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From the Field of Battle of Chotusitz, May 17, 1742.

Two events occurred at this time highly characteristic of the king. There was a nobleman by the name of Schlubhut, occupying a high official position, who was found a defaulter to the amount of a sum equal to twenty-five thousand dollars. The supreme court sentenced him to three or four years imprisonment. The king was indignant at the mildness of the sentence. What, said he, when the private thief is sent to the gallows, shall a nobleman and a magistrate escape with fine and imprisonment? Schlubhut was immediately sent to prison. All night long he was disturbed with the noise of carpentering in the castle square in front of his cell. In the morning he saw directly before his window a huge gallows erected. Upon that126 gallows he was immediately hung, and his body was left to swing in the wind for several days, some say for weeks.

By no means, the king replied. With men like these I shall be sure of victory to-day!114 I am just arrived here after cruel and frightful marchings. There is nothing desperate in all that. I believe the noise and disquietude this hurly-burly has caused will be the worst of it. Show this letter to every body, that it may be known that the state is not undefended. I have made about one thousand prisoners from Haddick.132 All his meal-wagons have been taken. Finck,133 I believe, will keep an eye on him. This is all I can say. To-morrow I march to within two leagues of Frankfort. Katte must instantly send me two hundred tons of meal and one hundred bakers. I am very tired. For six nights I have not closed an eye. Farewell.

Frederick, having regained Silesia, was anxious for peace. He wrote a polite letter to Maria Theresa, adroitly worded, so as to signify that desire without directly expressing it. The empress queen, disheartened by the disasters of Rossbach and Leuthen, was rather inclined to listen to such suggestions; but the Duchess448 of Pompadour verified the adage that hell has no fury like a woman scorned. She governed the wretched Louis XV., and through him governed France. In her intense personal exasperation against Frederick she would heed no terms of compromise, and infused new energy into all warlike operations. Large subsidies were paid by France to Austria, Sweden, and Russia, to prepare for the campaign of 1758.

Formerly, my dear marquis, the affair of the 15th would have decided the campaign. At present it is but a scratch. A great battle must determine our fate. Such we shall soon have. Then, should the event prove favorable to us, you may, with good reason, rejoice. I thank you for your sympathy. It has cost much scheming, striving, and address to bring matters to this point. Do not speak to me of dangers. The last action cost me only a coat and a horse. That is buying victory cheap.151 Again, on the 5th of July, he wrote: I write to apprise you, my dear sister, of the new grief that overwhelms us. We have no longer a mother. This loss puts the crown on my sorrows. I am obliged to act, and have not time to give free course to my tears. Judge, I pray you, of the situation of a feeling heart put to so severe a trial. All losses in the world are capable of being remedied, but those which death causes are beyond the reach of hope.

Frederick published his manifesto on the 10th of August, 1744. Early in the morning of the 15th he set out from Potsdam upon this new military expedition. His two eldest brothers, Augustus William, Prince of Prussia, and Prince Henry, accompanied him. The army entered Bohemia in three columns, whose concentrated force amounted to nearly one hundred thousand men. Frederick in person led the first column, the old331 Prince Leopold the second, and Marshal Schwerin the third. Marching by different routes, they swept all opposition before them. On the 4th of September the combined army appeared before the walls of Prague. Here, as in every act of Fredericks life, his marvelous energy was conspicuous.

Still the conquerors had such dread of their foe that they dared not emerge from their ramparts to pursue him. Had they done so, they might easily have captured or slain his whole army. Frederick bore adversity with great apparent equanimity. He did not for a moment lose self-control, or manifest any agitation.416 With great skill he conducted his retreat. Immediately after the battle he wrote to his friend Lord Marischall:

Maria Theresa, greatly elated by her success in driving the Prussians out of Bohemia, resolved immediately, notwithstanding the severity of the season, to push her armies through the Giant Mountains for the reconquering of Silesia. She ordered her generals to press on with the utmost energy and overrun the whole country. At the same time she issued a manifesto, declaring that the treaty of Breslau was a treaty no longer; that the Silesians were absolved from all oaths of allegiance to the King of Prussia, and that they were to hold themselves in readiness to take the oath anew to the Queen of Hungary.

For twenty-seven years this strange man reigned. He was like no other monarch. Great wisdom and shrewdness were blended with unutterable folly and almost maniacal madness. Though a man of strong powers of mind, he was very illiterate. He certainly had some clear views of political economy. Carlyle says of him, His semi-articulate papers and rescripts on these subjects are still almost worth reading by a lover of genuine human talent in the dumb form. For spelling, grammar, penmanship, and composition they resemble nothing else extantare as if done by the paw of a bear; indeed, the utterance generally sounds more like the growling of a bear than any thing that could be handily spelled or parsed. But there is a decisive human sense in the heart of it; and there is such a dire hatred of empty bladders, unrealities, and hypocritical forms and pretenses, which he calls wind and humbug, as is very strange indeed.

The King of Prussia can not sleep. The officers sit up with him every night, and in his slumbers he raves and talks of spirits and apparitions.

The king was so pleased with the conduct of his son during this journey that, in a moment of unusual good-nature, he made him a present of a very extensive horse-breeding establishment near Tilsit, consisting of seven farms, all in the most perfect order, as every thing was sure to be which was under the control of Frederick William. The profits of this establishment added about ten thousand dollars to the annual income of the Crown Prince. He was quite overjoyed at the unexpected gift, and wrote to his sister Wilhelmina a letter glowing with satisfaction.

Lord Hyndford commenced his communication by assuring his majesty of the friendly feelings and good wishes of the English government. Frederick listened with much impatience, and soon interrupted him, exclaiming passionately,

We seldom hear from Frederick any recognition of God. But on this occasion, perhaps out of regard to the feelings of his subjects, he ordered the Te Deum to be sung in the churches of Berlin for the deliverance of Silesia from invasion.