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Title: Maria Therese (Life Stories for Young People)
Author: Horn, W. D. Von
Language: English
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              [Illustration: _Portrait of Maria Theresa_]

                    _Life Stories for Young People_

                             MARIA THERESA

                     _Translated from the German of
                            W. D. Von Horn_

                            GEORGE P. UPTON
_Translator of “Memories,” author of “Upton Handbooks on Music,” editor
            “Autobiography of Theodore Thomas,” etc., etc._

                        WITH FOUR ILLUSTRATIONS

                  [Illustration: A. C. McCLURG & CO.]

                          A. C. McCLURG & CO.

                          A. C. McClurg & Co.
                      Published September 16, 1905


                          Translator’s Preface

Among the famous queens of the world—Catharine II of Russia, Elizabeth,
Anne Boleyn, and Victoria of England, Mary Queen of Scots, Isabella of
Spain, Louise of Prussia, Marie Antoinette, Marie and Catharine di
Medici of France, and others, Maria Theresa of Austria holds a
conspicuous place. In statesmanship and patriotism she ranks with
Elizabeth and Catharine. As Catharine greatly improved the
administration of her Empire, introduced new laws and extended its
frontiers, and as Elizabeth’s reign was characterized by great
commercial enterprises and extraordinary intellectual activity, so the
reign of Maria Theresa, though she was engaged for years in two great
wars,—that of the War of the Austrian Succession and the Seven Years’
War with Frederick for the recovery of Silesia, which he had taken from
her,—proved to be of the highest benefit to Austria in the strengthening
of law and the introduction of needed reforms and wise measures for the
welfare of the Empire.

For years she was engaged in war for the preservation of Silesia with
the most potent sovereign in Europe—Frederick the Great. Doubtless he
had some antique claim upon Silesia, but when Maria Theresa succeeded to
the throne under the terms of the Pragmatic Sanction, all the European
powers, Prussia among them, whose rights might be affected, renounced
their claims. She relied upon their good faith, but on the slightest of
pretexts Frederick broke it and determined to rob her of Silesia, even
at the cost of plunging all Europe into a long and devastating war. He
set aside a new treaty to enforce an old claim. He plainly condemned
himself by his own words in his Memoirs: “Ambition, interest, the desire
of making people talk about me carried the day and I decided for war.”
When peace was finally made, Maria Theresa retained her old inheritance,
though she lost Silesia; but Frederick was more than willing to make
peace, for all Germany had been a terrible sufferer by the war and
Prussia was in dire straits.

The story of the life of the great queen is briefly told in these pages.
It is the story of the life of a proud, ambitious queen; a wise,
judicious ruler, who had the best interests of her subjects at heart,
and for whom they were always ready to die; a woman of spotless personal
character and true to all her domestic duties at a time when immorality
and corruption were rife in high places. The story covers some of the
same episodes of history which occur in the narrative of Frederick, in
this series, but is none the less interesting, as the reader will find
both sides presented.

                                                                G. P. U.

Chicago, 1905


  I The Young Queen                                                   13
  II Campaigns against Prussia, France, and Bohemia                   33
  III The Second Silesian War                                         56
  IV Plots and Counterplots                                           72
  V Battles of the Seven Years’ War                                   85
  VI Close of the Long Struggle                                      104
  VII The Last Days of Maria Theresa                                 122
    Appendix                                                         141

                         List of Illustrations

  Portrait of Maria Theresa                               _Frontispiece_
  Maria Theresa in the Council Chamber                                18
  “We are ready to die for our Empress”                               40
  “Be comforted, my good woman, for I have come to see you”          132

                             Maria Theresa

                               Chapter I
                            The Young Queen

It would almost seem that the Emperor Charles VI, the father of Maria
Theresa, had a presentiment of what was to come, when, directly after
his marriage, he obtained from the various states united under his
dominion an order of succession called “The Pragmatic Sanction,”[1]
which decreed that in case his house should become extinct in the male
line, succession to the throne should pass to his female descendants. To
make this law binding and legal was such an important matter to him that
it may be said to have been the chief aim of his life.

In the year 1716, to the great joy of the Emperor, a son was born to
him. Vienna and the whole country shared in the rejoicings of the royal
parents; but unfortunately their happiness was of short duration, for,
before the Autumn of that year had strewn the earth with withered
leaves, the heir to the throne had drooped and died. The Emperor’s grief
was intense, and was made harder to bear by reason of the many other
cares and troubles which beset him on all sides at that time.

The second child was a daughter, Maria Theresa, who was born May 13,
1717,[2] and upon whose head, according to the right of primogeniture
established by the Pragmatic Sanction, the crowns of the united Austrian
states were one day to rest. Who could have imagined that this child,
while inheriting all the beauty of her mother, would be endowed at the
same time with a masculinity of intellect, together with a strength and
wisdom, a firmness yet kindliness of disposition, which but few men have

St. Ambrose’s “Hymn of Praise” was at once sung in the most solemn
manner in St. Stephen’s Cathedral, in the presence of all the highest
dignitaries of the Empire, and the baptism of the heiress to the throne
took place on the evening of the day of her birth with great pomp and
splendor. After the loss of their first-born, the imperial couple were
overjoyed at the advent of this child, and, amid all the cares and
responsibilities forced upon him by his numerous wars, the devoted
father never lost sight of his fixed purpose or relaxed his efforts to
obtain universal recognition of his law of succession among the European
powers, as well as the various states of his own empire. He felt the
importance of securing his beloved daughter’s undisputed title to the
throne, while the Empress’ motherly heart rejoiced at each hardly won
acknowledgment of the rights of her child, who already showed signs of
such splendid promise.

But it was not alone in such well-grounded and well-directed efforts
that the parents’ care showed itself: no pains were spared to develop to
the fullest extent Maria Theresa’s abundant mental gifts and talents, so
as to fit her for her future position as ruler of an empire; nor did the
noble mother fail to sow the seed and nourish the growth in her
daughter’s tender nature of those womanly virtues which were to bear
such rich harvest.

With loving eyes the wise and careful Empress watched over the early
training of the Princess’ mind,—a mind which warranted the brightest
hopes of all those to whose hands her education was intrusted. As may be
readily understood, these instructors were selected from among the most
distinguished ladies of the Court; the Countesses von Thurn and
Valsassina, von Stubenberg and von Fuchs. They worked in perfect accord
with the august mother upon whose breast God had placed the precious
jewel, and to whose care He had intrusted the treasure. Later, as it
became necessary for her to occupy herself with more serious and
important subjects, learned and capable men were assigned the task of
guiding the clear and active mind of the Princess through the
departments of religion, history, and other branches of learning, the
comprehension of which was deemed necessary. The study of languages,
too, was begun at an early age and covered a wide range, as it was
important that the future ruler of Austria should be familiar with the
various tongues spoken within her dominions, and thus be able to
dispense with interpreters who might, and indeed must inevitably, stand
between her and her people to a certain extent. Above all, it was
requisite that she should not only understand Latin but speak it
fluently, since that was the language spoken in Hungary; and almost
equally important was a knowledge of French, Italian, and Spanish. The
most accomplished masters were chosen by the imperial parents, and equal
care was bestowed on the choice of teachers for music, drawing, and

My young readers will perceive from this that the Archduchess had no
easy tasks to perform.

Though, as compared with the requirements of our times, such an
education may seem defective in many respects, still it bore surprising
fruit, due largely to the remarkable endowments of her who received it;
she made such good use of it that it was possible for her not only to
assume the high position that devolved upon her at an early age, but to
maintain it with strength and dignity through all the troubled period of
her minority.

The following incident confirms the truth of this statement. Maria
Theresa was sixteen years of age when the important and complicated
question of the election of a king of Poland was to be decided by the
King’s councillors. The imperial maiden entered the council chamber at
her father’s side, to take part in the deliberations of the foremost
statesmen of the empire, and bore herself with a grace and dignity that
excited universal admiration. She listened with grave attention to the
wise words of the councillors, but when it came her turn to express her
opinions, at her father’s desire, the astonishment of the ministers was
unbounded, as was the Emperor’s delight also, at the clearness and
accuracy of her judgment, and the acuteness and keenness of her

This is given as a proof of her clear understanding and early maturity
of mind, but it must not be supposed that these qualities detracted in
any way from her feminine charms. Indeed, her kindness of heart,
delicacy of thought, and above all her moral purity and lofty strength
of purpose, combined to form a personality which seemed born to rule by
divine right over the hearts of men, as well as to sway the sceptre of a
mighty Empire; nor was her power lessened by a physical beauty and grace
that made her the envy of all the princesses of Europe.

         [Illustration: _Maria Theresa in the Council Chamber_]

As she approached the age when the question who should one day share the
throne with her had to be seriously considered, its political bearing
began to assert itself; personal views were taken less into account than
careful calculations as to what would benefit the crown and state and
serve to increase the national importance and influence. The Emperor and
his consort had already discussed the question privately, before any of
the foreign princes had turned their glances toward the throne and the
heiress herself.

An old tradition, to the effect that the crown of Spain would one day be
joined again to that which was to adorn the beautiful head of Maria
Theresa, was much talked of in Vienna, and with even more seriousness in
Madrid. It came to nothing, however, and this laid the foundations of a
deep and lasting enmity in Spain toward Austria. Other alliances, too,
were discussed and rejected. Whether the affections of the Princess were
involved in any of them is doubtful, especially as there happened to be
a certain prince staying at the imperial court in Vienna who lacked none
of the attractions of mind or person that particularly fitted him for
success in his wooing. This was Francis Stephen, son of Duke Leopold and
Hereditary Prince of Lorraine, who was somewhat older indeed than the
youthful Archduchess, but worthy of her in every way. He had succeeded
to the dukedom of Lorraine on his father’s death, and there seemed no
obstacles to the alliance, either personal or political, when an
approaching war-cloud relegated all thoughts of marriage into the

The centre of disturbance in those days was Poland, a part it has
repeatedly played since, under other circumstances and conditions. The
throne of this unhappy land was vacant, and the number of claimants,
with the variety of their pretensions, made it a veritable apple of
discord. Charles VI supported the claim of the Elector of Saxony, but
France, cherishing an old grudge, had other plans, and took up arms
against Austria. The war did not last long, for Charles was anxious for
peace; but many important changes resulted, which reduced Austria’s
possessions in Italy, and Maria Theresa’s betrothed, instead of
remaining Duke of Lorraine, was made Grand Duke of Tuscany. After peace
had been declared, preparations were resumed for the marriage of the
affianced pair. The nuptials were celebrated with the greatest splendor;
but unfortunately the joy and satisfaction which the occasion brought
the Emperor were embittered by the disastrous results of a war with
Turkey, which made the death of Prince Eugene,[3] “der edler Ritter,”
even more keenly felt, since all that his sword had won for Austria was
lost again through the incompetency of other commanders. Not long after
this, the happy young couple began their triumphal journey to Tuscany,
the sovereignty of which had devolved upon the consort of the

The Emperor Charles’ most ardent desire, to see a male heir born of this
happy union, was not to be fulfilled; he was forced to close his eyes
full of anxiety as to the continuation of his line and crushed by the
fatal peace of Belgrade, which had been such a blow to him. His death
occurred on October 20, 1740. The inheritance which he bequeathed to
Maria Theresa, as his heiress and successor, consisted of little
territory beyond what Prince Eugene’s sword had won and secured.
Austria’s possessions had become greatly diminished by the results of
unfortunate wars. The great leaders and nobles of the Empire, instead of
working together to insure the stability of the much-talked-of Pragmatic
Sanction, or, what was even more important, to fill the treasury and
establish and maintain an army that should command respect, had ceased
to be of any help or support to the Emperor; while an exceedingly lavish
and brilliant Court swallowed up more than the country’s resources
warranted. So when Maria Theresa came to the throne, the state treasury
was almost empty, the army large only on paper; in short, everything was
lacking, and no order or system existed anywhere.

The Emperor was a kind-hearted, cultivated, and high-minded man, but not
the kind of a ruler demanded by the condition of affairs and the
importance of his position. He had a natural taste for art and learning,
and sympathized with all that was lofty and noble. He was also devoted
to the welfare of his people and indefatigable in all that pertained to
their good; but in matters that concerned the political position of
Austria, he lacked the necessary firmness and energy. Thus, while in
some ways Maria Theresa had only to maintain what her noble father had
planned and begun, in others she was obliged to act on her own
responsibility and strive to remedy evils that needed a stronger and
more masculine hand than is often possessed by a woman. But to her had
been granted the clear, judicious mind and resolute spirit of a born
ruler; she was singularly fitted for the difficult task, and what a man
might not have been able to accomplish even under the most favorable
circumstances, the woman and youthful Empress effected with the happiest
results. It was no easy task for her, however, and the eyes of Europe
were fixed expectantly, if somewhat doubtfully, on the fair young
Princess who had grasped the reins of government under such difficult

One plan had been suggested to her which, viewed in the light of
subsequent events, must have made a strong impression on her mind. When
the question of choosing a consort for the Emperor’s beautiful and
promising daughter had been uppermost, Prince Eugene of Savoy proposed a
union with the Crown Prince Frederick of Prussia, he who afterward
deservedly won for himself the title of “the Great”; and with his
wonderful foresight and sagacity—indeed, it would almost seem with a
prophetic vision of the future—strongly urged the execution of his plan.
He did not succeed in uniting these two great hearts and minds, yet it
shows how free from prejudice the great hero was. How different might
the history of Europe have been had this dream of the knightly hero been
realized! How far-reaching the consequences, extending even to our own
times! How much, alas! that must be lamented, might Germany perhaps have
been spared! But it was otherwise decreed in that high tribunal which
rules all human affairs and speaks the irrevocable words,—“Thus Shall It

Maria Theresa was not yet twenty-four years old when she ascended the
throne. She, whose insight was so clear and judgment so unerring, could
not disguise from herself that her task was a hard one. The gravity of
it was ever present before her, but she never allowed herself to be cast
down or discouraged. She was ill, too, when the Emperor closed his eyes
upon the troubles of this world, and sorrow for her honored father,
together with the magnitude of her undertaking, lay heavily upon her
heart; but with a devout glance to heaven, a fervent prayer for help to
the source of all strength and courage, her lofty spirit rose again with
the consciousness of divine aid and a firm resolve to fulfil the duties
that had been imposed upon her. The leaders who should have been a
support to her were more overcome by the Emperor’s death than the
devoted daughter who was able to conquer her grief so heroically, and
she was compelled to take the lead, and revive their faltering spirits
by her powerful will and lofty courage.

She had chosen for her motto one that she lived up to in thought and
deed from the first to the last day of her reign, and of which all her
acts and ideas bore the impress, namely, _Justitia et Clementia_, or, in
English, “Justice and Clemency.” There was very soon a brilliant
illustration of the latter quality. It was a time of want and distress
for the poor, and one of the first acts of her reign was to throw open
the well-filled imperial granaries and induce the great lords in her
dominions to do the same. Is it any wonder that the people loved her
with an enthusiastic devotion, and revered her as an angel sent to them
from God? A second act, which quickly followed, completed this
impression and strengthened its effect. Large herds of deer had been
allowed to overrun the country and become a scourge to the industrious
peasants, who were compelled to look on quietly while the animals,
protected by law, grazed without hindrance over their cultivated fields,
or suffer the heaviest penalties if they resisted. During the preceding
year it had been the cause of an uprising in Styria, and the leaders of
the rebellion had been condemned to death. Here were two great wrongs to
be redressed, and the Empress did not hesitate to use the proper means.
She caused the deer to be shot and their flesh publicly sold at the
lowest prices, and pardoned those under sentence of death in Styria, but
at the same time did not allow the insurgents to escape without any
punishment. Her motto, “Justice and Clemency,” had become the rule of
her life, and it was thus she entered upon her lofty and difficult
sphere of action, with the God of justice and clemency ever before her
eyes and in her heart.

That many reforms were necessary was everywhere made clear by the
pressure of obsolete customs and ideas; but that they could be effected
so promptly and thoroughly was more than any one had dared to hope. How
could it have been expected that a woman, however wise, talented, and
full of lofty aims, should understand the condition of the country well
enough to decide at once upon the changes that were necessary, and be
able to lay her hand upon the proper means for bringing them about?

The surprising fact, however, was brought to light that the young ruler
was fully acquainted with the state of affairs in her realm and with the
causes of the principal evils, which astonished the people as much as it
did her ministers, to whom she had already revealed this unsuspected
sagacity and penetration at their first conference, thereby causing some
uneasiness to agitate the old gentlemen’s powdered wigs and make them
anxious to assist her in her reforms.

Maria Theresa already had realized the force of the advice Prince Eugene
had so strongly urged upon her father. The army was utterly demoralized;
the officers had unlimited leave of absence, and frequently lived in
Vienna or anywhere they chose, except with their regiments and in their
quarters. So it was like a thunderbolt to them when the young Empress
issued orders for the immediate return of all officers to their
regiments, and for the army to be increased and placed upon such a
footing that a sudden outbreak of war should not find it unprepared; but
at the same time she won the devotion of the entire army by thus
infusing fresh life and vigor into the almost paralyzed service, and
also by another act of clemency. The leading officers, colonels and
generals, who had been held responsible for the results of the last
disastrous Turkish war, and been made to pay heavily for their mistakes
by dismissal and imprisonment, were not only liberated but restored to
all their former honors and dignities. The effect of this upon the army
was magical, and the shout of Hungary in later days, “We will die for
our Empress!” swept through the army in an enthusiastic expression of
devotion and reverence, which was also shared by the officers’ families.

Charles VI had been harshly blamed for the enormous sums swallowed up by
the imperial household. The retinue of well-paid officials and retainers
was so numerous that they only hindered the business at Court instead of
promoting it, and the salaries were out of all proportion to the
services rendered. Fraud and peculation, too, were not wanting, and
Maria Theresa found herself burdened with a household which cost the
state more than the important affairs of government. With her clear
insight and resolute will, it was but a short step from perception to
action. She determined that as far as was consistent with the dignity of
the Court, it should be regulated according to the system that prevailed
in lower ranks of life; the spirit of display and show should be curbed,
and a judicious economy introduced. Dismissals accordingly took place at
once, salaries were decreased, many unnecessary expenses done away with,
and a strict inspection of household accounts and expenditures
instituted; and, as Maria Theresa’s consort also brought his influence
to bear in the control and regulation of this as of other departments of
state finances, matters began to assume a very different appearance, and
the ever-pressing need for money disappeared. The people, too, were
delighted to see that their beloved young ruler understood the
management of her vast household as well as any thrifty German
housewife. As in her administration of the affairs of the Empire she
showed a masculine clearness and certainty in deciding between what was
proper or improper, right or wrong, so here also her feminine instincts
for order and the practical management of domestic affairs were

How much Maria Theresa loved and respected her husband is shown very
plainly in the fact that she could not bear to have him occupy an
inferior position to her, and that she spared no pains to make a way for
him toward imperial honors. Scarcely a month after their accession, she
made him co-regent and bestowed upon him the electoral dignities which
belonged to the crown of Bohemia, thereby displaying not only her
affection for him but also her womanly tact and diplomacy. She realized
the strained relations with foreign courts that existed in Austria, and
well knew that only the slightest provocation was needed to involve her
in terrible wars. Thus it was a question not only of gratifying the
dictates of her own heart, but also of guarding against any errors or
false steps which her foes might seize upon and make an excuse for
active enmity; and she succeeded in this in a masterly manner, though
more depended upon the observance of forms and ceremonies than their
real significance warranted. It was of the highest importance not to
give offence anywhere; for although the so-called Pragmatic Sanction had
been recognized in many quarters,—a recognition too often purchased by
her father at a heavy sacrifice,—it was by no means certain that
objections might not yet be raised against the step, as well as against
her elevation of her husband to imperial honors, and that would mean
war. It was therefore a relief and satisfaction to her that the States
of her Empire did not delay in pronouncing their hearty concurrence in
both measures. When some who opposed them showed their disapproval by an
absurd attempt to assert their authority, the kindly sovereign
maintained a discreet silence and ignored it. Bavaria, indeed, asserted
claims to the crown of Bohemia; but when Maria Theresa, in reply, sent
troops to the disputed kingdom, a wholesome fear weakened the ambition
of Bavaria, and the hint was sufficient to prevent any further trouble.

So Maria Theresa’s throne seemed firmly established both at home and
abroad. She had a loyal, devoted people on one side and an enthusiastic
army on the other, to support her, and looked cheerfully and hopefully
into the future, where no gathering storm, no lowering clouds, appeared
to threaten her peace and security.

                               Chapter II
             Campaigns against Prussia, France, and Bohemia

And yet—! Where the Spree winds along between its sandy banks, a young
eagle was beginning his flight toward the sun. Prince Eugene, “the
gallant knight,” had seen more clearly than he whose eyes were fixed
only on the Pragmatic Sanction. His good counsel had shared the fate of
all well-meant advice which earns no thanks and is rarely followed, and
there was no one now at the imperial court who had Eugene of Savoy’s
far-seeing vision in matters of statecraft. But the eagle had already
spread his pinions, and though he had but one head, to be sure, yet what
a head it was! This eagle was the young King of Prussia, Frederick,
second of the name.

The year 1740 had witnessed new rulers upon two thrones: upon the
smaller, and, one might say, still embryonic one, a man; upon the
greater, already established, a woman; both young, energetic, and richly
endowed by nature, both the foremost figures of their time.

The proverb, “Two hard stones seldom grind well,” has much truth in it,
and none the less if the word “hard” be taken in a figurative sense.
Thousands of heads and hearts were agitated by the question, how these
two European monarchs of equal birth and capabilities would get on
together. Would not all their power be exerted to obtain the supremacy?
And in this struggle, to use a popular but expressive phrase, would not
“the fur fly”?

It was only in Vienna that people were deceived as to Frederick’s
strength. Those immediately about the gifted young King were little
concerned as to the outcome of any warlike complications, for from the
very earliest days of his reign he had been strengthening and equipping
his army. A well-filled treasury also favored his secretly cherished
plan of claiming the Duchy of Silesia, and winning back with the sword
what he considered his own inheritance, according to some old agreement
concerning the succession.[4] His army advanced suddenly against
Silesia, and he followed it immediately after a court ball in Berlin,
where no one had the least suspicion of his intention. He despatched
Count Cotter to Vienna, it is true, to state the terms by which war
could be averted;[5] but Austria would not consent to them, and while
these brief negotiations were being conducted, Frederick’s army had
already set foot upon the frontier of Silesia.

This news fell upon the Austrian sovereign like a thunderbolt out of a
clear sky; but the die was cast, the torch of war alight. To resign
Silesia voluntarily never entered her mind for a moment, but alas! her
father’s indifference to Prince Eugene’s wise counsel was now bearing
fruit. Although not willing to accept Frederick’s terms for a peaceful
settlement of the question, Maria Theresa realized fully the
difficulties of her situation, and hastily called upon those who had
recognized the Pragmatic Sanction to redeem their promises and lend her
some substantial support now that so powerful an assault had been made
upon this measure. But she only had to face the bitter experience
expressed in the old saying:

  “Friends in prosperity—
  Each will weigh a pound;
  But to the ounce, in time of need,
  A thousand may be found!”

Those whom she summoned to her aid shrugged their shoulders, and
sympathized, but made no move to array themselves on her side. It is the
way of the world, and in this dark hour Maria Theresa was forced to
learn, in bitterness of spirit, that there is a vast difference between
words and deeds.

There was not much time for choice. The situation must be met at once;
but the Austrian force in Silesia was too small to build any hopes upon.
Browne[6] collected an army in Moravia; but to cross the mountains by
bad roads and at an unfavorable time of year was a task not easily or
quickly accomplished, so that, thanks to his own energy and his
well-equipped and disciplined army, Frederick made a rapid advance, and
had gained possession of the most important places before Browne’s
troops could get near enough to attempt any effective movements. When
the cannon finally thundered at Mollwitz, Schwerin[7] gained a brilliant
victory over the Austrians, little in his favor as the conflict promised
to be at first.

The loss of this battle was a great disaster, and the saying that
troubles never come singly proved true likewise. Thus encouraged, all
the enemies of Austria, who until now had prudently hidden their real
animosity under the mask of friendship, threw off their disguise and
openly arrayed themselves on the side of the young King of Prussia. The
aggrandizing spirit of France, ever casting covetous glances toward the
Rhine, made itself most actively felt, but intrigues were rife
everywhere, and already there was talk of a division of the Austrian
Empire among its enemies.

Whether all these castles were to prove only castles in the air depended
now on Maria Theresa. Old Austrian statesmen might doubtfully shake
their bewigged heads, but their youthful ruler never wavered. Not a
finger’s breadth of Silesia would she surrender; at no price would she
voluntarily part with any of her inheritance. She well knew what her
duty required, and the birth of a son (afterward the great Emperor
Joseph II) vindicated this noble woman’s firmness and masculine strength
of purpose. Her heart was full of faith and courage, and the joy her
maternity brought her was shared by the people, who showed a touching
devotion to her. This was the foundation upon which she built her hopes;
and it was strong enough to warrant confidence in Austria’s future,
though the present looked dark enough.

England made an effort to mediate between Maria Theresa and her
adversary, but Frederick rejected any compromise and demanded the
cession of Silesia, with the threat that if it were not yielded to him
he would seize not only it, but four other duchies beside. He could
always be depended on to keep his word, especially when he made emphatic
statements, and Maria Theresa’s cause seemed lost before it really was
so. But she stood firm as a rock, in spite of her increasing danger; in
spite of the faintheartedness of her ministers; in spite of the plots of
her enemies; in spite of Frederick II’s confidence. At any cost the war
must be carried on; she must not allow herself to be humbled. The time
for negotiation was past; action must take its place; words were
useless, deeds must decide.

Maria Theresa’s prospects were dubious. The French had crossed the Rhine
with a large force and joined Bavaria. Passau was taken by surprise;
Linz had fallen; even Vienna was threatened, and would have been obliged
to surrender had the enemy pressed its advantage that far.

Maria Theresa had been active in her preparations in the meantime. The
love of the people for their distressed ruler showed itself everywhere.
Men flocked to the recruiting stations, and all who were able hastened
to take up arms. In Vienna there was the greatest enthusiasm; all work
in the shops ceased, and thousands of strong arms toiled at the
neglected fortifications of the imperial city. Neither were there only
men’s hands at work, for women and young girls were to be seen in the
ranks of the toilers, laboring indefatigably, just as it had been when
Kara Mustapha had approached Vienna, and Kolonitzsch and the old hero
Stahremberg led the defence.[8] Everywhere the greatest interest was
felt in the fate of the beautiful, unfortunate Princess, and the women
especially, both of her own and foreign countries, showed the warmest
sympathy, while in England they vied with one another in contributing
money for her treasury, knowing that she greatly needed such assistance.
But her foes were too many and too strong for her, and all these efforts
would have been in vain had not Hungary, with chivalrous self-sacrifice,
lent its aid to the Princess who wore its sacred crown also.

Maria Theresa had won the love of the Hungarians, and this conquest now
bore her golden fruit, for the love of a people is the only lasting
bulwark of a throne. Certain States, however, to assert their own
importance, seemed determined to break down this bulwark. But when she
appeared in the midst of the assembly of the Hungarian States, her
deeply troubled look and the appeal that sprang from her overladen heart
fired the nobles with wild enthusiasm. “We are ready to die for our
Queen, Maria Theresa!” rang from every throat and welled out from every
heart as an oath of fidelity, and the unanimous resolution was at once
taken to aid her with all their forces.

        [Illustration: “_We are ready to die for our Empress_”]

Maria Theresa was deeply affected; she burst into tears, and who does
not know the effect that tears in a woman’s eyes have upon the hearts of
men? When Maria Theresa’s consort had been acknowledged as co-regent by
the Hungarians, the oath taken, and she held up her little son Joseph
before the Diet at that solemn moment, such a burst of enthusiasm
followed that they swore afresh their willingness to die for their
Queen, and declared firmly that if money were needed for the war they
would cast all their gold and silver ornaments and vessels into the
smelting-pot,—indeed, were this not enough, even the treasures of the
Church should be added.

If anything could have comforted Maria Theresa’s mind and raised her
spirits, it would have been this experience. There is not much danger of
a tottering throne where the people are so ready to prove their devotion
by any sacrifice; and what Hungary promised it faithfully performed. At
this time the mixture of peoples along the Danube, where it approaches
the Turkish possessions, with the tribes that Russia in Asia had
contributed, could hardly have been equalled for wildness and barbarity.
They were good light horsemen, and always ready when it was a question
of destruction and pillage; but in open warfare against the well-drilled
Prussians they stood but a doubtful chance. Nevertheless, they had
Cossacks among them that had not done badly in harassing the French. The
Hungarians, though headed by a nobility of their own, had only these
people to depend on, but they were better than nothing, and the fifteen
thousand nobles with their followers made a heavy balance in the scales.
Every heart was full of enthusiasm for the noble woman who was so hard
pressed, and while their forces were being organized—for an army is not
raised by the stroke of a magic wand—this sentiment deepened

While the hostile army had already advanced as far as Linz, the Queen
hoped for assistance from England in the shape of gold from London and
troops from Hanover, but it seemed in truth as though all help would be
cut off. Even when George II of England had raised an army in Hanover,
the French, under Maillebois, marched up through Westphalia, and the
English began to find Hanover uncomfortable. With an Englishman charity
begins at home, and George’s “skin was nearer to him than his shirt,” as
the saying goes, so he made the best terms he could with the French, and
abandoned Maria Theresa in spite of all his chivalrous protestations.

With France, Bavaria, and Saxony threatening her on one side, Prussia on
the other, and as yet no army to oppose them with any hope of success,
what could be more welcome than a settlement with Frederick II, arranged
by England’s mediation, and to which Frederick gladly agreed, since it
secured him the possession of Silesia and averted the danger that seemed
impending from the attitude of the Elector of Bavaria? The treaty was
signed at Oberschnellendorf, but absolute secrecy was to be maintained
concerning it. Thus Maria Theresa acquired, in this direction, at least,
a free hand; and it was very necessary, for Bavaria and France were
seriously threatening the capital of Bohemia, whence the Elector of
Bavaria might have taken Vienna at a single blow, but, allured by the
prospect of a crown, the attraction in Bohemia was too strong.[9]

Such was the state of affairs when Maria Theresa’s army of sixty
thousand men entered Bohemia and rapidly advanced toward Prague, hoping
to be able to relieve the city, which had a garrison of only three
thousand and was in no condition to hold out against an army like that
of united France, Bavaria, and Saxony, which was pressing it hard. There
could be no question of a long resistance; therefore haste was necessary
for the Austrians if they were to be of any service. But they came too
late. Prague had fallen, and the Elector of Bavaria was crowned King of
Bohemia. This, however, to him, was but a step toward the Imperial
Crown, which he already saw upon his head. Therefore, no sooner were the
coronation ceremonies ended than he established a regency in Prague,
hastened to Munich, and from thence by way of Mannheim to
Frankfort-on-the-Main. One thought, one hope, sustained Maria Theresa
after this bitter blow,—namely, that her husband would be chosen Emperor
at the electoral assembly then being held at Frankfort; but here, too, a
fresh disappointment awaited her. The Elector of Bavaria’s successes in
Bohemia added powerfully to his influence, and he was elected Emperor
January 30, 1742, his coronation following, February 12 of the same
year. That Maria Theresa should refuse to acknowledge him was but
natural, and, as she denied the validity of the election, that she
should refuse to deliver the imperial archives was also natural.

The Elector of Bavaria at last had reached the summit of his ambitions,
but it was also the turning point; thenceforward his path led downward,
and victory turned toward Maria Theresa’s colors. Scarcely was the crown
placed on his head, when his own capital, Munich, fell into the hands of
Maria Theresa. Her husband had succeeded in Bohemia, with the gallant
Khevenhüller’s assistance, in winning the Hungarians to him and cutting
off the enemy’s forces there from those which remained in Austria, and
thus began a campaign that meant destruction to the audacious foe. In
Bavaria the Austrians carried all before them, and Maria Theresa’s
victorious banner was soon waving over all that province.

This state of things naturally attracted the attention of Frederick II,
and drew him again into the field of action. As the agreement to keep
the treaty of Oberschnellendorf had been broken, he no longer felt bound
by his own promise. He again joined forces with the hard-pressed
Elector, the new Emperor, and a fresh war-torch was set ablaze, which
alarmed Maria Theresa more than the old one. Frederick’s arms were
victorious, his activity in making alliances against Austria unceasing,
and when the Zieten[10] hussars made inroads as far as Stockerau,
destruction seemed hanging once more over Maria Theresa’s head. The
storm did not break, however, for Frederick found himself checked by
Saxony, and the French were little inclined to play into the hands of
Prussia. Frederick would gladly have consented to an adjustment of his
relations with Austria, had it been possible; but the battles of
Chotusitz and Czaslau changed the aspect of things, for they gave him
the victory, though at a terrible sacrifice. Nevertheless, his view of
the situation was not altered to such an extent that he did not still
wish to end the war. With the same desire on both sides there could be
but one result, and peace was signed at Breslau in the Summer of 1742.

By this treaty Frederick received the duchy of Upper and Lower Silesia
and Glatz, and renounced all further claims on Maria Theresa. The
boundaries were firmly fixed, and she won a free hand in this quarter,
but with a loss that cut her to the heart. The finest jewel had been
torn from her crown, and with a bleeding heart she had been forced to
give it up in order to save the rest of her inheritance. On one side the
flames of war were now extinguished, but on the other they still blazed
fiercely. Her hopes were nearing fulfilment. The troops which she had
been obliged to employ against Frederick could now be sent to oppose her
other foes, and this was a great gain, for this division of her strength
had been a constant source of anxiety to her, and with good reason.
Bohemia next claimed her attention, and thither she sent the forces thus
released. Nor was this the only reward so dearly bought by the peace of
Breslau; for her friends were now encouraged to show their sympathy and
offer her assistance. To win back Bohemia and its capital was her next
important task.

In Italy the situation had improved for her—not without some sacrifice,
it is true—and from there she could also send troops to Bohemia, to
enable the Austrian army to invest Prague. In the besieged city were a
body of French, and this caused as much anxiety in Paris as it did to
Marshal Belle-Isle himself in Prague. He tried to make terms, but his
schemes were frustrated, as well as the proposed negotiations for peace
from Paris, by the resolute courage and firmness of the Empress. She
would listen to none of Francis’ proposals, none of Belle-Isle’s plans
for capitulation. She rejected both with noble pride and indignation,
deeply as her refusal might be resented by France.

In Prague the distress of the French increased rapidly. The lack of
provisions had become alarming. Belle-Isle had only one hope—the French
auxiliary corps under Harcourt which Khevenhüller was holding back on
the Danube. But could he count on it? The army on the lower Rhine was in
the same predicament. Here, as there, a decided “Halt!” had been called
to France, which she was compelled to obey. It seemed impossible that
their comrades in Prague could expect any help from either of these
quarters; yet nevertheless it came, at the express command of the King
of France.

The commander-in-chief of the French on the lower Rhine, where an
English force was opposing them, suddenly departed, leaving one division
engaged with the English, and hastened unobstructed to Bavaria, where he
was joined by a Bavarian army corps. At the same time Count Maurice of
Saxony replaced Harcourt in the army on the Danube. He also contrived to
elude Khevenhüller, and made all speed with the main body of his troops
toward Maillebois’ division. The bold stroke was successful, and while
the besieging army, apprised of this new danger, was hastening to meet
it, the beleaguered French tried to escape from Prague and join
Maillebois. The attempt failed, however, as did that general’s efforts
to relieve the city. Closely invested as it now was by Lobkowitz, Prague
could no longer hold out; for, in addition to the scarcity of food, they
had to endure the bitter cold of Winter, and there was a lack of fuel
also. He conducted the siege so carelessly, however, that Belle-Isle
finally managed to escape with the French garrison and all the artillery
and stores. Not till they were gone did the Austrians discover it and
pursue them; but they succeeded in reaching Eger, though with great
suffering and loss. Those who were left behind in Prague would have been
taken prisoners had not their leader made known to the Austrian
commander that they must be allowed to retire with military honors, or
he would set fire to the city and bury himself and all his troops under
its ashes. Lobkowitz consented to their retreat in order to save Prague,
and thus ingloriously took possession of the shattered city. Had Maria
Theresa not had a kind and merciful heart, the inhabitants would have
suffered even more than they had been called upon to endure; for many of
those who had been so ready to help crown the Elector of Bavaria well
deserved the punishment they thus escaped. Now that Bohemia as far as
the city of Eger was once more her own, Maria Theresa was crowned with
great pomp as Queen of Bohemia.

An anecdote in this connection will be of interest. A courier arrived
from Charles VII, bringing a protest from him, as crowned King of
Bohemia, against Maria Theresa’s coronation. Smiling, she ordered the
courier to be given a number of her gold coronation coins, with
instructions to carry them back to his master without delay. This was
done, and doubtless the sight of the coins caused little pleasure in

Fortune now seemed to favor Maria Theresa everywhere. In Italy, too,
events had shaped themselves to her advantage, and at the close of the
year 1742 she could look cheerfully into the future, although the sky
was not entirely cloudless; for in Italy there were many knots to be
untied that only the sword could loosen.

The Spring saw banners waving and heard the roll of the drums in
Bavaria. The Bavarian Field Marshal von Seckendorff, who had been
ordered back to Munich by his lord and emperor, fell back across the
Iser before Prince Charles of Lorraine and old Khevenhüller, who were
pressing him hotly. The French general, Broglio, meanwhile inactive in
Osterhof, watching these proceedings, made no response to Seckendorff’s
appeals. Nor was this retreat all; for, more important still, the whole
division under General Minuzzi was completely crushed by the Austrians
in a bloody battle, where Minuzzi himself was taken prisoner. This was a
Spring greeting most joyfully received in Vienna, and which seemed but a
forerunner of still further victories.

No sooner was this accomplished than Khevenhüller turned his attention
to the French, whom he would gladly have shown the way across the Rhine.
Broglio may have suspected this, and was so obliging as to relieve the
old hero of this agreeable task, for at Khevenhüller’s approach he
turned his troops toward Ingolstadt (which was not forward) and kept his
movements secret until he was across the Rhine, where twelve thousand
men would reënforce him. Then, and then only, did he feel himself safe.
Bavaria now realized what she was to expect from her light-footed
allies, and sent them no thanks. Charles VII, too, knew at last upon
what he had been relying and that he must once more bid farewell to his
good city of Munich, if, indeed, he might not be obliged to occupy an
unsought lodging in Vienna. Had he looked at this time at the coronation
coins brought him by the courier from Vienna, it must have seemed that a
mocking smile hovered about Maria Theresa’s lips, and that she whispered
softly but significantly, “_Auf wiedersehen!_” There was no choice left
him but to enter into negotiations with Austria to protect his ancestral

Maria Theresa, in the midst of her victorious career, offered the hand
of peace. Charles VII renounced his claims to the Austrian succession
and, fortunately for the public tranquillity, left all the conquered
territory in the possession of Austria. To guard against any future
trouble Maria Theresa had all these States take the oath of allegiance
to her, even though they might be only temporarily in her possession.
This was a triumph for her which offset the homage received by Charles
in Bohemia,—a return which he had well deserved and which he well
understood without any further explanation.

Thus fortune still smiled upon Maria Theresa, here as elsewhere. The
English army in the Netherlands had crossed the Rhine, and, advancing by
way of Frankfort, received a large reënforcement and tried to effect a
union with Khevenhüller and Prince Charles of Lorraine, who had pushed
forward from the Upper Rhine. Marshal de Noailles was opposing them with
a considerable force, but when he perceived their design he crossed the
Rhine to attack the English. George II himself joined the army just
then, fortunately, and a battle was fought at Dettingen, on the Main,
which resulted in Noailles’ retreat across the Rhine again. The King of
England then held a council of war with Khevenhüller and the Prince at
Hainault to decide what course to pursue. It was agreed that King George
should lead the way while the Austrian generals crossed the river at
Basel and try to reach Lorraine, in order to take up Winter quarters in
Champagne. This plan miscarried, however, and the Austrian army returned
to Bavaria for the Winter, while King George, after destroying the
French works on the Rhine, especially at Landau, withdrew again across
the river and also went into Winter quarters, for Winter campaigns were
not generally undertaken at that time.

Though the results of the wars Maria Theresa was waging against her
enemies were most gratifying, the troubles in Italy still weighed like
an Alp upon her heart. The Spanish general in command there had drawn
upon himself, and not without cause, the reproach of negligence. A
substitute had replaced him with urgent orders to retrieve the errors of
his predecessor, and he might have been able to do so had he not had an
adversary so brave, crafty, and well versed in the arts of war as the
old field-marshal, Count Traun.

Already there had been a bloody battle, February 8, 1743, in which he
had been the victor, but at this time negotiations were begun which put
an end to the bloodshed. They took place at Worms, between England,
Sardinia, and Austria, and again was Maria Theresa obliged to resign
some of her territory, this time in Sardinia, in order to effect the
alliance. Scarcely were the terms completed, when Lobkowitz, who had
succeeded old Traun in the command, advanced against the Spaniards and
drove them back: whereupon the King of Sardinia struck the
French-Spanish army such a blow that it was forced to retreat to the
south of France for the Winter.

Though Maria Theresa had been unfortunate in having to relinquish more
of her territory in this campaign, still, the armies were victorious,
and all these circumstances had served to unite her more closely to her
friends, and had given her a new ally in the person of the Elector
Frederick Augustus IV of Saxony, with twenty thousand troops to assist
her. Thus far the outlook was very bright; but by the close of the year
1743 new clouds foretold a gathering storm. The lion on the Spree had
begun to stir and toss his mane. Frederick’s army, which had once in
jest been called the “Potsdam Night-watch Parade,” was as little a
subject for derision as he who commanded and was the soul of it.

                              Chapter III
                        The Second Silesian War

Although she had prepared for it carefully, Maria Theresa could not look
forward with much confidence to this new struggle, which began in the
Spring. Khevenhüller was dead, and she had shed tears of sorrow and
gratitude for him, which the brave old soldier had well deserved from
his sovereign. She felt the loss of his strong support in this war, upon
which France, who heretofore had merely been an ally of the enemies of
Austria, had now entered on her own account, in league with Spain.

The campaign began in the Netherlands, where a well-organized French
army under capable leadership was arrayed against the combined forces of
Austria, Holland, and England, the latter being under various commands
and far inferior in numbers. The advantage, therefore, was decidedly
with the French. To offset this, an Austrian force was sent to invade
Alsace, which was occupied by French and Bavarian troops. It was led by
Prince Charles of Lorraine and brave old “Father Traun,” as the soldiers
called the old Count, who was universally beloved by them. In the
Netherlands fortune favored the French; in Alsace, the Austrians. Prince
Charles of Lorraine marched triumphantly into Lorraine, and his light
cavalry made inroads as far as the environs of Lüneville, where he was
checked by fresh forces under able generals sent from France to oppose
his victorious advance.

Such was the state of affairs beyond the Rhine when the second Silesian
war involved Maria Theresa in fresh troubles. Frederick II, who was
anxious about the safety of his newly acquired possessions, had taken
advantage of the peace further to strengthen his army and make all his
preparations for a campaign. Moreover, he understood how to fill the
public treasury without seeming to impair the resources or prosperity of
the people—certainly a great and rare art.

At this important juncture, when Maria Theresa’s attention was fully
occupied in the Netherlands and in Alsace, he had a well-equipped army
of one hundred and twenty thousand men, an abundance of stores and
ammunition, and, above all, plenty of money at his command, which
Montecuculi[11] rightly called the first, second, and third requirements
for conducting a war, and of which Austria had never possessed a
surplus, least of all now. Frederick’s apprehensions concerning Silesia
were strengthened by the fact that, since the peace of Breslau, Maria
Theresa’s power had increased to such an extent that with the assistance
of her allies she might easily plan to reconquer the province whose loss
she had never forgotten; indeed, he felt sure this would be the case. He
followed one of his own precepts when he took up the sword again, “that
it is always the greatest folly not to anticipate a disaster, if one
hopes to avert it.” Nevertheless, he clearly realized the advantages of
an alliance with the neutral German princes, and tried hard to bring it
about; and when this plan failed, he joined forces with France, the
Emperor Charles VII, and others, thus insuring the success of his plans.

Maria Theresa’s heart sank when she heard of this, but trust in God and
the justice of her cause sustained her, as these words of hers prove:
“God knows my right; He will protect me as He has hitherto done!” Many
letters were exchanged between Frederick and herself, each charging the
other with breaking their treaty; but it was of no avail. War was
finally declared, ostensibly in behalf of the Emperor Charles VII, and
Frederick’s army, one hundred thousand strong, invaded Bohemia, while a
part of it was sent to guard Kurmark[12] and Silesia. Saxony was stunned
when Frederick without further ceremony crossed its frontiers, and made
some fruitless attempts at resistance, but Zieten cleared the way with
his huzzars, and in an incredibly short time Frederick was before

Maria Theresa called out the militia of the country to meet the danger;
but of what avail was the militia against the invincible Prussians?
Where should she turn for aid in her extremity but to her loyal Hungary?
She hastened to Presburg, where once more her words and her beauty
kindled a blaze of enthusiasm and devotion, and almost as if sprung from
the earth forty thousand Hungarians stood ready to fight for her; thirty
thousand more formed the reserve, and ten thousand were hurriedly
despatched to Bohemia to oppose Frederick. This was the work of the old
Palatine Palffy, who was no longer able to do any fighting himself.
Maria Theresa wrote him that charming letter which will ever remain a
model in the art of saying much in few words, and with it sent her
finest horse, a costly jewelled sword, and a valuable diamond ring. She

  “My Father Palffy,—I send you this horse, which is worthy of being
  mounted only by the noblest of my subjects; accept also this sword to
  defend me against my enemies, and keep this ring as a token of my
  lasting affection.


The sending of the letter and the gifts was soon known all over Hungary,
and its effect upon a people so easily roused to enthusiasm, and at the
same time ready to devote themselves to her cause with the last drop of
their blood, may well be imagined. Before help could arrive, however,
Frederick had taken Prague, and several other important cities also fell
into his hands. The friends of Maria Theresa began to lose courage, but
not she! When the Hungarians arrived, she forced Saxony into some
decisive course and recalled Prince Charles of Lorraine to Bohemia.

Notwithstanding the difficulty of such an undertaking against so
powerful an adversary, Prince Charles met with brilliant success, and
the troops from Alsace were aided by auxiliary forces from Saxony. Old
Count Traun found the plan of cutting Frederick off from Prague and
conquering him by starvation an excellent one, and proceeded to carry it
out in a masterly manner. Frederick sought to force his adversary into a
battle, but the latter continually evaded him. Traun’s light horsemen
harassed his troops on every side and captured his provision train,
while the Bohemians, with their Queen’s soldiers, buried the stores in
the ground and then made their escape in the forests. Frederick was
beside himself with rage. His soldiers, suffering from hunger and every
discomfort, quarrelled among themselves and deserted in large numbers,
and at last, though much against his will, he was obliged to begin a

Thus the Austrians again came into possession of Bohemia, with but
trifling losses; and old “Father Traun,” thinking it wise to follow the
Prussians, even entered Glatz and Upper Silesia. Already it began to
seem as though Maria Theresa might regain her beloved Silesia, when all
at once the tables were turned.

The army imprudently had been allowed to scatter. The troops from Saxony
had withdrawn and other divisions had been despatched elsewhere, when
the Prussians suddenly turned and assumed the offensive, and Traun was
obliged to retreat to Moravia. The Austrians struck a few more vigorous
blows, and the campaign ended in both armies going into Winter quarters.
Although she had been obliged to yield some advantages to Frederick, the
campaign on the whole had resulted decidedly in Maria Theresa’s favor.
Frederick was disposed therefore to make peace, and signified his
willingness to do so, but Maria Theresa rejected his overtures, since
she had formed a new alliance with England, Holland, and Saxony, and now
had a prospect of retrieving her losses and winning back Silesia, the
lost jewel that had been torn from her crown.

With this bright outlook for the future, the Spring campaign was just
beginning, when the Emperor Charles VII died, January 20, 1745. This
event completely changed the aspect of affairs, and the imperial crown,
once possessed by her own house, seemed to Maria Theresa a prize worth
any effort could she but see it placed upon the head of her consort.

Little heed was paid to the unfortunate Emperor’s advice to his son,
Maximilian Joseph, to make peace with Austria and banish all hopes of
the imperial crown from his heart. The young Elector was only too ready
to listen to ambitious schemers, but before the earth was fully decked
with living green, all his hopes had perished. The victories of the
Austrians compelled him, as they once had done his father, to fly from
Munich. Then for the first time he realized the wisdom of his father’s
counsel, and refused to listen any longer to those who advised him to
continue the struggle. He sued for peace, which was concluded on April
22, 1745, at Füssen. Austria restored all his conquered territory to
him, while he renounced his claims to the succession, acknowledged Maria
Theresa’s rights under the Pragmatic Sanction, and promised her husband
his vote at the imperial election. The Empress’ heart beat high with
joy, for this broke the alliance known as the “Frankfort Union,” and
Frederick II now stood alone. His situation became even more threatening
when Russia announced that she would permit no attack on Saxony, which
amounted to an unequivocal if tacit declaration that in such a case she
would join the league that had been formed in Warsaw between Austria,
England, Holland, and Saxony, called the “Quadruple Alliance.”

Frederick now concluded it was better to seek peace than to enter the
lists against such odds; but all his attempts at negotiation were
frustrated, notwithstanding the advantageous character of the conditions
he offered. Maria Theresa was determined to have Silesia back again, but
he would not agree to that. She then tried to win over Saxony, and in
that she succeeded brilliantly. The prospect looked dark for Frederick
II, for he also was in need of money. The royal plate had already found
its way secretly to the mint, to reappear in silver coins, but that was
insufficient. The King did not attempt to conceal the fact from himself
that he stood on the edge of a precipice, but a spirit like his was not
to be daunted by fear of threatening spectres.

The campaign finally reopened under these altered conditions. Maria
Theresa sent eighty thousand of her troops, with thirty thousand Saxons,
to take possession of Silesia. This army was in high spirits, for it was
rumored all over the country that Frederick was completely discouraged
and disheartened by the misfortunes of the last campaign. No one
suspected that he himself had caused this report to be circulated. He
wanted to entice the Austrians across the mountains, and they walked
into the trap. Frederick had taken up a position that would enable him
to fall upon the enemy as it emerged from the mountains, and he awaited
Prince Charles with perfect calmness and confidence. His concealed
position completely deceived the Austrians; they supposed the small band
of Prussians, which they had discovered from a mountain top, to be part
of the rear-guard of the army retreating to Breslau.

When Frederick crossed the stream at Striegau on the morning of the
fourth of June, his troops encountered two battalions of Saxons, who
were not a little startled to meet with Prussians there. They halted to
wait for the rest of the army to come up with them, but it had scarcely
made its appearance when Frederick opened a murderous artillery fire.
The Austrian cavalry hurled itself upon the Prussians, but was soon
thrown into wildest confusion and totally routed. The two Saxon
battalions that had led the way were almost entirely cut to pieces, and
the Austrians who followed shared the same fate. The Prince of Lorraine
was thoroughly deceived, for he supposed the cannonading and fire of
musketry came from the Saxons who were capturing Striegau. It did not
occur to him, therefore, to send relief, for he still imagined the
Prussians in full retreat toward Breslau. When at last he discovered the
Saxons in disorderly flight and realized what had happened, he hastened
to place his troops in order of battle, but before this could be
accomplished the Prussians had attacked and routed them. Nothing was
left for him, after five hours’ hard fighting, but to turn about and
escape by way of Hohenfriedberg. They were not pursued, for Frederick’s
army was too exhausted after the struggle. It was a terribly disastrous
battle for Austria and Saxony, and for Frederick a victory which did not
produce the results it seemed to promise.

Prince Charles withdrew to Bohemia, and took up a strong position there
with the Saxons. Frederick followed, but did not dare to attack him
while he was so strongly intrenched, and remained there inactive for
three months, while the Austrians had as little desire to assume the
offensive before the arrival of reënforcements.

All this time the war in Flanders had been blazing fiercely, and the
French had gained several victories over the allies. The King of
England, George II, who had been placed in a very trying position by
France, was anxious for Maria Theresa and Frederick to make terms with
each other, and tried his best to bring it about. An agreement was
actually drawn up, but when Maria Theresa found that the King of England
had guaranteed the possession of Silesia to Frederick, she firmly
refused to have anything more to do with it. Rather would she—and these
were her own words—“part with the gown from her back than Silesia.” She
attached but little importance to the lost battle of Hohenfriedberg, and
had perfect confidence in the judgment and bravery of Prince Charles of
Lorraine and the loyalty of her Hungarians. Moreover, the prospects were
good that the imperial crown would fall to her husband’s lot. How then
could she resign herself to the thought of sacrificing her beloved

Her consort, Francis Stephen, was indeed elected Emperor and crowned
under the name of Francis I, and thus Maria Theresa’s dearest wish was
fulfilled. She had fresh hope and courage, and a vigorous prosecution of
the war was ordered.

The plans of George II of England came to naught, and Frederick resumed
hostilities, for the Empress would never consent to give up Silesia; but
he knew his task was a hard one. In Silesia the Hungarians had taken
Kosel. A part of his army was sent to recapture it and drive them out,
in which it was successful. Another detachment went to join old Dessauer
at Halle, to oppose the Saxons who were threatening Brandenburg.
Frederick had but twenty-two thousand men to oppose a superior force of
Austrians, and delay had placed them at a disadvantage; for it had
enabled the enemy to approach so near that an attack could not be
avoided. He determined therefore to change his position and move farther
away; but just as he was about to put this plan into execution, Charles
of Lorraine began his assault. It was on the morning of September 30,
1745, near Sohr. Frederick still had time to dispose his troops; then he
hurled his cavalry against the Austrians. This was the beginning of a
battle that resulted in a brilliant victory for the Prussians, for the
infantry with magnificent bravery followed the example of the cavalry.
For five days Frederick’s army camped undisturbed on the battlefield,
and then moved toward Silesia to go into Winter quarters.

Once more there were hopes of peace, but it was not yet to be. In Vienna
a Winter campaign had been determined on. The army was to advance
directly to Berlin under the Prince of Lorraine. One division on the
Rhine was to unite with Saxony in driving the Prussians from Halle, and
then join the main army before Berlin. Maria Theresa’s secret plans were
betrayed, however, to the King of Prussia, and that enabled him to set
every lever in motion to thwart her projects, in accordance with his
favorite method, “anticipate the disaster.” It was dangerous work for
him, for Russia had promised to support Saxony in case of attack from
Prussia, and the warning was repeated when Frederick announced his
purpose; but strong measures were necessary, and he departed to join the
main body of his army in Silesia. Here he learned that Prince Charles
and the Saxons had invaded Upper Lusatia. After seeing that the Silesian
frontier was well protected, therefore, he hastened with all possible
secrecy to Lusatia and met the enemy at Kunersdorf. His sudden attack
was successful, and put an end to all hopes of taking Berlin by
surprise. The unexpected appearance of the Prussians and their victory
disheartened the Austrian army, and Prince Charles retreated to Bohemia.

Nor was this defeat all. Frederick summoned old Dessauer to Saxony,
advanced against Dresden, and made an offer of peace to Saxony, but it
was rejected. The sword had to settle the question, which it speedily
did. The battle of Kesselsdorf was decisive; a bad blunder of the Saxons
gave the victory to Prussia, and obliged Prince Charles to seek safety
with his army. The defeated Saxons abandoned their capital, and
Frederick entered Dresden, December 18, 1745. This opened the way for
peace, and terms were made soon afterward by which Frederick definitely
acknowledged Maria Theresa’s right to the electoral vote of Bohemia and
the validity of her husband’s election as Emperor, but retained
possession of Silesia.

Thus Austria, great as her losses had been in this war, had at least
gained what the Empress so earnestly desired; but at the same time had
been again obliged to leave Silesia in the hands of Prussia and put a
good face on the matter. Saxony, on the other hand, had felt the full
weight of the conqueror’s hand, and was glad to come out of it so
cheaply after all. The treaty of Dresden also securely settled various
other affairs of Maria Theresa’s at home, which had been disturbed by
the long and ruinous conflict.

                               Chapter IV
                         Plots and Counterplots

In Italy, affairs proved even more disastrous. Genoa, which up to this
time had remained neutral, now sided with Spain, Naples, and France, so
that there was an addition of ten thousand men to the enemy’s forces to
be reckoned with when the campaign opened in May. This gave them an army
of seventy thousand capable of crushing Austria and its ally Sardinia.

The outlook was dark for Maria Theresa when the Dresden Treaty was
signed. While on the one hand it brought respite, on the other redoubled
vigilance and energy were needed. The overburdened Empress breathed a
little more freely, and calmly faced the situation in Italy, where she
had sent reënforcements to the army and placed Prince Wenzel
Lichtenstein in command. Thirty thousand fresh troops, with a _man_ at
their head, count for a great deal; the latter even more than the
former, since any number of troops without a competent leader can
accomplish little.

The new campaign, in the Spring of 1746, began hopefully, and its
promise was realized largely by an unforeseen event which occurred on
the ninth of July and made an important change in the situation. This
was the death of King Philip V of Spain,[13] and the succession to the
throne of Ferdinand VI,[14] who was anxious for peace.

A change in the leadership of the Spanish forces in Italy had already
weakened them, and the recall of six thousand men to Spain greatly
increased Lichtenstein’s advantage, as results were not slow in proving.
The battle of the tenth of August disposed of the Spaniards as far as
Maria Theresa’s army was concerned, and left it free to chastise Genoa.
That Republic, already alarmed at the turn of events, became
panicstricken when the Austrians captured Bocchetta, and the Senate
bowed its once proud neck beneath the foot of the victor. The punishment
it had so well merited was not lacking when the day of reckoning came.
Maria Theresa magnanimously, indeed, sought to save Genoa from the
depths of humiliation to which Botta relentlessly subjected it, for the
crippled Republic had suffered enough,—and too much, as the sequel

At this juncture, when the army was victorious and both ready and able
to continue the work, Maria Theresa’s plans were frustrated by the
jealousy of England and Sardinia. The two allies felt obliged to turn
their arms against Naples, which lay so near, and the result was
obvious: the Empress was forced to abandon them and follow the French
and Spaniards to Nice. The advance into Provence, however, was suddenly
brought to a standstill, because of the harsh treatment Genoa had
received. The bow had been bent too far, and it broke. A popular
insurrection was the fruit of Botta’s revenge. Austria’s disregard of
the fact that a people driven to desperation will risk everything—a fact
unfortunately too often forgotten, in spite of the terrible examples in
history,—cost it dearly; for, aside from its material losses in men and
supplies, Botta’s flight and the forced retreat of Browne from Provence
were bitter fruit. Nor was it made any less so by the loss of Genoa
itself, and the fact that Austria had only itself to blame; for the
brutal severity of the conqueror and his overbearing arrogance were
alone responsible. Genoa retained its freedom after this, and the war
was continued with varying results until the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle
put an end to the bloodshed; but Austria had no cause to rejoice over
this peace, and Maria Theresa felt it deeply.

The Queen, however, now turned her vigorous mind and generous sympathies
into other channels than those which ran red with human blood, and
devoted herself to the welfare of her people. War, even in its grandest
aspect, is and must always be degrading to humanity and a source of
untold misery. The old German saying that “Peace nourishes; strife
consumes,” is a true one. In spite of manifold disasters, Maria Theresa
had emerged from the long struggle with success; she had defeated the
efforts of her enemies to break her power, and had strengthened her
empire. It had taken eight years of war; but the great Empress had not
been through this hard school of experience without profiting much by
it, even if her gains were not those of territory.

The eight years of peace that now ensued gave her time and opportunity
to effect the reforms she had in mind, a work that appealed strongly to
her and was worthy of her best endeavors. She had a wide field before
her, for the weakness of the antiquated system of government bequeathed
from the Middle Ages was felt on all sides. A great advance in
civilization had been made during that period, and many cumbersome
formalities had to be abandoned in order that the administration of
affairs should be in sympathy with this development.

Maria Theresa grasped the situation clearly; she understood all this, as
well as her own position and power and the country’s needs. It was a
woman in this case that proved the old saying, “One’s self is the man”;
for it was she herself who was the motive power in these salutary
reforms; it was her own hand that guided the affairs of state and
directed the reforms in the condition of her people.

Experience had taught her the value of Prince Eugene’s advice to her
father, which unfortunately for himself the latter had so little heeded;
hence her first thought was for the reorganization of the army. Well as
she knew its deficiencies, she showed no haste or precipitation in
making the necessary changes, but proceeded slowly though surely to the
end she had in view. The wonderful personal influence and power of this
remarkable woman were not the only evidences of her greatness; they were
apparent also in her successful discovery of the right men, and
assignment of them to positions where they would be most effective and
accomplish the most good. The change brought about in the army was an
illustration of this; not only was the discipline wonderfully improved,
but so much spirit and enthusiasm were infused into it that at the
beginning of the Seven Years’ War Frederick the Great himself was forced
to declare, “These are no longer the old Austrians!” But there was the
same love and devotion for the Empress which had been manifested in the
days of the first Silesian war, and the army submitted willingly and
cheerfully to all her measures of reform.

In this work Maria Theresa had two faithful assistants, Count Daun,
whose ancestral home was a stronghold in the volcanic mountains of Eifel
and even in its ruined state a worthy cradle of a great race, and Prince
Wenzel Lichtenstein. As Daun, one might say, created the infantry, so
old Lichtenstein was the founder of the new artillery—two branches of
the service in which Frederick II was an adept. The cavalry, just as it
stood, had served as a model for Frederick, but even in that branch of
the service there was room for improvement. Maria Theresa devoted
especial attention to the breeding of good horses for the cavalry, and
took great interest in hospital work. It would take too long to go into
all the details of this important work, but one of her remarkable
achievements must not be overlooked. This was the construction of a line
of defences, or “military frontier,” along the Turkish border, which
interposed an effective barrier against those invasions and unexpected
attacks which had been so common in previous wars with that country.

If Maria Theresa’s determined efforts to strengthen her army really
meant that she had Silesia in her mind, who can blame her, especially
when the affection with which she clung to that lost province and her
inward conviction that two natures like hers and Frederick II’s could
never remain long at peace with one another, as was indeed the case, are

With this problem of perfecting the army and fitting it for future
service—possibly the re-conquest of Silesia—was closely linked another,
suggested by that saying of Montecuculi’s already quoted; namely, that
the requisites of war were, firstly, money; secondly, more money; and
thirdly, more money again, and plenty of it. The second task that
confronted Maria Theresa’s dauntless spirit was the question of taxes,
or, in a word, what we call finances. Austria was rich in resources, but
there had been a lack of good management in their application. Judicious
economy was much needed in this branch of the administration, and,
remembering the extravagance and wastefulness that had prevailed in her
father’s time, the Empress began the reduction of expenses. This action
and her realization that the proper remedy was to be obtained not by the
imposition of crushing taxes on her subjects, but by developing the rich
resources of the country, merely furnish further proofs of her political
wisdom and statesmanship.

During the last war, the lack of funds in the treasury had made it
necessary to impose heavy taxes to meet the deficiency, but the system
was wrong, and failed to effect the desired object; it only made the
taxes extremely burdensome, and its injustice increased the irritation
and discontent of the people. This was an evil that needed a remedy, as
her unerring glance had long since discovered, and she lost no time in
devoting all her energies to the establishment of a system, wherein
juster methods should be employed; there were so many who for various
reasons were exempt from taxation, that it became absolutely necessary
to limit the number. These reforms were received with great enthusiasm
all over the land, and endeared her still more to the people.

Part of Maria Theresa’s success was due to her judgment and sagacity in
choosing for her advisers men of the highest talents and abilities, as
well as to that unerring tact which is one of nature’s best gifts to
mankind, and which helped her here as it had with the army. Among her
statesmen, she possessed in Kaunitz[15] not only an able and clever
diplomatist, who filled the highest posts of honor with credit to
himself and his country, but also a faithful and devoted servant, and an
invaluable aid to her in all her far-reaching plans. The one with which
she was closely concerned at this time had been suggested by England. It
was a proposal to retain the imperial crown of the Holy Roman Empire of
the German nation in her family, and make her son, the Archduke Joseph,
King of Rome; thus giving him the right, on the death of her husband, to
succeed him as Emperor, and prevent any more such destructive wars as
those from which the country had already suffered. England had devised
this scheme, and was willing to do its share toward bringing it about;
but there were many obstacles in the way, not the least of them,
Prussia. France was another; but Germany itself, for that matter,
furnished difficulties enough to relegate its accomplishment to the
far-distant future.

The Empress, strongly as the plan appealed to her, was cautious and said
little, but England continued to urge the matter with a persistence that
excited some doubt as to the sincerity of its attitude toward Austria.
At last its motives became apparent, and Maria Theresa abandoned any
further consideration of the plan. This caused somewhat strained
relations between the two countries. During the negotiations, moreover,
England’s behavior was such that Kaunitz, in defence of the dignity of
his sovereign, was forced to protest against it as inadmissible in
diplomatic intercourse. His remonstrances were unheeded, however; and
when it came to the question of affairs in the Netherlands, England’s
communications and Austria’s replies became even more pointed. A
complete rupture was inevitable, but Kaunitz would not permit matters to
proceed as far as that until he had seen his way clear to a union with

His one idea, since he had been in power, was the recovery of Silesia,
and as a means to that end he endeavored to come to an agreement with
France and turn it to his advantage. He was shrewd enough to keep this
plan a secret, as well as that other which went hand in hand with it,
the humiliation of Prussia. That Maria Theresa, who had never ceased to
grieve over the loss of Silesia, fully sympathized with these schemes
cannot be doubted. The only hope of their realization, however, lay in
separating Prussia from all her allies; and an alliance with France
would be a long step in this direction. England and France at that time
were on the verge of hostilities over the boundaries of Canada, and
England had been endeavoring to involve France in a war with some of the
European powers, so as to have a free hand in America. This, however,
could not be accomplished without assistance; and, beside, there was
Hanover to protect. The number of troops there had been increased, to be
sure, but they were not sufficient to insure its safety. At this point
England demanded to know how large a force Austria could raise in case
France and Prussia should invade the Netherlands and Hanover.

Maria Theresa’s eyes were opened now, and she replied that she could not
spare any troops from Bohemia without exposing it to danger from
Prussia. She would furnish the twenty-five thousand men agreed upon, in
the Netherlands, leaving England to take Reuss in payment and seek
assistance from the sovereign princes of Germany. These terms of Maria
Theresa’s were definite and final, but England further demanded that
Austria should not only send thirty thousand men immediately to the
Netherlands, but also an extra force to defend Hanover. This Maria
Theresa refused to do, whereupon England threatened to break its
alliance with Austria unless it complied with these demands. Maria
Theresa then declared plainly what she should demand of England in
return for the protection of her territory against Prussia and Italy.
Before her answer had been sent, still more peremptory demands arrived
from England; but Kaunitz made no reply to them. Matters had gone too
far to avoid a breach any longer. England broke off negotiations with
Austria and went over at once to the King of Prussia.

Frederick II had learned through a traitor at Dresden that a secret
alliance existed against him between Austria and Saxony, to which Russia
was a party. He therefore gladly accepted the overtures of England,
since his union with France had come to an end, with little prospect of
its renewal. The treaty between Maria Theresa and France was signed on
the first of May, 1756.

Thus there had been a remarkable change in the relations of the European
powers when the storm-clouds gathered once more and broke in the Seven
Years’ War.

                               Chapter V
                    Battles of the Seven Years’ War

True to his practice of boldly meeting an impending danger, Frederick
preferred to open hostilities himself, rather than leave it to his
enemies. Why should he hesitate to kindle the flames of war in the land
of so bitter an enemy as the Elector of Saxony (also King of Poland) had
shown himself to be? Without any formal declaration having been made,
therefore, he proceeded to invade Saxony with an army of sixty thousand
men in three divisions. His advance, as usual, was rapid; all places of
importance were seized, and on September 10, 1756, he entered Dresden.
The Elector fled to the fortress of Königstein, which was considered
impregnable, and at the foot of which the Saxon army of seventeen
thousand men, all told, was in position.

The Queen alone remained in Dresden. She had the key to the secret
archives, and when Frederick ordered them to be seized she placed
herself before the door of the room in which they were kept, declaring
they should never be taken except by force. She was pushed aside,
however, the chests were broken open, and Frederick found the documents,
copies of which had been sent him by the traitor already mentioned, and
which furnished proof of the secret alliance against him. With the
exception of this violence, which, in truth, the august lady had brought
upon herself, she was treated with the greatest respect. The poor
country fared worse. Although pillage was strictly forbidden, Saxony had
to bear all the oppression of a conquered country and meet levies of all
kinds. Frederick emptied the arsenals, confiscated all the state
revenues, and treated Saxony as if it were part of his own dominions;
but he spared the people wherever it was possible. Ignoring the protests
of the Emperor and also of France, he pursued his own course, and worked
for his own ends firmly and resolutely.

The position which the Saxon troops held at the foot of Königstein was
unassailable. The only way to vanquish them was by starvation, so the
King left them well surrounded and marched with his army into Bohemia to
prevent any assistance reaching the Saxons from that quarter. There were
two Austrian armies in Bohemia—one under the command of Marshal Browne,
at Kollin; the other under General Piccolomini at Olmütz, and later at
Königgrätz. Browne was Saxony’s nearest hope of rescue; but Frederick’s
sudden and unexpected appearance in Bohemia took him by surprise and
found him unprepared for action. Several weeks elapsed, in fact, before
he was ready to move, and Frederick made good use of the time. Moreover,
the Minister of War, regarded as the most conservative of the Austrian
field-marshals, wished to spare the army as much as possible, and to
threaten Frederick for the advantage of Saxony without exposing it to
long marches and changes of position.

Browne sent a force of eight thousand to Losowitz under Count Wied,
while he himself left Kollin and took up a position near Budin. Wied’s
vanguard met the Prussians at Peterswalde, September tenth, and Browne
was forced into an engagement. The battle was fought near Losowitz,
October, 1756, but was not decisive, both generals claiming the victory.
Meanwhile, the famished Saxons at Königstein were in terrible straits.
They had made an ineffectual effort to escape, and a second attempt was
scarcely more successful, for their new position was no better than the
one they had abandoned. The Prussians again surrounded them, and Browne,
who had hurried forward hoping to rescue the beleaguered army, was
compelled to retreat, leaving the unfortunate Saxons with no choice but
to lay down their arms and surrender themselves with all their artillery
to Frederick.

This blow crushed Saxony’s hopes of further resistance, but the King of
Prussia, more magnanimous than might have been expected considering his
many reasons for irritation against that country, granted neutrality to
Königstein and its occupants. The Elector wisely preferred, however, to
retire to Warsaw, and Frederick, for reasons of his own, took good care
that he should meet with no interference from Prussian troops on the way

These events closed the campaign. Browne remained in Bohemia and the
King went into Winter quarters in Saxony, leaving part of his troops in
Silesia. Maria Theresa took the loss of Saxony very much to heart, for
she was thereby deprived of a faithful ally. Her army had suffered
little and accomplished less, but at least it had escaped great dangers
and was safe, and this was some cause for congratulation in Vienna; for,
considering the unprepared condition in which the opening of the
campaign had found Browne, the outcome might easily have been different
and his troops have shared the fate of Saxony’s.

At all events, Maria Theresa had received a fresh warning to be on her
guard against such an adversary, who appeared with the swiftness of an
arrow where he was least expected, and was rarely to be found when he
was looked for. With her usual energy she urged on the preparation of
the army, and bestowed upon the task all the care and devotion of a
mother for her children. But, busied as she was with affairs at home,
she was none the less mindful of the value of neighborly help in time of
need,—an emergency always to be considered where Frederick the Great was
concerned. As a fact, he himself had unconsciously done more for her
than her best friend could have accomplished; for the summary methods he
had resorted to in Saxony, in defiance of the customary rights of
nations, was unprecedented and greatly incensed other rulers, especially
the Elector, shut up in his fortress of Königstein like a bird in a
cage, with no hope of escape save by the favor of Frederick and his
assurance of safety from attack by Prussian troops, who, to put it
mildly, would scarcely have treated him with courtly politeness.

Many of these sovereigns were, no doubt, thinking “What has befallen
Saxony might also happen in our own lands any day”; and if it came to
the actual question whether such a fate were merited or no, their
consciences might not have altogether acquitted them. Be this as it may,
there was a general feeling of resentment among them, and the tendency
of popular report to magnify matters did its part toward helping Maria
Theresa by intensifying the feeling against Frederick. Even the Holy
Roman Empire of the German nation condemned his conduct and joined the
ranks of his enemies. Frederick, however, understood the nondescript
character of the Imperial army too well to be disturbed by this, and his
able and active adversary was also sufficiently aware of it to urge on
her own preparations the more actively. If the Imperial army had been
her only dependence, there would have been little hope for her; but the
French alliance had proved most satisfactory, and promised to be of the
greatest service to her in the event of the dissolution of the German
union. Indeed, its assurance of help was now all the more certain
because Frederick’s actions were calculated to increase the hatred of
France for him.

Sweden also allied itself to France, and Russia had promised to support
Austria with an army of one hundred thousand men. With three additional
armies, even though Sweden’s strength did not count for much, and a
total force of four hundred thousand, Maria Theresa’s prospects looked
very bright, and it was not to be wondered at that her eyes were fixed
confidently and expectantly on her beloved Silesia. Prince Charles of
Lorraine was put in command of the Austrian army, and under him was
Marshal Browne, the former commander-in-chief in Bohemia. This
completely altered the plan of campaign that Browne had laid out, and
the rapid movements of the active enemy had to be met with the
slow-moving and cumbersome army of the allies. After careful and
judicious consideration, it was agreed that the best way of utilizing
the coöperation of the allied armies was to close in on Frederick from
every side, and thus destroy his forces and completely crush him. Was
the King aware of this plan? It seems probable from the plans which he
adopted. Prince Charles and Browne occupied strong positions and calmly
waited for the Prussian attack, while Daun was stationed some distance
to the rear—a fact that caused Frederick some uneasiness.

The first battle of the campaign took place in the neighborhood of
Prague on May 6, 1757. The Austrians seemed to have the advantage at
first, for their artillery caused deadly havoc among the Prussians. The
gallant Schwerin, seeing the danger, seized the colors of his regiment
and rode at full speed against the enemy, urging his men on with shouts
of encouragement. A shot found its way to his heart almost instantly,
but his words still rang in every ear, his brave example was before
every eye, and his death filled every heart with a thirst for revenge.
The battle was fierce and bloody, and resulted in a victory for the
Prussians; but it was not a decisive one, and Schwerin’s fall was a
serious blow to them. Frederick said when informed of his death, “He was
worth ten thousand men to me!” The King was greatly depressed by this
loss, and also by the fact that the greater part of Maria Theresa’s army
was safe within the walls of Prague, which looked like a speedy close to
the campaign. Moreover, Daun’s division was still fresh, and free now to
join the rest of the army, another advantage in their favor.

There was nothing left for Frederick but to lay siege to Prague; but as
it promised to be a long and tedious affair for him, he ruthlessly
bombarded the city and invoked the aid of two terrible allies—fire and
famine. Every day increased the horrors of the situation in Prague.
Prince Charles made every effort to encourage and cheer the soldiers and
the citizens and persuade them to hold out by promises of speedy relief,
but their own sufferings were more powerful arguments than any of his
representations. The citizens lost heart, and the troops were
continually committing acts of violence and becoming mutinous, so that
Prince Charles was finally compelled to have a gallows erected in the
public square to warn the marauders. Matters were desperate, when Daun
approached with orders from Maria Theresa to relieve the distressed city
at any cost.

The case was urgent, for the army and city might soon fall into
Frederick’s hands, a result he was confidently reckoning upon. Daun must
be driven from the neighborhood in order to accomplish it, and how to do
that without weakening his besieging army was the problem that
confronted him. With his usual skill, however, he solved it by hastening
forward with a small detachment to join the Prince of Bevern’s division,
and with him advancing to meet Daun. The battle of Kollin was the result
of their meeting. It was a desperate struggle, and a disastrous defeat
for the hitherto victorious King of Prussia. Daun was the victor and
Prague was saved.

Maria Theresa received the news with a jubilant heart, and hastened at
once with the Emperor to inform the Countess Daun of her husband’s
victory in person. Nor was this enough. To celebrate the day she
established the “Order of Maria Theresa,” which was to be won only by
deeds of bravery in battle, and which by the infrequency of its bestowal
was held as the highest possible honor in the Austrian army. The first
cross of the order glistened upon the breast of Daun. As a still further
expression of her joy and exultation, the Empress had a jubilee medal
coined in commemoration of her victory.

The results of the battle of Kollin were far reaching. The popular
belief in Frederick’s invincibility received a severe blow, and the
courage of his soldiers sank in proportion as that of the Austrians
rose. Maria Theresa’s forces were continually receiving additions, while
the Prussian army began to dwindle. Matters looked somewhat brighter
along the Rhine, but the Imperial army with a French auxiliary force was
advancing to the rescue of Saxony, and Frederick was forced to march
hurriedly into Thuringia to meet them, leaving his army in Saxony and
Lusatia under competent generals.

Soubise, so famous for his agility in retreat, fell back at Frederick’s
approach, and Erfurt opened its gates to him. A few days later Seydlitz
surprised the French at Gotha, and drove them away in what might be
called headlong flight; for in the ducal palace Seydlitz found the
dishes still smoking on the table as they had been left, and he and his
officers sat down with a good appetite to enjoy the meal the hungry
Frenchmen had been so easily frightened away from. This little exploit
of the cavalry afforded unbounded delight to the King and his soldiers,
and served as a prelude to what was to follow at Rossbach.

Nothing could equal the scorn with which the French in their
overwhelming conceit regarded Prussia’s little army; indeed, some of the
officers went so far as to question whether it were not derogatory to
their honor to engage in serious conflict with such a paltry force. But
when the battle really began they took to their heels in a manner that
scarcely has its equal in history. Of the noble Imperial army it can
only be said that the greater part of it left the field without firing a
shot. It was a rabbit-hunt, not a battle of men, in which the Prussians
played the parts of hunters and drivers at the same time, with Seydlitz
for a leader. That doughty baron’s only regret was that he had not been
able to catch the gallant Soubise himself; but the swiftest horse could
scarcely have done that!

To prove that even flight may lead to glory Prince Soubise, whom even
the French themselves had nicknamed “Prince Sottise,”[16] received a
Field-Marshal’s staff after this. The riddle is easily solved,
however,—Pompadour![17] The French continued their flight as far as the
Rhine, until they were sure Frederick had been left far behind.

The Austrians had been victorious since the battle of Kollin. Bevern’s
and Winterfeld’s forces had been defeated. Silesia was almost within
their grasp, a result they hoped to see accomplished before the end of
the campaign. But Frederick had other plans. The battle of Rossbach had
restored Saxony to him, but matters had come to the point when he must
regain his hold on Silesia or lose all the advantage he had won.

In twelve days he crossed the whole breadth of his dominions, and
effected a union with Bevern’s force in Silesia. This gave him about
thirty-three thousand men, and with these troops, many of them exhausted
by their long march, he faced an Austrian army of double their strength
near the village of Leuthen. Here the Austrians met a crushing defeat;
they lost twenty-six thousand five hundred men, killed or taken
prisoners, one hundred and sixteen cannon, fifty-one standards, and four
thousand commissary, baggage, and ammunition wagons, beside forfeiting
the results of all their former victories. Whole regiments were
annihilated or taken prisoners. The contemptuous designation of the
Prussian army as the “Potsdam Night-watch Parade” was terribly avenged,
and the precept was brought home to the Austrians, as it had been to the
French at Rossbach, that “pride goeth before a fall”!

And Maria Theresa?

It was a bitter disappointment she was called upon to bear. She had
looked upon Silesia as her own once more; she had seen her army triumph
over the enemy; her heart had been full of joy and gratitude,—and now!

Nevertheless, in spite of these misfortunes, her brave spirit did not
quail; her faith in the justice of her cause was unshaken. She redoubled
her exertions to strengthen the army and make up the terrible losses it
had suffered. But were there not quiet hours when with clasped hands she
raised her tearful eyes to Heaven in prayer, as a relief to her
oppressed heart? Being but a woman, and a devout and pious woman, it
must have been so.

The third year of the war began in the early Spring: what terrible
sacrifices it was to cost! What bloodshed and suffering, what distress
and misery to thousands! Yet there was no thought of peace. Still must
the sword reap its deadly harvest, like the scythe in the ripe
grain-field, and Maria Theresa was powerless to prevent it. Her funds
were low, their replenishment very difficult; and what vast sums were
required to fill the gaps that Leuthen alone had caused! Bohemia was
exhausted, little dependence could be placed upon the other states for
help, and the treasury was slow in filling. She saw nothing but
difficulties ahead, and, worst of all, the people were disheartened. The
feeling against Prince Charles of Lorraine became so strong that he was
forced to resign; but for once the ministry of war, which usually bore
the blame of all mistakes and disasters, escaped the unsparing censure
that was universally expressed against the commander-in-chief. Count
Daun was appointed in his place, and hastened to Vienna to consult upon
plans for the new campaign.

A few preliminary skirmishes resulted in favor of the Austrians, but the
first important event was the loss of Schweidnitz, their last hold in
Silesia. The garrison, reduced by want and distress, were taken
prisoners by Frederick, who then advanced against Olmütz. From thence to
Vienna was but a step, and one that was seriously considered by many of
the Prussians. But Maria Theresa had again put the right man in the
right place—two men, indeed, who proved themselves worthy of her
confidence, Daun and Laudon. Daun’s great skill lay in his choice of
positions, and he possessed a caution and deliberation that often put
Frederick’s patience to the test and defeated his plans. He made no move
until he was satisfied as to the fitness of his army, which consisted
largely of new troops; but when his preparations were complete he
marched to the assistance of Olmütz, which Frederick had besieged. He
cut off the supplies of the Prussians by attacking and destroying a
heavy train of provisions and ammunition which Frederick was anxiously
expecting and depending upon. This loss, together with a sudden attack
by Daun, forced the Prussians to raise the siege and retreat. Olmütz was

Maria Theresa was greatly relieved, for she realized the importance of
Olmütz, and was correspondingly grateful to her commander-in-chief,
whose services she had already had good cause to value. She built fresh
hopes, too, on the invasion of Brandenburg by the Russians, which
obliged Frederick to divide his forces to meet this new danger. Leaving
part of his army to oppose Daun, he marched rapidly against the
Russians, who were ravaging Prussia. He defeated them with great
slaughter at Zorndorf, wreaked a terrible vengeance upon them, and then
returned to Saxony, where he was much needed, for his brother Henry was
there and was hard pressed by Daun and the Imperial army. Daun employed
his usual tactics in making his own position secure, while his light
cavalry continually harassed the King’s troops, and in avoiding the
decisive action into which Frederick was anxious to force him.

Frederick pitched his camp at Hochkirchen, on a plain directly opposite
Daun, a position protested against by all his generals and of which
Keith said, “If the Austrians leave us here in peace, they all ought to
be hanged!” The King paid no attention, however, to this good advice.
Daun’s eagle glance was not one to overlook an opportunity that lay
within his grasp, but his deliberation seemed to imply that he did not
intend to accept the bold challenge, and Frederick had already decided
to break up his camp, when Daun suddenly fell upon it in the early
morning (October 14, 1758) while the Prussians were still asleep. A
desperate struggle followed, at first in total darkness. Then the
daylight struggling through a heavy mist, with flames from the burning
village, lit up the scene of slaughter where the Austrians had the foe
at their mercy. Had not Frederick’s army maintained its discipline so
well, but a small part of it would have escaped.

It was a brilliant victory for Daun, but he committed a grave error in
not following it up, as his adversary would not have failed to do. Too
late he realized the folly of allowing his irrepressible foe to escape,
only to rally his forces and drive the Austrians from Silesia. Daun
hoped to retrieve this blunder by achievements in Saxony. He had the
advantage there and advanced to attack Dresden, but the Prussian General
Schmettau set fire to the suburbs and showed signs of such vigorous
resistance that, rather than see the city destroyed, Daun abandoned the
attack and withdrew into Bohemia.

The results achieved by the allied armies in other quarters were not
remarkable. Daun by his victory at Hochkirchen bore off the honors of
this campaign, nor did he lack laurels in recognition of his services.
He had a mistress who rewarded right royally.

Maria Theresa needed the Winter’s rest to strengthen her position both
at home and abroad. Some new alliances and a renewal of the old ones
seemed to promise well for the future. Russia made fresh preparations on
land and sea; an agreement was made with Sweden and Denmark by which
they were to close the passage of the strait against the English, and
the Imperial army bestirred itself to repair damages.

Nor did Frederick neglect this opportunity to replenish his treasury,
which was much in need of it, and to increase and improve his army.

                               Chapter VI
                       Close of the Long Struggle

The campaign of 1759 began with inroads by the Prussians, who committed
terrible ravages. Prince Henry of Prussia was ordered to destroy the
warehouses and magazines in Bohemia as well as in Franconia, both of
which were suffering from depredations he had made with the object of
replenishing Prussia’s war coffers.

Daun did not take the field until later. He cautiously waited for the
appearance of the allies, and besides, it was important to effect the
union of Laudon with the Russians. Although Frederick exerted himself to
prevent this, Daun carried out his plans successfully, and confronted
the King with an army of sixty thousand men. As the latter’s total force
amounted to only forty thousand, he retired, and the allies took up a
strong position near Kunersdorf. There they were boldly attacked by the
Prussians, and a battle ensued which at first seemed to promise
Frederick a brilliant victory; but Laudon changed the fortunes of the
day and drove the Prussians from the field. When Frederick wrote to his
minister, Von Finkenstein, that it was a misfortune he still lived, he
expressed his desperate situation after the battle of Kunersdorf, for
had the Russians followed up their advantage he must inevitably have
been overwhelmed. A disagreement between Laudon and the Russian General
Soltikoff was the cause of this failure, or, as was afterwards
maintained and perhaps with some reason, the Russians’ crafty policy did
not include Frederick’s complete destruction. Although Soltikoff, with
an eye to possible changes in the Russian government and its attitude
toward the King of Prussia, may have determined not to follow up the
victory, still it is difficult to explain why Daun should have remained
inactive when the enemy’s complete defeat would have inevitably produced
such important results for Austria. At last he moved to another position
at Triebel, which commanded the Prussian situation; but Prince Henry
contrived to annoy and harass his troops constantly without risking a
decisive engagement.

One misfortune after another befell Frederick. General Finck’s corps of
twelve thousand men were defeated and taken prisoners by Daun, a heavy
blow to the King’s pride as well as to his army; and a few days later
fifteen thousand of Diereck’s force shared the same fate. Such a
succession of disasters seriously crippled Frederick’s resources, and
even the reënforcements brought him by the Hereditary Prince of
Brunswick could do nothing to help matters.

Notwithstanding the severity of the weather, it was not until the
beginning of January, 1760, that the armies went into Winter quarters.
Frederick remained in Freiberg, and his troops camped in the villages
about Dresden, some of them even in tents. It was bitterly cold and they
could keep warm only by huddling together. Sickness broke out among
them, and the mortality was great; but Daun did not fare much better.
Both armies suffered terribly, and their losses were heavy.

The year had been a disastrous one for Frederick, and fortune had smiled
on the Empress; but her goal, Silesia, was still far distant, although
Frederick’s lack of resources for the continuance of the war seemed to
bring it a little nearer. Her affairs, indeed, were in better condition
than the King’s. He was in great need of money to recruit his army, and
obliged to resort to any expedient to obtain it. He could not afford to
be particular about his methods, as poor Saxony discovered to its cost.
The willingness of its subjects to make sacrifices for her made it
easier for Maria Theresa to obtain the means that she also needed for
the prosecution of the war. Frederick tried in various ways to bring
about a peace, but the Empress would not yield now that her hopes seemed
about to be realized. She resolutely determined to continue the struggle
for the sake of Silesia, that precious jewel she hoped soon to place
once more in her imperial crown.

The next campaign opened in Silesia, and propitiously for Maria Theresa;
for, at Landshut, Laudon destroyed a whole Prussian army corps under
General Fouquet, with the exception of a small detachment of cavalry
which managed to cut its way through and escape. Fouquet was taken
prisoner, and all his supplies and ammunition fell into the hands of the
Austrians. Important as this achievement was in itself, its principal
value to Maria Theresa lay in the effect produced by so signal a victory
at the very beginning of the campaign. Her troops had fought with
desperate fury and showed no quarter, for they had been met with
stubborn resistance and heroic valor on the part of the Prussians. There
was great rejoicing when the news of the victory reached Vienna, and no
one was happier than the Empress over the moral effect it produced.

Frederick, who was confronting Daun in Saxony, had determined to go to
the assistance of Fouquet in Silesia, but Daun followed, or rather kept
close beside him, while Lacy was in the rear, annoying and impeding him
at every turn and doing much damage to his supply trains. Therefore he
halted at Görlitz, and, changing his plan entirely, decided to attempt
the reconquest of Dresden. He forced Lacy out of his way, evaded the
Imperial army, and summoned Dresden to surrender. Failing in an attempt
to surprise the city, he began to bombard it, although he lacked heavy
artillery. When Daun discovered the King’s move, he lost no time in
turning back after him, and, reaching Dresden, dispersed the Prince of
Holstein’s force, and sent a considerable body of troops to the
assistance of the garrison, in spite of all Frederick’s efforts to
prevent it. Thinking that Daun would not allow the city to be ruined, he
continued the bombardment, and wrought havoc within the walls. Great as
its distress was, however, Dresden would not yield, and Frederick’s
troubles increased daily. Glatz was captured, his losses at Dresden were
very heavy, and a large part of his necessary supplies fell into the
hands of the Austrians.

Thus blow followed blow, and the loss of Glatz depressed Frederick in
proportion as it rejoiced Maria Theresa, who thereby gained once more a
foothold in Silesia. Nor was Laudon content with his easy conquest of
Glatz. Encouraged by it, and knowing the insufficiency of the garrison
at Breslau, he proceeded directly to that place, expecting as speedy a
victory there as at Glatz; a natural error, perhaps, but a serious one,
as he soon discovered. The commander at Breslau was Tauentzien, a man
not easy to subdue. Although Laudon brought all his force to bear
against the city, he made no progress toward its capture; and when
Prince Henry came to its relief, he was forced to raise the siege.

Frederick meantime had abandoned his fruitless bombardment of Dresden
and hastened to Silesia, where his presence was needed; but Daun must
have been accurately informed as to his movements, for he followed
closely and passed him, Lacy falling to the rear of the Prussians. Thus
there was the strange spectacle of what seemed like one huge army
marching toward Silesia in three divisions, while Laudon approached with
his troops from Breslau to meet them, and the Russians also advanced to
join the allies. The Austrian officer seemed quite justified in his
remark when he said, “The bag is open and ready to catch the Prussians;
we have only to pull the string!”

When this was repeated to Frederick his eyes flashed, and he said with a
bitter laugh, “The man has spoken truly; but I will make a hole in the
bag that they will not find it easy to mend!”

Vienna waited anxiously for the next news. Such a thing as Frederick’s
escape seemed scarcely possible. But almost every night he changed his
position, which kept Daun in uncertainty as to his whereabouts, and it
was this ceaseless activity and the wonderful mobility of his troops
which proved “the hole in the bag” that was to show him the way out.

From the positions occupied by the encircling armies of the enemy, he
perceived it was Daun’s plan to annihilate him by a combined attack. The
decisive moment arrived on the fourteenth of August, 1760. Daun was
absolutely certain of success; and indeed who would not have been, with
the Prussians completely surrounded as they were? During the night,
however, Frederick abandoned his position and moved to Parchwitz.
Surprised and chagrined, Daun found that his plans were frustrated, and
that, while the Prussians had not yet escaped from “the bag,” he had not
altogether succeeded in “pulling the string.” Nor was Laudon any the
less astonished, when he approached Liegnitz with thirty thousand men,
to find the Prussians drawn up in order of battle. He hastened to form
his own lines, but had only partially succeeded when the enemy attacked
him. Taken completely by surprise, Laudon had the added disadvantage of
a most unfavorable position, which greatly impeded the movements of his
troops. Though they fought bravely, returning again and again to the
charge, he was finally forced to retreat with heavy loss.

Everything seemed to have conspired against the Austrian generals. Daun
might have sent assistance to Laudon had he known of the battle; but a
strong wind prevented any sound of the heavy firing from reaching him,
so he suspected nothing. If Laudon had sent him word, the result might
have been different—indeed must have been; but even when he received
news of it Daun made no move, thinking the locality where the attack
would have to be made was too unfavorable to offer any hope of success.

Laudon was depressed by this defeat; but he was not held responsible for
it even by the Empress, who, while she regretted a misfortune that was
also her own, sent him assurances of her sympathy and continued favor.
To be able thus to “pour wine and oil on his wounds” and keep up her own
courage as well, instead of giving way to depression, was still another
proof of the strength and wisdom that never failed her.

Frederick was well aware that his victory had brought him only temporary
relief. He had made the “hole in the bag,” to be sure, but to get out of
it was another matter. Daun understood this also, but none the less his
failure to assist Laudon was a grave error. His plans were well laid,
for the position of the Austrian and Russian forces not only made it
very difficult for the Prussians to obtain their supplies, but must in
time cut them off altogether. The resources of Breslau had been so
exhausted by the siege that Frederick’s only way out of his predicament
was the doubtful possibility of a victory over Daun’s army. The
withdrawal of the Russians, however, opened the way for him to Bohemia,
but in Saxony his outlook was unfavorable. The “hole in the bag” had
helped him only for the time being, and Daun meanwhile was planning to
strike a blow at his heart by seizing Berlin. Should the Russians be
able to accomplish this, he was to fall back, while an Austrian
auxiliary force under Lacy advanced to their support.

This plan was carried out, and on the third of October the Russian
vanguard suddenly appeared before Berlin. The danger was imminent, and,
while the city hastily prepared for defence, Prince Eugene of
Würtemberg, who had been opposing the Swedes, hurried a part of his army
to the capital by forced marches. Help was also summoned from Saxony,
but the odds (sixteen thousand against thirty-five thousand) were too
great, and Berlin was forced to capitulate. It was well for the city
that General Tottleben showed both clemency and forbearance, and spared
the treasures of art and learning accumulated there; but Lacy’s Austrian
and Saxon troops were not so considerate, and Frederick’s palaces were
overrun and despoiled by them.

It was only a few days, however, before the news that Frederick himself
was approaching to the rescue of his capital drove the enemy from the
walls of Berlin. Matters had not been progressing favorably for the
King. His prospects were still dark, and if they were to assume a
brighter aspect he would be obliged to attack Daun, whose position at
Torgau was so strong as to make it a very difficult undertaking. The
Austrian troops were fresh, moreover, and well equipped; but,
notwithstanding all this and the advantage of numbers,—Daun had sixty
thousand men, while he had but forty thousand himself,—Frederick decided
to make the attempt, desperate as it seemed.

The struggle was long and deadly; the constant discharge of artillery
shook the earth and whole ranks were mown down, even the King himself
being wounded. Daun received a bullet in the thigh, but he was so
confident of victory that he despatched a messenger to Vienna with the
news—too soon, however, for the day was not yet ended! Just as night was
closing in, Zieten, who had previously taken no part in the action,
scaled the heights of Süplitz and captured the hill. This decided the
fate of the Austrians. Notwithstanding all their efforts, they were
compelled to give way and retreat to Dresden,—a bitter blow to Daun, who
had already announced his victory in Vienna! The battle was one of the
bloodiest of the war; sixteen thousand Austrians lay dead on the field
or were taken prisoners. But the Prussians had paid dearly for their
victory, having lost fourteen thousand men. Maria Theresa, however,
showed her usual tact and magnanimity toward the defeated general, by
going out of her way to meet him on his return from Torgau, and seeing
that his wound received proper attention.

Frederick had not succeeded, however, in wresting the Plauen valley, the
key to Dresden, from the Austrians. They went into Winter quarters
there, while Laudon, after an unsuccessful attempt to capture Kosel,
retired to Glatz. The Russians withdrew to Poland and the Swedes to
Pomerania. The French had accomplished little and had met with many
reverses, but toward the end of the campaign they obtained a victory
over the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick. The struggle was continued in
Hesse without any decisive results, until the coming of Winter made it
necessary to suspend hostilities. Thus ended the fifth year of the war,
with its harvest of death and destruction, leaving all the armies
completely exhausted. And still no sign of peace!

Notwithstanding his victories, Frederick had suffered heavily, and the
future looked dark for him; while Maria Theresa could look forward, if
not confidently, at least with less doubt and anxiety. She continued her
preparations most indefatigably. Laudon was placed in command in
Silesia, while Saxony was assigned to Daun as his field of action, the
object of their united endeavors being the reconquest of Silesia.
Frederick was aware of this, and shaped his plans accordingly, although
circumstances compelled him to act strictly on the defensive. He
occupied the famous camp at Bunselwiltz, where he was in a good position
to protect Schweidnitz. Laudon was anxious to attack him there, but the
Russian General Butterlin refused to be drawn into a decisive
engagement; at most he would only consent to assist Laudon with an
auxiliary force. Frederick had no fear of an attack by day, but was
obliged to guard against the danger of being surprised at night.
September of 1761 came, and still nothing had occurred. On the thirtieth
of that month, however, Laudon made a sudden attack on Schweidnitz, from
all sides at once, and the commander there, who had neglected all
precautions, taken completely by surprise, was forced to surrender

Frederick’s star seemed to be setting; for in Pomerania too he had been
unfortunate. The usual vacillating and dilatory methods of the War
Office favored him somewhat, for Laudon had received orders not to
undertake any further operations and to confine himself to the
defensive. The fall of Kolberg, which had made a stout resistance, and
only capitulated when all the supplies had given out, was a fresh blow
to the King. The Prussians had met with no decisive results in their
encounters with the French, nor had they succeeded in inflicting any
damage upon them. The end of the campaign left Frederick apparently on
the verge of ruin. Maria Theresa’s heart was full of joy and hope, for
never had Silesia been so nearly within her grasp as now, when her enemy
had apparently exhausted his last resources.

The beginning of the year 1762 seemed to give her fresh grounds for
hope, but these were suddenly dissipated by the news of the death of the
Czarina Elizabeth of Russia.[18] She had been Frederick’s bitterest
enemy, and her successor, Peter III, was his most enthusiastic admirer.
The new Czar gave immediate proof of his friendship by issuing a
manifesto in which he formally announced his intention of making peace
with Prussia. A treaty was signed May 5, 1762, which restored to
Frederick all conquests made by the Russians, and paved the way for an
alliance between the two countries. This completely altered the aspect
of affairs, and dashed Maria Theresa’s hopes and plans to the ground;
for Frederick was now in a position to concentrate all his forces
against Austria. Sweden too had withdrawn from its alliance with
Austria, and followed the example of Russia in making terms of peace
with Prussia. Everything seemed conspiring against the Empress.

Silesia still remained the centre of the struggle, and Frederick assumed
the command there in person, the recapture of Schweidnitz being his
first object. Choosing a favorable position, he awaited the arrival of
the Russian troops promised him by his new ally, Peter III, before
attempting any important move against his old adversary, Daun. Just as
all his preparations were complete, however, and he was about to begin
the attack, news arrived which threatened to upset all his plans. The
Czar, Peter III, had been dethroned. Catherine II immediately succeeded
him, and her first act was the recall of the troops which had been sent
to assist the Prussians. This was a misfortune which Frederick had not
anticipated, but he tried to avert its immediate disastrous results by
persuading the Russian general to defer his departure for three days.
This made prompt action necessary, but Frederick was the man of all
others to meet emergencies. Although the Russians took no part in the
action, Daun was quite in the dark as to their attitude, and this
uncertainty obliged him to weaken his force by detaching a body of
troops to watch them. Frederick’s attack was successful. Daun’s army was
defeated and driven from the heights of Burkersdorf.

The King’s greatest anxiety now concerned Catherine’s attitude toward
European affairs; consequently her declaration of neutrality was a great
relief to his mind, for he feared that Russia’s power might be again
exerted on the side of Austria. After his victory at Burkersdorf, he
lost no time in laying siege to Schweidnitz. Daun tried to relieve brave
old Count Guasco, who was in command there, but met with such a serious
defeat at Reichenbach that he was obliged to leave the stronghold to the
fate which finally overtook it.

The King next turned his attention to Saxony, where his brother Henry
was bravely resisting the Austrians and the Imperial army. The Austrians
had not been meeting with great success, but the arrival of Count
Haddick as commander-in-chief seemed to turn the fortune of war again in
their favor. Had Haddick not waited for reënforcements from Daun, Prince
Henry would probably have been defeated; but by the time they arrived
the Prussian army had also been strengthened by troops from Silesia, and
in the battle of Freiberg, which immediately ensued, the Austrians were
defeated with heavy loss.

It was the last battle of this dreadful war, which for so many long
years had wrought untold misery throughout the wretched countries that
had been the scene of the bloody conflict. Frederick, to be sure,
continued the struggle against the Imperial army until the panic caused
by Kleist’s huzzars forced the small German States to beg for peace. In
Westphalia, and Hesse, also, the Prussians at last laid down their
victorious arms. In truth, the exhaustion of all parties made peace
imperative. It was finally declared February 15, 1763, and a treaty was
signed at Hubertsburg which restored all conquests and left everything
practically where it was at the beginning of the Seven Years’ War,
Prussia retaining undisturbed possession of Silesia.

This was the heaviest sacrifice that Maria Theresa could have been
called upon to make for peace. It cost her a great struggle with
herself, and many bitter tears, but she did it so that the blessings of
peace might be restored to her people.

                              Chapter VII
                     The Last Days of Maria Theresa

Peace! The joyful cry rang from one end of Maria Theresa’s dominions to
the other, and was echoed in her own heart; for, deeply as she grieved
over Silesia, now lost to her forever, she must have had a feeling of
thankfulness when she thought of those battlefields which had been
reddened with the blood of so many thousands of her people. Her deeply
religious nature must have prompted the thought: “Since all my
sacrifices, all my efforts and exertions have availed nothing toward the
restoration of Silesia to me, it must be the will of Him who rules all,
and without whose notice not a sparrow falls.”

The great Empress, who could control herself so well, could not fail to
recognize how incomplete her efforts toward governing and improving the
condition of her people had been thus far, and to welcome a peace which
would enable her to continue the work, and, in devoting all her energies
to remove the devastation caused by the war, find a balm for the wound
in her own heart which the loss of Silesia had inflicted.

It would be doing Maria Theresa a great injustice, however, to imply
that she to whom the condition of the government and its evils had been
so clear, even during her father’s lifetime, had not profited by the
occasional intervals of peace which the country had enjoyed, and worked
zealously for their reform until war again turned the ploughshare into
the sword. It was impossible for her to recognize defects without
endeavoring to remedy them. We have already seen how resolutely she
checked the luxury and extravagance of the Court after her father’s
death; how, taught by bitter experience the need of reformation in the
army, she had strengthened and prepared it for the long and desperate
struggle that was to come; how she had increased the country’s revenues
and readjusted the system of taxation upon which she depended for means
to defend her right to the throne; and with what unerring judgment she
had chosen the best men to carry out her plans, and placed them where
their abilities would be of most service to the country.

Her character and talents especially fitted her for the position she
occupied as sovereign of a great Empire in need of reorganization, for
to her clear insight, her habit of going to the root of things, and her
wide sympathies, was added a calmness and strength of purpose which
enabled her to achieve great results without rashness or precipitancy.
Her reforms indeed were brought about so gradually, and newer and more
effective methods succeeded the old so naturally, that they aroused no
opposition, and were accomplished with none of that confusion which more
abrupt and violent changes might have caused. She took great pleasure in
watching the fruitful results of these efforts, without any desire for
that personal glory which is often so cheaply obtained. There was, in
truth, no department of public affairs which was not in need of
reconstruction, no part of the national life where she did not find
something to rectify; but nothing escaped her, even to the smallest
detail. Everywhere, from the army down to her own domestic service, the
results of her conscientious care and judicious supervision were

In all matters of learning and education Maria Theresa depended on the
help of Van Swieten, an eminent and accomplished Dutch physician. She
had appointed him to a position in Court, but soon recognized his
profound knowledge in all branches of learning, and at once assigned him
to a field where his talents could be utilized, not only in the sanitary
administration of her realm, but also in other departments in which his
services were quite as valuable.

Under the personal supervision of the Empress, Van Swieten undertook the
reconstruction of the whole system of education and the reorganization
of the Imperial library. Many schools and institutions were established,
including one for the study of Oriental languages, rendered necessary by
the increasing importance of Austria’s relations with the East, one for
veterinary surgery, and an academy for young noblemen. Though deeply and
sincerely devout, Maria Theresa realized that the ecclesiastical power
and authority required restriction, and that the condition of the
monasteries was sadly in need of reform. Much as she accomplished for
higher culture, the education of the lower classes was no less important
to her; for Austria had not kept pace with general progress in this
direction, and dense ignorance prevailed among them. Her chief adviser
and supporter in this work was Joseph von Sonnenfels, whose suggestion,
“It is not enough to have public schools in the large cities; not even
the smallest village should be without one,” was warmly approved by
Maria Theresa, the mother of her country. The Normal School in Vienna
set an example for other cities, which was soon followed in the
so-called “low country.”

If the abolishment of the rack, with its inhuman and unchristian
tortures, had been Maria Theresa’s only contribution to higher
civilization in her Empire, she would have deserved the thanks, not only
of her own people but of all mankind; but while this was her most
notable act, there was no department of life, no branch of the
government, that did not bear witness to her noble qualities of head and
heart or feel the influence of her beneficent power. She loved and
fostered music, and among the masters who shed a lustre over that period
the great names of Gluck, Haydn, and Mozart will testify to her
unfailing interest in this art; while the branches of painting and
sculpture claimed no less a share of her patronage and support.

It is useless to attempt here to go into all the details of her various
achievements, but one subject must be mentioned which deeply involved
the welfare of the people and of the country,—that of agriculture,
trade, and commerce. Her efforts to improve agricultural conditions were
necessarily rudimental, and results were left for the future to develop;
but it was Maria Theresa’s sowing that made the harvest of later times
possible, and she prepared the way by founding schools for the study of
agriculture, thus providing opportunities for the farmers to secure
larger knowledge of their avocation. Another great step was the
realization of the need of a system of drainage, now so indispensable to
human welfare, but which at that time had received little attention,
especially in Austria. She instituted a thorough study of the subject,
had large areas of land drained and made productive, thus providing more
farms for the people. She also built new villages in the sparsely
populated districts of Hungary, Galicia, Bohemia, and Banat,[19] and
settled them with industrious workmen; founded the Economical Society of
Lower Austria, and instituted annual prize examinations. She imported
merino sheep from Spain, and had them distributed among sheep-raisers.
In Hungary and Bohemia, where there were large flax fields, apiaries
were started. Fine breeds of horses were raised for use by the cavalry.
In these and other ways the resources of the country were developed for
its own enrichment, instead of going out of the country for the
advantage of foreign treasuries. Trade and commerce were facilitated by
the building of new roads and canals. Rivers were made more navigable;
new markets were opened up and seaports were improved and increased,
while home industries and manufactures were encouraged by the erection
of factories.

In short, the field over which her watchful supervision extended was
boundless, and yet every detail received her personal attention. All
reports were made to her directly, and she discussed matters of all
kinds with those who were experts, often surprising them by her accurate
knowledge and apt suggestions. And yet with all these cares the Empress
still found time to perform the various duties of government with
unabated zeal and energy, and devoted herself to her family, the care of
which was a sacred mission to her, with the utmost fidelity.

As we take a glance into this august family circle it is difficult to
believe it that of an Emperor and Empress, such an atmosphere of
simplicity and sincere affection prevailed there. Maria Theresa presided
over it with all the womanly charm and devotion of a true German
housewife and mother. A handsomer royal couple could scarcely have been
found. Their married life had been very happy, for they were one in
heart and mind. She was devoted to her husband and he to her, although
her father had not favored the attachment. The Emperor Francis II was
calm and deliberate; Maria Theresa high-spirited and quick-tempered, but
firm and decided, and full of life and vivacity. Their natures therefore
complemented each other, the Emperor’s placidity and easy-going
disposition often acting as a beneficial restraint. When a disagreement
occurred between them,—something that will happen in the happiest
married life,—the Empress would burst out impetuously, while her consort
only grumbled in his beard; but the chief lady-in-waiting, Countess
Fuchs, who shared the confidence of both, usually succeeded in soon
restoring peace, for their misunderstandings never lasted long.

The Emperor rarely concerned himself with matters that did not appeal to
his own tastes and inclinations, and took no part in affairs of state
except at the request of his wife. At such times he gave his advice
gladly and cheerfully, for no one could resist the covert flattery of
Maria Theresa’s entreaties. Their marriage was blessed with sixteen
children, living bonds which united and made the happiness of their
lives, and whose love and affection were a refuge to the Empress from
the cares of state. How often must her weary brain and overburdened soul
have found rest and comfort in the embraces of her children, especially
the younger ones, always nearest to a mother’s heart, while she drew
fresh strength and courage from their pure and innocent affection! The
difference in the natures of the imperial pair was of advantage also in
the training of their children, for the father’s unfailing patience and
good nature often acted as a check on the mother’s hasty and imperious
temper. At the same time there was no friction, for they were of one
mind as to the importance of implanting the right principles; the
Emperor insisting on strict obedience, propriety of behavior, and order
(which was especially dear to him), while their moral and religious
training fell to the share of the Empress, who never appeared lovelier
or more interesting than in the privacy of her family life.

The education of their numerous children was the most sacred duty and
interest of both parents, and their teachers were selected with the
greatest care. The Empress devoted especial attention to the education
of her oldest son and successor, Joseph, particularly in the various
languages spoken in her dominions. She knew from her own experience how
strong is the bond between a sovereign and his people when he can speak
with them in their mother-tongue. As a mark of her gratitude toward
Hungary, she gave her dear “Seppel” (her familiar name for the Archduke
Joseph), as steward of his household, the brave Hungarian Prince
Bathiany, a man well fitted for the position and much esteemed and
beloved by his own countrymen. No detail was neglected in the care
bestowed on the management of the royal children, and the Empress’
strict orders that they should “always be courteous to servants and
inferiors” might well serve as an example to all mothers. This simple
and beautiful family life, which had been Maria Theresa’s chief joy and
happiness, was sadly shattered by the death of the husband to whom she
was so tenderly attached. It cast a deep shadow over the rest of her
life, and from the day of his death she never laid aside her mourning.

How richly Maria Theresa rewarded faithful service, aside from the
honors or orders she conferred, is shown by the friendly relations
between herself and the men she most valued and esteemed. She called old
Count Palffy her “father”; the brave and loyal Khevenhüller, her
“knight”; gallant Traun, her “shield”; and so on. Of the honored Count
Chotek she once wrote: “I have had news from him every day, and was
anxious for two days lest the worst might happen. When he is able to be
out of bed, I shall visit him.” Again, when Count Chotek had begged from
the Empress the services of the Court physician, Dr. Kessler, for his
sick child, she wrote back at once:

“Thank God that he is to be in such good hands as Kessler’s. It can be
easily arranged, and the letter will be sent to Van Swieten as a matter
of form. I could not sleep last night for thinking of the charming
child, and Van Swieten was much affected when he learned from me of his
condition, but cheered up at once when he found that Kessler had charge
of him. I hope he will not be marked as his brother Humelauer was,[20]
and that Kessler will let me know every day how he is, for I am deeply

  [Illustration: “_Be comforted, my good woman, for I have come to see

Once when she was at Laxenburg[21] it chanced that a poor woman, one
hundred and eight years of age, who was well known to her, and had not
missed for many years the usual ceremony of the foot-washing on Maundy
Thursday, was unable that year to be present, and bitterly lamented that
she was not to see her beloved Empress. Maria Theresa heard of this, and
was so touched by it that she went herself to the dame’s miserable

“You were grieving,” she said, with her winning smile, “because you
could not see me? Well, be comforted then, my good woman, for I have
come to see you,” and seating herself by the sick-bed she talked for
some time with the delighted old woman in her kindly and sympathetic
way, leaving when she departed a sum of money for her care and support.
Nor did she ever afterward lose sight of her.

An event which happened at the time of the birth of one of her grandsons
is deeply graven on the hearts of the Austrians. She was at the theatre
on the evening of February 19, 1768, when a message was brought to her
announcing the birth of a son to her daughter-in-law, the wife of her
son Leopold, Grand Duke of Tuscany. Overjoyed with the news, she quickly
rose, and leaning far over the railing of her box she waved the paper
and announced to the audience, “Leopold has a boy!” It may be imagined
what applause followed these words, so clearly illustrating the familiar
relations existing between her and her people.

But Maria Theresa’s declining years unfortunately were destined to be no
less stormy than the rest of her life had been. The death of her
husband, coming so suddenly and unexpectedly, was a crushing blow, but
in so far as she felt the need of a man’s help she depended on her son
Joseph. She made him co-regent with her, not because his youthful
strength and energy were necessary to her, but because circumstances
made it desirable. Many political complications had arisen—notably the
partition of Poland, against which Maria Theresa, with her strong sense
of right and justice, protested vigorously. The mere mention of it
sufficed to arouse her furious indignation. Although the Poles had
brought it upon themselves, and perhaps deserved no better fate, she
felt sure that only evil could result from such a step, as a declaration
she made over her own signature when the affair was concluded shows. It
ran thus: “I agree to it since such a number of wise men have so
decreed, but long after I am dead time will show the bitter
consequences!” The whole affair caused her “great sorrow,” as she
herself expressed it, and made her feel “more anxious than anything has
ever done; indeed I am ashamed to have witnessed it!”

The Emperor Joseph’s political views were decidedly opposed to those of
his great mother, and necessarily so, perhaps, owing to the changes in
conditions and circumstances. This was especially the case in the matter
of the Bavarian succession, which cast a shadow over the Empress’ later
years. On the death of the Elector of Bavaria without issue, Joseph laid
claim to his dominions; but Maria Theresa recognized the weakness of
these claims, although at the same time she strongly resented Frederick
II’s interference and opposition to her son’s plans. She shrank from the
prospect of another war, but the situation became so involved and
threatening that a conflict seemed inevitable. Preparations for war were
actually begun, when the Peace of Teschen[22] put an end to the danger,
much to Maria Theresa’s relief as well as satisfaction, for she had
practically been the means of bringing it about.

Her great influence and popularity remained undiminished to the last;
nor did age destroy the charm of her personality, although increasing
stoutness caused her much annoyance and trouble. Her mind and heart
retained all their youthful vigor, however, nor did she ever lose her
kindly interest and sympathy for those about her.

On the eighteenth of November, 1780, a singular accident occurred to the
Empress. Her grief for her dead husband was deep and sincere, and she
faithfully observed every anniversary of his death, often going to his
tomb in the imperial vault. As she walked with great difficulty,
however, and the climbing of stairs was especially unpleasant to her,
she had had a sort of seat contrived in which she could be raised or
lowered easily and slowly into the vault. Upon her visit to the tomb on
this occasion she had almost reached the floor of the vault when the
strong rope which lowered her broke. She was not injured except from the
shock, but this affected her all the more, for she regarded the incident
as an omen that she too would soon be consigned to that silent place of

Indeed, on the very next day, possibly as the result of a chill
contracted in the tomb, she was seized with convulsive attacks of
coughing, which she at first considered of little consequence; but the
spasms grew so much worse that suffocation was feared. Bleeding brought
little relief, and pleurisy soon developed, increasing her distress so
that she was forced to sit up in an arm-chair. She bore her sufferings
patiently and uncomplainingly, however. Only once, after a severe
paroxysm of coughing and struggle for breath, she said, “God grant the
end may come soon, for I do not know how I can bear it any longer,” and
to the Archduke Maximilian she remarked, “Thus far my courage and
firmness have not deserted me; pray God, upon Whom all my thoughts are
fixed, that I may keep them to the last!”

The malady increased, and a premonition of approaching death seized her.
She called for the last sacrament, like a good Catholic, and then
summoned to her bedside all the members of her family who were in

“Dear children,” she said, “I have received the holy sacrament and know
there is no hope of recovery for me. Remember what care and pains your
father, the late Emperor, and I have bestowed upon your education; how
we have always loved you and tried to do everything for you that could
add to your happiness. All that I have in the world belongs to you,”
turning to the Emperor Joseph, “so I need make no disposition of
anything. Only my children belong to me, and always will. I commit them
to your care. Be a father to them! I shall die content if I have your
promise to watch over them truly and faithfully.”

To the other children she said, “Henceforth you must look upon the
Emperor as your sovereign; obey and honor him as such. Be guided by his
counsel; trust and love him with all your hearts, that he may have cause
to bestow on you his care, his friendship, and his affection.”

Then she quietly and calmly bestowed a maternal blessing upon each of
her children, absent as well as present. Deeply moved, they gave way to
their grief in sobs and tears, which affected Maria Theresa most
painfully, but she controlled herself and said to them firmly:

“I think it would be better for you to go into the next room and compose

Even at that solemn moment she was still busy with affairs of
government, and she signed several state documents with her own hand.
She thanked her faithful Kaunitz for his loyal service to her, and also
charged the Hungarian chancellor, Esterhazy, to convey her thanks to his
people for all their loyalty, devotion, and help in time of need, at the
same time bidding the Emperor Joseph ever to bear this in mind.

Joseph never left her side. She suffered greatly from distress for
breath, and at eight o’clock cried out: “Open the window!” at the same
time rising from her chair. The Emperor supported her gently in his
arms, and asked, “Where does Your Majesty wish to go?”

Looking upward, she cried, “To thee! I come!” and with these last words
sank back and expired.

Her death occurred November 29, 1780, in the sixty-fourth year of her
age. Four days afterward she was laid by the side of her husband in the
imperial vault of the Capuchins in Vienna. Her death plunged the whole
country into mourning. Few have departed from life so beloved and so

Frederick the Great wrote of her: “The death of the Empress has grieved
me much; she honored her throne and her sex. I have made war upon her,
but I have never been her enemy!”


[1]The term “Pragmatic Sanction” was first used in the case of decrees
   issued by Byzantine emperors with reference to the affairs of their
   provinces. It was next applied to the limitations of the spiritual
   authority of the Pope in European countries. In the sense in which it
   is used above it is applied to the succession of sovereignty. The
   Pragmatic Sanction of Charles VI is the most famous of all. It had
   three provisions, (1) that the lands belonging to the house of
   Austria should remain indivisible; (2) that in the absence of male
   heirs they should devolve upon Charles’ daughters, the oldest of whom
   was Maria Theresa; and (3) that in case of the extinction of the
   line, the inheritance should pass to the daughters of Joseph I and
   their descendants. Charles issued this Sanction in 1713.

[2]Maria Theresa, Archduchess of Austria, Queen of Hungary and Bohemia,
   and Empress of Germany, was the daughter of Charles VI of Austria and
   Elizabeth Christina of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel. After the death of
   Archduke Leopold, her only brother, she became sole heiress of the
   Austrian dominions in 1724, married Francis Stephen of Lorraine in
   1736, came to the throne in 1740, her husband being declared
   co-regent. She died in 1780. Of her sixteen children, ten reached
   maturity. Her sons were Joseph II, who succeeded his father as Holy
   Roman Emperor in 1765; Emperor Leopold II; Ferdinand, Duke of Modena,
   and Maximilian, Elector of Cologne. Her most famous daughter was
   Marie Antoinette, wife of Louis XVI of France, one of the many
   victims of the French Revolution.

[3]Prince Eugene, one of the greatest of the world’s generals, was born
   at Paris, October 18, 1663, and died at Vienna, April 21, 1736. He
   entered the service of Austria in 1683; defeated the Turks in 1697;
   at the outbreak of the Spanish war of the succession invaded Italy;
   joined Marlborough in Germany; and defeated the French and Bavarians
   at Blenheim in 1704. In 1706 he drove the French out of Italy, and in
   1708 won the great victories at Oudenarde, Lille, and Malplaquet. War
   breaking out afresh with Turkey, he won the great battle at Belgrade
   against overwhelming odds, and forced the Turks to accept peace. The
   year of Maria Theresa’s nuptials, 1736, was the year of his death.

[4]Frederick contended that he inherited a lawful claim to Silesia, and
   that the Pragmatic Sanction, which his father had recognized,
   referred only to lands belonging to the house of Austria.

[5]Frederick offered to aid Maria Theresa against all her enemies if she
   would concede his claims upon Silesia, but the Queen haughtily
   declined, and even intimated that Frederick was a robber.

[6]Count Maximilian Ulysses von Browne, an Austrian field-marshal, was
   born at Basel, Switzerland, Oct. 23, 1705, and died at Prague,
   Bohemia, June 26, 1757. He was a commander both in the War of the
   Austrian Succession and the Seven Years’ War.

[7]Count Kurt Christoph Schwerin, a German general, was born at
   Wusecken, Pomerania, Oct. 26, 1684, and was killed at the battle of
   Prague, May 6, 1757. He was made a field-marshal by Frederick the
   Great, and won the important victory of Mollwitz, a Silesian village.

[8]This refers to the time when the Hungarians revolted and called upon
   the Turks to help them. The latter, under Kara Mustapha, besieged
   Vienna in 1683, which was only saved by an army of Poles and Germans
   under Sobieski (John III, King of Poland), in which Kolonitzsch and
   Stahremberg were conspicuous.

[9]Karl Albrecht, Elector of Bavaria, subsequently Charles VII, was born
   at Brussels, Aug. 6, 1697, and died at Munich, Jan. 20, 1745. He was
   a claimant of the Austrian inheritance, took part in the War of the
   Succession, was proclaimed King of Bohemia in 1741, and crowned
   Emperor in 1742.

[10]Hans Joachim von Zieten was a famous cavalry officer in the Prussian
   army, and won distinction from a march with his hussars in 1745. He
   decided three of Frederick’s victories,—Leuthen, Liegnitz, and

[11]Count Raimondo Montecuculi was born at Modena, Italy, in 1608, and
   died at Linz, Austria, in 1680. He served with great distinction in
   the Thirty Years’ War; commanded the Austrian army which was sent to
   Poland against the Swedes and Transylvanians, 1657-60; gained a great
   battle over the Turks at St. Gotthard in 1664; and fought Turenne and
   Condé on the Rhine from 1672 to 1675. He wrote a famous treatise on
   the art of war, from which the saying above attributed to him is

[12]Kurmark the old name for the larger portion of Brandenburg, Prussia.

[13]Philip V of Spain, the grandson of Louis XIV of France, was born at
   Versailles, Dec. 19, 1683; died at Madrid, July 9, 1746. He was
   called the Duke of Anjou until his succession to the Spanish throne,
   which caused the War of the Spanish Succession.

[14]Ferdinand VI, born Sept. 13, 1712, was the son of Philip V, and
   succeeded his father in 1746. He was of a weak constitution and
   melancholy, and relinquished the affairs of government almost
   entirely to his counsellors. His melancholy eventually developed into

[15]Wenzel Anton Kaunitz, Count of Rietberg, was one of the most famous
   of European diplomatists. He was born at Vienna, Jan. 2, 1711. His
   first mission was the formation of an alliance of Austria, Sardinia,
   and Great Britain against the Bourbons. He laid the foundation of his
   fame at the Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748. Between 1750 and
   1752 he concluded a secret alliance between France and Austria. In
   1756 he was made Chancellor of the Netherlands and Italy, and at the
   partition of Poland in 1772 he secured Galicia for Austria. He
   directed the affairs of Austria for more than forty years, and was
   specially prominent in his resistance to the power of Prussia.

[16]“Prince Folly.”

[17]Madame Pompadour had great influence in the Court of Louis XV of
   France, and virtually dictated the policy of the government during
   this period.

[18]The Czarina died Jan. 5, 1762.

[19]Banat is a part of Southern Hungary between the Maros on the north,
   the Theiss on the west, and the Danube on the south. It was part of
   the “Military Frontier” which Maria Theresa established.

[20]Smallpox was epidemic at this time in Vienna.

[21]Laxenburg is a village about nine miles from Vienna, where there was
   a castle and royal park.

[22]Teschen is a manufacturing town in Austrian Silesia. The treaty
   concluded there May 13, 1779, between Austria and Prussia, terminated
   the War of the Bavarian Succession, and is known as “The Peace of


The following is a chronological statement of the more important events
in the reign of Maria Theresa:

    1717     Birth of Maria Theresa.
    1731     Acceptance of the Pragmatic Sanction.
    1733     War with France on behalf of King of Poland.
    1736     Marriage of Maria Theresa to Francis of Lorraine.
    1739     Peace with Turkey.
    1740     Death of Emperor Charles VI.
    1740     Succession of Maria Theresa.
    1745     Francis I elected Emperor.
    1741-45     War of the Austrian Succession.
    1745     Peace concluded at Dresden.
    1745-48     War with France.
    1748     Peace concluded at Aix-la-Chapelle.
    1757-63     Seven Years’ War.
    1763     Peace concluded at Hubertsburg.
    1765     Death of Emperor Francis I.
    1765     Succession of Joseph II.
    1772     Partition of Poland.
    1778-79     War of the Bavarian Succession concluded, without bloodshed,
                by Peace of Teschen.
    1780     Death of Maria Theresa.

                     LIFE STORIES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

                         _BIOGRAPHICAL ROMANCES
                     TRANSLATED FROM THE GERMAN BY_
                            GEORGE P. UPTON

     _A new, interesting, and very useful series that will be found
especially suitable for school libraries and for supplementary reading_

The books in this series are translated from the German, because in that
country a specialty is made of really desirable reading for the young.
Eight titles are now ready and more will follow.

Their simplicity and accuracy make them very useful for every school
library in the grades.

For parents who feel disposed to give their children books that provide
a mild element of historical information, as well as first-class
entertainment, the little books will prove a veritable find.

The “life-stories” retain the story form throughout, and embody in each
chapter a stirring event in the life of the hero or the action of the
time. The dramatis personæ are actual characters, and the facts in the
main are historically correct. They are therefore both entertaining and
instructive, and present biography in its most attractive form for the


The work of translation has been done by Mr. George P. Upton, whose
“Memories” and Lives of Beethoven, Haydn, and Liszt, from the German of
Max Mueller and Dr. Nohl, have been so successful.

       _Each is a small square 16mo in uniform binding, with four
                   illustrations. Each 60 cents net._

                         _FULL LIST OF TITLES_
                          Frederick the Great
                          The Maid of Orleans
                           The Little Dauphin
                             Maria Theresa
                              William Tell
                         Johann Sebastian Bach

“These narratives have been well calculated for youthful minds past
infancy, and Mr. Upton’s version is easy and idiomatic.”—_The Nation._

“He is a delightful writer, clearness, strength, and sincerity marking
everything to which he puts his hand. He has translated these little
histories from the German in a way that the reader knows has conserved
all the strength of the original.”—_Chicago Evening Post._

“They are written in simple, graphic style, handsomely illustrated, and
will be read with delight by the young people for whose benefit they
have been prepared.”—_Chicago Tribune._

“The work of translation seems to have been well done, and these little
biographies are very well fitted for the use of young people.... The
volumes are compact and neat, and are illustrated sufficiently but not
too elaborately.”—_Springfield Republican._

“These books are most entertaining and vastly more wholesome than the
story books with which the appetites of young readers are for the most
part satisfied.”—_Indianapolis Journal._


                     LIFE STORIES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE

                     _Translated from the German by
                            GEORGE P. UPTON_

                             8 Vols. Ready

  Maid of Orleans
  William Tell
  The Little Dauphin
  Frederick the Great
  Maria Theresa

               _Each, with 4 Illustrations, 60 cents net_
                      A. C. McCLURG & CO., CHICAGO

                          Transcriber’s Notes

--Copyright notice provided as in the original—this e-text is public
  domain in the country of publication.

--In the text versions, delimited italics text in _underscores_ (the
  HTML version reproduces the font form of the printed book.)

--Silently corrected palpable typos; left non-standard spellings and
  dialect unchanged.

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