While on the retreat, one of his aids approached him, and the king, with a smile, said, Daun has played me a slippery trick to-day.

The Prussian kingdom, which thus fell to Frederick by divine right, consisted of an assemblage of duchies, marquisates, principalities, and lordships, comprising an area of nearly fifty-seven thousand square miles, being about the size of the State of Michigan, and very similarly situated as to climate and soil. It was unfortunately not a compact country, as several of the states could only be reached by passing through the territories of other powers. The annual revenue amounted to a little over six million dollars. There was also in the treasury a sum, which Frederick William had saved, of about seven million dollars. The army consisted of seventy-six thousand men, in the highest state of discipline, and abundantly furnished with all the materiel of war. Should this hope fail me, you will allow that it would be too hard to crawl at the feet of a company of traitors to whom successful crimes have given the advantage to prescribe the law to me. If I had followed my own inclinations I should have put an end to myself at once after that unfortunate battle which I lost. But I felt that this would be weakness, and that it behooved me to repair the evil which had happened. But no sooner had I hastened this way to face new enemies than Winterfield was beaten and killed near Gorlitz; than the French entered the heart of my states; than the Swedes blockaded Stettin. Now there is nothing effective left for me to do. There are too many enemies. Were I even to succeed in beating two armies, the third would crush me. As for you, my incomparable sister, I have not the heart to turn you from your resolves. We think alike, and I can not condemn in you the sentiments which I daily entertain. Life has been given us as a benefit. When it ceases to be such I have nobody left in this world to attach me to it but you. My friends, the relations I loved most, are in the grave. In short, I have lost every thing. If you take the resolution which I have taken, we end together our misfortunes and our unhappiness.

In the court of the czarina there was a very handsome young Pole, Stanislaus Poniatowski, who had been an acknowledged lover of Catharine. Though Catharine had laid him aside for other favorites, she still regarded him with tender feelings. He was just the man to do her bidding. By skillful diplomacy she542 caused him to be elected King of Poland. That kingdom was now entirely in her hands, so far as it was in the power of its monarch to place it there.

With great joy Frederick learned that the Austrians had left their camp, and were on the advance to attack him. He immediately put his little army in motion for the perilous and decisive conflict. It was four oclock Sunday morning, December 4, 1757, when Frederick left Parchwitz on his march toward Breslau. He was familiar with every square mile of the region. The Austrians were so vastly superior in numbers that many of them quite despised the weakness of the Prussian army. Many jokes were tossed about in the Austrian camp respecting the feeble band of Frederick, which they contemptuously called the Potsdam Guard. The king, as usual, was merciless to General Finck. As soon as he returned from Austrian captivity he was tried by court-martial, and condemned to a years imprisonment in the fortress of Spandau, and was expelled from the army. He afterward retired to Denmark, where he was kindly received.

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.

This movement of Frederick took place on the 1st of October, 1758. On the 5th, General Daun, who stood in great dread of the military ability of his foe, after holding a council of war, made a stealthy march, in a dark and rainy night, a little to the south of Fredericks encampment, and took a strong position about a mile east of him, at Kittlitz, near L?bau. With the utmost diligence he reared intrenchments and palisades to guard himself from attack by a foe whom he outnumbered more than two to one. He thus again blocked Fredericks direct communication with Silesia.


The question arises, Why was Frederick William so averse to the marriage of Fritz with the Princess Amelia? Probably the real reason was his rooted antipathy to his son, and his consequent unwillingness to do any thing which would promote his interests or increase his influence. His advisers strengthened him in this sentiment. The English were very unpopular at Berlin. Their assumption of superiority over all other peoples was a constant annoyance. The Prussian king said to his confidential friends,

Now are my wishes fulfilled, said the emperor, since I have the honor to embrace the greatest of kings and soldiers.