seems to have the
hydrophobia, when I take to the water. [Thread of date is gone! I almost
think we must have got to Saturday by this time:--or perhaps it is only
Thursday, and Maillebois off prematurely, to be out of the way of
the Farce? Little De Staal takes no notice; but continues gossiping
rapidly:]

"Yesterday Madame du Chatelet got into her third lodging: she could not
any longer endure the one she had chosen. There was noise in it, smoke
without fire:--privately meseems, a little the emblem of herself! As to
noise, it was not by night that it incommoded her, she told me, but by
day, when she was in the thick of her work: it deranges her ideas. She
is busy reviewing her PRINCIPLES"--NEWTON'S PRINCIPIA, no doubt, but De
Staal will understand it only as PRINCIPES, Principles in general:--"it
is an exercise she repeats every year, without which the Principles
might get away, and perhaps go so far she would never find them again
[You satirical little gypsy!]. Her head, like enough, is a kind of
lock-up for them, rather than a birthplace, or natural home: and that is
a case for watching carefully lest they get away. She prefers the high
air of this occupation to every kind of amusement, and persists in not
showing herself till after dark. Voltaire has produced some gallant
verses [unknown to Editors] which help off a little the bad effect of
such unusual behavior.

"SUNDAY, 27th. I told you on Thursday [no, you did n't; you only meant
to tell] that our Spectres were going on the morrow, and that the Piece
was to be played that evening: all this has been done. I cannot give you
much of Boursoufle [done by one Vanture]. Mademoiselle Piggery [DE
LA COCHONNIERE, Madame du Chatelet herself] executed so perfectly the
extravagance of her part, that I own it gave me real pleasure. But
Vanture only put his own fatuity into the character of Boursoufle, which
wanted more: he played naturally in a Piece where all requires to be
forced, like the subject of it."--What a pity none of us has read this
fine Farce! "One Paris did the part of MUSCADIN (Little Coxcomb), which
name represents his character: in short, it can be said the Farce was
well given. The Author ennobled it by a Prologue for the Occasion;
which he acted very well, along with Madame Dufour as BARBE (Governess
Barbara),--who, but for this brilliant action, could not have put up
with merely being Governess to Piggery. And, in fact, she disdained the
simplicity of dress which her part required;--as did the chief actress,"
Du Chatelet herself (age now forty-one); "who, in playing PIGGERY,
preferred the interests of her own face to those of the Piece, and
made her entry in all the splendor and elegant equipments of a Court
Lady,"--her "PRINCIPLES," though the key is turned upon them, not unlike
jumping out of window, one would say! "She had a crow to pluck" [MAILLE A
PARTIR, "clasp to open," which is better] with Voltaire on this point:
but she is sovereign, and he is slave. I am very sorry at their going,
though I was worn out with doing her multifarious errands all the time
she was here.

"WEDNESDAY, 30th. M. le President [Henault] has been asked hither; and
he is to bring you, my Queen! Tried all I could to hinder; but they
would not be put off. If your health and disposition do suit, it will
be charming. In any case, I have got you a good apartment: it is the one
that Madame du Chatelet had seized upon, after an exact review of all
the Mansion. There will be a little less furniture than she had put in
it; Madame had pillaged all her previous apartments to equip this one.
We found about seven tables in it, for one item: she needs them of all
sizes; immense, to spread out her papers upon; solid, to support her
NECESSAIRE; slighter, for her nicknacks (POMPONS), for her jewels. And
this fine arrangement did not save her from an accident like that of
Philip II., when, after spending all the night in writing, he got his
despatches drowned by the oversetting of an ink-bottle. The Lady did not
pretend to imitate the moderation of that Prince; at any rate, he was
only writing on affairs of state; and the thing they blotted, on this
occasion, was Algebra, much more difficult to clean up again.

"This subject ought to be exhausted: one word more, and then it does
end. The day after their departure, I receive a Letter of four pages,
and a Note enclosed, which announces dreadful burly-burly: M. de
Voltaire has mislaid his Farce, forgotten to get back the parts, and
lost his Prologue: I am to find all that again [excessively tremulous
about his Manuscripts, M. de Voltaire; of such value are they, of such
danger to him; there is LA PUCELLE, for example,--enough to hang a man,
were it surreptitiously launched forth in print!]--I am to send him the
Prologue instantly, not by post, because they would copy it; to keep the
parts for fear of the same accident, and to lock up the Piece 'under
a hundred keys.' I should have thought one padlock sufficient for this
treasure! I have duly executed his orders." [--Madame de Graffigny
(Paris, 1820), pp. 283-291.]

And herewith EXPLICIT DE STAAL. Scene closes: EXEUNT OMNES; are off
to Paris or Versailles again; to Luneville and the Court of Stanislaus
again,--where also adventures await them, which will be heard of!

"Figure to yourself," says some other Eye-witness, "a lean Lady, with
big arms and long legs; small head, and countenance losing itself in a
cloudery of head-dress; cocked nose [RETROUSSE, say you? Very slightly,
then; quite an unobjectionable nose!] and pair of small greenish eyes;
complexion tawny, and mouth too big: this was the divine Emilie, whom
Voltaire celebrates to the stars. Loaded to extravagance with ribbons,
laces, face-patches, jewels and female ornaments; determined to be
sumptuous in spite of Economics, and pretty in spite of Nature:" Pooh,
it is an enemy's hand that paints! "And then by her side," continues he,
"the thin long figure of Voltaire, that Anatomy of an Apollo, affecting
worship of her," [From Rodenbeck (quoting somebody, whom I have surely
seen in French; whom Rodenbeck tries to name, as he could have done,
but curiously without success), i. 179.]--yes, that thin long Gentleman,
with high red-heeled shoes, and the daintiest polite attitudes and
paces; in superfine coat, laced hat under arm; nose and under-lip ever
more like coalescing (owing to decay of teeth), but two eyes shining on
you like carbuncles; and in the ringing voice, such touches of speech
when you apply for it! Thus they at Sceaux and elsewhere; walking their
Life-minuet, making their entrances and exits.

One thing is lamentable: the relation with Madame is not now a
flourishing one, or capable again of being: "Does not love me as he did,
the wretch!" thinks Madame always;--yet sticks by him, were it but in
the form of blister. They had been to Luneville, Spring, 1747; happy
dull place, within reach of Cirey; far from Versailles and its cabals.
They went again, 1748, in a kind of permanent way; Titular Stanislaus,
an opulent dawdling creature, much liking to have them; and Father
Menou, his Jesuit,--who is always in quarrel with the Titular
Mistress,--thinking to displace HER (as you, gradually discover), and
promote the Du Chatelet to that improper dignity! In which he had not
the least success, says Voltaire; but got "two women on his ears instead
of one." It was not to be Stanislaus's mistress; nor a TITULAR one at
all, but a real, that Madame was fated in this dull happy place! Idle
readers know the story only too well;--concerning which, admit this
other Fraction and no more:--

"Stanislaus, as a Titular King, cannot do without some kind of Titular
Army,--were it only to blare about as Life-guard, and beat kettle-drums
on occasion. A certain tall high-sniffing M. de St. Lambert, a young
Lorrainer of long pedigree and light purse, had just taken refuge in
this Life-guard [Summer 1748, or so], I know not whether as Captain or
Lieutenant, just come from the Netherlands Wars: of grave stiff manners;
for the rest, a good-looking young fellow; thought to have some poetic
genius, even;--who is precious, surely, in such an out-of-the-way
place. Welcome to Voltaire, to Madame still more. Alas, readers know the
History,--on which we must not dwell. Madame, a brown geometric Lady,
age now forty-two, with a Great Man who has scandalously ceased to
love her, casts her eye upon St. Lambert: 'Yes, you would be the
shoeing-horn, Monsieur, if one had time, you fine florid fellow, hardly
yet into your thirties--' And tries him with a little coquetry; I
always think, perhaps in this view chiefly? And then, at any rate, as he
responded, the thing itself became so interesting: 'Our Ulysses-bow,
we can still bend it, then, aha! 'And is not that a pretty stag withal,
worth bringing down; florid, just entering his thirties, and with the
susceptibilities of genius! Voltaire was not blind, could he have helped
it,--had he been tremulously alive to help it. 'Your Verses to her, my
St. Lambert,--ah, Tibullus never did the like of them. Yes, to you
are the roses, my fine young friend, to me are the thorns:' thus
sings Voltaire in response; [--OEuvres,--xvii. 223 (EPITRE A M. DE
ST. LAMBERT, 1749); &c. &c. In--Memoires sur Voltaire par Longchamp
et Wagniere--(Paris, 1826), ii. 229 et seq., details enough and more.]
perhaps not thinking it would go so far. And it went,--alas, it went to
all lengths, mentionable and not mentionable: and M. le Marquis had
to be coaxed home in the Spring of 1749,--still earlier it had been
suitabler;--and in September ensuing, M. de St. Lambert looking his
demurest, there is an important lying-in to be transacted!
Newton's PRINCIPIA is, by that time, drawing diligently to its
close;--complicated by such far abstruser Problems, not of the geometric
sort! Poor little lean brown woman, what a Life, after all; what an End
of a Life!"--



WAR-PASSAGES IN 1747.

The War, since Friedrich got out of it, does not abate in animosity, nor
want for bloodshed, battle and sieging; but offers little now memorable.
March 18th, 1747, a ghastly Phantasm of a Congress, "Congress of Breda,"
which had for some months been attempting Peace, and was never able to
get into conference, or sit in its chairs except for moments, flew away
altogether; [In September, 1746, had got together; but would not take
life, on trying and again trying, and fell forgotten: February, 1747,
again gleams up into hope: March 18th and the following days, vanishes
for good (ADELUNG, v. 50; vi. 6, 62).] and left the War perhaps angrier
than ever, more hopelessly stupid than ever. Except, indeed, that
resources are failing; money running low in France, Parlements beginning
to murmur, and among the Population generally a feeling that glory is
excellent, but will not make the national pot boil. Perhaps all this
will be more effective than Congresses of Breda? Here are the few Notes
worth giving:

APRIL 23d-30th, 1747, THE FRENCH INVADE HOLLAND; WHEREUPON, SUDDENLY,
A STADTHOLDER THERE. "After Fontenoy there has been much sieging and
capturing in that Netherlands Country, a series of successes gloriously
delightful to Marechal de Saxe and the French Nation: likewise (in
bar of said sieging, in futile attempt to bar it) a Battle of Roucoux,
October, 1746; with victory, or quasi-victory, to Saxe, at least with
prostration to the opposite part."

And farther on, there is a Battle of Lauffeld coming, 2d July, 1747;
with similar results; frustration evident, retreat evident, victory not
much to speak of. And in this gloriously delightful manner Saxe and the
French Nation have proceeded, till in fact the Netherlands Territory
with all strongholds, except Maestricht alone, was theirs,--and they
decided on attacking the Dutch Republic itself. And (17th April, 1747)
actually broke in upon the frontier Fortresses of Zealand; found the
same dry-rotten everywhere; and took them, Fortress after Fortress, at
the rate of a cannon salvo each: 'Ye magnanimous Dutch, see what you
have got by not sitting still, as recommended!' To the horror and terror
of the poor Zealanders and general Dutch Population. Who shrieked to
England for help;--and were, on the very instant, furnished with a
modicum of Seventy-fours (Dutch Courier returning by the same); which
landed the Courier April 23d, and put Walcheren in a state of security.
[Adelung, vi. 105, 125-134.]

"Whereupon the Dutch Population turned round on its Governors, with
a growl of indignation, spreading ever wider, waxing ever higher:
'Scandalous laggards, is this your mode of governing a free Republic?
Freedom to let the State go to dry-rot, and become the laughing-stock
of mankind. To provide for your own paltry kindred in the
State-employments; to palaver grandly with all comers; and publish
melodious Despatches of Van Hoey? Had not Britannic Majesty, for his
dear Daughter's sake, come to the rescue in this crisis, where had we
been? We demand a Stadtholder again; our glorious Nassau Orange, to keep
some bridle on you!' And actually, in this way, Populus and Plebs, by
general turning out into the streets, in a gloomily indignant manner,
which threatens to become vociferous and dangerous,--cowed the Heads of
the Republic into choosing the said Prince, with Princess and Family, as
Stadtholder, High-Admiral, High-Everything and Supreme of the Republic.
Hereditary, no less, and punctually perpetual; Princess and Family to
share in it. In which happy state (ripened into Kingship latterly) they
continue to this day. A result painfully surprising to Most Christian
Majesty; gratifying to Britannic proportionately, or more;--and indeed
beneficial towards abating dry-rot and melodious palaver in that poor
Land of the Free. Consummated, by popular outbreak of vociferation,
in the different Provinces, in about a week from April 23d, when
those helpful Seventy-fours hove in sight. Stadtholdership had been in
abeyance for forty-five years. [Since our Dutch William's death, 1702.]
The new Stadtholder did his best; could not, in the short life granted
him, do nearly enough.--Next year there was a SECOND Dutch outbreak,
or general turning into the streets; of much more violent character;
in regard to glaringly unjust Excises and Taxations, and to 'instant
dismissal of your Excise-Farmers,' as the special first item. [Adelung,
vi. 364 et seq.; Raumer, 182-193 ("March-September, 1748"); or,
in--Chesterfield's Works,--Dayrolles's Letters to Chesterfield: somewhat
unintelligent and unintelligible, both Raumer and he.] Which salutary
object being accomplished (new Stadtholder well aiding, in a valiant and
judicious manner), there has no third dose of that dangerous remedy been
needed since.

"JULY 19th, FATE OF CHEVALIER DE BELLEISLE. At the Fortress of Exilles,
in one of those Passes of the Savoy Alps,--Pass of Col di Sieta,
memorable to the French Soldier ever since,--there occurred a lamentable
thing;" doubtless much talked of at Sceaux while Voltaire was there.
"The Revolt of Genoa (popular outburst, and expulsion of our poor friend
Botta and his Austrians, then a famous thing, and a rarer than now)
having suddenly recalled the victorious General Browne from his Siege
of Antibes and Invasion of Provence,--Marechal Duc de Belleisle,
well reinforced and now become 'Army of Italy' in general, followed
steadfastly for 'Defence of Genoa' against indignant Botta, Browne and
Company. For defence of Genoa; nay for attack on Turin, which would
have been 'defence' in Genoa and everywhere,--had the captious Spaniard
consented to co-operate. Captious Spaniard would not; Couriers to
Madrid, to Paris thereupon, and much time lost;--till, at the eleventh
hour, came consent from Paris, 'Try it by yourself, then!' Belleisle
tries it; at least his Brother does. His Brother, the Chevalier, is to
force that Pass of Exilles; a terrible fiery business, but the backbone
of the whole adventure: in which, if the Chevalier can succeed, he too
is to be Marechal de France. Forward, therefore, climb the Alpine stairs
again; snatch me that Fort of Exilles.

"And so, July 19th, 1747, the Chevalier comes in sight of the Place;
scans a little the frowning buttresses, bristly with guns; the dumb
Alps, to right and left, looking down on him and it. Chevalier de
Belleisle judges that, however difficult, it can and must be possible
to French valor; and storms in upon it, huge and furious (20,000, or
if needful 30,000);--but is torn into mere wreck, and hideous recoil;
rallies, snatches a standard, 'We must take it or die,'--and dies, does
not take it; falls shot on the rampart, 'pulling at the palisades with
his own hands,' nay some say 'with his teeth,' when the last moments
came. Within one hour, he has lost 4,000 men; and himself and his
Brother's Enterprise lie ended there. [Voltaire, xxv. 221 et seq.
(SIECLE DE LOUIS QUINZE, c. 22); Adelung, vi 174.] Fancy his poor
Brother's feelings, who much loved him! The discords about War-matters
(TRACASSERIES DE L'ARMEE) were a topic at Sceaux lately, as De Staal
intimated. 'Why starve our Italian Enterprises; heaping every resource
upon the Netherlands and Saxe?' Diligent Defence of Genoa (chiefly by
flourishing of swords on the part of France, for the Austrians were
not yet ready) is henceforth all the Italian War there is; and this
explosion at Exilles may fitly be finis to it here. Let us only say that
Infant Philip did, when the Peace came, get a bit of Apanage (Parma and
Piacenza or some such thing, contemptibly small to the Maternal heart),
and that all things else lapsed to their pristine state, MINUS only the
waste and ruin there had been."

JULY 12th-SEPTEMBER 18th: SIEGE OF THE CHIEF DUTCH FORTRESS. "Unexpected
Siege of Bergen-op-Zoom; two months of intense excitement to the Dutch
Patriots and Cause-of-Liberty Gazetteers, as indifferent and totally
dead as it has now become. Marechal de Saxe, after his victory at
Lauffeld, 2d July, did not besiege Maestricht, as had been the universal
expectation; but shot off an efficient lieutenant of his, one Lowendahl,
in due force, privately ready, to overwhelm Bergen-op-Zoom with sudden
Siege, while he himself lay between the beaten enemy and it. Bergen is
the heart, of Holland, key of the Scheld, and quite otherwise important
than Maestricht. 'Coehorn's masterpiece!' exclaim the Gazetteers;
'Impregnable, you may depend!' 'We shall see,' answered Saxe, answered
Lowendahl the Dane (who also became Marechal by this business); and
after a great deal of furious assaulting and battering, took the
Place September 18th, before daylight," by a kind of surprisal or
quasi-storm;--"the Commandant, one Cronstrom, a brave old Swede, age
towards ninety, not being of very wakeful nature! 'Did as well as could
be expected of him,' said the Court-Martial sitting on his case, and
forbore to shoot the poor old man."

[Adelung, vi. 184, 206;--"for Cronstrom," if any one is curious, "see
Schlotzer,--Schwedische Biographie,--ii. 252 (in voce)."] A sore stroke,
this of Bergen, to Britannic Majesty and the Friends of Liberty; who
nevertheless refuse to be discouraged."

DECEMBER 25th, RUSSIANS IN BEHALF OF HUMAN LIBERTY. "March of 36,000
Russians from the City of Moscow, this day; on a very long journey, in
the hoary Christmas weather! Most, Christian Majesty is ruinously short
of money; Britannic Majesty has still credit, and a voting Parliament,
but, owing to French influence on the Continent, can get no recruits to
hire. Gradually driven upon Russia, in such stress, Britannic Majesty
has this year hired for himself a 35,000 Russians; 30,000 regular foot;
4,000 ditto horse, and 1,000 Cossacks;--uncommonly cheap, only 150,000
pounds the lot, not, 4 pounds per head by the year. And, in spite
of many difficulties and hagglings, they actually get on march, from
Moscow, 25th December, 1747; and creep on, all Winter, through the
frozen peats wildernesses, through Lithuania, Poland, towards Bohmen,
Mahren: are to appear in the Rhine Countries, joined by certain
Austrians; and astonish mankind next Spring. Their Captain is one
Repnin, Prince Repnin, afterwards famous enough in those Polish
Countries;"--which is now the one point interesting to us in the thing.

"Their Captain WAS, first, to be Lacy, old Marshal Lacy; then, failing
Lacy, 'Why not General Keith?'--but proves to be Repnin, after much
hustling and intriguing:" Repnin, not Keith, that is the interesting
point.

"Such march of the Russians, on behalf of Human Liberty, in pay of
Britannic Majesty, is a surprising fact; and considerably discomposes
the French. Who bestir themselves in Sweden and elsewhere against Russia
and it: with no result,--except perhaps the incidental one, of getting
our esteemed old friend Guy Dickens, now Sir Guy, dismissed from
Stockholm, and we hope put on half-pay on his return home." [Adelung,
vi. 250, 302:--Sir Guy, not yet invalided, "went to Russia," and other
errands.]



MARSHAL KEITH COMES TO PRUSSIA (September, 1747).

"Much hustling and intriguing," it appears, in regard to the Captaincy
of these Russians. Concerning which there is no word worthy to be
said,--except for one reason only, That it finished off the connection
of General Keith with Russia. That this of seeing Repnin, his junior and
inferior, preferred to him, was, of many disgusts, the last drop which
made the cup run over;--and led the said General to fling it from him,
and seek new fields of employment. From Hamburg, having got so far,
he addresses himself, 1st September, 1747, to Friedrich, with offer
of service; who grasps eagerly at the offer: "Feldmarschall your rank;
income, $1,200 a year; income, welcome, all suitable:"--and, October
28th, Feldmarschall Keith finishes, at Potsdam, a long Letter to his
Brother Lord Marischal, in these words, worth giving, as those of a very
clear-eyed sound observer of men and things:--

"I have now the honor, and, which is still more, the pleasure, of being
with the King at Potsdam; where he ordered me to come," 17th current,
"two days after he declared me Fieldmarshal: Where I have the honor to
dine and sup with him almost every day. He has more wit than I have wit
to tell you; speaks solidly and knowingly on all kinds of subjects; and
I am much mistaken if, with the experience of Four Campaigns, he is
not the best Officer of his Army. He has several persons," Rothenburg,
Winterfeld, Swedish Rudenskjold (just about departing), not to speak of
D'Argens and the French, "with whom he lives in almost the familiarity
of a friend,--but has no favorite;--and shows a natural politeness for
everybody who is about him. For one who has been four days about his
person, you will say I pretend to know a great deal of his character:
but what I tell you, you may depend upon. With more time, I shall know
as much of him as he will let me know;--and all his Ministry knows
no more." [Varnhagen van Ense,--Leben des Feldmarschalls Jakob
Keith--(Berlin, 1844,) p. 100; Adelung, vi. 244.]

A notable acquisition to Friedrich;--and to the two Keiths withal; for
Friedrich attached both of them to his Court and service, after their
unlucky wanderings; and took to them both, in no common degree. As will
abundantly appear.

While that Russia Corps was marching out of Moscow, Cocceji and his
Commissions report from Pommern, that the Pomeranian Law-stables are
completely clear; that the New Courts have, for many months back, been
in work, and are now, at the end of the Year, fairly abreast with it,
according to program;--have "decided of Old-Pending Lawsuits 2,400,
all that there were (one of them 200 years old, and filling seventy
Volumes); and of the 994 New ones, 772; not one Lawsuit remaining over
from the previous Year." A highly gratifying bit of news to his Majesty;
who answers emphatically, EUGE! and directs that the Law Hercules
proceed now to the other Provinces,--to the Kur-Mark, now, and Berlin
itself,--with his salutary industries. Naming him "Grand Chancellor,"
moreover; that is to say, under a new title, Head of Prussian Law,--old
Arnim, "Minister of Justice," having shown himself disaffected to
Law-Reform, and got rebuked in consequence, and sulkily gone into
private life. [Stenzel, iv. 321; Ranke, iii. 389.]

In February of this Year, 1747, Friedrich had something like a stroke
of apoplexy; "sank suddenly motionless, one day," and sat insensible,
perhaps for half an hour: to the terror and horror of those about
him. Hemiplegia, he calls it; rush of blood to the head;--probably
indigestion, or gouty humors, exasperated by over-fatigue. Which
occasioned great rumor in the world; and at Paris, to Voltaire's horror,
reports of his death. He himself made light of the matter: [To Voltaire,
22d February, 1747 (--OEuvres de Frederic,--xxii. 164); see IB. 164
n.] and it did not prove to have been important; was never followed by
anything similar through his long life; and produced no change in his
often-wavering health, or in his habits, which were always steady. He
is writing MEMOIRS; settling "Colonies" (on his waste moors); improving
Harbors. Waiting when this European War will end; politely deaf to the
offers of Britannic Majesty as to taking the least personal share in it.



Chapter III.--EUROPEAN WAR FALLS DONE: TREATY OF AIX-LA-CHAPELLE.

The preparations for Campaign 1748 were on a larger scale than ever.
Britannic Subsidies, a New Parliament being of willing mind, are opulent
to a degree; 192,000 men, 60,000 Austrians for one item, shall be in the
Netherlands;--coupled with this remarkable new clause, "And they are to
be there in fact, and not on paper only," and with a tare-and-tret of
30 or 40 per cent, as too often heretofore! Holland, under its new
Stadtholder, is stanch of purpose, if of nothing else. The 35,000
Russians, tramping along, are actually dawning over the horizon, towards
Teutschland,--King Friedrich standing to arms along his Silesian Border,
vigilant "Cordon of Troops all the way," in watch of such questionable
transit. [In ADELUNG, vi. 110, 143, 167, 399 ("April, 1747-August,
1748"), account of the more and more visible ill-will of the Czarina:
"jealousy" about Sweden, about Dantzig, Poland, &c. &c.] Britannic
Majesty and Parliament seem resolute to try, once more, to the utmost,
the power of the breeches-pocket in defending this sacred Cause of
Liberty so called.

Breeches-pocket MINUS most other requisites: alas, with such methods as
you have, what can come of it? Royal Highness of Cumberland is a
valiant man, knowing of War little more than the White Horse of Hanover
does;--certain of ruin again, at the hands of Marechal de Saxe. So
think many, and have their dismal misgivings. "Saxe having eaten
Bergen-op-Zoom before our eyes, what can withstand the teeth of Saxe?"
In fact, there remains only Maestricht, of considerable; and then
Holland is as good as his! As for King Louis, glory, with funds running
out, and the pot ceasing to boil, has lost its charm to an afflicted
France and him. King Louis's wishes are known, this long while;--and
Ligonier, generously dismissed by him after Lauffeld, has brought
express word to that effect, and outline of the modest terms proposed in
one's hour of victory, with pot ceasing to boil.

On a sudden, too, "March 18th,"--wintry blasts and hailstorms still
raging,--Marechal de Saxe, regardless of Domestic Hunger, took the
field, stronger than ever. Manoeuvred about; bewildering the mind of
Royal Highness and the Stadtholder ("Will he besiege Breda? Will he do
this, will he do that?")--poor Highness and poor Stadtholder; who "did
not agree well together," and had not the half of their forces come in,
not to speak of handling them when come! Bewilderment of these two once
completed, Marechal de Saxe made "a beautiful march upon Maestricht;"
and, April 15th, opened trenches, a very Vesuvius of artillery, before
that place; Royal Highness gazing into it, in a doleful manner, from the
adjacent steeple-tops. Royal Highness, valor's self, has to admit: "Such
an outlook; not half of us got together! The 60,000 Austrians are but
30,000; the--In fact, you will have to make Peace, what else?" [His
Letters, in Coxe's--Pelham--("March 29th-April 2d, 1748"), i. 405-410.]
Nothing else, as has been evident to practical Official People
(especially to frugal Pelham, Chesterfield and other leading heads) for
these two months last past.

In a word, those 35,000 Russians are still far away under the horizon,
when thoughts of a new Congress, "Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle," are
busying the public mind: "Mere moonshine again?" "Something real this
time?"--And on and from March 17th (Lord Sandwich first on the ground,
and Robinson from Vienna coming to help), the actual Congress begins
assembling there. April 24th, the Congress gets actually to business;
very intent on doing it; at least the three main parties, France,
England, Holland, are supremely so. Who, finding, for five diligent
days, nothing but haggle and objection on the part of the others, did
by themselves meet under cloud of night, "night of April 29th-30th;"
and--bring the Preliminaries to perfection. And have them signed before
daybreak; which is, in effect, signing, or at least fixing as certain,
the Treaty itself; so that Armistice can ensue straightway, and the War
essentially end.

A fixed thing; the Purseholders having signed. On the safe rear of
which, your recipient Subsidiary Parties can argue and protest (as the
Empress-Queen and her Kaunitz vehemently did, to great lengths), and
gradually come in and finish. Which, in the course of the next six
months, they all did, Empress-Queen and Excellency Kaunitz not excepted.
And so, October 18th, 1748, all details being, in the interim, either
got settled, or got flung into corners as unsettleable (mostly the
latter),--Treaty itself was signed by everybody; and there was "Peace
of Aix-la-Chapelle." Upon which, except to remark transiently how
inconclusive a conclusion it was, mere end of war because your powder is
run out, mere truce till you gather breath and gunpowder again, we will
spend no word in this place. [Complete details in ADELUNG, vi. 225-409:
"October, 1747," Ligonier returning, and first rumor of new Congress
(226); "17th March, 1748," Sandwich come (323); "April 29th-30th,"
meet under cloud of night (326); Kaunitz protesting (339): "2d August,"
Russians to halt and turn (397); "are over into the Oberpfalz, magazines
ahead at Nurnberg;" in September, get to Bohmen again, and winter there:
"18th October, 1748," Treaty finished (398, 409); Treaty itself given
(IB., Beylage, 44). See--Gentleman's Magazine,--and OLD NEWSPAPERS of
1748; Coxe's--Pelham,--ii. 7-41, i. 366-416.]

"The Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle was done in a hurry and a huddle; greatly
to Maria Theresa's disgust. 'Why not go on with your expenditures, ye
Sea-Powers? Can money and life be spent better? I have yet conquered
next to nothing for the Cause of Liberty and myself!' But the Sea-Powers
were tired of it; the Dutch especially, who had been hoisted with such
difficulty, tended strongly, New Stadtholder notwithstanding, to plump
down again into stable equilibrium on the broad-bottom principle. Huddle
up the matter; end it, well if you can; any way end it. The Treaty
contained many Articles, now become forgettable to mankind. There is
only One Article, and the Want of One, which shall concern us in this
place. The One Article is: guarantee by all the European Powers to
Friedrich's Treaty of Dresden. Punctually got as bargained for,--French
especially willing; Britannic Majesty perhaps a little languid, but his
Ministers positive on the point; so that Friedrioh's Envoy had not much
difficulty at Aix. And now, Friedrich's Ownership of Silesia recognized
by all the Powers to be final and unquestionable, surely nothing more is
wanted? Nothing,--except keeping of this solemn stipulation by all the
Powers. How it was kept by some of them; in what sense some of them are
keeping it even now, we shall see by and by.

"The Want of an Article was, on the part of England, concerning
JENKINS'S EAR. There is not the least conclusion arrived at on that
important Spanish-English Question; blind beginning of all these
conflagrations; and which, in its meaning to the somnambulant Nation,
is so immense. No notice taken of it; huddled together, some hasty
shovelful or two of diplomatic ashes cast on it, 'As good as extinct,
you see!' Left smoking, when all the rest is quenched. Considerable
feeling there was, on this point, in the heart of the poor somnambulant
English Nation; much dumb or semi-articulate growling on such a
Peace-Treaty: 'We have arrived nowhere, then, by all this fighting, and
squandering, and perilous stumbling among the chimney-pots? Spain (on
its own showing) owed us 95,000 pounds. Spain's debt to Hanover; yes,
you take care of that; some old sixpenny matter, which nobody ever heard
of before: and of Spain's huge debt to England you drop no hint; of
the 95,000 pounds, clear money, due by Spain; or of one's liberty to
navigate the High Seas, none!' [PROTEST OF ENGLISH MERCHANTS AGAINST,
&c. ("May, 1748") given in ADELUNG, vi. 353-358.] A Peace the reverse of
applauded in England; though the wiser Somnambulants, much more Pitt
and Friends, who are broad awake on these German points, may well be
thankful to see such a War end on any terms."--Well, surely this old
admitted 95,000 pounds should have been paid! And, to a moral certainty,
Robinson and Sandwich must have made demand of it from the Spaniard. But
there is no getting old Debts in, especially from that quarter. "King
Friedrich [let me interrupt, for a moment, with this poor composite
Note] is trying in Spain even now,--ever since 1746, when Termagant's
Husband died, and a new King came,--for payment of old debt: Two old
Debts; quite tolerably just both of them. King Friedrich keeps trying
till 1749, three years in all: and, in the end, gets nothing whatever.
Nothing,--except some Merino Rams in the interim," gift from the new
King of Spain, I can suppose, which proved extremely useful in our Wool
Industries; "and, from the same polite Ferdinand VI., a Porcelain Vase
filled with Spanish Snuff." That was all!--

King Friedrich, let me note farther, is getting decidedly deep into
snuff; holds by SPANIOL (a dry yellow pungency, analogous to Lundy-foot
or Irish-Blackguard, known to snuffy readers); always by Spaniol, we
say; and more especially "the kind used by her Majesty of Spain," the
now Dowager Termagant: [Orders this kind, from his Ambassador in Paris,
"30th September, 1743:" the earliest extant trace of his snuffing habits
(Preuss, i. 409).--NOTE FARTHER (if interesting): "The Termagant still
lasted as Dowager, consuming SPANIOL at least, for near twenty years
(died 11th July, 1766);--the new King, Ferdinand VI., was her STEPson,
not her son; he went mad, poor soul, and died (10th August, 1759): upon
which, Carlos of Naples, our own 'Baby Carlos' that once was, succeeded
in Spain, 'King Carlos III. of Spain;' leaving his Son, a young boy
under tutelage, as King of the Two Sicilies (King 'Ferdinand IV.,' who
did not die, but had his difficulties, till 1825). Don Philip, who had
fought so in those Savoy Passes, and got the bit of Parmesan Country,
died 1765, the year before Mamma."] which, also, is to be remembered.
Dryasdust adds, in his sweetly consecutive way: "Friedrich was very
expensive about his snuff-boxes; wore two big rich boxes in his pockets;
five or six stood on tables about; and more than a hundred in store,
coming out by turns for variety. The cheapest of them cost 300 pounds
(2,000 thalers); he had them as high as 1,500 pounds. At his death,
there were found 130 of various values: they were the substance of all
the jewelry he had; besides these snuff-boxes, two gold watches only,
and a very small modicum of rings. Had yearly for personal Expenditure
1,200,000 thalers [180,000 pounds of Civil List, as we should say];
SPENT 33,000 pounds of it, and yearly gave the rest away in Royal
beneficences, aid of burnt Villages, inundated Provinces, and
multifarious PATER-PATRIAE objects." [Preuss, i. 409, 410,]--In regard
to JENKINS'S EAR, my Constitutional Friend continues:--

"SILESIA and JENKINS'S EAR, we often say, were the two bits of realities
in this enormous hurly-burly of imaginations, insane ambitions, and
zeros and negative quantities. Negative Belleisle goes home, not with
Germany cut in Four and put under guidance of the First Nation of the
Universe (so extremely fit for guiding self and neighbors), but with
the First Nation itself reduced almost to wallet and staff; bankrupt,
beggared--'Yes,' it answers, 'in all but glory! Have not we gained
Fontenoy, Roucoux, Lauffeld; and strong-places innumerable [mostly in a
state of dry-rot]? Did men ever fight as we Frenchmen; combining it
with theatrical entertainments, too! Sublime France, First Nation of the
Universe, will try another flight (ESSOR), were she breathed a little!'

"Yes, a new ESSOR ere long, and perhaps surprise herself and mankind!
The losses of men, money and resource, under this mad empty Enterprise
of Belleisle's, were enormous, palpable to France and all mortals: but
perhaps these were trifling to the replacement of them by such GLOIRE
as there had been. A GLOIRE of plunging into War on no cause at all; and
with an issue consisting only of foul gases of extreme levity. Messieurs
are of confessed promptitude to fight; and their talent for it, in some
kinds, is very great indeed. But this treating of battle and slaughter,
of death, judgment and eternity, as light play-house matters; this of
rising into such transcendency of valor, as to snap your fingers in the
face of the Almighty Maker; this, Messieurs, give me leave to say so, is
a thing that will conduct you and your PREMIERE NATION to the Devil, if
you do not alter it. Inevitable, I tell you! Your road lies that way,
then? Good morning, Messieurs; let me still hope, Not!"

Diplomatist Kaunitz gained his first glories in this Congress of Aix;
which are still great in the eyes of some. Age now thirty-seven; a
native of these Western parts; but henceforth, by degrees ever more, the
shining star and guide of Austrian Policies down almost to our own New
Epoch. As, unluckily, he will concern us not a little, in time coming,
let us read this Note, as foreshadow of the man and his doings:--

"The glory of Count, ultimately Prince, von Kaunitz-Rietberg, is
great in Diplomatic Circles of the past Century. 'The greatest of
Diplomatists,' they all say;--and surely it is reckoned something to
become the greatest in your line. Farther than this, to the readers of
these times, Kaunitz-Rietberg's glory does not go. A great character,
great wisdom, lasting great results to his Country, readers do not trace
in Kaunitz's diplomacies,--only temporary great results, or what he and
the by-standers thought such, to Kaunitz himself. He was the Supreme
Jove, we perceive, in that extinct Olympus; and regards with sublime
pity, not unallied to contempt, all other diplomatic beings. A man
sparing of words, sparing even of looks; will hardly lift his eyelids
for your sake,--will lift perhaps his chin, in slight monosyllabic
fashion, and stalk superlatively through the other door. King of the
vanished Shadows. A determined hater of Fresh Air; rode under glass
cover, on the finest day; made the very Empress shut her windows when
he came to audience; fed, cautiously daring, on boiled capons: more I
remember not,--except also that he would suffer no mention of the word
Death by any mortal. [Hormayr,--OEsterreichischer Plutarch,--iv.
(3tes), 231-283.] A most high-sniffing, fantastic, slightly insolent
shadow-king;--ruled, in his time, the now vanished Olympus; and had the
difficult glory (defective only in result) of uniting France and Austria
AGAINST the poor old Sea-Power milk-cows, for the purpose of recovering
Silesia from Friedrich, a few years hence!"--These are wondrous results;
hidden under the horizon, not very far either; and will astonish
Britannic Majesty and all readers, in a few years.



MARECHAL DE SAXE PAYS FRIEDRICH A VISIT.

In Summer, 1749, Marechal de Saxe, the other shiny figure of this mad
Business of the Netherlands, paid Friedrich a visit; had the honor to
be entertained by him three days (July 13th-16th, 1749), in his Royal
Cottage of Sans-Souci seemingly, in his choicest manner. Curiosity,
which is now nothing like so vivid as it then was, would be glad to
listen a little, in this meeting of two Suns, or of one Sun and one
immense Tar-Barrel, or Atmospheric Meteor really of shining nature,
and taken for a Sun. But the Books are silent; not the least detail, or
hint, or feature granted us. Only Fancy;--and this of Smelfungus, by way
of long farewell to one of the parties:--

... "It was at Tongres, or in head-quarters near it, 10th October,
1746,--Battle expected on the morrow [Battle of ROUCOUX, over towards
Herstal, which we used to know],-that M. Favart, Saxe's Playwright and
Theatre-Director, gave out in cheerful doggerel on fall of the Curtain,
the announcement:--

          --'Demain nous donnerons relache,
          Quoique le Directeur s'en fache,
          Vous voir combleroit nos desirs:--

         'To-morrow is no Play,
          To the Manager's regret,
          Whose sole study is to keep you happy:
          --On doit ceder tout a la gloire;
          Vous ne songes qu'a la victoire,
          Nous ne songeons qu'a vos plaisires'--

          [--Biographic Universelle,--xiv. 209,? Favart;
          Espagnac, ii. 162.]

          But, you being bent upon victory,
          What can he do?--
          Day after to-morrow,'--

'Day after to-morrow,' added he, taking the official tone, (in honor of
your laurels) [gained already, since you resolve on gaining them], we
will have the honor of presenting'--such and such a gay Farce, to as
many of you as remain alive! which was received with gay clapping of
hands: admirable to the Universe, at least to the Parisian UNIVERS and
oneself. Such a prodigality of light daring is in these French
gentlemen, skilfully tickled by the Marechal; who uses this Playwright,
among other implements, for keeping them at the proper pitch. Was there
ever seen such radiancy of valor? Very radiant indeed;--yet, it seems to
me, gone somewhat into the phosphorescent kind; shining in the dark, as
fish will do when rotten! War has actually its serious character; nor is
Death a farcical transaction, however high your genius may go. But what
then? it is the Marechal's trade to keep these poor people at the
cutting pitch, on any terms that will hold for the moment.

"I know not which was the most dissolute Army ever seen in the world;
but this of Saxe's was very dissolute. Playwright Favart had withal
a beautiful clever Wife,--upon whom the courtships, munificent
blandishments, threatenings and utmost endeavors of Marechal de Saxe
(in his character of goat-footed Satyr) could not produce the least
impression. For a whole year, not the least. Whereupon the Goat-footed
had to get LETTRE DE CACHET for her; had to--in fact, produce the
brutalest Adventure that is known of him, even in this brutal kind. Poor
Favart, rushing about in despair, not permitted to run him through the
belly, and die with his Wife undishonored, had to console himself, he
and she; and do agreeable theatricalities for a living as heretofore.
Let us not speak of it!

"Of Saxe's Generalship, which is now a thing fallen pretty much into
oblivion, I have no authority to speak. He had much wild natural
ingenuity in him; cunning rapid whirls of contrivance; and gained Three
Battles and very many Sieges, amid the loudest clapping of hands that
could well be. He had perfect intrepidity; not to be flurried by any
amount of peril or confusion; looked on that English Column, advancing
at Fontenoy with its FUE INFERNAL, steadily through his perspective;
chewing his leaden bullet: 'Going to beat me, then? Well--!' Nobody
needed to be braver. He had great good-nature too, though of hot temper
and so full of multifarious veracities; a substratum of inarticulate
good sense withal, and much magnanimity run wild, or run to seed. A
big-limbed, swashing, perpendicular kind of fellow; haughty of face,
but jolly too; with a big, not ugly strut;--captivating to the French
Nation, and fit God of War (fitter than 'Dalhousie,' I am sure!) for
that susceptive People. Understood their Army also, what it was then
and there; and how, by theatricals and otherwise, to get a great deal of
fire out of it. Great deal of fire;--whether by gradual conflagration
or not, on the road to ruin or not; how, he did not care. In respect of
military 'fame' so called, he had the great advantage of fighting always
against bad Generals, sometimes against the very worst. To his fame an
advantage; to himself and his real worth, far the reverse. Had he fallen
in with a Friedrich, even with a Browne or a Traun, there might have
been different news got. Friedrich (who was never stingy in such
matters, except to his own Generals, where it might do hurt) is profuse
in his eulogies, in his admirations of Saxe; amiable to see, and not
insincere; but which, perhaps, practically do not mean very much.

"It is certain the French Army reaped no profit from its experience
of Marechal de Saxe, and the high theatricalities, ornamental
blackguardisms, and ridicule of death and life. In the long-run a graver
face would have been of better augury. King Friedrich's soldiers, one
observes, on the eve of battle, settle their bits of worldly business;
and wind up, many of them, with a hoarse whisper of prayer. Oliver
Cromwell's soldiers did so, Gustaf Adolf's; in fact, I think all
good soldiers: Roucoux with a Prince Karl, Lauffeld with a Duke of
Cumberland; you gain your Roucoux, your Lauffeld, Human Stupidity
permitting: but one day you fall in with Human Intelligence, in an
extremely grave form;--and your 'ELAN,' elastic outburst, the quickest
in Nature, what becomes of it? Wait but another decade; we shall
see what an Army this has grown. Cupidity, dishonesty, floundering
stupidity, indiscipline, mistrust; and an elastic outspurt (ELAN) turned
often enough into the form of SAUVE-QUI-PEUT!

"M. le Marechal survived Aix-la-Chapelle little more than two years.
Lived at Chambord, on the Loire, an Ex-Royal Palace; in such splendor as
never was. Went down in a rose-pink cloud, as if of perfect felicity; of
glory that would last forever,--which it has by no means done. He made
despatch; escaped, in this world, the Nemesis, which often waits on what
they call 'fame.' By diligent service of the Devil, in ways not worth
specifying, he saw himself, November 21st, 1750, flung prostrate
suddenly: 'Putrid fever!' gloom the doctors ominously to one another:
and, November 30th, the Devil (I am afraid it was he, though clad in
roseate effulgence, and melodious exceedingly) carried him home on those
kind terms, as from a Universe all of Opera. 'Wait till 1759,--till
1789!' murmured the Devil to himself."



TRAGIC NEWS, THAT CONCERN US, OF VOLTAIRE AND OTHERS.

About two months after those Saxe-Friedrich hospitalities at Sans-Souci,
Voltaire, writing, late at night, from the hospitable Palace of Titular
Stanislaus, has these words, to his trusted D'Argental:--

LUNEVILLE, 4th SEPTEMBER, 1749.... "Madame du Chatelet, this night,
while scribbling over her NEWTON, felt a little twinge; she called
a waiting-maid, who had only time to hold out her apron, and catch a
little Girl, whom they carried to its cradle. The Mother arranged her
papers, went to bed; and the whole of that (TOUT CELA) is sleeping like
a dormouse, at the hour I write to you." My guardian angels, "poor I
sha'n't have so easy a delivery of my CATILINA" (my ROME SAVED, for
the confusion of old Crebillon and the cabals)! [--OEuvres,--lxxiv. 57
(Voltaire to D'Argental).]...

And then, six days later, hear another Witness present there:--

LUNEVILLE PALACE, 10th SEPTEMBER. "For the first three or four days,
the health of the Mother appeared excellent; denoting nothing but the
weakness inseparable from her situation. The weather was very warm.
Milk-fever came, which made the heat worse. In spite of remonstrances,
she would have some iced barley-water; drank a big glass of it;--and,
some instants after, had great pain in her head; followed by other bad
symptoms." Which brought the Doctor in again, several Doctors, hastily
summoned; who, after difficulties, thought again that all was coming
right. And so, on the sixth night, 10th September, inquiring friends had
left the sick-room hopefully, and gone down to supper, "the rather as
Madame seemed inclined to sleep. There remained none with her but M. de
St. Lambert, one of her maids and I. M. de St. Lambert, as soon as the
strangers were gone, went forward and spoke some moments to her; but
seeing her sleepy, drew back, and sat chatting with us two. Eight or ten
minutes after, we heard a kind of rattle in the throat, intermixed with
hiccoughs: we ran to the bed; found her, senseless; raised her to a
sitting posture, tried vinaigrettes, rubbed her feet, knocked into the
palms of her hands;--all in vain; she was dead!

"Of course the supper-party burst up into her room; M. le Marquis de
Chatelet, M. de Voltaire, and the others. Profound consternation: to
tears, to cries succeeded a mournful silence. Voltaire and St. Lambert
remained the last about her bed. At length Voltaire quitted the room;
got out by the Grand Entrance, hardly knowing which way he went. At the
foot of the Outer Stairs, near a sentry's box, he fell full length on
the pavement. His lackey, who was a step or two behind, rushed forward
to raise him. At that moment came M. de St. Lambert; who had taken the
same road, and who now hastened to help. M. de Voltaire, once on his
feet again, and recognizing who it was, said, through his tears and with
the most pathetic accent, 'AH, MON AMI, it is you that have killed
her to me!'--and then suddenly, as if starting awake, with the tone of
reproach and despair, 'EH, MON DIEU, MONSIEUR, DE QUOI VOUS AVISIEZ-VOUS
DE LUI FAIRE UN ENFANT (Good God, Sir, what put it into your head
to--to--)!'" [Longchamp et Wagniere,--Memoires sur Voltaire,--ii. 250,
251;--Longchamp LOQUITUR.]

Poor M. de Voltaire; suddenly become widower, and flung out upon his
shifts again, at his time of life! May now wander, Ishmael-like, whither
he will, in this hard lonesome world. His grief is overwhelming, mixed
with other sharp feelings clue on the matter; but does not last very
long, in that poignant form. He will turn up on us, in his new capacity
of single-man, again brilliant enough, within year and day.

Last Autumn, September, 1748, Wilhelmina's one Daughter, one child, was
wedded; to that young Durchlaucht of Wurtemberg, whom we saw gallanting
the little girl, to Wilhelmina's amusement, some years ago. About the
wedding, nothing; nor about the wedded life, what would have been more
curious:--no Wilhelmina now to tell us anything; not even whether Mamma
the Improper Duchess was there. From Berlin, the Two youngest Princes,
Henri and Ferdinand, attended at Baireuth;--Mannstein, our old Russian
friend, now Prussian again, escorting them. [Seyfarth, ii. 76.] The
King, too busy, I suppose, with Silesian Reviews and the like, sends
his best wishes,--for indeed the Match was of his sanctioning and
advising;--though his wishes proved mere disappointment in the sequel.
Friedrich got no "furtherance in the Swabian-Franconian Circles,"
or favor anywhere, by means of this Durchlaucht; in the end, far
the reverse!--In a word, the happy couple rolled away to Wurtemberg
(September 26th, 1748); he twenty, she sixteen, poor young creatures;
and in years following became unhappy to a degree.

There was but one child, and it soon died. The young Serene Lady was
of airy high spirit; graceful, clever, good too, they said; perhaps a
thought too proud:--but as for her Reigning Duke, there was seldom seen
so lurid a Serenity; and it was difficult to live beside him. A most
arbitrary Herr, with glooms and whims; dim-eyed, ambitious, voracious,
and the temper of an angry mule,--very fit to have been haltered, in a
judicious manner, instead of being set to halter others! Enough, in
six or seven years time, the bright Pair found itself grown thunderous,
opaque beyond description; and (in 1759) had to split asunder for good.
"Owing to the reigning Duke's behavior," said everybody. "Has behaved
so, I would run him through the body, if we met!" said his own Brother
once:--Brother Friedrich Eugen, a Prussian General by that time, whom we
shall hear of. [Preuss, iv. 149; Michaelis, iii. 451.] What thoughts
for our dear Wilhelmina, in her latter weak years;--lapped in eternal
silence, as so much else is.



Chapter IV. COCCEJI FINISHES THE LAW-REFORM; FRIEDRICH IS PRINTING HIS
POESIES.

In these years, Friedrich goes on victoriously with his Law-Reform;
Herculean Cocceji with Assistants, backed by Friedrich, beneficently
conquering Province after Province to him;--Kur-Mark, Neu-Mark,
Cleve (all easy, in comparison, after Pommern), and finally Preussen
itself;--to the joy and profit of the same. Cocceji's method, so far
as the Foreign on-looker can discern across much haze, seems to be
three-fold:--

1. Extirpation (painless, were it possible) of the Petti-fogger Species;
indeed, of the Attorney Species altogether: "Seek other employments;
disappear, all of you, from these precincts, under penalty!" The
Advocate himself takes charge of the suit, from first birth of it; and
sees it ended,--he knows within what limit of time.

2. Sifting out of all incompetent Advocates, "Follow that
Attorney-Company, you; away!"--sifting out all these, and retaining in
each Court, with fees accurately settled, with character stamped sound,
or at least SOUNDEST, the number actually needed. In a milder way, but
still more strictly, Judges stupid or otherwise incompetent are riddled
out; able Judges appointed, and their salaries raised.

3. What seems to be Friedrich's own invention, what in outcome he thinks
will be the summary of all good Law-Procedure: A final Sentence (three
"instances" you can have, but the third ends it for you) within the
Year. Good, surely. A justice that intends to be exact must front the
complicacies in a resolute piercing manner, and will not be tedious. Nay
a justice that is not moderately swift,--human hearts waiting for it,
the while, in a cancerous state, instead of hopefully following their
work,--what, comparatively, is the use of its being never so exact!--

Simple enough methods; rough and ready. Needing, in the execution, clear
human eyesight, clear human honesty,--which happen to be present here,
and without which no "method" whatever can be executed that will really
profit.

In the course of 1748, Friedrich, judging by Pommern and the other
symptoms that his enterprise was safe, struck a victorious Medal upon
it: "FRIDERICUS BORUSSORUM REX," pressing with his sceptre the oblique
Balance to a level posture; with Epigraph, "EMENDATO JURE." [Letter
to Cocceji, accompanying Copy of the Medal in Gold, "24th June, 1748"
(Seyfarth, ii. 67 n.).] And by New-year's day, 1750, the matter was in
effect completed; and "justice cheap, expeditious, certain," a fact in
all Prussian Lands.

Nay, in 1749-1751, to complete the matter, Cocceji's "Project of a
general Law-Code," PROJEKT DES CORPORIS JURIS FRIDERICIANI, came forth
in print: [Halle, 2 vols. folio (Preuss, i. 316; see IB. 315 n., as to
the LAW-PROCEDURE, $c. now settled by Cocceji).] to the admiration of
mankind, at home and abroad; "the First Code attempted since Justinian's
time," say they. PROJECT translated into all languages, and read in all
countries. A poor mildewed copy of this CODEX FRIDERICIANUS--done at
Edinburgh, 1761, not said by whom; evidently bought at least TWICE, and
mostly never yet read (nor like being read)--is known to me, for years
past, in a ghastly manner! Without the least profit to this present, or
to any other Enterprise;--though persons of name in Jurisprudence call
it meritorious in their Science; the first real attempt at a Code in
Modern times. But the truth is, this Cocceji CODEX remained a PROJECT
merely, never enacted anywhere. It was not till 1773, that Friedrich
made actual attempt to build a Law-Code and did build one (the
foundation-story of one, for his share, completed since), in which this
of Cocceji had little part. In 1773, the thing must again be mentioned;
the "Second Law-Reform," as they call it. What we practically know from
this time is, That Prussian Lawsuits, through Friedrich's Reign, do all
terminate, or push at their utmost for terminating, within one year from
birth; and that Friedrich's fame, as a beneficent Justinian, rose
high in all Countries (strange, in Countries that had thought him
a War-scourge and Conquering Hero); strange, but undeniable;
[See--Gentleman's Magazine,--xx. 215-218 ("May, 1750"): eloquent,
enthusiastic LETTER, given there, "of Baron de Spon to Chancellor
D'Aguessan," on these inimitable Law Achievements.] and that his own
People, if more silently, yet in practice very gladly indeed, welcomed
his Law-Reform; and, from day to day, enjoyed the same,--no doubt with
occasional remembrance who the Donor was.

Of Friedrich's Literary works, nobody, not even Friedrich himself, will
think it necessary that we say much. But the fact is, he is doing a
great many things that way: in Prose, the MEMOIRS OF BRANDENBURG, coming
out as Papers in the Academy from time to time; [From 1746 and onward:
first published complete (after slight revision by Voltaire), Berlin,
1751.] in Verse, very secret as yet, the PALLADION ("exquisite
Burlesque," think some), the ART OF WAR (reckoned truly his best Piece
in verse):--and wishes sometimes he had Voltaire here to perfect him
a little. This too would be one of the practical charms of Voltaire.
[Friedrich's Letter to Algarotti (--OEuvres,--xviii. 66), "12th
September, 1749."] For though King Friedrich knows and remembers always,
that these things, especially the Verse part, are mere amusements in
comparison, he has the creditable wish to do these well; one would
not fantasy ILL even on the Flute, if one could help it. "Why does n't
Voltaire come; as Quantz of the Flute has done?" Friedrich, now that
Voltaire has fallen widower, renews his pressings, "Why don't you come?"
Patience, your Majesty; Voltaire will come.

Nobody can wish details in this Department: but there is one thing
necessary to be mentioned, That Friedrich in these years, 1749-1752,
has Printers out at Potsdam, and is Printing, "in beautiful quarto
form, with copperplates," to the extent of twelve copies, the OEUVRES
(Poetical, that is) DU PHILOSOPHE DE SANS-SOUCI. Only twelve copies,
I have heard; gift of a single copy indicating that you are among the
choicest of the chosen. Copies have now fallen extremely rare (and are
not in request at all, with my readers or me); but there was one Copy
which, or the Mis-title of which, as OEUVRE DE "POESHIE" DU ROI MON
MAITRE, became miraculously famous in a year or two;--and is still
memorable to us all! On Voltaire's arrival, we shall hear more of these
things. Enough to say at present that the OEUVRES DU PHILOSOPHE DE
SANS-SOUCI: AU DONJON DU CHATEAU: AVEC PRIVILEGE D'APOLLON,--"three
thinnish quarto volumes, all the Poetry then on hand,"--was finished
early in 1750, before Voltaire came. That, when Voltaire came, a revisal
was undertaken, a new Edition, with Voltaire's corrections and other
changes (total suppression of the PALLADION, for one creditable
change): that this Edition was to have been in Two Volumes; that One,
accordingly, rather thicker than the former sort, was got finished in
1752 (same TITLE, only the new Date, and "no DONJON DU CHATEAU this
time"), One Volume in 1752; after which, owing to the explosions that
ensued, no Second came, nor ever will;--and that the actual contents of
that far-famed OEUVRE DE "POESHIE" (number of volumes even) are points
of mystery to me, at this day. [Herr Preuss--in the CHRONOLOGICAL LIST
of Friedrich's Writings (a useful accurate Piece otherwise), and in two
other places where he tries--is very indistinct on this of DONJON DU
CHATEAU; and it is all but impossible to ascertain from him WHAT, in an
indisputable manner, the OEUVRE DE "POESHIE" may have been. Here are
the places for groping, if another should be induced to try:--OEuvres
de Frederic,--x. (Preface, p. ix); IB. xi. (Preface, p. ix); IB.--Table
Chhronologique--(in what Volume this is, you cannot yet say; seems
preliminary to a GENERAL INDEX, which is infinitely wanted, but has not
yet appeared to this Editor's aid), p. 14.]

Friedrich's other employments are multifarious as those of a Land's
Husband (not inferior to his Father in that respect); and, like the
benefits of the diurnal Sun, are to be considered incessant, innumerable
and, in result to us-ward, SILENT also, impossible to speak of in this
place. From the highest pitch of State-craft (Russian Czarina now fallen
plainly hostile, and needing lynx-eyed diplomacy ever and anon), down
to that of Dredging and Fascine-work (as at Stettin and elsewhere), of
Oder-canals, of Soap-boiler Companies, and Mulberry-and-Silk Companies;
nay of ordaining Where, and where not, the Crows are to be shot, and
(owing to cattle-murrain) No VEAL to be killed: [Seyfarth, ii. 71, 83,
81; Preuss,--Buch fur Jedermann,--i. 101-109; &c.] daily comes the tide
of great and of small, and daily the punctual Friedrich keeps abreast
of it,--and Dryasdust has noted the details, and stuffed them into blind
sacks,--for forty years.

The Review seasons, I notice, go somewhat as follows. For Berlin and
neighborhood, May, or perhaps end of April (weather now bright, and
ground firm); sometimes with considerable pomp ("both Queens out," and
beautiful Female Nobilities, in "twenty-four green tents"), and often
with great complicacy of manoeuvre. In June, to Magdeburg, round by
Cleve; and home again for some days. July is Pommern: Onward thence to
Schlesien, oftenest in August; Schlesien the last place, and generally
not done with till well on in September. But we will speak of these
things, more specially, another time. Such "Reviews," for strictness of
inspection civil and military, as probably were not seen in the world
since,--or before, except in the case of this King's Father only.



Chapter V. STRANGERS OF NOTE COME TO BERLIN, IN 1750.

British Diplomacies, next to the Russian, cause some difficulties
in those years: of which more by and by. Early in 1748, while
Aix-la-Chapelle was starting, Ex-Exchequer Legge came to Berlin; on some
obscure object of a small Patch of Principality, hanging loose during
those Negotiations: "Could not we secure it for his Royal Highness
of Cumberland, thinks your Majesty?" Ex-Exchequer Legge was here;
[Coxe's--Pelham,--i. 431, &c.; Rodenbeck, pp. 155, 160 (first audience
1st May, 1748);--recalled 22d November, Aix being over.] got handsome
assurances of a general nature; but no furtherance towards his obscure,
completely impracticable object; and went home in November following, to
a new Parliamentary Career.

And the second year after, early in 1750, came Sir Hanbury Williams,
famed London Wit of Walpole's circle, on objects which, in the main,
were equally chimerical: "King of the Romans, much wanted;" "No Damage
to your Majesty's Shipping from our British Privateers;" and the
like;--about which some notice, and not very much, will be due
farther on. Here, in his own words, is Hanbury's Account of his First
Audience:--

... "On Thursday," 16th July, 1750, "I went to Court by appointment, at
11 A.M. The King of Prussia arrived about 12 [at Berlin; King in from
Potsdam, for one day]; and Count Podewils immediately introduced me into
the Royal closet; when I delivered his Britannic Majesty's Letters into
the King of Prussia's hands, and made the usual compliments to him in
the best manner I was able. To which his Prussian Majesty replied, to
the best of my remembrance, as follows:--"'I have the truest esteem
for the King of Britain's person; and I set the highest value on his
friendship. I have at different times received essential proofs of it;
and I desire you would acquaint the King your Master that I will (SIC)
never forget them.' His Prussian Majesty afterwards said something with
respect to myself, and then asked me several questions about indifferent
things and persons. He seemed to express a great deal of esteem for
my Lord Chesterfield, and a great deal of kindness for Mr. Villiers,"
useful in the Peace-of-Dresden time; "but did not once mention Lord
Hyndford or Mr. Legge,"--how singular!

"I was in the closet with his Majesty exactly five minutes and a half.
My audience done, Prussian Majesty came out into the general room, where
Foreign Ministers were waiting. He said, on stepping in, just one word"
to the Austrian Excellency; not even one to the Russian Excellency,
nor to me the Britannic; "conversed with the French, Swedish,
Danish;"--happy to be off, which I do not wonder at; to dine with Mamma
at Monbijou, among faces pleasant to him; and return to his Businesses
and Books next day. [Walpole,--George the Second,--i. 449; Rodenbeck, i.
204.]

Witty Excellency Hanbury did not succeed at Berlin on the "Romish-King
Question," or otherwise; and indeed went off rather in a hurry. But for
the next six or seven years he puddles about, at a great rate, in those
Northern Courts; giving away a great deal of money, hatching many futile
expensive intrigues at Petersburg, Warsaw (not much at Berlin, after the
first trial there); and will not be altogether avoidable to us in time
coming, as one could have wished. Besides, he is Horace Walpole's friend
and select London Wit: he contributed a good deal to the English notions
about Friedrich; and has left considerable bits of acrid testimony on
Friedrich, "clear words of an Eye-witness," men call them,--which are
still read by everybody; the said Walpole, and others, having since
printed them, in very dark condition. [In Walpole,--George the
Second--(i. 448-461), the Pieces which regard Friedrich. In--Sir Charles
Hanbury Williams's Works--(edited by a diligent, reverential, but
ignorant gentleman, whom I could guess to be Bookseller Jeffery
in person: London, 1822, 3 vols. small 8vo) are witty Verses, and
considerable sections of Prose, relating to other persons and objects
now rather of an obsolete nature.] Brevity is much due to Hanbury and
his testimonies, since silence in the circumstances is not allowable.
Here is one Excerpt, with the necessary light for reading it:--

... It is on this Romish-King and other the like chimerical errands,
that witty Hanbury, then a much more admirable man than we now find him,
is prowling about in the German Courts, off and on, for some ten
years in all, six of them still to come. A sharp-eyed man, of shrewish
quality; given to intriguing, to spying, to bribing; anxious to win his
Diplomatic game by every method, though the stake (as here) is oftenest
zero: with fatal proclivity to Scandal, and what in London circles he
has heard called Wit. Little or nothing of real laughter in the soul
of him, at any time; only a labored continual grin, always of malicious
nature, and much trouble and jerking about, to keep that up. Had
evidently some modicum of real intellect, of capacity for being wise;
but now has fatally devoted it nearly all to being witty, on those
poor terms! A perverse, barren, spiteful little wretch; the grin of him
generally an affliction, at this date. His Diplomatic Correspondence I
do not know. [Nothing of him is discoverable in the State-Paper
Office. Many of his Papers, it would seem, are in the Earl of Essex's
hands;--and might be of some Historical use, not of very much, could the
British Museum get possession of them. Abundance of BACKSTAIRS
History, on those Northern Courts, especially on Petersburg, and
Warsaw-Dresden,--authentic Court-gossip, generally malicious, often
not true, but never mendacious on the part of Williams,--is one likely
item.] He did a great deal of Diplomatic business, issuing in zero, of
which I have sometimes longed to know the exact dates; seldom anything
farther. His "History of Poland," transmitted to the Right Hon.
Henry Fox, by instalments from Dresden, in 1748, is [See--Hanbury's
Works,--vol. iii.]--Well, I should be obliged to call it worthier of
Goody Two-Shoes than of that Right Hon. Henry, who was a man of parts,
but evidently quite a vacuum on the Polish side!

Of Hanbury's News-Letters from Foreign Courts, four or five,
incidentally printed, are like the contents of a slop-pail;
uncomfortable to the delicate mind. Not lies on the part of Hanbury,
but foolish scandal poured into him; a man more filled with credulous
incredible scandal, evil rumors, of malfeasances by kings and magnates,
than most people known. His rumored mysteries between poor Polish
Majesty and pretty Daughter-in-law (the latter a clever and graceful
creature, Daughter of the late unfortunate Kaiser, and a distinguished
Correspondent of Friedrich's) are to be regarded as mere poisoned wind.
[See--Hanbury's Works,--ii. 209-240.] That "Polish Majesty gets into his
dressing-gown at two in the afternoon" (inaccessible thenceforth, poor
lazy creature), one most readily believes; but there, or pretty much
there, one's belief has to stop. The stories, in WALPOLE, on the King of
Prussia, have a grain of fact in them, twisted into huge irrecognizable
caricature in the Williams optic-machinery. Much else one can discern
to be, in essence, false altogether. Friedrich, who could not stand that
intriguing, spying, shrewish, unfriendly kind of fellow at his Court,
applied to England in not many months hence, and got Williams sent away:
["22d January, 1751" (MS. LIST in State-Paper Office).] on to Russia, or
I forget whither;--which did not mend the Hanbury optical-machinery on
that side. The dull, tobacco-smoking Saxon-Polish Majesty, about whom he
idly retails so many scandals, had never done him any offence.

On the whole, if anybody wanted a swim in the slop-pails of that extinct
generation, Hanbury, could he find an Editor to make him legible, might
be printed. For he really was deep in that slop-pail or extinct-scandal
department, and had heard a great many things. Apart from that, in
almost any other department,--except in so far as he seems to DATE
rather carefully,--I could not recommend him. The Letters and Excerpts
given in Walpole are definable as one pennyworth of bread,--much ruined
by such immersion, but very harmless otherwise, could you pick it
out and clean it,--to twenty gallons of Hanbury sherris-sack, or
chamber-slop. I have found nothing that seems to be, in all points,
true or probable, but this; worth cutting out, and rendering legible, on
other accounts. Hanbury LOQUITUR (in condensed form):

"In the summer of last year, 1749, there was, somewhere in Mahren, a
great Austrian Muster or Review;" all the more interesting, as it was
believed, or known, that the Prussian methods and manoeuvres were now to
be the rule for Austria. Not much of a Review otherwise, this of 1749;
Empress-Queen and Husband not personally there, as in coming Years they
are wont to be; that high Lady being ardent to reform her Army, root and
branch, according to the Prussian model,--more praise to her. [--Maria
Theresiens Leben,--p. 160 (what she did that way, ANNO 1749); p. 162
(PRESENT at the Reviews, ANNO 1750).] "At this Muster in Mahren, Three
Prussian Officers happened to make their appearance,--for several
imaginable reasons, of little significance: 'For the purpose of
inveigling people to desert, and enlist with them!' said the Austrian
Authorities; and ordered the Three Prussian Officers unceremoniously off
the ground. Which Friedrich, when he heard of it, thought an unhandsome
pipe-clay procedure, and kept in mind against the Austrian Authorities.

"Next Summer," next Spring, 1750, "an Austrian Captain being in
Mecklenburg, travelling about, met there an old acquaintance, one
Chapeau [HAT! can it be possible?], who is in great favor with the King
of Prussia:"--very well, Excellency Hanbury; but who, in the name of
wonder, can this HAT, or Chapeau, have been? After study, one perceives
that Hanbury wrote Chazeau, meaning CHASOT, an old acquaintance of our
own! Brilliant, sabring, melodying Chasot, Lieutenant-Colonel of the
Baireuth Dragoons; who lies at Treptow, close on Mecklenburg, and is
a declared favorite of the Duchess, often running over to the RESIDENZ
there. Often enough; but HONI SOIT, O reader; the clever Lady is towards
sixty, childless, musical; and her Husband--do readers recollect him at
all?--is that collapsed TAILORING Duke whom Friedrich once visited,--and
whose Niece, Half-Niece, is Charlotte, wise little hard-favored creature
now of six, in clean bib and tucker, Ancestress of England that is to
be; whose Papa will succeed, if the Serene Tailor die first,--which he
did not quite. To this Duchess, musical gallant Chasot may well be a
resource, and she to him. Naturally the Austrian Captain, having come
to Mecklenburg, dined with Serene Highness, he and Chasot together, with
concert following, and what not, at the Schloss of Neu-Strelitz:--And
now we will drop the 'Chapeau,' and say Chasot, with comfort, and a
shade of new interest.

"'The grand May Review at Berlin just ahead, won't you look in; it is
straight on your road home?' suggests Chasot to his travelling friend.
'One would like it, of all things,' answered the other: 'but the King?'
'Tush,' said Chasot; 'I will make that all straight!' And applies to
the King accordingly: 'Permission to an Austrian Officer, a good
acquaintance of mine.' 'Austrian Officer?' Friedrich's eyes lighten; and
he readily gives the permission. This was at Berlin, on the very eve
of the Review; and Chasot and his Austrian are made happy in that small
matter. And on the morrow [end of May, 1750], the Austrian attends
accordingly; but, to his astonishment, has hardly begun to taste the
manoeuvres, when--one of Friedrich's Aides-de-Camp gallops up: 'By the
King's command, Mein Herr, you retire on the instant!'

"Next day, the Austrian is for challenging Chasot. 'As you like, that
way,' answers Chasot; 'but learn first, that on your affront I rode
up to the King; and asked, publicly, Did not your Majesty grant me
permission? Unquestionably, Monsieur Chasot;--and if he had not come,
how could I have paid back the Moravian business of last year!'"
[Walpole,--George the Second,--i. 457, 459.]--This is much in
Friedrich's way; not the unwelcomer that it includes a satirical twitch
on Chasot, whom he truly likes withal, or did like, though now a
little dissatisfied with those too frequent Mecklenburg excursions and
extra-military cares. Of this, merely squeezing the Hanbury venom out of
it, I can believe every particular.

"Did you ever hear of anything so shocking?" is Hanbury's meaning here
and elsewhere. "I must tell you a story of the King of Prussia's regard
for the Law of Nations," continues he to Walpole? [Ib. i. 458.] Which
proves to be a story, turned topsy-turvy, of one Hofmann, Brunswick
Envoy, who (quite BEYOND commission, and a thing that must not be
thought of at all!) had been detected in dangerous intriguings with the
ever-busy Russian Excellency, or another; and got flung into Spandau,
[Adelung, v. 534; vii. 132-144.]--seemingly pretty much his due in the
matter. And so of other Hanbury things. "What a Prussia; for rigor of
command, one huge prison, in a manner!" King intent on punctuality, and
all his business upon the square. Society, official and unofficial,
kept rather strictly to their tackle; their mode of movement not that
of loose oxen at all! "Such a detestable Tyrant,"--who has ordered ME,
Hanbury, else-whither with my exquisite talents and admired wit!--



CANDIDATUS LINSENBARTH (QUASI "Lentil-beard") LIKEWISE VISITS BERLIN.

By far the notablest arrival in Berlin is M. de Voltaire's July 10th; a
few days before Hanbury got his First Audience, "five minutes long." But
that arrival will require a Chapter to itself;--most important arrival,
that, of all! The least important, again, is probably that of Candidatus
Linsenbarth, in these same weeks;--a rugged poverty-stricken
old Licentiate of Theology; important to no mortal in Berlin or
elsewhere:--upon whom, however, and upon his procedures in that City, we
propose, for our own objects, to bestow a few glances; rugged Narrative
of the thing, in singular exotic dialect, but true every word,
having fortunately come to us from Linsenbarth's own hand. [Through
Rodenbeck,--Beitrage,--i. 463 et seq.]

Berlin, it must be admitted, after all one's reading in poor Dryasdust,
remains a dim empty object; Teutschland is dim and empty: and out of
the forty blind sacks, or out of four hundred such, what picture can
any human head form to itself of Friedrich as King or Man? A trifling
Adventure of that poor individual, called Linsenbarth CANDIDATUS
THEOLOGIAE, one of the poorest of mortals, but true and credible in
every particular, comes gliding by chance athwart all that; and like the
glimmer of a poor rushlight, or kindled straw, shows it us for moments,
a thing visible, palpable, as it worked and lived. In the great dearth,
Linsenbarth, if I can faithfully interpret him for the modern reader,
will be worth attending to.

Date of Linsenbarth's Adventure is June-August, 1750. "Schloss of
Beichlingen" and "Village of Hemmleben" are in the Thuringen Hill
Country (Weimar not far off to eastward): the Hero himself, a tall
awkward raw-boned creature, is, for perhaps near forty years past, a
CANDIDATUS, say Licentiate, or Curate without Cure. Subsists, I should
guess, by schoolmastering--cheapest schoolmaster conceivable, wages mere
nothing--in the Villages about; in the Village of Hemmleben latterly;
age, as I discover, grown to be sixty-one, in those straitened but by
no means forlorn circumstances. And so, here is veteran Linsenbarth of
Hemmleben, a kind of Thuringian Dominie Sampson; whose Interview with
such a brother mortal as Friedrich King of Prussia may be worth looking
at,--if I can abridge it properly.

Well, it appears, in the year 1750, at this thrice-obscure Village of
Hemmleben, the worthy old pastor Cannabich died;--worthy old man, how
he had lived there, modestly studious, frugal, chiefly on
farm-produce, with tobacco and Dutch theology; a modest blessing to
his fellow-creatures! And now he is dead, and the place vacant.
Twenty pounds a Year certain; let us guess it twenty, with glebe-land,
piggeries, poultry-hutches: who is now to get all that? Linsenbarth
starts with his Narrative, in earnest.

Linsenbarth, who I guess may have been Assistant to the deceased
Cannabich, and was now out of work, says: "I had not the least thought
of profiting by this vacancy; but what happened? The Herr Graf von
Werthern, at Schloss Beichlingen, sent his Steward [LEHNSDIRECTOR,
FIEF-DIRECTOR is the title of this Steward, which gives rise to
obsolete thought of mill-dues, road-labor, payments IN NATURA], his
Lehnsdirector, Herr Kettenbeil, over to my LOGIS [cheap boarding
quarters]; who brought a gracious salutation from his Lord; saying
farther, That I knew too well [excellent Cannabich gone from us,
alas!] the Pastorate of Hemmleben was vacant; that there had various
competitors announced themselves, SUPPLICANDO, for the place; the Herr
Graf, however, had yet given none of them the FIAT, but waited always
till I should apply. As I had not done so, he (the Lord Graf) would
now of his own motion give me the preference, and hereby confer the
Pastorate upon me!"--

"Without all controversy, here was a VOCATIO DIVINA, to be received with
the most submissive thanks! But the lame second messenger came hitching
in [HALTING MESSENGER, German proverb] very soon. Kettenbeil began
again: 'He must mention to me SUB ROSA, Her Ladyship the Frau Grafin
wanted to have her Lady's-maid provided for by this promotion, too; I
must marry her, and take the living at the same time.'"

Whew! And this is the noble Lady's way of thinking, up in her fine
Schloss yonder? Linsenbarth will none of it. "For my notion fell at
once," says he, "when I heard it was DO UT FACIAS, FACIO UT FACIAS (I
give that thou mayest do, I do that thou mayest do; Wilt have the kirk,
then take the irk, WILLST DU DIE PFARRE, SO NIMM DIE QUARRE); on those
terms, my reply was: 'Most respectful thanks, Herr Fief-judge, and No,
for such a vocation! And why? The vocation must have LIBERTATEM, there
must be no VITIUM ESSENTIALE in it; it must be right IN ESSENTIALI,
otherwise no honest man can accept it with a good conscience. This were
a marriage on constraint; out of which a thousand INCONVENIENTIAE might
spring!'" Hear Linsenbarth, in the piebald dialect, with the sound
heart, and preference of starvation itself to some other things!
Kettenbeil (CHAIN-AXE) went home; and there was found another Candidatus
willing for the marriage on constraint, "out of which INCONVENIENTIAE
might spring," in Linsenbarth's opinion.

"And so did the sneakish courtly gentleman [HOFMANN, courtier as
Linsenbarth has it], who grasped with both hands at my rejected offer,
experience before long," continues Linsenbarth. "For the loose thing of
court-tatters led him such a life that, within three years, age yet only
thirty, he had to bite the dust" (BITE AT THE GRASS, says Linsenbarth,
proverbially), which was an INCONVENIENTIA including all others. "And I
had LEGITIMAM CAUSAM to refuse the vocation CUM TALI CONDITIONE.

"However, it was very ill taken of me. All over that Thuringian region
I was cried out upon as a headstrong foolish person: The Herr Graf von
Werthern, so ran the story, had of his own kindness, without request of
mine, offered me a living; RARA AVIS, singular instance; and I, rash and
without head, flung away such gracious offer. In short, I was told to
my face [by good-natured friends], Nobody would ever think of me for
promotion again;"--universal suffrage giving it clear against poor
Linsenbarth, in this way.

"To get out of people's sight at least," continues he, "I decided to
leave my native place, and go to Berlin," 250 miles away or more. "And
so it was that, on June the 20th, 1750, I landed at Berlin for the
first time: and here straightway at the PACKHOF (or Custom-house), in
searching of my things, 400 THALERS (some 60 pounds), all in Nurnberg
BATZEN, were seized from me;"--BATZEN, quarter-groats we may say; 7
and a half batzen go to a shilling; what a sack there must have been
of them, 9,000 in all, about the size of herring-scales, in bad silver;
fruit of Linsenbarth's stern thrift from birth upwards:--all snatched
from him at one swoop. "And why?" says he, quite historically: Yes,
Why? The reader, to understand it wholly, would need to read
in Mylius's--Edicten-Sammlung,--in SEYFARTH and elsewhere;
[Mylius,--Edict--xli., January, 1744, &c. &c.] and to know the
scandalous condition of German coinage at this time and long after;
every needy little Potentate mixing his coin with copper at discretion,
and swindling mankind with it for a season; needing to be peremptorily
forbidden, confiscated or ordered home, by the like of Friedrich.
Linsenbarth answers his own "And why?" with historical calmness:--

"The king had, some (six) years ago, had the batzen utterly cried down
(GANZ UND GAR); they were not to circulate at all in his Countries;
and I was so bold, I had brought batzen hither into the King's Capital,
KONIGLICHE RESIDENZ itself! At the Packhof, there was but one answer,
'Contraband, Contraband!'"--Here was a welcome for a man. "I made my
excuses: Did not the least know; came straight from Thuringen, many
miles of road; could not guess there What His Majesty the King had been
pleased to forbid in His (THEIRO) Countries. 'You should have
informed yourself,' said the Packhof people; and were deaf to such
considerations. 'A man coming into such a Residenz Town as Berlin, with
intent to abide there, should have inquired a little what was what,
especially what coins were cried down, and what allowed,' said they of
the Packhof." Poor Linsenbarth!"'But what am I to do now? How am I to
live, if you take my very money from me?' 'That is your outlook,'
said they;--and added, He must even find stowage for his stack of
herring-scales or batzen, as soon as it was sealed up; 'we have no room
for it in the Packhof!'" for a man: Here is a roughish welcome "I must
leave all my money here; and find stowage for it, in a day or two.

"There was, accordingly, a truck-porter called in; he loaded my effects
on his barrow, and rolled away. He brought me to the WHITE SWAN in the
JUDENSTRASSE [none of the grandest of streets, that Berlin JEWRY], threw
my things out, and demanded four groschen. Two of my batzen" 2 and a
half exact, "would have done; but I had no money at all. The landlord
came out: seeing that I had a stuffed feather-bed [note the luggage of
Linsenbarth: "FEDER-BETT," of extreme tenuity], a trunk full of linens,
a bag of Books and other trifles, he paid the man; and sent me to a
small room in the court-yard [Inn forms a Court, perhaps four stories
high]: 'I could stay there,' he said; 'he would give me food and drink
in the meanwhile.' And so I lived in this Inn eight weeks long, without
one red farthing, in mere fear and anxiety." June 20th PLUS eight weeks
brings us to August 15th; Voltaire in HEIGHT of feather; and very great
things just ahead! ["Grand Carrousel, 25th August;" &c.]--of which soon.

The White Swan was a place where Carriers lodged: some limb of the Law,
of Subaltern sort, whom Linsenbarth calls "DER ADVOCAT B." (one of the
Ousted of Cocceji, shall we fancy!), had to do with Carriers and their
pie-powder lawsuits. Advocat B. had noticed the gray dreary CANDIDATUS,
sitting sparrow-like in remote corners; had spoken to him;--undertook
for a LOUIS D'OR, no purchase no pay, to get back his batzen for
him. They went accordingly, one morning, to "a grand House;" it was
a Minister's (name not given), very grand Official Man: he heard the
Advocat B.'s short statement; and made answer: "Monsieur, and is it
you that will pick holes in the King's Law? I have understood you were
rather aiming at the HAUSVOGTEI [Common Jail of Berlin]: Go on in that
way, and you are sure of your promotion!"--Advocat B. rushed out with
Linsenbarth into the street; and there was neither pay nor purchase in
that quarter.

Poor Linsenbarth was next advised, by simple neighbors, to go direct to
the King; as every poor man can, at certain hours of the day. "Write out
your Case (Memorial) with extreme brevity," said they; "nothing but
the essential points, and those clear." Linsenbarth, steam at the
high-pressure, composed (CONZIPIRTE) a Memorial of that right laconic
sort; wrote it fair (MUNDIRTE ES);--and went off therewith "at opening
of the Gates (middle time of August, 1750, no date farther), [August
21st? (See Rodenbeck, DIARY, which we often quote, i. 205.)]--without
one farthing in my pocket, in God's name, to Potsdam." He continues:--

"And at Potsdam I was lucky enough to see the King; my first sight of
him. He was on the Palace Esplanade there, drilling his troops [fine
trim sanded Expanse, with the Palace to rear, and Garden-walks and River
to front; where Friedrich Wilhelm sat, the last day he was out, and
ordered Jockey Philips's house to be actually set about; where the
troops do evolutions every morning;--there is Friedrich with cocked-hat
and blue coat; say about 11 A.M.].

"When the drill was over, his Majesty went into the Garden, and the
soldiers dispersed; only four Officers remained lounging upon the
Esplanade, and walked up and down. For fright I knew not what to do;
I pulled the Papers out of my pocket,--these were my Memorial, two
Certificates of character, and a Thuringen Pass [poor soul]. The
Officers noticed this; came straight to me, and said, 'What letters has
He there, then?' I thankfully and gladly imparted the whole; and when
the Officers had read them, they said, 'We will give you [Him, not even
THEE] a good advice, The King is extra-gracious to-day, and is gone
alone into the Garden. Follow him straight. Thou wilt have luck.'

"This I would not do; my awe was too great. They thereupon laid hands
on me [the mischievous dogs, not ill-humored either]: one took me by the
right arm, another by the left, 'Off, off; to the Garden!' Having got
me thither, they looked out for the King. He was among the gardeners,
examining some rare plant; stooping over it, and had his back to us.
Here I had to halt; and the Officers began, in underhand tone [the
dogs!], to put me through my drill: 'Hat under left arm!--Right foot
foremost!--Breast well forward!--Head up!--Papers from pouch!--Papers
aloft in right hand!--Steady! Steady!'--And went their ways, looking
always round, to see if I kept my posture. I perceived well enough they
were pleased to make game of me; but I stood, all the same, like a wall,
being full of fear. The Officers were hardly out of the Garden, when
the King turned round, and saw this extraordinary machine,"--telegraph
figure or whatever we may call it, with papers pointing to the sky. "He
gave such a look at me, like a flash of sunbeams glancing through you;
and sent one of the gardeners to bring my papers. Which having got, he
struck into another walk with them, and was out of sight. In few minutes
he appeared again at the place where the rare plant was, with my Papers
open in his left hand; and gave me a wave with them To come nearer. I
plucked up a heart, and went straight towards him. Oh, how thrice and
four-times graciously this great Monarch deigned to speak to me!--

KING. "'My good Thuringian (LIEBER THURINGER), you came to Berlin,
seeking to earn your bread by industrious teaching of children; and
here, at the Packhof, in searching your things, they have taken your
Thuringen hoard from you. True, the batzen are not legal here; but the
people should have said to you: You are a stranger, and did n't know the
prohibition;--well then, we will seal up the Bag of Batzen; you send it
back to Thuringen, get it changed for other sorts; we will not take it
from you!--

"'Be of heart, however; you shall have your money again, and interest
too.--But, my poor man, Berlin pavement is bare, they don't give
anything gratis: you are a stranger; before you are known and get
teaching, your bit of money is done; what then?'

"I understood the speech right well; but my awe was too great to say:
'Your Majesty will have the all-highest grace to allow me something!'
But as I was so simple and asked for nothing, he did not offer anything.
And so he turned away; but had scarcely gone six or eight steps, when
he looked round, and gave me a sign I was to walk by him; and then began
catechising:--

KING. "'Where did you (ER) study?'

LINSENBARTH. "'Your Majesty, in Jena.'

KING. "'What years?'

LINSENBARTH. "'From 1716 to 1720.' ["Born 1689" (Rodenbeck, p. 474);
twenty-five when he went.]

KING. "'Under what Pro-rector were you inscribed?'

LINSENBARTH. "'Under the PROFESSOR THEOLOGIAE Dr. Fortsch.'

KING. "'Who were your other Professors in the Theological Faculty?'"

LINSENBARTH--names famed men; sunk now, mostly, in the bottomless
waste-basket: "Buddaus" (who did a DICTIONARY of the BAYLE sort,
weighing four stone troy, out of which I have learned many a thing),
"Buddaeus," "Danz," "Weissenborn," "Wolf" (now back at Halle after his
tribulations,--poor man, his immortal System of Philosophy, where is
it!).

KING. "'Did you study BIBLICA diligently?'

LINSENBARTH. "'With Buddaeus (BEYM BUDDAO).'

KING. "'That is he who had such quarrelling with Wolf?'

LINSENBARTH. "'Yea, your Majesty! He was--'

KING (does not want to know what he was). "'What other useful Courses of
Lectures (COLLEGIA) did you attend?'

LINSENBARTH. "'Thetics and Exegetics with Fortsch [How the deuce did
Fortsch teach these things?]; Hermeneutics and Polemics with Walch
[editor of--Luther's Works,--I suppose]; Hebraics with Dr. Danz;
Homiletics with Dr. Weissenborn; PASTORALE [not Pastoral Poetry, but
the Art of Pastorship] and MORALE with Dr. Buddaeus.' [There, your
Majesty!--what a glimpse, as into infinite extinct Continents, filled
with ponderous thorny inanities, invincible nasal drawling of didactic
Titans, and the awful attempt to spin, on all manner of wheels,
road-harness out of split cobwebs: Hoom! Hoom-m-m! Harness not to be had
on those terms. Let the dreary Limbus close again, till the general Day
of Judgment for all this.]

KING (glad to get out of the Limbus). "'Were things as wild then at
Jena, in your time, as of old, when the Students were forever
scuffling and ruffling, and the Couplet went:--

          --"Wer kommt von Jena ungeschlagen,
          Der hat von grossen Gluck zu sagen.--
         "He that comes from Jena SINE BELLO,
          He may think himself a lucky fellow"?'

LINSENBARTH. "'That sort of folly is gone quite out of fashion; and
a man can lead a silent and quiet life there, just as at other
Universities, if he will attend to the DIC, CURHIC? [or know what his
real errand is]. In my time their Serene Highnesses, the Nursing-fathers
of the University (NUTRITORES ACADEMIAE),--of the Ernestine Line
[Weimar-Gotha Highnesses, that is], were in the habit of having the
Rufflers (RENOMISTEN), Renowners as they are called, who made so much
disturbance, sent to Eisenach to lie in the Wartburg a while; there they
learned to be quiet.' [Clock strikes Twelve,--dinner-time of Majesty.]

KING. "'Now I must go: they are waiting for their soup'" (and so ends
Dialogue for the present). 'Did the King bid me wait?

"When we got out of the Garden," says Linsenbarth, silent on this point,
"the four Officers were still there upon the Esplanade [Captains of
Guard belike]; they went into the Palace with the King,"--clearly
meaning to dine with his Majesty.

"I remained standing on the Esplanade. For twenty-seven hours I had not
tasted food: not a farthing IN BONIS [of principal or interest] to
get bread with; I had waded twenty miles hither, in a sultry morning,
through the sand. Not a difficult thing to keep down laughter in such
circumstances!"--Poor soul; but the Royal mind is human too.--"In this
tremor of my heart, there came a KAMMER-HUSSAR [Soldier-Valet, Valet
reduced to his simplest expression] out of the Palace, and asked, 'Where
is the man that was with my King (MEINEM KONIG,--THY King particularly?)
in the Garden?' I answered, 'Here!' And he led me into the Schloss, to
a large Room, where pages, lackeys, and Kammer-hussars were about. My
Kammer-hussar took me to a little table, excellently furnished; with
soup, beef; likewise carp dressed with garden-salad, likewise game with
cucumber-salad: bread, knife, fork, spoon and salt were all there [and I
with an appetite of twenty-seven hours; I too was there]. My hussar set
me a chair, said: 'This that is on the table, the King has ordered to be
served for you (IHM): you are to eat your fill, and mind nobody; and I
am to serve. Sharp, then, fall to!'--I was greatly astonished, and knew
not what to do; least of all could it come into my head that the King's
Kammer-hussar, who waited on his Majesty, should wait on me. I pressed
him to sit by me; but as he refused, I did as bidden; sat down, took my
spoon, and went at it with a will (FRISCH)!

"The hussar took the beef from the table, set it on the charcoal dish
(to keep it hot till wanted); he did the like with the fish and
roast game; and poured me out wine and beer--[was ever such a lucky
Barmecide!] I ate and drank till I had abundantly enough. Dessert,
confectionery, what I could,--a plateful of big black cherries, and a
plateful of pears, my waiting-man wrapped in paper and stuffed them into
my pockets, to be a refreshment on the way home. And so I rose from the
Royal table; and thanked God and the King in my heart, that I had so
gloriously dined,"--HERRLICH, "gloriously" at last. Poor excellent
down-trodden Linsenbarth, one's heart opens to him, not one's larder
only.

"The hussar took away. At that moment a Secretary came; brought me a
sealed Order (Rescript) to the Packhof at Berlin, with my Certificates
(TESTIMONIA), and the Pass; told down on the table five Tail-ducats
(SCHWANZ-DUKATEN), and a Gold Friedrich under them [about 3 pounds 10s.,
I think; better than 10 pounds of our day to a common man, and better
than 100 pounds to a Linsenbarth],--saying, The King sent me this to
take me home to Berlin again.

"And if the hussar took me into the Palace, it was now the Secretary
that took me out again. And there, yoked with six horses, stood a royal
Proviant-wagon; which having led me to, the Secretary said: 'You people,
the King has given order you are to take this stranger to Berlin, and
also to accept no drink-money from him.' I again, through the HERRN
SECRETARIUM, testified my most submissive thankfulness for all Royal
graciousnesses; took my place, and rolled away.

"On reaching Berlin, I went at once to the Packhof, straight to the
office-room,"--standing more erect this time,--"and handed them my Royal
Rescript. The Head man opened the seal; in reading, he changed color,
went from pale to red; said nothing, and gave it to the second man to
read. The second put on his spectacles; read, and gave it to the third.
However, he [the Head man] rallied himself at last: I was to come
forward, and be so good as write a quittance (receipt), 'That I had
received, for my 400 thalers all in Batzen, the same sum in Brandenburg
coin, ready down, without the least deduction.' My cash was at once
accurately paid. And thereupon the Steward was ordered, To go with me to
the White Swan in the Judenstrasse, and pay what I owed there, whatever
my score was. For which end they gave him twenty-four thalers; and if
that were not enough, he was to come and get more." On these high terms
Linsenbarth marched out of the Packhof for the second time; the sublime
head of him (not turned either) sweeping the very stars.

"That was what the King had meant when he said, "You shall have your
money back and interest too:' VIDELICET, that the Packhof was to pay my
expenses at the White Swan. The score, however, was only 10 thaler,'
4 groschen, 6 pfennigs [30 shillings, 5 pence, and 2 or perhaps
3 quarter-farthings], for what I had run up in eight weeks,"--an
uncommonly frugal rate of board, for a man skilled in Hermeneutics,
Hebraics, Polemics, Thetica, Exegetics, Pastorale, Morale (and Practical
Christianity and the Philosophy of Zeno, carried to perfection, or
nearly so)!"And herewith this troubled History had its desired finish."
And our gray-whiskered, raw-boned, great-hearted Candidatus lay down to
sleep, at the White Swan; probably the happiest man in all Berlin, for
the time being.

Linsenbarth dived now into Private-teaching, "INFORMATION," as he calls
it; forming, and kneading into his own likeness, such of the young
Berliners as he could get hold of:--surely not without some good effect
on them, the model having, besides Hermeneutics in abundance, so much
natural worth about it. He himself found the mine of Informing a very
barren one, as to money: continued poor in a high degree, without honor,
without emolument to speak of; and had a straitened, laborious, and what
we might think very dark Life-pilgrimage. But the darkness was nothing
to him, he carried such an inextinguishable frugal rushlight within.
Meat, clothes and fire he did not again lack, in Berlin, for the time
he needed them,--some twenty-seven years still. And if he got no printed
praise in the Reviews, from baddish judges writing by the sheet,--here
and there brother mortals, who knew him by their own eyes and
experiences, looked, or transiently spoke, and even did, a most real
praise upon him now and then. And, on the whole, he can do without
praise; and will stand strokes even without wincing or kicking, where
there is no chance.

A certain Berlin Druggist ("Herr Medicinal-Assessor Rose," whom we may
call Druggist First, for there were Two that had to do with Linsenbarth)
was good and human to him. In Rose's House, where he had come to teach
the children, and which continued, always thenceforth, a home to him
when needful, he wrote this NARRATIVE (Anno 1774); and died there, three
years afterwards,--"24th August, 1777, of apoplexy, age 88," say the
Burial Registers. [In Rodenbeck,--Beitrage,--i. 472-475, these latter
Details (with others, in confused form); IB. 462-471, the NARRATIVE
itself.] Druggist Second, on succeeding the humane Predecessor, found
Linsenbarth's papers in the drug-stores of the place: Druggist Second
chanced to be one Klaproth, famed among the Scientific of the world; and
by him the Linsenbarth Narrative was forwarded to publication, and such
fame as is requisite.



SIR JONAS HANWAY STALKS ACROSS THE SCENE, TOO; IN A PONDERING AND
OBSERVING MANNER.

Of the then very famous "Berlin Carrousel of 1750" we propose to say
little; the now chief interesting point in it being that M. de Voltaire
is curiously visible to us there. But the truth is, they were very great
days at Berlin, those of Autumn, 1750; distinguished strangers come
or coming; the King giving himself up to entertainment of them, to
enjoyment of them; with such a hearty outburst of magnificence, this
Carrousel the apex of it, as was rare in his reign. There were his
Sisters of Schwedt and Baireuth, with suite, his dear Wilhelmina queen
of the scene; ["Came 8th August" (Rodenbeck, 205).] there were--It
would be tedious to count what other high Herrschaften and Durchlauchtig
Persons. And to crown the whole, and entertain Wilhelmina as a Queen
should be, there had come M. de Voltaire; conquered at length to us, as
we hope, and the Dream of our Youth realized. Voltaire's reception,
July 10th and ever since, has been mere splendor and kindness; really
extraordinary, as we shall find farther on. Reception perfect in all
points, except that of the Pompadour's Compliments alone. "That sublime
creature's compliments to your Majesty; such her express command!"
said Voltaire. "JE NE LA CONNAIS PAS," answered Friedrich, with his
clear-ringing voice, "I don't know her;" [Voltaire to Madame Denis,
"Potsdam, 11th August, 1750" (--OEuvres,--lxxiv. 184).]--sufficient
intimation to Voltaire, but painful and surprising. For which some
diplomatic persons blame Friedrich to this day; but not I, or any reader
of mine. A very proud young King; in his silent way, always the prouder;
and stands in no awe of the Divine Butterflies and Crowned Infatuations
never so potent, as more prudent people do.

In a Berlin of such stir and splendor, the arrivals of Sir Jonas Hanway,
of the "young Lord Malton" (famed Earl or Marquis of Rockingham that
will be), or of the witty Excellency Hanbury, are as nothing;--Sir
Jonas's as less than nothing. A Sir Jonas noticed by nobody; but himself
taking note, dull worthy man; and mentionable now on that account. Here
is a Scrap regarding him, not quite to be thrown away:

"Sir Jonas Hanway was not always so extinct as he has now become.
Readers might do worse than turn to his now old Book of TRAVELS again,
and the strange old London it awakens for us: A 'Russian Trading
Company,' full of hope to the then mercantile mind; a Mr. Hanway
despatched, years ago, as Chief Clerk, inexpressibly interested to
manage well;--and managing, as you may read at large. Has done his best
and utmost, all this while; and had such travellings through the
Naphtha Countries, sailings on the Caspian; such difficulties,
successes,--ultimately, failure. Owing to Mr. Elton and Thamas Kouli
Khan mainly. Thamas Kouli Khan--otherwise called Nadir Shah (and a very
hard-headed fellow, by all appearance)--wiled and seduced Mr. Elton, an
Ex-Naval gentleman, away from his Ledgers, to build him Ships; having
set his heart on getting a Navy. And Mr. Elton did build him (spite of
all I could say) a Bark or two on the Caspian;--most hopeful to the said
Nadir Shah; but did it come to anything? It disgusted, it alarmed
the Russians; and ruined Sir Jonas,--who is returning at this period,
prepared to render account of himself at London, in a loftily resigned
frame of mind. [Jonas Hanway,--An Account of &c.--(or in brief, TRAVELS:
London, 3 vols. 4to, 1753), ii. 183. "Arrived in Berlin," from the
Caspian and Petersburg side, "August 15th, 1750."]

"The remarks of Sir Jonas upon Berlin--for he exercises everywhere a
sapient observation on men and things--are of dim tumidly insignificant
character, reminding us of an extinct Minerva's Owl; and reduce
themselves mainly to this bit of ocular testimony, That his Prussian
Majesty rides much about, often at a rapid rate; with a pleasant
business aspect, humane though imperative; handsome to look upon, though
with face perceptibly reddish [and perhaps snuff on it, were you near].
His age now thirty-eight gone; a set appearance, as if already got into
his forties. Complexion florid, figure muscular, almost tending to be
plump.

"Listen well through Hanway, you will find King Friedrich is an object
of great interest, personal as well as official, and much the theme in
Berlin society; admiration of him, pride in him, not now the audiblest
tone, though it lies at the bottom too: 'Our Friedrich the Great,' after
all [so Hanway intimates, though not express as to epithets or words
used]. The King did a beautiful thing to Lieutenant-Colonel Keith the
other day [as some readers may remember]: to Lieutenant-Colonel Keith;
that poor Keith who was nailed to the gallows for him (in effigy), at
Wesel long ago; and got far less than he had expected. The other
day, there had been a grand Review, part of it extending into Madam
Knyphausen's grounds, who is Keith's Mother-in-law. 'Monsieur Keith,'
said the King to him, 'I am sorry we had to spoil Madam's fine
shrubbery by our manoeuvres: have the goodness to give her that, with my
apologies,'--and handed him a pretty Casket with key to it, and in the
interior 10,000 crowns. Not a shrub of Madam's had been cut or injured;
but the King, you see, would count it 1,500 pounds of damage done,
and here is acknowledgment for it, which please accept. Is not that a
gracious little touch?

"This King is doing something at Embden, Sir Jonas fears, or trying to
do, in the Trade-and-Navigation way; scandalous that English capitalists
will lend money in furtherance of such destructive schemes by the
Foreigner! For the rest, Sir Jonas went to call on Lord Malton (Marquis
of Rockingham that will be): an amiable and sober young Nobleman,
come thus far on his Grand Tour," and in time for the Carrousel. "His
Lordship's reception at Court here, one regretted to hear, was nothing
distinguished; quite indifferent, indeed, had not the Queen-Mother stept
in with amendments. The Courts are not well together; pity for it. My
Lord and his Tutor did me the honor to return my visit; the rather as
we all quartered in the same Inn. Amiable young Nobleman,"--so
distinguished since, for having had unconsciously an Edmund Burke,
and such torrents of Parliamentary Eloquence, in his breeches-pocket
(BREECHES-POCKET literally; how unknown to Hanway!)--"Amiable young
Nobleman, is not it one's duty to salute, in passing such a one? Though
I would by no means have it over-done, and am a calmly independent man.

"Sir Jonas also saw the Carrousel [of which presently]; and admired the
great men of Berlin. Great men, all obsolete now, though then admired
to infinitude, some of them: 'You may abuse me,' said the King to some
stranger arrived in Berlin; 'you may abuse me, and perhaps here
and there get praise by doing it: but I advise you not to doubt of
Lieberkuhn [the fashionable Doctor] in any company in Berlin,'" [Hanway,
ii. 190, 202, &c.]--How fashionable are men!

One Collini, a young Italian, quite new in Berlin, chanced also to be at
the Carrousel, or at the latter half of it,--though by no means in
quest of such objects just at present, poor young fellow! As he came
afterwards to be Secretary or Amanuensis of Voltaire, and will turn up
in that capacity, let us read this Note upon him:--

"Signor Como Alessandro Collini, a young Venetian gentleman of some
family and education, but of no employment or resource, had in late
years been asking zealously all round among his home circle, What am I
to do with myself? mere echo answering, What,--till a Signora Sister
of Barberina the Dancer's answered: 'Try Berlin, and King FRIDERICO IL
GRANDE there? I could give you a letter to my Sister!' At which Collini
grasps; gets under way for Berlin,--through wild Alpine sceneries,
foreign guttural populations; and with what thoughts, poor young fellow.
It is a common course to take, and sometimes answers, sometimes not. The
cynosure of vague creatures, with a sense of faculty without direction.
What clouds of winged migratory people gathering in to Berlin, all
through this Reign. Not since Noah's Ark a stranger menagerie of
creatures, mostly wild. Of whom Voltaire alone is, in our time, worth
mention.

"Collini gazed upon the Alpine chasms, and shaggy ice-palaces, with
tender memory of the Adriatic; courageously steered his way through the
inoffensive guttural populations; had got to Berlin, just in this time;
been had to dinner daily by the hospitable Barberinas, young Cocceji
always his fellow-guest,--'Privately, my poor Signorina's Husband!'
whispered old Mamma. Both the Barberinas were very kind to Collini;
cheering him with good auguries, and offers of help. Collini does not
date with any punctuality; but the German Books will do it for him.
August 25th-27th was Carrousel; and Collini had arrived few days
before." [Collini,--Mon Sejour aupres de Voltaire--(Paris, 1807), pp.
1-21.]

And now it is time we were at the Carrousel ourselves,--in a brief
transient way.



Chapter VI.--BERLIN CARROUSEL, AND VOLTAIRE VISIBLE THERE.

Readers have heard of the PLACE DU CARROUSEL at Paris; and know probably
that Louis XIV. held world-famous Carrousel there (A.D. 1662); and,
in general, that Carrousel has something to do with Tourneying, or
the Shadow of Tourneying. It is, in fact, a kind of superb be-tailored
running at the ring, instead of be-blacksmithed running at one another.
A Second milder Edition of those Tournament sports, and dangerous trials
of strength and dexterity, which were so grand a business in the Old
iron Ages. Of which, in the form of Carrousel or otherwise, down
almost to the present day, there have been examples, among puissant
Lords;--though now it is felt to have become extremely hollow; perhaps
incapable of fully entertaining anybody, except children and their
nurses on a high occasion.

A century ago, before the volcanic explosion of so many things which
it has since become wearisome to think of in this earnest world, the
Tournament, emblem of an Age of Chivalry, which was gone: but had not
yet declared itself to be quite gone, and even to be turned topsy-turvy,
had still substance as a mummery,--not enough, I should say, to spend
much money upon. Not much real money: except, indeed, the money were
offered you gratis, from other parties interested? Sir Jonas kindly
informs us, by insinuation, that this was, to a good degree, Friedrich's
case in the now Carrousel: "a thing got up by the private efforts of
different great Lords and Princes of the blood;" each party tailoring,
harnessing and furbishing himself and followers; Friedrich contributing
little but the arena and general outfit. I know not whether even the
40,000 lamps (for it took place by night) were of his purchase, though
that is likely; and know only that the Suppers and interior Palace
Entertainments would be his. "Did not cost the King much money," says
Sir Jonas; which is satisfactory to know. For of the Carrousel kind,
or of the Royal-Mummery kind in general, there has been, for graceful
arrangement, for magnificence regardless of expense,--inviting your
amiable Lord Malton, and the idlers of all Countries, and awakening the
rapture of Gazetteers,--nothing like it since Louis the Grand's time.
Nothing,--except perhaps that Camp of Muhlberg or Radowitz, where we
once were. Done, this one, not at the King's expense alone, but at other
people's chiefly: that is an unexpected feature, welcome if true; and,
except for Sir Jonas, would not have helped to explain the puzzle
for us, as it did in the then Berlin circles. Muhlberg, in my humble
judgment, was worth two of this as a Mummery;--but the meritorious
feature of Friedrich's is, that it cost him very little.

It was, say all Gazetteers and idle eye-witnesses, a highly splendid
spectacle. By much the most effulgent exhibition Friedrich ever made of
himself in the Expensive-Mummery department: and I could give in extreme
detail the phenomena of it; but, in mercy to poor readers, will not.
Fancy the assiduous hammering and sawing on the Schloss-Platz, amid
crowds of gay loungers, giving cheerful note of preparation, in those
latter days of August, 1750. And, on WEDNESDAY NIGHT, 25th AUGUST,
look and see,--for the due moments only, and vaguely enough (as in the
following Excerpt):--

PALACE-ESPLANADE OF BERLIN, 25th AUGUST, 1750 (dusk sinking into dark):
"Under a windy nocturnal sky, a spacious Parallelogram, enclosed for
jousting as at Aspramont or Trebisond. Wide enough arena in the centre;
vast amphitheatre of wooden seats and passages, firm carpentry and
fitted for its business, rising all round; Audience, select though
multitudinous, sitting decorous and garrulous, say since half-past
eight. There is royal box on the ground-tier; and the King in it, King,
with Princess Amelia for the prizes: opposite to this is entrance for
the Chevaliers,--four separate entrances, I think. Who come,--lo, at
last!--with breathings and big swells of music, as Resuscitations from
the buried Ages.

"They are in four 'Quadrilles,' so termed: Romans, Persians,
Carthaginians, Greeks. Four Jousting Parties, headed each by a Prince
of the Blood:--with such a splendor of equipment for jewels, silver
helmets, sashings, housings, as eye never saw. Prancing on their
glorious battle-steeds (sham-battle, steeds not sham, but champing their
bits as real quadrupeds with fire in their interior):--how many in all,
I forgot to count. Perhaps, on the average, sixty in each Quadrille,
fifteen of them practical Ritters; the rest mythologic winged
standard-bearers, blackamoors, lictors, trumpeters and shining melodious
phantasms as escort,--of this latter kind say in round numbers Two
Hundred altogether; and of actual Ritters threescore. [Blumenthal,--Life
of De Ziethen--(Ziethen was in it, and gained a prize), i. 257-263 et
seq.; Voltaire's LETTERS to Niece Denis (--OEuvres,--lxxiv. 174, 179,
198);--and two contemporary 4tos on the subject, with Drawings &c.,
which may well continue unknown to every reader.] Who run at rings, at
Turks' heads, and at other objects with death-doing lance; and prance
and flash and career along: glorious to see and hear. Under proud
flourishings of drums and trumpets, under bursts and breathings of
wind-music; under the shine of Forty Thousand Lamps, for one item. All
Berlin and the nocturnal firmament looking on,--night rather gusty,
'which blew out many of the lamps,' insinuates Hanway.

"About midnight, Beauty in the form of Princess Amelia distributes the
prizes; Music filling the air; and human 'EUGE'S,' and the surviving
lamps, doing their best. After which the Principalities and Ritters
withdraw to their Palace, to their Balls and their Supper of the gods;
and all the world and his wife goes home again, amid various commentary
from high and low. 'JAMAIS, Never,' murmured one high Gentleman, of the
Impromptu kind, at the Palace Supper-table:--

      --'Jamais dans Athene et dans Rome
      On n'eut de plus beaux jours, ni de plus digne prix.
      J'ai vu le fils de Mars sous les traits de Paris,
            Et Venus qui donnait la pomme.'"--

["Never in Athens or Rome were there braver sights or a worthier prize:
I have seen the son of Mars [King Friedrich] with Paris's features, and
Venus [Amelia] crowning the victorious." (--OEuvres de Voltaire,--xviii.
320.)]

And Amphitheatre and Lamps lapse wholly into darkness, and the thing has
finished, for the time being. August 27th, it was repeated by daylight:
if possible, more charming than ever; but not to be spoken of farther,
under penalties. To be mildly forgotten again, every jot and tittle
of it,--except one small insignificant iota, which, by accident, still
makes it remarkable. Namely, that Collini and the Barberinas were
there; and that not only was Voltaire again there, among the Princes and
Princesses; but that Collini saw Voltaire, and gives us transient
sight of him,--thanks to Collini. Thursday, 27th August, 1750, was the
Daylight version of the Carrousel; which Collini, if it were of any
moment, takes to have PRECEDED that of the 40,000 Lamps. Sure enough
Collini was there, with eyes open:--

"Madame de Cocceji [so one may call her, though the known alias is
Barberina] had engaged places; she invited me to come and see this
Festivity. We went;" and very grand it was. "The Palace-Esplanade was
changed" by carpentries and draperies "into a vast Amphitheatre; the
slopes of it furnished with benches for the spectators, and at the four
corners of it and at the bottom, magnificently decorated boxes for the
Court." Vast oval Amphitheatre, the interior arena rectangular, with its
Four Entrances, one for each of the Four Quadrilles. "The assemblage was
numerous and brilliant: all the Court had come from Potsdam to Berlin.

"A little while before the King himself made appearance, there rose
suddenly a murmur of admiration, and I heard all round me, from
everybody, the name 'Voltaire! Voltaire!' Looking down, I saw Voltaire
accordingly; among a group of great lords, who were walking over the
Arena, towards one of the Court Boxes. He wore a modest countenance,
but joy painted itself in his eyes: you cannot love glory, and not feel
gratefully the prize attached to it,"--attained as here. "I lost sight
of him in few instants," as he approached his Box "the place where I was
not permitting farther view." [Collini,--Mon Sejour,--p. 21.]

This was Collini's first sight of that great man (DE CE GRAND HOMME).
With whom, thanks to Barberina, he had, in a day or two, the honor of an
Interview (judgment favorable, he could hope); and before many months,
Accident also favoring, the inexpressible honor of seeing himself the
great man's Secretary,--how far beyond hope or aspiration, in these
Carrousel days!

Voltaire had now been here some Seven Weeks,--arrived 10th July, as
we often note;--after (on his own part) a great deal of haggling,
hesitating and negotiating; which we spare our readers. The poor man
having now become a Quasi-Widower; painfully rallying, with his whole
strength, towards new arrangements,--now was the time for Friedrich to
urge him: "Come to me! Away from all that dismal imbroglio; hither, I
say!" To which Voltaire is not inattentive; though he hesitates; cannot,
in any case, come without delay;--lingers in Paris, readjusting many
things, the poor shipwrecked being, among kind D'Argentals and friends.
Poor Ishmael, getting gray; and his tent in the desert suddenly carried
off by a blast of wind!

To the legal Widower, M. le Marquis, he behaves in money matters like
a Prince; takes that Paris Domicile, in the Rue Traversiere, all to
himself; institutes a new household there,--Niece Denis to be female
president. Niece Denis, widow without encumbrances; whom in her married
state, wife to some kind of Commissariat-Officer at Lille, we have seen
transiently in that City, her Uncle lodging with her as he passed. A
gadding, flaunting, unreasonable, would-be fashionable female--(a Du
Chatelet without the grace or genius, and who never was in love with
you!)--with whom poor Uncle had a baddish life in time coming. All which
settled, he still lingers. Widowed, grown old and less adventurous!
'That House in the Rue Traversiere, once his and Another's, now his
alone,--for the time being, it is probably more like a Mausoleum than
a House to him. And Versailles, with its sulky Trajans, its Crebillon
cabals, what charm is in Versailles? He thinks of going to Italy for a
while; has never seen that fine Country: of going to Berlin for a while:
of going to--In fact, Berlin is clearly the place where he will land;
but he hesitates greatly about lifting anchor. Friedrich insists, in a
bright, bantering, kindly way; "You were due to me a year ago; you said
always, 'So soon as the lying-in is over, I am yours:'--and now, why
don't you come?"

Friedrich, since they met last, has had some experiences of Voltaire,
which he does not like. Their roads, truly--one adulating Trajan
in Versailles, and growing great by "Farces of the Fair;" the other
battling for his existence against men and devils, Trajan and Company
included--have lain far apart. Their Correspondence perceptibly
languishing, in consequence, and even rumors rising on the subject,
Voltaire wrote once: "Give me a yard of ribbon, Sire [your ORDER OF
MERIT, Sire], to silence those vile rumors!" Which Friedrich, on such
free-and-easy terms, had silently declined. "A meddlesome, forward kind
of fellow; always getting into scrapes and brabbles!" thinks Friedrich.
But is really anxious, now that the chance offers again, to have such
a Levite for his Priest, the evident pink of Human Intellect; and tries
various incitements upon him;--hits at last (I know not whether by
device or by accident) on one which, say the French Biographers, did
raise Voltaire and set him under way.

A certain M. Baculard d'Arnaud, a conceited, foolish young fellow, much
patronized by Voltaire, and given to write verses, which are unknown to
me, has been, on Voltaire's recommending, "Literary Correspondent"
to Friedrich (Paris Book-Agent and the like) for some time past;
corresponding much with Potsdam, in a way found entertaining; and is now
(April, 1750) actually going thither, to Friedrich's Court, or perhaps
has gone. At any rate, Friedrich--by accident or by device--had answered
some rhymes of this D'Arnaud, "Yes; welcome, young sunrise, since
Voltaire is about to set!" [--OEuvres de Frederic,--xiv. 95 (Verses "A
D'ARNAUD," of date December, 1749.)] I hope it was by device; D'Arnaud
is such a silly fellow; too absurd, to reckon as morning to anybody's
sunset. Except for his involuntary service, for and against, in
this Voltaire Journey, his name would not now be mentionable at
all. "Sunset?" exclaimed Voltaire, springing out of bed (say the
Biographers), and skipping about indignantly in his shirt: "I will
show them I am not set yet!" [Duvernet (Second), p. 159.] And instantly
resolved on the Berlin Expedition. Went to Compiegne, where the Court
then was; to bid his adieus; nay to ask formally the Royal leave,--for
we are Historiographer and titular Gentleman of the Chamber, and King's
servant in a sense. Leave was at once granted him, almost huffingly; we
hope not with too much readiness? For this is a ticklish point: one is
going to Prussia "on a Visit" merely (though it may be longish); one
would not have the door of France slammed to behind one! The tone at
Court did seem a little succinct, something almost of sneer in it.
But from the Pompadour herself all was friendly; mere witty,
cheery graciosities, and "My Compliments to his Majesty of
Prussia,"--Compliments how answered when they came to hand: "JE NE LA
CONNAIS PAS!"

In short, M. de Voltaire made all his arrangements; got under way;
piously visited Fontenoy and the Battle-fields in passing: and is here,
since July 10th,--in very great splendor, as we see:--on his Fifth Visit
to Friedrich. Fifth; which proved his Last,--and is still extremely
celebrated in the world. Visit much misunderstood in France and
England, down to this day. By no means sorted out into accuracy and
intelligibility; but left as (what is saying a great deal!) probably the
wastest chaos of all the Sections of Friedrich's History. And has, alone
of them, gone over the whole world; being withal amusing to read,
and therefore well and widely remembered, in that mendacious and
semi-intelligible state. To lay these goblins, full of noise, ignorance
and mendacity, and give some true outline of the matter, with what
brevity is consistent with deciphering it at all, is now our sad
task,--laborious, perhaps disgusting; not impossible, if readers will
loyally assist.

Voltaire had taken every precaution that this Visit should succeed, or
at least be no loss to one of the parties. In a preliminary Letter from
Paris,--prose and verse, one of the cleverest diplomatic pieces ever
penned; Letter really worth looking at, cunning as the song of Apollo,
Voltaire symbolically intimates: "Well, Sire, your old Danae, poor
malingering old wretch, is coming to her Jove. It is Jove she wants,
not the Shower of Jove; nevertheless"--And Friedrich (thank Hanbury,
in part, for that bit of knowledge) had remitted him in hard money 600
pounds "to pay the tolls on his road." [Walpole, i. 451 ("Had it from
Princess Amelia herself"); see Voltaire to Friedrich, "Paris, 9th
June, 1750;" Friedrich to Voltaire, "Potsdam, 24th May" (--OEuvres de
Voltaire,--lxxiv. 158, 155).] As a high gentleman would; to have done
with those base elements of the business.

Nay furthermore, precisely two days before those splendors of the
Carrousel, Friedrich,--in answer to new cunning croakeries and
contrivances ("Sire, this Letter from my Niece, who is inconsolable that
I should think of staying here;" where, finding oneself so divinized,
one is disposed to stay),--has answered him like a King: By Gold Key of
Chamberlain, Cross of the Order of Merit, and Pension of 20,000 francs
(850 pounds) a year,--conveyed in as royal a Letter of Business as I
have often read; melodious as Apollo, this too, though all in business
prose, and, like Apollo, practical God of the SUN in this case.
["Berlin, 23d August, 1750" (--OEuvres de Frederic,--xxii.
255);--Voltaire to Niece Denis, "24th August" (misprinted "14th"); to
D'Argental, "28th August" (--OEuvres de Voltaire,--lxxiv. 185, 196).]
Dated 23d August, 1750. This Letter of Friedrich's I fancy to be what
Voltaire calls, "Your Majesty's gracious Agreement with me," and often
appeals to, in subsequent troubles. Not quite a Notarial Piece, on
Friedrich's part; but strictly observed by him as such.

Four days after which, Collini sees Voltaire serenely shining among the
Princes and Princesses of the world; Amphitheatre all whispering with
bated breath, "Voltaire! Voltaire!" But let us hear Voltaire himself,
from the interior of the Phenomenon, at this its culminating point:--

Voltaire to his D'Argentals,--to Niece Denis even, with whom, if with
no other, he is quite without reserve, in showing the bad and the
good,--continues radiantly eloquent in these first months: ...
"Carrousel, twice over; the like never seen for splendor, for [rather
copious on this sublimity]--After which we played ROME SAUVEE [my
Anti-Crebillon masterpiece], in a pretty little Theatre, which I have
got constructed in the Princess Amelia's Antechamber. I, who speak to
you, I played CICERO." Yes; and was manager and general stage-king and
contriver; being expert at this, if at anything. And these beautiful
Theatricals had begun weeks ago, and still lasted many weeks;
[Rodenbeck, "August-October," 1750.]--with such divine consultings,
directings, even orderings of the brilliant Royalties concerned.--
Duvernet (probably on D'Arget's authority) informs us that "once, in one
of the inter-acts, finding the soldiers allowed him for Pretorian Guards
not to understand their business here," not here, as they did at
Hohenfriedberg and elsewhere, "Voltaire shrilled volcanically out to
them [happily unintelligible): 'F----, Devil take it, I asked for men;
and they have sent me Germans (J'AI DEMANDE DES HOMMES, ET L'ON M'ENVOIE
DES ALLEMANDS)!' At which the Princesses were good-natured enough to
burst into laughter." [Duvernet (Second), p. 162,--time probably 15th
October.] Voltaire continues: "There is an English Ambassador here who
knows Cicero's Orations IN CATILINAM by heart;" an excellent Etonian,
surely. "It is not Milord Tyrconnell" (blusterous Irish Jacobite), OUR
Ambassador, note him, fat Valori having been recalled); no, "it is the
Envoy from England," Excellency Hanbury himself, who knows his Cicero by
heart. "He has sent me some fine verses on ROME SAUVEE; he says it is my
best work. It is a Piece appropriate for Ministerial people; Madame la
Chanceliere," Cocceji's better half, "is well pleased with it.
[--OEuvres,--lxxiv. (LETTERS, to the D'Argentals and Denis,
"20th August-23d September, 1750"), pp. 187, 219, 231, &c. &c.]
And then,"--But enough.

In Princess Amelia's Antechamber, there or in other celestial places,
in Palace after Palace, it goes on. Gayety succeeding gayety; mere
Princesses and Princes doing parts; in ROME SAUVEE, and in masterpieces
of Voltaire's, Voltaire himself acting CICERO and elderly characters,
LUSIGNAN and the like. Excellent in acting, say the witnesses;
superlative, for certain, as Preceptor of the art,--though impatient now
and then. And wears such Jewel-ornaments (borrowed partly from a Hebrew,
of whom anon), such magnificence of tasteful dress;--and walks his
minuet among the Morning Stars. Not to mention the Suppers of the King:
chosen circle, with the King for centre; a radiant Friedrich flashing
out to right and left, till all kindles into coruscation round him; and
it is such a blaze of spiritual sheet-lightnings,--wonderful to think
of; Voltaire especially electric. Never, or seldom, were seen such
suppers; such a life for a Supreme Man of Letters so fitted with the
place due to him. Smelfungus says:--

"And so your Supreme of Literature has got into his due place at
last,--at the top of the world, namely; though, alas, but for moments or
for months. The King's own Friend; he whom the King delights to honor.
The most shining thing in Berlin, at this moment. Virtually a kind
of PAPA, or Intellectual Father of Mankind," sneers Smelfungus; "Pope
improvised for the nonce. The new Fridericus Magnus does as the old
Pipinus, old Carolus Magnus did: recognizes his Pope, in despite of the
base vulgar; elevates him aloft into worship, for the vulgar and for
everybody! Carolus Magnus did that thrice-salutary feat [sublimely
human, if you think of it, and for long centuries successful more or
less]; Fridericus Magnus, under other omens, unconsciously does the
like,--the best he can! Let the Opera Fiddlers, the Frerons, Travenols
and Desfontaines-of-Sodom's Ghost look and consider!"--

Madame Denis, an expensive gay Lady, still only in her thirties,
improvable by rouge, carries on great work in the Rue Traversiere;
private theatricals, suppers, flirtations with Italian travelling
Marquises;--finds Intendant Longchamp much in her way, with his rigorous
account-books, and restriction to 100 louis per month; wishes even
her Uncle were back, and cautions him, Not to believe in Friedrich's
flattering unctions, or put his trust in Princes at all. Voltaire, with
the due preliminaries, shows Friedrich her Letter, one of her Letters,
[Now lost, as most of them are; Voltaire's Answer to it, already cited,
is "24th August, 1750" (misprinted "14th August,"--OEuvres,--lxxiv. 185;
see IB. lxxv. 135); King Friedrich's PRACTICAL Answer (so munificent
to Denis and Voltaire), "Your Majesty's gracious Agreement," bore date
"August 23d."]--with result as we saw above.

Formey says: "In the Carnival time, which Voltaire usually passed at
Berlin, in the Palace, people paid their court to him as to a declared
Favorite. Princes, Marshals, Ministers of State, Foreign Ambassadors,
Lords of the highest rank, attended his audience; and were received,"
says Formey, nowhere free from spite on this subject, "in a sufficiently
lofty style (HAUTEUR ASSEZ DEDAIGNEUSE). [Formey,--Souvenirs,--i. 235,
236.] A great Prince had the complaisance to play chess with him; and
to let him win the pistoles that were staked. Sometimes even the pistole
disappeared before the end of the game," continues Formey, green
with spite;--and reports that sad story of the candle-ends; bits of
wax-candle, which should have remained as perquisite to the valets,
but which were confiscated by Voltaire and sent across to the
wax-chandler's. So, doubtless, the spiteful rumor ran; probably little
but spite and fable, Berlin being bitter in its gossip. Stupid Thiebault
repeats that of the candle-ends, like a thing he had seen (twelve years
BEFORE his arrival in those parts); and adds that Voltaire "put them in
his pocket,"--like one both stupid and sordid. Alas, the brighter your
shine, the blacker is the shadow you cast.

Friedrich, with the knowledge he already had of his yoke-fellow,--one
of the most skittish, explosive, unruly creatures in harness,--cannot
be counted wise to have plunged so heartily into such an adventure with
him. "An undoubted Courser of the Sun!" thought Friedrich;--and forgot
too much the signs of bad going he had sometimes noticed in him on the
common highways. There is no doubt he was perfectly sincere and simple
in all this high treatment of Voltaire. "The foremost, literary
spirit of the world, a man to be honored by me, and by all men; the
Trismegistus of Human Intellects, what a conquest to have made; how
cheap is a little money, a little patience and guidance, for such
solacement and ornament to one's barren Life!" He had rashly hoped that
the dreams of his youth could hereby still be a little realized; and
something of the old Reinsberg Program become a fruitful and blessed
fact. Friedrich is loyally glad over his Voltaire; eager in all ways to
content him, make him happy; and keep him here, as the Talking Bird, the
Singing Tree and the Golden Water of intelligent mankind; the glory of
one's own Court, and the envy of the world. "Will teach us the secret
of the Muses, too; French Muses, and help us in our bits of Literature!"
This latter, too, is a consideration with Friedrich, as why should it
not,--though by no means the sole or chief one, as the French give it
out to be.

On his side, Voltaire is not disloyal either; but is nothing like so
completely loyal. He has, and continued always to have, not unmixed with
fear, a real admiration for Friedrich, that terrible practical Doer,
with the cutting brilliances of mind and character, and the irrefragable
common sense; nay he has even a kind of love to him, or something like
it,--love made up of gratitude for past favors, and lively anticipation
of future. Voltaire is, by nature, an attached or attachable creature;
flinging out fond boughs to every kind of excellence, and especially
holding firm by old ties he had made. One fancies in him a mixed set of
emotions, direct and reflex,--the consciousness of safe shelter, were
there nothing more; of glory to oneself, derived and still derivable
from this high man:--in fine, a sum-total of actual desire to live
with King Friedrich, which might, surely, have almost sufficed even for
Voltaire, in a quieter element. But the element was not quiet,--far from
it; nor was Voltaire easily sufficeable!



PERPETUAL PRESIDENT MAUPERTUIS HAS A VISIT FROM ONE KONIG, OUT OF
HOLLAND, CONCERNING THE INFINITELY LITTLE.

Whether Maupertuis, in red wig with yellow bottom, saw these high
gauderies of the Carrousel, the Plays in Princess Amelia's Antechamber,
and the rest of it, I do not know: but if so, he was not in the top
place; nor did anybody take notice of him, as everybody did of Voltaire.
Meanwhile, I have something to quote, as abridged and distilled from
various sources, chiefly from Formey; which will be of much concernment
farther on.

Some four weeks after those Carrousel effulgencies, Perpetual President
Maupertuis had a visit (September 21st, just while the Sun was crossing
the Line; thanks to Formey for the date, who keeps a Note-book,
useful in these intricacies): visit from Professor Konig, an effective
mathematical man from the Dutch parts. Whom readers have forgotten
again; though they saw him once: in violent quarrel, about the
Infinitely Little, with Madame du Chatelet, Voltaire witnessing with
pain;--it was just as they quitted Cirey together, ten years ago, for
these new courses of adventure. Do readers recall the circumstance?
Maupertuis, referee in that quarrel, had, with a bluntness offensive to
the female mind, declared Konig indisputably in the right; and there had
followed a dryness between the divine Emilie and the Flattener of the
Earth, scarcely to be healed by Voltaire's best efforts.

Konig has gone his road since then; become a fine solid fellow;
Professor in a Dutch University; more latterly Librarian to the Dutch
Stadtholder: still frank of speech, and with a rugged free-and-easy
turn, but of manful manners; really a person of various culture, and as
is still noticeable, of a solid geometric turn of mind. Having now, as
Librarian at the Hague, more leisure and more money, he has made a run
to Berlin,--chiefly or entirely to see his Maupertuis again, whom he
still remembers gratefully as his first Patron in older times, and a man
of sound parts, though rather blusterous now and then, A little bit of
scientific business also he has with him. Konig is Member of the Berlin
Academy, for some years back; and there is a thing he would speak with
the Perpetual President upon. "Wants nothing else in Berlin," says
Formey: a hearing by the road that Maupertuis was not there, he had
actually turned homewards again: but got truer tidings, and came on.
"The more was the pity, as perhaps will appear!"He arrived September 20th
[if you will be particular on cheese-parings]; called on me that day,
being lodged in my neighborhood; and next day, found Maupertuis at
home;" [Formey, i. 176-179.]--and flew into his arms again, like a good
boy long absent.

Maupertuis, not many months ago, had, in Two successive Papers, I think
Two, communicated to the Academy a Discovery of Metaphysico-Mathematical
or altogether Metaphysical nature, on the Laws of Motion;--Discovery
which he has, since that, brought to complete perfection, and sent forth
to the Universe at large, in his sublime little Book of COSMOLOGY; [In
La Beaumelle,--Vie de Maupertuis--(Paris, 1856), pp. 105-130, confused
account of this "Discovery," and of the gradual Publication of it to
mankind,--very gradual; first of all in the old Paris times; in the
Berlin ACADEMY latterly; and in fine, to all the world, in this ESSAI
DE COSMOLOGIE (Berlin, Summer of 1750).]--grateful Academy striving to
admire, and believe, with its Perpetual President, that the Discovery
was sublime to a degree; second only to the flattening of the Earth; and
would probably stand thenceforth as a milestone in the Progress of Human
Thought. "Which Discovery, then?" Be not too curious, reader; take only
of it what shall concern you!

It is well known there have been, to the metaphysical head, difficulties
almost insuperable as to How, in the System of Nature, Motion is?
How, in the name of wonder, it can be; and even, Whether it is at all?
Difficulties to the metaphysical head, sticking its nose into the gutter
there;--not difficult to my readers and me, who can at all times walk
across the room, and triumphantly get over them. But stick your nose
into any gutter, entity, or object, this of Motion or another,
with obstinacy,--you will easily drown, if that be your
determination!--Suffice it for us to know in this matter, that
Maupertuis, intensely watching Nature, has discovered, That the key of
her enigma (or at least the ultimate central DOOR, which hides all
her Motional enigmas, the key to WHICH cannot even be imagined as
discoverable!) is, that "Nature is superlatively THRIFTY in this affair
of motion;" that she employs, for every Motion done or do-able, "a
MINIMUM OF ACTION;" and that, if you well understand this, you will, at
least, announce all her procedures in one proposition, and have found
the DOOR which leads to everything. Which will be a comfort to you;
still looking vainly for the key, if there is still no key conceivable.

Perpetual President Maupertuis, having surprised Nature in this manner,
read Papers upon it to an Academy listening with upturned eyes; new
Papers, perfected out of old,--for he has long been hatching these
Phoenix-eggs; and has sent them out complete, quite lately, in a little
Book called COSMOLOGIE, where alone I have had the questionable benefit
of reading them. Grandly brief, as if coming from Delphi, the utterance
is; loftily solemn, elaborately modest, abstruse to the now human mind;
but intelligible, had it only been worth understanding:--a painful
little Book, that COSMOLOGIE, as the Perpetual President's generally
are. "Minimum of Action, LOI D'EPARGNE, Law of Thrift," he calls this
sublime Discovery;--thinks it will be Sovereign in Natural Theology
as well: "For how could Nature be a Save-all, without Designer
present?"--and speaks, of course, among other technical points, about
"VIS VIVA, or Velocity multiplied by the Square of the Time:" which two
points, "LOI D'EPARGNE," and that "the VIS VIVA is always a Minimum,"
the reader can take along with him; I will permit him to shake the
others into Limbo again, as forgettable by human nature at this epoch
and henceforth.

In La Beaumelle's--Vie de Maupertuis--(printed at last, Paris, 1856,
after lying nearly a century in manuscript, an obtuse worthless leaden
little Book), there is much loud droning and detailing, about this
COSMOLOGIE, this sublime "Discovery," and the other sublime Discoveries,
Insights and Apocalyptic Utterances of Maupertuis; though in so confused
a fashion, it is seldom you can have the poor pleasure of learning
exactly when, or except by your own severe scrutiny, exactly what. For
reasons that will appear, certain of those Apocalyptic Utterances by
Perpetual President Maupertuis have since got a new interest, and one
has actually a kind of wish to read the IPSISSIMA VERBA of them, at
this date! But in La Beaumelle (his modern Editor lying fast asleep
throughout) there is no vestige of help. Nay Maupertuis's own Book,
[--OEuvres de Maupertuis,--Lyon, 1756, 4 vols. 4to.] luxurious
cream-paper Quartos, or Octaves made four-square by margin,--which you
buy for these and the cognate objects,--proves altogether worthless
to you. The Maupertuis Quartos are not readable for their own sake
(solemnly emphatic statement of what you already know; concentrated
struggle to get on wing, and failure by so narrow a miss; struggle which
gets only on tiptoe, and won't cease wriggling and flapping); and
then (to your horror) they prove to be carefully cleaned of all
the Maupertuis-VOLTAIRE matter;--edition being SUBSEQUENT to that
world-famous explosion. CAVEAT EMPTOR.--Our Excerpt proceeds:--

"Industrious Konig, like other mathematical people, has been listening
to these Oracles on the 'Law of Minimum,' by the Perpetual President;
and grieves to find, after study, That said Law does not quite hold;
that in fact it is, like Descartes's old key or general door, worth
little or nothing; as Leibnitz long ago seems to have transiently
recognized. Konig has put his strictures on paper: but will not dream
of publishing, till the Perpetual President have examined them and
satisfied himself; and that is Konig's business at present, as he knocks
on Maupertuis, while Sol is crossing the Line. Maupertuis has a House of
the due style: Wife a daughter of Minister Borck's (high Borcks, 'old
as the DIUVEL'); no children;--his back courts always a good deal dirty
with pelicans, bustards, perhaps snakes and other zoological wretches,
which sometimes intrude into the drawing-rooms, otherwise very fine. A
man of some whims, some habits; arbitrary by nature, but really honest,
though rather sublimish in his interior, with red Wig and yellow bottom.

"Konig, all filial gladness, is received gladly;--though, by degrees,
with some surprise, on the paternal part, to find Konig ripened out of
son, client and pupil, into independent posture of a grown man. Frankly
certain enough about himself, and about the axioms of mathematics.
Standing, evidently, on his own legs; kindly as ever, but on these
new terms,--in fact rather an outspoken free-and-easy fellow (I should
guess), not thinking that offence can be taken among friends. Formey
confesses, this was uncomfortable to Maupertuis; in fact, a shock which
he could not recover from. They had various meetings, over dinner aud
otherwise, at the Perpetual President's, for perhaps two weeks at
this time (dates all to be had in Formey's Note-book, if anybody would
consult); in the whole course of which the shock to the Perpetual
President increased, instead of diminishing. Republican freedom and
equality is evidently Konig's method; Konig heeds not a whit the
oracular talent or majestic position of Maupertuis; argues with the
frankest logic, when he feels dissent;--drives a majestic Perpetual
President, especially in the presence of third parties, much out of
patience. Thus, one evening, replying to some argument of the Perpetual
President's, he begins: 'My poor friend, MON PAUVRE AMI, don't you
perceive, then'--Upon which Maupertuis sprang from his chair, violently
stamping, and pirouetted round the room, 'Poor friend, poor friend?
are you so rich: then!' frank Konig merely grinning till the paroxysm
passed. [Formey, i. 177.] Konig went home again, RE INFECTA about the
end of the month."

Such a Konig--had better not have come! As to his strictures on the LAW
OF THRIFT, the arguings on them, alone together, or with friends by,
merely set Maupertuis pirouetting: and as to the Konig Manuscripts
on them "to be published in the Leipzig ACTA, after your remarks and
permission," Maupertuis absolutely refused to look at said Manuscripts:
"Publish them there, here, everywhere, in the Devil and his
Grandmother's name; and then there is an end, Monsieur!" Konig went his
ways therefore, finding nothing else for it; published his strictures,
in the Leipzig ACTA in March next,--and never saw Maupertuis again, for
one result, out of several that followed! I have no doubt he was out to
Voltaire, more than once, in this fortnight; and eat "the King's roast"
pleasantly with that eminent old friend. Voltaire always thought him
a BON GARCON (justly, by all the evidence I have); and finds his talk
agreeable, and his Berlin news--especially that of Maupertuis and his
explosive pirouettings. Adieu, Herr Professor; you know not, with
your Leipzig ACTA and Fragment of Leibnitz, what an explosion you are
preparing!



Chapter VII.--M. DE VOLTAIRE HAS A PAINFUL JEW-LAWSUIT.

Voltaire's Terrestrial Paradise at Berlin did not long continue perfect.
Scarcely had that grand Carrousel vanished in the azure firmaments,
when little clouds began rising in its stead; and before long, black
thunder-storms of a very strange and even dangerous character.

It must have been a painful surprise to Friedrich to hear from his
Voltaire, some few weeks after those munificences, That he, Voltaire,
was in very considerable distress of mind, from the bad, not to call it
the felonious and traitorous, conduct of M. D'Arnaud,--once Friedrich's
shoeing-horn and "rising-sun" for Voltaire's behoof; now a vague
flaunting creature, without significance to Friedrich or anybody! That
D'Arnaud had done this and done that, of an Anti-Voltairian, treasonous
nature;--and that, in short, life was impossible in the neighborhood of
such a D'Arnaud!"D'Arnaud has corrupted my Clerk (Prince Henri hungering
in vain for LA PUCELLE, has got sight of it, in this way); [Clerk was
dismissed accordingly (one Tinois, an ingenious creature),--and COLLINI
appointed in his stead.] D'Arnaud has been gossiping to Freron and the
Paris Newspapers; D'Arnaud has" [Voltaire to Friedrich (--OEuvres de
Frederic,--xxii. 257), undated, "November, 1750."]--Has, in effect,
been a flaunting young fool; of dissolute, esurient, slightly profligate
turn; occasionally helping in the Theatricals, and much studious to make
himself notable, and useful to the Princely kind. A D'Arnaud of nearly
no significance, to Friedrich or to anybody. A D'Arnaud whose bits of
fooleries and struttings about, in the peacock or jackdaw way, might
surely have been below the notice of a Trismegistus!

Friedrich, painfully made sensible what a skinless explosive
Trismegistus he has got on hand, answers, I suppose, in words little or
nothing,--in Letters, I observe, answers absolutely nothing, to Voltaire
repeating and re-repeating;--does simply dismiss D'Arnaud (a "BON
DIABLE," as Voltaire, to impartial people, calls him), or accept
D'Arnaud's demission, and cut the poor fool adrift. Who sallies out into
infinite space, to Paris latterly ("alive there in 1805"); and claims
henceforth perpetual oblivion from us and mankind. And now there will be
peace in our garden of the gods, and perpetual azure will return?

Alas, D'Arnaud is not well gone, when there has begun brewing in
threefold secrecy a mass of galvanic matter, which, in few weeks more,
filled the Heavens with miraculous foul gases and the blackness of
darkness;--which, in short, exploded about New-year's time, as the
world-famous VOLTAIRE-HIRSCH LAWSUIT, still remembered, though only as a
portent and mystery, by observant on-lookers. Of which it is now our sad
duty to say something; though nowhere, in the Annals of Jurisprudence,
is there a more despicable thing, or a deeper involved in lies and
deliriums by current reporters of it, about which the sane mind can be
called upon accidentally to speak a word. Beaten, riddled, shovelled,
washed in many waters, by a patient though disgusted Predecessor in
this field, there lies by me a copious but wearisome Narrative of this
matter;--the more vivid portions of which, if rightly disengaged, and
shown in sequence, may satisfy the curious.

Duvernet (who, I can guess, had talked with D'Arget on the subject) has,
alone of the French Biographers, some glimmer of knowledge about it;
Duvernet admits that it was a thing of Illegal Stock-jobbing; that--

1. "That M. de Voltaire had agreed with a Jew named Hirsch to go to
Dresden and, illegally, PURCHASE a good lot of STEUER-SCHEINE [Saxon
Exchequer Bills, which are payable in gold to a BONA FIDE PRUSSIAN
holding them, but are much in discount otherwise, as readers may
remember]; and given Hirsch a Draft on Paris, due after some weeks, for
payment of the same; Hirsch leaving him a stock of jewels in pledge till
the STEUER-SCHEINE themselves come to hand.

2. "That Hirsch, having things of his own in view with the money, sent
no STEUER-SCHEINE from Dresden, nothing but vague lying talk instead
of STEUER: so that Voltaire's suspicions naturally kindling, he stopped
payment of the Paris Draft, and ordered Hirsch to come home at once.

3. "That Hirsch coming, a settlement was tried: 'Give me back my Draft
on Paris, you objectionable blockhead of a Hirsch; there are your
Diamonds, there is something even for your expenses (some fair moiety,
I think); and let me never see your unpleasant face again!' To
which Hirsch, examining the diamonds, answered [says Duvernet, not
substantially incorrect hitherto, though stepping along in total
darkness, and very partial on Voltaire's behalf],--Hirsch, examining the
diamonds, answered, 'But you have changed some of them! I cannot take
these!'--and drove Voltaire quite to despair, and into the Law-Courts;
which imprisoned Hirsch, and made him do justice." [Duvernet (T.J.D.V.),
170, 173, 175:--vague utterly; dateless (tries one date, and is mistaken
even in the Year); wrong in nearly every detail; "the 'STAIRE or STEUER
was a BANK?" &c. &c.]

In which last clause, still more in the conclusion, that it was "to the
triumph of Voltaire," Duvernet does substantially mistake! And indeed,
except as the best Parisian reflex of this matter, his Account is
worth nothing:--though it may serve as Introduction to the following
irrefragable Documents and more explicit featurings. We learn from him,
and it is the one thing we learn of credible, That "Voltaire, when
it came to Law Procedures, begged Maupertuis to speak for him to M.
Jarriges," a Prussian Frenchman, "one of the Judges; and that Maupertuis
answered, 'I cannot interfere in a bad business (ME MELER D'UNE MAUVAISE
AFFAIRE).'" The other French Biographies, definable as "IGNOR-AMUS
speaking in a loud voice to IGNOR-ATIS," require to be altogether swept
aside in this matter. Even "Clog." jumbling Voltaire's undated LETTERS
into confusion thrice confounded, and droning out vituperatively in the
dark, becomes a MINUS quantity in these Friedrich affairs. In regard
to the Hirsch Process, our one irrefragable set of evidences is: The
Prussian LAW-REPORT by KLEIN,--especially the Documents produced in
Court, and the Sentence given. [Ernst Ferdinand Klein,--Annalen
der Gesetzgebung und Rechtsgelehrsamkeit in den Preussischen
Staaten--(Berlin und Stettin), 1790, v. 215-260.] Other lights are to
be gathered, with severe scrutiny and caution, from the circumambient
contemporary rumor,--especially from the PREFACE to a "Comedy" so called
of "TANTALE EN PROCES (Tantalus," Voltaire, "at Law");--which PREFACE is
evidently Hirsch's own Story, put into language for him by some humane
friend, and addressed to a "clear-seeing Public." [TANTALE EN PROCES
(ascribed to Friedrich himself, by some wonderful persons!) is
in--Supplement aux OEuvres Posthumes de Frederic II.--(Cologne, 1789),
i. 319 et seq. Among the weakest of Comedies (might be by D'Arnaud, or
some such hand); nothing in it worth reading except the Preface.] "And
in fine," says my Manuscript, "by sweeping out the distinctly false,
and well discriminating the indubitable from what is still in part
dubitable, sufficient twilight [abridgable in a high degree, I hope!]
rises over the Affair, to render it visible in all its main features."



THE VOLTAIRE-HIRSCH TRANSACTION: PART I. ORIGIN OF LAWSUIT (10th
November-25th December, 1750).

"Saxon STEUER-SCHEIN, some readers know, is, in the rough, equivalent to
Exchequer Bill. Payable at the Saxon Treasury; to Prussians, in gold; to
all other men, in paper only,--which (thanks to Bruhl and his unheard-of
expenditures and financierings) is now at a discount say of 25, or even
30 per cent. By Article Eleventh of the Dresden TREATY OF PEACE, King
Friedrich, if our readers have not forgotten, got stipulated, That all
Prussian holders of these SCHEINE should be paid in gold; interest
at the due days; and at the due days principal itself:--in gold they,
whatever became of others. No farther specifications, as to proof,
method, limits or conditions of any kind, occur in regard to this
Eleventh Article; which is a just one, beyond doubt, but most carelessly
drawn up. Apparently it trusts altogether to the personal honesty of all
Prussian subjects: 'Prove yourself a Prussian subject, and we pay your
Steuer-Schein in real money.' But now if a Saxon or other Non-Prussian,
who can get no payment save in paper, were to have his Note smuggled or
trafficked over into Prussia, and presented as a Prussian one? In our
time, such traffic would start on the morrow morning; and in a week or
two, all Notes whatsoever would be presented as Prussian, payable in
gold! Not so in those days;--though a small contraband of that kind does
by degrees threaten to establish itself, and Friedrich had to publish
severe rescripts (one before this Hirsch-Voltaire business, [10th
August, 1748 (Seyfarth, i. 62).] one still severer after), and menace
it down again. The malpractice seems to have proved menaceable in that
manner; nor was any new arrangement made upon it,--no change, till the
Steuer-Scheine, by their gradual terms, were all paid either in real
money or imaginary, and thus, in the course of years, the thing burnt to
the socket, and went out."

Voltaire's rash Adventure, dangerous Navigation and gradual Wreck,
in this Forbidden Sea of Steuer-Scheine,--will become conceivable to
readers, on study diligent enough of the following Documents and select
Details:--


DOCUMENT FIRST (a small Missive, in Voltaire's hand).

"Je prie instamment monsieur hersch de venir demain mardi matin a
potsdam pour affaire pressante, et d'aporter (SIC) avec luy les diamants
qui doivent servir pour la representation de la tragedie qui se jouera a
cinq heures de soir chez S.A.R. Monseigneur le Prince henri  Ce lundy a
midy. VOLTAIRE."

Which being interpreted, rightly spelt, and dated (as by chance we can
do) with distinctness, will run as follows in English:--

"POTSDAM, Monday, 9th November, 1750. "I earnestly request Mr. Hirsch to
come to-morrow Tuesday morning to Potsdam, on business that is urgent;
and to bring with him the Diamonds needed for the Tragedy which is to
be represented, at five in the evening, in His Royal Highness Prince
Henry's Apartment." [Klein, v. 260.]

"On Tuesday the 10th," say the Old Newspapers, "was ROME SAUVEE;"--with
Voltaire, perceptible there as "CICERON," [Rodenbeck, i. 209.] in due
 A glorious enough Cicero;--and such a piece of "urgent business" done
with your Hirsch, just before emerging on the stage!

"Hirsch, in that NARRATIVE, describes himself as a young innocent
creature. Not very old, we will believe: but as to innocence!--For
certain, he is named Abraham Hirsch, or Hirschel: a Berlin Jew of the
Period; whom one inclines to figure as a florid oily man, of Semitic
features, in the prime of life; who deals much in jewels, moneys, loans,
exchanges, all kinds of Jew barter; whether absolutely in old clothes,
we do not know--certainly not unless there is a penny to be turned. The
man is of oily Semitic type, not old in years,--there is a fraternal
Hirsch, and also a paternal, who is head of the firm;--and this
young one seems to be already old in Jew art. Speaks French and other
dialects, in a Hebrew, partially intelligible manner; supplies Voltaire
with diamonds for his stage-dresses, as we perceive. To all appearance,
nearly destitute of human intellect, but with abundance of vulpine
instead. Very cunning; stupid, seemingly, as a mule otherwise;--and,
on the whole, resembling in various points of character a mule put into
breeches, and made acquainted with the uses of money. He is come 'on
pressing business,'--perhaps not of stage-diamonds alone? Here now is
DOCUMENT SECOND; nearly of the same date; may be of the very same;--more
likely is a few days later, and betokens mysterious dialogue and
consultation held on Tuesday 10th. It is in two hands: written on some
scrap or TORN bit of paper, to judge by the length of the lines."


DOCUMENT SECOND.

"In Voltaire's hand, this part:--

--'Savoir s'il est encore tems de declarer les billets qu'on a sur la
steure. si on en specifie le numero dans la declaration.'--

'If it is still time to declare [to announce in Saxony and demand
payment for] Notes one holds on the Steuer? If one is to specify the No.
in the declaration?'

"In Hirsch's hand, this part:--

--'l'on peut declarer des billets sur la
steure, qu'on a en depost en pays etranger, et dont on ne pourra savoir
le numero que dans quinze jours ou trois Semaines.'--[Klein, 259.]

'One can declare Notes on the Steuer, which one holds in deposit in
Foreign Countries; and of which one cannot state the No. till after a
fortnight or three weeks.'

"Which of these Two was the Serpent, which the Eve, in this
STEUER-SCHEIN Tree of Knowledge, that grew in the middle of Paradise,
remains entirely uncertain. Hirsch, of course, says it was Voltaire;
Voltaire (not aware that DOCUMENT SECOND remained in existence)
had denied that his Hirsch business was in any way concerned with
STEUER;--and must have been a good deal struck, when DOCUMENT SECOND
came to light; though what could he do but still deny! Hirsch asserts
himself to have objected the 'illegality, the King's anger;' but that
Voltaire answered in hints about his favor with the King; 'about his
power to make one a Court-Jeweller,' if he liked; and so at last
tempted the baby innocence of Hirsch;--for the rest, admits that the
Steuer-Notes were expected to yield a Profit--of 35 per cent:--and,
in fact, a dramatic reader can imagine to himself dialogue enough, at
different times, going on, partly by words, partly by hint, innuendo
and dumb-show, between this Pair of Stage-Beauties. But, for near a
fortnight after DOCUMENT FIRST, there is nothing dated, or that can be
clearly believed,--till,

"MONDAY, 23d NOVEMBER, 1750. It is credibly certain the Jew Hirsch
came again, this day, to the Royal Schloss of Potsdam, to Voltaire's
apartment there [right overhead of King Friedrich's, it is!]--where,
after such dialogue as can be guessed at, there was handed to Hirsch
by Voltaire, in the form of Two negotiable Bills, a sum of about 2,250
pounds; with which the Jew is to make at once for Dresden, and
buy Steuer-Scheine. [Hirsch's Narrative, in Preface to--Tantale en
Proces,--p. 340.] Steuer-Scheine without fail: 'but in talking or
corresponding on the matter, we are always to call them FURS
or DIAMONDS,'--mystery of mysteries being the rule for us. This
considerable sum of 2,250 pounds may it not otherwise, contrives
Voltaire, be called a 'Loan' to Jeweller Hirsch, so obliging a Jeweller,
to buy 'Furs' or 'Diamonds' with? At a gain of 35 per 100 Pieces, there
will be above 800 pounds to me, after all expenses cleared: a very
pretty stroke of business do-able in few days!"--

"Monday, 23d November:" The beautiful Wilhelmina, one remarks, is just
making her packages; right sad to end such a Visit as this had been!
Thursday night, from her first sleeping-place, there is a touching
Farewell to her Brother;--tender, melodiously sorrowful, as the Song
of the Swan. [Wilhelmina to Friedrich, "Brietzen, 26th November, JOUR
FUNESTE POUR MOI" (--OEuvres de Frederic,--xxvii. i. 197).] To Voltaire
she was always good; always liked Voltaire. Voltaire would be saying
his Adieus, in state, among the others, to that high Being,--just in the
hours while such a scandalous Hirsch-Concoction went, on underground!

"As to the Two Bills and Voltaire's security for them, readers are to
note as follows. Bill FIRST is a Draft, on Voltaire's Paris Banker for
40,000 livres (about 1,600 pounds), not payable for some weeks: 'This I
lend you, Monsieur Hirsch; mind, LEND you,--to buy Furs!' 'Yes, truly,
what we call Furs;--and before the Bill falls payable, there will be
effects for it in Monseigneur de Voltaire's hand; which is security
enough for Monseigneur.' The SECOND Bill, again"--Truth is, there were
in succession two Second Bills, an INTENDED-Second (of this same Monday
23d), which did not quite suit, and an ACTUAL-Second (two days later),
which did. INTENDED-Second Bill was one for 4,000 thalers (about 600
pounds), drawn by Voltaire on the Sieur Ephraim,--a very famous Jew
of Berlin now and henceforth, with whom as money-changer, if not yet
otherwise (which perhaps Ephraim thinks unlucky), Voltaire, it would
seem, is in frequent communication. This Bill, Ephraim would not accept;
told Hirsch he owed M. de Voltaire nothing; "turned me rudely away,"
says Hirsch (two of a trade, and no friends, he and I!)--so that there
is nothing to be said of this Ephraim Bill; and except as it elucidates
some dark portions of the whirlpools, need not have been noticed at all.
"Hirsch," continues my Authority, "got only Two available Bills; the
first on Paris for 1,600 pounds, payable in some weeks; and, after a day
or two, this other: The ACTUAL BILL SECOND; which is a Draft for 4,430
thalers (about 650 pounds), by old Father Hirsch, head of the Firm, on
Voltaire himself:--'Furs too with that, Monsieur Hirsch, at the rate
of 35 per piece, you understand?' 'Yea, truly, Monseigneur!'--Draft
accepted by Voltaire, and the cash for it now handed to Hirsch Son: the
only absolutely ready money he has yet got towards the affair.

"For these Two Bills, especially for this Second, I perceive, Voltaire
holds borrowed jewels (borrowed in theatrical times, or partly bought,
from the Hirsch Firm, and not paid for), which make him sure till he see
the STEUER Papers themselves.--(And now off, my good Sieur Hirsch; and
know that if you please ME, there are--things in my power which would
suit a man in the Jeweller and Hebrew line!) Hirsch pushes home to
Berlin; primed and loaded in this manner; Voltaire naturally auxious
enough that the shot may hit. Alas, the shot will not even go off, for
some time: an ill omen!

"SUNDAY, 29th NOVEMBER, Hirsch, we hear, is still in Berlin. Fancy the
humor of Voltaire, after such a week as last! (TUESDAY, December 1st)
Hirsch still is not off: 'Go, you son of Amalek!' urges Voltaire; and
sends his Servant Picard, a very sharp fellow, for perhaps the third
time,--who has orders now, as Hirsch discovers, to stay with him, not
quit sight of him till he do go. [Hirsch's Narrative; see Voltaire's
Letter to D'Arget (--OEuvres,--lxiv. 11).] Hirsch's hour of departure
for Dresden is not mentioned in the ACTS; but I guess he could hardly
get over Wednesday, with Picard dogging him on these terms; and must
have taken the diligence on Wednesday night: to arrive in Dresden about
December 4th. 'Well; at least, our shot is off; has not burst out, and
lodged in our person here,--thanked be all the gods!'

"Off, sure enough:--and what should we say if the whole matter were
already oozing out; if, on this same Sunday evening, November 29th) not
quite a week's time yet, the matter (as we learn long afterwards) had
been privately whispered to his Majesty: 'That Voltaire has sent off
a Jew to buy Steuer-Scheine, and has promised to get him made
Court-Jeweller!' [Voltaire,--OEuvres,--lxxiv. 314 ("Letter to Friedrich,
February, 1751,"--AFTER Catastrophe).], So; within a week, and before
Hirsch is even gone! For men are very porous; weighty secrets oozing out
of them, like quicksilver through clay jars. I could guess, Hirsch,
by way of galling insolent Ephraim, had blabbed something: and in the
course of five days, it has got to the very King,--this Kammerherr
Voltaire being such a favorite and famous man as never was; the
very bull's-eye of all kinds of Berlin gossip in these days. 'Hm,
Steuer-Scheine, and the Jew Hirsch to be Court-Jeweller, you say?'
thinks the King, that Sunday night; but locks the rumor in his Royal
mind, he, for his part; or dismisses it as incredible: 'There ought to
be impervious vessels too, among the porous!' Voltaire notices nothing
particular, or nothing that he speaks of as particular. This must
have been a horrid week to him, till Hirsch got away." Hirsch is away
(December 2d); in Dresden, safe enough; but--

"But, the fortnight that follows is conceivable as still worse. Hirsch
writing darkly, nothing to the purpose; Voltaire driving often into
Berlin, hearing from Ephraim hints about, 'No connection with that
House;' 'If Monseigneur have intrusted Hirsch with money,--may there be
a good account of it!' and the like. Black Care devouring Monseigueur;
but nothing definite; except the fact too evident, That Hirsch does not
send or bring the smallest shadow of Steuer-Scheine,--'Peltries,' or
'Diamonds,' we mean,--or any value whatever for that Paris Bill of ours,
payable shortly, and which he has already got cashed in Dresden. Nothing
but excuses, prevarications; stupid, incoherently deceptive jargon,
as of a mule intent on playing fox with you. Vivid Correspondence is
conceivable; but nothing of it definite to us, except this sample"
(which we give translated):--

DOCUMENT THIRD (torn fraction in Voltaire's hand: To Hirsch, doubtless;
early in December).... "Not proper (IL NE FALLAIT PAS) to negotiate
Bills of Exchange, and never produce a single diamond"--bit of peltry,
or ware of any kind, you son of Amalek! "Not proper to say: I have got
money for your bills of exchange, and I bring you nothing back; and I
will repay your money when you shall no longer be here [in Germany at
all]. Not proper to promise at 35 louis, and then say 30. To say 30,
and then next morning 25. You should at least have produced goods (IL
FALLAIT EN DONNER) at the price current; very easy to do when one was
on the spot. All your procedures have been faults hitherto. [Klein, v.
259.]

"These are dreadful symptoms. Steuer-Notes, promised at 35 discount, are
not to be had except at 30. Say 30 then, and get done with it, mule of
a scoundrel! Next day the 30 sinks to 25; and not a Steuer-Note, on any
terms, comes to hand. And the mule of a scoundrel has drawn money, in
Dresden yonder, for my Bill on Paris,--excellent to him for trade of his
own! What is to be done with such an Ass of Balaam? He has got the bit
in his teeth, it would seem. Heavens, he too is capable of stopping
short, careless of spur and cudgel; and miraculously speaking to a NEW
Prophet [strange new "Revealer of the Lord's Will," in modern dialect],
in this enlightened Eighteenth Century itself!--One thing the new
Prophet, can do: protest his Paris Bill.

"DECEMBER 12th [our next bit of certainty], Voltaire writes, haste,
haste, to Paris, 'Don't pay;' and intimates to Hirsch, 'You will have
to return your Dresden Banker his money for that Paris Bill. At Paris
I have protested it, mark me; and there it never will be paid to him
or you. And you must come home again instantly, job undone, lies not
untold, you--!' Hirsch, with money in hand, appears not to have wanted
for a briskish trade of his own in the Dresden marts. But this of
cutting off his supplies brings him instantly back:"--and at Berlin,
DECEMBER 16th, new facts emerge again of a definite nature.

"WEDNESDAY, 16th DECEMBER, 1750. 'To-day the King with Court and
Voltaire come to Berlin for the Carnival;' [Rodenbeck, i. 209.] to-day
also Voltaire, not in Carnival humor, has appointed his Jew to meet
him. In the Royal Palace itself,--we hope, well remote from Friedrich's
Apartment!--this sordid conference, needing one's choicest diplomacy
withal, and such exquisite handling of bit and spur, goes on. And
probably at great length. Of which, as the FINALE, and one clear
feature significant to the fancy, here is,--for record of what they call
'COMPLETE SETTLEMENT,' which it was far from turning out to be:--


DOCUMENT FOURTH (in Hirsch's hand, First Piece of it).

--"'Pour quittance generale promettant de rendre a Mr. de Voltaire tous
billets, ordres et lettres de change a moy donnez jusqu'a ce jour, 16
Decembre, 1750.--

"'Account all settled; I promising to return M. de
Voltaire all Letters, Orders and Bills of Exchange given me to this day,
16th December, 1750.

[Hirsch signs. But you have forgotten something, Monsieur Hirsch!
Whereupon]--et promets de donner a Mr. de Voltaire dans le jour de
demain ou apres au plustard deux cent guatre-vingt frederics d'or au
lieu de deux cent quatre-vingt louis d'or, que je lui ai payez, le tout
pour quittance generale, ce 16 Decembre, 1750, a berlin--And promise
to give M. de Voltaire, in the course of to-morrow, or the day after
to-morrow at latest, 280 FREDERICS D'OR, instead of 280 LOUIS D'OR [gold
FREDERICS the preferabe coin, say experts] which I have now paid him;
whereby All will be settled.

[Hirsch again signs; but has again forgotten something, most important
thing. And]--je lui remettrai surtout les 40,000 livres de billets de
change sur paris qu'il mavoit donnez et fiez'--I will especially return
him the Bill on Paris for 40,000 livres (1,600 pounds) which he had
given and trusted to me,'--but has since protested, as is too evident.

[And Hirsch signs for the last time]." [Klein, pp. 258, 260.]--

Symptomatic, surely, of a haggly settlement, these THREE shots instead
of one!--"Voltaire's return is:--

--"'Pour quittance generale de tout compte solde entre nous, tout paye
au sieur abraham hersch a berlin, 16 Decembre, 1750.--Voltaire'--
"'Account all settled between us, payment of the Sieur Abraham Hirsch in
full: Berlin, 16th Deember, 1750.'

[which Second Piece, we perceive, is to lie in Hirsch's hand, to keep,
if he find it valuable].

"This 'COMPLETE SETTLEMENT,'--little less than miraculous to Voltaire
and us,--one finds, after sifting, to have been the fruit of Voltaire's
exquisite skill in treating and tuning his Hirsch (no harshness of
rebuke, rather some gleam of hope, of future bargains, help at Court):
(Your expenses; compensation for protesting of that Bill on Paris? Tush,
cannot we make all that good! In the first place, I will BUY of you
these Jewels [this one discovers to have been the essence of the
operation!], all or the best part of them, which I have here in pawn for
Papa's Bill: 650 pounds was it not? Well, suppose I on the instant take
450 pounds worth, or so, of these Jewels (I want a great many jewels);
and you to pay me down a 200 or so of gold LOUIS as balance,--gold
LOUIS, no, we will say FREDERICS rather. There now, that is settled.
Nothing more between us but settles itself, if we continue friends!'
Upon which Hirsch walked home, thankful for the good job in Jewels;
wondering only what the Allowance for Expenses and Compensation will
be. And Voltaire steps out, new-burnished, into the Royal Carnival
splendors, with a load rolled from his mind.

"This COMPLETE SETTLEMENT, meanwhile, rests evidently on two legs, both
of which are hollow. 'What will the handsome Compensation be, I wonder?'
thinks Hirsch;--and is horror-struck to find shortly, that Voltaire
considers 60 thalers (about 9 pounds) will be the fair sum! 'More than
ten times that!' is Hirsch's privately fixed idea. On the other hand,
Voltaire has been asking himself, 'My 450 pounds worth of Jewels, were
they justly valued, though?' Jew Ephraim (exaggerative and an enemy to
this Hirsch House) answers, 'Justly? I would give from 300 pounds to 250
pounds for them!'--So that the legs both crumbling to powder, Complete
Settlement crashes down into chaos: and there ensues,"--But we must
endeavor to be briefer!

There ensues, for about a week following, such an inextricable scramble
between the Sieur Hirsch and M. de Voltaire as,--as no reader, not
himself in the Jew-Bill line, or paid for understanding it, could
consent to have explained to him. Voltaire, by way of mending the bad
jewel-bargain, will buy of Hirsch 200 pounds worth more jewels; gets
the new 200 pounds worth in hand, cannot quite settle what articles will
suit: "This, think you? That, think you?" And intricately shuffles them
about, to Hirsch and back. Hirsch, singular to notice, holds fast by
that Protested Paris Bill; on frivolous pretexts, always forgets to
bring that: "May have its uses, that, in a Court of Justice yet!"
Meetings there are, almost daily, in the Voltaire Palace-Apartment;
DECEMBER 19th and DECEMBER 24th) there are Two DOCUMENTS (which we must
spare the reader, though he will hear of them again, as highly notable,
especially of one of them, as notable in the extreme!)--indicating the
abstrusest jewel-bargainings, scramblings, re-bargainings.

"My Jewels are truly valued!" asseverates Hirsch always: "Ephraim is my
enemy; ask Herr Reklam, chief Jeweller in Berlin, an impartial man!"
The meetings are occasionally of stormy character; Voltaire's patience
nearly out: "But did n't I return you that Topaz Ring, value 75 pounds?
And you have NOT deducted it; you--!" "One day, Picard and he pulled a
Ring [doubtless this Topaz] off my finger," says the pathetic Hirsch,
"and violently shoved me out of the room, slamming their door,"--and
sent me home, along the corridors, in a very scurvy humor! Thus, under a
skin of second settlement, there are two galvanic elements, getting ever
more galvanic, which no skin of settlement can prevent exploding before
long.

Explosion there accordingly was; most sad and dismal; which rang through
all the Court circles of Berlin; and, like a sound of hooting and of
weeping mixed, is audible over seas to this day. But let not the reader
insist on tracing the course of it henceforth. Klein, though faithful
and exact, is not a Pitaval; and we find in him errors of the press. The
acutest Actuary might spend weeks over these distracted Money-accounts,
and inconsistent Lists of Jewels bought and not bought; and would be
unreadable if successful. Let us say, The business catches fire at
this point; the Voltaire-Hirsch theatre is as if blown up into mere
whirlwinds of igneous rum and smoky darkness. Henceforth all plunges
into Lawsuit, into chaos of conflicting lies,--undecipherable, not worth
deciphering. Let us give what few glimpses of the thing are clearly
discernible at their successive dates, and leave the rest to picture
itself in the reader's fancy.

It appears, that Meeting of DECEMBER 24th, above alluded to, was
followed by another on Christmas-day, which proved the final one. Final
total explosion took place at this new meeting;--which, we find farther,
was at Chasot's Lodging (the CHAPEAU of Hanbury), who is now in Town,
like all the world, for Carnival. Hirsch does not directly venture on
naming Chasot: but by implication, by glimmers of evidence elsewhere,
one sufficiently discovers that it is he: Lieutenant-Colonel, King's
Friend, a man glorious, especially ever since Hohenfriedberg, and
that haul of the "sixty-seven standards" all at once. In the way of
Arbitration, Voltaire thinks Chasot might do something. In regard to
those 450 pounds worth of bought Jewels, there is not such a judge in
the world! Hirsch says: "Next morning [December 25th, morrow after that
jumbly Account, with probable slamming of the door, and still worse!],
Voltaire went to a Lieutenant-Colonel in the King's service; and ask
him to send for me." [Duvernet (Second), p. 172; Hirsch's Narrative
(in--Tantale,--p. 344).] This is Chasot; who knows these jewels well.
Duvernet,--who had talked a good deal with D'Arget, in latter years, and
alone of Frenchmen sometimes yields a true particle of feature in things
Prussian,--Duvernet tells us, these Jewels were once Chasot's own: given
him by a fond Duchess of Mecklenburg,--musical old Duchess, verging
towards sixty; HONI SOIT, my friend! What Hirsch gave Chasot for these
Jewels is not a doubtful quantity; and may throw conviction into Hirsch,
hopes Voltaire.

DECEMBER 25th, 1750. The interview at Chasot's was not lengthy, but it
was decisive. Hirsch never brings that Paris Bill; privately fixed,
on that point. Hirsch's claims, as we gradually unravel the intricate
mule-mind of him, rise very high indeed. "And as to the value of those
Jewels, and what I allowed YOU for them, Monsieur Chasot; that is no
rule: trade-profits, you know"--Nay, the mule intimates, as a last
shift, That perhaps they are not the same Jewels; that perhaps M. de
Voltaire has changed some of them! Whereupon the matter catches fire,
irretrievably explodes. M. de Voltaire's patience flies quite done; and,
fire-eyed fury now guiding, he springs upon the throat of Hirsch like a
cat-o'-mountain; clutches Hirsch by the windpipe; tumbles him about the
room: "Infamous canaille, do you know whom you have got to do with? That
it is in my power to stick you into a hole underground for the rest
of your life? Sirrah, I will ruin and annihilate you!"--and "tossed me
about the room with his fist on my throat," says Hirsch; "offering to
have pity nevertheless, if I would take back the Jewels, and return
all writings." [Narrative (in--Tantale--).] Eyes glancing like a
rattlesnake's, as we perceive; and such a phenomenon as Hirsch had not
expected, this Christmas! In short, the matter has here fairly exploded,
and is blazing aloft, as a mass of intricate fuliginous ruin, not to be
deciphered henceforth. Such a scene for Chasot on the Christmas-day at
Berlin! And we have got to



PART II. THE LAWSUIT ITSELF (30th December, 1750-18th and 26th February,
1751).

Hirsch slunk hurriedly home, uncertain whether dead or alive. Old
Hirsch, hearing of such explosion, considered his house and family
ruined; and, being old and feeble, took to bed upon it, threatening
to break his heart. Voltaire writes to Niece Denis, on the morrow; not
hinting at the Hirsch matter, far from that; but in uncommonly dreary
humor: "My splendor here, my glory, never was the like of it; MAIS,
MAIS," BUT, and ever again BUT, at each new item,--in fact, the humor of
a glorious Phoenix-Peacock suddenly douched and drenched in dirty water,
and feeling frost at hand! ["To Madame Denis" (lxxiv. 279, "Berlin
Palace, 26th December, 1750;"--and ib. 249, 257, &c. of other dates).]
Humor intelligible enough, when dates are compared.

Better than that, Voltaire is applying, on all points of the compass, to
Legal and Influential Persons, for help in a Court of Law. To Chancellor
Cocceji; to Jarriges (eminent Prussian Frenchman), President of Court;
to Maupertuis, who knows Jarriges, but "will not meddle in a bad
business;"--at last, even to dull reverend Formey, whom he had not
called on hitherto. Cocceji seems to have answered, to the effect, "Most
certainly: the Courts are wide open;"--but as to "help"! December
30th, the Suit, Voltaire VERSUS Hirsch, "comes to Protocol,"--that is,
Cocceji, Jarriges, Loper, three eminent men, have been named to try it;
and Herr Hofrath Bell, Advocate for Voltaire Plaintiff, hands in his
First Statement that day. Berlin resounds, we may fancy how! Rumor,
laughter and wonder are in all polite quarters; and continue, more or
less vivid, for above two months coming. Here is one direct glimpse of
Plaintiff, in this interim; which we will give, though the eyes are none
of the best: "The first visit I," Formey, "had from Voltaire was in the
afternoon of January 8th) 1751 [Suit begun ten days ago]. I had, at the
time, a large party of friends. Voltaire walked across the Apartment,
without looking at anybody; and, taking me by the hand, made me lead him
to a cabinet adjoining. His Lawsuit with a Jew was the matter on hand.
He talked to me at large about his Lawsuit, and with the greatest
vehemence; he wound up by asking me to speak to Law-President M. de
Jarriges (since Chancellor): I answered what was suitable;"--probably
did speak to Jarriges, but might as well have held my tongue. "Voltaire
then took his leave: stepping athwart the former Apartment with some
precipitation, he noticed my eldest little girl, then in her fourth
year, who was gazing at the diamonds on his Cross of the Order of
Merit. 'Bagatelles, bagatelles, MON ENFANT!' said he, and disappeared."
[Formey, i. 232.]

On New-Year's day, Friday, 1st January, 1751, Voltaire had legally
applied to Herr Minister von Bismark, for Warrant to arrest Hirsch, as
a person that will not give up Papers not belonging to him. Warrant was
granted, and Hirsch lodged in Limbo. Which worsens the state of poor old
Father Hirsch; threatening now really to die, of heart-break and other
causes. Hirsch Son, from the interior of Limbo, appeals to Bismark,
"Lord Chancellor Cocceji is seized of my Plea, your gracious
Lordship!"--"All the same," answers Bismark; "produce CAUTION, or you
can't get out." Hirsch produces caution; and gets out, after a day or
two;--and has been "brought to Protocol January 4th." No delay in this
Court: both parties, through their Advocates, are now brought to book;
the points they agree in will be sifted out, and laid on this side as
truth; what they differ in, left lying on that side, as a mixture of
lies to be operated on by farther processes and protocols.

We will not detail the Lawsuit;--what I chiefly admire in it is its
brevity. Cocceji has not reformed in vain. Good Advocates, none other
allowed; and no Advocate talks; he merely endeavors to think, see and
discover; holds his tongue if he can discover nothing: that doubtless
is one source of the brevity!--Many lies are stated by Hirsch, many by
Voltaire: but the Judges, without difficulty, shovel these aside; and
come step by step upon the truth. Hirsch says plainly, He was sent to
buy STEUER-SCHEINE at 35 per cent discount; Voltaire entirely denies
the Steuer-Notes; says, It was an affair of Peltries and Jewelries,
originating in loans of money to this ungrateful Jew. Which necessitates
much wriggling on the part of M. de Voltaire;--but he has himself
written in a Lawyer's Office, in his young days, and knows how to
twist a turn of expression. The Judges are not there to judge
about Steuer-Notes; but they give you to understand that Voltaire's
Peltry-and-Jewelry story is moonshine. Hirsch produces the Voltaire
Scraps of Writing, already known to our readers; Voltaire says,
"Mere extinct jottings; which Hirsch has furtively picked out of the
grate,"--or may be said to have picked; Papers annihilated by our
Bargain of December 16th, and which should have been in the grate, if
they were not; this felon never having kept his word in that respect.
Peltries and Jewelries, I say: he will not give me back that Paris
Bill which was protested; pays me the other 3,000 crowns (Draft of 650
pounds) in Jewels overvalued by half.--"Jewels furtively changed since
Plaintiff had them of me!" answers Hirsch;--and the steady Judges keep
their sieves going.

The only Documents produced by Voltaire are Two; of 19th DECEMBER and of
24th DECEMBER;--which the reader has not yet seen, but ought now to gain
some notion of, if possible. They affect once more, as that of December
16th had done, to be "Final Settlements" (or Final Settlement of 19th,
with CODICIL of 24th); and turn on confused Lists of Jewels, bought,
returned, re-bought (that "Topaz ring" torn from one's hand, a
conspicuous item), which no reader would have patience to understand,
except in the succinct form. Let all readers note them, however,--at
least the first of them, that of December 19th; especially the words we
mark in Italics, which have merited a sad place for IT in the history
of human sin and misery. Klein has given both Documents in engraved
fac-simile; we must help ourselves by simpler methods. Berlin, December
19th, 1750; Voltaire writes, Hirsch signs;--and the Italics are believed
to be words foisted in by M. de Voltaire, weeks after, while the Hirsch
pleadings were getting stringent! Read,--a very sad memorial of M. de
Voltaire,--

DOCUMENT FIFTH (in Voltaire's hand, written at two times; and the old
writing MENDED in parts, to suit the new!).--"FOR PAYMENT OF 3,000
THALERS BY ME DUE, I have sold to M. de Voltaire, at the price
costing by estimation and tax, with 2 per cent for my commission ["OR
GRATIFICATION," written above], the following Diamonds, taxed [blotted
into "TAXABLE"], as here adjoined; viz."--seven pieces of jewelry,
pendeloques, &c., with price affixed, among which is the violated
Topaz,--"the whole estimated by him ["him" crossed out, and "ME" written
over it], being 3,640 thalers. Whereupon, received from Monsieur de
Voltaire [what is very strange; not intelligible without study!] the sum
of 2,940 thalers, and he has given me back the Topaz, with 60 crowns for
my trouble.--Berlin, 19th December, 1750." (Hitherto in Voltaire's hand;
after which Hirsch writes:) "APROUVE, A. Hirschel." [Sic: that is always
his SIGNATURE; "Abraham HirschEL," so given by Klein, while Klein and
everybody CALL him Hirsch (STAG), as we have done,--if only to save a
syllable on the bad bargain.] And between these two lines ("... 1750"
and "APPROVED..."), there is crushed in, as afterthought, "VALUED BY
MYSELF [Hirsch's self], 2,940, ADD 60, IS 3,000." And, in fine, below
the Hirsch signature, on what may be called the bottom margin, there
is,--I think, avowedly Voltaire's and subsequent,--this: "N.B. that
Hirsch's valuing of all the jewels [present lot and former lot] is, by
real estimation, between twice and thrice too high;" of which, it is
hoped, your Lordships will take notice!

Was there ever seen such a Paper; one end of it contradicting the other?
Payment TO M. de Voltaire, and payment BY M. de Voltaire;--with other
blottings and foistings, which print and italics will not represent!
Hirsch denies he ever signed this Paper. Is not that your writing, then:
"APROUVE, A. Hirschel"?--"No!" and they convict him of falsity in that
respect: the signature IS his, but the Paper has been altered since he
signed it. That is what the poor dark mortal meant to express; and in
his mulish way, he has expressed into a falsity what was in itself a
truth. There is not, on candid examination of Klein's Fac-similes and
the other evidence, the smallest doubt but Voltaire altered, added and
intercalated, in his own privacy, those words which we have printed in
italics; TAXES changed into TAXABLES ("estimated at" into "estimable
at"), HIM for ME, and so on; and above all, the now first line of the
Paper, FOR PAYMENT OF 3,000 THALERS BY ME DUE, and in last line
the words VALUED BY MYSELF, &c., are palpable interpolations, sheer
falsifications, which Hirsch is made to continue signing after his back
is turned!

No fact is more certain; and few are sadder in the history of M. de
Voltaire. To that length has he been driven by stress of Fortune. Nay,
when the Judges, not hiding their surprise at the form of this Document,
asked, Will you swear it is all genuine? Voltaire answered, "Yes,
certainly!"--for what will a poor man not do in extreme stress of
Fortune? Hirsch, as a Jew, is not permitted to make oath, where a
Quasi-Christian will swear to the contrary, or he gladly would; and
might justly. The Judges, willing to prevent chance of perjury, did not
bring Voltaire to swearing, but contrived a way to justice without that.

FEBRUARY 18th, 1751, the Court arrives at a conclusion. Hirsch's
Diamonds, whatever may have been written or forged, are not, nor
were, worth more than their value, think the Judges. The Paris Bill is
admitted to be Voltaire's, not Hirsch's, continue they;--and if Hirsch
can prove that Voltaire has changed the Diamonds, not a likely fact,
let him do so. The rest does not concern us. And to that effect, on the
above day, runs their Sentence: "You, Hirsch, shall restore the Paris
Bill; mutual Papers to be all restored, or legally annihilated. Jewels
to be valued by sworn Experts, and paid for at that price. Hirsch, if he
can prove that the Jewels were changed, has liberty to try it, in a new
Action. Hirsch, for falsely denying his Signature, is fined ten thalers
(thirty shillings), such lie being a contempt of court, whatever more."

"Ha, fined, you Jew Villain!" hysterically shrieks Voltaire: "in the
wrong, weren't you, then; and fined thirty shillings?" hysterically
trying to believe, and make others believe, that he has come off
triumphant. "Beaten my Jew, haven't I?" says he to everybody, though
inwardly well enough aware how it stands, and that he is a Phoenix
douched, and has a tremor in the bones! Chancellor Cocceji was far
from thinking it triumphant to him. Here is a small Note of Cocceji's,
addressed to his two colleagues, Jarriges and Loper, which has been
found among the Law Papers:

"BERLIN, 20th FEBRUARY, 1751. The Herr President von Jarriges and
Privy-Councillor Loper are hereby officially requested to bring the
remainder of the Voltaire Sentence to its fulfilment: I am myself not
well, and can employ my time much better. The Herr von Voltaire has
given in a desperate Memorial (EIN DESPERATES MEMORIAL) to this purport:
'I swear that what is charged to me [believed of me] in the Sentence is
true; and now request to have the Jewels valued.' I have returned
him this Paper, with notice that it must be signed by an
Advocate.--COCCEJI." [Klein, 256.]

So wrote Chancellor Cocceji, on the Saturday, washing his hands of this
sorry business. Voltaire is ready to make desperate oath, if needful. We
said once, M. de Voltaire was not given to lying; far the reverse.
But yet, see, if you drive him into a corner with a sword at his
throat,--alas, yes, he will lie a little! Forgery lay still less in his
habits; but he can do a stroke that way, too (one stroke, unique in his
life, I do believe), if a wild boar, with frothy tusks, is upon him.
Tell it not in Gath,--except for scientific purposes! And be judicial,
arithmetical, in passing sentence on it; not shrieky, mobbish, and
flying off into the Infinite!

Berlin, of course, is loud on these matters. "The man whom the King
delighted to honor, this is he, then!" King Friedrich has quitted Town,
some while ago; returned to Potsdam "January 30th." Glad enough,
I suppose, to be out of all this unmusical blowing of catcalls and
indecent exposure. To Voltaire he has taken no notice; silently leaves
Voltaire, in his nook of the Berlin Schloss, till the foul business get
done. "VOLTAIRE FILOUTE LES JUIFS (picks Jew pockets)," writes he once
to Wilhelmina: "will get out of it by some GAMBADE (summerset),"
writes he another time; "but" ["31st December, 1750" (--OEuvres de
Frederic,--xxvii, i. 198); "3d February, 1751" (ib. 201).]--And takes
the matter with boundless contempt, doubtless with some vexation, but
with the minimum of noise, as a Royal gentleman might. Jew Hirsch is
busy preparing for his new desperate Action; getting together proof that
the Jewels have been changed. In proof Jew Hirsch will be weak; but in
pleading, in public pamphlets, and keeping a winged Apollo fluttering
disastrously in such a mud-bath, Jew Hirsch will be strong. Voltaire,
"out of magnanimous pity to him," consents next week to an Agreement.
Agreement is signed on Thursday, 26th February, 1751:--Papers all to
be returned, Jewels nearly all, except one or two, paid at Hirsch's own
price. Whereby, on the whole, as Klein computes, Voltaire lost about 150
pounds;--elsewhere I have seen it computed at 187 pounds: not the least
matter which. Old Hirsch has died in the interim ("Of broken heart!"
blubbers the Son); day not known.

And, on these terms, Voltaire gets out of the business; glad to close
the intolerable rumor, at some cost of money. For all tongues were
wagging; and, in defect of a TIMES Newspaper, it appears, there had
Pamphlets come out; printed Satires, bound or in broadside;--sapid,
exhilarative, for a season, and interesting to the idle mind. Of which,
TANTALE EN PROCES may still, for the sake of that PREFACE to it, be
considered to have an obscure existence. And such, reduced to its
authenticities, was the Adventure of the Steuer-Notes. A very bad
Adventure indeed; unspeakably the worst that Voltaire ever tried, who
had such talent in the finance line. On which poor History is really
ashamed to have spent so much time; sorting it into clearness, in the
disgust and sorrow of her soul. But perhaps it needed to be done. Let
us hope, at least, it may not now need to be done again. [Besides the
KLEIN, the TANTALE EN PROCES and the Voltaire LETTERS cited above, there
is (in--OEuvres de Voltaire,--lxiv. pp. 61-106, as SUPPLEMENT there),
written off-hand, in the very thick of the Hirsch Affair, a considerable
set of NOTES TO D'ARGET, which might have been still more elucidative;
but are, in their present dateless topsy-turvied condition; a very
wonder of confusion to the studious reader!]

This is the FIRST ACT of Voltaire's Tragic-Farce at the Court of Berlin:
readers may conceive to what a bleared frost-bitten condition it
has reduced the first Favonian efflorescence there. He considerably
recovered in the SECOND ACT, such the indelible charm of the Voltaire
genius to Friedrich. But it is well known, the First Act rules all
the others; and here, accordingly, the Third Act failed not to prove
tragical. Out of First Act into Second the following EXTRACTS OF
CORRESPONDENCE will guide the reader, without commentary of ours.

Voltaire, left languishing at Berlin, has fallen sick, now that all is
over;--no doubt, in part really sick, the unfortunate Phoenix-Peafowl,
with such a tremor in his bones;--and would fain be near Friedrich and
warmth again; fain persuade the outside world that all is sunshine with
him. Voltaire's Letters to Friedrich, if he wrote any, in this Jew time,
are lost; here are Friedrich's Answers to Two,--one lost, which had
been written from Berlin AFTER the Jew affair was out of Court; and to
another (not lost) after the Jew affair was done.


1. KING FRIEDRICH TO VOLTAIRE AT BERLIN.

"POTSDAM, 24th February, 1751. "I was glad to receive you in my house; I
esteemed your genius, your talents and acquirements; and I had reason to
think that a man of your age, wearied with fencing against Authors, and
exposing himself to the storm, came hither to take refuge as in a safe
harbor.

"But, on arriving, you exacted of me, in a rather singular manner, Not
to take Freron to write me news from Paris; and I had the weakness, or
the complaisance, to grant you this, though it is not for you to decide
what persons I shall take into my service. D'Arnaud had faults towards
you; a generous man would have pardoned them; a vindictive man hunts
down those whom he takes to hating. In a word, though to me D'Arnaud had
done nothing, it was on your account that he had to go. You were
with the Russian Minister, speaking of things you had no concern with
[Russian Excellency Gross, off home lately, in sudden dudgeon, like an
angry sky-rocket, nobody can guess why! Adelung, vii. 133 (about 1st
December, 1750).]--and it was thought I had given you Commission." "You
have had the most villanous affair in the world with a Jew. It has made
a frightful scandal all over Town. And that Steuer-Schein business is so
well known in Saxony, that they have made grievous complaints of it to
me.

"For my own share, I have preserved peace in my house till your
arrival: and I warn you, that if you have the passion of intriguing and
caballing, you have applied to the wrong hand. I like peaceable composed
people; who do not put into their conduct the violent passions of
Tragedy. In case you can resolve to live like a Philosopher, I shall
be glad to see you; but if you abandon yourself to all the violences of
your passions, and get into quarrels with all the world, you will do me
no good by coming hither, and you may as well stay in Berlin." [Preuss,
xxii. 262 (WANTING in the French Editions).]--F.

To which Voltaire sighing pathetically in response, "Wrong, ah yes, your
Majesty;--and sick to death" (see farther down),--here is Friedrich's
Second in Answer:--


2. FRIEDRICH TO VOLTAIRE AGAIN.

"POTSDAM, 28th February, 1751. "If you wish to come hither, you can do
so. I hear nothing of Lawsuits, not even of yours. Since you have gained
it, I congratulate you; and I am glad that this scurvy affair is done.
I hope you will have no more quarrels, neither with the OLD nor with the
New TESTAMENT. Such worryings (CES SORTES DE COMPROMIS) leave their mark
on a man; and with the talents of the finest genius in France, you will
not cover the stains which this conduct would fasten on your reputation
in the long-run. A Bookseller Gosse [read JORE, your Majesty? Nobody
ever heard of Gosse as an extant quantity: Jore, of Rouen, you mean, and
his celebrated Lawsuit, about printing the HENRIADE, or I know not what,
long since] [Unbounded details on the Jore Case, and from 1731 to 1738
continual LETTERS on it, in--OEuvres de Voltaire;----came to a head
in 1736 (ib. lxix. 375); Jore penitent, 1738 (ib. i. 262), &c. &c.], a
Bookseller Jore, an Opera Fiddler [poor Travenol, wrong dog pincered by
the ear], and a Jeweller Jew, these are, of a surety, names which in
no sort of business ought to appear by the side of yours. I write this
Letter with the rough common-sense of a German, who speaks what he
thinks, without employing equivocal terms, and loose assuagements which
disfigure the truth: it is for you to profit by it.--F." [--OEuvres de
Frederic,--xxii. 265.]

So that Voltaire will have to languish: "Wrong, yes;--and sick, nigh
dead, your Majesty! Ah, could not one get to some Country Lodge near
you, 'the MARQUISAT' for instance? Live silent there, and see your face
sometimes?" [In--OEuvres de Frederic--(xxii. 259-261, 263-266) are Four
lamenting and repenting, wheedling and ultimately whining, LETTERS from
Voltaire, none of them dated, which have much about "my dreadful state
of health," my passion" for reposing in that MARQUISAT," &c.;--to one
of which Four, or perhaps to the whole together, the above No. 2 of
Friedrich seems to have been Answer. Of that indisputable "MARQUISAT" no
Nicolai says a word; even careful Preuss passes "Gosse" and it with shut
lips.] Languishing very much;--gives cosy little dinners, however. Here
are two other Excerpts; and these will suffice:--

VOLTAIRE TO FORMEY ("BERLIN PALACE;" DATABLE, FIRST DAYS OF MARCH):
"Will you, Monsieur, come and eat the King's roast meat (ROT DU ROI),
to-day, Thursday, at two o'clock, in a philosophic, warm and comfortable
manner (PHILOSOPHIQUEMENT ET CHAUDEMENT ET DOUCEMENT). A couple of
philosophers, without being courtiers, may dine in the Palace of a
Philosopher-King: I should even take the liberty of sending one of his
Majesty's Carriages for you,-at two precise. After dinner, you would be
at hand for your Academy meeting." [Formey, i. 234.]--V. How cosy!--And
King Friedrich has relented, too; grants me the Marquisat; can refuse me
nothing!

VOLTAIRE TO D'ARGENTAL (POTSDAM, 15th MARCH 1751).... "I could not
accompany our Chamberlain [Von Ammon, gone as Envoy to Paris, on a small
matter ["Commercial Treaty;" which he got done. See LONGCHAMP, if any
one is curious otherwise about this Gentleman: "D'Hamon" they call
him, and sometimes "DAMON",--to whom Niece Denis wanted to be Phyllis,
according to Longchamp.]], through the muds and the snows,--where I
should have been buried; I was ill," and had to go to the MARQUISAT.
"D'Arnaud and the pack of Scribblers would have been too glad. D'Arnaud,
animated with the true love of glory, and not yet grown sufficiently
illustrious by his own immortal Works, has done ONE of that kind,"--by
his behavior here. Has behaved to me--oh, like a miserable, envious,
intriguing, lying little scoundrel; and made Berlin too hot for him:
seduced Tinois my Clerk, stole bits of the Pucelle (brief SIGHT of bits,
for Prince Henri's sake) to ruin me.

"D'Arnaud sent his lies to Freron for the Paris meridian [that is his
real crime]; delightful news from canaille to canaille: 'How Voltaire
had lost a great Lawsuit, respectable Jew Banker cheated by Voltaire;
that Voltaire was disgraced by the King,' who of course loves Jews;
'that Voltaire was ruined; was ill; nay at last, that Voltaire was
dead.'" To the joy of Freron, and the scoundrels that are printing one's
PUCELLE. "Voltaire is still in life, however, my angels; and the King
has been so good to me in my sickness, I should be the ungratefulest
of men if I didn't still pass some months with him. When he left Berlin
[30th January, six weeks ago], and I was too ill to follow him, I was
the sole animal of my species whom he lodged in his Palace there [what
a beautiful bit of color to lay on!]--He left me equipages, cooks ET
CETERA; and his mules and horses carted out my temporary furniture
(MEUBLES DE PASSADE) to a delicious House of his, close by Potsdam
[MARQUISAT to wit, where I now stretch myself at ease; Niece Denis
coming to live with me there,--talks of coming, if my angels knew
it],--and he has reserved for me a charming apartment in his Palace of
Potsdam, where I pass a part of the week.

"And, on close view, I still admire this Unique Genius; and he deigns to
communicate himself to me;--and if I were not 300 leagues from you, and
had a little health, I should be the happiest of men." [--OEuvres de
Voltaire,--lxxiv. 320.]... Oh, my angels--

And, in short, better or worse, my SECOND ACT is begun, as you
perceive!--And certain readers will be apt to look in again, before all
is over.



Chapter VIII. OST-FRIESLAND AND THE SHIPPING INTERESTS.

Two Foreign Events, following on the heel of the Hirsch Lawsuit, were of
interest to our Berlin friends, though not now of much to us or anybody.
April 5th, 1751, the old King of Sweden, Landgraf of Hessen-Cassel,
died; whereby not only our friend Wilhelm, the managing Landgraf,
becomes Landgraf indeed (if he should ever turn up on us again), but
Princess Ulrique is henceforth Queen of Sweden, her Husband the
new King. No doubt a welcome event to Princess Ulrique, the high
brave-minded Lady; but which proved intrinsically an empty one, not to
say worse than empty, to herself and her friends, in times following.
Friedrich's connection with Sweden, which he had been tightening lately
by a Treaty of Alliance, came in the long-run to nothing for him, on the
Swedish side; and on the Russian has already created umbrages, kindled
abstruse suspicions, indignations,--Russian Excellency Gross, abruptly,
at Berlin, demanding horses, not long since, and posting home without
other leave-taking, to the surprise of mankind;--Russian Czarina
evidently in the sullens against Friedrich, this long while; dull
impenetrable clouds of anger lodging yonder, boding him no good. All
which the Accession of Queen Ulrique will rather tend to aggravate than
otherwise. [Adelung, vii. 205 (Accession of Adolf Friedrich); ib. 133
(Gross's sudden Departure).]

The Second Foreign Event is English, about a week prior in date, and
is of still less moment: March 31st, 1751, Prince Fred, the Royal
Heir-Apparent, has suddenly died. Had been ill, more or less, for an
eight days past; was now thought better, though "still coughing, and
bringing up phlegm,"--when, on "Wednesday night between nine and ten,"
in some lengthier fit of that kind, he clapt his hand on his breast; and
the terrified valet heard him say, "JE SUIS MORT!"--and before his
poor Wife could run forward with a light, he lay verily dead. [Walpole,
GEORGE THE SECOND, i. 71.] The Rising Sun in England is vanished,
then. Yes; and with him his MOONS, and considerable moony workings, and
slushings hither and thither, which they have occasioned, in the muddy
tide-currents of that Constitutional Country. Without interest to us
here; or indeed elsewhere,--except perhaps that our dear Wilhelmina
would hear of it; and have her sad reflections and reminiscences
awakened by it; sad and many-voiced, perhaps of an almost doleful
nature, being on a sick-bed at this time, poor Lady. She quitted Berlin
months ago, as we observed,--her farewell Letter to Friedrich, written
from the first stage homewards, and melodious as the voice of sorrowful
true hearts to us and him, dates "November 24th," just while Voltaire
(whom she always likes, and in a beautiful way protects, "FRERE
VOLTAIRE," as she calls him) was despatching Hirsch on that ill-omened
Predatory STEUER-Mission. Her Brother is in real alarm for Wilhelmina,
about this time; sending out Cothenius his chief Doctor, and the like:
but our dear Princess re-emerges from her eclipse; and we shall see her
again, several times, if we be lucky.

And so poor Fred is ended;--and sulky people ask, in their cruel way,
"Why not?" A poor dissolute flabby fellow-creature; with a sad destiny,
and a sadly conspicuous too. Could write Madrigals; be set to make
Opposition cabals. Read this sudden Epitaph in doggerel; an uncommonly
successful Piece of its kind; which is now his main monument with
posterity. The "Brother" (hero of Culloden), the "Sister" (Amelia,
our Friedrich's first love, now growing gossipy and spiteful, poor
Princess), are old friends:--

    "Here lies Prince Fred,
     Who was alive and is dead:
     Had it been his Father,
     I had much rather;
     Had it been his Brother,
     Sooner than any other;


     Had it been his Sister,
     There's no one would have missed her;
     Had it been his whole generation,
     Best of all for the Nation:
     But since it's only Fred,
     There's no more to be said." [Walpole, i. 436.]



FRIEDRIAH VISITS OST-FRIESLAND.

A thing of more importance to us, two months after that catastrophe in
London, is Friedrich's first Visit to Ost-Friesland. May 31st, having
done his Berlin-Potsdam Reviews and other current affairs, Friedrich
sets out on this Excursion. With Ost-Friesland for goal, but much
business by the way. Towards Magdeburg, and a short visit to the
Brunswick Kindred, first of all. There is much reviewing in the
Magdeburg quarter, and thereafter in the Wesel; and reviewing and
visiting all along: through Minden, Bielfeld, Lingen: not till July
13th does he cross the Ost-Friesland Border, and enter Embden. His
three Brothers, and Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick, were with him.
[--Helden-Geschichte,--iii. 506; Seyfarth, ii. 145; Rodenbeck, i. 216
(who gives a foolish German myth, of Voltaire's being passed off for the
King's Baboon, &c.; Voltaire not being there at all).] On catching view
of Ost-Friesland Border, see, on the Border-Line, what an Arch got
on its feet: Triumphal Arch, of frondent ornaments, inscriptions and
insignia; "of quite extraordinary magnificence;" Arch which "sets
every one into the agreeablest admiration." Above a hundred such
Arches spanned the road at different points; multitudinous enthusiasm
reverently escorting, "more than 20,000" by count: till we enter Embden;
where all is cannon-salvo, and three-times-three; the thunder-shots
continuing, "above 2,000 of them from the walls, not to speak of
response from the ships in harbor." Embden glad enough, as would appear,
and Ost-Friesland glad enough, to see their new King. July 13th, 1751;
after waiting above six years.

Next day, his Majesty gave audience to the new "Asiatic Shipping
Company" (of which anon), to the Stande, and Magisterial persons;--with
many questions, I doubt not, about your new embankments, new
improvements, prospects; there being much procedure that way, in all
manner of kinds, since the new Dynasty came in, now six years ago.
Embankments on your River, wide spaces changed from ooze to meadow; on
the Dollart still more, which has lain 500 years hidden from the
sun. Does any reader know the Dollart? Ost-Friesland has awakened to
wonderful new industries within these six years; urged and guided by
the new King, who has great things in view for it, besides what are in
actual progress.

That of dikes, sea-embankments, for example; to Ost-Friesland, as to
Holland, they are the first condition of existence; and, in the past
times, of extreme Parliamentary vitality, have been slipping a good deal
out of repair. Ems River, in those flat rainy countries, has ploughed
out for itself a very wide embouchure, as boundary between Groningen
and Ost-Friesland. Muddy Ems, bickering with the German Ocean, does not
forget to act, if Parliamentary Commissioners do. These dikes, 120
miles of dike, mainly along both banks of this muddy Ems River, are now
water-tight again, to the comfort of flax and clover: and this is but
one item of the diking now on foot. Readers do not know the Dollart,
that uppermost round gulf, not far from Embden itself, in the waste
embouchure of Ems with its continents of mud and tide. Five hundred
years ago, that ugly whirl of muddy surf, 100 square miles in area, was
a fruitful field, "50 Villages upon it, one Town, several Monasteries
and 50,000 souls:" till on Christmas midnight A.D. 1277, the winds and
the storm-rains having got to their height, Ocean and Ems did, "about
midnight," undermine the place, folded it over like a friable bedquilt
or monstrous doomed griddle-cake, and swallowed it all away. Most of
it, they say, that night, the whole of it within ten years coming;
[Busching,--Erdbeschreibung,--v. 845, 846; Preuss, i. 308, 309.]--and
there it has hung, like an unlovely GOITRE at the throat of Embden,
ever since. One little dot of an Island, with six houses on it, near
the Embden shore, is all that is left. Where probably his Majesty landed
(July 15th, being in a Yacht that day); but did not see, afar off, the
"sunk steeple-top," which is fabled to be visible at low-water.

Upon this Dollart itself there is now to be diking tried; King's
Domain-Kammer showing the example. Which Official Body did accordingly
(without Blue-Books, but in good working case otherwise) break
ground, few months hence; and victoriously achieved a POLDER, or Diked
Territory, "worth about 2,000 pounds annually;" "which, in 1756, was
sold to the STANDE;" at twenty-five years purchase, let us say, or for
50,000 pounds. An example of a convincing nature; which many others, and
ever others, have followed since; to gradual considerable diminution of
the Dollart, and relief of Ost-Friesland on this side. Furtherance of
these things is much a concern of Friedrich's. The second day after his
arrival, those audiences and ceremonials done, Friedrich and suite got
on board a Yacht, and sailed about all over this Dollart, twenty miles
out to sea; dined on board; and would have, if the weather was bright
(which I hope), a pleasantly edifying day. The harbor is much in need
of dredging, the building docks considerably in disrepair; but shall
be refitted if this King live and prosper. He has declared Embden a
"Free-Haven," inviting trade to it from all peaceable Nations;--and
readers do not know (though Sir Jonas Hanway and the jealous mercantile
world well did) what magnificent Shipping Companies and Sea-Enterprises,
of his devising, are afoot there. Of which, one word, and no second
shall follow:

"September 1st, 1750, those Carrousel gayeties scarce done, 'The Asiatic
Trading Company' stept formally into existence; Embden the Head-quarters
of it; [Patent, or FREYHEITS-BRIEF in--Helden-Geschichte,--iii. 457,
458.] chief Manager a Ritter De la Touche; one of the Directors
our fantastic Bielfeld, thus turned to practical value. A Company
patronized, in all ways, by the King; but, for the rest, founded, not on
his money; founded on voluntary shares, which, to the regret of Hanway
and others, have had much popularity in commercial circles. Will trade
to China. A thing looked at with umbrage by the English, by the Dutch.
A shame that English people should encourage such schemes, says
Hanway. Which nevertheless many Dutch and many English private persons
do,--among the latter, one English Lady (name unknown, but I always
suspect 'Miss Barbara Wyndham, of the College, Salisbury'), concerning
whom there will be honorable notice by and by.

"At the time of Friedrich's visit, the Asiatic Company is in full vogue;
making ready its first ship for Canton. First ship, KONIG VON PREUSSEN
(tons burden not given), actually sailed 17th February next (1752); and
was followed by a second, named TOWN OF EMBDEN, on the 19th of September
following; both of which prosperously reached Canton, and prosperously
returned with cargoes of satisfactory profit. The first of them, KONIG
VON PREUSSEN, had been boarded in the Downs by an English Captain
Thomson and his Frigate, and detained some days,--till Thomson 'took
Seven English seamen out of her.' 'Act of Parliament, express!' said
his Grace of Newcastle. Which done, Thomson found that the English
jealousies would have to hold their hand; no farther, whatever one's
wishes may be.

"Nay within a year hence, January 24th, 1753, Friedrich founded another
Company for India: 'BENGALISCHE HANDELS-GESELLSCHAFT;' which also sent
out its pair of ships, perhaps oftener than once; and pointed, as the
other was doing, to wide fields of enterprise, for some time. But
luck was wanting. And, 'in part, mismanagement,' and, in whole, the
Seven-Years War put an end to both Companies before long. Friedrich is
full of these thoughts, among his other Industrialisms; and never quits
them for discouragement, but tries again, when the obstacles cease to
be insuperable. Ever since the acquisition of Ost-Friesland, the
furtherance of Sea-Commerce had been one of Friedrich's chosen objects.
'Let us carry our own goods at least, Silesian linens, Memel timbers,
stock-fish; what need of the Dutch to do it?' And in many branches his
progress had been remarkable,--especially in this carrying trade, while
the War lasted, and crippled all Anti-English belligerents. Upon which,
indeed, and the conduct of the English Privateers to him, there is a
Controversy going on with the English Court in those years (began
in 1747), most distressful to his Grace of Newcastle;--which in part
explains those stingy procedures of Captain Thomson ('Home, you
seven English sailors!') when the first Canton ship put to sea. That
Controversy is by no means ended after three years, but on the contrary,
after two years more, comes to a crisis quite shocking to his Grace
of Newcastle, and defying all solution on his Grace's side,--the other
Party, after such delays, five years waiting, having settled it for
himself!" Of which, were the crisis come, we will give some account.

On the third day of his Visit, Friedrich drove to Aurich, the seat
of Government, and official little capital of Ost-Friesland; where
triumphal arches, joyful reverences, concourses, demonstrations,
sumptuous Dinner one item, awaited his Majesty: I know not if, in the
way thither or back, he passed those "Three huge Oaks [or the rotted
stems or roots of them] under which the Ancient Frisians, Lords of all
between Weser and Rhine, were wont to assemble in Parliament" (WITHOUT
Fourth Estate, or any Eloquence except of the purely Business sort),--or
what his thoughts on the late Ost-Friesland Bandbox Parliaments may
have been! He returned to Embden that night; and on the morrow started
homewards; we may fancy, tolerably pleased with what he had seen.

"King Friedrich's main Objects of Pursuit in this Period," says a
certain Author, whom we often follow, "I define as being Three. 1.
Reform of the Law; 2. Furtherance of Husbandry and Industry in all
kinds, especially of Shipping from Embden; 3. Improvement of his own
Domesticities and Household Enjoyments,"--renewal of the Reinsberg
Program, in short.

"In the First of these objects," continues he, "King Friedrich's success
was very considerable, and got him great fame in the world. In his
Second head of efforts, that of improving the Industries and Husbandries
among his People, his success, though less noised of in foreign parts,
was to the near observer still more remarkable. A perennial business
with him, this; which, even in the time of War, he never neglects; and
which springs out like a stemmed flood, whenever Peace leaves him free
for it. His labors by all methods to awaken new branches of industry,
to cherish and further the old, are incessant, manifold, unwearied; and
will surprise the uninstructed reader, when he comes to study them.
An airy, poetizing, bantering, lightly brilliant King, supposed to be
serious mainly in things of War, how is he moiling and toiling, like
an ever-vigilant Land-Steward, like the most industrious City Merchant,
hardest-working Merchant's Clerk, to increase his industrial Capital by
any the smallest item!

"One day, these things will deserve to be studied to the bottom; and to
be set forth, by writing hands that are competent, for the instruction
and example of Workers,--that is to say, of all men, Kings most of all,
when there are again Kings. At present, I can only say they astonish me,
and put me to shame: the unresting diligence displayed in them, and the
immense sum-total of them,--what man, in any the noblest pursuit, can
say that he has stood to it, six-and-forty years long, in the style of
this man? Nor did the harvest fail; slow sure harvest, which sufficed
a patient Friedrich in his own day; harvest now, in our day, visible to
everybody: in a Prussia all shooting into manufactures, into commerces,
opulences,--I only hope, not TOO fast, and on more solid terms than are
universal at present! Those things might be didactic, truly, in various
points, to this Generation; and worth looking back upon, from its
high LAISSEZ-FAIRE altitudes, its triumphant Scrip-transactions and
continents of gold-nuggets,--pleasing, it doubts not, to all the gods.
To write well of what is called 'Political Economy' (meaning thereby
increase of money's-worth) is reckoned meritorious, and our nearest
approach to the rational sublime. But to accomplish said increase in
a high and indisputable degree; and indisputably very much by your own
endeavors wisely regulating those of others, does not that approach
still nearer the sublime?

"To prevent disappointment, I ought to add that Friedrich is the reverse
of orthodox in 'Political Economy;' that he had not faith in Free-Trade,
but the reverse;--nor had ever heard of those ultimate Evangels,
unlimited Competition, fair Start, and perfervid Race by all the world
(towards 'CHEAP-AND-NASTY,' as the likeliest winning-post for all the
world), which have since been vouchsafed us. Probably in the world there
was never less of a Free-Trader! Constraint, regulation, encouragement,
discouragement, reward, punishment; these he never doubted were the
method, and that government was good everywhere if wise, bad only if not
wise. And sure enough these methods, where human justice and the earnest
sense and insight of a Friedrich preside over them, have results, which
differ notably from opposite cases that can be imagined! The desperate
notion of giving up government altogether, as a relief from human
blockheadism in your governors, and their want even of a wish to be just
or wise, had not entered into the thoughts of Friedrich; nor driven
him upon trying to believe that such, in regard to any Human Interest
whatever, was, or could be except for a little while in extremely
developed cases, the true way of managing it. How disgusting,
accordingly, is the Prussia of Friedrich to a Hanbury Williams; who has
bad eyes and dirty spectacles, and hates Friedrich: how singular and
lamentable to a Mirabeau Junior, who has good eyes, and loves him!
No knave, no impertinent blockhead even, can follow his own beautiful
devices here; but is instantly had up, or comes upon a turnpike strictly
shut for him. 'Was the like ever heard of?' snarls Hanbury furiously (as
an angry dog might, in a labyrinth it sees not the least use for): 'What
unspeakable want of liberty!'--and reads to you as if he were lying
outright; but generally is not, only exaggerating, tumbling upside down,
to a furious degree; knocking against the labyrinth HE sees not the
least use for. Mirabeau's Gospel of Free-Trade, preached in 1788,
[MONARCHIE PRUSSIENNE he calls it (A LONDRES, privately Paris, 1788),
8 vols. 8vo; which is a Dead-Sea of Statistics, compiled by industrious
Major Mauvillon, with this fresh current of a "Gospel" shining through
it, very fresh and brisk, of few yards breadth;--dedicated to Papa, the
true PROTevangelist of the thing.]--a comparatively recent Performance,
though now some seventy or eighty years the senior of an English
(unconscious) Fac-simile, which we have all had the pleasure of
knowing,--will fall to be noticed afterwards [not by this Editor, we
hope!]

"Many of Friedrich's restrictive notions,--as that of watching with such
anxiety that 'money' (gold or silver coin) be not carried out of the
Country,--will be found mistakes, not in orthodox Dismal Science as now
taught, but in the nature of things; and indeed the Dismal Science will
generally excommunicate them in the lump,--too. heedless that Fact has
conspicuously vindicated the general sum-total of them, and declared it
to be much truer than it seems to the Dismal Science. Dismal Science
(if that were important to me) takes insufficient heed, and does not
discriminate between times past and times present, times here and times
there."

Certain it is, King Friedrich's success in National Husbandry was very
great. The details of the very many new Manufactures, new successful
ever-spreading Enterprises, fostered into existence by Friedrich; his
Canal-makings, Road-makings, Bog-drainings, Colonizings and unwearied
endeavorings in that kind, will require a Technical Philosopher one day;
and will well reward such study, and trouble of recording in a human
manner; but must lie massed up in mere outline on the present occasion.
Friedrich, as Land-Father, Shepherd of the People, was great on the
Husbandry side also; and we are to conceive him as a man of excellent
practical sense, doing unweariedly his best in that kind, all his life
long. Alone among modern Kings; his late Father the one exception; and
even his Father hardly surpassing him in that particular.

In regard to Embden and the Shipping interests, Ost-Friesland awakened
very ardent speculations, which were a novelty in Prussian affairs;
nothing of Foreign Trade, except into the limited Baltic, had been heard
of there since the Great Elector's time. The Great Elector had ships,
Forts on the Coast of Africa; and tried hard for Atlantic Trade,--out of
this same Embden; where, being summoned to protect in the troubles, he
had got some footing as Contingent Heir withal, and kept a "Prussian
Battalion" a good while. And now, on much fairer terms, not less
diligently turned to account, it is his Great-Grandson's turn.
Friedrich's successes in this department, the rather as Embden and
Ost-Friesland have in our time ceased to be Prussian, are not much worth
speaking of; but they connect themselves with some points still slightly
memorable to us. How, for example, his vigilantes and endeavors on this
score brought him into rubbings, not collisions, but jealousies and
gratings, with the English and Dutch, the reader will see anon.

Law-reform is gloriously prosperous; Husbandry the like, and Shipping
Interest itself as yet. But in the Third grand Head, that of realizing
the Reinsberg Program, beautifying his Domesticities, and bringing his
own Hearth and Household nearer the Ideal, Friedrich was nothing like
so successful; in fact had no success at all. That flattering Reinsberg
Program, it is singular how Friedrich cannot help trying it by every
new chance, nor cast the notion out of him that there must be a kind
of Muses'-Heaven realizable on Earth! That is the Biographic Phenomenon
which has survived of those Years; and to that we will almost
exclusively address ourselves, on behalf of ingenuous readers.



Chapter IX.--SECOND ACT OF THE VOLTAIRE VISIT.

Voltaire's Visit lasted, in all, about Thirty-two Months; and is
divisible into Three Acts or Stages. The first we have seen: how
it commenced in brightness as of the sun, and ended, by that Hirsch
business, in whirlwinds of smoke and soot,--Voltaire retiring, on his
passionate prayer, to that silent Country-house which he calls the
Marquisat; there to lie in hospital, and wash himself a little, and let
the skies wash themselves.

The Hirsch business having blown over, as all things do, Voltaire
resumed his place among the Court-Planets, and did his revolutions;
striving to forget that there ever was a Hirsch, or a soot-explosion of
that nature. In words nobody reminded him of it, the King least of all:
and by degrees matters were again tolerably glorious, and all might have
gone well enough; though the primal perfect splendor, such fuliginous
reminiscence being ineffaceable, never could be quite re-attained. The
diamond Cross of Merit, the Chamberlain gold Key, hung bright upon the
man; a man the admired of men. He had work to do: work of his own which
he reckoned priceless (that immortal SIECLE DE LOUIS QUATORZE; which
he stood by, and honestly did, while here; the one fixed axis in those
fooleries and whirlings of his);--work for the King, "two hours,
one hour, a day," which the King reckoned priceless in its sort. For
Friedrich himself Voltaire has, with touches of real love coming out
now and then, a very sincere admiration mixed with fear; and delights
in shining to him, and being well with him, as the greatest pleasure now
left in life. Besides the King, he had society enough, French in type,
and brilliant enough: plenty of society; or, at his wish, what was still
better, none at all. He was bedded, boarded, lodged, as if beneficent
fairies had done it for him; and for all these things no price asked,
you might say, but that he would not throw himself out of window! Had
the man been wise--But he was not wise. He had, if no big gloomy devil
in him among the bright angels that were there, a multitude of ravening
tumultuary imps, or little devils very ILL-CHAINED; and was lodged,
he and his restless little devils, in a skin far too thin for him and
them!--

Reckoning up the matter, one cannot find that Voltaire ever could have
been a blessing at Berlin, either for Friedrich or himself; and it is to
be owned that Friedrich was not wise in so longing for him, or clasping
him so frankly in his arms. As Friedrich, by this time, probably begins
to discover;--though indeed to Friedrich the thing is of finite moment;
by no means of infinite, as it was to Voltaire. "At worst, nothing but
a little money thrown away!" thinks Friedrich: "Sure enough, this is a
strange Trismegistus, this of mine: star fire-work shall we call him, or
terrestrial smoke-and-soot work? But one can fence oneself against the
blind vagaries of the man; and get a great deal of good by him, in the
lucid intervals." To Voltaire himself the position is most agitating;
but then its glories, were there nothing more! Besides he is always
thinking to quit it shortly; which is a great sedative in troubles.
What with intermittencies (safe hidings in one's MARQUISAT, or vacant
interlunar cave), with alternations of offence and reconcilement; what
with occasional actual flights to Paris (whitherward Voltaire is always
busy to keep a postern open; and of which there is frequent talk, and
almost continual thought, all along), flights to be called "visits,"
and privately intending to be final, but never proving so,--the
Voltaire-Friedrich relation, if left to itself, might perhaps long have
staggered about, and not ended as it did.

But, alas, no relation can be left to itself in this world,--especially
if you have a porous skin! There were other French here, as well as
Voltaire, revolving in the Court-circle; and that, beyond all others,
proved the fatal circumstance to him. "NE SAVEZ-VOUS PAS, Don't you
know," said he to Chancellor Jarriges one day, "that when there are two
Frenchmen in a Foreign Court or Country, one of them must die (FAUT QUE
L'UN DES DEUX PERISSE)?" [Seyfarth, ii. 191; &c. &c.] Which shocked the
mind of Jarriges; but had a kind of truth, too. Jew Hirsch, run into for
low smuggling purposes, had been a Cape of Storms, difficult to weather;
but the continual leeshore were those French,--with a heavy gale on, and
one of the rashest pilots! He did strike the breakers there, at last;
and it is well known, total shipwreck was the issue. Our Second Act,
holding out dubiously, in continual perils, till Autumn, 1752, will have
to pass then into a Third of darker complexion, and into a Catastrophe
very dark indeed.

Catastrophe which, by farther ill accident, proved noisy in the extreme;
producing world-wide shrieks from the one party, stone-silence from the
other; which were answered by unlimited hooting, catcalling and haha-ing
from all parts of the World-Theatre, upon both the shrieky and the
silent party; catcalling not fallen quite dead to this day. To Friedrich
the catcalling was not momentous (being used to such things); though to
poor Voltaire it was unlimitedly so:--and to readers interested in this
memorable Pair of Men, the rights and wrongs of the Affair ought to
be rendered authentically conceivable, now at last. Were it humanly
possible,--after so much catcalling at random! Smelfungus has a right to
say, speaking of this matter:--

"Never was such a jumble of loud-roaring ignorances, delusions and
confusions, as the current Records of it are. Editors, especially French
Editors, treating of a Hyperborean, Cimmerian subject, like this, are
easy-going creatures. And truly they have left it for us in a wonderful
state. Dateless, much of it, by nature; and, by the lazy Editors,
MISdated into very chaos; jumbling along there, in mad defiance of top
and bottom; often the very Year given wrong:--full everywhere of lazy
darkness, irradiated only by stupid rages, ill-directed mockeries:--and
for issue, cheerfully malicious hootings from the general mob of
mankind, with unbounded contempt of their betters; which is not
pleasant to see. When mobs do get together, round any signal object; and
editorial gentlemen, with talent for it, pour out from their respective
barrel-heads, in a persuasive manner, instead of knowledge, ignorance
set on fire, they are capable of carrying it far!--Will it be possible
to pick out the small glimmerings of real light, from this mad dance of
will-o'-wisps and fire-flies thrown into agitation?"

It will be very difficult, my friend;--why did not you yourself do it?
Most true, "those actual Voltaire-Friedrich LETTERS of the time are
a resource, and pretty much the sole one: Letters a good few, still
extant; which all HAD their bit of meaning; and have it still, if well
tortured till they give it out, or give some glimmer of it out:"--but
you have not tortured them; you have left it to me, if I would! As
I assuredly will not (never fear, reader!)--except in the thriftiest
degree.



DETACHED FEATURES (NOT FABULOUS) OF VOLTAIRE AND HIS BERLIN-POTSDAM
ENVIRONMENT IN 1751-1752.

To the outside crowd of observers, and to himself in good moments,
Voltaire represents his situation as the finest in the world:--

"Potsdam is Sparta and Athens joined in one; nothing but reviewing and
poetry day by day. The Algarottis, the Maupertuises, are here; have each
his work, serious for himself; then gay Supper with a King, who is a
great man and the soul of good company."... Sparta and Athens, I tell
you: "a Camp of Mars and the Garden of Epicurus; trumpets and violins,
War and Philosophy. I have my time all to myself; am at Court and in
freedom,--if I were not entirely free, neither an enormous Pension, nor
a Gold Key tearing out one's pocket, nor a halter (LICOU), which they
call CORDON of an ORDER, nor even the Suppers with a Philosopher who
has gained Five Battles, could yield me the least happiness."
[--OEuvres,--lxxiv. 325, 326, 333 (Letters, to D'Argental and others,
"27th April-8th May, 1751").] Looked at by you, my outside friends,--ah,
had I health and YOU here, what a situation!

But seen from within, it is far otherwise. Alongside of these warblings
of a heart grateful to the first of Kings, there goes on a series
of utterances to Niece Denis, remarkable for the misery driven into
meanness, that can be read in them. Ill-health, discontent, vague
terror, suspicion that dare not go to sleep; a strange vague terror,
shapeless or taking all shapes--a body diseased and a mind diseased.
Fear, quaking continually for nothing at all, is not to be borne in a
handsome manner. And it passes, often enough (in these poor LETTERS),
into transient malignity, into gusts of trembling hatred, with a
tendency to relieve oneself by private scandal of the house we are in.
Seldom was a miserabler wrong-side seen to a bit of royal tapestry. A
man hunted by the little devils that dwell unchained within himself;
like Pentheus by the Maenads, like Actaeon by his own Dogs. Nay, without
devils, with only those terrible bowels of mine, and scorbutic gums,
it is bad enough: "Glorious promotions to me here," sneers he bitterly;
"but one thing is indisputable, I have lost seven of my poor residue of
teeth since I came!" In truth, we are in a sadly scorbutic state; and
that, and the devils we lodge within ourselves, is the one real evil.
Could not Suspicion--why cannot she!--take her natural rest; and all
these terrors vanish? Oh, M. de Voltaire!--The practical purport, to
Niece Denis, always is: Keep my retreat to Paris open; in the name of
Heaven, no obstruction that way!

Miserable indeed; a man fatally unfit for his present element! But he
has Two considerable Sedatives, all along; two, and no third visible
to me. Sedative FIRST: that, he can, at any time, quit this illustrious
Tartarus-Elysium, the envy of mankind;--and indeed, practically, he is
always as if on the slip; thinking to be off shortly, for a time, or in
permanence; can be off at once, if things grow too bad. Sedative SECOND
is far better: His own labor on LOUIS QUATORZE, which is steadily going
on, and must have been a potent quietus in those Court-whirlwinds inward
and outward.

From Berlin, already in Autumn, 1750, Voltaire writes to D'Argental:
"I sha'n't go to Italy this Autumn [nor ever in my life], as I had
projected. But I will come to see YOU in the course of November" (far
from it, I got into STEUER-SCHEINE then!)--And again, after some
weeks: "I have put off my journey to Italy for a year. Next Winter too,
therefore, I shall see you," on the road thither. "To my Country, since
you live in it, I will make frequent visits," very!" Italy and the
King of Prussia are two old passions with me; but I cannot treat
Frederic-le-Grand as I can the Holy Father, with a mere look in
passing." [To D'Argental, "Berlin, 14th September,--Potsdam, 15th
October, 1750" (--OEuvres,--lxxiv. 220, 237).] Let this one, to which
many might be added, serve as sample of Sedative First, or the power and
intention to be off before long.

In regard to Sedative Second, again:... "The happiest circumstance is,
brought with me all my LOUIS-FOURTEENTH Papers and Excerpts. 'I get
from Leipzig, if no nearer, whatever Books are needed;'" and labor
faithfully at this immortal Production. Yes, day by day, to see growing,
by the cunning of one's own right hand, such perennial Solomon's-Temple
of a SIECLE DE LOUIS QUATORZE:--which of your Kings, or truculent,
Tiglath-Pilesers, could do that? To poor me, even in the Potsdam
tempests, it is possible: what ugliest day is not beautiful that sees
a stone or two added there!--Daily Voltaire sees himself at work on his
SIECLE, on those fine terms; trowel in one hand, weapon of war in the
other. And does actually accomplish it, in the course of this Year
1751,--with a great deal of punctuality and severe painstaking; which
readers of our day, fallen careless of the subject, are little aware of,
on Voltaire's behalf. Voltaire's reward was, that he did NOT go mad in
that Berlin element, but had throughout a bower-anchor to ride by. "The
King of France continues me as Gentleman of the Chamber, say you; but
has taken away my Title of Historiographer? That latter, however, shall
still be my function. 'My present independence has given weight to my
verdicts on matters. Probably I never could have written this Book at
Paris.' A consolation for one's exile, MON ENFANT." [To Niece Denis
(--OEuvres,--lxxiv. 247, &c. &c.), "28th October, 1750," and subsequent
dates.]

It is proper also to observe that, besides shining at the King's Suppers
like no other, Voltaire applies himself honestly to do for his Majesty
the small work required of him,--that of Verse-correcting now and then.
Two Specimens exist; two Pieces criticised, ODE AUX PRUSSIENS, and THE
ART OF WAR: portions of that Reprint now going on ("to the extent of
Twelve Copies,"--woe lies in one of them, most unexpected at this time!)
"AU DONJON DU CHATEAU;"--under benefit of Voltaire's remarks. Which
one reads curiously, not without some surprise. [In--OEuvres de
Frederic,--x. 276-303.] Surprise, first at Voltaire's official fidelity;
his frankness, rigorous strictness in this small duty: then at the kind
of correcting, instructing and lessoning, that had been demanded of him
by his Royal Pupil. Mere grammatical stylistic skin-deep work: nothing
(or, at least, in these Specimens nothing) of attempt upon the interior
structure, or the interior harmony even of utterance: solely the
Parisian niceties, graces, laws of poetic language, the FAS and the
NEFAS in regard to all that: this is what his Majesty would fain be
taught from the fountain-head;--one wonders his Majesty did not learn
to spell, which might have been got from a lower source!--And all this
Voltaire does teach with great strictness. For example, in the very
first line, in the very first word, set, before him:--

"PRUSSIENS, QUE LA VALEUR CONDUISIT A LA GLOIRE," so Friedrich had
written (ODE AUX PRUSSIENS, which is specimen First); and thus Voltaire
criticises: "The Hero here makes his PRUSSIENS of two syllables; and
afterwards, in another strophe, he grants them three. A King is master
of his favors. At the same time, one does require a little uniformity;
and the IENS are usually of two syllables, as LIENS, SILESIENS,
AUTRICHIENS; excepting the monosyllables BIEN, RIEN"--Enough, enough!--A
severe, punctual, painstaking Voltaire, sitting with the schoolmaster's
bonnet on head; ferula visible, if not actually in hand. For which, as
appears, his Majesty was very grateful to the Trismegistus of men.

Voltaire's flatteries to Friedrich, in those scattered little Billets
with their snatches of verse, are the prettiest in the world,--and
approach very near to sincerity, though seldom quite attaining it.
Something traceable of false, of suspicious, feline, nearly always, in
those seductive warblings; which otherwise are the most melodious
bits of idle ingenuity the human brain has ever spun from itself. For
instance, this heading of a Note sent from one room to another,--perhaps
with pieces of an ODE AUX PRUSSIENS accompanying:--

          --"Vou gui daignez me departir
          Les fruits d'une Muse divine,
          O roi! je ne puis consentir
          Que, sans daigner m'en avertir,
          Vous alliez prendre medecine.
          Je suis votre malade-ne,
          Et sur la casse et le sene,
          J'ai des notions non communes.
          Nous sommes de mene metier;
          Faut-il de moi vous defier,
          Et cacher vos bonnes fortunes?"--

Was there ever such a turn given to taking physic! Still better is this
other, the topic worse,--HAEMORRHOIDS (a kind of annual or periodical
affair with the Royal Patient, who used to feel improved after):--

... (Ten or twelve verses on another point; then suddenly--)

          --"Que la veine hemorroidale
          De votre personne royale
          Cesse de troubler le repos!
          Quand pourrai-je d'une style honnete
          Dire: 'Le cul de mon heros
          Va tout aussi bien que sa tete'?"--
         [In--OEuvres de Frederic,--xxii. 283, 267.]

A kittenish grace in these things, which is pleasant in so old a cat.

Smelfungus says: "He is a consummate Artist in Speech, our Voltaire:
that, if you take the word SPEECH in its widest sense, and consider the
much that can be spoken, and the infinitely more that cannot and should
not, is Voltaire's supreme excellency among his fellow-creatures; never
rivalled (to my poor judgment) anywhere before or since,--nor worth
rivalling, if we knew it well."

Another fine circumstance is, that Voltaire has frequent leave of
absence; and in effect passes a great deal of his time altogether by
himself, or in his own way otherwise. What with Friedrich's Review
Journeys and Business Circuits, considerable separations do occur of
themselves; and at any time, Voltaire has but to plead illness, which he
often does; with ground and without, and get away for weeks, safe
into the distance more or less remote. He is at the Marquisat (as
we laboriously make out); at Berlin, in the empty Palace, perhaps in
Lodgings of his own (though one would prefer the GRATIS method); nursing
his maladies, which are many; writing his LOUIS QUATORZE; "lonely
altogether, your Majesty, and sad of humor,"--yet giving his cosy
little dinners, and running out, pretty often, if well invited, into the
brilliancies and gayeties. No want of brilliant social life here,
which can shine, more or less, and appreciate one's shining. The King's
Supper-parties--Yes, and these, though the brightest, are not the only
bright things in our Potsdam-Berlin world. Take with you, reader, one
or two of the then and there Chief Figures; Voltaire's fellow-players;
strutting and fretting their hour on that Stage of Life. They are mostly
not quite strangers to you.

We know the sublime Perpetual President in his red wig, and sublime
supremacy of Pure Science. A gloomy set figure; affecting the
sententious, the emphatic and a composed impregnability,--like the Jove
of Science. With immensities of gloomy vanity, not compressible at all
times. Friedrich always strove to honor his Perpetual President, and
duly adore the Pure Sciences in him; but inwardly could not quite manage
it, though outwardly he failed in nothing. Impartial witnesses confess,
the King had a great deal of trouble with his gloomings and him. "Who is
this Voltaire?" gloomily thinks the Perpetual President to himself. "A
fellow with a nimble tongue, that is all. Knows nothing whatever of Pure
Sciences, except what fraction or tincture he has begged or stolen from
myself. And here is the King of the world in raptures with him!"

Voltaire from of old had faithfully done his kowtows to this King of
the Sciences; and, with a sort of terror, had suffered with incredible
patience a great deal from him. But there comes an end to all things;
Voltaire's patience not excepted. It lay in the fates that Maupertuis
should steadily accumulate, day after day, and now more than ever
heretofore, upon the sensitive Voltaire. Till, as will be seen, the
sensitive Voltaire could endure it no longer; but had to explode upon
this big Bully (accident lending a spark); to go off like a Vesuvius of
crackers, fire-serpents and sky-rockets; envelop the red wig, and much
else, in delirious conflagration;--and produce the catastrophe of this
Berlin Drama.

D'Argens, poor dissolute creature, is the best of the French lot. He has
married, after so many temporary marriages with Actresses, one Actress
in permanence, Mamsell Cochois, a patient kind being; and settled now,
at Potsdam here, into perfectly composed household life. Really loves
Friedrich, they say; the only Frenchman of them that does. Has abundance
of light sputtery wit, and Provencal fire and ingenuity; no ill-nature
against any man. Never injures anybody, nor lies at all about anything.
A great friend of fine weather; regrets, of his inheritances in
Provence, chiefly one item, and this not overmuch,--the bright southern
sun. Sits shivering in winter-time, wrapping himself in more and more
flannel, two dressing-gowns, two nightcaps:--loyal to this King, in good
times and in evil.

Was the King's friend for thirty years; helped several meritorious
people to his Majesty's notice; and never did any man a mischief in that
quarter. An erect, guileless figure; very tall; with vivid countenance,
chaotically vivid mind: full of bright sallies, irregular ingenuities;
had a hot temper too, which did not often run away with him, but
sometimes did. He thrice made a visit to Provence,--in fact ran away
from the King, feeling bantered and roasted to a merciless degree,--but
thrice came back. "At the end of the first stage, he had always
privately forgiven the King, and determined that the pretended visit
should really be a visit only." "Reads the King's Letters," which
are many to him, "always bare-headed, in spite of the draughts!"
[Nicolai,--Anekdoten,--i. 11-75, &c. &c.]

Algarotti is too prudent, politely egoistic and self-contained, to take
the trouble of hurting anybody, or get himself into trouble for love or
hatred. He fell into disfavor not long after that unsuccessful little
mission in the first Silesian War, of which the reader has lost
remembrance. Good for nothing in diplomacy, thought Friedrich, but
agreeable as company. "Company in tents, in the seat of War, has its
unpleasantness," thought Algarotti;--and began very privately sounding
the waters at Dresden for an eligible situation; so that there has
ensued a quarrel since; then humble apologies followed by profound
silence,--till now there is reconcilement. It is admitted Friedrich had
some real love for Algarotti; Algarotti, as we gather, none at all for
him; but only for his greatness. They parted again (February, 1753)
without quarrel, but for the last time; [Algarotti-Correspondence
(--OEuvres de Frederic,--xviii. 86).]--and I confess to a relief on the
occasion.

Friedrich, readers know by this time, had a great appetite for
conversation: he talked well, listened well; one of his chief enjoyments
was, to give and receive from his fellow-creatures in that way. I hope,
and indeed have evidence, that he required good sense as the staple;
but in the form, he allowed great latitude. He by no means affected
solemnity, rather the reverse; goes much upon the bantering vein; far
too much, according to the complaining parties. Took pleasure (cruel
mortal!) in stirring up his company by the whip, and even by the whip
applied to RAWS; for we find he had "established," like the Dublin
Hackney-Coachman, "raws for himself;" and habitually plied his implement
there, when desirous to get into the gallop. In an inhuman manner, said
the suffering Cattle; who used to rebel against it, and go off in the
sulks from time to time. It is certain he could, especially in his
younger years, put up with a great deal of zanyism, ingenious foolery
and rough tumbling, if it had any basis to tumble on; though with years
he became more saturnine.

By far his chief Artist in this kind, indeed properly the only one, was
La Mettrie, whom we once saw transiently as Army-Surgeon at Fontenoy: he
is now out of all that (flung out, with the dogs at his heels); has been
safe in Berlin for three years past. Friedrich not only tolerates the
poor madcap, but takes some pleasure in him: madcap we say, though poor
La Mettrie had remarkable gifts, exuberant laughter one of them, and
was far from intending to be mad. Not Zanyism, but Wisdom of the highest
nature, was what he drove at,--unluckily, with open mouth, and mind all
in tumult. La Mettrie had left the Army, soon after that busy Fontenoy
evening: Chivalrous Grammont, his patron and protector, who had saved
him from many scrapes, lay shot on the field. La Mettrie, rushing on
with mouth open and mind in tumult, had, from of old, been continually
getting into scrapes. Unorthodox to a degree; the Sorbonne greedy
for him long since; such his audacities in print, his heavy hits,
boisterous, quizzical, logical. And now he had set to attacking the
Medical Faculty, to quizzing Medicine in his wild way; Doctor Astruc,
Doctor This and That, of the first celebrity, taking it very ill. So
that La Mettrie had to demit; to get out of France rather in a hurry,
lest worse befell.

He had studied at Leyden, under Boerhaave. He had in fact considerable
medical and other talent, had he not been so tumultuous and
open-mouthed. He fled to Leyden; and shot forth, in safety there, his
fiery darts upon Sorbonne and Faculty, at his own discretion,--which was
always a MINIMUM quantity:--he had, before long, made Leyden also too
hot for him. His Books gained a kind of celebrity in the world; awoke
laughter and attention, among the adventurous of readers; astonishment
at the blazing madcap (a BON DIABLE, too, as one could see); and are
still known to Catalogue-makers,--though, with one exception, L'HOMME
MACHINE, not otherwise, nor read at all. L'HOMME MACHINE (Man a Machine)
is the exceptional Book; smallest of Duodecimos to have so much wildfire
in it, This MAN A MACHINE, though tumultuous La Mettrie meant nothing
but open-mouthed Wisdom by it, gave scandal in abundance; so that even
the Leyden Magistrates were scandalized; and had to burn the afflicting
little Duodecimo by the common hangman, and order La Mettrie to
disappear instantly from their City.

Which he had to do,--towards King Friedrich, usual refuge of the
persecuted; seldom inexorable, where there was worth, even under bad
forms, recognizable; and not a friend to burning poor men or their
books, if it could be helped. La Mettrie got some post, like D'Arget's,
or still more nominal; "readership;" some small pension to live upon;
and shelter to shoot forth his wildfire, when he could hold it no
longer: fire, not of a malignant incendiary kind, but pleasantly
lambent, though maddish, as Friedrich perceived. Thus had La Mettrie
found a Goshen;--and stood in considerable favor, at Court and in Berlin
Society in the years now current. According to Nicolai, Friedrich never
esteemed La Mettrie, which is easy to believe, but found him a jester
and ingenious madcap, out of whom a great deal of merriment could be
had, over wine or the like. To judge by Nicolai's authentic specimen,
their Colloquies ran sometimes pretty deep into the cynical, under
showers of wildfire playing about; and the high-jinks must have been
highish. [--Anekdoten,--vi. 197-227.] When there had been enough of
this, Friedrich would lend his La Mettrie to the French Excellency,
Milord Tyrconnel, to oblige his Excellency, and get La Mettrie out
of the way for a while. Milord is at Berlin; a Jacobite Irishman, of
blusterous Irish qualities, though with plenty of sagacity and rough
sense; likes La Mettrie; and is not much a favorite with Friedrich.

Tyrconnel had said, at first,--when Rothenburg, privately from
Friedrich, came to consult him, "What are, in practical form, those
'assistances from the Most Christian Majesty,' should we MAKE
Alliance with him, as your Excellency proposes, and chance to be
attacked?"--"MORBLEU, assistance enough [enumerating several]: MAIS
MORBLEU, SI VOUS NOUS TROMPEX, VOUS SEREZ ECRASES (if you deceive us,
you will be squelched)!" [Valori, ii. 130, &c.] "He had been chosen
for his rough tongue," says Valori; our French Court being piqued at
Friedrich and his sarcasms. Tyrconnel gives splendid dinners: Voltaire
often of them; does not love Potsdam, nor is loved by it. Nay, I
sometimes think a certain DEMON NEWSWRITER (of whom by and by), but do
not know, may be some hungry Attache of Tyrconnel's. Hungry Attache,
shut out from the divine Suppers and upper planetary movements, and
reduced to look on them from his cold hutch, in a dog-like angry and
hungry manner? His flying allusions to Voltaire, "SON (Friedrich's)
SQUELETTE D'APOLLON, skeleton of an Apollo," and the like, are barkings
almost rabid.

Of the military sort, about this time, Keith and Rothenburg appear
most frequently as guests or companions. Rothenburg had a great deal of
Friedrich's regard: Winterfeld is more a practical Counseller, and does
not shine in learned circles, as Rothenburg may. A fiery soldier too,
this Rothenburg, withal;--a man probably of many talents and qualities,
though of distinctly decipherable there is next to no record of him or
them. He had a Parisian Wife; who is sometimes on the point of
coming with Niece Denis to Berlin, and of setting up their two French
households there; but never did it, either of them, to make an Uncle
or a Husband happy. Rothenburg was bred a Catholic: "he headed the
subscription for the famous 'KATHOLISCHE KIRCHE,'" so delightful to the
Pope and liberal Christians in those years; "but never gave a sixpence
of money," says Voltaire once: Catholic KIRK was got completed with
difficulty; stands there yet, like a large washbowl set, bottom
uppermost, on the top of a narrowish tub; but none of Rothenburg's money
is in it. In Voltaire's Correspondence there is frequent mention of him;
not with any love, but with a certain secret respect, rather inclined
to be disrespectful, if it durst or could: the eloquent vocal individual
not quite at ease beside the more silent thinking and acting one. What
we know is, Friedrich greatly loved the man. There is some straggle of
CORRESPONDENCE between Friedrich and him left; but it is worth nothing;
gives no testimony of that, or of anything else noticeable:--and that is
the one fact now almost alone significant of Rothenburg. Much loved and
esteemed by the King; employed diplomatically, now and then; perhaps
talked with on such subjects, which was the highest distinction.
Poor man, he is in very bad health in these months; has never rightly
recovered of his wounds; and dies in the last days of 1751,--to the
bitter sorrow of the King, as is still on record. A highly respectable
dim figure, far more important in Friedrich's History than he looks. As
King's guest, he can in these months play no part.

Highly respectable too, and well worth talking to, though left very dim
to us in the Books, is Marshal Keith; who has been growing gradually
with the King, and with everybody, ever since he came to these parts
in 1747. A man of Scotch type; the broad accent, with its sagacities,
veracities, with its steadfastly fixed moderation, and its sly
twinkles of defensive humor, is still audible to us through the foreign
wrappages. Not given to talk, unless there is something to be said; but
well capable of it then. Friedrich, the more he knows him, likes him
the better. On all manner of subjects he can talk knowingly, and with
insight of his own. On Russian matters Friedrich likes especially to
hear him,--though they differ in regard to the worth of Russian troops.
"Very considerable military qualities in those Russians," thinks Keith:
"imperturbably obedient, patient; of a tough fibre, and are beautifully
strict to your order, on the parade-ground or off." "Pooh, mere rubbish,
MON CHER," thinks Friedrich always. To which Keith, unwilling to argue
too long, will answer: "Well, it is possible enough your Majesty may try
them, some day; if I am wrong, it will be all the better for us!" Which
Friedrich had occasion to remember by and by. Friedrich greatly respects
this sagacious gentleman with the broad accent: his Brother, the Lord
Marischal, is now in France: Ambassador at Paris, since September, 1751:
["Left Potsdam 28th August" (Rodenbeck, i. 220).] "Lord Marischal, a
Jacobite, for Prussian Ambassador in Paris; Tyrconnel, a Jacobite, for
French Ambassador in Berlin!" grumble the English.



FRACTIONS OF EVENTS AND INDICATIONS, FROM VOLTAIRE HIMSELF, IN THIS
TIME; MORE OR LESS ILLUMINATIVE WHEN REDUCED TO ORDER.

Here, selected from more, are a few "fire-flies,"--not dancing or
distracted, but authentic all, and stuck each on its spit; shedding a
feeble glimmer over the physiognomy of those Fifteen caliginous Months,
to an imagination that is diligent. Fractional utterances of Voltaire to
Friedrich and others (in abridged form, abridgment indicated): the
exact dates are oftenest irretrievably gone; but the glimmer of light
is indisputable, all the more as, on Voltaire's part, it is mostly
involuntary. Grouping and sequence must be other than that of Time.

POTSDAM, 5th JUNE, 1751.--King is off on that Ost-Friesland jaunt;
Voltaire at Potsdam, "at what they call the Marquisat," in complete
solitude,--preparing to die before long,--sends his Majesty some poor
trifles of Scribbling, proofs of my love, Sire: "since I live solitary,
when you are not at Potsdam, it would seem I came for you only" (note
that, your Majesty)!... "But in return for the rags here sent, I
expect the Sixth Canto of your ART [ART DE LA GUERRE, one of the Two
pupil-and-schoolmaster "Specimens" mentioned above]; I expect the
ROOF to the Temple of Mars. It is for you, alone of men, to build that
Temple; as it was for Ovid to sing of Love, and for Horace to give an
ART OF POETRY." (Laying it on pretty thick!)...

Then again, later (after severe study, ferula in hand): "Sire, I return
your Majesty your Six Cantos; I surrender at discretion (LUI LAISSE
CARTE-BLANCHE) on that question of 'VICTOIRE.' The whole Poem is worthy
of you: if I had made this Journey only to see a thing so unique, I
ought not to regret my Country."... And again (still no date): "GRAND
DIEU! is not all that [HISTORY OF THE GREAT ELECTOR, by your Majesty,
which I am devouring with such appetite] neat, elegant, precise, and,
above all, philosophical!"--"Sire, you are adorable; I will pass my days
at your feet. Oh, never make game of me (DES NICHES)!" Has he been at
that, say you! "If the Kings of Denmark, Portugal, Spain, &c. did it, I
should not care a pin; they are only Kings. But you are the greatest man
that perhaps ever reigned." [[In--OEuvres de Frederic,--xxii. 271, 273.]

IS ON LEAVE OF ABSENCE, NEAR BY; WISHES TO BE CALLED AGAIN (No
date).--"Sire, if you like free criticism, if you tolerate sincere
praises, if you wish to perfect a Work [ART DE LA GUERRE, or some other
as sublime], which you alone in Europe are capable of doing, you have
only to bid a Hermit come upstairs. At your orders for all his life."
[Ib. 261.]

IN BERLIN PALACE: PLEASE DON'T TURN ME OUT! (No date)--... "Next to you,
I love work and retirement. Nobody whatever complains of me. I ask of
your Majesty, in order to keep unaltered the happiness I owe to you,
this favor, Not to turn me out of the Apartment you deigned to give me
at Berlin, till I go for Paris [always talking of that]. If I were to
leave it, they would put in the Gazettes that I"--Oh, what would n't
they put in, of one that, belonging to King Friedrich, lives as it were
in the Disc of the Sun, conspicuous to everybody!--"I will go out [of
the Apartment] when some Prince, with a Suite needing it to lodge in,
comes; and then the thing will be honorable. Chasot [gone to Paris]
has been talking"--unguarded things of me!"I have not uttered the least
complaint of Chasot: I never will of Chasot, nor of those who have set
him on [Maupertuis belike]: I forgive everything, I!" [Ib. 270.]

ROTHENBURG IS ILL; VOLTAIRE HAS BEEN TO SEE HIM ("Berlin, 14th,"
no month; year, too surely, 1751, as we shall find! Letter is IN
VERSE).--"Lieberkuhn was going to kill poor Rothenburg; to send him off
to Pluto,--for liking his dish a little;--monster Lieberkuhn! But
Doctor Joyous," your reader, La Mettrie,--led by, need I say whom?--"has
brought him back to us:--think of Lieberkuhn's solemn stare! Pretty
contrasts, those, of sublime Quacksalverism, with Sense under the mask
of Folly. May the haemorrhoidal vein"--follows HERE, note it, exquisite
reader, that of "CUL DE MON HEROS," cited above!--...

And then (a day or two after; King too haemorrhoidal to come twenty
miles, but anxious to know): "Sire, no doubt Doctor Joyous (LE MEDECIN
JOYEUX) has informed your Majesty that when we arrived, the Patient was
sleeping tranquil; and Cothenius assured us, in Latin, that there was
no danger. I know not what has passed since, but I am persuaded your
Majesty approves my journey" (of a street or two),--MUST you speak of
it, then!

GOES TO AN EVENING-PARTY NOW AND THEN (To Niece Denis).--... "Madame
Tyrconnel [French Excellency's Wife] has plenty of fine people at her
house on an evening; perhaps too many" (one of the first houses in
Berlin, this of my Lord Tyrcannel's, which we frequent a good deal)....
"Madame got very well through her part of ANDROMAQUE [in those old
play-acting times of ours]: never saw actresses with finer eyes,"--how
should you!

"As to Milord Tyrconnel, he is an Anglais of dignity,"--Irish in
reality, and a thought blusterous. "He has a condensed (SERRE) caustic
way of talk; and I know not what of frank which one finds in the
English, and does not usually find in persons of his trade. French
Tragedies played at Berlin, I myself taking part; an Englishman Envoy of
France there: strange circumstances these, are n't they?" [To D'Argental
this (--OEuvres de Voltaire,--lxxiv. 289).] Yes, that latter especially;
and Milord Marischal our Prussian Envoy with you! Which the English
note, sulkily, as a weather-symptom.

AT POTSDAM, BIG DEVILS OF GRENADIERS (No date).--... "But, Sire, one is
n't always perched on the summit of Parnassus; one is a man. There are
sicknesses about; I did not bring an athlete's health to these parts;
and the scorbutic humor which is eating my life renders me truly, of
all that are sick, the sickest. I am absolutely alone from morning till
night. My one solace is the necessary pleasure of taking the air, I
bethink me of walking, and clearing my head a little, in your Gardens at
Potsdam. I fancy it is a permitted thing; I present myself, musing;--I
find huge devils of Grenadiers, who clap bayonets in my belly, who
cry FURT, SACRAMENT, and DER KONIG [OFF, SACKERMENT, THE KING, quite
tolerably spelt]! And I take to my heels, as Austrians and Saxons would
do before them. Have you ever read, that in Titus's or Marcus-Aurelius's
Gardens, a poor devil of a Gaulish Poet"--In short, it shall be mended.
[--OEuvres de Frederic,--xxii. 273.]

HAVE BEEN LAYING IT ON TOO THICK (No date; IN VERSE).--"Marcus Aurelius
was wont to"--(Well, we know who that is: What of Marcus, then?)--"A
certain lover of his glory [STILL IN VERSE] spoke once, at Supper, of
a magnanimity of Marcus's;--at which Marcus [flattery too thick] rather
gloomed, and sat quite silent,--which was another fine saying of his
[ENDS VERSE, STARTS PROSE]:--

"Pardon, Sire, some hearts that are full of you! To justify myself, I
dare supplicate your Majesty to give one glance at this Letter (lines
pencil-marked), which has just come from M. de Chauvelin, Nephew of the
famous GARDE-DES-SCEAUX. Your Majesty cannot gloom at him, writing these
from the fulness of his heart; nor at me, who"--Pooh; no, then! Perhaps
do you a NICHE again,--poor restless fellow! [Ib. 280.]

POTSDAM PALACE (No date): SIRE, NZAY I CHANGE MY ROOM?... "I ascend
to your antechambers, to find some one by whom I may ask permission to
speak with you. I find nobody: I have to return:" and what I wanted was
this, "your protection for my SIECLE DE LOUIS QUATORZE, which I am about
to print in Berlin." Surely,--but also this:--

"I am unwell, I am a sick man born. And withal I am obliged to work,
almost as much as your Majesty. I pass the whole day alone. If you would
permit that I might shift to the Apartment next the one I have,--to
that where General Bredow slept last winter,--I should work more
commodiously. My Secretary (Collini) and I could work together there. I
should have a little more sun, which is a great point for me.--Only the
whim of a sick man, perhaps! Well, even so, your Majesty will have pity
on it. You promised to make me happy." [--OEuvres de Frederic,--xxii.
277.]

I SUSPECT THAT I AM SUSPECTED (No date).--"Sire, if I am not brief,
forgive me. Yesterday the faithful D'Arget told me with sorrow that in
Paris people were talking of your Poem." Horrible; but, O Sire,--me?--"I
showed him the eighteen Letters that I received yesterday. They are from
Cadiz," all about Finance, no blabbing there! "Permit me to send you now
the last six from my Niece, numbered by her own hand [no forgery, no
suppression]; deign to cast your eyes on the places I have underlined,
where she speaks of your Majesty, of D'Argens, of Potsdam, of D'Ammon"
(to whom she can't be Phyllis, innocent being)!-MON CHER VOLTAIRE, must
I again do some NICHE upon you, then? Tie some tin-canister to your
too-sensitive tail? What an element you inhabit within that poor skin of
yours! [Ib. 269.]

MAJESTY INVITES US TO A LITERARY CHRISTENING, POTSDAM (No date. These
"Six Twins" are the "ART DE LA GUERRE," in Six Chants; part of that
revised Edition which is getting printed "AU DONJON DU CHATEAU;" time
must be, well on in 1751). Friedrich writes to Voltaire:--

"I have just been brought to bed of Six Twins; which require to be
baptized, in the name of Apollo, in the waters of Hippocrene. LA
HENRIADE is requested to become godmother: you will have the goodness
to bring her, this evening at five, to the Father's Apartment. D'Arget
LUCINA will be there; and the Imagination of MAN-A-MACHINE will hold the
poor infants over the Font." [Ib. 266.]

DEIGN TO SAY IF I HAVE OFFENDED.--... "As they write to me from Paris
that I am in disgrace with you, I dare to beg very earnestly that you
will deign to say if I have displeased in anything! May go wrong by
ignorance or from over-zeal; but with my heart never! I live in the
profoundest retreat; giving to study my whole"--"Your assurances once
vouchsafed [famous Document of August 23d]. I write only to my Niece.
I" (a page more of this)--have my sorrows and merits, and absolutely
no silence at all! [--OEuvres de Frederic,--xxii. 289.] "In the gift of
Speech he is the most brilliant of mankind," said Smelfungus; but in the
gift of Silence what a deficiency! Friedrich will have to do that for
Two, it would seem.

BERLIN, 28th DECEMBER, 1751: LOUIS QUATORZE; AND DEATH OF
ROTHENBURG.--"Our LOUIS QUATORZE is out. But, Heavens, see, your
Majesty: a Pirate Printer, at Frankfurt-on-Oder, has been going on
parallel with us, all the while; and here is his foul blotch of an
Edition on sale, too! Bielfeld," fantastic fellow, "had proof-sheets;
Bielfeld sent them to a Professor there, though I don't blame Bielfeld:
result too evident. Protect me, your Majesty; Order all wagons,
especially wagons for Leipzig, to be stopped, to be searched, and the
Books thrown out,--it costs you but a word!"

Quite a simple thing: "All Prussia to the rescue!" thinks an ardent
Proprietor of these Proof-sheets. But then, next day, hears that
Rothenburg is dead. That the silent Rothenburg lay dying, while the
vocal Voltaire was writing these fooleries, to a King sunk in grief.
"Repent, be sorry, be ashamed!" he says to himself; and does instantly
try;--but with little success; Frankfurt-on-Oder, with its Bielfeld
proof-sheets, still jangling along, contemptibly audible, for some time.
[Ib. 285-287.] And afterwards, from Frankfurt-on-Mayn new sorrow rises
on LOUIS QUATORZE, as will be seen.--Friedrich's grief for Rothenburg
was deep and severe; "he had visited him that last night," say the
Books; "and quitted his bedside, silent, and all in tears." It is mainly
what of Biography the silent Rothenburg now has.

From the current Narratives, as they are called, readers will recollect,
out of this Voltaire Period, two small particles of Event amid such an
ocean of noisy froth,--two and hardly more: that of the "Orange-Skin,"
and that of the "Dirty Linen." Let us put these two on their basis; and
pass on:--

THE ORANGE-SKIN (Potsdam, 2d September, 1751, to Niece Denis)--Good
Heavens, MON ENFANT, what is this I hear (through the great
Dionysius' Ear I maintain, at such expense to myself)!... "La Mettrie,
a man of no consequence, who talks familiarly with the King after their
reading; and with me too, now and then: La Mettrie swore to me, that,
speaking to the King, one of those days, of my supposed favor, and the
bit of jealousy it excites, the King answered him: "I shall want him
still about a year:--you squeeze the orange, you throw away the skin (ON
EN JETTE LECORCE)!'" Here is a pretty bit of babble (lie, most likely,
and bit of mischievous fun) from Dr. Joyous. "It cannot be true, No!
And yet--and yet--?" Words cannot express the agonizing doubts, the
questionings, occasionally the horror of Voltaire: poor sick soul,
keeping a Dionysius'-Ear to boot! This blurt of La Mettrie's goes
through him like a shot of electricity through an elderly sick
Household-Cat; and he speaks of it again and ever again,--though we will
not farther.

DIRTY LINEN (Potsdam, 24th July, 1752, To Niece Denis).--... "Maupertuis
has discreetly set the rumor going, that I found the King's Works very
bad; that I said to some one, on Verses from the King coming in,
'Will he never tire, then, of sending me his dirty linen to wash?' You
obliging Maupertuis!"

Rumor says, it was General Mannstein, once Aide-de-Camp in Russia,
who had come to have his WORK ON RUSSIA revised (excellent Work, often
quoted by us [Did get out at last,--in England, through Lord Marischal
and David Hume: see PREFACE to it (London, 1760).]), when the
unfortunate Royal Verses came. Perhaps M. de Voltaire did say it:--why
not, had it only been prudent? He really likes those Verses much more
than I; but knows well enough, SUB ROSA, what kind of Verses they
are. This also is a horrible suspicion; that the King should hear of
this,--as doubtless the King did, though without going delirious upon
it at all. ["To Niece Denis," dates as above (--OEuvres de
Voltaire,--lxxiv. 408, lxxv. 17).] Thank YOU, my Perpetual President,
not the less!--

OF MAUPERTUIS, IN SUCCESSIVE PHASES.--... "Maupertuis is not of very
engaging ways; he takes my dimensions harshly with his quadrant: it is
said there enters something of envy into his DATA. ... A somewhat surly
gentleman; not too sociable; and, truth to say, considerably sunk here
[ASSEZ BAISSE, my D'Argental].

... "I endure Maupertuis, not having been able to soften him. In all
countries there are insociable fellows, with whom you are obliged to
live, though it is difficult. He has never forgiven me for"--omitting to
cite him, &c.--At Paris he had got the Academy of Sciences into trouble,
and himself into general dislike (DETESTER); then came this Berlin
offer. "Old Fleuri, when Maupertuis called to take leave, repeated that
verse of Virgil, NEC TIBI REGNANDI VENIAT TAM DIRA CUPIDO. Fleuri might
have whispered as much to himself: but he was a mild sovereign lord, and
reigned in a gentle polite manner. I swear to you, Maupertuis does not,
in his shop [the Academy here]--where, God be thanked, I never go.

"He has printed a little Pamphlet on Happiness (SUR LE BONHEUR); it
is very dry and miserable. Reminds you of Advertisements for things
lost,--so poor a chance of finding them again. Happiness is not what
he gives to those who read him, to those who live with him; he is not
himself happy, and would be sorry that others were [to Niece Denis
this].

... "A very sweet life here, Madame [Madame d'Argental, an outside
party]: it would have been more so, if Maupertuis had liked. The wish
to please, is no part of his geometrical studies; the problem of
being agreeable to live with, is not one he has solved." [--OEuvres de
Voltaire,--lxxiv. 330, 504 (4th May, 1751, and 14th March, 1752), to the
D'Argentals; to Niece Denis (6th November, 1750, and 24th August, 1751),
lxxiv. 250, 385.]--Add this Anecdote, which is probably D'Arget's, and
worth credit:--

"Voltaire had dinner-party, Maupertuis one of them; party still in the
drawing-room, dinner just coming up. 'President, your Book, SUR LE
BONHEUR, has given me pleasure,' said Voltaire, politely [very politely,
considering what we have just read]; given me pleasure,--a few
obscurities excepted, of which we will talk together some evening.'
'Obscurities?' said Maupertuis, in a gloomy arbitrary tone: 'There may
be such for you, Monsieur!' Voltaire laid his hand on the President's
shoulder [yellow wig near by], looked at him in silence, with
many-twinkling glance, gayety the topmost expression, but by no means
the sole one: 'President, I esteem you, JE VOUS ESTIME, MON PRESIDENT:
you are brave; you want war: we will have it. But, in the mean while,
let us eat the King's roast meat.'" [Duvernet (2d FORM of him, always,
p. 176.]

Friedrich's Answers to these Voltaire Letters, if he wrote any, are all
gone. Probably he answered almost nothing; what we have of his relates
always to specific business, receipt of LOUIS QUATORZE, and the like;
and is always in friendly tone. Handsomely keeping Silence for Two! Here
is a snatch from him, on neutral figures and movements of the time:--

FRIEDRICH TO WIILHELMINA (November 17th, 1751).--"I think the Margraf of
Anspach will not have stayed long with you. He is not made to taste the
sweets of society: his passion for hunting, and the tippling life he
leads this long time, throw him out when he comes among reasonable
persons.... "I expect my Sister of Brunswick, with the Duke and their
eldest Girl, the 4th of next month,"--to Carnival here. "It is seven
years since the Queen (our Mamma) has seen her. She holds a small
Board of Wit at Brunswick; of which your Doctor [Doctor Superville,
Dutch-French, whose perennial merit now is, That he did not burn
Wilhelmina's MEMOIRS, but left them safe to posterity, for long
centuries],--of which your Doctor is the director and oracle. You would
burst outright into laughing when she speaks of those matters. Her
natural vivacity and haste has not left her time to get to the bottom of
anything; she skips continually from one subject to the other, and
gives twenty decisions in a minute." [--OEuvres de Frederic,--xxvii. i.
202:--On Superville, see Preuss's Note, ib. 56.]

About a month before Rothenburg's death, which was so tragical to
Friedrich, there had fallen out, with a hideous dash of farce in it, the
death of La Mettrie. Here are Two Accounts, by different hands,--which
represent to us an immensity of babble in the then Voltaire circle.

LA METTRIE DIES.--Two Accounts: 1. King Friedrich's: to Wilhelmina.
"21st November, 1751.... We have lost poor La Mettrie. He died for a
piece of fun: ate, out of banter, a whole pheasant-pie; had a horrible
indigestion; took it into his head to have blood let, and convince the
German Doctors that bleeding was good in indigestion. But it succeeded
ill with him: he took a violent fever, which passed into putrid; and
carried him off. He is regretted by all that knew him. He was gay; BON
DIABLE, good Doctor, and very bad Author: by avoiding to read his Books,
one could manage to be well content with himself." [Ib. xxvii. i. 203.]

2. Voltaire's: to Niece Denis (NOT his first to her): Potsdam, 24th
December, 1751.... "No end to my astonishment. Milord Tyrconnel," always
ailing (died here himself), "sends to ask La Mettrie to come and see
him, to cure him or amuse him. The King grudges to part with his Reader,
who makes him laugh. La Mettrie sets out; arrives at his Patient's just
when Madame Tyrconnel is sitting down to table: he eats and drinks,
talks and laughs more than all the guests; when he has got crammed (EN A
JUSQU'AU MENTON), they bring him a pie, of eagle disguised as pheasant,
which had arrived from the North, plenty of bad lard, pork-hash and
ginger in it; my gentleman eats the whole pie, and dies next day at Lord
Tyrconnel's, assisted by two Doctors," Cothenius and Lieberkuhn, "whom
he used to mock at.... How I should have liked to ask him, at
the article of death, about that Orange-skin!" [--OEuvres de
Voltaire,--lxxiv. 439, 450.]

Add this trait too, from authentic Nicolai, to complete the matter: "An
Irish Priest, Father Macmahon, Tyrconnel's Chaplain [more power to him],
wanted to convert La Mettrie: he pushed into the sick-room;--encouraged
by some who wished to make La Mettrie contemptible to Friedrich [the
charitable souls]. La Mettrie would have nothing to do with this Priest
and his talk; who, however, still sat and waited. La Mettrie, in
a twinge of agony, cried out, 'JESUS MARIE!' 'AH, VOUS VOILA ENFIN
RETOURNE A CES NOMS CONSOLATEURS!' exclaimed the Irishman. To which La
Mettrie answered (in polite language, to the effect), 'Bother you!' and
expired a few minutes after." [Nicolai,--Anekdoten,--i. 20 n.]

Enough of this poor madcap. Friedrich's ELOGE of him, read to the
Academy some time after, it was generally thought (and with great
justice), might as well have been spared. The Piece has nothing noisy,
nothing untrue; but what has it of importance? And surely the subject
was questionable, or more. La Mettrie might have done without Eulogy
from a King of men.

... "He had been used to put himself at once on the most familiar
footing with the King [says Thiebault, UNbelievable]. Entered the King's
apartment as he would that of a friend; plunged down whenever he liked,
which was often, and lay upon the sofas; if it was warm, took off
his stock, unbuttoned his waistcoat, flung his periwig on the
floor;" [Thiebault, v. 405 (calls him "La Metherie;" knows, as usual,
nothing).]--highly probable, thinks stupid Thiebault!

"The truth is," says Nicolai, "the King put no real value on La Mettrie.
He considered him as a merry-andrew fellow, who might amuse you, when
half seas-over (ENTRE DEUX VINS). De la Mettrie showed himself unworthy
of any favor he had. Not only did he babble, and repeat about Town what
he heard at the King's table; but he told everything in a false way,
and with malicious twists and additions. This he especially did at Lord
Tyrconnel, the then French Ambassador's table, where at last he died."
[Nicolai,--Anekdoten,--i. 20.] But could not take the ORANGE-SKIN along
with him; alas, no!--

On the whole, be not too severe on poor Voltaire! He is very fidgety,
noisy; something of a pickthank, of a wheedler; but, above all, he
is scorbutic, dyspeptic; hag-ridden, as soul seldom was; and (in his
oblique way) APPEALS to Friedrich and us,--not in vain. And, in
short, we perceive, after the First Act of the Piece, beginning in
preternatural radiances, ending in whirlwinds of flaming soot, he has
been getting on with his Second Act better than could be expected.
Gyrating again among the bright planets, circum-jovial moons, in
the Court Firmament; is again in favor, and might--Alas, he had his
FELLOW-moons, his Maupertuis above all! Incurable that Maupertuis
misery; gets worse and worse, steadily from the first day. No smallest
entity that intervenes, not even a wandering La Beaumelle with his Book
of PENSEES, but is capable of worsening it. Take this of Smelfungus;
this Pair of Cabinet Sketches,--"hasty outlines; extant chiefly," he
declares, "by Voltaire's blame:"--

LA BEAUMELLE.--"Voltaire has a fatal talent of getting into I quarrels
with insignificant accidental people; and instead of silently, with
cautious finger, disengaging any bramble that catches to him, and
thankfully passing on, attacks it indignantly with potent steel
implements, wood-axes, war-axes; brandishing and hewing;--till he
has stirred up a whole wilderness of bramble-bush, and is himself
bramble-chips all over. M. Angliviel de la Beaumelle, for example,
was nothing but a bramble: some conceited Licentiate of Theology,
who, finding the Presbytery of Geneva too narrow a field, had gone to
Copenhagen, as Professor of Rhetoric or some such thing; and, finding
that field also too narrow, and not to be widened by attempts at
Literature, MES PENSEES and the like, in such barbarous Country",--had
now [end of 1751] come to Berlin; and has Presentation copies of MES
PENSEES, OU LE QU'EN DIRA-T-ON, flying right and left, in hopes of doing
better there. Of these PENSEES (Thoughts so called) I will give but
one specimen" (another, that of "King Friedrich a common man,"
being carefully suppressed in the Berlin Copies, of La Beaumelle's
distributing):--

"There have been greater Poets than Voltaire; there was never any so
well recompensed: and why? Because Taste (GOUT, inclination) sets no
limits to its recompenses. The King of Prussia overloads men of talent
with his benefits for precisely the reasons which induce a little German
Prince to overload with benefits a buffoon or a dwarf." [--OEuvres de
Voltaire,--xxvii. 220 n.] Could there be a phenomenon more indisputably
of bramble nature?

"He had no success at Berlin, in spite of his merits; could not come
near the King at all; but assiduously frequented Maupertuis, the
flower of human thinkers in that era,--who was very humane to him in
consequence. 'How is it, O flower of human thinkers, that I cannot get
on with his Majesty, or make the least way?' (HELAS, MONSIEUR, you have
enemies!' answered he of the red wig; and told La Beaumelle (hear it, ye
Heavens), That M. de Voltaire had called his Majesty's attention to
the PENSEE given above, one evening at Supper Royal; 'heard it myself,
Monsieur--husht!' Upon which--

"'Upon which, see, paltry La Beaumelle has become my enemy for life!'
shrieks Voltaire many times afterwards: 'And it was false, I declare
to Heaven, and again declare; it was not I, it was D'Argens quizzing
me about it, that called his Majesty's attention to that PENSEE of
Blockhead La Beaumelle,--you treacherous Perpetual President, stirring
up enemies against me, and betraying secrets of the King's table.'
Sorrow on your red wig, and you!--It is certain La Beaumelle, soon after
this, left Berlin: not in love with Voltaire. And there soon appeared,
at Franfurt-on-Mayn, a Pirate Edition of our brand-new SIECLE DE LOUIS
QUATORZE (with Annotations scurrilous and flimsy);--La Beaumelle the
professed Perpetrator; 'who received for the job 7 pounds 10s. net!'
[Ib. xx.] asseverates the well-informed Voltaire. Oh, M. de Voltaire,
and why not leave it to him, then? Poor devil, he got put into the
Bastille too, by and by; Royal Persons being touched by some of his
stupid foot-notes.

"La Beaumelle had a long course of it, up and down the world, in and
out of the Bastille; writing much, with inconsiderable recompense, and
always in a wooden manure worthy of his First vocation in the Geneva
time. 'A man of pleasing physiognomy,' says Formey, 'and expressed
himself well. I received his visit 14th January, 1752,'--to which latter
small circumstance (welcome as a fixed date to us here) La Beaumelle's
Biography is now pretty much reduced for mankind. [Formey, ii. 221.] He
continued Maupertuis's adorer: and was not a bad creature, only a dull
wooden one, with obstinate temper. A LIFE OF MAUPERTUIS of his writing
was sent forth lately, [--Vie de Maupertuis--(cited above), Paris,
1866.] after lying hidden a hundred years: but it is dull, dead,
painfully ligneous, like all the rest; and of new or of pleasant tells
us nothing.

"His enmity to M. de Voltaire did prove perpetual:--a bramble that might
have been dealt with by fingers, or by fingers and scissors, but could
not by axes, and their hewing and brandishing. 'This is the ninety-fifth
anonymous Calumny of La Beaumelle's, this that you have sent me!' says
Voltaire once. The first stroke or two had torn the bramble quite
on end: 'He says he will pursue you to Hell even,' writes one of the
Voltaire kind friends from Frankfurt, on that 7 pounds 10s. business. 'A
L'ENFER?' answers M. de Voltaire, with a toss: 'Well, I should think so,
he, and at a good rate of speed. But whether he will find me there, must
be a question!' If you want to have an insignificant accidental fellow
trouble you all your days, this is the way of handling him when he first
catches hold."

ABBE DE PRADES.--"De Prades, 'Abbe de Prades, Reader to the King,'
though happily not an enemy of Voltaire's, is in some sort La
Beaumelle's counterpart, or brother with a difference; concerning
whom also, one wants only to know the exact date of his arrival. As La
Beaumelle felt too strait-tied in the Geneva vestures (where it had
been good for him to adjust himself, and stay); so did De Prades in
the Sorbonne ditto,--and burst out, on taking Orders, not into eloquent
Preachings or edifying Devotional Exercises; but into loud blurts of
mere heresy and heterodoxy. Blurts which were very loud, and I believe
very stupid; which failed of being sublime even to the Philosophic
world; and kindled the Sorbonne into burning his Book, and almost
burning himself, had not he at once run for it.

"Ran to Holland, and there continued blurting more at large,--decidedly
stupid for most part, thinks Voltaire, 'but with glorious Passages,
worth your Majesty's attention;'--upon which, D'Alembert too helping,
poor De Prades was invited to the Readership, vacant by La Mettrie's
eagle-pie; and came gladly, and stayed. At what date? one occasionally
asks: for there are Royal Letters, dateless, but written in his hand,
that raise such question in the utter dimness otherwise. Date is
'September, 1752.' [Preuss, i. 368; ii. 115.] Farther question one does
not ask about De Prades. Rather an emphatic intrusive kind of fellow,
I should guess;--wrote, he, not Friedrich, that ABRIDGMENT OF PLEURY'S
ECCLESIASTICAL HISTORY, and other the like dreary Pieces, which used to
be inflicted on mankind as Friedrich's.

"For the rest, having place and small pension,--not, like La Beaumelle,
obliged to pirate and annotate for 7 pounds 10s.--he went on steadily, a
good while; got a Canonry of Glogau [small Catholic benefice, bad if
it was not better than its now occupant];--and unluckily, in the
Seven-Years-War time, fell into treasonous Correspondence with his
countrymen; which it was feared might be fatal, when found out. But no,
not fatal. Friedrich did lock him in Magdeburg for some months; then let
him out: 'Home to Glogau, sirrah; stick to your Canonry henceforth, and
let us hear no more of you at all!' Which shall be his fate in these
pages also."

Good, my friend; no more of him, then! Only recollect "September, 1752,"
if dateless Royal Letters in De Prades's hand turn up.



Chapter X. DEMON NEWSWRITER, OF 1752.

It must be owned, the King's French Colony of Wits were a sorry set of
people. They tempt one to ask, What is the good of wit, then, if this
be it? Here are people sparkling with wit, and have not understanding
enough to discern what lies under their nose. Cannot live wisely with
anybody, least of all with one another.

In fact, it is tragic to think how ill this King succeeded in the matter
of gathering friends. With the whole world to choose from, one fancies
always he might have done better! But no, he could not;--and chiefly for
this reason: His love of Wisdom was nothing like deep enough, reverent
enough; and his love of ESPRIT (the mere Garment or Phantasm of Wisdom)
was too deep. Friends do not drop into one's mouth. One must know how
to choose friends; and that of ESPRIT, though a pretty thing, is by
no means the one requisite, if indeed it be a requisite at all. This
present Wit Colony was the best that Friedrich ever had; and we may all
see how good it was. He took, at last more and more, into bantering his
Table-Companions (which I do not wonder at), as the chief good he could
get of them. And had, as we said, especially in his later time, in the
manner of Dublin Hackney-Coachmen, established upon each animal its
RAW; and makes it skip amazingly at touch of the whip. "Cruel mortal!"
thought his cattle:--but, after all, how could he well help it, with
such a set?

Native Literary Men, German or Swiss, there also were about Friedrich's
Court: of them happily he did not require ESPRIT; but put them into his
Academy; or employed them in practical functions, where honesty and
good sense were the qualities needed. Worthy men, several of these;
but unmemorable nearly all. We will mention Sulzer alone,--and not for
THEORIES and PHILOSOPHIES OF THE FINE ARTS [--Allgemeine Theorie der
Schonen Kunste,--3 vols.; &c. &c.] (which then had their multitudes of
readers); but for a Speech of Friedrich's to him once, which has
often been repeated. Sulzer has a fine rugged wholesome Swiss-German
physiognomy, both of face and mind; and got his admirations, as the
Berlin HUGH BLAIR that then was: a Sulzer whom Friedrich always rather
liked.

Friedrich had made him School Inspector; loved to talk a little with
him, about business, were it nothing else. "Well, Monsieur Sulzer, how
are your Schools getting on?" asked the King one day,--long after this,
but nobody will tell me exactly when, though the fact is certain enough:
"How goes our Education business?" "Surely not ill, your Majesty; and
much better in late years," answered Sulzer.--"In late years: why?"
"Well, your Majesty, in former time, the notion being that mankind were
naturally inclined to evil, a system of severity prevailed in schools:
but now, when we recognize that the inborn inclination of men is
rather to good than to evil, schoolmasters have adopted a more generous
procedure."--"Inclination rather to good?" said Friedrich, shaking his
old head, with a sad smile: "Alas, dear Sulzer, ACH MEIN LIEBER SULZER,
I see you don't know that damned race of creatures (ER KENNT NICHT DIESE
VERDAMMTE RACE) as I do!" [Nicolai, iii. 274;--the thing appears to
have been said in French ("JE VOIS BIEN, MON CHER SULZER, QUE VOUS
NE CONNAISSEZ PAS, COMME MOI, CETTE RACE MAUDITE A LAQUELLE NOUS
APPARTENONS"); but the German form is irresistibly attractive, and is
now heard proverbially from time to time in certain mouths.] Here is
a speech for you!"Pardon the King, who was himself so beneficent and
excellent a King!" cry several Editors of the rose-pink type. This
present Editor, for his share, will at once forgive; but how can he ever
forget!--

"Perhaps I mistake," owns Voltaire, in his Pasquinade of a VIE PRIVEE,
"but it seems to me, at these Suppers there was a great deal of ESPRIT
(real wit and brilliancy) going. The King had it, and made others have;
and, what is extraordinary, I never felt myself so free at any table."
"Conversation most pleasant," testifies another, "most instructive,
animated; not to be matched, I should guess, elsewhere in the world."
[Bielfeld, LETTERS; Voltaire, Vie Privee.] Very sprightly indeed: and a
fund of good sense, a basis of practicality and fact, necessary to be
in it withal; though otherwise it can foam over (if some La Mettrie be
there, and a good deal of wine in him) to very great heights.



A DEMON NEWSWRITER GIVES AN "IDEA" OF FRIEDRICH; INTELLIGIBLE TO THE
KNOWING CLASSES IN ENGLAND AND ELSEWHERE.

Practically, I can add only, That these Suppers of the gods begin
commonly at half-past eight ("Concert just over"); and last till towards
midnight,--not later conveniently, as the King must be up at five (in
Summer-time at four), and "needs between five and six hours of sleep."
Or would the reader care to consult a Piece expressly treating on all
these points; kind of MANUSCRIPT NEWSPAPER, fallen into my hands,
which seems to have had a widish circulation in its day. ["IDEE DE LA
PERSONNE, DE LA MANIERE DE VIVRE, ET DE LA COUR DU ROI DE PRUSSE: juin,
1752." In the--Robinson Papers--(one Copy) now in the British Museum.]
I have met with Two Copies of it, in this Country: one of them, to
appearance, once the property of George Selwyn. The other is among the
Robinson Papers: doubtless very luculent to Robinson, who is now home
in England, but remembers many a thing. Judging from various symptoms,
I could guess this MS. to have been much about, in the English
Aristocratic Circles of that time; and to have, in some measure, given
said Circles their "Idea" (as they were pleased to reckon it) of that
wonderful and questionable King:--highly distracted "Idea;" which, in
diluted form, is still the staple English one.

By the label, DEMON NEWSWRITER, it is not meant that the Author of
this poor Paper was an actual Devil, or infernal Spiritual Essence of
miraculous spectral nature. By no means! Beyond doubt, he is some poor
Frenchman, more or less definable as flesh-and-blood; gesturing about,
visibly, at Berlin in 1752; in cocked-hat and bright shoe-buckles;
grinning elaborate salutations to certain of his fellow-creatures there.
Possibly some hungry ATTACHE of Milord Tyrconnel's Legation; fatally
shut out from the beatitudes of this barbarous Court, and willing to
seek solacement, and turn a dishonest penny, in the PER-CONTRA course?
Who he is, we need not know or care: too evident, he has the sad quality
of transmuting, in his dirty organs, heavenly Brilliancy, more or less,
into infernal Darkness and Hatefulness; which I reckon to have been, at
all times, the principal function of a Devil;--function still carried on
extensively, under Firms of another title, in this world.

Some snatches we will give. For, though it does not much concern a Man
or King, seriously busy, what the idle outer world may see good to talk
of him, his Biographers, in time subsequent, are called to notice the
matter, as part of his Life-element, and characteristic of the world
he had round him. Friedrich's affairs were much a wonder to his
contemporaries. Especially his Domesticities, an item naturally obscure
to the outer world, were wonderful; sure to be commented upon, to
all lengths; and by the unintelligent, first of all. Of contemporary
mankind, as we have sometimes said, nobody was more lied of:--of which,
let this of the Demon Newswriter be example, one instead of many. The
Demon Newswriter, deriving only from outside gossip and eavesdropping,
is wrong very often,--in fact, he is seldom right, except on points
which have been Officially fixed, and are within reach of an inquisitive
Clerk of Legation. Wrong often enough, even in regard to external
particulars, how much more as to internal;--and will need checking, as
we go along.

Demon speaks first of Friedrich's stature, 5ft. 6in. (as we know better
than this Demon); "pretty well proportioned, not handsome, and even
something of awkward (GAUCHE), acquired by a constrained bearing
[head slightly off the perpendicular, acquired by his flute, say
the better-informed]. Is of the greatest politeness. Fine tone of
voice,--fine even in swearing, which is as common with him as with a
grenadier," adds this Demon; not worth attending to, on such points.

"Has never had a nightcap [sleeps bareheaded; in his later times, would
sleep in his hat, which was always soft as duffel, kneaded to softness
as its first duty, and did very well]: Never a nightcap, dressing-gown,
or pair of slippers [TRUE]; only a kind of cloth cloak [NOT QUITE], much
worn and very dirty, for being powdered in. The whole year round he goes
in the uniform of his First Battalion of Guards:--blue with red facings,
button-hole trimmings in silver, frogs at the inner end; his coat
buttons close to the shape; waistcoat is plain yellow [straw-color]; hat
[three-cornered] has edging of Spanish lace, white plume [horizontal,
resting on the lace all round]: boots on his legs all his life. He
cannot walk with shoes [pooh, you--!].

"He rises daily at five:"--No, he does n't at all! In fact, we had
better clap the lid on this Demon, ill-informed as to all these points;
and, on such suggestion, give the real account of them, distilled from
Preuss, and the abundant authentic sources.

Preuss says (if readers could but remember him): "An Almanac lies on
the King's Table, marking for each day what specific duties the day will
bring. From five to six hours of sleep: in summer he rises about three,
seldom after four; in winter perhaps an hour later. In his older time,
seven hours' sleep came to be the stipulated quantity; and he would
sleep occasionally eight hours or even nine, in certain medical
predicaments. Not so in his younger years: four A.M. and five, the set
hours then. Summer and winter, fire is lighted for him a quarter of an
hour before. King rises; gets into his clothes: 'stockings, breeches,
boots, he did sitting on the bed' (for one loves to be particular); the
rest in front of the fire, in standing posture. Washing followed; more
compendious than his Father's used to be.

"Letters specifically to his address, a courier (leaving Berlin, 9
P.M.) had brought him in the dead of night: these, on the instant of the
King's calling 'Here!' a valet in the ante chamber brought in to him, to
be read while his hair was being done. His uniform the King did not at
once put on; but got into a CASAQUIN [loose article of the dressing-gown
kind, only shorter than ours] of rich stuff, sometimes of velvet with
precious silver embroideries. These Casaquins were commonly sky-blue
(which color he liked), presents from his Sisters and Nieces. Letters
being glanced over, and hair-club done, the Life-guard General-Adjutant
hands in the Potsdam Report (all strangers that have entered Potsdam or
left it, the principal item): this, with a Berlin Report, which had come
with the Letters; and what of Army-Reports had arrived (Adjutant-General
delivering these),--were now glanced over. And so, by five o'clock in
the summer morning, by six in the winter, one sees, in the gross, what
one's day's-work is to be; the miscellaneous STONES of it are now mostly
here, only mortar and walling of them to be thought of. General-Adjutant
and his affairs are first settled: on each thing a word or two, which
the General-Adjutant (always a highly confidential Officer, a Hacke, a
Winterfeld, or the like) pointedly takes down.

"General-Adjutant gone, the King, in sky-blue casaquin [often in very
faded condition] steps into his writing-room; walks about, reading his
Letters more completely; drinking, first, several glasses of water; then
coffee, perhaps three cups with or without milk [likes coffee, and
very strong]. After coffee he takes his flute; steps about practising,
fantasying: he has been heard to say, speaking of music and its effects
on the soul, That during this fantasying he would get to considering
all manner of things, with no thought of what he was playing; and that
sometimes even the luckiest ideas about business-matters have occurred
to him while dandling with the flute. Sauntering so, he is gradually
breakfasting withal: will eat, intermittently, small chocolate cakes;
and after his coffee, cherries, figs, grapes, fruits in their season
[very fond of fruit, and has elaborate hot-houses]. So passes the early
morning.

"Between nine and ten, most of one's plan-work being got through, the
questions of the day are settled, or laid hold of for settling. Between
nine and ten, King takes to reading the 'Excerpts' (I suppose, of
the more intricate or lengthier things) of Yesterday, which his three
Cabinet Raths [Clerk Eichel and the other Two] have prepared for him.
King summons these Three, one after the other, according to their
Department; hands them the Letters just read, the Excerpts now decided
on, and signifies, in a minimum of words, what the answers are to
be,--Clerk, always in full dress, listening with both his ears, and
pencil in hand. May have, of Answers, CABINET-ORDERS so called, perhaps
a dozen, to be ready with before evening. ["In a certain Copy or
Final-Register Book [Herr Preuss's Windfall, of which INFRA] entitled
KABINETSORDENKOPIALBUCH, of One of the three Clerks, years 1746-1752,
there are, on the average, ten CABINET-ORDERS daily, Sundays included"
(Preuss, i. 352 n.).]

"Eichel and Company dismissed, King flings off his casaquin, takes his
regimental coat; has his hair touched off with pomade, with powder; and
is buttoned and ready in about five minutes;--ready for Parade, which
is at the stroke of eleven, instead of later, as it used to be in Papa's
time. If eleven is not yet come, he will get on horseback; go sweeping
about, oftenest with errands still, at all events in the free solitude
of air, till Parade-time do come. The Parole [Sentry's-WORD of the
Day] he has already given his Adjutant-General. Parole, which only the
Adjutant and Commandant had known till now, is formally given out; and
the troops go through their exercises, manoeuvres, under a strictness
of criticism which never abates." "Parade he by no chance ever misses,"
says our Demon friend.

"At the stroke of twelve," continues Preuss, "dinner is served. Dinner
threefold; that is, a second table and a third. Only two courses, dishes
only eight, even at the King's Table, (eight also at the Marshal's or
second Table); guests from seven to ten. Dinner plentiful and savory
(for the King had his favorites among edibles), by no means caring to
be splendid,--yearly expense of threefold Dinner (done accurately by
contract) was 1,800 pounds." Linsenbarth we saw at the Third Table,
and how he fared. "The dinner-service was of beautiful porcelain; not
silver, still less gold, except on the grandest occasions. Every guest
eats at discretion,--of course!--and drinks at discretion, Moselle or
Pontac [kind of claret]; Champagne and Hungary are handed round on the
King's signal. King himself drinks Bergerac, or other clarets, with
water. Dinner lasts till two;--if the conversation be seductive, it has
been known to stretch to four. The King's great passion is for talk of
the right kind; he himself talks a great deal, tippling wine-and-water
to the end, and keeps on a level with the rising tide.

"With a bow from Majesty, dinner ends; guests gently, with a little
saunter of talk to some of them, all vanish; and the King is in his own
Apartment again. Generally flute-playing for about half an hour;
till Eichel and the others come with their day's work: tray-loads of
Cabinet-Orders, I can fancy; which are to be 'executed,' that is, to be
glanced through, and signed. Signature for most part is all; but there
are Marginalia and Postscripts, too, in great number, often of a spicy
biting character; which, in our time, are in request among the curious."
Herr Preuss, who has right to speak, declares that the spice of mockery
has been exaggerated; and that serious sense is always the aim both of
Document and of Signer. Preuss had a windfall; 12,000 of these
Pieces, or more, in a lump, in the way of gift; which fell on him like
manna,--and led, it is said, to those Friedrich studies, extensive
faithful quarryings in that vast wilderness of sliding shingle and
chaotic boulders.

"Coffee follows this despatch of Eichel and Consorts; the day now one's
own." Scandalous rumors, prose and verse, connect themselves with this
particular epoch of the day; which appear to be wholly LIES. Of which
presently. "In this after-dinner period fall the literary labors,"
says Preuss:--a facile pen, this King's; only two hours of an afternoon
allowed it, instead of all day and the top of the morning. "About six,
or earlier even, came the Reader [La Mettrie or another], came artists,
came learned talk. At seven is Concert, which lasts for an
hour; half-past eight is Supper." [Preuss, i. 344-347 (and, with
intermittencies, pp. 356, 361, 363 &c. to 376), abridged.]

Demon Newswriter says, of the Concert: "It is mostly of
wind-instruments," King himself often taking part with his flute;
"performers the best in Europe. He has three"--what shall we call them?
of male gender,--"a counter-alt, and Mamsell Astrua, an Italian; they
are unique voices. He cannot bear mediocrity. It is but seldom he has
any singing here. To be admitted, needs the most intimate favor; now and
then some young Lord, of distinction, if he meet with such." Concert,
very well;--but let us now, suppressing any little abhorrences, hear him
on another subject:--

"Dinner lasts one hour [says our Demon, no better informed]: upon which
the King returns to his Apartment with bows. It pretty often happens
that he takes with him one of his young fellows. These are all handsome,
like a picture (FAITS A PEINDRE), and of the beautifulest face,"--adds
he, still worse informed; poisonous malice mixing itself, this time,
with the human darkness, and reducing it to diabolic. This Demon's
Paper abounds with similar allusions; as do the more desperate sort of
Voltaire utterances,--VIE PRIVEE treating it as known fact; Letters to
Denis in occasional paroxysms, as rumor of detestable nature, probably
true of one who is so detestable, at least so formidable, to a guilty
sinner his Guest. Others, not to be called diabolical, as Herr Dr.
Busching, for example, speak of it as a thing credible; as good as
known to the well-informed. And, beyond the least question, there did a
thrice-abominable rumor of that kind run, whispering audibly, over
all the world; and gain belief from those who had appetite. A most
melancholy business. Solacing to human envy;--explaining also, to the
dark human intellect, why this King had commonly no Women at his Court.
A most melancholy portion of my raw-material, this; concerning which,
since one must speak of it, here is what little I have to say:--

1. That proof of the NEGATIVE, in this or in any such case, is by the
nature of it impossible. That it is indisputable Friedrich did not now
live with his Wife, nor seem to concern himself with the empire of
women at all; having, except now and then his Sisters and some Foreign
Princess on short visit, no women in his Court; and though a great judge
of Female merits, graces and accomplishments, seems to worship women
in that remote way alone, and not in any nearer. Which occasioned great
astonishment in a world used so much to the contrary. And gave rise to
many conjectures among the idle of mankind, "What, on Earth, or under
Earth, can be the meaning of it?"--and among others, to the above
scandalous rumor, as some solacement to human malice and impertinent
curiosity.

2. That an opposite rumor--which would indeed have been pretty fatal
to this one, but perhaps still more disgraceful in the eyes of a Demon
Newswriter--was equally current; and was much elaborated by the curious
impertinent. Till Nicolai got hold of it, in Herr Dr. Zimmermann's
responsible hands; and conclusively knocked it on the head. [See
Zimmermann's--Fragmente,--and Nicolai patiently pounding it to powder
(whoever is curious on this disgusting subject).]

3". That, for me, proof in the affirmative, or probable indication that
way, has not anywhere turned up. Nowhere for me, in these extensive
minings and siftings. Not the least of probable indication; but
contrariwise, here and there, rather definite indications pointing
directly the opposite way. [For example ("CORRESPONDENCE WITH
FREDERSDORF"),--OEuvres,--xxvii. iii. 145.] Friedrich, in his own
utterances and occasional rhymes, is abundantly cynical; now and then
rises to a kind of epic cynicism, on this very matter. But at no time
can the painful critic call it cynicism as of OTHER than an observer;
always a kind of vinegar cleanness in it, EXCEPT in theory. Cynicism
of an impartial observer in a dirty element; observer epically sensible
(when provoked to it) of the brutal contemptibilities which lie in Human
Life, alongside of its big struttings and pretensions. In Friedrich's
utterances there is that kind of cynicism undeniable;--and yet he had
a modesty almost female in regard to his own person; "no servant
having ever seen him in an exposed state." [Preuss, i. 376.] Which
had considerably strengthened rumor No. 2. O ye poor impious
Long-eared,--Long-eared I will call you, instead of Two-horned and with
only One hoof cloven! Among the tragical platitudes of Human Nature,
nothing so fills a considering brother mortal with sorrow and despair,
as this innate tendency of the common crowd in regard to its Great Men,
whensoever, or almost whensoever, the Heavens do, at long intervals,
vouchsafe us, as their all-including blessing, anything of such!
Practical "BLASPHEMY," is it not, if you reflect? Strangely possible
that sin, even now. And ought to be religiously abhorred by every soul
that has the least piety or nobleness. Act not the mutinous flunky, my
friend; though there be great wages going in that line.

4. That in these circumstances, and taking into view the otherwise known
qualities of this high Fellow-Creature, the present Editor does not,
for his own share, value the rumor at a pin's fee. And leaves it, and
recommends his readers to leave it, hanging by its own head, in the sad
subterranean regions,--till (probably not for a long while yet) it drop
to a far Deeper and dolefuler Region, out of our way altogether.

"Lamentable, yes," comments Diogenes; "and especially so, that the idle
public has a hankering for such things! But are there no obscene details
at all, then? grumbles the disappointed idle public to itself, something
of reproach in its tone. A public idle-minded; much depraved in every
way. Thus, too, you will observe of dogs: two dogs, at meeting, run,
first of all, to the shameful parts of the constitution; institute a
strict examination, more or less satisfactory, in that department. That
once settled, their interest in ulterior matters seems pretty much
to die away, and they are ready to part again, as from a problem
done."--Enough, oh, enough!

Practically we are getting no good of our Demon;--and will dismiss him,
after a taste or two more.

This Demon Newswriter has, evidently, never been to Potsdam; which
he figures as the abode of horrid cruelty, a kind of Tartarus on
Earth;--where there is a dreadful scarcity of women, for one item;
lamentable to one's moral feelings. Scarcity nothing like so great, even
among the soldier-classes, as the Demon Newswriter imagines to himself;
nor productive of the results lamented. Prussian soldiers are not
encouraged to marry, if it will hurt the service; nor do their wives
march with the Regiment except in such proportions as there may be
sewing, washing and the like women's work fairly wanted in their
respective Companies: the Potsdam First Battalion, I understand, is
hardly permitted to marry at all. And in regard to lamentable results,
that of "LIEBSTEN-SCHEINE, Sweetheart-TICKETS,"--or actual military
legalizing of Temporary Marriages, with regular privileges attached, and
fixed rules to be observed,--might perhaps be the notablest point, and
the SEMI-lamentablest, to a man or demon in the habit of lamenting.
[Preuss, i. 426.] For the rest, a considerably dreadful place this
Potsdam, to the flaccid, esurient and disorderly of mankind;--"and
strict as Fate [Demon correct for once] in inexorably punishing military
sins.

"This King," he says, "has a great deal of ESPRIT; much less of real,
knowledge (CONNAISSANCES) than is pretended. He excels only in the
military part; really excellent there. Has a facile expeditious pen and
head; understands what you say to him, at the first word. Not taking nor
wishing advice; never suffering replies or remonstrances, not even from
his Mother. Pretty well acquainted with Works of ESPRIT, whether in
Prose or in Verse: burning [very hot indeed] to distinguish himself by
performance of that kind; but unable to reach the Beautiful, unless
held up by somebody (ETAYE). It is said that, in a splenetic moment, his
Skeleton of an Apollo [SQUELETTE D'APOLLON, M. de Voltaire, who is lean
exceedingly] exclaimed once, some time ago, 'When is it, then, that he
will have done sending me his dirty linen to wash?'

"The King is of a sharp mocking tongue withal; pricking into whoever
displeases him; often careless of policy in that. Understands nothing
of Finance, or still less of Trade; always looking direct towards more
money, which he loves much; incapable of sowing [as some of US do!]
for a distant harvest. Treats, almost all the world as slaves. All his
subjects are held in hard shackles. Rigorous for the least shortcoming,
where his interest is hurt:--never pardons any fault which tends to
inexactitude in the Military Service. Spandau very full,"--though I did
not myself count. "Keeps in his pay nobody but those useful to him, and
capable of doing employments well [TRUE, ALWAYS]; and the instant he has
no more need of them, dismissing them with nothing [FALSE, GENERALLY].
The Subsidies imposed on his subjects are heavy; in constant proportion
to their Feudal Properties, and their Leases of Domains (CONTRATS ET
BAUX); and, what is dreadful, are exacted with the same rigor if your
Property gets into debt,"--no remission by the iron grip of this King
in the name of the State! Sell, if you can find a Purchaser; or get
confiscated altogether; that is your only remedy. Surely a tyrant of a
King.

"People who get nearest him will tell you that his Politeness is not
natural, but a remnant of old habit, when he had need of everybody,
against the persecutions of his Father. He respects his Mother; the only
Female for whom he has a sort of attention. He esteems his Wife, and
cannot endure her; has been married nineteen years, and has not yet
addressed one word to her [how true!]. It was but a few days ago she
handed him a Letter, petitioning some things of which she had the
most pressing want. He took the Letter, with that smiling, polite and
gracious air which he assumes at pleasure; and without breaking the
seal, tore the Letter up before her face, made her a profound bow, and
turned his back on her." Was there ever such a Pluto varnished into
Literary Rose-pink? Very proper Majesty for the Tartarus that here is.

... "The Queen-Mother," continues our Small Devil, "is a good fat woman,
who lives and moves in her own way (RONDEMENT). She has l6,000 pounds a
year for keeping up her House. It is said she hoards. Four days in the
week she has Apartment [Royal Soiree]; to which you cannot go without
express invitation. There is supper-table of twenty-four covers; only
eight dishes, served in a shabby manner (INDECEMMENT) by six little
scoundrels of Pages. Men and women of the Country [shivering Natives,
cheering their dull abode] go and eat there. Steward Royal sends the
invitations. At eleven, everybody has withdrawn. Other days, this Queen
eats by herself. Stewardess Royal and three Maids of Honor have their
separate table; two dishes the whole. She is shabbily lodged [in my
opinion], when at the Palace. Her Monbijou, which is close to Berlin
[now well within it], would be pretty enough, for a private person.

"The Queen Regnant is the best woman in the world. All the year [NOT
QUITE] she dines alone. Has Apartment on Thursdays; everybody gone at
nine o'clock. Her morsels are cut for her, her steps are counted, and
her words are dictated; she is miserable, and does what she can to hide
it"--according to our Small Devil. "She has scarcely the necessaries
of life allowed her,"--spends regularly two-thirds of her income in
charitable objects; translates French-Calvinist Devotional Works, for
benefit of the German mind; and complains to no Small Devil, of never
so sympathizing nature. "At Court she is lodged on the second floor
[scandalous]. Schonhausen her Country House, with the exception of the
Garden which is pretty enough,--our Shopkeepers of the Rue St. Honore
would sniff at such a lodging.

"Princess Amelia is rather amiable [thank you for nothing, Small Devil];
often out of temper because--this is so shocking a place for Ladies,
especially for maiden Ladies. Lives with her Mother; special income very
small;--Coadjutress of Quedlinburg; will be actual Abbess" in a year or
two. [11th April, 1756: Preuss, xxvii. p. xxxiv (of PREFACE).]

"Eldest Prince, Heir-Apparent,"--do not speak of him, Small Devil, for
you are misinformed in every feature and particular:--enough, "he is
fac-simile of his Brother. He has only 18,000 pounds a year, for self,
Wife, Household and Children [two, both Boys];--and is said [falsely] to
hoard, and to follow Trade, extensive Trade with his Brother's Woods.

"Prince Henri, who is just going to be married,"--thank you, Demon, for
reminding us of that. Bride is Wilhelmina, Princess of Hessen-Cassel.
Marriage, 25th June, 1752;--did not prove, in the end, very happy. A
small contemporary event; which would concern Voltaire and others
that concern us. Three months ago, April 14th, 1752, the
Berlin Powder-Magazine flew aloft with horrible crash;
[In--Helden-Geschichte--(iii. 531) the details.]--and would be audible
to Voltaire, in this his Second Act. Events, audible or not, never
cease.

"Prince Henri," in Demon's opinion, "is the amiablest of the House. He
is polite, generous, and loves good company. Has 12,000 pounds a year
left him by Papa." Not enough, as it proved. "If, on this Marriage, his
Brother, who detests him [witness Reinsberg and other evidences, now and
onward], gives him nothing, he won't be well off. They are furnishing
a House for him, where he will lodge after wedding. Is reported to
be--POTZDAMISTE [says the scandalous Small Devil, whom we are weary of
contradicting],--Potsdamite, in certain respects. Poor Princess, what a
destiny for you!

"Prince Ferdinand, little scraping of a creature (PETIT CHAFOUIN),
crapulous to excess, niggardly in the extreme, whom everybody
avoids,"--much more whose Portrait, by a Magic-lantern of this
kind: which let us hastily shut, and fling into the cellar!--"Little
Ferdinand, besides his 15,000 pounds a year, Papa's bequest, gets
considerable sums given him. Has lodging in the King's House; goes
shifting and visiting about, wherever he can live gratis; and strives
all he can to amass money. Has to be in boots and uniform every three
days. Three months of the year practically with his regiment: but the
shifts he has for avoiding expense are astonishing."...

What an illuminative "Idea" are the Walpole-Selwyn Circles picking up
for their money!--



Chapter XI. THIRD ACT AND CATASTROPHE OF THE VOLTAIRE VISIT.

Meantime there has a fine Controversy risen, of mathematical,
philosophical and at length of very miscellaneous nature, concerning
that Konig-Maupertuis dissentience on the LAW OF THRIFT. Wonderful
Controversy, much occupying the so-called Philosophic or Scientific
world; especially the idler population that inhabit there. Upon
this item of the Infinitely Little,--which has in our time sunk into
Nothing-at-all, and but for Voltaire, and the accident of his living
near it, would be forgotten altogether,--we must not enter into details;
but a few words to render Voltaire's share in it intelligible will be,
in the highest degree, necessary. Here, in brief form, rough and ready,
are the successive stages of the Business; the origin and first stage of
which have been known to us for some time past:--

"SEPTEMBER, 1750, Konig, his well-meant visit to Berlin proving so
futile, had left Maupertuis in the humor we saw;--pirouetting round his
Apartment, in tempests of rage at such contradiction of sinners on his
sublime Law of Thrift; and fulminating permission to Konig: 'No time to
read your Paper of Contradictions; publish it in Leipzig, in Jericho;
anywhere in the Earth, in Heaven, in the Other Place, where you have the
opportunity!' Konig, returning on these terms, had nothing for it but
to publish his Paper; and did publish it, in the Leipzig--Acta
Eruditorum--for March, 1751. There it stands, legible to this day: and
if any of the human species should again think of reading it, I believe
it will be found a reasonable, solid and decisive Paper; of steadfast,
openly articulate, by no means insolent, tone; considerably modifying
Maupertuis's Law of Thrift, or Minimum of Action;--fatal to the claim
of its being a 'Sublime Discovery,' or indeed, so far as TRUE, any
discovery at all. [In--Acta Eruditorum--(Lipsiae, 1751):--"De universali
Principio AEquilibrii et Motus."--By no means uncivil to Maupertuis;
though obliged to controvert him. For example:--"Quoe itaque de Minima
Actionis in modificationibus modum obtinente in genere proferuntur
vehementer laudo;" "continent nempe facundum longeque pulcherrimum
Dynamices sublimioris principium, cujus vim in difficillimis
quoestionibus soepe expertus fui."--] By way of finis to the Paper,
there is given, what proves extremely important to us, an Excerpt from
an old LETTER OF LEIBNITZ'S; which perhaps it will be better to present
here IN CORPORE, as so much turned on it afterwards. Konig thus winds
up:--

"I add only a word, in finishing; and that is, that it appears Mr.
Leibnitz had a theory of Action, perhaps much more extensive than
one would suspect at present. There is a Letter written by him to Mr.
Hermann [an ancient mathematical sage at Basel], where he uses these
expressions: 'Action, is not what you think; the consideration of Time
enters into it; Action is as the product of the mass by the space and
the velocity, or as the time by the VIS VIVA. I have remarked that in
the modifications of motion, the action becomes usually a maximum or
a minimum:--and from this there might several propositions of great
consequence be deduced. It might serve to determine the curves described
by bodies under attraction to one or more centres. I had meant to treat
of these things in the Second Part of my DYNAMIQUE; which I suppressed,
the reception of the First, by prejudice in many quarters, having
disgusted me.'" [MAUPERTUISIANA, No. ii. 22 (from--Acta Eruditorum,--ubi
supra). In MAUPERTUISIANA, No. iv. 166, is the whole Letter, "Hanover,
16th October, 1707;" no ADDRESS left, judged to be to Hermann.
MAUPERTUISIANA (Hamburg, 1753) is a mere Bookseller's or even
Bookbinder's Farrago, with printed TITLE-PAGE and LIST, of the chief
Pamphlets which had appeared on this Business (sixteen by count, various
type, all 8vo size, in my copy). Of which only No. ii. (Konig's APPEL
AU PUBLIC) and No. iv. (2d edition of said APPEL, with APPENDIX OF
CORRESPONDENCE) are illuminative to read.] Your Minimum of Action, it
would appear, then, is in some cases a Maximum; nothing can be said but
that, in every case it is EITHER a Maximum or Minimum. What a stroke
for our LAW OF THRIFT, the "at last conclusive Proof" of an Intelligent
Creator, as the Perpetual President had fancied it!"So-ho, what is this!
My Discovery an Error? And Leibnitz discovered it, so far as true?"--

"May 28th-8th OCTOBER, 1751. Maupertuis, compressing himself what he
can, writes to Konig: 'Very good, Monsieur. But please inform me
where is that Letter of Leibnitz's; I have never seen or heard of it
before,--and I want to make use of it myself.' To which Konig answers:
'Henzi gave it me, in Copy [unfortunate Conspirator Henzi, who lost his
head three years ago, by sentence of the Oligarch Government at Berne]:
[Government by "The Two Hundred;" of Select-Vestry nature, very stiff,
arbitrary and become rife in abuses; against whom had risen angry
mutterings more than once, and in 1749 a Select Plot (not select ENOUGH,
for they discovered it in time). Poor Ex-Captain Henzi, "Clerk *of the
Salt-Office," most frugal, studious and quiet of men; a very miracle, It
would appear, of genius, solid learning, philosophy and piety,--not
the chief or first of the conspirators, but by far the most
distinguished,--was laid hold of, July 2d, 1749, and beheaded, with
another of them, a day or two after. Much bewailed in a private
way, even by the better kinds of people. (Copious account of him
in--Adelung,--vii. 86-91.)]--he, poor fellow, had no end of Papers and
Excerpts; had, as we know, above a hundred volumes of the latter kind;
this, and some other Letters of Leibnitz's, among them,--I send you the
whole Letter, copied faithfully from his Copy.' ["The Hague, 26th June,"
in--Maupertuisiana,--No. iv. 130.] To that effect, still in perfect
good-humor, was Konig's reply to his Maupertuis.

"'Hm, Copy? By Henzi?' grumbles Maupertuis to himself:--'Search in
Berne, then; it must be there, if anywhere!' To Konig Maupertuis answers
nothing: but sulkily resolves on having Search made;--and, to give
solemnity to the matter, requests his Excellency Marquis de Paulmy, the
French Ambassador at Berne, to ask the Government there,--Government
having seized all Henzi's Papers, on beheading him. Excellency Paulmy
does, accordingly, make inquiry in the highest quarter; some inquiries
up and down. Not the least account of this, or of any Leibnitz Letter,
to be had from among Henzi's Papers,--the 'hundred volumes,' seemingly,
exist no longer;--Original of this Leibnitz Piece is nowhere. For eight
months the highest Authorities have been looking about (with one
knows not what vivacity or skill in searching), and have found nothing
whatever." Stage second of the Business finishes in this manner.

How lucky for the Perpetual President, had he stopped here! To Konig
and the common contradiction of sinners he could have opposed, as it was
apparently his purpose to do, an Olympian silence, "Pshaw!" Whereby
the small matter, interesting to few, would have dropped gently into
dubiety, into oblivion, and been got well rid of. But this of the great
Leibnitz, touching on one's LAW OF THRIFT; and not only "discovering"
it, half a century beforehand, but discovering that it was not true: to
Leibnitz one must speak;--and the abstruse question is, What is one to
say? "Find me the original; let us be certain, first:" that you can say;
that is one dear point; and pretty much the only one. The rest, at
this time, as I conjecture, may have been not a little abstruse to the
Perpetual President!

And now, had the Perpetual President but stopped here, there might still
have rested a saving shadow of suspicion on Konig's Excerpt, That it
was not exact, that it might be wrong in some vital point:--"You never
showed me the Original, Monsieur!" Unluckily, the Perpetual President
did not stop. One cannot well fancy him believing, now or ever, that
Konig had forged the Excerpt. Most likely he had the fatal persuasion
that these were Leibnitz's words; and the question, What was to be said
or done, if the Original SHOULD turn up? might justly be alarming to
a Son of the Pure Sciences. But at this point a new door of escape
disclosed itself: "Where is the Original, I say!"--and he rushed, full
speed, into that; galloping triumphantly, feeling all safe.

"OCTOBER 7th (1751), Maupertuis summons his Academy: 'Messieurs, permit
me to submit a case perhaps requiring your attention. One of our number
dissents from your President's Discovery of the Law of Thrift; which
surely he is free to do: but furthermore he gives an Excerpt purporting
to be from Leibnitz; whereby it would appear that your President's
Discovery, sanctioned in your Acts as new, is not new, but Leibnitz's
(so far as it is good for anything),--possibly stolen, therefore; and,
at any rate, fifty-four years old. In self-defence, I have demanded to
see the Original of said Excerpt; and the Honorable Member in question
does not produce it. What say you?' 'Shame to him!' say they all
[there seem to be but few Scientific Members, and most of them, it
is insinuated, have Pensions from the King through their Perpetual
President];--and determine to make a Star-chamber matter of it!

"Accordingly, next day, OCTOBER 8th) Secretary Formey writes officially
to Konig, 'Produce that Letter within one month,'--and has got his
Majesty to order, That our Prussian Minister at the Hague shall take
charge of delivering such message, and shall mark on what day. Thing
serious, you see!--Prussian Minister at the Hague delivers, and dockets
accordingly. To Konig's astonishment; who is in a scene of deep trouble
at this time; Royal Highness the Stadtholder suddenly dead, or dying:
'died October 22d; leaving a very young Heir, and a very sorrowful Widow
and Country.' Much to think of, that lies apart from the Maupertuis
matter! Which latter, however, is so very serious too, his Prussian
Majesty's Minister at Berne is now charged to make new perquisition for
the Leibnitz Original there: In short, within one month that Document is
peremptorily wanted at Berlin."

High proceedings these;--and calculated to have one result, if no other.
Namely, that, at this point, as readers can fancy, the idler Public,
seeing a street-quarrel in progress, began to take interest in the
Question of MINIMUM; and quasi-scientific gentlemen to gather round, and
express, with cheery capable look, their opinions,--still legible in the
vanished JUGEMENS LIBRES (of Hamburg), GAZETTE DE SAVANS (Leipzig),
and other poor Shadows of JOURNALS, if you daringly evoke them from the
other side of Styx. Which, the whole matter being now so indisputably
extinct, shadowy, Stygian, we will not here be guilty of doing; but
hasten to the catastrophes, that have still a memorability.

"Konig, having in fact nothing more to say about the Leibnitz Excerpt,
was in no breathless haste to obey his summons; he sat almost two months
before answering anything. Did then write however, in a friendly strain
to Maupertuis (December 10th, 1751). [--Maupertuisiana,--No. iv. 132.]
Almost on which same day, as it chanced, the ACADEMIE, after two months'
dignified waiting, had in brief terms repeated its order on Konig.
[December 11th, 1751 (Ib. 137). To which Konig makes no special answer
(having as good as answered the day before);--but does silently send
off to Switzerland to make inquiries; and does write once or twice more,
when there is occasion for explaining;--always in a clear, sonorous,
manfully firm and respectful tone: 'That he himself had, or has, no
kind of reason to doubt the authenticity of the Leibnitz Letter; that to
himself (and, so far as he can judge, to Maupertuis) the question of its
authenticity is without special interest;--he, Konig, having thrown it
in as a mere marginal illustration, which decides nothing, either for
or against the Law of Thrift. That he has, in obedience to the Academy,
caused search to be made in Switzerland, especially at Basel, where he
judged the chance might lie; but that of this particular Letter
nothing has come to light; that he has two other Leibnitz Letters, of
indifferent tenor, in the late Henzi's hand, if these will serve in
aught, [--Maupertuisiana,--No. iv. 155; and ib. 172-192, the two Letters
themselves.]--but what farther can he do?' In short, Konig speaks always
in a clear business-like manful tone; the one person that makes a really
respectful and respectable figure in this Controversy of the Infinitely
Little. A man whom, viewed from this quiet distance, it seems almost
inconceivably absurd to have suspected of forging for so small an
object. Oh, my President, that DIRA REGNANDI CUPIDO!--

"Question is, however, What the Academy will do? One Member, 'the best
Geometer among them' [whose name is not given, but which the Berlin
Academy should write in big letters across this sad Page of their
Annals, by way of erasure to the same], dissented from the high line
of procedure; asserting Konig's innocence in this matter; nay, hinting
agreement with Konig's opinion. But was met by such a storm, that he
withdrew from the deliberations; which henceforth went their own bad
course, unanimous though slow. And so the matter pendulates all through
Winter, 1751-52, and was much the theme of idle men."

Voltaire heard of it vaguely all along; but not with distinctness till
the end of July following. As Spring advanced, Maupertuis had fallen
ill of lungs,--threatened with spitting of blood ("owing to excess of
brandy," hints the malicious Voltaire, "which is fashionable at St.
Malo," birthplace of Maupertuis),--and could not farther direct the
Academy in this affair. The Academy needs no direction farther. Here,
very soon, for a sick President's consolation, is what the Academy
decides on, by way of catastrophe:--

THURSDAY EVENING, 13th APRIL, 1752, The Academy met; Curator Monsieur
de Keith, presiding; about a score of acting Members present. To whom
Curator de Keith, as the first thing, reads a magnanimous brief Letter
from our Perpetual President: "That, for two reasons, he cannot attend
on this important occasion: First, because he is too ill, which would
itself be conclusive; but secondly, and A FORTIORI, because he is in
some sense a party to the cause, and ought not if he could." Whereupon,
Secretary Formey having done his Documentary flourishings, Curator
Euler--(great in Algebra, apparently not very great in common sense
and the rules of good temper)--reads considerable "Report;" [Is No.
1 of--Maupertuisiana.--] reciting, not in a dishonest, but in a dim
wearisome way, the various steps of the Affair, as readers already know
them; and concludes with this extraordinary practical result: "Things
being so (LES CHOSES ETANT TELLES): the Fragment being of itself suspect
[what could Leibnitz know of Maxima and Minima? They were not developed
till one Euler did it, quite in late years!], [--Maupertuisians,--No.
i. 22.] of itself suspect; and Monsieur Konig having failed to" &c.
&c.,--"it is assuredly manifest that his cause is one of the worst (DES
PLUS MAUVAISES), and that this Fragment has been forged." Singular to
think!"And the Academy, all things duly considered, will not hesitate
to declare it false (SUPPOSE), and thereby deprive it publicly of all
authority which may have been ascribed to it" (HEAR, HEAR! from all
parts).

Curator de Keith then collects the votes,--twenty-three in all; some
sixteen are of working Members; two are from accidental Strangers
("travelling students," say the enemy); the rest from Curators of
Quality:--Vote is unanimous, "Adopt the Report. Fragment evidently
forged, and cannot have the least shadow of authority (AUCUNE OMBRE
D'AUTHORITE). Forged by whom, we do not now ask; nor what the Academy
could, on plain grounds, now do to Monsieur Konig [NOT nail his ears
to the pump, oh no!]; enough, it IS forged, and so remains." Signed,
"Curator de Keith," and Six other Office-bearers; "Formey, Perpetual
Secretary"' closing the list.

At the name Keith, a slight shadow (very slight, for how could
Keith help himself?) crosses the mind: "Is this, by ill luck, the
Feldmarschall Keith?" No, reader; this is Lieutenant-Colonel Keith; he
of Wesel, with "Effigy nailed to the Gallows" long since; whom none of
us cares for. Sulzer, I notice too, is of this long-eared Sanhedrim.
ACH, MEIN LIEBER SULZER, you don't know (do you, then?) DIESE VERDAMMTE
RACE, to what heights and depths of stupid malice, and malignant length
of ear, they are capable of going. "Thursday, 13th April," this is
Forger Konig's doom:--and, what is observable, next morning, with a
crash audible through Nature, the Powder-Magazine flew aloft, killing
several persons! [Supra, p. 203.] Had no hand, he, I hope, in that
latter atrocity?

On authentic sight of this Sentence (for which Konig had at once, on
hearing of it, applied to Formey, and which comes to him, without help
of Formey, through the Public Newspapers) Konig, in a brief, proud
enough, but perfectly quiet, mild and manful manner, resigns his
Membership. "Ceases, from this day (June 18th, 1752), to have the honor
of belonging to your Academy; 'an honor I had been the prouder of, as it
came to me unasked;'--and will wish, you, from the outside henceforth,
successful campaigns in the field of Science." [--Maupertuisiana,--No.
iv. 129.] And sets about preparing his Pamphlet to instruct mankind on
the subject. Maupertuis, it appears, did write, and made others write to
Konig's Sovereign Lady, the Dowager Princess of Orange, "How extremely
handsome it would be, could her Most Serene Highness, a friend to
Pure Science, be pleased to induce Monsieur Konig not to continue this
painful Controversy, but to sit quiet with what he had got." [Voltaire
(infra).] Which her Most Serene Highness by no mean thought the suitable
course. Still less did Konig himself; whose APPEAL TO THE PUBLIC, with
DEFENCE OF APPEAL,--reasonably well done, as usual, and followed and
accompanied by the multitude of Commentators,--appeared in due course.
["September, 1752, Konig's APPEL" (Preuss, in--OEuvres de Frederic,--xv.
60 n.).] Till, before long, the Public was thoroughly instructed; and
nobody, hardly the signing Curators, or thin Euler himself, not to speak
of Perpetual Formey, who had never been strong in the matter, could well
believe in "forgery" or care to speak farther on such a subject.
Subject gone wholly to the Stygian Fens, long since; "forgery" not now
imaginable by anybody!

The rumor of these things rose high and wide; and the quantity of
publishing upon them, quasi-scientifically and otherwise, in the serious
vein and the jocose, was greater than we should fancy. ["Letter from a
Marquis;" "Letter from Mr. T---to M. S---" (Mr. T. lives in London;--"JE
TRAVERSE LE Queen's Square, ET JE RENCONTRE NOTRE AMI D---: 'AVEZ-VOUS
LA l'Appel au Public?' DIT-IL"--); "Letter by Euler in the Berlin
Gazette," &c. &c. (in--Maupertuisiana--).] Voltaire, for above a month
past, had been fully aware of the case (24th July, 1752, writing to
Niece, "heard yesterday"); not without commentary to oneself and others.
Voltaire, with a kind of love to Konig, and a very real hatred to
Maupertuis and to oppression generally, took pen himself, among the
others (Konig's APPEAL just out),--could not help doing it, though he
had better not! The following small Piece is perhaps the one, if there
be one, still worth resuscitating from the Inane Kingdoms. Appeared
in the BIBLIOTHEQUE RAISONNEE (mild-shining Quarterly Review of those
days), JULY-SEPTEMBER Number.



"ANSWER FROM [VERY PRIVATELY VOLTAIRE, CALLING HIMSELF] A BERLIN
ACADEMICIAN TO A PARIS ONE.

"BERLIN, 18th SEPTEMBER, 1752. This is the exact truth, in reply to
your inquiry. M. Moreau de Maupertuis in a Pamphlet entitled ESSAI DE
COSMOLOGIE, pretended that the only proof of the Existence of God is the
circumstance that AR+nRB is a Minimum. [ONLY proof:^??????^ (p.212
Book XVI) VOILA!] He asserts that in all possible cases, 'Action is a
Minimum,' what has been demonstrated false; and he says, 'He discovered
this Law of Minimum,' what is not less false.

"M. Konig, as well as other Mathematicians, wrote against this strange
assertion; and, among other things, M. Konig cited some sentences of a
Letter by Leibnitz, in which that great man says, He has observed 'that,
in the modifications of motion, the Action usually becomes either a
Maximum or else a Minimum.'

"M. Moreau de Maupertuis imagined that, by producing this Fragment,
it had been intended to snatch from him the glory of his pretended
discovery,--though Leibnitz says precisely the contrary of what he
advances. He forced some pensioned members of the Academy, who are
dependent on him, to summon M. Konig"--As we know too well; and
cannot bear to have repeated to us, even in the briefest and spiciest
form!"Sentence (JUGEMENT) on M. Konig, which declares him guilty of
having assaulted the glory of the Sieur Moreau Maupertuis by FORGING a
Leibnitz Letter.--Wrote then, and made write, to her Serene Highness the
Princess of Orange, who was indignant at so insolent"--... and in fine,

"Thus the Sieur Moreau Maupertuis has been convicted, in the face of
Scientific Europe, not only of plagiarism and blunder, but of having
abused his place to suppress free discussion, and to persecute an honest
man who had no crime but that of not being of his opinion. Several
members of our Academy have protested against so crying a procedure; and
would leave the Academy, were it not for fear of displeasing the
King, who is protector of it." [--OEuvres de Voltaire,--lxiii. 227
(in--Maupertuisiana,--No. xvi).]

King Friedrich's position, in the middle of all this, was becoming
uncomfortable. Of the controversy he understood, or cared to understand,
nothing; had to believe steadily that his Academy must be right; that
Konig was some loose bird, envious of an eagle Maupertuis, sitting aloft
on his high Academic perch: this Friedrich took for the truth of the
matter;--and could not let himself imagine that his sublime Perpetual
President, who was usually very prudent and Jove-like, had been led,
by his truculent vanity (which Friedrich knew to be immense in the man,
though kept well out of sight), into such playing of fantastic tricks
before high Heaven and other on-lookers. This view of the matter had
hitherto been Friedrich's; nor do I know that he ever inwardly departed
from it;--as outwardly he, for certain, never did; standing, King-like,
clear always for his Perpetual President, till this hurricane of
Pamphlets blew by. Voltaire's little Piece, therefore, was the
unwelcomest possible.

This new bolt of electric fire, launched upon the storm-tost President
from Berlin itself, and even from the King's House itself,--by whom, too
clearly recognizable,--what an irritating thing! Unseemly, in fact,
on Voltaire's part; but could not be helped by a Voltaire charged with
electricity. Friedrich evidently in considerable indignation, finding
that public measures would but worsen the uproar, took pen in hand;
wrote rapidly the indignant LETTER FROM AN ACADEMICIAN OF BERLIN TO AN
ACADEMICIAN OF PARIS: [--OEuvres de Frederic,--xv. 59-64 (not dated;
datable "October, 1752").] which Piece, of some length, we cannot give
here; but will briefly describe as manifesting no real knowledge of the
LAW-OF-THRIFT Controversy; but as taking the above loose view of it, and
as directed principally against "the pretended Member of our Academy"
(mischievous Voltaire, to wit), whom it characterizes as "such a
manifest retailer of lies," a "concocter of stupid libels:" "have you
ever seen an action more malicious, more dastardly, more infamous?"--and
other hard terms, the hardest he can find. This is the privilege of
anonymity, on both sides of it.

But imagine now a King and his Voltaire doing witty discourse over their
Supper of the gods (as, on the set days, is duly the case); with such a
consciousness, burning like Bude light, though close veiled, on the part
of Host and Guest! The Friedrich-Voltaire relation is evidently under
sore stress of weather, in those winter-autumn months of 1752,--brown
leaves, splashy rains and winds moaning outwardly withal. And, alas, the
irrepressibly electric Voltaire, still far from having ended, still
only just beginning his Anti-Maupertuis discharges, has, in the interim,
privately got his DOCTOR AKAKIA ready. Compared to which, the former
missile is as a popgun to a park of artillery shotted with old nails and
broken glass!--Such a constraint, at the Royal dinner-table, amid wine
and wit, could not continue. The credible account is, it soon cracked
asunder; and, after the conceivable sputterings, sparklings and
flashings of various complexion, issued in lambent airs of "tacit
mutual understanding; and in reading of AKAKIA together,--with peals of
laughter from the King," as the common French Biographers assert.

"Readers know AKAKIA," [DIATRIBE DU DOCTEUR AKAKIA (in
Voltaire,--OEuvres,--lxi. 19-62).] says Smelfungus: "it is one of the
famous feats of Satirical Pyrotechny; only too pleasant to the corrupt
Race of Adam! There is not much, or indeed anything, of true poetic
humor in it: but there is a gayety of malice, a dexterity, felicity,
inexhaustibility of laughing mockery and light banter, capable
of driving a Perpetual President delirious. What an Explosion of
glass-crackers, fire-balls, flaming-serpents;--generally, of sleeping
gunpowder, in its most artistic forms,--flaming out sky-high over all
the Parish, on a sudden! The almost-sublime of Maupertuis, which exists
in large quantities, here is a new artist who knows how to treat it.
The engineer of the Sublime (always painfully engineering thitherward
without effect),--an engineer of the Comic steps in on him, blows him up
with his own petards in a most unexampled manner. Not an owlery has that
poor Maupertuis, in the struggle to be sublime (often nearly successful,
but never once quite), happened to drop from him, but Voltaire picks it
up; manipulates it, reduces it to the sublimely ridiculous; lodges it,
in the form of burning dust, about the head of MON PRESIDENT. Needless
to say of the Comic engineer that he is unfair, perversely exaggerative,
reiterative, on the owleries of poor Maupertuis;--it is his function
to BE all that. Clever, but wrong, do you say? Well, yes:--and yet the
ridiculous does require ridicule; wise Nature has silently so ordered.
And if ever truculent President in red wig, with his absurd truculences,
tyrannies and perpetual struggles after the sublime, did deserve to
be exploded in laughter, it could not have been more consummately
done;--though perversely always, as must be owned.

"'The hole bored through the Earth,' for instance: really, one sometimes
reflects on such a thing; How you would see daylight, and the antipodal
gentleman (if he bent a little over) foot to foot; how a little stone
flung into it would exactly (but for air and friction) reach the other
side of the world; would then, in a computable few moments, come back
quiescent to your hand, and so continue forevermore;--with other the
like uncriminal fancies.

"'The Latin Town,' again: truly, if learning the Ancient Languages
be human Education, it might, with a Greek Ditto, supersede the
Universities, and prove excellently serviceable in our struggle
Heavenward by that particular route. I can assure M. de Voltaire, it was
once practically proposed to this King's Great-grandfather, the Grosse
Kurfurst;--who looked into it, with face puckered to the intensest, in
his great care for furtherance of the Terrestrial Sciences and Wisdoms;
but forbore for that time. [Minute details about it in Stenzel, ii.
234-238; who quotes "Erman" (a poor old friend of ours) "SUR LE PROJET
D'UNE VILLE SAVANTE DANS LE BRANDEBOURG (Berlin, 1792):" date of the
Project was 1667.] Then as to 'Dissecting the Brains of Patagonians;'
what harm, if you can get them gross enough? And as to that of (exalting
your mind to predict the future,' does not, in fact, man look BEFORE and
AFTER; are not Memory and (in a small degree) Prophecy the Two Faculties
he has?

"These things--which are mostly to be found in the 'LETTRES DE
MAUPERTUIS' (Dresden, 1752, then a brand-new Book), but are now
clipt out from the Maupertuis Treatises--we can fancy to be almost
sublimities.--Almost, unfortunately not altogether. And then there is
such a Sisyphus-effort visible in dragging them aloft so far: and the
nimble wicked Voltaire so seizes his moment, trips poor Sisyphus; and
sends him down, heels-over-head, in a torrent of roaring debris! 'From
gradual transpiration of our vital force comes Death; which perhaps,
by precautions, might be indefinitely retarded,' says Maupertuis. 'Yes,
truly,' answers the other: 'if we got ourselves japanned, coated with
resinous varnish (INDUITS DE POIX RESINEUX); who knows!' Not a sublime
owlery can you drop, but it is manipulated, ground down, put in rifled
cannon, comes back on you as tempests of burning dust." Enough to send
Maupertuis pirouetting through the world, with red wig unquenchably on
fire!

Peals of laughter (once you are allowed to be non-official) could not
fail, as an ovation, from the King;--so report the French Biographers.
But there was, besides, strict promise that the Piece should be
suppressed: "Never do to send our President pirouetting through the
world in this manner, with his wig on fire; promise me, on your honor!"
Voltaire promised. But, alas, how could Voltaire perform! Once more
the Rhadamanthine fact is: Voltaire, as King's Chamberlain, was bound,
without any promise, to forbear, and rigidly suppress such an AKAKIA
against the King's Perpetual President. But withal let candid readers
consider how difficult it was to do. The absurd blusterous Turkey-cock,
who has, every now and then, been tyrannizing over you for twenty years,
here you have him filled with gunpowder, so to speak, and the train
laid. There wants but one spark,--(edition printed in Holland,
edition done in Berlin, plenty of editions made or makable by a little
surreptitious legerdemain,--and I never knew whether it was AKAKIA in
print, or AKAKIA in manuscript, that King and King's Chamberlain
were now reading together, nor does it matter much):--your Turkey
surreptitiously stuffed with gunpowder, I say; train ready waiting; one
flint-spark will shoot him aloft, scatter him as flaming ruin on all the
winds: and you are, once and always, to withhold said spark. Perhaps,
had AKAKIA not yet been written--But all lies ready there; one spark
will do it, at any moment;--and there are unguarded moments, and the
Tempter must prevail!--

On what day AKAKIA blazed out at Berlin, surreptitiously forwarded
from Holland or otherwise, I could never yet learn (so stupid these
reporters). But "on November 2d" the King makes a Visit to sick
Maupertuis, which is published in all the Newspapers; [Rodenbeck, IN
DIE;--Helden-Geschichte,--iii. 531, "2d November, 1752, 5 P.M."]--and
one might guess the AKAKIA conflagration, and cruel haha-ings of
mankind, to have been tacitly the cause. Then or later, sure enough,
AKAKIA does blaze aloft about that time; and all Berlin, and all the
world, is in conversation over Maupertuis and it,--30,000 copies sold
in Paris:--and Friedrich naturally was in a towering passion at his
Chamberlain. Nothing for the Chamberlain but to fly his presence;
to shriek, piteously, "Accident, your Majesty! Fatal treachery and
accident; after such precautions too!"--and fall sick to death (which
is always a resource one has); and get into private lodgings in the
TAUBEN-STRASSE, [At a "Hofrath Francheville's" (kind of subaltern
Literary Character, see Denina, ii. 67), "TAUBEN-STRASSE (Dove Street),
No. 20:" stayed there till "March, 1753" (Note by Preuss,--OEuvres de
Frederic,--xxii. 306 n.).] till one either die, or grow fit to be seen
again: "Ah, Sire"--let us give the Voltaire shriek of NOT-GUILTY, with
the Friedrich Answer; both dateless unluckily:--

VOLTAIRE. "AH, MON DIEU, Sire, in the state I am in! I swear to you
again, on my life, which I could renounce without pain, that it is a
frightful calumny. I conjure you to summon all my people, and confront
them. What? You will judge me without hearing me! I demand justice or
death."

FRIEDRICH. "Your effrontery astonishes me. After what you have done, and
what is clear as day, you persist, instead of owning yourself culpable.
Do not imagine you will make people believe that black is white; when
one [ON, meaning _I_] does not see, the reason [sic]? ONE p. 218, book
XVI +++++++++++++++++ is, one does not want to see everything. But if
you drive the affair to extremity,--all shall be made public; and it
will be seen whether, if your Works deserve statues, your conduct does
not deserve chains." [--OEuvres de Frederic,--xxii. 302, 301.]

Most dark element (not in date only), with terrific thunder-and-
lightning. Nothing for it but to keep one's room, mostly one's
bed,--"Ah, Sire, sick to death!"

December 24th, 1752, there is one thing dismally distinct, Voltaire
himself looking on (they say), from his windows in Dove Street: the
Public Burning of AKAKIA, near there, by the common Hangman. Figure it;
and Voltaire's reflections on it:--haggardly clear that Act Third is
culminating; and that the final catastrophe is inevitable and nigh.
We must be brief. On the eighth day after this dread spectacle
(New-year's-day 1753), Voltaire sends, in a Packet to the Palace, his
Gold Key and Cross of Merit. On the interior wrappage is an Inscription
in verse: "I received them with loving emotion, I return them with
grief; as a broken-hearted Lover returns the Portrait of his Mistress:--

         --Je les recus avec tendresse,
         Je vous les rends avec douleur;
         C'est ainsi qu'un amant, dans son extreme ardeur,
         Rend le portrait de sa maitresse."--

And--in a Letter enclosed, tender as the Song of Swans--has one wish:
Permission for the waters of Plonbieres, some alleviations amid kind
nursing friends there; and to die craving blessings on your Majesty.
[Collini, p. 48; LETTER, in--OEuvres de Frederic,--xxii. 305.]

Friedrich, though in hot wrath, has not quite come that length.
Friedrich, the same day, towards evening, sends Fredersdorf to him, with
Decorations back. And a long dialogue ensues between Fredersdorf and
Voltaire; in which Collini, not eavesdropping, "heard the voice of M. de
Voltaire at times very loud." Precise result unknown. After which, for
three months more, follows waiting and hesitation and negotiation, also
quite obscure. Confused hithering and thithering about permission for
Plombieres, about repentance, sorrow, amendment, blame; in the end,
reconciliation, or what is to pass for such. Recorded for us in that
whirl of misdated Letter-clippings; in those Narratives, ignorant, and
pretending to know: perhaps the darkest Section in History, Sacred or
Profane,--were it of moment to us, here or elsewhere!

Voltaire has got permission to return to Potsdam; Apartment in the
Palace ready again: but he still lingers in Dove Street; too ill,
in real truth, for Potsdam society on those new terms. Does not quit
Francheville's "till March 5th;" and then only for another Lodging,
called "the Belvedere", of suburban or rural kind. His case is intricate
to a degree. He is sick of body; spectre-haunted withal, more than
ever;--often thinks Friedrich, provoked, will refuse him leave.
And, alas, he would so fain NOT go, as well as go! Leave for
Plombieres,--leave in the angrily contemptuous shape, "Go, then, forever
and a day!"--Voltaire can at once have: but to get it in the friendly
shape, and as if for a time only? His prospects at Paris, at Versailles,
are none of the best; to return as if dismissed will never do! Would
fain not go, withal;--and has to diplomatize at Potsdam, by D'Argens,
De Prades, and at Paris simultaneously, by Richelieu, D'Argenson and
friends. He is greatly to be pitied;--even Friedrich pities him, the
martyr of bodily ailments and of spiritual; and sends him "extract of
quinquina" at one time. [Letter of Voltaire's.] Three miserable months;
which only an OEdipus could read, and an OEdipus who had nothing else
to do! The issue is well known. Of precise or indisputable, on the road
thither, here are fractions that will suffice:--

VOLTAIRE TO ONE BAGIEU HIS DOCTOR AT PARIS ("Berlin, 19th December,"
1752, week BEFORE his AKAKIA was burnt).... "Wish I could set out on the
instant, and put myself into your hands and into the arms of my family!
I brought to Berlin about a score of teeth, there remain to me something
like six; I brought two eyes, I have nearly lost one of them; I brought
no erysipelas, and I have got one, which I take a great deal of care
of.... Meanwhile I have buried almost all my Doctors; even La Mettrie.
Remains only that I bury Codenius [Cothenius], who looks too stiff,
however,"--and, at any rate, return to you in Spring, when roads and
weather improve. [--OEuvres de Voltaire,--lxxxv. 141.]

FRIEDRICH TO VOLTAIRE (Potsdam, uncertain date). "There was no need of
that pretext about the waters of Plombieres, in demanding your leave
(CONGE). You can quit my service when you like: but, before going, be
so good as return me the Contract of your Engagement, the Key
[Chamberlain's], the Cross [of Merit], and the Volume of Verses which I
confided to you.

"I wish my Works, and only they, had been what you and Konig attacked.
Them I sacrifice, with a great deal of willingness, to persons who think
of increasing their own reputation by lessening that of others. I have
not the folly nor vanity of certain Authors. The cabals of literary
people seem to me the disgrace of Literature. I do not the less esteem
honorable cultivators of Literature; it is only the caballers and their
leaders that are degraded in my eyes. On this, I pray God to have you in
his holy and worthy keeping.--FRIEDRICH."

[In De Prades's hand;--OEuvres de Frederic,--xxii. 308, 309: Friedrich's
own Minute to De Prades has, instead of these last three lines: "That
I have not the folly and vanity of authors, and that the cabals of
literary people seem to me the depth of degradation," &c.]

VOLTAIRE SPECTRALLY GIVEN (Collini LOQUITUR). "One evening walking
in the garden [at rural Belvedere,--after March 5th], talking of our
situation, he asked me, 'Could you drive a coach-and-two?' I stared at
him a moment; but knowing that there must be no direct contradiction
of his ideas, I said 'Yes.'--'Well, then, listen; I have thought of a
method for getting away. You could buy two horses; a chariot after that.
So soon as we have horses, it will not appear strange that we lay in a
little hay.'--'Yes, Monsieur; and what should we do with that?' said I.
'LE VOICI (this is it). We will fill the chariot with hay. In the middle
of the hay we will put all our baggage. I will place myself, disguised,
on the top of the hay; and give myself out for a Calvinist Curate going
to see one of his Daughters married in the next Town. You shall drive:
we take the shortest road for the Saxon Border; safe there, we sell
chariot, horses, hay; then straight to Leipzig, by post.' At which
point, or soon after, he burst into laughing." [Collini, p. 53.]

VOLTAIRE TO FRIEDRICH ("Berlin, Belvedere," rural lodging, ["In the
STRALAUER VORSTADT (HODIE, Woodmarket Street):" Preuss's Note to this
Letter,--OEuvres de Frederic,--xxii. 306 n.] "12th March," 1753). "Sire,
I have had a Letter from Konig, quite open, as my heart is. I think it
my duty to send your Majesty a duplicate of my Answer.... Will submit to
you every step of my conduct; of my whole life, in whatever place I end
it. I am Konig's friend; but assuredly I am much more attached to your
Majesty; and if he were capable the least in the world of failing in
respect [as is rumored], I would"--Enough!

FRIEDRICH RELENTS (To Voltaire; De Prades writing, Friedrich covertly
dictating: no date). "The King has held his Consistory; and it has
there been discussed, Whether your case was a mortal sin or a venial?
In truth, all the Doctors owned that it was mortal, and even exceedingly
confirmed as such by repeated lapses and relapses. Nevertheless, by the
plenitude of the grace of Beelzebub, which rests in the said King, he
thinks he can absolve you, if not in whole, yet in part. This would be,
of course, in virtue of some act of contrition and penitence imposed
on you: but as, in the Empire of Satan, there is a great respect had of
genius, I think, on the whole, that, for the sake of your talents, one
might pardon a good many things which do discredit to your heart. These
are the Sovereign Pontiff's words; which I have carefully taken down.
They are a Prophecy rather." [--OEuvres de Frederic,--xxii. 307.]

VOLTAIRE TO DE PRADES ("Belvedere, 15th March," 1753). "Dear Abbe,--Your
style has not appeared to me soft. You are a frank Secretary of
State:--nevertheless I give you warning, it is to be a settled point
that I embrace you before going. I shall not be able to kiss you; my
lips are too choppy from my devil of a disorder [SCURVY, I hear]. You
will easily dispense with my kisses; but don't dispense, I pray you,
with my warm and true friendship.

"I own I am in despair at quitting you, and quitting the King; but it is
a thing indispensable. Consider with our dear Marquis [D'Argens], with
Fredersdorf,--PARBLEU, with the King himself, How you can manage that I
have the consolation of seeing him before I go. I absolutely will
have it; I will embrace with my two arms the Abbe and the Marquis. The
Marquis sha'n't be kissed, any more than you; nor the King either. But
I shall perhaps fall blubbering; I am weak, I am a drenched hen. I shall
make a foolish figure: never mind; I must, once more, have sight of you
two. If I cannot throw myself at the King's feet, the Plombieres waters
will kill me. I await your answer, to quit this Country as a happy or
as a miserable man. Depend on me for life.--V." [Ib. 308.]--This is the
last of these obscure Documents.

Three days after which, "evening of March 18th", [Collini, pp. 55, 56.]
Voltaire, Collini with him and all his packages, sets out for Potsdam;
King's guest once more. Sees the King in person "after dinner, next
day;" stays with him almost a week, "quite gay together," "some private
quizzing even of Maupertuis" (if we could believe Collini or his master
on that point); means "to return in October, when quite refitted,"--does
at least (note it, reader), on that ground, retain his Cross and Key,
and his Gift of the OEUVRE DE POESIES: which he had much better have
left! And finally, morning of March 25th) 1753, [Collini, p. 56; see
Rodenbeck, i. 252.] drives off,--towards Dresden, where there are
Printing Affairs to settle, and which is the nearest safe City;--and
Friedrich and he, intending so or not, have seen one another for the
last time. Not quite intending that extremity, either of them, I should
think; but both aware that living together was a thing to be avoided
henceforth.

"Take care of your health, above all; and don't forget that I expect
to see you again after the Waters!" such was Friedrich's adieu, say
the French Biographers, [Collini, p. 57; Duvernet, p. 186;--OEuvres de
Voltaire,--lxxv. 187 ("will return in October").] "who is himself just
going off to the Silesian Reviews", add they;--who does, in reality,
drive to Berlin that day; but not to the Silesian Reviews till May
following. As Voltaire himself will experience, to his cost!



Chapter XII. OF THE AFTERPIECE, WHICH PROVED STILL MORE TRAGICAL.

Voltaire, once safe on Saxon ground, was in no extreme haste for
Plombieres. He deliberately settled his Printing Affairs at Dresden;
then at Leipzig;--and scattered through Newspapers, or what port-holes
he had, various fiery darts against Maupertuis; aggravating the humors
in Berlin, and provoking Maupertuis to write him an express Letter.
Letter which is too curious, especially the Answer it gets, to be quite
omitted:--


MAUPERTUIS TO VOLTAIRE (at Leipzig).

"BERLIN, 3d APRIL, 1753. If it is true that you design to attack me
again [with your LA-BEAUMELLE doggeries and scurrilous discussions], I
declare to you that I have still health enough to find you wherever you
are, and to take the most signal vengeance on you (VENGEANCE LA PLUS
ECLATANTE). Thank the respect and the obedience which have hitherto
restrained my arm, and saved you from the worst adventure you have ever
yet had. MAUPERTUIS."


VOLTAIRE'S ANSWER (from Leipzig, a few days after).

"M. le President,--I have had the honor to receive your Letter. You
inform me that you are well; that your strength is entirely returned;
and that, if I publish La Beaumelle's Letter [private Letter of his,
lent me by a Friend, which proves that YOU set him against me], you
will come and assassinate me. What ingratitude to your poor medical man
Akakia!... If you exalt your soul so as to discern futurity, you will
see that if you come on that errand to Leipzig, where you are no better
liked than in other places, and where your Letter is in safe Legal
hands, you run some risk of being hanged. Poor me, indeed, you will find
in bed; and I shall have nothing for you but my syringe and vessel of
dishonor: but so soon as I have gained a little strength, I will have
my pistols charged CUM PULVERE PYRIO; and multiplying the mass by the
square of the velocity, so as to reduce the action and you to zero, I
will put some lead in your head;--it appears to have need of it.
ADIEU, MON PRESIDENT. AKAKIA." [Duvernet, pp. 186, 187;--OEuvres de
Voltaire,--lxi. 55-60.]

Here, in the history of Duelling, or challenging to mortal combat, is
a unique article! At which the whole world haha'd again; perhaps King
Friedrich himself; though he was dreadfully provoked at it, too: "No
mending of that fellow!"--and took a resolution in consequence, as will
be seen.

Dresden and Leipzig done with, Voltaire accepted an invitation to
the Court of Sachsen-Gotha (most polite Serene Highnesses there, and
especially a charming Duchess,--who set him upon doing the ANNALES
DE L'EMPIRE, decidedly his worst Book). "About April 2lst"
Voltaire arrived, stayed till the last days of May; [--OEuvres de
Voltaire,--lxxv. 182 n. Clogenson's Note).] and had, for five weeks, a
beautiful time at Gotha;--Wilhelmina's Daughter there (young Duchess
of Wurtemberg, on visit, as it chanced), [Wilhelmina-Friedrich
Correspondence (--OEuvres de Frederic,--xxvii. iii. 258, 249).] and all
manner of graces, melodies and beneficences; a little working, too,
at the ANNALES, in the big Library, between whiles. Five decidedly
melodious weeks. Beautiful interlude, or half-hour of orchestral
fiddling in this Voltaire Drama; half-hour which could not last! On the
heel of which there unhappily followed an Afterpiece or codicil to the
Berlin Visit; which, so to speak, set the whole theatre on fire, and
finished by explosion worse than AKAKIA itself. A thing still famous to
mankind;--of which some intelligible notion must be left with readers.

The essence of the story is briefly this. Voltaire, by his fine
deportment in parting with Friedrich, had been allowed to retain his
Decorations, his Letter of Agreement, his Royal BOOK OF POESIES (one
of those "Twelve Copies," printed AU DONJON DU CHATEAU, in happier
times!)--and in short, to go his ways as a friend, not as a runaway or
one dismissed. But now, by his late procedures at Leipzig, and
"firings out of port-holes" in that manner, he had awakened Friedrich's
indignation again,--Friedrich's regret at allowing him to take those
articles with him; and produced a resolution in Friedrich to have them
back. They are not generally articles of much moment; but as marks of
friendship, they are now all falsities. One of the articles might be
of frightful importance: that Book of Poesies; thrice-private OEUVRE DE
POESIES, in which are satirical spurts affecting more than one crowned
head: one shudders to think what fires a spiteful Voltaire might cause
by publishing these! This was Friedrich's idea;--and by no means a
chimerical one, as the Fact proved; said OEUVRE being actually reprinted
upon him, at Paris afterwards (not by Voltaire), in the crisis of the
Seven-Years War, to put him out with his Uncle of England, whom
it quizzed in passages. [Title of it is,--OEuvres du Philosophe de
Sans-Souci--(Paris, pretending to be "Potsdam," 1760), 1 vol. 12mo: at
Paris, "in January" this; whereupon, at Berlin, with despatch, "April
9th," "the real edition" (properly castrated) was sent forth, under
title, POESIES DIVERSES, 1 vol. big 8vo (Preuss, in--OEuvres de
Frederic,--x. Preface, p. x. See Formey, ii. 255, under date misprinted
"1763").] "We will have those articles back," thinks Friedrich; "that
OEUVRE most especially! No difficulty: wait for him at Frankfurt, as he
passes home; demand them of him there." And has (directly on those
new "firings through port-holes" at Leipzig) bidden Fredersdorf take
measures accordingly. ["Friedrich to Wilhelmina, 12th April, 1753"
(--OEuvres,--xxvii. iii. 227).]

Fredersdorf did so; early in April and onward had his Official Person
waiting at Frankfurt (one Freytag, our Prussian Resident there,
very celebrated ever since), vigilant in the extreme for Voltaire's
arrival,--and who did not miss that event. Voltaire, arriving at last
(May 31st), did, with Freytag's hand laid gently on his sleeve, at once
give up what of the articles he had about him;--the OEUVRE, unluckily,
not one of them; and agreed to be under mild arrest ("PAROLE D'HONNEUR;
in the LION-D'OR Hotel here!") till said OEUVRE should come up. Under
Fredersdorf's guidance, all this, and what follows; King Friedrich,
after the general Order given, had nothing more to do with it, and was
gone upon his Reviews.

In the course of two weeks or more the OEUVRE DE POESIE did come.
Voltaire was impatient to go. And he might perhaps have at once gone,
had Freytag been clearly instructed, so as to know the essential from
the unessential here. But he was not;--poor subaltern Freytag had to
say, on Voltaire's urgencies: "I will at once report to Berlin; if the
answer be (as we hope), 'All right,' you are that moment at liberty!"
This was a thing unexpected, astonishing to Voltaire; a thing demanding
patience, silence: in three days more, with silence, as turns out, it
would have been all beautifully over,--but he was not strong in those
qualities!

Voltaire's arrest hitherto had been merely on his word of honor, "I
promise, on my honor, not to go beyond the Garden of this Inn." But he
now, without warning anybody, privately revoked said word of honor; and
Collini and he, next morning, whisked shiftily into a hackney-coach,
and were on the edge of being clear off. To Freytag's terror and horror;
who, however, caught them in time: and was rigorous enough now, and loud
enough;--street-mob gathering round the transaction; Voltaire very loud,
and Freytag too,--the matter taking fire here; and scenes occurring,
which Voltaire has painted in a highly flagrant manner!

On the third day, Answer from Berlin had come, as expected; answer (as
to the old score): "All right; let him go!" But to punctual Freytag's
mind, here is now a new considerable item of sundries: insult to his
Majesty, to wit; breaking his Majesty's arrest, in such insolent loud
manner:--and Freytag finds that he must write anew. Post is very slow;
and, though Fredersdorf answers constantly, from Berlin, "Let him go,
let him go," there have to be writings and re-writings; and it is not
till July 7th (after a detention, not of nearly three weeks, as it might
and would have been, but of five and a day) that Voltaire gets off, and
then too at full gallop, and in a very unseemly way.

This is authentically the world-famous Frankfurt Affair;--done by
Fredersdorf, as we say; Friedrich, absent in Silesia, or in Preussen
even, having no hand in it, except the original Order left with
Fredersdorf. Voltaire has used his flamingest colors on this occasion,
being indeed dreadfully provoked and chagrined; painting the thing in
a very flagrant manner,--known to all readers. Voltaire's flagrant
Narrative had the round of the world to itself, for a hundred years; and
did its share of execution against Friedrich. Till at length, recently,
a precise impartial hand, the Herr Varnhagen, thought of looking into
the Archives; and has, in a distinct, minute and entertaining way,
explained the truth of it to everybody;--leaving the Voltaire Narrative
in rather sad condition. [Varnhagen von Ense,--Voltaire in Frankfurt
am Mayn,--1753 (separate, as here, 12mo, pp. 92; or in--Berliner
Kalender--for 1846).] We have little room; but must give, compressed,
from Varnhagen and the other evidences, a few of the characteristic
points. The story falls into two Parts.



PART I. FREDERSDORF SENDS INSTRUCTIONS; THE "OEUVRE DE POESIE" IS GOT;
BUT--

APRIL 11th, 1753 (few days after that of Maupertuis's Cartel, Voltaire
having set to firing through port-holes again, and the King being swift
in his resolution on it), Factotum Fredersdorf, who has a free-flowing
yet a steady and compact pen, directs Herr Freytag, our Resident at
Frankfurt-on-Mayn, To procure from the Authorities there, on Majesty's
request, the necessary powers; then vigilantly to look out for
Voltaire's arrival; to detain the said Voltaire, and, if necessary,
arrest him, till he deliver certain articles belonging to his Majesty:
Cross of Merit, Gold Key, printed OEUVRE DE POESIES and Writings
(SKRIPTUREN) of his Majesty's; in short, various articles,--the
specification of which is somewhat indistinct. In Fredersdorf's writing,
all this; not so mathematically luminous and indisputable as in Eichel's
it would have been. Freytag put questions, and there passed several
Letters between Fredersdorf and him; but it was always uncomfortably
hazy to Freytag, and he never understood or guessed that the OEUVRE DE
POESIES was the vital item, and the rest formal in comparison. Which
is justly considered to have been an unlucky circumstance, as matters
turned. For help to himself, Freytag is to take counsel with one Hofrath
Schmidt; a substantial experienced Burgher of Frankfurt, whose rathship
is Prussian.

APRIL 21st, Freytag answers, That Schmidt and he received his Majesty's
All-gracious Orders the day before yesterday (Post takes eight days, it
would seem); that they have procured the necessary powers; and are now,
and will be, diligently watchful to execute the same. Which, one must
say, they in right earnest are; patrolling about, with lips strictly
closed, eyes vividly open; and have a man or two privately on watch
at the likely stations, on the possible highways;--and so continue,
Voltaire doing his ANNALS OF THE EMPIRE, and enjoying himself at
Gotha, for weeks after, ["Left Gotha 25th May" (Clog. in--OEuvres de
Voltaire,--xxv. 192 n.).]--much unconscious of their patrolling.

Freytag is in no respect a shining Diplomatist;--probably some EMERITUS
Lieutenant, doing his function for 30 pounds a year: but does it in a
practical solid manner. Writes with stiff brevity, stiff but distinct;
with perfect observance of grammar both in French and German; with good
practical sense, and faithful effort to do aright what his order is: no
trace of "MonSIR," of "OEuvre de PoesHie," to be found in Freytag; and
most, or all, of the ridiculous burs stuck on him by Voltaire, are to
be pulled off again as--as fibs, or fictions, solacing to the afflicted
Wit. Freytag is not of quick or bright intellect: and unluckily, just
at the crisis of Voltaire's actual arrival, both Schmidt and Fredersdorf
are off to Embden, where there is "Grand Meeting of the Embden Shipping
Company" (with comfortable dividends, let us hope),--and have left
Freytag to his own resources, in case of emergency.

THURSDAY, MAY 31st, "about eight in the evening," Voltaire does
arrive,--most prosperous journey hitherto, by Cassel, Marburg, Warburg,
and other places famous then or since; Landgraf of Hessen (wise Wilhelm,
whom we knew) honorably lodging him; innkeepers calling him "Your
Excellency," or "M. le Comte;"--and puts up at the Golden Lion at
Frankfurt, where rooms have been ordered; Freytag well aware, though he
says nothing.

FRIDAY MORNING, JUNE 1st) "his Excellency and Suite" (Voltaire and
Collini) have their horses harnessed, carriage out, and are about taking
the road again,--when Freytag, escorted by a Dr. Rucker, "Frankfurt
Magistrate DE MAUVAISE MINE," [Collini, p. 77.] and a Prussian
recruiting Lieutenant, presents himself in Voltaire's apartment! Readers
know Voltaire's account and MonSIR Collini's; and may now hear Freytag's
own, which is painted from fact:--

"Introductory civilities done (NACH GEMACHTEN POLITESSEN), I made him
acquainted with the will of your most All-gracious Majesty. He was much
astonished (BESTURZT," no wonder); "he shut his eyes, and flung himself
back in his chair." [Varnhagen, p. 16.] Calls in his friend Collini,
whom, at first, I had requested to withdraw. Two coffers are produced,
and opened, by Collini; visitation, punctual, long and painful, lasted
from nine A.M. till five P.M. Packets are made,--a great many
Papers, "and one Poem which he was unwilling to quit" (perilous LA
PUCELLE);--inventories are drawn, duly signed. Packets are signeted,
mutually sealed, Rucker claps on the Town-seal first, Freytag and
Voltaire following with theirs. "He made thousand protestations of his
fidelity to your Majesty; became pretty weak [like fainting, think you,
Herr Resident?], and indeed he looks like a skeleton.--We then made
demand of the Book, OEUVRE DE POESIES: That, he said, was in the Big
Case; and he knew not whether at Leipzig or Hamburg" (knew very well
where it was); and finding nothing else would do, wrote for it, showing
Freytag the Letter; and engaged, on his word of honor, not to stir hence
till it arrived.

Upon which,--what is farther to be noted, though all seems now
settled,--Freytag, at Voltaire's earnest entreaty, "for behoof of
Madame Denis, a beloved Niece, Monsieur, who is waiting for me hourly at
Strasburg, whom such fright might be the death of!"--puts on paper a few
words (the few which Voltaire has twisted into "MonSIR," "PoesHies"
and so forth), to the effect, "That whenever the OEUVRE comes, Voltaire
shall actually have leave to go." And so, after eight hours, labor (nine
A.M. to five P.M.), everything is hushed again. Voltaire, much shocked
and astonished, poor soul, "sits quietly down to his ANNALES" (says
Collini),--to working, more or less; a resource he often flies to, in
such cases. Madame Denis, on receiving his bad news at Strasburg, sets
off towards him: arrives some days before the OEUVRE and its Big Case.
King Friedrich had gone, May 1st) for some weeks, to his Silesian
Reviews; June 1st (very day of this great sorting in the Lion d'Or), he
is off again, to utmost Prussia this time;--and knows, hitherto and till
quite the end, nothing, except that Voltaire has not turned up anywhere.

... Voltaire cannot have done much at his ANNALS, in this interim at the
Golden Lion, "where he has liberty to walk in the Garden." He has been,
and is, secretly corresponding, complaining and applying, all round,
at a great rate: to Count Stadion the Imperial Excellency at Mainz, to
French friends, to Princess Wilhelmina, ultimately to Friedrich himself.
[In--OEuvres de Voltaire,--lxxv. 207-214, &c., Letters to Stadion
(of strange enough tenor: see Varnhagen, pp. 30, &c.). In--OEuvres de
Frederic,--xxii. 303, and in--OEuvres de Voltaire,--lxxv. 185, is
the Letter to Friedrich (dateless, totally misplaced, and rendered
unintelligible, in both Works): Letter SENT through Wilhelmina (see her
fine remarks in forwarding it,--OEuvres de Frederic,--xxvii. iii.
234).] He has been receiving visits, from Serene Highnesses, "Duke of
Meiningen" and the like, who happen to be in Town. Visit from iniquitous
Dutch Bookseller, Van Duren (Printer of the ANTI-MACHIAVEL); with whom
we had such controversy once. Iniquitous, now opulent and prosperous,
Van Duren, happening to be here, will have the pleasure of calling on an
old distinguished friend: distinguished friend, at sight of him entering
the Garden, steps hastily up, gives him a box on the ear, without
words but an interjection or two; and vanishes within doors. That is
something! "Monsieur," said Collini, striving to weep, but unable, "you
have had a blow from the greatest man in the world." [Collini, p. 182.]
In short, Voltaire has been exciting great sensation in Frankfurt; and
keeping Freytag in perpetual fear and trouble.

MONDAY, 18th JUNE, the Big Case, lumbering along, does arrive. It is
carried straight to Freytag's; and at eleven in the morning, Collini
eagerly attends to have it opened. Freytag,--to whom Schmidt has
returned from Embden, but no Answer from Potsdam, or the least light
about those SKRIPTUREN,--is in the depths of embarrassment; cannot open,
till he know completely what items and SKRIPTUREN he is to make sure of
on opening: "I cannot, till the King's answer come!"--"But your written
promise to Voltaire?" "Tush, that was my own private promise, Monsieur;
my own private prediction of what would happen; a thing PRO FORMA", and
to save Madame Denis's life. Patience; perhaps it will arrive this very
day. Come again to me at three P.M.;--there is Berlin post today; then
again in three days:--I surely expect the Order will come by this post
or next; God grant it may be by this!" Collini attends at three; there
is Note from Fredersdorf: King's Majesty absent in Preussen all this
while; expected now in two days. Freytag's face visibly brightens: "Wait
till next post; three days more, only wait!" [Varnhagen, pp. 39-41.] And
in fact, by next post, as we find, the OPEN-SESAME did punctually come.
Voltaire, and all this big cawing rookery of miseries and rages, would
have at once taken wing again, into the serene blue, could Voltaire but
have had patience three days more! But that was difficult for him, too
Difficult.



PART II. VOLTAIRE, IN SPITE OF HIS EFFORTS, DOES GET AWAY (June
20th-July 7th).

WEDNESDAY, JUNE 20th, Voltaire and Collini ("word. of honor" fallen
dubious to them, dubious or more),--having laid their plan, striving
to think it fair in the circumstances,--walk out from the Lion d'Or,
"Voltaire in black-velvet coat," [Ib. p. 46.] with their valuablest
effects (LA PUCELLE and money-box included); leaving Madame Denis to
wait the disimprisonment of OEUVRE DE POESIE and wind up the general
business. Walk out, very gingerly,--duck into a hackney-coach; and
attempt to escape by the Mainz Gate! Freytag's spy runs breathless with
the news; never was a Freytag in such taking. Terrified Freytag has to
"throw on his coat;" order out three men to gallop by various routes;
jump into some Excellency's coach (kind Excellency lent it), which is
luckily standing yoked near by; and shoot with the velocity of life
and death towards Mainz Gate. Voltaire, whom the well-affected Porter,
suspecting something, has rather been retarding, is still there:
"Arrested, in the King's name!"--and there is such a scene! For Freytag,
too, is now raging, ignited by such percussion of the terrors; and
speaks, not like what they call "a learned sergeant", but like a
drilled sergeant in heat of battle: Vol-taire's tongue, also, and
Collini's,--"Your Excellenz never heard such brazen-faced lies thrown
on a man; that I had offered, for 1,000 thalers, to let them go; that
I had"--In short, the thing has caught fire; broken into flaming chaos
again.

"Freytag [to give one snatch from Collini's side] got into the carriage
along with us, and led us, in this way, across the mob of people to
Schmidt's [to see what was to be done with us]. Sentries were put at
the gate to keep out the mob; we are led into a kind of counting-room;
clerk, maid-and man-servants are about; Madam Schmidt passes before
Voltaire with a disdainful air, to listen to Freytag, recounting," in
the tone not of a LEARNED sergeant, what the matter is. They seize our
effects; under violent protest, worse than vain. "Voltaire demands to
have at least his snuffbox, cannot do without snuff; they answer, 'It is
usual to take everything.'

"His," Voltaire's, "eyes were sparkling with fury; from time to time he
lifted them on mine, as if to interrogate me. All on a sudden, noticing
a door half open, he dashes through it, and is out. Madam Schmidt forms
her squad, shopmen and three maid-servants; and, at their head, rushes
after. 'What?' cries he, (cannot I be allowed to--to vomit, then?'" They
form circle round him, till he do it; call out Collini, who finds him
"bent down, with his fingers in his throat, attempting to vomit; and is
terrified; 'MON DIEU, are you ill, then?' He answered in a low voice,
tears in his eyes, 'FINGO, FINGO (I pretend,'" and Collini leads
him back, RE INFECTA. "The Author of the HENRIADE and MEROPE; what a
spectacle! [Collini, pp. 81, 86.]... Not for two hours had they
done with their writings and arrangings. Our portfolios and CASSETTE
(money-box) were thrown into an empty trunk [what else could they be
thrown into?]--which was locked with a padlock, and sealed with a paper,
Voltaire's arms on the one end, and Schmidt's cipher on the other.
Dorn, Freytag's Clerk, was bidden lead us away. Sign of the BOUC" (or
BILLY-GOAT; there henceforth; LION D,OR refusing to be concerned with us
farther); twelve soldiers; Madame Denis with curtains of bayonets,--and
other well-known flagrancies.... The 7th of July, Voltaire did actually
go; and then in an extreme hurry,--by his own blame, again. These final
passages we touch only in the lump; Voltaire's own Narrative of these
being so copious, flamingly impressive, and still known to everybody.
How much better for Voltaire and us, had nobody ever known it; had
it never been written; had the poor hubbub, no better than a chance
street-riot all of it, after amusing old Frankfurt for a while, been
left to drop into the gutters forever! To Voltaire and various others
(me and my poor readers included), that was the desirable thing.

Had there but been, among one's resources, a little patience and
practical candor, instead of all that vituperative eloquence and power
of tragi-comic description! Nay, in that case, this wretched street-riot
hubbub need not have been at all. Truly M. de Voltaire had a talent for
speech, but lamentably wanted that of silence!--We have now only the
sad duty of pointing out the principal mendacities contained in M. de
Voltaire's world-famous Account (for the other side has been heard
since that); and so of quitting a painful business. The principal
mendacities--deducting all that about "POE'ShIE" and the like, which we
will define as poetic fiction--are:--

1. That of the considerable files of soldiers (almost a Company of
Musketeers, one would think) stuck up round M. de Voltaire and Party, in
THE BILLY-GOAT; Madame Denis's bed-curtains being a screen of
bayonets, and the like. The exact number of soldiers I cannot learn: "a
SCHILDWACHE of the Town-guard [means one; surely does not mean Four?]
for each prisoner," reports the arithmetical Freytag; which, in the
extreme case, would have been twelve in whole (as Collini gives it); and
"next day we reduced them to two", says Freytag.

2. That of the otherwise frightful night Madame Denis had; "the fellow
Dorn [Freytag's Clerk, a poor, hard-worked frugal creature, with frugal
wife and family not far off] insisting to sit in the Lady's bedroom;
there emptying bottle after bottle; nay at last [as Voltaire bethinks
him, after a few days] threatening to"--Plainly to EXCEL all belief! A
thing not to be spoken of publicly: indeed, what Lady could speak of
it at all, except in hints to an Uncle of advanced years?--Proved fact
being, that Madame Denis, all in a flutter, that first night at THE
BILLY-GOAT, had engaged Dorn, "for a louis-d'or," to sit in her bedroom;
and did actually pay him a louis-d'or for doing so! This is very
bad mendacity; clearly conscious on M. de Voltaire's part, and even
constructed by degrees.

3. Very bad also is that of the moneys stolen from him by those Official
people. M. de Voltaire knows well enough how he failed to get his
moneys, and quitted Frankfurt in a hurry! Here, inexorably certain from
the Documents, and testimonies on both parts, is that final Passage
of the long Fire-work: last crackle of the rocket before it dropped
perpendicular:--

JULY 6th, complete OPEN-SESAME having come, Freytag and Schmidt duly
invited Voltaire to be present at the opening of seals (his and theirs),
and to have his moneys and effects returned from that "old trunk" he
speaks of. But Voltaire had by this time taken a higher flight. July
6th, Voltaire was protesting before Notaries, about the unheard-of
violence done him, the signal reparations due; and disdained, for the
moment, to concern himself with moneys or opening of seals: "Seals,
moneys? Ye atrocious Highwaymen!"

Upon which, they sent poor Dorn with the sealed trunk in CORPORE, to
have it opened by Voltaire himself. Collini, in THE BILLY-GOAT,
next morning (July 7th)) says, he (Collini) had just loaded two
journey-pistols, part of the usual carriage-furniture, and they lay on
the table. At sight of poor Dorn darkening his chamber-door, Voltaire,
the prey of various flurries and high-flown vehemences, snatched one of
the pistols ("pistol without powder, without flint, without lock," says
Voltaire; "efficient pistol just loaded", testifies Collini);--snatched
said pistol; and clicking it to the cock, plunged Dorn-ward, with
furious exclamations: not quite unlikely to have shot Dorn (in the
fleshy parts),--had not Collini hurriedly struck up his hand, "MON DIEU,
MONSIEUR!" and Dorn, with trunk, instantly vanished. Dorn, naturally,
ran to a Lawyer. Voltaire, dreading Trial for intended Homicide,
instantly gathered himself; and shot away, self and Pucelle with
Collini, clear off;--leaving Niece Denis, leaving moneys and other
things, to wait till to-morrow, and settle as they could.

After due lapse of days, in the due legal manner, the Trunk was opened;
"the 19 pounds of expenses" (19 pounds and odd shillings, not 100 pounds
or more, as Voltaire variously gives it) was accurately taken from it
by Schmidt and Freytag, to be paid where due,--(in exact liquidation,
"Landlord of THE BILLY-GOAT" so much, "Hackney-Coachmen, Riding
Constables sent in chase," so much, as per bill);--and the rest, 76
pounds 10s. was punctually locked up again, till Voltaire should apply
for it. "Send it after him," Friedrich answered, when inquired of; "send
it after him; but not [reflects he] unless there is somebody to take his
Receipt for it,"--our gentleman being the man he is. Which case, or any
application from Voltaire, never turned up. "Robbed by those highwaymen
of Prussian Agents!" exclaimed Voltaire everywhere, instead of applying.
Never applied; nor ever forgot. Would fain have engaged Collini to
apply,--especially when the French Armies had got into Frankfurt,--but
Collini did not see his way. [Three Letters to Collini on the subject
(January-May, 1759),--Collini,--pp. 208-211.]

So that, except as consolatory scolding-stock for the rest of his life,
Voltaire got nothing of his 76 pounds 10s., "with jewels and snuffbox,"
always lying ready in the Trunk for him. And it had, I suppose, at the
long last, to go by RIGHT OF WINDFALL to somebody or other:--unless,
perhaps, it still lie, overwhelmed under dust and lumber, in the garrets
of the old Rathhaus yonder, waiting for a legal owner? What became of
it, no man knows; but that no doit of it ever went Freytag's or
King Friedrich's way, is abundantly evident. On the whole, what an
entertaining Narrative is that of Voltaire's; but what a pity he had
ever written it!

This was the finishing Catastrophe, tragical exceedingly; which went
loud-sounding through the world, and still goes,--the more is the pity.
Catastrophe due throughout to three causes: FIRST, That Fredersdorf,
not Eichel, wrote the Order; and introduced the indefinite phrase
SKRIPTUREN, instead of sticking by the OEUVRE DE POESIES, the one
essential point. SECOND, That Freytag was of heavy pipe-clay nature.
THIRD, That Voltaire was of impatient explosive nature; and, in
calamities, was wont, not to be silent and consider, but to lift up his
voice (having such a voice), and with passionate melody appeal to the
Universe, and do worse, by way of helping himself!--

"The poor Voltaire, after all!" ejaculates Smelfungus. "Lean, of no
health, but melodious extremely (in a shallow sense); and truly very
lonely, old and weak, in this world. What an end to Visit Fifth; began
in Olympus, terminates in the Lock-up! His conduct, except in the Jew
Case, has nothing of bad, at least of unprovokedly bad. 'Lost my teeth,'
said he, when things were at zenith. 'Thought I should never weep
again,'--now when they are at nadir. A sore blow to one's Vanity, in
presence of assembled mankind; and made still more poignant by noises of
one's own adding. France forbidden to him [by expressive signallings];
miraculous Goshen of Prussia shut: (these old eyes, which I thought
would continue dry till they closed forever, were streaming in tears;'"
[Letter from "Mainz, 9th July," third day of rout or flight; To Niece
Denis, left behind (--OEuvres,--lxxv. 220).]--but soon brightened up
again: Courage!

How Voltaire now wanders about for several years, doing his ANNALES,
and other Works; now visiting Lyon City (which is all in GAUDEAMUS
round him, though Cardinal Tencin does decline him as dinner-guest); now
lodging with Dom Calmet in the Abbey of Senones (ultimately in one's
own first-floor, in Colmar near by), digging, in Calmet's Benedictine
Libraries, stuff for his ANNALES;--wandering about (chiefly in Elsass,
latterly on the Swiss Border), till he find rest for the sole of his
foot: [Purchased LES DELICES (The Delights), as he named it, a glorious
Summer Residence, on the Lake, near Geneva (supplemented by a Winter
ditto, MONRION, near Lausanne), "in February, 1755" (--OEuvres,--xvii.
243 n.);--then purchased FERNEY, not far off, "in October, 1758;"
and continued there, still more glorious, for almost twenty years
thenceforth (ib. lxxvii. 398, xxxix. 307: thank the exact "Clog." for
both these Notes).] all this may be known to readers; and we must
say nothing of it. Except only that, next year, in his tent, or hired
lodgings at Colmar, the Angels visited him (Abraham-like, after a sort).
Namely, that one evening (late in October, 1754), a knock came to his
door, "Her Serene Highness of Baireuth wishes to see you, at the Inn
over there!" "Inn, Baireuth, say you? Heavens, what?"--Or, to take it in
the prose form:--

"January 26th, 1753, about eight P.M. [while Voltaire sat desolate in
Francheville's, far away], the Palace at Baireuth,--Margraf with candle
at an open window, and gauze curtains near--had caught fire; inexorably
flamed up, and burnt itself to ashes, it and other fine edifices
adjoining. [Holle, STADT BAYREUTH (Bayreuth, 1833), p. 178.] Wilhelmina
is always very ill in health; they are now rebuilding their Palace:
Margraf has suggested, 'Why not try Montpellier; let us have a winter
there!' On that errand they are (end of October, 1754) got the length
of Colmar; and do the Voltaire miracle in passing. Very charming to the
poor man, in his rustication here.

"'Eight hours in a piece, with the Sister of the King of Prussia" writes
he: think of that, my friends! 'She loaded me with bounties; made me a
most beautiful present. Insisted to see my Niece; would have me go with
them to Montpellier.' [Letters (in--OEuvres,--lxxv. 450, 452), "Colmar,
23d October, &c. 1754."] Other interviews and meetings they had, there
and farther on: Voltaire tried for the Montpellier; but could not.
[Wrote to Friedrich about it (one of his first Letters after the
Explosion), applying to Friedrich "for a Passport" or Letter of
Protection; which Friedrich answers by De Prades, openly laughing at
it (--OEuvres,--xxiii. 6).] Wilhelmina wintered at Montpellier,
without Voltaire "Thank your stars!' writes Friedrich to her. The
Friedrich-Wilhelmina LETTERS are at their best during this Journey; here
unfortunately very few). [--OEuvres de Frederic,--xxvii. iii. 248-273
(September, 1754, and onwards).] Winter done, Wilhelmina went still
South, to Italy, to Naples, back by Venice:--at Naples, undergoing the
Grotto del Cane and neighborhood, Wilhelmina plucked a Sprig of Laurel
from Virgil's Grave, and sent it to her Brother in the prettiest
manner;--is home at Baireuth, new Palace ready, August, 1755."

These points, hurriedly put down, careful readers will mark, and perhaps
try to keep in mind. Wilhelmina's Tourings are not without interest to
her friends. Of her Voltaire acquaintanceship, especially, we shall hear
again. With Voltaire, Friedrich himself had no farther Correspondence,
or as good as none, for four years and more. What Voltaire writes to
him (with Gifts of Books and the like, in the tenderest regretful
pathetically COOING tone, enough to mollify rocks), Friedrich usually
answers by De Prades, if at all,--in a quite discouraging manner. In the
end of 1757, on what hint we shall see, the Correspondence recommenced,
and did not cease again so long as they both lived.

Voltaire at Potsdam is a failure, then. Nothing to be made of that. Law
is reformed; Embden has its Shipping Companies; Industry flourishes: but
as to the Trismegistus of the Muses coming to our Hearth--! Some Eight
of Friedrich's years were filled by these Three grand Heads of Effort;
perfect Peace in all his borders: and in 1753 we see how the celestial
one of them has gone to wreck. "Understand at last, your Majesty, that
there is no Muses'-Heaven possible on Telluric terms; and cast that
notion out of your head!"

Friedrich does cast it out, more and more, henceforth,--"ACH, MEIN
LIEBER SULZER, what was your knowledge, then, of that damned race?"
Casts it out, we perceive,--and in a handsome silently stoical way.
Cherishing no wrath in his heart against any poor devil; still, in some
sort, loving this and the other of them; Chasot, Algarotti, Voltaire
even, who have gone from him, too weak for the place: "Too weak, alas,
yes; and I, was I wise to try them, then?" With a fine humanity, new
hope inextinguishably welling up; really with a loyalty, a modesty, a
cheery brother manhood unexpected by readers.

Eight of the Eleven Peace Years are gone in these courses. The next
three, still silent and smooth to the outward eye, were defaced by
subterranean mutterings, electric heralds of coming storm. "Meaning
battle and wrestle again?" thinks Friedrich, listening intent. A far
other than welcome message to Friedrich. A message ominous; thrice
unwelcome, not to say terrible. Requires to be scanned with all one's
faculty; to be interpreted; to be obeyed, in spite of one's reluctances
and lazinesses. To plunge again into the Mahlstrom, into the clash of
Chaos, and dive for one's Silesia, the third time;--horrible to lazy
human nature: but if the facts are so) it must be done!--



Chapter XIII. ROMISH-KING QUESTION; ENGLISH-PRIVATEER QUESTION.

The public Events so called, which have been occupying mankind during
this Voltaire Visit, require now mainly to be forgotten;--and may,
for our purposes, be conveniently riddled down to Three. FIRST,
King-of-the-Romans Question; SECOND, English-Privateer Question;
and then, hanging curiously related to these Two, a THIRD, or
"English-French Canada Question." Of some importance all of them;
extremely important to Friedrich, especially that Third and least
expected of them.

Witty Hanbury Williams, the English Excellency at Berlin, busy
intriguing little creature, became distasteful there, long since; and
they had to take him away: "recalled," say the Documents, "22d January,
1751." Upon which, no doubt, he made a noise in Downing Street; and got,
it appears, "re-credentials to Berlin, 4th March, 1751;" [Manuscript
LIST in State-Paper Office.] but I think did not much reside, nor intend
to reside; having all manner of wandering Continental duties to do; and
a world of petty businesses and widespread intrigues, Russian, German
and other, on hand. Robinson, too, is now home; returned, 1748 (Treaty
of Aix in his pocket); and an Excellency Keith, more and more famous
henceforth, has succeeded him in that Austrian post. Busy people, these
and others; now legationing in Foreign parts: able in their way; but
whose work proved to be that of spinning ropes from sand, and must not
detain us at this time.

The errand of all these Britannic Excellencies is upon a notable scheme,
which Royal George and his Newcastle have devised, Of getting all made
tight, and the Peace of Aix double-riveted, so to speak, and rendered
secure against every contingency,--by having Archduke Joseph at once
elected "King of the Romans." King of the Romans straightway; whereby
he follows at once as Kaiser, should his Father die; and is liable to
no French or other intriguing; and we have taken a bond of Fate that
the Balance cannot be canted again. Excellent scheme, think both these
heads; and are stirring Germany with all their might, purse in hand, to
co-operate, and do it. Inconceivable what trouble these prescient
minds are at, on this uncertain matter. It was Britannic Majesty's
and Newcastle's main problem in this world, for perhaps four years
(1749-1753):--"My own child," as a fond Noodle of Newcastle used to
call it; though I rather think it was the other that begot the wretched
object, but had tired sooner of nursing it under difficulties.

Unhappily there needs unanimity of all the Nine Electors. The poorer you
can buy; "Bavarian Subsidy," or annual pension, is only 45,000 pounds,
for this invaluable object; Koln is only--a mere trifle: [Debate on
"Bavarian Subsidy" (in Walpole,--George the Second,--i. 49): endless
Correspondence between Newcastle and his Brother (curious to read,
though of the most long-eared description on the Duke's part), in
Coxe's--Pelham,--ii, 338-465 ("31st May, 1750-3d November, 1752"):
precise Account (if anybody now wanted it), in--Adelung,--vii. 146, 149,
154, et seq.] trifles all, in comparison of the sacred Balance, and dear
Hanover kept scathless. But unfortunately Friedrich, whom we must not
think of buying, is not enthusiastic in the cause! Far from it. The now
Kaiser has never yet got him, according to bargain, a Reichs-Guarantee
for the Peace of Dresden; and needs endless flagitating to do it. [Does
it, at length, by way of furtherance to this Romish-King Business, "23d
January-14th May, 1751" (--Adelung,--vii. 217).] The chase of security
and aggrandizement to the House of Austria is by no means Friedrich's
chief aim! This of King of the Romans never could be managed by
Britannic Majesty and his Newcastle.

It was very triumphant, and I think at its hopefulest, in 1750, soon
after starting,--when Excellency Hanbury first appeared at Berlin
on behalf of it. That was Excellency Hanbury's first journey on this
errand; and he made a great many more, no man readier; a stirring,
intriguing creature (and always with such moneys to distribute); had
victorious hopes now and then,--which one and all proved fatuous.
["June, 1750," Hanbury for Berlin (Britannic Majesty much anxious
Hanbury were there): Hanbury to Warsaw next (hiring Polish Majesty
there); at Dresden, does make victorious Treaty, September, 1751; at
Vienna, 1753 (still on the aawe quest). Coxe's--Pelham,--ii. 339, 196,
469.] In 1751 and 1752, the darling Project met cross tides, foul winds,
political whirlpools ("Such a set are those German Princes!")--and swam,
indomitable, though near desperate, as Project seldom did; till happily,
in 1753, it sank drowned:--and left his Grace of Newcastle asking,
"Well-a-day! And is not England drowned too?" We hope not.

"Owing mainly to Friedrich's opposition!" exclaimed Noodle and the
Political Circles. Which--(though it was not the fact; Friedrich's
opposition, once that Reichs-Guarantee of his own was got, being mostly
passive, "Push it through the stolid element, then, YOU stolid fellows,
if you can!")--awoke considerable outcry in England. Lively suspicion
there, of treasonous intentions to the Cause of Liberty, on his Prussian
Majesty's part; and--coupled with other causes that had risen--a
great deal of ill-nature, in very dark condition, against his Prussian
Majesty. And it was not Friedrich's blame, chiefly or at all. If indeed
Friedrich would have forwarded the Enterprise:--but he merely did not;
and the element was viscous, stolid. Austria itself had wished the
thing; but with nothing like such enthusiasm as King George;--to whom
the refusal, by Friedrich and Fate, was a bitter disappointment. Poor
Britannic Majesty: Archduke Joseph came to be King of the Romans, in due
course; right enough. And long before that event (almost before George
had ended his vain effort to hasten it), Austria turned on its pivot;
and had clasped, not England to its bosom, but France (thanks to that
exquisite Kaunitz); and was in arms AGAINST England, dear Hanover, and
the Cause of Liberty! Vain to look too far ahead,--especially with those
fish-eyes. Smelfungus has a Note on Kaunitz; readable, though far too
irreverent of that superlative Diplomatist, and unjust to the real human
merits he had.

"The struggles of Britannic George to get a King of the Romans elected
were many. Friedrich never would bite at this salutary scheme for
strengthening the House of Austria: 'A bad man, is not he?' And all the
while, the Court of Austria seemed indifferent, in comparison;--and Graf
von Kaunitz-Rietberg, Ambassador at Paris, was secretly busy, wheeling
Austria round on its axis, France round on its; and bringing them
to embrace in political wedlock! Feat accomplished by his Excellency
Kaunitz (Paris, 1752-1753);--accomplished, not consummated; left ready
for consummating when he, Kaunitz, now home as Prime Minister, or
helmsman on the new tack, should give signal. Thought to be one of the
cleverest feats ever done by Diplomatic art.

"Admirable feat, for the Diplomatic art which it needed; not, that I
can see, for any other property it had. Feat which brought, as it was
intended to do, a Third Silesian War; death of about a million fighting
men, and endless woes to France and Austria in particular. An exquisite
Diplomatist this Kaunitz; came to be Prince, almost to be God-Brahma
in Austria, and to rule the Heavens and Earth (having skill with his
Sovereign Lady, too), in an exquisite and truly surprising manner. Sits
there sublime, like a gilt crockery Idol, supreme over the populations,
for near forty years.

"One reads all Biographies and Histories of Kaunitz: [Hormayr's
(in--OEsterreichischer Plutarch,--iv. 3tes, 231-283); &c. &c.] one
catches evidence of his well knowing his Diplomatic element, and how to
rule it and impose on it. Traits there are of human cunning, shrewdness
of eye;--of the loftiest silent human pride, stoicism, perseverance of
determination,--but not, to my remembrance, of any conspicuous human
wisdom whatever, One asks, Where is his wisdom? Enumerate, then, do me
the pleasure of enumerating, What he contrived that the Heavens answered
Yes to, and not No to? All silent! A man to give one thoughts. Sits like
a God-Brahma, human idol of gilt crockery, with nothing in the belly of
it (but a portion of boiled chicken daily, very ill-digested); and
such a prostrate worship, from those around him, as was hardly
seen elsewhere. Grave, inwardly unhappy-looking; but impenetrable,
uncomplaining. Seems to have passed privately an Act of Parliament:
'Kaunitz-Rietberg here, as you see him, is the greatest now alive; he, I
privately assure you!'--and, by continued private determination, to have
got all men about him to ratify the same, and accept it as valid. Much
can be done in that way with stupidish populations; nor is Beau Brummel
the only instance of it, among ourselves, in the later epochs.

"Kaunitz is a man of long hollow face, nose naturally rather turned
into the air, till artificially it got altogether turned thither. Rode
beautifully; but always under cover; day by day, under glass roof in
the riding-school, so many hours or minutes, watch in hand. Hated, or
dreaded, fresh air above everything: so that the Kaiserinn, a noble
lover of it, would always good-humoredly hasten to shut her windows when
he made her a visit. Sumptuous suppers, soirees, he had; the pink of
Nature assembling in his house; galaxy, domestic and foreign, of all the
Vienna Stars. Through which he would walk one turn; glancing stoically,
over his nose, at the circumambient whirlpool of nothings,--happy the
nothing to whom he would deign a word, and make him something. O my
friends!--In short, it was he who turned Austria on its axis, and France
on its, and brought them to the kissing pitch. Pompadour and Maria
Theresa kissing mutually, like Righteousness and--not PEACE, at any
rate! 'MA CHERE COUSINE,' could I have believed it, at one time?"

A SECOND Prussian-English cause of offence had arisen, years ago, and
was not yet settled; nay is now (Spring, 1753) at its height or crisis:
Offence in regard to English Privateering.

Friedrich, ever since Ost-Friesland was his, has a considerable Foreign
Trade,--not as formerly from Stettin alone, into the Baltic Russian
ports; but from Embden now, which looks out into the Atlantic and the
general waters of Europe and the World. About which he is abundantly
careful, as we have seen. Anxious to go on good grounds in this matter,
and be accurately neutral, and observant of the Maritime Laws, he
had, in 1744, directly after coming to possession of Ost-Friesland,
instructed Excellency Andrie, his Minister in London, to apply at the
fountain-head, and expressly ask of my Lord Carteret: "Are hemp, flax,
timber contraband?" "No," answered Carteret; Andrie reported, No. And
on this basis they acted, satisfactorily, for above a year. But,
in October, 1745, the English began violently to take PLANKS for
contraband; and went on so, and ever worse, till the end of the War.
[Adelung, vii. 334.] Excellency Andrie has gone home; and a Secretary of
Legation, Herr Michel, is now here in his stead:--a good few dreary
old Pamphlets of Michel's publishing (official Declaration, official
Arguments, Documents, in French and English, 4to and 8vo, on this
extinct subject), if you go deep into the dust-bins, can be disinterred
here to this day. Tread lightly, touching only the chief summits. The
Haggle stretches through five years, 1748-1753,--and then at last ceases
HAGGLING:--

"JANUARY 8th, 1748 [War still on foot, but near ending], Michel applies
about injuries, about various troubles and unjust seizures of ships;
Secretary Chesterfield answers, 'We have an Admiralty Court; beyond
question, right shall be done.' 'Would it were soon, then!' hints
Michel. Chesterfield, who is otherwise politeness itself, confidently
hopes so; but cannot push Judicial people.

"FEBRUARY, 1748. Admiralty being still silent, Michel applies by
Memorial, in a specific case: 'Two Stettin Ships, laden with wine from
Bordeaux, and a third vessel,' of some other Prussian port, laden with
corn; taken in Ramsgate Roads, whither they had been driven by storm:
'Give me these Ships back!' Memorial to his Grace of Newcastle, this.
Upon which the Admiralty sits; with deliberation, decides (June, 1748),
'Yes!' And 'there is hope that a Treaty of Commerce will follow;'
[--Gentleman's Magazine,--xviii. (for 1748), pp. 64, 141.] which was far
from being the issue just yet!

"On the contrary, his Prussian Majesty's Merchants, perhaps encouraged
by this piece of British justice, came forward with more and ever more
complaints and instances. To winnow the strictly true out of which,
from the half-true or not provable, his Prussian Majesty has appointed
a 'Commission,'" fit people, and under strict charges, I can believe,
"Commission takes (to Friedrich's own knowledge) a great deal of
pains;--and it does not want for clean corn, after all its winnowing.
Plenty of facts, which can be insisted on as indisputable. 'Such and
such Merchant Ships [Schedules of them given in, with every particular,
time, name, cargo, value] have been laid hold of on the Ocean Highway,
and carried into English Ports;--OUT of which his Prussian Majesty has,
in all Friendliness, to beg that they be now re-delivered, and justice
done.' 'Contraband of War,' answer the English; 'sorry to have given
your Majesty the least uneasiness; but they were carrying'--'No, pardon
me; nothing contraband discoverable in them;' and hands in his verified
Schedules, with perfectly polite, but more and more serious request,
That the said ships be restored, and damages accounted for. 'Our Prize
Courts have sat on every ship of them,' eagerly shrieks Newcastle all
along: 'what can we do!' 'Nay a Special Commission shall now [1751, date
not worth seeking farther]--special Commission shall now sit, till his
Prussian Majesty get every satisfaction in the world!'

"English Special Commission, counterpart of that Prussian one (which is
in vacation by this time), sits accordingly: but is very slow; reports
for a long while nothing, except, 'Oh, give us time!' and reports, in
the end, nothing in the least satisfactory. ["Have entirely omitted
the essential points on which the matter turns; and given such confused
account, in consequence, that it is not well possible to gather from
their Report any clear and just idea of it at all." (Verdict of the
PRUSSIAN Commission: which had been re-assembled by Friedrich, on this
Report from the English one, and adjured to speak only "what they
could answer to God, to the King and to the whole world," concerning
it:--Seyfarth,--ii. 183.)] 'Prize Courts? Special Commission?' thinks
Friedrich: 'I must have my ships back!' And, after a great many months,
and a great many haggles, Friedrich, weary of giving time, instructs
Michel to signify, in proper form ('23d November, 1752'), 'That the
Law's delay seemed to be considerable in England; that till the fulness
of time did come, and right were done his poor people, he, Friedrich
himself, would hopefully wait; but now at last must, provisionally, pay
his poor people their damages;--would accordingly, from the 23d day
of April next, cease the usual payment to English Bondholders on their
Silesian Bonds; and would henceforth pay no portion farther of that
Debt, principal or interest [about 250,000 pounds now owing], but
proceed to indemnify his own people from it, to the just length,--and
deposit the remainder in Bank, till Britannic Majesty and Prussian
could UNITE in ordering payment of it; which one trusts may be
soon!'" [Walpole, i. 295; Seyfarth, ii. 183, 157; Adelung, vii.
331-338;--Gentleman's Magazine;--&c.]

"November 23d, 1752, resolved on by Friedrich;" "consummated April 23d,
1753:" these are the dates of this decisive passage (Michel's biggest
Pamphlet, French and English, issuing on the occasion). February 8th,
1753, no redress obtainable, poor Newcastle shrieks, "Can't, must n't;
astonishing!" and "the people are in great wrath about it. April 12th,
Friedrich replies, in the kindest terms; but sticking to his point."
[Adelung, vii. 336-338.] And punctually continued so, and did as he had
said. With what rumor in the City, commentaries in the Newspapers and
flutter to his Grace of Newcastle, may be imagined. "What a Nephew have
I!" thinks Britannic Majesty: "Hah, and Embden, Ost-Friesland, is not
his. Embden itself is mine!" A great deal of ill-nature was generated,
in England, by this one affair of the Privateers, had there been no
other: and in dark cellars of men's minds (empty and dark on this
matter), there arose strange caricature Portraitures of Friedrich: and
very mad notions--of Friedrich's perversity, astucity, injustice, malign
and dangerous intentions--are more or less vocal in the Old Newspapers
and Distinguished Correspondences of those days. Of which, this one
sample:

To what height the humor of the English ran against Friedrich is still
curiously noticeable, in a small Transaction of tragic Ex-Jacobite
nature, which then happened, and in the commentaries it awoke in
their imagination. Cameron of Lochiel, who forced his way through the
Nether-Bow in Edinburgh, had been a notable rebel; but got away to
France, and was safe in some military post there. Dr. Archibald Cameron,
Lochiel's Brother, a studious contemplative gentleman, bred to Physic,
but not practising except for charity, had quitted his books, and
attended the Rebel March in a medical capacity,--"not from choice," as
he alleged, "but from compulsion of kindred;"--and had been of help to
various Loyalists as well; a foe of Human Pain, and not of anything else
whatever: in fact, as appears, a very mild form of Jacobite Rebel.
He too got, to France; but had left his Wife, Children and frugal
Patrimonies behind him,--and had to return in proper concealment,
more than once, to look after them. Two Visits, I think two, had been
successfully transacted, at intervals; but the third, in 1753, proved
otherwise.

March 12th, 1753, wind of him being had, and the slot-hounds uncoupled
and put on his trail, poor Cameron was unearthed "at the Laird
of Glenbucket's," and there laid hold of; locked in Edinburgh
Castle,--thence to the Tower, and to Trial for High Treason. Which went
against him; in spite of his fine pleadings, and manful conciliatory
appearances and manners. Executed 7th June, 1753. His poor Wife had
twice squeezed her way into the Royal Levee at Kensington, with
Petition for mercy;--fainted, the first time, owing to the press and
the agitation; but did, the second time, fall on her knees before Royal
George, and supplicate,--who had to turn a deaf ear, royal gentleman; I
hope, not without pain.

The truth is, poor Cameron---though, I believe, he had some vague
Jacobite errands withal--never would have harmed anybody in the rebel
way; and might with all safety have been let live. But his Grace of
Newcastle, and the English generally, had got the strangest notion into
their head. Those appointments of Earl Marischal to Paris, of Tyrconnel
to Berlin; Friedrich's nefarious spoiling of that salutary Romish-King
Project; and now simultaneous with that, his nefarious oonduct in our
Privateer Business: all this, does it not prove him--as the Hanburys,
Demon Newswriters and well-informed persons have taught us--to be one
of the worst men living, and a King bent upon our ruin? What is certain,
though now well-nigh inconceivable, it was then, in the upper Classes
and Political Circles, universally believed, That this Dr. Cameron was
properly an "Emissary of the King of Prussia's;" that Cameron's errand
here was to rally the Jacobite embers into new flame;--and that, at
the first clear sputter, Friedrich had 15,000 men, of his best
Prussian-Spartan troops, ready to ferry over, and help Jacobitism to
do the matter this time! [Walpole,--George the Second,--i. 333, 353;
and--Letters to Horace Mann--(Summer, 1753), for the belief held.
Adelung, vii. 338-341, for the poor Cameron tragedy itself.]

About as likely as that the Cham of Tartary had interfered in the
"Bangorian Controversy" (raging, I believe, some time since,--in
Cremorne Gardens fist of all, which was Bishop Hoadly's Place,--to the
terror of mitres and wigs); or that, the Emperor of China was concerned
in Meux's Porter-Brewery, with an eye to sale of NUX VOMICA. Among
all the Kings that then were, or that ever were, King Friedrich
distinguished himself by the grand human virtue (one of the most
important for Kings and for men) of keeping well at home,--of always
minding his own affairs. These were, in fact, the one thing he minded;
and he did that well. He was vigilant, observant all round, for
weather-symptoms; thoroughly well informed of what his neighbors had on
hand; ready to interfere, generally in some judicious soft way, at any
moment, if his own Countries or their interests came to be concerned;
certain, till then, to continue a speculative observer merely. He had
knowledge, to an extent of accuracy which often surprised his
neighbors: but there is no instance in which he meddled where he had no
business;--and few, I believe, in which he did not meddle, and to the
purpose, when he had.

Later in his Reign, in the time of the American War (1777), there is, on
the English part, in regard to Friedrich, an equally distracted notion
of the same kind brought to light. Again, a conviction, namely,
or moral-certainty, that Friedrich is about assisting the American
Insurgents against us;--and a very strange and indubitable step is
ordered to be taken in consequence. [--OEuvres de Frederic,--xxvi. 394
(Friedrich to Prince Henri, 29th June, 1777.)] As shall be noticed, if
we have time. No enlightened Public, gazing for forty or fifty years
into an important Neighbor Gentleman, with intent for practical
knowledge of him, could well, though assisted by the cleverest Hanburys,
and Demon and Angel Newswriters, have achieved less!--

Question THIRD is--But Question Third, so extremely important was it in
the sequel, will deserve a Chapter to itself.



Chapter XIV. THERE IS LIKE TO BE ANOTHER WAR AHEAD.

Question Third, French-English Canada Question, is no other than, under
a new form, our old friend the inexorable JENKINS'S-EAR QUESTION;
soul of all these Controversies, and--except Silesia and Friedrich's
Question--the one meaning they have! Huddled together it had been, at
the Peace of Aix-la-Chapelle, and left for closed under "New Spanish
Assiento Treaty," or I know not what:--you thought to close it by
Diplomatic putty and varnish in that manner: and here, by law of Nature,
it comes welling up on you anew. For IT springs from the Centre, as we
often say, and is the fountain and determining element of very large
Sections of Human History, still hidden in the unseen Time.

"Ocean Highway to be free; for the English and others who have business
on it?" The English have a real and weighty errand there. "English to
trade and navigate, as the Law of Nature orders, on those Seas; and to
ponderate or preponderate there, according to the real amount of weight
they and their errand have? OR, English to have their ears torn off;
and imperious French-Spanish Bourbons, grounding on extinct
Pope's-meridians, GLOIRE and other imaginary bases, to take command?"
The incalculable Yankee Nations, shall they be in effect YANGKEE
("English" with a difference), or FRANGCEE ("French" with a difference)?
A Question not to be closed by Diplomatic putty, try as you will!

By Treaty of Utrecht (1713), "all Nova Scotia [ACADIE as then called],
with Newfoundland and the adjacent Islands," was ceded to the English,
and has ever since been possessed by them accordingly. Unluckily that
Treaty omitted to settle a Line of Boundary to landward, or westward,
for their "NOVA SCOTIA;" or generally, a Boundary from NORTH TO SOUTH
between the British Colonies and the French in those parts.

The Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle, eager to conclude itself, stipulated,
with great distinctness, that Cape Breton, all its guns and furnishings
entire, should be restored at once (France extremely anxious on
that point); but for the rest had, being in such haste, flung itself
altogether into the principle of STATUS-QUO-ANTE, as the short way for
getting through. The boundary in America was vaguely defined, as "now to
be what it had been before the War." It had, for many years before the
War, been a subject of constant altercation. ACADIE, for instance, the
NOVA SCOTIA of the English since Utrecht time, the French maintained to
mean only "the Peninsula", or Nook included between the Ocean Waters and
the Bay of Fundy. And, more emphatic still, on the "Isthmus" (or narrow
space, at northwest, between said Bay and the Ocean or the Gulf of St.
Lawrence) they had built "Forts:" "Stockades," or I know not what, "on
the Missaquish" (HODIE Missiquash), a winding difficult river, northmost
of the Bay of Fundy's rivers, which the French affirm to be the real
limit in that quarter. The sparse French Colonists of the interior,
subjects of England, are not to be conciliated by perfect toleration of
religion and the like; but have an invincible proclivity to join their
Countrymen outside, and wish well to those Stockades on the Missiquash.
It must be owned, too, the French Official People are far from
scrupulous or squeamish; show energy of management; and are very skilful
with the Indians, who are an important item. Canada is all French; has
its Quebecs, Montreals, a St. Lawrence River occupied at all the good
military points, and serving at once as bulwark and highway.

Southward and westward, France, in its exuberant humor, claims for
itself The whole Basin of the St. Lawrence, and the whole Basin of the
Mississippi as well: "Have not we Stockades, Castles, at the military
points; Fortified Places in Louisiana itself?" Yes;--and how many
Ploughed Fields bearing Crop have you? It is to the good Plougher, not
ultimately to the good Cannonier, that those portions of Creation will
belong? The exuberant intention of the French is, after getting back
Cape Breton, "To restrict those aspiring English Colonies," mere
Ploughers and Traders, hardly numbering above one million, "to the Space
eastward of the Alleghany Mountains," over which they are beginning
to climb, "and southward of that Missiquash, or, at farthest, of the
Penobscot and Kennebunk" (rivers HODIE in the State of Maine). [La
Gallisonniere, Governor of Canada's DESPATCH, "Quebec, 15th January,
1749" (cited in Bancroft,--History of the United States,--Boston, 1839,
et seq.). "The English Inhabitants are computed at 1,051,000; French (in
Canada 45,000, in Louisiana 7,000), in all 52,000:"--History of British
Dominions in North America--(London, 1773), p. 13. Bancroft (i. 154)
counts the English Colonists in "1754 about 1,200,000."] That will be
a very pretty Parallelogram for them and their ploughs and trade-packs:
we, who are 50,000 odd, expert with the rifle far beyond them, will
occupy the rest of the world. Such is the French exuberant notion: and,
October, 1745, before signature at Aix-la-Chapelle, much more before
Delivery of Cape Breton, the Commandant at Detroit (west end of Lake
Erie) had received orders, "To oppose peremptorily every English
Establishment not only thereabouts, but on the Ohio or its tributaries;
by monition first; and then by force, if monition do not serve."

Establishments of any solidity or regularity the English have not in
those parts; beyond the Alleghanies all is desert: "from the Canada
Lakes to the Carolinas, mere hunting-ground of the Six Nations; dotted
with here and there an English trading-house, or adventurous Squatter's
farm:"--to whom now the French are to say: "Home you, instantly; and
leave the Desert alone!" The French have distinct Orders from Court,
and energetically obey the same; the English have indistinct Orders from
Nature, and do not want energy, or mind to obey these: confusions and
collisions are manifold, ubiquitous, continual. Of which the history
would be tiresome to everybody; and need only be indicated here by a
mark or two of the main passages.

In 1749, three things had occurred worth mention. FIRST, Captain Coram,
a public-spirited half-pay gentleman in London, originator of the
Foundling Hospital there, had turned his attention to the fine
capabilities and questionable condition of NOVA SCOTIA, with few
inhabitants, and those mostly disaffected; and, by many efforts now
forgotten, had got the Government persuaded to despatch (June, 1749)
a kind of Half-pay or Military Colony to those parts: "more than 1,400
persons disbanded officers, soldiers and marines, under Colonel
Edward Cornwallis," Brother of the since famous Lord Cornwallis.
[Coxe's--Pelham,--ii. 113.] Who landed, accordingly, on that rough
shore; stockaded themselves in, hardily endeavoring and enduring; and
next year, built a Town for themselves; Town of HALIFAX (so named from
the then Lord Halifax, President of the Board of Trade); which stands
there, in more and more conspicuous manner, at this day. Thanks to you,
Captain Coram; though the ungrateful generations (except dimly in CORAM
Street, near your Hospital) have lost all memory of you, as their wont
is. Blockheads; never mind them.

The SECOND thing is, an "Ohio Company" has got together in Virginia;
Governor there encouraging; Britannic Majesty giving Charter (March,
1749), and what is still easier, "500,000 Acres of Land" in those Ohio
regions, since you are minded to colonize there in a fixed manner.
Britannic Majesty thinks the Country "between the Monongahela and
the Kanahawy" (southern feeders of Ohio) will do best; but is not
particular. Ohio Company, we shall find, chose at last, as the eligible
spot, the topmost fork or very Head of the Ohio,--where Monongahela
River from south and Alleghany River from north unite to form "The
Ohio;" where stands, in our day, the big sooty Town of Pittsburg and
its industries. Ohio Company was laudably eager on this matter;
Land-Surveyor in it (nay, at length, "Colonel of a Regiment of 150 men
raised by the Ohio Company") was Mr. George Washington, whose Family
had much promoted the Enterprise; and who was indeed a steady-going,
considerate, close-mouthed Young Gentleman; who came to great
distinction in the end.

French Governor (La Gallisonniere still the man), getting wind of this
Ohio Company still in embryo, anticipates the birth; sends a vigilant
Commandant thitherward, "with 300 men, To trace and occupy the Valleys
of the Ohio and of the St. Lawrence, as far as Detroit." That officer
"buries plates of lead," up and down the Country, with inscriptions
signifying that "from the farthest ridge, whence water trickled towards
the Ohio, the Country belonged to France; and nails the Bourbon Lilies
to the forest-trees; forbidding the Indians all trade with the English;
expels the English traders from the towns of the Miamis; and writes
to the Governor of Pennsylvania, requesting him to prevent all farther
intrusion." Vigilant Governors, these French, and well supported from
home. Duquesne, the vigilant successor of La Gallisonniere (who is now
wanted at home, for still more important purposes, as will appear),
finding "the lead plates" little regarded, sends, by and by, 500 new
soldiers from Detroit into those Ohio parts (march of 100 miles or
so);--"the French Government having, in this year 1750, shipped no
fewer than 8,000 men for their American Garrisons;"--and where the Ohio
Company venture on planting a Stockade, tears it tragically out, as will
be seen!

The THIRD thing worth notice, in 1749, and still more in the following
year and years, had reference to Nova Scotia again. One La Corne, "a
recklessly sanguinary partisan" (military gentleman of the Trenck,
INDIGO-Trenck species), nestles himself (winter, 1749-50) on that
Missiquash River, head of the Bay of Fundy; in the Village of Chignecto,
which is admittedly English ground, though inhabited by French. La Corne
compels, or admits, the Inhabitants to swear allegiance to France
again; and to make themselves useful in fortifying, not to say in
drilling,--with an eye to military work. Hearing of which, Colonel
Cornwallis and incipient Halifax are much at a loss. They in vain seek
aid from the Governor of Massachusetts ("Assembly to be consulted first,
to be convinced; Constitutional rights:--Nothing possible just, at
once");--and can only send a party of 400 men, to try and recover
Chignecto at any rate. April 20th, 1750, the 400 arrive there; order La
Corne instantly to go. Bourbon Flag is waving on his dikes, this side
the Missiquash: high time that he and it were gone. "Village Priest
[flamingly orthodox, as all these Priests are, all picked for the
business], with his own hands, sets fire to the Church in Chignecto;
"inhabitants burn their houses, and escape across the river,--La Corne
as rear-guard. La Corne, across the Missiquash, declares, That, to a
certainty, he is now on French ground; that he will, at all hazards,
defend the Territory here; and maintain every inch of it,--"till
regular Commissioners [due ever since the Treaty of Aix, had not that
ROMISH-KING Business been so pressing] have settled what the Boundary
between the two Countries is."--Chignecto being ashes, and the
neighboring population gone, Cornwallis and his Four Hundred had to
return to Halifax.

It was not till Autumn following, that Chignecto could be solidly got
hold of by the Halifax people; nor till a long time after, that La Corne
could be dislodged from his stockades, and sent packing. [--Gentleman's
Magazine,--xx. 539, 295.] September, 1750, a new Expedition on Chignecto
found the place populous again, Indians, French "Peasants" (seemingly
Soldiers of a sort); who stood very fiercely behind their defences, and
needed a determined on-rush, and "volley close into their noses," before
disappearing. This was reckoned the first military bloodshed (if this
were really military on the French side). And in November following,
some small British Cruiser on those Coasts, falling in with a French
Brigantine, from Quebec, evidently carrying military stores and
solacements for La Corne, seized the same; by force of battle, since
not otherwise,--three men lost to the British, five to the French,--and
brought it to Halifax. "Lawful and necessary!" says the Admiralty Court;
"Sheer Piracy!" shriek the French;--matters breaking out into actual
flashes of flame, in this manner.

British Commissions, two in number, names not worth mention, have,
at last, in this Year 1750, gone to Paris; and are holding manifold
conferences with French ditto,--to no "purpose, any of them. One reads
the dreary tattle of the Duke of Newcastle upon it, in the Years
onward: "Just going to agree," the Duke hopes; "some difficulties, but
everybody, French and English, wanting mere justice; and our and their
Commissioners being in such a generous spirit, surely they will soon
settle it." [His Letters, in Coxe's--Pelham,--ii. 407 ("September,
1751"), &c.] They never did or could; and steadily it went on worsening.

That notable private assertion of the French, That Canada and Louisiana
mean all America West of the Alleghanies, had not yet oozed out to the
English; but it is gradually oozing out, and that England will have to
content itself with the moderate Country lying east of that Blue range.
"Not much above a million of you", say the French; "and surely there is
room enough East of the Alleghanies? We, with our couple of Colonies,
are the real America;--counting, it is true, few settlers as yet;
but there shall be innumerable; and, in the mean while, there are
Army-Detachments, Block-houses, fortified Posts, command of the Rivers,
of the Indian Nations, of the water-highways and military keys (to you
unintelligible); and we will make it good!"

The exact cipher of the French (guessed to be 50,000), and their
precise relative-value as tillers and subduers of the soil, in these
Two Colonies of theirs, as against the English Thirteen, would be
interesting to know: curious also their little bill, of trouble taken
in creating the Continent of America, in discovering it, visiting,
surveying, planting, taming, making habitable for man:--and what
Rhadamanthus would have said of those Two Documents! Enough, the French
have taken some trouble, more or less,--especially in sending soldiers
out, of late. The French, to certain thousands, languidly tilling,
hunting and adventuring, and very skilful in wheedling the Indian
Nations, are actually there; and they, in the silence of Rhadamanthus,
decide that merit shall not miss its wages for want of asking. "Ours is
America West of the Alleghanies," say the French, openly before long.

"Yours? Yours, of all people's?" answer the English; and begin, with
lethargic effort, to awake a little to that stupid Foreign Question;
important, though stupid and foreign, or lying far off. Who really owned
all America, probably few Englishmen had ever asked themselves, in their
dreamiest humors, nor could they now answer; but, that North America
does not belong to the French, can be doubtful to no English creature.
Pitt, Chatham as we now call him, is perhaps the Englishman to whom, of
all others, it is least doubtful. Pitt is in Office at last,--in some
subaltern capacity, "Paymaster of the Forces" for some years past, in
spite of Majesty's dislike of the outspoken man;--and has his eyes bent
on America;--which is perhaps (little as you would guess it such) the
main fact in that confused Controversy just now!--

In 1753 (28th August of that Year), goes message from the Home
Government, "Stand on your defence, over there! Repel by force any
Foreign encroachments on British Dominions." [Holderness, OR Robinson
our old friend.] And directly on the heel of this, November, 1753, the
Virginia Governor,--urged, I can believe, by the Ohio Company, who are
lying wind-bound so long,--despatches Mr. George Washington to inquire
officially of the French Commandant in those parts, "What he means,
then, by invading the British Territories, while a solid Peace
subsists?" Mr. George had a long ride up those desert ranges, and down
again on the other side; waters all out, ground in a swash with December
rains, no help or direction but from wampums and wigwams: Mr. George
got to Ohio Head (two big Rivers, Monongahela from South, Alleghany
from North, coalescing to form a double-big Ohio for the Far West);
and thought to himself, "What an admirable three-legged place: might be
Chief Post of those regions,--nest-egg of a diligent Ohio Company.!"
Mr. George, some way down the Ohio River, found a strongish French
Fort, log-barracks, "200 river-boats, with more building," and a French
Commandant, who cannot enter into questions of a diplomatic nature about
Peace and War: "My orders are, To keep this Fort and Territory against
all comers; one must do one's orders, Monsieur: Adieu!" And the
steadfast Washington had to return; without result,--except that of the
admirable Three-legged Place for dropping your Nest-egg, in a commanding
and defenceful way!

Ohio Company, painfully restrained so long in that operation, took
the hint at once. Despatched, early in 1754, a Party of some Forty or
Thirty-three stout fellows, with arms about them, as well as tools,
"Go build us, straightway, a Stockade in the place indicated; you are
warranted to smite down, by shot or otherwise, any gainsayer!" And
furthermore, directly got on foot, and on the road thither, a "regiment
of 150 men," Washington as Colonel to it, For perfecting said Stockade,
and maintaining it against all comers.

Washington and his Hundred-and-fifty--wagonage, provender and a piece or
two of cannon, all well attended to--vigorously climbed the Mountains;
got to the top 27th May, 1754; and there MET the Thirty-three in retreat
homewards! Stockade had been torn out, six weeks ago (17th April last);
by overwhelming French Force, from the Gentleman who said ADIEU, and had
the river-boats, last Fall. And, instead of our Stockade, they are now
building a regular French Fort,--FORT DUQUESNE, they call it, in honor
of their Governor Duquesne:--against which, Washington and his regiment,
what are they? Washington, strictly surveying, girds himself up for the
retreat; descends diligently homewards again, French and Indians rather
harassing his rear. In-trenches himself, 1st July, at what he calls
"Fort Necessity," some way down; and the second day after, 3d July,
1754, is attacked in vigorous military manner. Defends himself, what he
can, through nine hours of heavy rain; has lost thirty, the French only
three;--and is obliged to capitulate: "Free Withdrawal" the terms
given. This is the last I heard of the Ohio Company; not the last
of Washington, by any means. Ohio Company,--its judicious Nest-egg
squelched in this manner, nay become a fiery Cockatrice or "FORT
DUQUESNE:"--need not be mentioned farther.

By this time, surely high time now, serious military preparations were
on foot; especially in the various Colonies most exposed. But, as usual,
it is a thing of most admired disorder; every Governor his own King or
Vice-King, horses are pulling different ways: small hope there,
unless the Home Government (where too I have known the horses a little
discrepant, unskilful in harness!) will seriously take it in hand.
The Home Government is taking it in hand; horses willing, if a thought
unskilful. Royal Highness of Cumberland has selected General
Braddock, and Two Regiments of the Line (the two that ran away
at Prestonpans,--ABSIT OMEN). Royal Highness consults, concocts,
industriously prepares, completes; modestly certain that here now is the
effectual remedy.

About New-year's day, 1755, Braddock, with his Two Regiments and
completed apparatus, got to sea. Arrived, 20th February, at Williamsburg
in Virginia ("at Hampden, near there," if anybody is particular); found
now that this was not the place to arrive at; that he would lose six
weeks of marching, by not having landed in Pennsylvania instead. Found
that his Stores had been mispacked at Cork,--that this had happened,
and also that;--and, in short, that Chaos had been very considerably
prevalent in this Adventure of his; and did still, in all that now lay
round it, much prevail. Poor man: very brave, they say; but without
knowledge, except of field-drill; a heart of iron, but brain mostly
of pipe-clay quality. A man severe and rigorous in regimental points;
contemptuous of the Colonial Militias, that gathered to help him;
thrice-contemptuous of the Indians, who were a vital point in the
Enterprise ahead. Chaos is very strong,--especially if within oneself
as well! Poor Braddock took the Colonial Militia Regiments, Colonel
Washington as Aide-de-Camp; took the Indians and Appendages, Colonial
Chaos much presiding: and after infinite delays and confused hagglings,
got on march;--2,000 regular, and of all sorts say 4,000 strong.

Got on march; sprawled and haggled up the Alleghanies,--such a
Commissariat, such a wagon-service, as was seldom seen before. Poor
General and Army, he was like to be starved outright, at one time; had
not a certain Mr. Franklin come to him, with charitable oxen, with
500 pounds-worth provisions live and dead, subscribed for at
Philadelphia,--Mr Benjamin Franklin, since celebrated over all the
world; who did not much admire this iron-tempered General with the
pipe-clay brain. [Franklin's AUTOBIOGRAPHY;--Gentleman's Magazine,--xxv.
378.] Thereupon, however, Braddock took the road again; sprawled and
staggered, at the long last, to the top; "at the top of the Alleghanies,
15th June;"--and forward down upon FORT DUQUESNE, "roads nearly
perpendicular in some places," at the rate of "four miles" and even of
"one mile per day." Much wood all about,--and the 400 Indians to rear,
in a despised and disgusted condition, instead of being vanward keeping
their brightest outlook.

July 8th, Braddock crossed the Monongahela without hindrance. July 9th,
was within ten miles of FORT DUQUESNE; plodding along; marching through
a wood, when,--Ambuscade of French and Indians burst out on him, French
with defences in front and store of squatted Indians on each flank,--who
at once blew him to destruction, him and his Enterprise both. His men
behaved very ill; sensible perhaps that they were not led very well.
Wednesday, 9th July, 1755, about three in the afternoon. His two
regiments gave one volley and no more; utterly terror-struck by the
novelty, by the misguidance, as at Prestonpans before; shot, it was
whispered, several of their own Officers, who were furiously rallying
them with word and sword: of the sixty Officers, only five were not
killed or wounded. Brave men clad in soldier's uniform, victims of
military Chaos, and miraculous Nescience, in themselves and in others:
can there be a more distressing spectacle? Imaginary workers are all
tragical, in this world; and come to a bad end, sooner or later, they
or their representatives here: but the Imaginary Soldier--he is paid his
wages (he and his poor Nation are) on the very nail!

Braddock, refusing to fall back as advised, had five horses shot under
him; was himself shot, in the arm, in the breast; was carried off the
field in a death-stupor,--forward all that night, next day and next (to
Fort Cumberland, seventy miles to rear);--and on the fourth day died.
The Colonial Militias had stood their ground, Colonel Washington now of
some use again;--who were ranked well to rearward; and able to receive
the ambuscade as an open fight. Stood striving, for about three hours.
And would have saved the retreat; had there been a retreat, instead of
a panic rout, to save. The poor General--ebbing homewards, he and his
Enterprise, hour after hour--roused himself twice only, for a moment,
from his death-stupor: once, the first night, to ejaculate mournfully,
"Who would have thought it!" And again once, he was heard to say, days
after, in a tone of hope, "Another time we will do better!" which were
his last words, "death following in a few minutes." Weary, heavy-laden
soul; deep Sleep now descending on it,--soft sweet cataracts of Sleep
and Rest; suggesting hope, and triumph over sorrow, after all:--"Another
time we will do better;" and in few minutes was dead! [Manuscript
JOURNAL OF GENERAL BRADDOCK'S EXPEDITION IN 1755 (British Museum: King's
Library, 271 e, King's Mss. 212): raw-material, this, of the Official
Account (--London Gazette,--August 26th, 1755), where it is faithfully
enough abridged. Will perhaps be printed by some inquiring PITTSBURGHER,
one day, after good study on the ground itself? It was not till 1758
that the bones of the slain were got buried, and the infant Pittsburg
(now so busy and smoky) rose from the ashes of FORT DUQUESNE.]

The Colonial Populations, who had been thinking of Triumphal Arches
for Braddock's return, are struck to the nadir by this news. French and
Indians break over the Mountains, harrying, burning, scalping; the Black
Settlers fly inward, with horror and despair: "And the Home Government,
too, can prove a broken reed? What is to become of us; whose is America
to be?"--And in fact, under such guidance from Home Governments and
Colonial, there is no saying how the matter might have gone. To men of
good judgment, and watching on the spot, it was, for years coming, an
ominous dubiety,--the chances rather for the French, "who understand
war, and are all under one head." [Governor Pownal's Memorial (of which
INFRA), in Thackeray's--Life of Chatham.--] But there happens to be in
England a Mr. Pitt, with royal eyes more and more indignantly set
on this Business; and in the womb of Time there lie combinations and
conjunctures. If the Heavens have so decreed!--

The English had, before this, despatched their Admiral Boscawen, to
watch certain War-ships, which they had heard the French were fitting
out for America; and to intercept the same, by capture if not otherwise.
Boscawen is on the outlook, accordingly; descries a French fleet, Coast
of Newfoundland, first days of June; loses it again in the fogs of the
Gulf-Stream; but has, June 9th (a month before that of Braddock), come
up with Two Frigates of it, and, after short broadsiding, made prizes
of them. And now, on this Braddock Disaster, orders went, "To seize and
detain all French Ships whatsoever, till satisfaction were had." And,
before the end of this Year, about "800 French ships (value, say,
700,000 pounds)" were seized accordingly, where seizable on their watery
ways. Which the French ("our own conduct in America being so undeniably
proper") characterized as utter piracy and robbery;--and getting no
redress upon it, by demand in that style, had to take it as no better
than meaning Open War Declared. [Paris, December 21st, 1755, Minister
Rouille's Remonstrance, with menace "UNLESS--:" London, January 13th,
1756, Secretary Fox's reply, "WELL THEN, NO!" Due official "Declaration
of War" followed: on the English part, "17th May, 1756;" "9th June," on
the French part.]



Chapter XV.--ANTI-PRUSSIAN WAR-SYMPTOMS: FRIEDRICH VISIBLE FOR A MOMENT.

The Burning of AKAKIA, and those foolish Maupertuis-Voltaire Duellings
(by syringe and pistol) had by no means been Friedrich's one concern,
at the time Voltaire went off. Precisely in those same months, Carnival
1752-1753, King Friedrich had, in a profoundly private manner, come upon
certain extensive Anti-Prussian Symptoms, Austrian, Russian, Saxon, of
a most dangerous, abstruse, but at length indubitable sort; and is, ever
since, prosecuting his investigation of them, as a thing of life and
death to him! Symptoms that there may well be a THIRD Silesian War
ripening forward, inevitable, and of weightier and fiercer quality than
ever. So the Symptoms indicate to Friedrich, with a fatally increasing
clearness. And, of late, he has to reflect withal: "If these
French-English troubles bring War, our Symptoms will be ripe!" As, in
fact, they proved to be.

King Friedrich's investigations and decisions on this matter will be
touched upon, farther on: but readers can take, in the mean time, the
following small Documentary Piece as Note of Preparation. The facts
shadowed forth are of these Years now current (1752-1755), though this
judicial Deposition to the Facts is of ulterior date (1757).

In the course of 1756, as will well appear farther on, it became
manifest to the Saxon Court and to all the world that somebody had been
playing traitor in the Dresden Archives. Somebody, especially in
the Foreign Department; copying furtively, and imparting to Prussia,
Despatches of the most secret, thrice-secret and thrice-dangerous
nature, which lie reposited there! Who can have done it? Guesses,
researcher, were many: at length suspicion fell on one Menzel, a
KANZELLIST (Government Clerk), of good social repute, and superior
official ability; who is not himself in the Foreign Department at
all; but whose way of living, or the like sign, had perhaps seemed
questionable. In 1757, Menzel, and the Saxon Court and its businesses,
were all at Warsaw; Menzel dreaming of no disturbance, but prosecuting
his affairs as formerly,--when, one day, September 24th (the
slot-hounds, long scenting and tracking, being now at the mark), Menzel
and an Associate of his were suddenly arrested. Confronted with their
crimes, with the proofs in readiness; and next day,--made a clear
Confession, finding the matter desperate otherwise, Copy of which, in
Notarial form, exact and indisputable, the reader shall now see. As
this story, of Friedrich and the Saxon Archives, was very famous in the
world, and mythic circumstances are prevalent, let us glance into it
with our own eyes, since there is opportunity in brief compass.



"EXTRACTUS PROTOCOLLORUM IN INQUISITIONS-SACHEN,"--THAT IS TO SAY,
EXTRACT OF PROTOCOLS IN INQUEST "CONTRA FRIEDRICH WILHELM MENZEL AND
JOHANN BENJAMIN ERFURTH."

"AT WARSAW, 25th SEPTEMBER, 1757: This day, in the King's Name, in
presence of Legationsrath von Saul, Hofrath Ferbers and Kriegsrath von
Gotze the Undersigned: Examination of the Kabinets-Kanzellist Menzel,
arrested yesterday, and now brought from his place of arrest to the
Royal Palace;--who, ADMONITUS DE DICENDA VERITATE, made answers, to the
effect following:--

"His name is Friedrich Wilhelm Menzel; age thirty-eight; is a son of
the late Hofrath and Privy-referendary Menzel, who formerly was in the
King's service, and died a few years back. Has been seventeen years
Kanzellist at the GEHEIME CABINETS-CANZLEI (Secret Archive); had taken
the oath when he entered on his office.

"Acknowledges some Slips of Paper (ZETTEL), now shown to him, to be
his handwriting: they contained news intended to be communicated to the
Prussian Secretary Benoit, now residing here", at Dresden formerly.

"Confesses that he has employed, here as well as previously in Dresden,
his Brother-in-law, the journeyman goldsmith Erfurth (who was likewise
arrested yesterday), to convey to the Prussian Secretaries, Plessmann
and Benoit, such pieces and despatches from the Secret Cabinet,
especially the Foreign department, as he, Menzel, wanted to communicate
to said Prussian Secretaries.

"Confesses having received, by degrees, since the year 1752, from the
Prussian Minister (ENVOYE) von Mahlzahn, and the Secretaries Plessmann
and Benoit, for such communications, the sum of 3,000 thalers (450
pounds) in all.

"Was led into these treasonable practices by the following circumstance:
He owed at that time 100 thalers on a Promissory Note, to a certain
Rhenitz, who then lived (HIELT SICH AUF) at Dresden, and who pressed him
much for payment. As he pleaded inability to pay, Rhenitz hinted that he
could put him into the way of getting money; and accordingly, at last,
took him to the then Prussian Secretary Hecht, at Dresden; by whom he
was at once carried to the Prussian Minister von Mahlzahn; who gave him
100 thalers (15 pounds), with the request to communicate to him, now
and then, news from the Archive of the Cabinet. For a length of time
Prisoner could not accomplish this; as the said Von Mahlzahn wanted
Pieces from the Foreign Office, and especially the Correspondence with
the two Imperial Courts of Austria and Russia. These papers were locked
in presses, which Prisoner could not get at; moreover, the Court had,
in the mean time, gone to Warsaw, Prisoner remaining at Dresden. In that
way, many months passed without his being able to communicate anything;
till, at last, about December, 1752, the Secretary Plessmann gave him
a whole bunch of keys, which were said to be sent by Privy-counsellor
Eichel of Potsdam [whom we know], to try whether any of them would
unlock the presses of the Foreign Department. But none of them would;
and Prisoner returned the keys; pointing out, however, what alterations
were required to fit the keyhole.

"And, about three weeks after this, Plessmann provided Prisoner with
another set of keys; among which one did unlock said presses. With this
key Prisoner now repeatedly opened the presses; and provided Plessmann,
whenever required,--oftenest, with Petersburg Despatches. Had also,
three years ago (1754), here in Warsaw, communicated Vienna Despatches,
three or four times, to Benoit; especially on Sundays and Thursdays,
which were slack days, nobody in the Office about noon.

"The actual first of these Communications did not take place till after
Easter-Fair, 1753; Prisoner not having, till said Fair, received the
second bunch of keys from Plessmann. Now and then he had to communicate
French Despatches. Whenever he gave original Despatches, he received
them back shortly after, and replaced them in the presses. During this
present stay of the Court at Warsaw, has communicated little to Benoit
except from the CIRCULARS [Legation NEWS-LETTERS], when he found
anything noteworthy in them; also, now and then, the Ponikau Despatches
[Ponikau being at the Reich's Diet, in circumstances interesting to us].
Has received, one time and another, several 100 thalers from Benoit,
since the Court came hither last."--(And so EXIT Menzel.)

"Hereupon the Second Prisoner was brought in;--who deposed as follows:--

"He is named Johann Benjamin Erfurth; a goldsmith by trade; age
thirty-two; the Prisoner Menzel's Brother-in-law.

"Confesses that Menzel had made use of him, at Dresden, during one
year: to deliver, several times, sealed papers to the Prussian Secretary
Plessmann, or rather mostly to Plessmann's servant. Also that, here in
Warsaw, he has had to carry Despatches to Benoit, and to deliver them
into his own hands. Latterly he has delivered the Despatches to certain
Prussian peasants, who stopped at Benoit's, and who always relieved each
other; and every time, the one who went away directed Prisoner, in turn,
to him that arrived.

"He received from Menzel, yesterday towards noon, a small sealed
packet, which he was to convey to the Prussian peasant who had made an
appointment with him at the Prussian Office (HOF) here. But as he
was going to take it, and had just got outside of the Palace Court, a
corporal took hold of him and arrested him. Confesses having concealed
the parcel in his trousers-pocket, and to have denied that he had
anything upon him.... ACTUM UT SUPRA."

Signed "GOTZE" (with titles).

"Next day, September 26th, Menzel re-examined; answers in effect
following:--

"Plessmann never himself came into the Archive Office at Dresden; except
the one time [a time that will be notable to us!] when the Prussians
were there to take away the Papers by force; then Plessmann was with
them,"--and we will remember the circumstance.

"Before leaving Dresden for Poland, last Year (1756), he, Menzel, had
returned the said key to Plessmann; who gave him others for use here.
After his arrival here, he returned these keys to Benoit, in the
presence of Erfurth; saying, they were of no use to him, and that he
could not get at the Despatches here. Prisoner farther declares, that it
was the Minister von Mahlzahn who, of his own accord, and quite at the
beginning, made the proposal concerning the keys; and when Plessmann
brought the keys, he said expressly they were for the Minister, along
with fifty thalers, which he, Menzel, received at the same time. ACTUM
UT SUPRA." Signed as before. [--Helden-Geschichte,--v. 677 (as BEYLAGE
or Appendix to the Kur-Sachsen "PRO MEMORIA to the Reich's Diet;" of
date, Regensburg, 31st January, 1758).]

We could give some of the stolen Pieces, too; but they are of abstruse
tenor, and would be mere enigmas to readers here. Enough that Friedrich
understands them. To Friedrich's intense and long-continued scrutiny,
they indicate, what is next to incredible, but is at length fatally
undeniable, That the old TREATY, which we called OF WARSAW, "Treaty
for Partitioning Prussia," is still (in spite of all subsequent and
superincumbent Treaties to the contrary) vigorously alive underground;
that Saxon Bruhl and her Hungarian Majesty, to whom is now added Czarish
Majesty, are fixed as ever on cutting down this afflictive, too aspiring
King of Prussia to the size of a Brandenburg Elector; busy (in these
Menzel Documents) considering how it may be done, especially how
the bear-skin may be SHARED;--and that, in short, there lies ahead,
inevitable seemingly, and not far off, a Third Silesian War.

Which punctually came true. The THIRD SILESIAN WAR--since called
SEVEN-YEARS WAR, that proving to be the length of it--is now near.
Breaks out, has to break out, August, 1756. The heaviest and direst
struggle Friedrich ever had; the greatest of all his Prowesses,
Achievements and Endurances in this world. And, on the whole, the last
that was very great, or that is likely to be memorable with Posterity.
Upon which, accordingly, we must try our utmost to leave some not untrue
notion in this place: and that once DONE--Courage, reader!



FRIEDRICH IS VISIBLE, IN HOLLAND, TO THE NAKED EYE, FOR SOME MINUTES
(June 23d, 1755).

In 1755 it was that Voltaire wrote, not the first Letter, but the first
very notable one, to his Royal Friend, after their great quarrel: [Dated
"The DELICES, near Geneva, 4th August, 1755" (in Rodenbeck, i. 287;
in--OEuvres de Frederic,--xxiii. 7; not given by any of the French
Editors).] seductively repentant, and oh, so true, so tender;--Royal
Friend still obstinate, who answers nothing, or answers only through
De Prades: "Yes, yes, we are aware!" And it was in the same Year that
Friedrich first saw D'Alembert,--Voltaire's successor, in a sense. And
farther on (1st November, 1755), that the Earthquake of Lisbon went,
horribly crashing, through the thoughts of all mortals,--thoughts of
King Friedrich, among others; whose reflections on it, I apprehend, are
stingy, snarlingly contemptuous, rather than valiant and pious, and need
not detain us here. One thing only we will mention, for an accidental
reason: That Friedrich, this Year, made a short run to Holland,--and
that actual momentary sight of him happens thereby to be still possible.

In Summer, 1755, after the West-Country Reviews, and a short Journey
into Ost-Friesland, whence to Wesel on the Rhine,--whither Friedrich had
invited D'Alembert to meet him, whom he finds "UN TRES-AIMABLE GARCON,"
likely for the task in hand,--Friedrich decided on a run into Holland:
strictly INCOGNITO, accompanied only by Balbi (Engineer, a Genoese) and
one page. Bade his D'Alembert adieu; and left Wesel thitherward
June 19th. [Rodenbeck, i. 287.] At Amsterdam he viewed the Bramkamp
Picture-Gallery, the illustrious Country-house of Jew Pinto at
TULPENBURG (Tulip-borough!)... "I saw nothing but whim-whams
(COLIFICHETS)," says he: "I gave myself out for a Musician of the
King of Poland;" wore a black wig moreover, "and was nowhere known:"
[--OEuvres,--xxvii. i. 268 ("Potsdam, 28th June, 1755;" and ib. p.
270), to Wilhelmina, who is now on the return from her Italian Journey.
UNCERTAIN Anecdotes of adventures among the whim-whams, in Rodenbeck,
&c.]--and, for finis, got into the common Passage-Boat (TREKSCHUIT,
no doubt) for Utrecht, that he might see the other fine Country-houses
along the Vechte. Fine enough Country-houses,--not mud and sedges the
main thing, as idle readers think. To Arnheim up the Vechte in this
manner; Wesel and his own Country just at hand again.

Now it happened that a young Swiss--poor enough in purse, but not
without talent and eyesight, assistant Teacher in some Boarding-school
thereabouts; name of him De Catt, age twenty-seven, "born at Morges near
Geneva 1728"--had got holiday, or had got errand, poor good soul; had
decided, on this same day (23d June, 1755), to go to Utrecht, and so
stept into the very boat where Friedrich was. He himself (in a Letter
written long after to Editor LAVEAUX) shall tell us the rest:--

"As I could n't get into the ROEF (cabin) because it was all engaged, I
stayed with the other passengers in the Steerage (DANS LA BARQUE MEME),
and the weather being fine, came up on deck. After some time, there
stept out of the Cabin a man in cinnamon-colored coat with gold
button-HOLES; in black wig; face and coat considerably dusted with
Spanish snuff. He looked fixedly at me, for a while; and then said,
without farther preface, 'Who are you, Monsieur?' This cavalier tone
from an unknown person, whose exterior indicated nothing very important,
did not please me; and I declined satisfying his curiosity. He was
silent. But, some time after, he took a more courteous tone, and said:
'Come in here to me, Monsieur! You will be better here than in the
Steerage, amid the tobacco-smoke.' This polite address put an end to
all anger; and as the singular manner of the man excited my curiosity,
I took advantage of his invitation. We sat down, and began to speak
confidentially with one another.

"Do you see the man in the garden yonder, sitting smoking his pipe?'
said he to me: 'That man, you may depend upon it, is not happy.'--'I
know not,' answered I: 'but it seems to me, until one knows a man, and
is completely acquainted with his situation and his way of thought, one
cannot possibly determine whether he is happy or unhappy.'

"My gentleman admitted this [very good-natured!]; and led the
conversation on the Dutch Government. He criticised it,--probably to
bring me to speak. I did speak; and gave him frankly to know that he
was not perfectly instructed in the thing he was criticising.--'You
are right,' answered he; 'one can only criticise what one is thoroughly
acquainted with.'--He now began to speak of Religion; and with eloquent
tongue to recount what mischief Scholastic Philosophy had brought upon
the world; then tried to prove 'That Creation was impossible.' At this
last point I stood out in opposition. 'But how can one create Something
out of Nothing?' said he. 'That is not the question,' answered I; 'the
question is, Whether such a Being as God can or cannot give existence to
what has yet none.' He seemed embarrassed, and added, 'But the Universe
is eternal.'--'You are in a circle,' said I; 'how will you get out of
it?'--'I skip over it" said he, laughing; and then began to speak of
other things.

"'What form of Government do you reckon the best?' inquired he,
among other things. 'The monarchic, if the King is just and
enlightened.'--'Very well,' answered he; 'but where will you find Kings
of that sort?' And thereupon went into such a sally upon Kings, as could
not in the least lead me to the supposition that he was one. In the
end he expressed pity for them, that they could not know the sweets
of friendship; and cited on the occasion these verses (his own, I
suppose):--

          --'Amitie, plaisir des grandes ames;
          Amitie, que les Rois, ces illustres ingrats,
          Sont assez malheureux de ne connaitre pas!'--

'I have not the honor to be acquainted with Kings,' said I; 'but to
judge by what one has read in History of several of them, I should
believe, Monsieur, that you, on the whole, are right.'--'AH, OUI, OUI, I
am right; I know the gentlemen!'

"We now got to speak of Literature. The stranger expressed himself with
enthusiastic admiration of Racine. A droll incident happened during
our dialogue. My gentleman wanted to let down a little sash-window, and
could n't manage it. 'You don't understand that,' said I; 'let me
do that.' I tried to get it down; but succeeded no better than he.
'Monsieur,' said he, 'allow me to remark, on my side, that you, upon my
honor, understand as little of it as I!'--'That is true; and I beg your
pardon; I was too rash in accusing you of want of expertness.'--'Were
you ever in Germany?' he now asked me. 'No; but I should like to make
that journey: I am very curious to see the Prussian States, and their
King, of whom one hears so much.' And now I began to launch out on
Friedrich's actions; but he interrupted me rapidly, with the words:
'Nothing more of Kings, Monsieur! What have we to do with them? We will
spend the rest of our voyage on more agreeable and cheering objects.'
And now he spoke of the best of all possible worlds; and maintained
that, in our Planet Earth, there was more Evil than Good. I maintained
the contrary; and this dispute brought us to the end of our voyage.

"On quitting me, he said, 'I hope, Monsieur, you will leave me your
name: I am very glad to have made your acquaintance; perhaps we shall
see one another again.' I replied, as was fitting, to the compliment;
and begged him to excuse me for contradicting him a little. 'Ascribe
this,' I concluded, 'to the ill-humor which various little journeys I
had to make in these days have given me.' I then told him my name, and
we parted." [Laveaux,--Histoire de Frederic--(2d edition, Strasbourg,
1789, and blown now into SIX vols. instead of four; dead all, except
this fraction), vi. 365. Seyfarth, ii. 234, is right; ib. 170, wrong,
and has led others wrong.] Parted to meet again; and live together for
about twenty years.

Of this honest Henri de Catt, whom the King liked on this Interview,
and sent for soon after, and at length got as "LECTEUR DU ROI," we
shall hear again. ["September, 1755," sent for (but De Catt was ill and
couldn't); "December, 1757" got (Rodenbeck, i. 285).] He did, from 1757
onwards, what De Prades now does with more of noise, the old D'Arget
functions; faithfully and well, for above twenty years;--left a
Note-Book (not very Boswellian) about the King, which is latterly in
the Royal Archives at Berlin; and which might without harm, or even with
advantage, be printed, but has never yet been. A very harmless De
Catt. And we are surely obliged to him for this view of the Travelling
Gentleman "with the cinnamon-colored coat, snuffy nose and black wig,"
and his manner of talking on light external subjects, while the
inner man of him has weights enough pressing on it. Age still under
five-and-forty, but looks old for his years.

"June 23d, 1755:" it is in the very days while poor Braddock is
staggering down the Alleghanies; Braddock fairly over the top;--and the
Fates waiting him, at a Fortnight's distance. Far away, on the other
side of the World. But it is notable enough how Pitt is watching the
thing; and will at length get hand laid on it, and get the kingship over
it for above four years. Whereby the JENKINS'S-EAR QUESTION will
again, this time on better terms, coalesce with the SILESIAN, or
PARTITION-OF-PRUSSIA QUESTION; and both these long Controversies get
definitely closed, as the Eternal Decrees had seen good.





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