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time：2023-12-01 13:45:18 Source: Originally writtenedit：reading
Before the week is done, that "first leg" of the grand Enterprise (the Prince-Karl leg) is such a leg as we see. "Silesia in the lump,"--fond dream again, what a dream! Old Dessauer getting signal, where now, too probably, is Saxony itself?--Ranking again at Aussig in Bohemia, Prince Karl--5,000 of his men lost, and all impetus and fire gone--falls gently down the Elbe, to join Rutowski at least; and will reappear within four weeks, out of Saxon Switzerland, still rather in dismal humor.
The Prussian Troops, in four great Divisions, are cantoned in that Lausitz Country, now so quiet; in and about Bautzen and three other Towns of the neighborhood; to rest and be ready for the old Dessauer, when we hear of him. The "Magazine at Guben in 138 wagons," the Gorlitz and other Magazines of Prince Karl in the due number of wagons, supply them with comfortabIe unexpected provender. Thus they lie cantoned; and have with despatch effectually settled their part of the problem. Question now is, How will it stand with the Old Dessauer and his part? Or, better still, Would not perhaps the Saxons, in this humiliated state, accept Peace, and finish the matter?
A "Correspondence" of a certain Excellency Villiers, English Minister at Dresden,--Sir Thomas Villiers, Grandfather of the present Earl of Clarendon,--was very famous in those weeks; and is still worth mention, as a trait of Friedrich's procedure in this crisis. Friedrich, not intoxicated with his swift triumph over Prince Karl, but calculating the perils and the chances still ahead,--miserably off for money too,--admits to himself that not revenge or triumph, that Peace is the one thing needful to him. November 29th, Old Leopold is entering Saxony; and in the same hours, Podewils at Berlin, by order of Friedrich, writes to Villiers who is in Dresden, about Peace, about mediating for Peace: "My King ready and desirous, now as at all times, for Peace; the terms of it known; terms not altered, not alterable, no bargaining or higgling needed or allowable. CONVENTION OF HANOVER, let his Polish Majesty accede honestly to that, and all these miseries are ended." ["CORRESPONDANCE DU ROI AVEC SIR THOMAS VILLIERS;" commences, on Podewils's part, 28th November; on Friedrich's, 4th December; ends, on Villier's, 18th December; fourteen Pieces in all, four of them Friedrich's: Given in
Villiers starts instantly on this beneficent business; "goes to Court, on it, that very night;" Villiers shows himself really diligent, reasonable, loyal; doing his very best now and afterwards; but has no success at all. Polish Majesty is obstinate, --I always think, in the way sheep are, when they feel themselves too much put upon;--and is deaf to everybody but Bruhl. Bruhl answers: "Let his Prussian Majesty retire from our Territory;--what is he doing in the Lausitz just now! Retire from our Territory; THEN we will treat!" Bruhl still refuses to be desperate of his bad game;--at any rate, Bruhl's rage is yellower than ever. That, very evening, while talking to Villiers, he has had preparations going on;--and next morning takes his Master, Polish Majesty August III., with some comfortable minimum of apparatus (cigar-boxes not forgotten), off to Prag, where they can be out of danger till the thing decide itself. Villiers follows to Prag; desists not from his eloquent Letters, and earnest persuasions at Prag; but begins to perceive that the means of persuading Bruhl will be a much heavier kind of artillery.
On the whole, negotiations have yet done little. Britannic George, though Purseholder, what is his success here? As little is the Russian Bugbear persuasive on Friedrich himself. The Czarina of the Russias, a luxurious lady, of far more weight than insight, has just notified to him, with more emphasis than ever, That he shall not attack Saxony; that if he do, she with considerable vigor will attack him! That has always been a formidable puzzle for Friedrich: however, he reflects that the Russians never could draw sword, or be ready with their Army, in less than six months, probably not in twelve; and has answered, translating it into polite official terms: "Fee-faw-fum, your Czarish Majesty! Question is not now of attacking, but of being myself attacked!"--and so is now running his risks with the Czarina.
Still worse was the result he got from Louis XV. Lately, "for form's sake," as he tells us, "and not expecting anything," he had (November 15th) made a new appeal to France: "Ruin menacing your Most Christian Majesty's Ally, in this huge sudden crisis of invasive Austrian-Saxons; and for your Majesty's sake, may I not in some measure say?" To which Louis's Answer is also given. A very sickly, unpleasant Document; testifying to considerable pique against Friedrich;--Ranke says, it was a joint production, all the Ministers gradually contributing each his little pinch of irony to make it spicier, and Louis signing when it was enough;--very considerable pique against Friedrich; and something of the stupid sulkiness as of a fat bad boy, almost glad that the house is on fire, because it will burn his nimble younger brother, whom everybody calls so clever: "Sorry indeed, Sir my Brother, most sorry:--and so you have actually signed that HANOVER CONVENTION with our worst Enemy? France is far from having done so; France has done, and will do, great things. Our Royal heart grieves much at your situation; but is not alarmed; no, Your Majesty has such invention, vigor and ability, superior to any crisis, our clever younger Brother! And herewith we pray God to have you in his holy keeping." This is the purport of King Louis's Letter;--which Friedrich folds together again, looking up from perusal of it, we may fancy with what a glance of those eyes. [Louis's Original, in
He is getting instructed, this young King, as to alliances, grand combinations, French and other. His third Note to Villiers intimates, "It being evident that his Polish Majesty will have nothing from us but fighting, we must try to give it him of the best kind we have." ["Bautzen, 11th December, 1745" (UBI SUPRA).] Yes truly; it is the ULTIMATE persuasive, that. Here, in condensed form, are the essential details of the course it went, in this instance:-- General Grune, on the road to Berlin, hearing of the rout at Hennersdorf, halted instantly,--hastened back to Saxony, to join Rutowski there, and stand on the defensive. Not now in that Halle- Frontier region (Rutowski has quitted that, and all the intrenchments and marshy impregnabilities there); not on that Halle-Frontier, but hovering about in the interior, Rutowski and Grune are in junction; gravitating towards Dresden;--expecting Prince Karl's advent; who ought to emerge from the Saxon Switzerland in few days, were he sharp; and again enable us to make a formidable figure. Be speedy, Old Dessauer: you must settle the Grune-Rutowski account before that junction, not after it!
The Old Dessauer has been tolerably successful, and by no means thinks he has been losing time. November 29th, "at three in the morning," he stept over into Saxony with its impregnable camps; drove Rutowski's rear-guard, or remnant, out of the quagmires, canals and intrenchments, before daylight; drove it, that same evening, or before dawn of the morrow, out of Leipzig: has seized that Town,--lays heavy contribution on it, nearly 50,000 pounds (such our strait for finance), "and be sure you take only substantial men as sureties!" [Orlich, ii. 308.]--and will, and does after a two days' rest, advance with decent celerity inwards; though "One must first know exactly whither; one must have bread, and preparations and precautions; do all things solidly and in order," thinks the Old Dessauer. Friedrich well knows the whither; and that Dresden itself is, or may be made, the place for falling in with Rutowski. Friedrich is now himself ready to join, from the Bautzen region; the days and hours precious to him; and spurs the Old Dessauer with the sharpest remonstrances. "All solidly and in order, your Majesty!" answers the Old Dessauer: solid strong-boned old coach-horse, who has his own modes of trotting, having done many a heavy mile of it in his time; and whose skin, one hopes, is of the due thickness against undue spurring.
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