INICIATIVA DO CINTURO E ROTA

All Europe was thrown into commotion by this bold and successful267 invasion of Silesia. France was delighted, for Prussia was weakening Austria. England was alarmed. The weakening of Austria was strengthening France, Englands dreaded rival. And Hanover was menaced by the Prussian army at G?tten, under the Old Dessauer. The British Parliament voted an additional subsidy of 300,000 to Maria Theresa. Two hundred thousand had already been granted her. This, in all, amounted to the sum of two million five hundred thousand dollars. Envoys from all the nations of Europe were sent to Fredericks encampment at Strehlen, in the vicinity of Brieg. Some were sent seeking his alliance, some with terms of compromise, and all to watch his proceedings. The young king was not only acquiring the territory which he sought, but seemed to be gaining that renown which he had so eagerly coveted. He did not feel strong enough to make an immediate attack upon the Austrian army, which General Neipperg held, in an almost impregnable position, behind the ramparts of Neisse. For two months he remained at Strehlen, making vigorous preparations for future movements, and his mind much engrossed with diplomatic intrigues. Strehlen is a pretty little town, nestled among the hills, about twenty-five miles west of Brieg, and thirty northwest of Neisse. The troops were mainly encamped in tents on the fields around. The embassadors from the great monarchies of Europe were generally sumptuously lodged in Strehlen, or in Breslau, which was a beautiful city about thirty miles north of Strehlen. Baron Bielfeld in the following terms describes the luxury in which the Spanish minister indulged:

The king led the princess into the queens apartment. Then seeing, after she had saluted us all, that she was much heated and her hair deranged, he bade my brother take her to her own room. I followed them thither. My brother said to her, introducing me, 278 That is your interpretation, said Frederick. But the French assert that it was an arrangement made in their favor. The routed allies, exasperated and starving, and hating the Protestant inhabitants of the region through which they retreated, robbed and maltreated them without mercy. The woes which the defenseless inhabitants endured from the routed army in its flight no pen can adequately describe.

474 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.126 You have seen the paper I have sent to Vienna. Their answer is, that they have not made an offensive alliance with Russia against me. Of the assurance that I required there is not one word, so that the sword alone can cut this Gordian knot. I am innocent of this war. I have done what I could to avoid it; but, whatever be ones love of peace, one can not, and one must not, sacrifice to that safety and honor. At present our one thought must be to wage war in such a way as may cure our enemies of their wish to break peace again too soon. Vastly superior as was the Russian army in numbers, General Soltikof did not venture to advance to attack his terrible foe. He had selected a very strong position on a range of eminences about one hundred feet high, running for several miles in an easterly direction from the river. Upon this ridge, which was called the Heights of Kunersdorf, the Russian general had intrenched himself with the utmost care. The surrounding country was full of bogs, and sluggish streams, and a scraggy growth of tough and thorny bushes, almost impenetrable.

CHAPTER XXVI. DEFEATS AND PERILS.

I write from a place where there lived once a great man,27 which is now the Prince of Oranges house. The demon of ambition sheds its unhappy poisons over his days. He might be the most fortunate of men, and he is devoured by chagrins in his beautiful palace here, in the middle of his gardens and of a brilliant court.

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Voltaire embraced the opportunity of giving vent to his malice in epigrams and lampoons. Frederick was by no means insensible to public opinion, but he was ever willing to brave that opinion if by so doing he could accomplish his ambitious ends.

Frederick did not pursue the Austrians after this victory. Nine acres of ground were required to bury the dead. He rented this land from the proprietor for twenty-five years. His alienation from his allies was such that, without regard to them, he was disposed to make peace with Austria upon the best terms he could for himself. England also, alarmed in view of the increasing supremacy of France, was so anxious to detach Frederick, with his invincible troops, from the French alliance, that the British cabinet urged Maria Theresa to make any sacrifice whatever that might be necessary to secure peace with Prussia. Frederick,313 influenced by such considerations, buried the illustrious Austrian dead with the highest marks of military honor, and treated with marked consideration his distinguished prisoners of war.