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Sept.-Oct. 1784. “ in Silesia was at no time so bad as at present. Were I to “ make Shoemakers or Tailors into Generals, the Regiments “ could not be worse. Regiment Thadden is not fit to be the
most insignificant militia battalion of a Prussian Army; Roth“ kirch and Schwarz”—bad as possible all of them—“ of Erlach, “ the men are so spoiled by smuggling” (sad industry, instead of drilling), “they have no resemblance to Soldiers; Keller is “ like a heap of undrilled boors ; Hager has a miserable Com“mander; and your own Regiment is very mediocre. Only “ with Graf von Anhalt” (in spite of his head), with Wendessen “and Markgraf Heinrich, could I be content. See you, that is “ the state I found the Regiments in, one after one.
I will now “ speak of their Maneuvering” (in our Mimic Battles on the late occasion) :
“Schwartz, at Neisse, made the unpardonable mistake of not “sufficiently besetting the Height on the Left Wing; had it “ been serious, the Battle had been lost. At Breslau, Erlach" (who is a Major-General, forsooth!), " instead of covering the
Army by seizing the Heights, marched off with his Division
straight as a row of cabbages into that Defile; whereby, had it “ been earnest, the enemy's Cavalry would have cut down our “ Infantry, and the Fight was gone.
“It is not my purpose to lose Battles by the base conduct “ (lâcheté) of my Generals: wherefore I hereby appoint, That
you, next year, if I be alive, assemble the Army between Bres“ lau and Ohlau; and for four days before I arrive in your
Camp, carefully manæuvre with the ignorant Generals, and “ teach them what their duty is. Regiment Von Arnim and “ Garrison-Regiment Von Kanitz are to act the Enemy: and “ whoever does not then fulfil his duty shall go to Court-Mar
tial,—for I should think it shame of any Country (jeden Puis“sance) to keep such people, who trouble themselves so little « about their business. Erlach sits four weeks longer in arrest” (to have six weeks of it in full). “ And you have to make known
my present Declared Will to your whole Inspection.-F.933
What a peppering is the excellent old Tauentzien getting! Here is a case for Kaltenborn, and the sympa
33 Rödenbeck, iii. 311.
Sept.-Oct. 1784. thies of Opposition people. But, alas, this King knows that Armies are not to be kept at the working point on cheaper terms,—though some have tried it, by grog, by sweet-meats, sweet-speeches, and found it in the end come horribly dearer! One thing is certain: the Silesian Reviews, next Year, if this King be alive, will be a terrible matter; and Military Gentlemen had better look to themselves in time! Kaltenborn's sympathy will help little; nothing but knowing one's duty, and visibly and indisputably doing it, will the least avail.
Just in the days when Bouillé left him for France, Friedrich (“October 1784') had conceived the notion of some general Confederation, or Combination in the Reich, to resist the continual Encroachments of Austria; which of late are becoming more rampant than ever. Thus, in the last year, especially within the last six months, a poor Bishop of Passau, quasi-Bavarian, or in theory Sovereign Bishop of the Reich, is getting himself pulled to pieces (Diocese torn asunder, and masses of it forcibly sewed-on to their new “Bishopric of Vienna"), in the most tragic manner, in spite of express Treaties, and of all the outcries the poor man and the Holy Father himself can make against it.34 To this of Passau, and to the much of Panis-Briefe and the like which had preceded, Friedrich, though studiously saying almost nothing, had been paying the utmost of attention :-part of Prince Henri's errand to France is thought to have been, to take soundings on 1st Jan. 1785. those matters (on which France proves altogether willing, if able); and now, in the general emotion about Passau, Friedrich jots down in a Note to Herzberg the above idea; with order to put it into form a little, and consult about it in the Reich with parties interested. Herzberg took the thing up with zeal; instructed the Prussian Envoys to inquire, cautiously, everywhere; fancied he did find willingness in the Courts of the Reich, in Hanover especially: in a word, got his various irons into the fire;-—and had not proceeded far, when there rose another case of Austrian Encroachment, which eclipsed all the preceding; and speedily brought Herzberg's irons to the welding-point. Too brief we cannot be in this matter; here are the dates, mostly from Dohm :
34 Dohm (Denkwürdigkeiten, iii. 46,— Geschichte der letzten Periode Friedrichs des Zweiten) gives ample particulars. Dohm's first 3 volumes call themselves ‘History of Friedrich's last Period, 1778-1786 ;' and are full of Bavarian War, 3d vol. mostly of Fürstenbund ;-all in a candid, authentic, but watery and rather wearisome way.
Newyears-Day 1785, on or about that day, Romanzow, Son of our old Colberg and Anti-Turk friend, who is Russian Minister in the Ober-Rheinish Circle,' appears at the little Court of Zweibrück, with a most sudden and astounding message to the Duke there:
“ Important Bargain agreed upon between ser and his Highness of the Pfalz and Baiern; am commanded by my Sovereign Lady, on behalf of her friend the Kaiser, to make it known to you. Baiern all and whole made over to Austria ; in return for which the now Kur-Baiern gets the Austrian Netherlands (Citadels of Limburg and Lüxemburg alone excepted); and is a King henceforth, 'King of Burgundy' to be the Title, he and his fortunate Successors for all time coming. To your fortunate self, in acknowledgment of your immediate consent, Austria offers the free-gift of 100,0001., and to your Brother Max of 50,000l. ; Kur-Baiern, for his loyal conduct, is to have 150,0001.; and to all of you, if handsome, Austria will be handsome generally.
your Kai3d Jan. 1785. For the rest, the thing is already settled; and your refusal will not hinder it from going forward. I
I request to know, within eight days, what your Highness's determination is !”
His poor Highness, thunderstruck as may be imagined, asks: “But-but-What would your Excellency advise me?” “Haven't the least advice," answers his Excellency: “will wait at Frankfurt-on-Mayn, for eight days, what your Highness's resolution is; hoping it
may be a wise one;—and have the honour at present to say Good-morning.” Sudden, like a thunderbolt in winter, the whole phenomenon. This, or January 3d, when Friedrich, by Express from Zweibrück, first heard of this, may be considered as birthday of a Fürstenbund now no longer hypothetic, but certain to become actual.
Zweibrück naturally shot off expresses: to Petersburg (no answer ever); to Berlin (with answer on the instant);—and in less than eight days, poor Zweibrück, such the intelligence from Berlin, was in a condition to write to Frankfurt: “Excellency, No; I do not consent, nor ever will.” For King Friedrich is broad-awake again;—and Herzberg's smithy-fires, we may conceive how the winds rose upon these, and brought matters to a welding heat !-
The Czarina,—on Friedrich's urgent remonstrance, “ What is this great Madam? To your old Ally, and from the Guaranty and Author of the Peace of Teschen!”—had speedily answered: “Far from my thoughts to violate the Peace of Teschen; very far: I fancied this was an advantageous exchange, advantageous to Zweibrück especially; but since Zweibrück thinks otherwise, of course there is end.” 'Of course;' —though my Romanzow did talk differently; and the 29th June-230 July 1785. forge-fires of a certain person are getting blown at a mighty rate! Herzberg's operation was conducted at first with the greatest secrecy; but his Envoys were busy in all likely places, his Proposal finding singular consideration; acceptance, here, there,—“A very mild and safe-looking Project, most mild in tone surely!"and it soon came to Kaunitz's ear; most unwelcome to the new Kingdom of Burgundy and him!
Thrice over, in the months ensuing (April 13th, May 11th, June 23d), in the shape of a Circular to all Austrian Ambassadors,'35 Kaunitz lifted up his voice in severe dehortation, the tone of him waxing more and more indignant, and at last snuffling almost tremulous quite into alt, “ against the calumnies and malices of some persons, misinterpreters of a most just Kaiser and his actions.” But as the Czarina, meanwhile, declared to the Reich at large, that she held, and would ever hold, the Peace of Teschen a thing sacred, and this or any Kingdom of Burgundy, or change of the Reichs Laws, impossible,—the Kaunitz clangours availed nothing; and Fürstenbund privately, but at a mighty pace, went forward. And, June 29th, 1785, after much labour, secret but effective, on the part of Dohm and others, Three Plenipotentiaries, the Prussian, the Saxon, the Hanoverian (“excellent method to have only the principal Three !") met, still very privately, at Berlin; and labouring their best, had, in about four weeks, a Fürstenbund Covenant complete; signed, July 23d, by these Three,—to whom all others that approved append themselves. As an effective respectable number, Brunswick, Hessen, Mainz and others, did, 36_had not, indeed, the first Three themselves, especially as Hanover meant England withal, been themselves moderately sufficient. as Dohm, iii. 64, 68.
36 List of them in Dohm.