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“As I never did, however, nor ever shall say so,” commenced

time:2023-11-29 13:50:33Classification:birdsource:qsj

It is an error still prevalent in England, though long since exploded everywhere else, that Friedrich wanted new wars, "new successful robberies," as our Gazetteers called them; and did wilfully plunge into this War again, in the hope of again doing a stroke in that kind. English readers, on consulting the facts a little, will not hesitate to sweep that notion altogether away. Shadow of basis, except in their own angry uninformed imaginations, they will find it never had; and that precisely the reverse is manifest in Friedrich's History. A perfectly clear-sighted Friedrich; able to discriminate shine from substance; and gravitating always towards the solid, the actual. That of "GLOIRE," which he owns to at starting, we saw how soon it died out, choked in the dire realities. That of Conquering Hero, in the Macedonia's-madman style, was at all times far from him, if the reader knew it,--perhaps never farther from any King who had such allurements to it, such opportunities for it. This his First Expedition to Silesia--a rushing out to seize your own stolen horse, while the occasion answered--was a voluntary one; produced, we may say, by Friedrich's own thought and the Invisible Powers. But the rest were all purely compulsory,--to defend the horse he had seized. Clear necessities, and Powers very Visible, were the origin of all his other Expeditions and Warlike Struggles, which lasted to the end of his life.

“As I never did, however, nor ever shall say so,” commenced

That recent "Moravian Foray;" the joint-stock principle in War matters; and the terrible pass a man might reduce himself to, at that enormous gaming-table of the gods, if he lingered there: think what considerations these had been for him! So that "his look became FAROUCHE," in the sight of Valori; and the spectre of Ruin kept him company, and such hell-dogs were in chase of him;--till Czaslau, when the dice fell kind again! All this had been didactic on a young docile man. He was but thirty gone. And if readers mark such docility at those years, they will find considerable meaning in it. Here are prudence, moderation, clear discernment; very unusual VERACITY of intellect, as we define it,--which quality, indeed, is the summary and victorious outcome of all manner of good qualities, and faithful performances, in a man. "Given up to strong delusions," in the tragical way many are, Friedrich was not; and, in practical matters, very seldom indeed "believed a lie."

“As I never did, however, nor ever shall say so,” commenced

Certain it is, he now resumes his old Reinsberg Program of Life; probably with double relish, after such experiences the other way; and prosecutes it with the old ardor; hoping much that his History will be of halcyon pacific nature, after all. Would the mad War- whirlpool but quench itself; dangerous for singeing a near neighbor, who is only just got out of it! Fain would he be arbiter, and help to quench it; but it will not quench. For a space of Two Years or more (till August, 1744, Twenty-six Months in all), Friedrich, busy on his own affairs, with carefully neutral aspect towards this War, yet with sword ready for drawing in case of need, looks on with intense vigilance; using his wisest interference, not too often either, in that sense and in that only, "Be at Peace; oh, come to Peace!"--and finds that the benevolent Public and he have been mistaken in their hopes. For the next Two Years, we say:--for the first Year (or till about August, 1743), with hope not much abated, and little actual interference needed; for the latter Twelvemonth, with hope ever more abating; interference, warning, almost threatening ever more needed, and yet of no avail, as if they had been idle talking and gesticulation on his part:--till, in August, 1744, he had to--But the reader shall gradually see it, if by any method we can show it him, in something of its real sequence; and shall judge of it by his own light.

“As I never did, however, nor ever shall say so,” commenced

Friedrich's Domestic History was not of noisy nature, during this interval:--and indeed in the bewildered Records given of it, there is nothing visible, at first, but one wide vortex of simmering inanities; leading to the desperate conclusion that Friedrich had no domestic history at all. Which latter is by no means the fact! Your poor Prussian Dryasdust (without even an Index to help you) being at least authentic, if you look a long time intensely and on many sides, features do at last dawn out of those sad vortexes; and you find the old Reinsberg Program risen to activity again; and all manner of peaceable projects going on. Friedrich visits the Baths of Aachen (what we call Aix-la-Chapelle); has the usual Inspections, business activities, recreations, visits of friends. He opens his Opera-House, this first winter. He enters on Law- reform, strikes decisively into that grand problem; hoping to perfect it. What is still more significant, he in private begins writing his MEMOIRS. And furthermore, gradually determines on having a little Country House, place of escape from his big Potsdam Palace; and gets plans drawn for it,--place which became very famous, by the name of SANS-SOUCI, in times coming. His thoughts are wholly pacific; of Life to Minerva and the Arts, not to Bellona and the Battles:--and yet he knows well, this latter too is an inexorable element. About his Army, he is quietly busy; augmenting, improving it; the staff of life to Prussia and him.

Silesian Fortress-building, under ugly Walrave, goes on at a steadily swift rate. Much Silesian settlement goes on; fixing of the Prussian-Austrian Boundaries without; of the Catholic- Protestant limits within: rapid, not too rough, remodelling of the Province from Austrian into Prussian, in the Financial, Administrative and every other respect:--in all which important operations the success was noiseless, but is considered to have been perfect, or nearly so. Cannot we, from these enormous Paper- masses, carefully riddled, afford the reader a glimpse or two, to quicken his imagination of these things?


In regard to the Marches, Herr Nussler, as natural, was again the person employed. Nussler, shifty soul, wide-awake at all times, has already seen this Country; "noticed the Pass into Glatz with its block-house, and perceived that his Majesty would want it." From September 22d to December 12th, 1742, the actual Operation went on; ratified, completely set at rest, 16th January following. [Busching, Beitrage, ? Nussler: and Busching's Magazin, b. x. (Halle, 1776); where, pp. 475-538, is a "GESCHICHTE DER &c. SHLESISCHEN GRANZSCHEIDUNG IM JAHR 1742," in great amplitude and authenticity.] Nussler serves on three thalers (nine shillings) a day. The Austrian Head-Commissioner has 5 pounds (thirty thalers) a day; but he is an elderly fat gentleman, pursy, scant of breath; cannot stand the rapid galloping about, and thousand-fold inspecting and detailing; leaves it all to Nussler; who goes like the wind. Thus, for example, Nussler dictates, at evening from his saddle, the mutual Protocol of the day's doings; Old Pursy sitting by, impatient for supper, and making no criticisms. Then at night, Nussler privately mounts again; privately, by moonlight, gallops over the ground they are to deal with next day, and takes notice of everything. No wonder the boundary-pillars, set up in such manner, which stand to this day, bear marks that Prussia here and there has had fair play!--Poor Nussler has no fixed appointment yet, except one of about 100 pounds a year: in all my travels I have seen no man of equal faculty at lower wages. Nor did he ever get any signal promotion, or the least exuberance of wages, this poor Nussler;-- unless it be that he got trained to perfect veracity of workmanship, and to be a man without dry-rot in the soul of him; which indeed is incalculable wages. Income of 100 pounds a year, and no dry-rot in the soul of you anywhere; income of 100,000 pounds a year, and nothing but dry and wet rot in the soul of you (ugly appetites unveracities, blusterous conceits,--and probably, as symbol of all things, a pot-belly to your poor body itself): Oh, my friends!

In settling the Spiritual or internal Catholic-Protestant limits of Silesia, Friedrich did also a workmanlike thing. Perfect fairness between Protestant and Catholic; to that he is bound, and never needed binding. But it is withal his intention to be King in Catholic Silesia; and that no Holy Father, or other extraneous individual, shall intrude with inconvenient pretensions there. He accordingly nominates the now Bishop of Neisse and natural Primate of Silesia,--Cardinal von Sinzendorf, who has made submission for any late Austrian peccadilloes, and thoroughly reconciled himself,--nominates Sinzendorf "Vicar-General" of the Country; who is to relieve the Pope of Silesian trouble, and be himself Quasi-Supreme of the Catholic Church there. "No offence, Holy Papa of Christian Mankind! Your holy religion is, and shall be, intact in these parts; but the palliums, bulls and other holy wares and interferences are not needed here. On that footing, be pleased to rest content."


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