2021-04-17 02:15:29

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ENGLISH Fredericks army was now in a state of great destitution. The region around was so stripped of its resources that it could afford his foragers no more supplies. It was difficult for him to fill his baggage-trains even in Silesia, so much had that country been devastated by war; and wherever any of his supply wagons appeared, swarms of Austrian dragoons hovered around, attacking and destroying them. To add to the embarrassments of the Prussian king, his purse was empty. His subjects could endure no heavier taxation. All the plate which Frederick William had accumulated had been converted into coin and expended.357 Even the massive silver balustrades, which were reserved until a time of need, were melted and gone. He knew not where to look for a loan. All the nations were involved in ruinous war. All wished to borrow. None but England had money to lend; and England was fighting Frederick, and furnishing supplies for his foes.The thought alone, he wrote, of your death, my dear Suhm, affords me an argument in proof of the immortality of the soul. For is it possible that the spirit which acts in you with so much clearness, brightness, and intelligence, which is so different from matter and from bodythat fine soul endowed with so many solid virtues and agreeable qualitiesis it possible that this should not be immortal? No! I would maintain in solid argument that, if the greatest part of the world were to be annihilated,426 you, Voltaire, Boileau, Newton, Wolfius, and some other geniuses of this order must be immortal.107

To whose continual sluggishness and strange want of concertto whose incoherency of movements, languor of execution, and other enormous faults, we have owed, with some excuse for our own faults, our escape from destruction hitherto.With wonderful skill, Frederick conducted his retreat about four miles to the northwest. Here he took a strong position at Doberschütz, and again bade defiance to the Austrians. Slowly, proudly, and in perfect order he retired, as if merely shifting his ground. His cavalry was drawn up as on parade, protecting his baggage-wagons as they defiled through the pass of Drehsa. The Austrians gazed quietly upon the movement, not venturing to renew the attack by daylight upon such desperate men.

On the evening of Tuesday, the 14th, Frederick, with his advanced guard, reached Myssen. All the next day, Wednesday, he was hurrying up his troops from the rear. In the afternoon he heard the deep booming of the cannon far up the Elbe. In the evening the sky was ablaze with the glare of the watch-fires of Leopolds victorious troops. The next morning Frederick pressed forward with all haste to join Leopold. Couriers on the way informed him of the great victory. At Wilsdruf, a few miles from the field of battle, he met Leopold, who had advanced in person to meet his king. Frederick dismounted, uncovered his head, and threw his arms around the Old Dessauer in a grateful embrace.444 Good evening, gentlemen, good evening. Can you make room for me here, do you think?

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You will, perhaps, have heard of the check I have met with from the Russian army on the 13th138 of this month. Though at bottom our affairs in regard to the enemy here are not desperate, I find I shall not be able to make any detachment for your assistance. Should the Austrians attempt any thing against Dresden, therefore, you will see if there are means of maintaining yourself; failing which, it will behoove you to try and obtain a favorable capitulationto wit, liberty to withdraw, with the488 whole garrison, moneys, magazines, hospital, and all that we have at Dresden, either to Berlin or elsewhere, so as to join some corps of my troops.Frederick, leaving his army safe for a short time, quartered, as he supposed, for the winter, in his strong fortresses of Silesia, returned hastily to Berlin. It was necessary for him to make immediate preparation for another campaign. From December 13, 1744, writes Carlyle, when he hastened home to Berlin, under such aspects, to June 4, 1745, when aspects suddenly changed, are probably the worst six months Frederick had yet had in the world.77

The latter part of April Prince Charles had gathered a large force of Austrian regulars at Olmütz, with the manifest intention of again invading Silesia. The King of Poland had entered into cordial alliance with Austria, and was sending a large army of Saxon troops to co-operate in the enterprise. Fredericks indignation was great, and his peril still greater. Encamped in the valley of the Neisse, assailed on every side, and menaced with still more formidable foes, he dispatched orders to the Old Dessauer immediately to establish an army of observation (thirty thousand strong) upon the frontiers of Saxony. He was to be prepared instantly, upon the Saxon troops leaving Saxony, to ravage the country with the most merciless plunderings of war.

After a long search, I at length found him in a tower of a church, with a telescope in his hand. Never had I seen him in so much perplexity and anxiety as at this moment. The order he gave me was, You must get out of this scrape as well as you can. I had hardly got back to my post when his adjutant337 followed me with a new order to cross the town, and to remain on horseback with my squadron in the opposite suburb.

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England furnished him with a subsidy of about four million dollars. He immediately melted this coin, gold and silver, and adulterated it with about half copper, thus converting his four476 millions into nominally eight millions. But a few weeks of such operations as he was engaged in would swallow up all this. The merciless conscription, grasping nearly every able-bodied man, destroyed nearly all the arts of industry. The Prussian realms, thus impoverished by wars ravages and taxation, could furnish the king with very meagre supplies. When the king invaded any portion of the territory of the allies, he wrenched from the beggared people every piece of money which violence or terror could extort. Wealthy merchants were thrown into prison, and fed upon bread and water until they yielded. The most terrible severities were practiced to extort contributions from towns which had been stripped and stripped again. Still violence could wrench but little from the skinny hand of beggary. These provinces, swept by wars surges year after year, were in the most deplorable state of destitution and misery.The morning of a hot August day dawned sultry, the wind breathing gently from the south. Bands of Cossacks hovered around upon the wings of the Prussian army, occasionally riding up to the infantry ranks and discharging their pistols at them. The Prussians were forbidden to make any reply. The infantry457 pours along like a plowman drawing his furrow, heedless of the circling crows. The Cossacks set fire to Zorndorf. In a few hours it was in ashes, while clouds of suffocating smoke were swept through the Russian lines.

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Apr-17 02:15:29