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1773. “ heed to the little dogs that will bark by the way.” And then, three weeks after:
“I have at length got the Seven Dialogues on Po“ land ; and the whole history of them as well. The “ Author is an Englishman named Lindsey, Parson by
profession, and Tutor to the young Prince Ponia“ towski, the King of Poland's Nephew," — Nephew Joseph, Andreas's Son, not the undistinguished Nephew: so we will believe for poor loud Lindsey's sake! “It
was at the instigation of the Czartoryskis, Uncles of " the King, that Lindsey composed this Satire, — in
English first of all. Satire ready, they perceived that
nobody in Poland would understand it, unless it were “ translated into French; which accordingly was done. “But as their translator was unskilful, they sent the
Dialogues to a certain Gérard at Dantzig, who at that “ time was French Consul there, and who is at present " a Clerk in your Foreign Office under M. de Vergennes. “ This Gérard, who does not want for wit, but who does
me the honour to hate me cordially, retouched these “ Dialogues, and put them into the condition they were
published in. I have laughed a good deal at them: “ here and there occur coarse things (grossièretés), and
platitudes of the insipid kind; but there are traits of
good pleasantry. I shall not go fencing with goose“ quills against this sycophant. As Mazarin said, 'Let " the French keep singing, provided they let us keep “ doing." "50
50 Euvres de Frédéric, xxiii. 319-321 : 'Potsdam, 2d March 1775,' and 25th March' following. See Preuss, iii, 275, iv. 85.
A CHAPTER OF MISCELLANIES.
AFTER Neustadt, Kaiser Joseph and the King had no more Interviews. Kaunitz's procedures in the subsequent Pacification and Partition business had completely estranged the two Sovereigns : to friendly visiting, a very different state of mutual feeling had succeeded; which went on, such “the immeasurable ambition" " visible in some of us, deepening and worsening itself, instead of improving or abating. Friedrich had Joseph's Portrait hung in conspicuous position in the rooms where he lived; somebody noticing the fact, Friedrich answered: “Ah, yes, I am obliged to keep that young Gentleman in my eye." And, in effect, the rest of Friedrich's Political Activity, from this time onwards, may be defined as an ever-vigilant defence of himself, and of the German Reich, against Austrian Encroachment: which, to him, in the years then running, was the grand impending peril; and which to us in the new times has become so inexpressibly uninteresting, and will bear no narrative. Austrian Encroachment did not prove to be the death-peril that had overhung the world in Friedrich's last years!
These, accordingly, are years in which the Historical interest goes on diminishing; and only the Biographical, were anything of Biography attainable, is left. Friedrich's industrial, economic and other Royal activities 25th Oct. 1771. are as beautiful as ever; but cannot to our readers, in our limits, be described with advantage. Events of world interest, after the Partition of Poland, do not fall out, or Friedrich is not concerned in them. It is a dim element; its significance chiefly German or Prussian, not European. What of humanly interesting is discoverable in it,—at least, while the Austrian Grudge continues in a chronic state, and has no acute fit,- I will here present in the shape of detached Fragments, suitably arranged and rendered legible, in hopes these may still have some lucency for readers, and render more conceivable the surrounding masses that have to be left dark. Our first Piece is of Winter, or late Autumn, 1771, — while the solution of the Polish Business is still in its inchoative stages; perfectly complete in the Artist's own mind; Russia too adhering; but Kaunitz so refractory and contradictory.
Herr Doctor Zimmermann, the famous Author of
the Book“ On Solitude," walks reverentially before Friedrich's Door in the Dusk of an October Evening; and has a Royal Interview next Day.
Friday Evening, 25th October 1771, is the date of Zimmermann's walk of contemplation, -among the pale Statues and deciduous Gardenings of Sans-Souci Cottage (better than any Rialto, at its best),--the eternal stars coming out overhead, and the transitory candlelight of a King Friedrich close by.
At Sans-Souci,' says he, in his famed Book, 'where 'that old God of War (Kriegsgott) forges his thunder
bolts, and writes Works of Intellect for Posterity; · where he governs his People as the best father would ' his house; where, during one half of the day, he accepts
25th Oct. 1771. ' and reads the petitions and complaints of the meanest * citizen or peasant; comes to help of his Countries on all sides with astonishing sums of money, expecting no payment, nor seeking anything but the Common · Weal; and where, during the other half, he is a Poet ' and Philosopher :-at Sans-Souci, I
there reigns all round a silence, in which you can hear the faintest • breath of every soft wind. I mounted this Hill for 'the first time in Winter' (late Autumn, 25th October 1771, edge of Winter), “in the dusk. When I beheld * the small Dwelling-House of this Convulser of the · World close by me, and was near his very chamber, I ' saw indeed a light inside, but no sentry or watchman
at the Hero's door; no soul to ask me, Who I was, or • What I wanted. I saw nothing; and walked about as 'I pleased before this small and silent House.'1
Yes, Doctor, this is your Kriegsgott; throned in a free and easy fashion. In regard to that of Sentries, I believe these do come up from Potsdam nightly, a corporal and six rank-and-file; but perhaps it is at a later hour; perhaps they sit within doors, silent, not to make noises. Another gentleman, of sauntering nocturnal habits, testifies to having, one night, seen the King actually asleep in bed, the doors being left ajar.2 — As Zimmermann had a Dialogue next day with his Majesty, which we propose to give; still more, as he made such noise in the world by other Dialogues with Friedrich, and by a strange Book about them, which are still ahead,readers may desire to know a little who or what the Zimmermann is, and be willing for a rough brief Note upon him, which certainly is not readier than it is rough:
· Preuss, i. 387 ('from Einsamkeit,' Zimmermann's Solitude, 'i. 110; Edition of Leipzig, 1784').
· Ibid. i. 388.
25th Oct. 1771.
Johann George Zimmermann; born 1728, at Brugg in the Canton of Bern, where his Father seems to have had some little property and no employment, 'a Rathsherr (Town-Councillor), who was much respected. Of brothers or sisters, no mention. The Mother being from the French part of the Canton, he learned to speak both languages. Went to Bern for his Latin and high-schooling; then to Göttingen, where he studied Medicine, under the once great Haller and other now dimmed celebrities. Haller, himself from Bern, had taken Zimmermann to board, and became much attached to him: Haller, in 1752, came on a summer visit to native Bern; Zimmermann, who had in the mean time been 'for a few months' in France, in Italy and England, now returned and joined him there; but the great man, feeling very poorly and very old, decided that he would like to stay in Bern, and not move any more ;-Zimmermann, accordingly, was sent to Göttingen to bring Mrs. Haller, with her Daughters, bandboxes and effects, home to Bern. Which he did ;-and not only them, but a soft ingenious, ingenuous, and rather pretty young Göttingen Lady along with them, as his own Wife withal. With her he settled as Stadtphysicus (Town-Doctor) in native Brugg; where his beloved Hallers were within reach; and practice in abundance, and honours, all that the place yielded, were in readiness for him.
Here he continued some sixteen years; very busy, very successful in medicine and literature; but “tormented with hypochondria;—having indeed an immense conceit of himself, and generally too thin a skin for this world. Here he first wrote his Book on Solitude, a Book famed over all the world in my young days (and perhaps still famed); he wrote it a second time, much enlarged, about thirty years after :3 I read it in the curtailed English-Mercier form, no Scene in it like the above), in early boyhood, and thank it for nothing, or nearly so. Zimmermann lived much alone, at Brugg, and elsewhere; all his days, 'Hy
3 Betrachtungen über die Einsamkeit, von Doctor J. G. Zimmermann, Staltphysicus in Brugg (Zürich, 1756), -as yet only 1 vol. 8vo, price 6a.' (5 groschen); but it
and (Leipzig, 1784) came out remodelled into 4 voll. ;-was translated into French, 'with many omissions,' by Mercier (Paris, 1790); into English from Mercier (London, 1791). VOL. VI.