Books Should Be Free
Loyal Books
Free Public Domain Audiobooks & eBook Downloads
Search by: Title, Author or Keyword

History of Friedrich II of Prussia — Volume 19   By: (1795-1881)

Book cover

First Page:



By Thomas Carlyle



The posting of the Five Armies this Winter Five of them in Germany, not counting the Russians, who have vanished to Cimmeria over the horizon, for their months of rest is something wonderful, and strikes the picturesque imagination. Such a Chain of Posts, for length, if for nothing else! From the centre of Bohemia eastward, Daun's Austrians are spread all round the western Silesian Border and the southeastern Saxon; waited on by Prussians, in more or less proximity. Next are the Reichsfolk; scattered over Thuringen and the Franconian Countries; fronting partly into Hessen and Duke Ferdinand's outskirts: the main body of Duke Ferdinand is far to westward, in Munster Country, vigilant upon Contades, with the Rhine between. Contades and Soubise, adjoining on the Reichsfolk are these Two French Armies: Soubise's, some 25,000, in Frankfurt Ems Country, between the Mayn and the Lahn, with its back to the Rhine; then Contades, onward to Maes River and the Dutch Borders, with his face to the Rhine, and Duke Ferdinand observant of him on the other side. That is the "CORDON of Posts" or winter quarters this Year. "From the Giant Mountains and the Metal Mountains, to the Ocean; to the mouth of Rhine," may we not say; "and back again to the Swiss Alps or springs of Rhine, that Upper Rhine Country being all either French or Austrian, and a basis for Soubise?" [Archenholtz, i. 306.] Not to speak of Ocean itself, and its winged War Fleets, lonesomely hovering and patrolling; or of the Americas and Indies beyond!

"This is such a Chain of mutually vigilant Winter quarters," says Archenholtz, "as was never drawn in Germany, or in Europe, before." Chain of about 300,000 fighting men, poured out in that lengthy manner. Taking their winter siesta there, asleep with one eye open, till reinforced for new business of death and destruction against Spring. Pathetic surely, as well as picturesque. "Three Campaigns there have already been," sighs the peaceable observer: "Three Campaigns, surely furious enough; Eleven Battles in them," [Stenzel, v. 185. This, I suppose, would be his enumeration: LOBOSITZ (1756); PRAG, KOLIN, Hastenbeck, Gross Jagersdorf, ROSSBACH, Breslau, LEUTHEN, (1757); Crefeld, ZORNDORF, HOCHKIRCH (1758): "eleven hitherto in all."] a Prag, a Kolin, Leuthen, Rossbach; must there still be others, then, to the misery of poor mankind?" thus sigh many peaceful persons. Not considering what are, and have been, the rages, the iniquities, the loud and silent deliriums, the mad blindnesses and sins of mankind; and what amount, of CALCINING these may reasonably take. Not calcinable in three Campaigns at all, it would appear! Four more Campaigns are needed: then there will be innocuous ashes in quantity; and a result unexpected, and worth marking in World History.

It is notably one of Friedrich's fond hopes, of which he keeps up several, as bright cloud hangings in the haggard inner world he now has, that Peace is just at hand; one right struggle more, and Peace must come! And on the part of Britannic George and him, repeated attempts were made, one in the end of this Year 1759; but one and all of them proved futile, and, unless for accidental reasons, need not be mentioned here. Many men, in all nations, long for Peace; but there are Three Women at the top of the world who do not; their wrath, various in quality, is great in quantity, and disasters do the reverse of appeasing it.

The French people, as is natural, are weary of a War which yields them mere losses and disgraces; "War carried on for Austrian whims, which likewise seem to be impracticable!" think they. And their Bernis himself, Minister of Foreign Affairs, who began this sad French Austrian Adventure, has already been remonstrating with Kaunitz, and grumbling anxiously, "Could not the Swedes, or somebody, be got to mediate? Such a War is too ruinous!" Hearing which, the Pompadour is shocked at the favorite creature of her hands; hastens to dismiss him ("Be Cardinal then, you ingrate of a Bernis; disappear under that Red Hat!") and appoints, in his stead, one Choiseul (known hitherto as STAINVILLE, Comte de Stainville, French Excellency at Vienna, but now made Duke on this promotion), Duc de Choiseul; [Minister of Foreign Affairs, "11th November, 1758" (Barbier, iv... Continue reading book >>

Book sections

eBook Downloads
ePUB eBook
• iBooks for iPhone and iPad
• Nook
• Sony Reader
Kindle eBook
• Mobi file format for Kindle
Read eBook
• Load eBook in browser
Text File eBook
• Computers
• Windows
• Mac

Review this book

Popular Genres
More Genres
Paid Books