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time:2023-12-01 13:57:29 Source: Originally writtenedit:year

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DECEMBER 25th, RUSSIANS IN BEHALF OF HUMAN LIBERTY. "March of 36,000 Russians from the City of Moscow, this day; on a very long journey, in the hoary Christmas weather! Most, Christian Majesty is ruinously short of money; Britannic Majesty has still credit, and a voting Parliament, but, owing to French influence on the Continent, can get no recruits to hire. Gradually driven upon Russia, in such stress, Britannic Majesty has this year hired for himself a 35,000 Russians; 30,000 regular foot; 4,000 ditto horse, and 1,000 Cossacks;--uncommonly cheap, only 150,000 pounds the lot, not, 4 pounds per head by the year. And, in spite of many difficulties and hagglings, they actually get on march, from Moscow, 25th December, 1747; and creep on, all Winter, through the frozen peats wildernesses, through Lithuania, Poland, towards Bohmen, Mahren: are to appear in the Rhine Countries, joined by certain Austrians; and astonish mankind next Spring. Their Captain is one Repnin, Prince Repnin, afterwards famous enough in those Polish Countries;" --which is now the one point interesting to us in the thing. "Their Captain WAS, first, to be Lacy, old Marshal Lacy; then, failing Lacy, 'Why not General Keith?'--but proves to be Repnin, after much hustling and intriguing:" Repnin, not Keith, that is the interesting point.

she could trust herself to peruse a paragraph containing

"Such march of the Russians, on behalf of Human Liberty, in pay of Britannic Majesty, is a surprising fact; and considerably discomposes the French. Who bestir themselves in Sweden and elsewhere against Russia and it: with no result,--except perhaps the incidental one, of getting our esteemed old friend Guy Dickens, now Sir Guy, dismissed from Stockholm, and we hope put on half-pay on his return home." [Adelung, vi. 250, 302:--Sir Guy, not yet invalided, "went to Russia," and other errands.]

she could trust herself to peruse a paragraph containing


she could trust herself to peruse a paragraph containing

"Much hustling and intriguing," it appears, in regard to the Captaincy of these Russians. Concerning which there is no word worthy to be said,--except for one reason only, That it finished off the connection of General Keith with Russia. That this of seeing Repnin, his junior and inferior, preferred to him, was, of many disgusts, the last drop which made the cup run over;--and led the said General to fling it from him, and seek new fields of employment. From Hamburg, having got so far, he addresses himself, 1st September, 1747, to Friedrich, with offer of service; who grasps eagerly at the offer: "Feldmarschall your rank; income, $1,200 a year; income, welcome, all suitable:"--and, October 28th, Feldmarschall Keith finishes, at Potsdam, a long Letter to his Brother Lord Marischal, in these words, worth giving, as those of a very clear-eyed sound observer of men and things:-- "I have now the honor, and, which is still more, the pleasure, of being with the King at Potsdam; where he ordered me to come," 17th current, "two days after he declared me Fieldmarshal: Where I have the honor to dine and sup with him almost every day. He has more wit than I have wit to tell you; speaks solidly and knowingly on all kinds of subjects; and I am much mistaken if, with the experience of Four Campaigns, he is not the best Officer of his Army. He has several persons," Rothenburg, Winterfeld, Swedish Rudenskjold (just about departing), not to speak of D'Argens and the French, "with whom he lives in almost the familiarity of a friend,--but has no favorite;--and shows a natural politeness for everybody who is about him. For one who has been four days about his person, you will say I pretend to know a great deal of his character: but what I tell you, you may depend upon. With more time, I shall know as much of him as he will let me know;--and all his Ministry knows no more." [Varnhagen van Ense, Leben des Feldmarschalls Jakob Keith (Berlin, 1844,) p. 100; Adelung, vi. 244.]

A notable acquisition to Friedrich;--and to the two Keiths withal; for Friedrich attached both of them to his Court and service, after their unlucky wanderings; and took to them both, in no common degree. As will abundantly appear.

While that Russia Corps was marching out of Moscow, Cocceji and his Commissions report from Pommern, that the Pomeranian Law-stables are completely clear; that the New Courts have, for many months back, been in work, and are now, at the end of the Year, fairly abreast with it, according to program;--have "decided of Old- Pending Lawsuits 2,400, all that there were (one of them 200 years old, and filling seventy Volumes); and of the 994 New ones, 772; not one Lawsuit remaining over from the previous Year." A highly gratifying bit of news to his Majesty; who answers emphatically, EUGE! and directs that the Law Hercules proceed now to the other Provinces,--to the Kur-Mark, now, and Berlin itself,--with his salutary industries. Naming him "Grand Chancellor," moreover; that is to say, under a new title, Head of Prussian Law,--old Arnim, "Minister of Justice," having shown himself disaffected to Law-Reform, and got rebuked in consequence, and sulkily gone into private life. [Stenzel, iv. 321; Ranke, iii. 389.]

In February of this Year, 1747, Friedrich had something like a stroke of apoplexy; "sank suddenly motionless, one day," and sat insensible, perhaps for half an hour: to the terror and horror of those about him. Hemiplegia, he calls it; rush of blood to the head;--probably indigestion, or gouty humors, exasperated by over- fatigue. Which occasioned great rumor in the world; and at Paris, to Voltaire's horror, reports of his death. He himself made light of the matter: [To Voltaire, 22d February, 1747 ( OEuvres de Frederic, xxii. 164); see IB. 164 n.] and it did not prove to have been important; was never followed by anything similar through his long life; and produced no change in his often- wavering health, or in his habits, which were always steady. He is writing MEMOIRS; settling "Colonies" (on his waste moors); improving Harbors. Waiting when this European War will end; politely deaf to the offers of Britannic Majesty as to taking the least personal share in it.