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11th Dec. 1779—1st Jan. 1780. " to see, from your Note of yesterday, that you refuse to pro
nounce a judgment on those Servants-of-Justice arrested for “ their conduct in the Arnold Case, according to my Order. If you, therefore, will not, I will; and do it as follows:
“1o. The Cüstrin Regierungs-Rath Scheibler, who, it appears “ in evidence, was of an opposite opinion to his Colleagues, and “ voted That the man up-stream had not a right to cut off the “ water from the man down-stream; and that the point, as to “ Arnold's wanting water, should be more closely and strictly “ inquired into,-he, Scheibler, shall be set free from his arrest, “ and go back to his post at Cüstrin. And in like manner, “Kammergerichts-Rath Rannsleben,—who has evidently given “ himself faithful trouble about the cause, and has brought for“ ward with a quite visible impartiality all the considerations 6 and dubieties, especially about the condition of the water “ and the alleged hurtfulness of the Pond,-is absolved from arrest.
“ 20. As for the other arrested Servants-of-Justice, they are “ one and all dismissed from office (cassirt), and condemned to
one year's Fortress-Arrest. Furthermore, they shall pay to “ Arnold the value of his Mill, and make good to him, out of “ their own pocket, all the loss and damage he has suffered in “ this business, the Neumark Kammer (Revenue-Board) to tax 6 and estimate the same.” (Damage came to 1,358 thalers, 11 groschen, 1 pfennig,--that is, 2031. 148. and some pence and farthings; the last farthing of which was punctually paid to Arnold, within the next eight months);19—“ so that
“3°. The Miller Arnold shall be completely put as he was (in integrum restituirt).
“And in such way must the matter, in all branches of it, be “ immediately proceeded with, got ready, and handed in for my “ Completion (Vollziehung) by Signature. Which you, therefore, “ will take charge of, without delay. For the rest, I will tell
you farther, that I am not ill pleased to know you on the side “you show on this occasion” (as a man that will not go against his conscience), “and shall see, by and by, what I can farther “ do with you.” (Left him where he was, as the best thing.) 11th Dec. 1779—1st Jan. 1780. “ Whereafter you are accordingly to guide yourself. And I “ remain otherwise your well-affectioned King,-FRIEDRICH.”:20
19 Preuss, iii. 409.
This, then, is an impartial account of the celebrated passage between Friedrich and the Lawyers, known by the name of the Miller-Arnold Case;' which attracted the notice of all Europe,-just while the decennium of the French Revolution was beginning. In Russia, the Czarina Catharine, the friend of Philosophers, sent to her Senate a copy of Friedrich's Protocol of December 11th, as a noteworthy instance of Royal supreme judicature. In France, Prints in celebration of it, one Print by Vangelisti, entitled Balance de Frédéric,'— were exhibited in shopwindows, expounded in newspapers, and discoursed of in drawing-rooms. The Case brought into talk again an old Miller Case of Friedrich's, which had been famous above thirty years ago, when Sans-Souci was getting built. Readers know it: Potsdam Miller, and his obstinate Windmill, which still grinds on its knoll in those localities, and would not, at any price, become part of the King's Gardens. “Not at any price?” said the King's agent: “Cannot the King take it from you for nothing, if he chose ?" “ Haven't we the Kammergericht at Berlin !" answered the Miller. To Friedrich's great delight, as appears;—which might render the Windmill itself a kind of ornament to his Gardens thenceforth. The French admiration over these two Miller Cases continued to be very great. 21
As to Miller Arnold and his Cause, the united voice of Prussian Society condemned Friedrich’s procedure: Such harshness to Grand-Chancellor Fürst and respect
29 Preuss, iii. 519, 520 : see ib. 405 n.
1 Dieulafoi, Le Meunier de Sans-Souci (Comedy or Farce, of I know not what year); Andrieux, Le Moulin de Sans-Souci ('Poem,' at InstitutNational, 15 Germinal, An 5), &c. &c.: Preuss, iii. 412, 413.
11th Dec. 1779—1st Jan. 1780. able old Official Gentlemen, amounting to the barbarous and the tyrannous, according to Prussian Society. To support which feeling, and testify it openly, they drove in crowds to Fürst's (some have told me to the Prisondoors too, but that seems hypothetic); and left cards for old Fürst and Company. In sight of Friedrich, who inquired, “What is this stir on the streets, then ?”— and, on learning, made not the least audible remark; but continued his salutary cashierment of the wigged Gentlemen, and imprisonment till their full term ran.
My impression has been that, in Berlin Society, there was more sympathy for mere respectability of wig than in Friedrich. To Friedrich respectability of wig that issues in solemnly failing to do justice, is a mere enormity, greater than the most wigless condition could be. Wigless, the thing were to be endured, a thing one is born to, more or less: but in wig,--out upon it! And the wig which screens, and would strive to disguise and even to embellish such a thing: To the gutters with such wig !
In support of their feeling for Fürst and Company, Berlin Society was farther obliged to pronounce the claim of Miller Arnold a nullity, and that no injustice whatever had been done him. Mere pretences on his part, subterfuges for his idle conduct, for his inability to pay due rent, said Berlin Society. And that impartial Soldier-person, whom Friedrich sent to examine by the light of nature, and report? “Corrupted, he !" answer they: “had intrigues with—” I forget whom ; somebody of the womankind (perhaps Arnold's old hardfeatured Wife, if you are driven into a corner !)—" and was not to be depended on at all !” In which condemned state, Berlin Society almost wholly disapproving it, the Arnold Process was found at Friedrich's death
11th Dec. 1779_1st Jan, 1780.
(restoration of honours to old Fürst and Company, one of the first acts of the New Reign, sure of immediate popularity); and, I think, pretty much continues so still, few or none in Berlin Society admitting Miller Arnold's claim to redress, much less defending that onslaught on Fürst and the wigs.22
Who, from the remote distance, would venture to contradict? Once more, my own poor impression was, which I keep silent except to friends, that Berlin Society was wrong; that Miller Arnold had of a truth lost
portions of his dam-water, and was entitled to abatement; and that in such case, Friedrich's horror at the Fürstand-Company Phenomenon (horror aggravated by gout) had its highly respectable side withal.
When, after Friedrich's death, on Von Gersdorf's urgent reclamations, the case was reopened, and allowed to be carried into the Secret Tribunal, as the compe"tent Court of Appeal in third instance,' the said Tribunal found, That the law-maxim depended upon by the Lower Courts, as to the absolute right of owners of private streams, did not apply in the present case; but that the Deed of 1566 did; and also that the ' facts as to pretended damage' (pretence merely) 'from ' loss of water, were satisfactorily proved against Ar
nold: Gersdorf, therefore, may have his Pond; and Arnold must refund the money paid to him for damages'
22 Herr Preuss himself inclines that way, rather condemnatory of Friedrich;
but his Account, as usual, is exact and authentic,—though distressingly confused, and scattered about into different corners (Preuss, iii. 381-413; then again, ibid. 520 &c.). On the other hand, there is one Segebusch, too, a learned Doctor, of Altona, who takes the King's side,and really is rather stupid, argumentative merely, and unilluminative, if you read him : Segebusch, Historisch-rechtliche Würdigung der Einmischung Friedrich's des Grossen in die bekannte Rechtssache des Müllers Arnold, auch fur Nicht-Juristen (Altona, 1829).
11th Dec. 1779—1st Jan. 1780. by the condemned Judges; and also the purchase-money of his Mill, if he means to keep the latter. All which moneys, however, his Majesty Friedrich Wilhelm II., Friedrich's Successor, to have done with the matter, handsomely paid out of his own pocket: the handsome way of ending it.
In his last journey to West-Preussen, June 1784, Friedrich said to the new Regierungs-President (Chief Judge) there : “I am Head Commissary of Justice; and have a heavy responsibility lying on me,”—as will you in this new Office. Friedrich at no moment neglected this part of his functions; and his procedure in it throughout, one cannot but admit to have been faithful, beautiful, human. Very impatient indeed when he comes upon Imbecility and Pedantry threatening to extinguish Essence and Fact, among his Law People! This is one marginale of his, among many such, some of them still more stinging, which are comfortable to every reader. The Case is that of a murderer,-murder indisputable; but may not insanity be suspected, your Ma“ jesty, such the absence of motive, such the—?? Majesty answers: “That is nothing but inanity and stupid plead‘ing against right. The fellow put a child to death; if he
were a soldier, you would execute him without priest; ' and because this canaille is a citizen, you make him “melancholic” to get him off. Beautiful justice !!23—
Friedrich has to sign all Death-Sentences; and he does it, wherever I have noticed, rigorously well. For the rest, his Criminal Calendar seems to be lighter than any other of his time; “in a population of 5,200,000, says he once, ‘14 to 15 are annually condemned to death.'
23 Preuss, iii. 375.