[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


- Here, before the date quite pass, are two Clippings which may be worth their room:

Bouille's Second Visit (Spring 1785). May 10th, 1785,just while Fürstenbund, so privately, was in the birth-throes,— • Marquis de Bouillé had again come to Berlin, to place his

eldest Son in the Académie des Gentilhommes ; where the young man stayed two years. Was at Potsdam, May 13th-16th ;37 well received; dined at Sans-Souci. Informed the King of the ' Duc de Choiseul's death' (Paris, May 8th). “King, shaking his head," Il n'y a pas grand mal.Seems piqued at the Queen of France, who had not shown much attention to Prince Henri. * Spoke of Peter the Great, “whose many high qualities were darkened by singular cruelty.” When at Berlin, going on foot, as his custom was, unattended, to call on King Friedrich Wil'helm, the people in the streets crowded much about him.

Brother," said he to the King, “your subjects are deficient “ in respect; order one or two of them to be hanged; it will “ restrain the others !” During the same visit, one day, at • Charlottenburg, the Czar, after dinner, stepped out on a balcony which looked into the Gardens. Seeing many people assembled below, he gnashed his teeth (grinça des dents), and began giving signs of frenzy. Shifty little Catharine, who was with him, requested that a certain person down among the

crowd, who had a yellow wig, should be at once put away, or 6

something bad would happen. This done, the Czar became quiet again. The Czarina added, he was subject to such attacks of frenzy; and that, when she saw it, she would scratch his head, which moderated him.“ Voilà, Monsieur,” concluded the King, addressing me: “ Voilà les grands hommes !"

'Bouillé spent a fortnight at Rheinsberg, with Prince Henri; I who represents his Brother as impatient, restless, envious, sus

picious, even timid; of an ill-regulated imagination,'—nothing like so wise as some of us! 'Is too apprehensive of war; which may very likely bring it on. On the least alarm, he assembles troops at the frontier; Joseph does the like; and so'— A notably splenetic little Henri; head of an Opposition Party which has

[ocr errors]



[blocks in formation]


1785. had to hold its tongue. Cherishes in the silent depths of him an almost ghastly indignation against his Brother on some points. · Bouillé returned to Paris, June 1785.438

Comte de Ségur (on the road to Petersburg as French Minister) has seen Friedrich: January 29th, 1785. Ségur says: “ With • lively curiosity I gazed at this man; there as he stood, great in genius, small in stature; stooping, and as it were bent down under the weight of his laurels and of his long toils. His blue coat, old and worn like his body; his long boots coming up above the knee; his waistcoat covered with snuff, formed an odd but imposing whole. By the fire of his eyes, you recognised that in essentials he had not grown old. Though bear' ing himself like an invalid, you felt that he could strike like 'à young soldier; in his small figure, you discerned a spirit ' greater than any other man's.'

"If used at all to intercourse with the great world, and possessed of any elevation of mind, you have no embarrassment ' in speaking to a King; but to a Great Man you present yourself not without fear. Friedrich, in his private sphere, was of sufficiently unequal humour; wayward, wilful; open to preju* dices ; indulged in mockery, often enough epigrammatic upon

the French ;-agreeable in a high degree to strangers whom ' he pleased to favour; but bitterly piquant for those he was “prepossessed against, or who, without knowing it, had ill

chosen the hour of approaching him. To me, luck was kind • in all these points;' my Interview delightful, but not to be reported farther. 39

Except Mirabeau, about a year after this, Ségur is the last distinguished French visitor. French Correspondence the King has now little or none. October gone a year, his D'Alembert, the last intellectual Frenchman he had a real esteem for, died. Paris and France seem to be sinking into strange depths ; less and less worth hearing of. Now and then a straggling Note from Condorcet, Grimm, or the like, are all he gets there.

That of the Fürstenbund put a final check on Jo38 Essai sur la Vie de Bouillé (ubi suprà).

39 Mémoires par M. le Comte de Ségur (Paris, 1826), ü. 133, 120:cited in Preuss, iv. 218. For date, sec Rödenbeck, iii. 322, 323.

[ocr errors]


1785. seph's notions of making the Reich a reality; his reforms and ambitions had thenceforth to take other directions, and leave the poor old Reich at peace. A mighty reformer he had been, the greatest of his day. Broke violently in upon quiescent Austrian routine, on every side: monkeries, school-pedantries, trade-monopolies, serfages, -all things, military and civil, spiritual and temporal, he had resolved to make perfect in a minimum of time. Austria gazed on him, its admiration not unmixed with terror. He rushed incessantly about; hardy as a Charles Twelfth; slept on his bearskin on the floor of any inn or hut;-flew at the throat of every Absurdity, however broad-based or dangerously armed, “ Disappear, I say!" Will hurl you an Official of Rank, where need is, into the Pillory; sets him, in one actual instance, to permanent sweeping of the streets in Vienna. A most prompt, severe, and yet beneficent and charitable kind of man. Immensely ambitious, that must be said withal. A great admirer of Friedrich; bent to imitate him with profit. “ clever indeed,” says Friedrich; “but has the fault” (a terribly grave one!) “of generally taking the second step without having taken the first.”

A troublesome neighbour he proved to everybody, not by his reforms alone;--and ended, pretty much as here in the Fürstenbund, by having, in all matters, to give in and desist. In none of his foreign Ambitions could he succeed; in none of his domestic Reforms. In regard to these latter, somebody remarks: No Austrian • man or 'thing articulately contradicted his fine efforts * that way; but, inarticulately, the whole weight of Aus• trian vis inertiæ bore day and night against him ;' whereby, as we now see, he bearing the other way with the force of a steam-ram, a hundred tons to the

Very 1785. square inch, the one result was, To dislocate every 'joint in the Austrian Edifice, and have it ready for 'the Napoleonic Earthquakes that ensued.' In regard to ambitions abroad it was no better. The Dutch fired upon his Scheld Frigate: “War, if you will, you most aggressive Kaiser; but this Toll is ours!" His Netherlands revolted against him, “Can holy religion, and old use-and-wont be tumbled about at this rate?" His Grand Russian Copartneries and Turk War went to water and disaster. His reforms, one and all, had to be revoked for the present. Poor Joseph, brokenhearted (for his private griefs were many, too), lay down to die. You may put for epitaph,” said he with a tone which is tragical and pathetic to us, “ Here lies Joseph,” the grandly-attempting Joseph, “ who could succeed in nothing." A man of very high qualities, and much too conscious of them. A man of an ambition without bounds. One of those fatal men, fatal to themselves first of all, who mistake half-genius for whole; and rush on the second step without having made the first. Cannot trouble the old King or us any


"" Died, at Vienna, 20th February 1790, still under fifty ;-born there, 13th March 1741. Hormayr, Oesterreichischer Plutarch, iv. (2tes) 125223 (and five or six recent Lives of Joseph, none of which, that I have seen, was worth reading, in comparison).



To the present class of readers, Fürstenbund is become a Nothing; to all of us the grand Something now is, strangely enough, that incidental item which directly followed, of Reviewing the Silesian soldieries, who had so angered his Majesty last year. “If I be alive next year!” said the King to Tauentzien. The King kept his promise; and the Fates had appointed that, in doing so, he was to find—But let us not yet pronounce the word.

August 16th, 1785, some three weeks after finishing the Fürstenbund, Friedrich set out for Silesia : towards Strehlen, long known to him and us all;—at Gross-Tinz, a Village in that neighbourhood, the Camp and Review are to be. He goes by Crossen, Glogau; in a circling direction : Glogau, Schweidnitz, Silberberg, Glatz, all his Fortresses are to be inspected as well, and there is much miscellaneous business by the road. At Hirschberg, not on the military side, we have sight of him; the account of which is strange to read:

Thursday, August 18th, says a private Letter from that little Town, 'he passed through here: concourse of many thousands, ' from all the Country about, had been waiting for him several hours. Outriders came at last; then he himself, the Unique; and, with the liveliest expression of reverence and love, all eyes

· Given in extenso, Rödenbeck, iïi. 331-333.

« 前へ次へ »