History of Friedrich II of Prussia V 4
Thomas Carlyle

Part 1 out of 3

Prepared by D.R. Thompson

Carlyle's "History of Friedrich II of Prussia"





Of Friedrich's childhood, there is not, after all our reading,
much that it would interest the English public to hear tell of.
Perhaps not much of knowable that deserves anywhere to be known.
Books on it, expressly handling it, and Books on Friedrich
Wilhelm's Court and History, of which it is always a main element,
are not wanting: but they are mainly of the sad sort which, with
pain and difficulty, teach us nothing, Books done by pedants and
tenebrific persons, under the name of men; dwelling not on things,
but, at endless length, on the outer husks of things: of
unparalleled confusion, too;--not so much as an Index granted you;
to the poor half-peck of cinders, hidden in these wagon-loads of
ashes, no sieve allowed! Books tending really to fill the mind
with mere dust-whirlwinds,--if the mind did not straightway blow
them out again; which it does. Of these let us say nothing.
Seldom had so curious a Phenomenon worse treatment from the
Dryasdust, species.

Among these Books, touching on Friedrich's childhood, and treating
of his Father's Court, there is hardly above one that we can
characterize as fairly human: the Book written by his little
Sister Wilhelmina, when she grew to size and knowledge of good and
evil; [ Memoires de Frederique Sophie Wilhelmine de
Prusse, Margrave de Bareith (Brunswick, Paris et
Londres, l8l2), 2 vols. 8vo.]--and this, of what flighty uncertain
nature it is, the world partly knows. A human Book, however, not a
pedant one: there is a most shrill female soul busy with intense
earnestness here; looking, and teaching us to look. We find it a
VERACIOUS Book, done with heart, and from eyesight and insight;
of a veracity deeper than the superficial sort. It is full of
mistakes, indeed; and exaggerates dreadfully, in its shrill female
way; but is above intending to deceive: deduct the due subtrahend,
--say perhaps twenty-five per cent, or in extreme cases as high as
seventy-five,--you will get some human image of credible
actualities from Wilhelmina. Practically she is our one resource
on this matter. Of the strange King Friedrich Wilhelm and his
strange Court, with such an Heir-Apparent growing up in it, there
is no real light to be had, except what Wilhelmina gives,--or
kindles dark Books of others into giving. For that, too, on long
study, is the result of her, here and there. With so flickery a
wax-taper held over Friedrich's childhood,--and the other dirty
tallow-dips all going out in intolerable odor,--judge if our
success can be very triumphant!

We perceive the little creature has got much from Nature; not the
big arena only, but fine inward gifts, for he is well-born in more
senses than one;--and that in the breeding of him there are two
elements noticeable, widely diverse: the French and the German.
This is perhaps the chief peculiarity; best worth laying hold of,
with the due comprehension, if our means allow.


His nurses, governesses, simultaneous and successive, mostly of
French breed, are duly set down in the Prussian Books, and held in
mind as a point of duty by Prussian men; but, in foreign parts,
cannot be considered otherwise than as a group, and merely with
generic features. He had a Frau von Kamecke for Head Governess,--
the lady whom Wilhelmina, in her famed Memoires, italic> always writes KAMKEN; and of whom, except the floating
gossip found in that Book, there is nothing to be remembered.
Under her, as practical superintendent, SOUS-GOUVERNANTE and
quasi-mother, was the Dame de Roucoulles, a more important person
for us here. Dame de Roucoulles, once de Montbail, the same
respectable Edict-of-Nantes French lady who, five-and-twenty years
ago, had taken similar charge of Friedrich Wilhelm; a fact that
speaks well for the character of her performance in that office.
She had done her first edition of a Prussian Prince in a
satisfactory manner; and not without difficult accidents and
singularities, as we have heard: the like of which were spared her
in this her second edition (so we may call it); a second and, in
all manner of ways, an improved one. The young Fritz swallowed no
shoe-buckles; did not leap out of window, hanging on by the hands;
nor achieve anything of turbulent, or otherwise memorable, in his
infantine history; the course of which was in general smooth, and
runs, happily for it, below the ken of rumor. The Boy, it is said,
and is easily credible, was of extraordinary vivacity; quick in
apprehending all things, and gracefully relating himself to them.
One of the prettiest, vividest little boys; with eyes, with mind
and ways, of uncommon brilliancy;--only he takes less to
soldiering than the paternal heart could wish; and appears to find
other things in the world fully as notable as loud drums, and
stiff men drawn up in rows. Moreover, he is apt to be a little
unhealthy now and then, and requires care from his nurses, over
whom the judicious Roucoulles has to be very vigilant.

Of this respectable Madame de Roucoulles I have read, at least
seven times, what the Prussian Books say of her by way of
Biography; but it is always given in their dull tombstone style;
it has moreover next to no importance; and I,--alas, I do not yet
too well remember it! She was from Normandy; of gentle blood,
never very rich; Protestant, in the Edict-of-Nantes time; and had
to fly her country, a young widow, with daughter and mother-in-law
hanging on her; the whole of them almost penniless. However, she
was kindly received at the Court of Berlin, as usual in that sad
case; and got some practical help towards living in her new
country. Queen Sophie Charlotte had liked her society; and finding
her of prudent intelligent turn, and with the style of manners
suitable, had given her Friedrich Wilhelm to take charge of.
She was at that time Madame de Montbail; widow, as we said:
she afterwards wedded Roucoulles, a refugee gentleman of her own
Nation, who had gone into the Prussian Army, as was common for the
like of him: She had again become a widow, Madame de Roucoulles
this time, with her daughter Montbail still about her, when, by
the grateful good sense of Friedrich Wilhelm, she was again
intrusted as we see;--and so had the honor of governessing
Frederick the Great for the first seven years of his life.
Respectable lady, she oversaw his nurses, pap-boats,--"beer-soup
and bread," he himself tells us once, was his main diet in
boyhood,--beer-soups, dress-frocks, first attempts at walking;
and then also his little bits of intellectualities, moralities;
his incipiencies of speech, demeanor, and spiritual development;
and did her function very honestly, there is no doubt.

Wilhelmina mentions her, at a subsequent period; and we have a
glimpse of this same Roucoulles, gliding about among the royal
young-folk, "with only one tooth left" (figuratively speaking),
and somewhat given to tattle, in Princess Wilhelmina's opinion.
Grown very old now, poor lady; and the dreadfulest bore, when she
gets upon Hanover and her experiences, and Queen Sophie
Charlotte's, in that stupendously magnificent court under
Gentleman Ernst. Shun that topic, if you love your peace of mind!
[ Memoires (above cited).]--She did certainly
superintend the Boy Fritzkin for his first seven years; that is a
glory that cannot be taken from her. And her pupil, too, we
agreeably perceive, was always grateful for her services in that
capacity. Once a week, if he were in Berlin, during his youthful
time, he was sure to appear at the Roucoulles Soiree, and say and
look various pleasant things to his "CHER MAMAN (dear Mamma)," as
he used to call her, and to the respectable small parts she had.
Not to speak of other more substantial services, which also were not wanting.

Roucoulles and the other female souls, mainly French, among whom
the incipient Fritz now was, appear to have done their part as
well as could be looked for. Respectable Edict-of-Nantes French
ladies, with high head-gear, wide hoops; a clear, correct, but
somewhat barren and meagre species, tight-laced and high-frizzled
in mind and body. It is not a very fertile element for a young
soul: not very much of silent piety in it; and perhaps of vocal
piety more than enough in proportion. An element founding on what
they call "enlightened Protestantism," "freedom of thought," and
the like, which is apt to become loquacious, and too conscious of
itself; terming, on the whole, rather to contempt of the false,
than to deep or very effective recognition of the true.

But it is, in some important senses, a clear and pure element
withal. At lowest, there are no conscious semi-falsities, or
volunteer hypocrisies, taught the poor Boy; honor, clearness,
truth of word at least; a decorous dignified bearing;
various thin good things, are honestly inculcated and exemplified;
nor is any bad, ungraceful or suspicious thing permitted there,
if recognized for such. It might have been a worse element;
and we must be thankful for it. Friedrich, through life, carries
deep traces of this French-Protestant incipiency: a very big
wide-branching royal tree, in the end; but as small and flexible a
seedling once as any one of us.

The good old Dame de Roucoulles just lived to witness his
accession; on which grand juncture and afterwards, as he had done
before, he continued to express, in graceful and useful ways, his
gratitude and honest affection to her and hers. Tea services,
presents in cut-glass and other kinds, with Letters that were
still more precious to the old Lady, had come always at due
intervals:, and one of his earliest kingly gifts was that of some
suitable small pension for Montbail, the elderly daughter of this
poor old Roucoulles, [Preuss, Friedrich der Grosse, eine
Lebensgeschichte (5 vols. Berlin, 1832-1834),
v. (Urkundenbuch, p. 4). OEuvres de Frederic
(same Preuss's Edition, Berlin, 1846-1850, &c.), xvi. 184, 191.--
The Herr Doctor J. D. E. Preuss, "Historiographer of Brandenburg,"
devoted wholly to the study of Friedrich for five-and-twenty years
past, and for above a dozen years busily engaged in editing the
OEuvres de Frederic, --has, besides that
Lebensgeschichte just cited, three or four
smaller Books, of indistinctly different titles, on the same
subject. A meritoriously exact man; acquainted with the outer
details of Friedrich's Biography (had he any way of arranging,
organizing or setting them forth) as few men ever were or will be.
We shall mean always this Lebensgeschichte
here, when no other title is given: and OEuvres de
Frederic shall signify HIS Edition, unless the
contrary be stated.] who was just singing her DIMITTAES as it
were, still in a blithe and pious manner. For she saw now (in
1740) her little nursling grown to be a brilliant man and King;
King gone out to the Wars, too, with all Europe inquiring and
wondering what the issue would be. As for her, she closed her poor
old eyes, at this stage of the business; piously, in foreign
parts, far from her native Normandy; and did not see farther what
the issue was. Good old Dame, I have, as was observed, read some
seven times over what they call biographical accounts of her;
but have seven times (by Heaven's favor, I do partly believe)
mostly forgotten them again; and would not, without cause, inflict
on any reader the like sorrow. To remember one worthy thing, how
many thousand unworthy things must a man be able to forget!

From this Edict-of-Mantes enviroument, which taught our young
Fritz his first lessons of human behavior,--a polite sharp little
Boy, we do hope and understand,--he learned also to clothe his
bits of notions, emotions, and garrulous utterabilities, in the
French dialect. Learned to speak, and likewise, what is more
important; to THINK, in French; which was otherwise quite
domesticated in the Palace, and became his second mother-tongue.
Not a bad dialect; yet also none of the best. Very lean and
shallow, if very clear and convenient; leaving much in poor Fritz
unuttered, unthought, unpractised, which might otherwise have come
into activity in the course of his life. He learned to read very
soon, I presume; but he did not, now or afterwards, ever learn to
spell. He spells indeed dreadfully ILL, at his first appearance
on the writing stage, as we shall see by and by; and he continued,
to the last, one of the bad spellers of his day. A circumstance
which I never can fully account for, and will leave to the
reader's study.

From all manner of sources,--from inferior valetaille, Prussian
Officials, Royal Majesty itself when not in gala,--he learned, not
less rootedly, the corrupt Prussian dialect of German; and used
the same, all his days, among his soldiers, native officials,
common subjects and wherever it was most convenient; speaking it,
and writing and misspelling it, with great freedom, though always
with a certain aversion and undisguised contempt, which has since
brought him blame in some quarters. It is true, the Prussian form
of German is but rude; and probably Friedrich, except sometimes in
Luther's Bible, never read any German Book. What, if we will think
of it, could he know of his first mother-tongue! German, to this
day, is a frightful dialect for the stupid, the pedant and dullard
sort! Only in the hands of the gifted does it become supremely
good. It had not yet been the language of any Goethe, any Lessing;
though it stood on the eve of becoming such. It had already been
the language of Luther, of Ulrich Hutten, Friedrich Barbarossa,
Charlemagne and others. And several extremely important things had
been said in it, and some pleasant ones even sung in it, from an
old date, in a very appropriate manner,--had Crown-Prince
Friedrich known all that. But he could not reasonably be expected
to know:--and the wiser Germans now forgive him for not knowing,
and are even thankful that he did not.

Chapter II.


So that, as we said, there are two elements for young Fritz, and
highly diverse ones, from both of which he is to draw nourishment,
and assimilate what he can. Besides that Edict-of-Nantes French
element, and in continual contact and contrast with it, which
prevails chiefly in the Female Quarters of the Palace,--there is
the native German element for young Fritz, of which the centre is
Papa, now come to be King, and powerfully manifesting himself as
such. An abrupt peremptory young King; and German to the bone.
Along with whom, companions to him in his social hours, and
fellow-workers in his business, are a set of very rugged German
sons of Nature; differing much from the French sons of Art.
Baron Grumkow, Leopold Prince of Anhalt-Dessau (not yet called the
"OLD Dessauer," being under forty yet), General Glasenap, Colonel
Derschau, General Flans; these, and the other nameless Generals
and Officials, are a curious counterpart to the Camases, the
Hautcharmoys and Forcades, with their nimble tongues and rapiers;
still more to the Beausobres, Achards, full of ecclesiastical
logic, made of Bayle and Calvin kneaded together; and to the
high-frizzled ladies rustling in stiff silk, with the shadow of
Versailles and of the Dragonnades alike present to them.

Born Hyperboreans these others; rough as hemp, and stout of fibre
as hemp; native products of the rigorous North. Of whom, after all
our reading, we know little.--O Heaven, they have had long lines
of rugged ancestors, cast in the same rude stalwart mould, and
leading their rough life there, of whom we know absolutely
nothing! Dumb all those preceding busy generations; and this of
Friedrich Wilhelm is grown almost dumb. Grim semi-articulate
Prussian men; gone all to pipe-clay and mustache for us.
Strange blond-complexioned, not unbeautiful Prussian honorable
women, in hoops, brocades, and unintelligible head-gear and
hair-towers,--ACH GOTT, they too are gone; and their musical talk,
in the French or German language, that also is gone; and the
hollow Eternities have swallowed it, as their wont is, in a very
surprising manner!--

Grumkow, a cunning, greedy-hearted, long-headed fellow, of the old
Pomeranian Nobility by birth, has a kind of superficial polish put
upon his Hyperboreanisms; he has been in foreign countries, doing
legations, diplomacies, for which, at least for the vulpine parts
of which, he has a turn. He writes and speaks articulate
grammatical French; but neither in that, nor in native Pommerish
Platt-Deutsch, does he show us much, except the depths of his own
greed, of his own astucities and stealthy audacities. Of which we
shall hear more than enough by and by.


As to the Prince of Anhalt-Dessau, rugged man, whose very face is
the color of gunpowder, he also knows French, and can even write
in it, if he like,--having duly had a Tutor of that nation, and
strange adventures with him on the grand tour and elsewhere;--but
does not much practise writing, when it can be helped.
His children, I have heard, he expressly did not teach to read or
write, seeing no benefit in that effeminate art, but left them to
pick it up as they could. His Princess, all rightly ennobled now,
--whom he would not but marry, though sent on the grand tour to
avoid it,--was the daughter of one Fos an Apothecary at Dessau;
and is still a beautiful and prudent kind of woman, who seems to
suit him well enough, no worse than if she had been born a
Princess. Much talk has been of her, in princely and other
circles; nor is his marriage the only strange thing Leopold has
done. He is a man to keep the world's tongue wagging, not too
musically always; though himself of very unvocal nature.
Perhaps the biggest mass of inarticulate human vitality, certainly
one of the biggest, then going about in the world. A man of vast
dumb faculty; dumb, but fertile, deep; no end of ingenuities in
the rough head of him:--as much mother-wit, there, I often guess,
as could be found in whole talking parliaments, spouting
themselves away in vocables and eloquent wind!

A man of dreadful impetuosity withal. Set upon his will as the one
law of Nature; storming forward with incontrollable violence:
a very whirlwind of a man. He was left a minor; his Mother
guardian. Nothing could prevent him from marrying this Fos the
Apothecary's Daughter; no tears nor contrivances of his Mother,
whom he much loved, and who took skilful measures. Fourteen months
of travel in Italy; grand tour, with eligible French Tutor,--whom
he once drew sword upon, getting some rebuke from him one night in
Venice, and would have killed, had not the man been nimble, at
once dexterous and sublime:--it availed not. The first thing he
did, on re-entering Dessau, with his Tutor, was to call at
Apothecary Fos's, and see the charming Mamsell; to go and see his
Mother, wss the second thing. Mot even his grand passion for war
could eradicate Fos: he went to Dutoh William's wars; the wise
mother still counselling, who was own aunt to Dutoh William, and
liked the scheme. He besieged Namur; fought and besieged up and
down,--with insatiable appetite for fighting and sieging;
with great honor, too, and ambitions awakening in him;--campaign
after campaign: but along with the flamy-thundery ideal bride,
figuratively called Bellona, there was always a soft real one,
Mamsell Fos of Dessau, to whom he continued constant.
The Government of his Dominions he left cheerfully to his Mother,
even when he came of age: "I am for learning War, as the one right
trade; do with all things as you please, Mamma,--only not with
Mamsell, not with her!"--

Readers may figure this scene too, and shudder over it.
Some rather handsome male Cousin of Mamsell, Medical Graduate or
whatever he was, had appeared in Dessau:--"Seems, to admire
Mamsell much; of course, in a Platonic way," said rumor:--
"He? Admire?" thinks Leopold;--thinks a good deal of it, not in
the philosophic mood. As he was one day passing Fos's, Mamsell and
the Medical Graduate are visible, standing together at the window
inside. Pleasantly looking out upon Nature,--of course quite
casually, say some Histories with a sneer. In fact, it seems
possible this Medical Graduate may have been set to act shoeing-
horn; but he had better not. Leopold storms into the House,
"Draw, scandalous canaille, and defend yourself!"--And in this, or
some such way, a confident tradition says, he killed the poor
Medical Graduate there and then. One tries always to hope not:
but Varnhagen is positive, though the other Histories say nothing
of it. God knows. The man was a Prince; no Reichshofrath,
Speyer-Wetzlar KAMMER, or other Supreme Court, would much trouble
itself, except with formal shakings of the wig, about such a
peccadillo. In fine, it was better for Leopold to marry the Miss
Fos; which he actually did (1698, in his twenty-second year),
"with the left-hand,"--and then with the right and both hands;
having got her properly ennobled before long, by his splendid
military services. She made, as we have hinted, an excellent Wife
to him, for the fifty or sixty ensuing years.

This is a strange rugged specimen, this inarticulate Leopold;
already getting mythic, as we can perceive, to the polished vocal
ages; which mix all manner of fables with the considerable history
he has. Readers will see him turn up again in notable forms. A man
hitherto unknown except in his own country; and yet of very
considerable significance to all European countries whatsoever;
the fruit of his activities, without his name attached, being now
manifest in all of them. He invented the iron ramrod; he invented
the equal step; in fact, he is the inventor of modern military
tactics. Even so, if we knew it: the Soldiery of every civilized
country still receives from this man, on parade-fields and
battle-fields, its word of command; out of his rough head
proceeded the essential of all that the innumerable
Drill-sergeants, in various languages, daily repeat and enforce.
Such a man is worth some transient glance from his
fellow-creatures,--especially with a little Fritz trotting at his
foot, and drawing inferences from him.

Dessau, we should have said for the English reader's behoof, was
and still is a little independent Principality; about the size of
Huntingdonshire, but with woods instead of bogs;--revenue of it,
at this day, is 60,000 pounds, was perhaps not 20, or even 10,000
in Leopold's first time. It lies some fourscore miles southwest of
Berlin, attainable by post-horses in a day. Leopold, as his Father
had done, stood by Prussia as if wholly native to it. Leopold's
Mother was Sister of that fine Louisa, the Great Elector's first
Wife; his Sister is wedded to the Margraf of Schwedt, Friedrich
Wilhelm's half-uncle. Lying in such neighborhood, and being in
such affinity to the Prussian House, the Dessauers may be said to
have, in late times, their headquarters at Berlin. Leopold and
Leopold's sons, as his father before him had done, without
neglecting their Dessau and Principality, hold by the Prussian
Army as their main employment. Not neglecting Dessau either;
but going thither in winter, or on call otherwise; Leopold
least of all neglecting it, who neglects nothing that can be
useful to him.

He is General Field-Marshal of the Prussian Armies, the foremost
man in war-matters with this new King; and well worthy to be so.
He is inventing, or brooding in the way to invent, a variety of
things,--"iron ramrods," for one; a very great improvement on the
fragile ineffective wooden implement, say all the Books, but give
no date to it; that is the first thing; and there will be others,
likewise undated, but posterior, requiring mention by and by.
Inventing many things;--and always well practising what is already
invented, and known for certain. In a word, he is drilling to
perfection, with assiduous rigor, the Prussian Infantry to be the
wonder of the world. He has fought with them, too, in a conclusive
manner; and is at all times ready for fighting.

He was in Malplaquet with them, if only as volunteer on that
occasion. He commanded them in Blenheim itself; stood, in the
right or Eugene wing of that famed Battle of Blenheim, fiercely at
bay, when the Austrian Cavalry had all fled;--fiercely volleying,
charging, dexterously wheeling and manoeuvring; sticking to his
ground with a mastiff-like tenacity,--till Marlborough, and
victory from the left, relieved him and others. He was at the
Bridge of Cassano; where Eugene and Vendome came to hand-grips;--
where Mirabeau's Grandfather, COL-D'ARGENT, got his six-and-thirty
wounds, and was "killed" as he used to term it. [Carlyle's
Miscellanies, v. ? Mirabeau.] "The hottest
fire I ever saw," said Eugene, who had not seen Malplaquet at that
time. While Col-d'Argent sank collapsed upon the Bridge, and the
horse charged over him, and again charged, and beat and were
beaten three several times,--Anhalt-Dessau, impatient of such
fiddling hither and thither, swashed into the stream itself with
his Prussian Foot: swashed through it, waist-deep or breast-deep;
and might have settled the matter, had not his cartridges got
wetted. Old King Friedrich rebuked him angrily for his impetuosity
in this matter, and the sad loss of men.

Then again he was at the Storming of the Lines of Turin,--Eugene's
feat of 1706, and a most volcanic business;--was the first man
that got-over the entrenchment there. Foremost man; face all black
with the smoke of gunpowder, only channelled here and there with
rivulets of sweat;--not a lovely phenomenon to the French in the
interior! Who still fought like madmen, but were at length driven
into heaps, and obliged to run. A while before they ran,
Anhalt-Dessau, noticing some Captain posted with his company in a
likely situation, stept aside to him for a moment, and asked,
"Am I wounded, think you.?--No? Then have you anything to drink?"
and deliberately "drank a glass of aqua-vitae," the judicious
Captain carrying a pocket-pistol of that sort, in case of
accident; and likewise "eat, with great appetite, a bit of bread
from one of the soldiers' haversacks; saying, He believed the heat
of the job was done, and that there was no fear now!"--
Des weltberumkten Leopoldi, &c. (Anonymous, by
Ranfft, cited above), pp. 42-45, 52, 65.]

A man that has been in many wars; in whose rough head, are schemes
hatching. Any religion he has is of Protestant nature; but he has
not much,--on the doctrinal side, very little. Luther's Hymn,
Eine feste Burg ist unser Gott, he calls
"God Almighty's grenadier-march." On joining battle, he audibly
utters, with bared head, some growl of rugged prayer, far from
orthodox at times, but muoh in earnest: that lifting of his hat
for prayer, is his last signal on such occasions. He is very
cunning as required, withal; not disdaining the serpentine method
when no other will do. With Friedrich Wilhelm, who is his
second-cousin (Mother's grand-nephew, if the reader can count
that), he is from of old on the best footing, and contrives to be
his Mentor in many things besides War. Till his quarrel with
Grumkow, of which we shall hear, he took the lead in political
advising, too; and had schemes, or was thought to have, of which
Queen Sophie was in much terror.

A tall, strong-boned, hairy man; with cloudy brows, vigilant swift
eyes; has "a bluish tint of skin," says Wilhelmina, "as if the
gunpowder still stuck to him." He wears long mustaches; triangular
hat, plume and other equipments, are of thrifty practical size.
Can be polite enough in speech; but hides much of his meaning,
which indeed is mostly inarticulate, and not always joyful to
the by-stander. He plays rough pranks, too, on occasion; and has
a big horse-laugh in him, where there is a fop to be roasted,
or the like. We will leave him for the present, in hope of
other meetings.

Remarkable men, many of those old Prussian soldiers: of whom one
wishes, to no purpose, that there had more knowledge been
attainable. But the Books are silent; no painter, no genial
seeing-man to paint with his pen, was there. Grim hirsute
Hyperborean figures, they pass mostly mute before us: burly,
surly; in mustaches, in dim uncertain garniture, of which the
buff-belts and the steel, are alone conspicuous. Growling in
guttural Teutsoh what little articulate meaning they had:
spending, of the inarticulate, a proportion in games, of chance,
probably too in drinking beer; yet having an immense overplus
which they do not so spend, but endeavor to utter in such working
as there may be. So have the Hyperboreans lived from of old.
From the times of Tacitus and Pytheas, not to speak of Odin and
Japhet, what hosts of them have marched across Existence, in that
manner;--and where is the memory that would, even if it could,
speak of them all!--

We will hope the mind of our little Fritz has powers of
assimilation. Bayle-Calvin logics, and shadows of Versailles,
on this hand, and gunpowder Leopolds and inarticulate Hyperboreans
on that: here is a wide diversity of nutriment, all rather tough
in quality, provided for the young soul. Innumerable unconscious
inferences he must have drawn in his little head! Prince Leopold's
face, with the whiskers and blue skin, I find he was wont, at
after periods, to do in caricature, under the figure of a Cat's;--
horror and admiration not the sole feelings raised in him by the
Field-Marshal.--For bodily nourishment he had "beer-soup;"
a decided Spartan tone prevailing, wherever possible, in the
breeding and treatment of him.

And we need not doubt, by far the most important element of his
education was the unconscious Apprenticeship he continually served
to such a Spartan as King Friedrich Wilhelm. Of whose works and
ways he could not help taking note, angry or other, every day and
hour; nor in the end, if he were intelligent, help understanding
them, and learning from them. A harsh Master and almost half-mad,
as it many times seemed to the poor Apprentice; yet a true and
solid one, whose real wisdom was worth that of all the others, as
he came at length to recognize.

Chapter III.


With the death of old King Friedrich, there occurred at once vast
changes in the Court of Berlin; a total and universal change in
the mode of living and doing business there. Friedrich Wilhelm,
out of filial piety, wore at his father's funeral the grand French
peruke and other sublimities of French costume; but it was for the
last time: that sad duty once done, he flung the whole aside, not
without impatience, and on no occasion wore such costume again.
He was not a friend to French fashions, nor had ever been; far the
contrary. In his boyhood, say the Biographers, there was once a
grand embroidered cloth-of-gold, or otherwise supremely
magnificent, little Dressing-gown given him; but he would at no
rate put it on, or be concerned with it; on the contrary, stuffed
it indignantly "into the fire;" and demanded wholesome useful
duffel instead.

He began his reform literally at the earliest moment.
Being summoned into the apartment where his poor Father was in the
last struggle, he could scarcely get across for KAMMERJUNKER,
KAMMERHERRN, Goldsticks, Silversticks, and the other solemn
histrionic functionaries, all crowding there to do their sad
mimicry on the occasion: not a lovely accompaniment in Friedrich
Wilhelm's eyes. His poor Father's death-struggle once done, and
all reduced to everlasting rest there, Friedrich Wilhelm looked in
silence over the Unutterable, for a Short space, disregardful of
the Goldsticks and their eager new homaging; walked swiftly away
from it to his own room, shut the door with a slam; and there,
shaking the tears from his eyes, commenced by a notable duty,--the
duty nearest hand, and therefore first to be done, as it seemed to
him. It was about one in the afternoon, 25th February, 1713;
his Father dead half an hour before: "Tears at a Father's
death-bed, must they be dashed with rage by such a set of greedy
Histrios?" thought Friedrich Wilhelm. He summoned these his
Court-people, that is to say, summoned their OBER-HOFMARSCHALL and
representative; and through him signified to them, That, till the
Funeral was over, their service would continue; and that on the
morrow after the Funeral, they were, every soul of them,
discharged; and from the highest Goldstick down to the lowest
Page-in-waiting, the King's House should be swept entirely clean
of them;--said House intending to start afresh upon a quite new
footing. [Forster, i. 174; Pollnitz, Memoiren, italic> ii. 4.] Which spread such a consternation among the
courtier people, say the Histories, as was never seen before.

The thing was done, however; and nobody durst whisper discontent
with it; this rugged young King, with his plangent metallic voice,
with his steady-beaming eyes, seeming dreadfully in earnest about
it, and a person that might prove dangerous if you crossed him.
He reduced his Household accordingly, at once, to the lowest
footing of the indispensable; and discharged a whole regiment of
superfluous official persons, court-flunkies, inferior, superior
and supreme, in the most ruthless manner. He does not intend
keeping any OBER-HOFMARSCHALL, or the like idle person,
henceforth; thinks a minimum of the Goldsticks ought to suffice
every man.

Eight Lackeys, in the ante-chambers and elsewhere, these, with
each a JAGERBURSCH (what we should call an UNDER-KEEPER) to assist
when not hunting, will suffice: Lackeys at "eight THALERS
monthly," which is six shillings a week. Three active Pages,
sometimes two, instead of perhaps three dozen idle that there used
to be. In King Friedrich's time, there were wont to be a thousand
saddle-horses at corn and hay: but how many of them were in actual
use? Very many of them were mere imaginary quadrupeds; their price
and keep pocketed by some knavish STALLMEISTER, Equerry or
Head-groom. Friedrich Wilhelm keeps only thirty Horses; but these
are very actual, not imaginary at all; their corn not running into
any knave's pocket; but lying actually in the mangers here;
getting ground for you into actual four-footed speed, when, on
turf or highway, you require such a thing. About, thirty for the
saddle,--with a few carriage-teams, are what Friedrich Wilhelm
can employ in any reasonable measure: and more he will not have
about him.

In the like ruthless humor he goes over his Pension-list;
strikes three fourths of that away, reduces the remaining fourth
to the very bone. In like humor, he goes over every department of
his Administrative, Household and other Expenses: shears
everything down, here by the hundred thalers, there by the ten,
willing even to save HALF A THALER. He goes over all this three
several times;--his Papers, the three successive Lists he used on
that occasion, have been printed. [Rodenbeck, Beitrage
zur Bereicherung der Lebembeschreibungen Friedrich Wilhelms I. und
Friedrichs des Grossen (Berlin, 1836), pp. 99-127.]
He has satisfied himself, in about two months, what, the effective
minimum is; and leaves it so. Reduced to below the fifth of what
it was; 55,000 THALERS, instead of 276,000. [Stenzel, iii. 237.]

By degrees he went over, went into and through, every department
of Prussian Business, in that fashion; steadily, warily,
irresistibly compelling every item of it, large and little, to
take that same character of perfect economy and solidity, of
utility pure and simple. Needful work is to be rigorously well
done; needless work, and ineffectual or imaginary workers, to be
rigorously pitched out of doors. What a blessing on this Earth;
worth purchasing almost at any price! The money saved is
something, nothing if you will; but the amount of mendacity
expunged, has any one computed that? Mendacity not of tongue;
but the far feller sort, of hand, and of heart, and of head;
short summary of all Devil's-worship whatsoever. Which spreads
silently along, once you let it in, with full purse or with empty;
some fools even praising it: the quiet DRY-ROT of Nations!
To expunge such is greatly the duty of every man, especially of
every King. Unconsciously, not thinking of Devil's-worship, or
spiritual dry-rot, but of money chiefly, and led by Nature and the
ways she has with us, it was the task of Friedrich Wilhelm's life
to bring about this beneficent result in all departments of
Prussian Business, great and little, public and even private.
Year after year, he brings it to perfection; pushes it unweariedly
forward every day and hour. So that he has Prussia, at last, all a
Prussia made after his own image; the most thrifty, hardy,
rigorous and Spartan country any modern King ever tied over;
and himself (if he thought of that) a King indeed. He that models
Nations according to his own image, he is a King, though his
sceptre were a walking-stick; and, properly no other is.

Friedrich Wilhelm was wondered at, and laughed at, by innumerable
mortals for his ways of doing; which indeed were very strange.
Not that he figured much in what is called Public History, or
desired to do so; for, though a vigilant ruler, he did not deal in
protocolling and campaining,--he let a minimum of that suffice
him. But in court soirees, where elegant empty talk goes on, and
of all materials for it scandal is found incomparably the most
interesting. I suppose there turned up no name oftener than that
of his Prussian Majesty; and during these twenty-seven years of
his Reign, his wild pranks and explosions gave food for continual
talk in such quarter.

For he was like no other King that then existed, or had ever been
discovered. Wilder Son of Nature seldom came into the artificial
world; into a royal throne there, probably never. A wild man,
wholly in earnest, veritable as the old rocks,--and with a
terrible volcanic fire in him too. He would have been strange
anywhere; but among the dapper Royal gentlemen of the Eighteenth
Century, what was to be done with such an Orson of a King?--Clap
him in Bedlam, and bring out the ballot-boxes instead? The modern
generation, too, still takes its impression of him from these
rumors,--still more now from Wilhelmina's Book; which paints the
outside savagery of the royal man, in a most striking manner;
and leaves the inside vacant, undiscovered by Wilhelmina or
the rumors.

Nevertheless it appears there were a few observant eyes even of
contemporaries, who discerned in him a surprising talent for
"National Economics" at least. One Leipzig Professor, Saxon, not
Prussian by nation or interest, recognizes in Friedrich Wilhelm
"DEN GROSSEN WIRTH (the great Manager, Husbandry-man, or Landlord)
of the epoch;" and lectures on his admirable "works, arrangements
and institutions" in that kind. [Rodenbeck's Beitrage
(p. 14),--Year, or Name of Lecturer, not mentioned.]
Nay the dapper Royal gentlemen saw, with envy, the indubitable
growth of this mad savage Brother; and ascribed it to "his
avarice," to his mean ways, which were in such contrast to their
sublime ones. That he understood National Economics has now become
very certain. His grim 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 extant;
are as if done by the paw of a bear: indeed the utterance
generally sounds more like the growling of a bear than anything
that could be handily spelt 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 pretences,
what he calls "wind and humbug (WIND UND BLAUER DUNST)," as is
very strange indeed. Strange among all mankind; doubly and trebly
strange among the unfortunate species called Kings in our time.
To whom,--for sad reasons that could be given,--"wind and blue
vapor (BLAUER DUNST)," artistically managed by the rules of
Acoustics and Optics, seem to be all we have left us!--

It must be owned that this man is inflexibly, and with a fierce
slow inexorable determination, set upon having realities round
him. There is a divine idea of fact put into him; the genus sham
was never hatefuler to any man. Let it keep out of his way, well
beyond the swing of that rattan of his, or it may get something to
remember! A just man, too; would not wrong any man, nor play false
in word or deed to any man. What is Justice but another form of
the REALITY we love; a truth acted out? Of all the humbugs or
"painted vapors" known, Injustice is the least capable of
profiting men or kings! A just man, I say; and a valiant and
veracious: but rugged as a wild bear; entirely inarticulate, as if
dumb. No bursts of parliamentary eloquence in him, nor the least
tendency that way. His talent for Stump-Oratory may be reckoned
the minimum conceivable, or practically noted a ZERO. A man who
would not have risen in modern Political Circles; man unchoosable
at hustings or in caucus; man forever invisible, and very
unadmirable if seen, to the Able Editor and those that hang by
him. In fact, a kind of savage man, as we say; but highly
interesting, if you can read dumb human worth; and of
inexpressible profit to the Prussian Nation.

For the first ten years of his reign, he had a heavy, continual
struggle, getting his finance and other branches of administration
extricated from their strangling imbroglios of coiled nonsense,
and put upon a rational footing. His labor in these years, the
first of little Fritz's life, must have been great; the pushing
and pulling strong and continual. The good plan itself, this comes
not of its own accord; it is the fruit of "genius" (which means
transcendent capacity of taking trouble, first of all): given a
huge stack of tumbled thrums, it is not in your sleep that you
will find the vital centre of it, or get the first thrum by the
end! And then the execution, the realizing, amid the
contradiction, silent or expressed, of men and things? Explosive
violence was by no means Friedrich Wilhelm's method; the amount of
slow stubborn broad-shouldered strength, in all kinds, expended by
the man, strikes us as very great. The amount of patience even,
though patience is not reckoned his forte.

That of the RITTER-DIENST (Knights'-Service), for example, which
is but one small item of his business, the commuting of the old
feudal duty of his Landholders to do Service in Wartime, into a
fixed money payment: nothing could be fairer, more clearly
advantageous to both parties; and most of his "Knights" gladly
accepted the proposal: yet a certain factious set of them, the
Magdeburg set, stirred up by some seven or eight of their number,
"hardly above seven or eight really against me," saw good to stand
out; remonstrated, recalcitrated; complained in the Diet (Kaiser
too happy to hear of it, that he might have a hook on Friedrich
Wilhelm); and for long years that paltry matter was a provocation
to him. [1717-1725. Forster, ii. 162-165, iv. 31-34; Stenzel,
iii. 316-319; Samuel Buchholz, Neueste Preussisch-
Brandenburgische Geschichte (Berlin, 1775), i. 197.]
But if your plan is just, and a bit of Nature's plan, persist in
it like a law of Nature. This secret too was known to Friedrich
Wilhelm. In the space of ten years, by actual human strength
loyally spent, he had managed many things; saw all things
in a course towards management. All things, as it were, fairly
on the road; the multiplex team pulling one way, in rational
human harness, not in imbroglios of coiled thrums made by
the Nightmares.

How he introduced a new mode of farming his Domain Lands, which
are a main branch of his revenue, and shall be farmed on regular
lease henceforth, and not wasted in peculation and indolent
mismanagement as heretofore; [Forster, ii. 206, 216.] new modes of
levving his taxes and revenues of every kind: [Ib. ii. 190, 195.]
How he at last concentrated, and harmonized into one easy-going
effective GENERAL DIRECTORY, [Completedd 19th January, 1723
(Ib. ii. 172).] the multifarious conflicting Boards, that were
jolting and jangling in a dark use-and-wont manner, and leaving
their work half done, when he first came into power: [Dohm,
Denkwurdigkeiten meiner Zeit (Lemgo und
Hanover, 1814-1819), iv. 88.] How he insisted on having daylight
introduced to the very bottom of every business, fair-and-square
observed as the rule of it, and the shortest road adopted for
doing it: How he drained bogs, planted colonies, established
manufactures, made his own uniforms of Prussian wool, in a
LAGERHAUS of his own: How he dealt with the Jew Gompert about
farming his Tobacoo;--how, from many a crooked case and character
he, by slow or short methods, brought out something straight;
would take no denial of what was his, nor make any demand of what
was not; and did prove really a terror to evildoers of various
kinds, especially to prevaricators, defalcators, imaginary
workers, and slippery unjust persons: How he urged diligence on
all mortals, would not have the very Apple-women sit "without
knitting" at their stalls; and brandished his stick, or struck it
fiercely down, over the incorrigibly idle:--All this, as well as
his ludicrous explosions and unreasonable violences, is on record
concerning Friedrich Wilhelm, though it is to the latter chiefly
that the world has directed its unwise attention, in judging of
him. He was a very arbitrary King. Yes, but then a good deal of
his ARBITRIUM, or sovereign will, was that of the Eternal Heavens
as well; and did exceedingly behoove to be done, if the Earth
would prosper. Which is an immense consideration in regard to his
sovereign will and him! He was prompt with his rattan, in urgent
cases; had his gallows also, prompt enough, where needful.
Let him see that no mistakes happen, as certainly he means that
none shall!

Yearly he made his country richer; and this not in money alone
(which is of very uncertain value, and sometimes has no value at
all, and even less), but in frugality, diligence, punctuality,
veracity,--the grand fountains from which money, and all real
values and valors spring for men. To Friedrich Wilhelm in his
rustio simplicity, money had no lack of value; rather the reverse.
To the homespun man it was a success of most excellent quality,
and the chief symbol of success in all kinds. Yearly he made his
own revenues, and his people's along with them and as the source
of them, larger: and in all states of his revenue, he had
contrived to make his expenditure less than it; and yearly saved
masses of coin, and "reposited them in barrels in the cellars of
his Schloss,"--where they proved very useful, one day. Much in
Friedrich Wilhelm proved useful, beyond even his expectations.
As a Nation's HUSBAND he seeks his fellow among Kings, ancient and
modern. Happy the Nation which gets such a Husband, once in the
half-thousand years. The Nation, as foolish wives and Nations do,
repines and grudges a good deal, its weak whims and will being
thwarted very often; but it advances steadily, with consciousness
or not, in the way of well-doing; and afterlong times the harvest
of this diligent sowing becomes manifest to the Nation and to
all Nations.

Strange as it sounds in the Republic of Letters, we are tempted to
call Friedrich Wilhelm a man of genius;--genius fated and promoted
to work in National Husbandry, not in writing Verses or
three-volume Novels. A silent genius. His melodious stanza, which
he cannot bear to see halt in any syllable, is a rough fact
reduced to order; fact made to stand firm on its feet, with the
world-rocks under it, and looking free towards all the winds and
all the stars. He goes about suppressing platitudes, ripping off
futilities, turning deceptions inside out. The realm of Disorder,
which is Unveracity, Unreality, what we call Chaos, has no fiercer
enemy. Honest soul, and he seemed to himself such a stupid fellow
often; no tongue-learning at all; little capable to give a reason
for the faith that was in him. He cannot argue in articulate
logic, only in inarticulate bellowings, or worse. He must DO a
thing, leave it undemonstrated; once done, it will itself tell
what kind of thing it is, by and by. Men of genius have a hard
time, I perceive, whether born on the throne or off it; and must
expect contradictions next to unendurable,--the plurality of
blockheads being so extreme!

I find, except Samuel Johnson, no man of equal veracity with
Friedrich Wilhelm in that epoch: and Johnson too, with all his
tongue-learning, had not logic enough. In fact, it depends on how
much conviction you have. Blessed be Heaven, there is here and
there a man born who loves truth as truth should be loved, with
all his heart and all his soul; and hates untruth with a
corresponding perfect hatred. Such men, in polite circles, which
understand that certainly truth is better than untruth, but that
you must be polite to both, are liable to get to the end of their
logic. Even Johnson had a bellow in him; though Johnson could at
any time withdraw into silence, HIS kingdom lying all under his
own hat. How much more Friedrich Wilhelm, who had no logic
whatever; and whose kingdom lay without him, far and wide, a thing
he could not withdraw from. The rugged Orson, he needed to be
right. From utmost Memel down to Wesel again, ranked in a
straggling manner round the half-circumference of Europe, all
manner of things and persons were depending on him, and on his
being right, not wrong, in his notion.

A man of clear discernment, very good natural eyesight;
and irrefragably confident in what his eyes told him, in what his
belief was;--yet of huge simplicity withal. Capable of being
coaxed about, and led by the nose, to a strange degree, if there
were an artist dexterous enough, daring enough! His own natural
judgment was good, and, though apt to be hasty and headlong, was
always likely to come right in the end; but internally, we may
perceive, his modesty, self-distrust, anxiety and other unexpected
qualities, must have been great. And then his explosiveness,
impatience, excitability; his conscious dumb ignorance of all
things beyond his own small horizon of personal survey! An Orson
capable enough of being coaxed and tickled, by some first-rate
conjurer;--first-rate; a second-rate might have failed, and got
torn to pieces for his pains. But Seckendorf and Grumkow, what a
dance they led him on some matters,--as we shall see, and as poor
Fritz and others will see!

He was full of sensitiveness, rough as he was and shaggy of skin.
His wild imaginations drove him hither and thither at a sad rate.
He ought to have the privileges of genius. His tall Potsdam
Regiment, his mad-looking passion for enlisting tall men;
this also seems to me one of the whims of genius,--an exaggerated
notion to have his "stanza" polished to the last punctilio of
perfection; and might be paralleled in the history of Poets.
Stranger "man of genius," or in more peculiar circumstances, the
world never saw!

Friedrich Wilhelm, in his Crown-Prince days, and now still more
when he was himself in the sovereign place, had seen all along,
with natural arithmetical intellect, That his strength in this
world, as at present situated, would very much depend upon the
amount of potential-battle that lay in him,--on the quantity and
quality of Soldiers he could maintain, and have ready for the
field at any time. A most indisputable truth, and a heartfelt one
in the present instance. To augment the quantity, to improve the
quality, in this thrice-essential particular: here lay the
keystone and crowning summit of all Friedrich Wilhelm's
endeavors; to which he devoted himself, as only the best Spartan
could have done. Of which there will be other opportunities to
speak in detail. For it was a thing world-notable;
world-laughable, as was then thought; the extremely serious fruit
of which did at length also become notable enough.

In the Malplaquet time, once on some occasion, it is said, two
English Officers, not well informed upon the matter, and provoking
enough in their contemptuous ignorance, were reasoning with one
another in Friedrich Wilhelm's hearing, as to the warlike powers
of the Prussian State, and Whether the King of Prussia could on
his own strength maintain a standing army of 15,000? Without
subsidies, do you think, so many as 15,000? Friedrich Wilhelm,
incensed at the thing and at the tone, is reported to have said
with heat: "Yes, 30,000!" [Forster, i. 138.] whereat the military
men slightly wagged their heads, letting the matter drop for the
present. But he makes it good by degrees; twofold or threefold;--
and will have an army of from seventy to a hundred thousand before
he dies, ["72,000 field-troops, 30,000 garrison-troops"
(Gestandnisse eines OEster reichischen Veterans,
Breslau, 1788, i. 64).] the best-drilled of fighting men; and what
adds much to the wonder, a full Treasury withal. This is the
Brandenburg Spartan King; acquainted with National Economics.
Alone of existing Kings he lays by money annually; and is laying
by many other and far more precious things, for Prussia and the
little Boy he has here.

Friedrich Wilhelm's passion for drilling, recruiting and
perfecting his army attracted much notice: laughing satirical
notice; in the hundred months of common rumor, which he regarded
little; and notice iracund and minatory, when it led him into
collision with the independent portions of mankind, now and then.
This latter sort was not pleasant, and sometimes looked rather
serious; but this too he contrived always to digest in some
tolerable manner. He continued drilling and recruiting,--we may
say not his Army only, but his Nation in all departments of it,--
as no man before or since ever did: increasing, by every devisable
method, the amount of potential-battle that lay in him and it.

In a military, and also in a much deeper sense, he may be defined
as the great Drill-sergeant of the Prussian Nation. Indeed this
had been the function of the Hohenzollerns all along; this
difficult, unpleasant and indispensable one of drilling. From the
first appearance of Burggraf Friedrich, with good words and with
HEAVY PEG, in the wreck of anarchic Brandenburg, and downwards
ever since, this has steadily enough gone on. And not a little
good drilling these populations have had, first and last;
just orders given them (wise and just, which to a respectable
degree were Heaven's orders as well): and certainly Heavy Peg, for
instance,--Heavy Peg, bringing Quitzow's strong House about his
ears,--was a respectable drummer's cat to enforce the same.
This has been going on these three hundred years. But Friedrich
Wilhelm completes the process; finishes it off to the last pitch
of perfection. Friedrich Wilhelm carries it through every fibre
and cranny of Prussian Business, and so far as possible, of
Prussian Life; so that Prussia is all a drilled phalanx, ready to
the word of command; and what we see in the Army is but the last
consummate essence of what exists in the Nation everywhere.
That was Friedrich Wilhelm's function, made ready for him, laid to
his hand by his Hohenzollern foregoers; and indeed it proved a
most beneficent function.

For I have remarked that, of all things, a Nation needs first to
be drilled; and no Nation that has not first been governed by
so-called "Tyrants," and held tight to the curb till it became
perfect in its paces and thoroughly amenable to rule and law, and
heartily respectful of the same, and totally abhorrent of the want
of the same, ever came to much in this world. England itself, in
foolish quarters of England, still howls and execrates lamentably
over its William Conqueror, and rigorous line of Normans and
Plantagenets; but without them, if you will consider well, what
had it ever been? A gluttonous race of Jutes and Angles, capable
of no grand combinations; lumbering about in pot-bellied
equanimity; not dreaming of heroic toil and silence and endurance,
such as leads to the high places of this Universe, and the golden
mountain-tops where dwell the Spirits of the Dawn. Their very
ballot-boxes and suffrages, what they call their "Liberty," if
these mean "Liberty," and are such a road to Heaven, Anglo-Saxon
high-road thither,--could never have been possible for them on
such terms. How could they? Nothing but collision, intolerable
interpressure (as of men not perpendicular), and consequent battle
often supervening, could have been appointed those undrilled
Anglo-Saxons; their pot-bellied equanimity itself continuing
liable to perpetual interruptions, as in the Heptarchy time.
An enlightened Public does not reflect on these things at present;
but will again, by and by. Looking with human eyes over the
England that now is, and over the America and the Australia, from
pole to pole; and then listening to the Constitutional litanies of
Dryasaust, and his lamentations on the old Norman and Plantagenet
Kings, and his recognition of departed merit and causes of
effects,--the mind of man is struck dumb!

Chapter IV.


Friedrich Wilhelm's History is one of ECONOMICS; which study, so
soon as there are Kings again in this world, will be precious to
them. In that happy state of matters, Friedrich Wilhelm's History
will well reward study; and teach by example, in a very simple and
direct manner. In what is called the Political, Diplomatic,
"Honor-to-be" department, there is not, nor can ever be, much to
be said of him; this Economist King having always kept himself
well at home, and looked steadily to his own affairs. So that for
the present he has, as a King, next to nothing of what is called
History; and it is only as a fellow-man, of singular faculty, and
in a most peculiar and conspicuous situation, that he can be
interesting to mankind. To us he has, as Father and daily teacher
and master of young Fritz, a continual interest; and we must note
the master's ways, and the main phenomena of the workshop as they
successively turned up, for the sake of the notable Apprentice
serving there.

He was not tall of stature, this arbitrary King:
a florid-complexioned stout-built man; of serious, sincere,
authoritative face; his attitudes and equipments very Spartan in
type. Man of short firm stature; stands (in Pesne's best Portraits
of him) at his ease, and yet like a tower. Most solid; "plumb and
rather more;" eyes steadfastly awake; cheeks slightly compressed,
too, which fling the mouth rather forward; as if asking silently,
"Anything astir, then? All right here?" Face, figure and bearing,
all in him is expressive of robust insight, and direct
determination; of healthy energy, practicality, unquestioned
authority,--a certain air of royalty reduced to its simplest form.
The face in Pictures by Pesne and others, is not beautiful or
agreeable; healthy, genuine, authoritative, is the best you can
say of it. Yet it may have been, what it is described as being,
originally handsome. High enough arched brow, rather copious
cheeks and jaws; nose smallish, inclining to be stumpy; large gray
eyes, bright with steady fire and life, often enough gloomy and
severe, but capable of jolly laughter too. Eyes "naturally with a
kind of laugh in them," says Pollnitz;--which laugh can blaze out
into fearful thunderous rage, if you give him provocation.
Especially if you lie to him; for that he hates above all things.
Look him straight in the face: he fancies he can see in your eyes,
if there is an internal mendacity in you: wherefore you must look
at him in speaking; such is his standing order.

His hair is flaxen, falling into the ash-gray or darker;
fine copious flowing hair, while he wore it natural. But it soon
got tied into clubs, in the military style; and at length it was
altogether cropped away, and replaced by brown, and at last by
white, round wigs. Which latter also, though bad wigs, became him
not amiss, under his cocked-hat and cockade, says Pollnitz.
[Pollnitz, Memoiren (Berlin, 1791),
ii. 568.] The voice, I guess, even when not loud, was of
clangorous and penetrating, quasi-metallic nature; and I learn
expressly once, that it had a nasal quality in it. [Busching,
Beitrage, i. 568.] His Majesty spoke through
the nose; snuffled his speech in an earnest ominously plangent
manner. In angry moments, which were frequent, it must have been--
unpleasant to listen to. For the rest, a handsome man of his
inches; conspicuously well-built in limbs and body, and delicately
finished off to the very extremities. His feet and legs, says
Pollnitz, were very fine. The hands, if he would have taken care
of them, were beautifully white; fingers long and thin; a hand
at once nimble to grasp, delicate to feel, and strong to clutch
and hold: what may be called a beautiful hand, because it is
the usefulest.

Nothing could exceed his Majesty's simplicity of habitudes.
But one loves especially in him his scrupulous attention to
cleanliness of person and of environment. He washed like a very
Mussulman, five times a day; loved cleanliness in all things, to a
superstitious extent; which trait is pleasant in the rugged man,
and indeed of a piece with the rest of his character. He is
gradually changing all his silk and other cloth room-furniture;
in his hatred of dust, he will not suffer a floor-carpet, even a
stuffed chair; but insists on having all of wood, where the dust
may be prosecuted to destruction. [Forster, i. 208.] Wife and
womankind, and those that take after them, let such have stuffing
and sofas: he, for his part, sits on mere wooden chairs;--sits,
and also thinks and acts, after the manner of a Hyperborean
Spartan, which he was. He ate heartily, but as a rough farmer and
hunter eats; country messes, good roast and boiled; despising the
French Cook, as an entity without meaning for him. His favorite
dish at dinner was bacon and greens, rightly dressed; what could
the French Cook do for such a man? He ate with rapidity, almost
with indiscriminate violence: his object not quality but quantity.
He drank too, but did not get drunk: at the Doctor's order he
could abstain; and had in later years abstained. Pollnitz praises
his fineness of complexion, the originally eminent whiteness of
his skin, which he had tanned and bronzed by hard riding and
hunting, and otherwise worse discolored by his manner of feeding
and digesting: alas, at last his waistcoat came to measure, I am
afraid to say how many Prussian ells,--a very considerable
diameter indeed! [Ib. i. 163.]

For some years after his accession he still appeared occasionally
in "burgher dress," or unmilitary clothes; "brown English coat,
yellow waistcoat" and the other indispensables. But this fashion
became rarer with him every year; and ceased altogether (say
Chronologists) about the year 1719: after which he appeared always
simply as Colonel of the Potsdam Guards (his own Lifeguard
Regiment) in simple Prussian uniform: close military coat;
blue, with red cuffs and collar, buff waistcoat and breeches;
white linen gaiters to the knee. He girt his sword about the
loins, well out of the mud; walked always with a thick bamboo in
his hand; Steady, not slow of step; with his triangular hat,
cream-white round wig (in his older days), and face tending to
purple,--the eyes looking out mere investigation, sharp swift
authority, and dangerous readiness to rebuke and set the cane in
motion:--it was so he walked abroad in this earth; and the common
run of men rather fled his approach than courted it.

For, in fact, he was dangerous; and would ask in an alarming
manner, "Who are you?" Any fantastic, much more any
suspicious-looking person, might fare the worse. An idle lounger
at the street-corner he has been known to hit over the crown;
and peremptorily despatch: "Home, Sirrah, and take to some work!"
That the Apple-women be encouraged to knit, while waiting for
custom;--encouraged and quietly constrained, and at length packed
away, and their stalls taken from them, if unconstrainable,--there
has, as we observed, an especial rescript been put forth;
very curious to read. [In Rodenbeck, Beitrage, italic> p. 15.]

Dandiacal figures, nay people looking like Frenchmen, idle
flaunting women even,--better for them to be going. "Who are you?"
and if you lied or prevaricated ("Er blicke mich gerade
an, Look me in the face, then!"), or even stumbled,
hesitated, and gave suspicion of prevaricating, it might be worse
for you. A soft answer is less effectual than a prompt clear one,
to turn away wrath. "A Candidatus Theoligiae, italic> your Majesty," answered a handfast threadbare youth one
day, when questioned in this manner.--"Where from?" "Berlin, your
Majesty."--"Hm, na, the Berliners are a good-for-nothing set."
"Yes, truly, too many of them; but there are exceptions; I know
two."--"Two? which then?" "Your Majesty and myself!"--Majesty
burst into a laugh: the Candidatus was got examined by the
Consistoriums, and Authorities proper in that matter, and put
into a chaplaincy.

This King did not love the French, or their fashions, at all.
We said he dismissed the big Peruke,--put it on for the last time
at his Father's funeral, so far did filial piety go; and then
packed it aside, dismissing it, nay banishing and proscribing it,
never to appear more. The Peruke, and, as it were, all that the
Peruke symbolized. For this was a King come into the world with
quite other aims than that of wearing big perukes, and, regardless
of expense, playing burst-frog to the ox of Versailles, which
latter is itself perhaps a rather useless animal. Of Friedrich
Wilhelm's taxes upon wigs; of the old "Wig-inspectors," and the
feats they did, plucking off men's periwigs on the street, to see
if the government-stamp were there, and to discourage wiggery, at
least all but the simple scratch or useful Welsh-wig, among
mankind: of these, and of other similar things, I could speak;
but do not. This little incident, which occurred once in the
review-ground on the outskirts of Berlin, will suffice to mark his
temper in that respect. It was in the spring of 1719; our little
Fritz then six years old, who of course heard much temporary
confused commentary, direct and oblique, triumphant male laughter,
and perhaps rebellious female sighs, on occasion of such a feat.

Count Rothenburg, Prussian by birth, [Buchholz, Neueste
Preuwssisch-Brandenburgische Geschichte, i. 28.] an
accomplished and able person in the diplomatic and other lines of
business, but much used to Paris and its ways, had appeared lately
in Berlin, as French envoy,--and, not unnaturally, in high French
costume; cocked-hat, peruke, laced coat, and the other trimmings.
He, and a group of dashing followers and adherents, were
accustomed to go about in that guise; very capable of proving
infectious to mankind. What is to be done with them? thinks the
anxious Father of his People. They were to appear at the ensuing
grand Review, as Friedrich Wilhelm understood. Whereupon Friedrich
Wilhelm took his measures in private. Dressed up, namely, his
Scavenger-Executioner people (what they call PROFOSSEN in Prussian
regiments) in an enormous exaggeration of that costume;
cocked-hats about an ell in diameter, wigs reaching to the houghs,
with other fittings to match: these, when Count Rothenburg and his
company appeared upon the ground, Friedrich Wilhelm summoned out,
with some trumpet-peal or burst of field-music; and they solemnly
crossed Count Rothenburg's field of vision; the strangest set of,
Phantasms he had seen lately. Awakening salutary reflections in
him. [Forster, i. 165; Faasmann, Leben und Thaten des
allerdurchlauchtigsten gc. Konigs von Preussen Frederici Wilhelmi
(Hambug und Breslau, 1735), pp. 223, 319.] Fancy that
scene in History; Friedrich Wilhelm for comic-symbolic
Dramaturgist. Gods and men (or at least Houyhnhnm horses) might
have saluted it; with a Homeric laugh,--so huge and vacant is it,
with a suspicion of real humor too:--but the men were not
permitted, on parade, more than a silent grin, or general
irrepressible rustling murmur; and only the gods laughed
inextinguishably, if so disposed. The Scavenger-Executioners went
back to their place; and Count Rothenburg took a plain German
costume, so long as he continued in those parts.

Friedrich Wilhelm has a dumb rough wit and mockery, of that kind,
on many occasions; not without geniality in its Brobdignag
exaggeration and simplicity. Like a wild bear of the woods taking
his sport; with some sense of humor in the rough skin of him.
Very capable of seeing through sumptuous costumes; and respectful
of realities alone. Not in French sumptuosity, but in native
German thrift, does this King see his salvation; so as Nature
constructed him: and the world which has long lost its Spartans,
will see again an original North-German Spartan; and shriek a good
deal over him; Nature keeping her own counsel the while, and as it
were, laughing in her sleeve at the shrieks of the flunky world.
For Nature, when she makes a Spartan, means a good deal by it;
and does not expect instant applauses, but only gradual
and lasting.

"For my own part," exclaims a certain Editor once, "I perceive
well there was never yet any great Empire founded, Roman, English,
down to Prussian or Dutch, nor in fact any great mass of work got
achieved under the Sun, but it was founded even upon this
humble-looking quality of Thrift, and became achievable in virtue
of the same. Which will seem a strange doctrine, in these days of
gold-nuggets, railway-fortunes, and miraculous, sumptuosities
regardless of expense. Earnest readers are invited to consider it,
nevertheless. Though new; it is very old; and a sad meaning lies
in it to us of these times! That you have squandered in idle
fooleries, building where there was no basis, your Hundred
Thousand Sterling, your Eight Hundred Million Sterling, is to me a
comparatively small matter. You may still again become rich, if
you have at last become wise. But if you have wasted your capacity
of strenuous, devoutly valiant labor, of patience, perseverance,
self-denial, faith in the causes of effects; alas, if your once
just judgment of what is worth something and what is worth
nothing, has been wasted, and your silent steadfast reliance on
the general veracities, of yourself and of things, is no longer
there,--then indeed you have had a loss! You are, in fact, an
entirely bankrupt individual; as you will find by and by. Yes; and
though you had California in fee-simple; and could buy all the
upholsteries, groceries, funded-properties, temporary (very
temporary) landed properties of the world, at one swoop, it would
avail you nothing. Henceforth for you no harvests in the Seedfield
of this Universe, which reserves its salutary bounties, and noble
heaven-sent gifts, for quite other than you; and I would not give
a pin's value for all YOU will ever reap there. Mere imaginary
harvests, sacks of nuggets and the like; empty as the east-wind;--
with all the Demons laughing at you! Do you consider that Nature
too is a swollen flunky, hungry for veils; and can be taken in
with your sublime airs of sumptuosity, and the large balance you
actually have in Lombard Street? Go to the--General Cesspool, with
your nuggets and your ducats!"

The flunky world, much stript of its plush and fat perquisites,
accuses Friedrich Wilhelm bitterly of avarice and the cognate
vices. But it is not so; intrinsically, in the main, his procedure
is to be defined as honorable thrift,--verging towards avarice
here and there; as poor human virtues usually lean to one side or
the other! He can be magnificent enough too, and grudges no
expense, when the occasion seems worthy. If the occasion is
inevitable, and yet not quite worthy, I have known him have
recourse to strange shifts. The Czar Peter, for example, used to
be rather often in the Prussian Dominions, oftenest on business of
his own: such a man is to be royally defrayed while with us;
yet one would wish it done cheap. Posthorses, "two hundred and
eighty-seven at every station," he has from the Community; but the
rest of his expenses, from Memel all the way to Wesel? Friedrich
Wilhelm's marginal response to his FINANZ-DIRECTORIUM, requiring
orders once on that subject, runs in the following strange tenor:
"Yes, all the way (except Berlin, which I take upon myself);
and observe, you contrive to do it for 6,000 thalers (900
pounds),"--which is uncommonly cheap, about l pound per mile;--
won't allow you one other penny (nit einen Pfennig gebe
mehr dazu ); but you are ( sollen Sie italic>)," this is the remarkable point, "to give out in the world
that it costs me from Thirty to Forty Thousand!" [1717: Forster,
i. 213.] So that here is the Majesty of Prussia, who beyond all
men abhors lies, giving orders to tell one? Alas, yes; a kind of
lie, or fib (white fib, or even GRAY), the pinch of Thrift
compelling! But what a window into the artless inner-man of his
Majesty, even that GRAY fib;--not done by oneself, but ordered
to be done by the servant, as if that were cheaper!

"Verging upon avarice," sure enough: but, unless we are unjust and
unkind, he can by no means be described as a MISER King.
He collects what is his; gives you accurately what is yours.
For wages paid he will see work done; he will ascertain more and
more that the work done be work needful for him; and strike it
off, if not. A Spartan man, as we said,--though probably he knew
as little of the Spartans as the Spartans did of him. But Nature
is still capable of such products: if in Hellas long ages since,
why not in Brandenburg now?

Chapter V.


One of Fritz's earliest strong impressions from the outer world
chanced to be of War,--so it chanced, though he had shown too
little taste that way, and could not, as yet, understand such
phenomena;--and there must have been much semi-articulate
questioning and dialoguing with Dame de Roucoulles, on his part,
about the matter now going on.

In the year 1715, little Fritz's third year, came grand doings,
not of drill only, but of actual war and fighting: the "Stralsund
Expedition," Friedrich Wilhelm's one feat in that kind. Huge rumor
of which fills naturally the maternal heart, the Berlin Palace
drawing-rooms; and occupies, with new vivid interests, all
imaginations young and old. For the actual battledrums are now
beating, the big cannon-wains are creaking under way; and military
men take farewell, and march, tramp, tramp; Majesty in
grenadier-guard uniform at their head: horse, foot and artillery;
northward to Stralsund on the Baltic shore, where a terrible human
Lion has taken up his lair lately. Charles XII. of Sweden, namely;
he has broken out of Turkish Bender or Demotica, and ended his
obstinate torpor, at last; has ridden fourteen or sixteen days,
he and a groom or two, through desolate steppes and mountain
wildernesses, through crowded dangerous cities;--"came by Vienna
and by Cassel, then through Pommern;" leaving his "royal train of
two thousand persons" to follow at its leisure. He, for his part,
has ridden without pause, forward, ever forward, in darkest
incognito, the indefatigable man;--and finally, on Old-Hallowmas
Eve (22d-11th November, 1714), far in the night, a Horseman, with
two others still following him, travel-splashed, and "white with
snow," drew bridle at the gate of Stralsund; and, to the surprise
of the Swedish sentinel there, demanded instant admission to the
Governor. The Governor, at first a little surly of humor, saw
gradually how it was; sprang out of bed, and embraced the knees of
the snowy man; Stralsund in general sprang out of bed, and
illuminated itself, that same Hallow-Eve:--and in brief, Charles
XII., after five years of eclipse, has reappeared upon the stage
of things; and menaces the world, in his old fashion, from that
City. From which it becomes urgent to many parties, and at last to
Friedrich Wilhelm himself, that he be dislodged.

The root of this Stralsund story belongs to the former reign, as
did the grand apparition of Charles XII. on the theatre of
European History, and the terror and astonishment he created
there. He is now thirty-three years old; and only the winding up,
both of him and of the Stralsund story, falls within our present
field. Fifteen years ago, it was like the bursting of a cataract
of bomb-shells in a dull ball-room, the sudden appearance of this
young fighting Swede among the luxurious Kings and Kinglets of the
North, all lounging about and languidly minuetting in that manner,
regardless of expense! Friedrich IV. of Denmark rejoicing over red
wine; August the Strong gradually producing his "three hundred and
fifty-four bastards;" [ Memoires de Bareith
(Wilhelmina's Book, Londres, 1812), i. 111.] these and other
neighbors had confidently stept in, on various pretexts; thinking
to help themselves from the young man's properties, who was still
a minor; when the young minor suddenly developed himself as a
major and maximus, and turned out to be such a Fire-King
among them!

In consequence of which there had been no end of Northern
troubles; and all through the Louis-Fourteenth or Marlborough
grand "Succession War," a special "Northern War" had burnt or
smouldered on its own score; Swedes VERSUS Saxons, Russians and
Danes, bickering in weary intricate contest, and keeping those
Northern regions in smoke if not on fire. Charles XII., for the
last five years (ever since Pultawa, and the summer of 1709), had
lain obstinately dormant in Turkey; urging the Turks to destroy
Czar Peter. Which they absolutely could not, though they now and
then tried; and Viziers not a few lost their heads in consequence.
Charles lay sullenly dormant; Danes meanwhile operating upon his
Holstein interests and adjoining territories; Saxons, Russians,
battering continually at Swedish Pommern, continually marching
thither, and then marching home again, without success,--always
through the Brandenburg Territory, as they needs must.
Which latter circumstance Friedrich Wilhelm, while yet only
Crown-Prince, had seen with natural displeasure, could that
have helped it. But Charles XII. would not yield a whit;
sent orders peremptorily, from his bed at Bender or Demotica,
that there must be no surrender. Neither could the sluggish enemy
compel surrender.

So that, at length, it had grown a feeble wearisome welter of
inextricable strifes, with worn-out combatants, exhausted of all
but their animosity; and seemed as if it would never end.
Inveterate ineffective war; ruinous to all good interests in those
parts. What miseries had Holstein from it, which last to our own
day! Mecklenburg also it involved in sore troubles, which lasted
long enough, as we shall see. But Brandenburg, above all, may be
impatient; Brandenburg, which has no business with it except that
of unlucky neighborhood. One of Friedrich Wilhelm's very first
operations, as King, was to end this ugly state of matters, which
he had witnessed with impatience, as Prince, for a long while.

He had hailed even the Treaty of Utrecht with welcome, in hopes it
might at least end these Northern brabbles. This the Treaty of
Utrecht tried to do, but could not: however, it gave him back his
Prussian Fighting Men; which he has already increased by six
regiments, raised, we may perceive, on the ruins of his late
court-flunkies and dismissed goldsticks;--with these Friedrich
Wilhelm will try to end it himself. These he at once ordered to
form a Camp on his frontier, close to that theatre of contest;
and signified now with emphasis, in the beginning of 1713, that he
decidedly wished there were peace in those Pommern regions.
Negotiations in consequence; [10th June, 1713: Buchholz, i. 21.]
very wide negotiations, Louis XIV. and the Kaiser lending hand, to
pacify these fighting Northern Kings and their Czar: at length the
Holstein Government, representing their sworn ally, Charles XII.,
on the occasion, made an offer which seemed promising.
They proposed that, Stettin and its dependencies, the strong
frontier Town, and, as it were, key of Swedish Pommern, should be
evacuated by the Swedes, and be garrisoned by neutral troops,
Prussians and Holsteiners in equal number; which neutral troops
shall prohibit any hostile attack of Pommern from without, Sweden
engaging not to make any attack through Pommern from within.
That will be as good as peace in Pommern, till we get a general
Swedish Peace. With which Friedrich Wilhelm gladly complies.
[22d June, 1713: Buchholz, i. 21.]

Unhappily, however, the Swedish Commandant in Stettin would not
give up the place, on any representative or secondary authority;
not without an express order in his King's own hand. Which, as his
King was far away, in abstruse Turkish circumstances and
localities, could not be had at the moment; and involved new
difficulties and uncertainties, new delay which might itself be
fatal. The end was, the Russians and Saxons had to cannonade the
man out by regular siege: they then gave up the Town to Prussia
and Holstein; but required first to be paid their expenses
incurred in sieging it,--400,000 thalers, as they computed and
demonstrated, or some where about 60,000 pounds of our money.

Friedrich Wilhelm paid the money (Holstein not having a groschen);
took possession of the Town, and dependent towns and forts;
intending well to keep them till repaid. This was in October,
1713; and ever since, there has been actual tranquillity in those
parts: the embers of the Northern War may still burn or smoulder
elsewhere, but here they are quite extinct. At first, it was a
joint possession of Stettin, Holsteiners and Prussians in equal
number; and if Friedrich Wilhelm had been sure of his money, so it
would have continued. But the Holsteiners had paid nothing;
Charles XII's sanction never could be expressly got, and the
Holsteiners were mere dependents of his. Better to increase our
Prussian force, by degrees; and, in some good way, with a minimum
of violence, get the Holsteiners squeezed out of Stettin:
Friedrich Wilhelm has so ordered and contrived. The Prussian force
having now gradually increased to double in this important
garrison, the Holsteiners are quietly disarmed, one night, and
ordered to depart, under penalties;--which was done. Holding such
a pawn-ticket as Stettin, buttoned in our own pocket, we count now
on being paid our 60,000 pounds before parting with it.

Matters turned out as Friedrich Wilhelm had dreaded they might.
Here is Charles XII. come back; inflexible as cold Swedish iron;
will not hear of any Treaty dealing with his properties in that
manner: Is he a bankrupt, then, that you will sell his towns by
auction? Charles does not, at heart, believe that Friedrich
Wilhelm ever really paid the 60,000 pounds Charles demands, for
his own part, to have, his own Swedish Town of Stettin restored to
him; and has not the least intention, or indeed ability, to pay
money. Vain to answer: "Stettin, for the present, is not a Swedish
Town; it is a Prussian Pawn-ticket!"--There was much negotiation,
correspondence; Louis XIV. and the Kaiser stepping in again to
produce settlement. To no purpose. Louis, gallant old Bankrupt,
tried hard to take Charles's part with effect. But he had,
himself, no money now; could only try finessing by ambassadors,
try a little menacing by them; neither of which profited.
Friedrich Wilhelm, wanting only peace on his borders, after
fifteen years of extraneous uproar there, has paid 60,000 pounds
in hard cash to have it: repay him that sum, with promise of peace
on his borders, he will then quit Stettin; till then not.
Big words from a French Ambassador in big wig, will not suffice:
"Bullying goes for nothing ( Bange machen gilt nicht italic>),"--the thing covenanted for will need to be done!
Poor Louis the Great, whom we now call "BANKRUPT-Great," died
while these affairs were pending; while Charles, his ally, was
arguing and battling against all the world, with only a
grandiloquent Ambassador to help him from Louis. "J'ai
trop aime la guerre," said Louis at his death,
addressing a new small Louis (five years old), his great-grandson
and successor: "I have been too fond of war; do not imitate me in
that, ne m'imitez pas en cela." [1st
September, 1715.] Which counsel also, as we shall see, was
considerably lost in air.

Friedrich Wilhelm had a true personal regard for Charles XII., a
man made in many respects after his own heart; and would fain have
persuaded him into softer behavior. But it was to no purpose.
Charles would not listen to reasons of policy; or believe that his
estate was bankrupt, or that his towns could be put in pawn.
Danes, Saxons, Russians, even George I. of England (George-having
just bought, of the Danish King, who had got hold of it, a great
Hanover bargain, Bremen and Verden, on cheap terms, from the
quasi-bankrupt estate of poor Charles),--have to combine against
him, and see to put him down. Among whom Prussia, at length
actually attacked by Charles in the Stettin regions, has
reluctantly to take the lead in that repressive movement. On the
28th of April, 1715, Friedrich Wilhelm declares war against
Charles; is already on march, with a great force, towards Stettin,
to coerce and repress said Charles. No help for it, so sore as it
goes against us: "Why will the very King whom I most respect
compel me to be his enemy?" said Friedrich Wilhelm. [
OEuvres de Frederic (Histoire de Brandebourg),
i. 132; Buchholz, i. 28.]

One of Friedrich Wilhelm's originalities is his farewell Order and
Instruction, to his three chief Ministers, on this occasion.
Ilgen, Dohna, Prinzen, tacit dusky figures, whom we meet in
Prussian Books, and never gain the least idea of, except as of
grim, rather cunning, most reserved antiquarlan gentlemen,--a kind
of human iron-safes, solemnly filled (under triple and quadruple
patent-locks) with what, alas, has now all grown waste-paper, dust
and cobweb, to us:--these three reserved cunning Gentlemen are to
keep a thrice-watchful eye on all subordinate boards and persons,
and see well that nobody nod or do amiss. Brief weekly report to
his Majesty will be expected; staffettes, should cases of hot
haste occur: any questions of yours are "to be put on a sheet of
paper folded down, to which I can write marginalia:" if nothing
particular is passing, "NIT SCHREIBEN, you don't write." Pay out
no money, except what falls due by the Books; none;--if an
extraordinary case for payment arise, consult my Wife, and she
must sign her order for it. Generally in matters of any moment,
consult my Wife; but her only, "except her and the Privy
Councillors, no mortal is to poke into my affairs:" I say no

"My Wife shall be told of all things," he says elsewhere, "and
counsel asked of her." The rugged Paterfamilias, but the human
one! "And as I am a man," continues he, "and may be shot dead,
I command you and all to take care of Fritz (FUR FRITZ ZU SORGEN),
as God shall reward you. And I give you all, Wife to begin with,
my curse (MEINEN PLUCH), that God may punish you in Time and
Eternity, if you do not, after my death,"--do what, O Heavens?--
bury me in the vault of the Schlosskirche," Palace-Church at
Berlin! "And you shall make no grand to-do (KEIN FESTIN) on the
occasion. On your body and life, no festivals and ceremonials,
except that the regiments one after the other fire a volley over
me." Is not this an ursine man-of-genius, in some sort, as we once
defined him? He adds suddenly, and concludes: "I am assured you
will manage everything with all the exactness in the world;
for which I shall ever zealously, as long as I live, be your
friend." [26th April, 1715: Cosmars und Klaproths
Staatsrath, s. 223 (in Stenzel, iii. 269). Russians,
Saxons affected to intend joining Friedrich Wilhelm in his Pommern
Expedition; and of the latter there did, under a so-called
Field-Marshal von Wackerbarth, of high plumes and titles, some
four thousand--of whom only Colonel von Seckendorf, commanding one
of the horse-regiments, is remarkable to us--come and serve.
The rest, and all the Russians, he was as well pleased to have at
a distance. Some sixteen thousand Danes joined him, too, with the
King of Denmark at their head; very furious, all, against the
Swedish-iron Hero; but they were remarked to do almost no real
service, except at sea a little against the Swedish ships.
George I. also had a fleet in the Baltic; but only "to protect
English commerce." On the whole, the Siege of Stralsund, to which
the Campaign pretty soon reduced itself, was done mainly by
Friedrich Wilhelm. He stayed two months in Stettin, getting all
his preliminaries completed; his good Queen, Wife "Feekin," was
with him for some time, I know not whether now or afterwards.
In the end of June, he issued from Stettin; took the interjacent
outpost places; and then opened ground before Stralsund, where, in
a few days more, the Danes joined him. It was now the middle of
July: a combined Army of well-nigh forty thousand against Charles;
who, to man his works, musters about the fourth part of that
number. [Pauli, viii. 85-101; Buchholz, i. 31-39; Forster,
ii. 34-39; Stenzel, iii. 272-218.]

Stralsund, with its outer lines and inner, with its marshes,
ditches, ramparts and abundant cannon to them, and leaning, one
side of it, on the deep sea, which Swedish ships command as yet,
is very strong. Wallenstein, we know, once tried it with furious
assault, with bombardment, sap and storm; swore he would have it,
"though it hung by a chain from Heaven;" but could not get it,
after all his volcanic raging; and was driven away, partly by the
Swedes and armed Townsfolk, chiefly by the marsh-fevers and
continuous rains. Stralsund has been taken, since that, by
Prussian sieging; as old men, from the Great Elector's time, still
remember. [lOth-15th October, 1678 (Pauli, v. 203, 205).]
To Louis Fourteenth's menacing Ambassador, Friedrich Wilhelm
seems to intimate that indeed big bullying words will not take it,
but that Prussian guns and men, on a just ground, still may.

The details of this Siege of Stralsund are all on record, and had
once a certain fame in the world; but, except as a distant echo,
must not concern us here. It lasted till midwinter, under
continual fierce counter-movements and desperate sallies from the
Swedish Lion, standing at bay there against all the world.
But Friedrich Wilhelm was vigilance itself; and he had his
Anhalt-Dessaus with him, his Borcks, Buddenbrocks, Finkensteins,
veteran men and captains, who had learned their art under
Marlborough and Eugene. The Lion King's fierce sallies, and
desperate valor, could not avail. Point after point was lost for
him. Koppen, a Prussian Lieutenant-Colonel, native to the place,
who has bathed in those waters in his youth, remembers that, by
wading to the chin, you could get round the extremity of Charles's
main outer line. Koppen states his project, gets it approved of;--
wades accordingly, with a select party, under cloud of night
(4th of November, eve of Gunpowder-day, a most cold-hot job);
other ranked Prussian battalions awaiting intently outside, with
shouldered firelock, invisible in the dark; what will become of
him. Koppen wades successfully; seizes the first battery of said
line,--masters said line with its batteries, the outside
battalions and he. Irrepressibly, with horrible uproar from
without and from within; the flying Swedes scarcely getting
up the Town drawbridge, as he chased them. That important line
is lost to Charles.

Next they took the Isle of Rugen from him, which shuts up the
harbor. Leopold of Anhalt-Dessau, our rugged friend, in Danish
boats, which were but ill navigated, contrives, about a week after
that Koppen feat, to effect a landing-on Rugen at nightfall;
beats off the weak Swedish party;--entrenches, palisades himself
to the teeth, and lies down under arms. That latter was a wise
precaution. For, about four in the morning, Charles comes in
person, with eight pieces of cannon and four thousand horse and
foot: Charles is struck with amazement at the palisade and ditch
("MEIN GOTT, who would have expected this!" he was heard
murmuring); dashes, like a fire-flood, against ditch and palisade;
tears at the pales himself, which prove impregnable to his cannon
and him. He storms and rages forward, again and again, now here,
now there; but is met everywhere by steady deadly musketry;
and has to retire, fruitless, about daybreak, himself wounded, and
leaving his eight cannons, and four hundred slain.

Poor Charles, there had been no sleep for him that night, and
little for very many nights: "on getting to horse, on the shore at
Stralsund, he fainted repeatedly; fell out of one faint into
another; but such was his rage, he always recovered himself, and
got on horseback again." [Buchholz, i. 36.] Poor Charles: a bit of
right royal Swedish-German stuff, after his kind; and tragically
ill bested now at last! This is his exit he is now making,--still
in a consistent manner. It is fifteen years now since he waded
ashore at Copenhagen, and first heard the bullets whistle round
him. Since which time, what a course has he run; crashing athwart
all manner of ranked armies, diplomatic combinations, right
onward, like a cannon-ball; tearing off many solemn wigs in those
Northern parts, and scattering them upon the winds,--even as he
did his own full-bottom wig, impatiently, on that first day at
Copenhagen, tiding it unfurthersome for actual business in batt1e.
[Kohler, Munzbelustigungen, xiv. 213.]

In about a month hence, the last important hornwork is forced;
Charles, himself seen fiercely fighting on the place, is swept
back from his last hornwork; and the general storm, now altogether
irresistible, is evidently at hand. On entreaty from his
followers, entreaty often renewed, with tears even (it is said)
and on bended knees, Charles at last consents to go. He left no
orders for surrender; would not name the word; "left only
ambiguous vague orders." But on the 19th December, 1715, he does
actually depart; gets on board a little boat, towards a Swedish
frigate, which is lying above a mile out; the whole road to which,
between Rugen and the mainland, is now solid ice, and has to be
cut as he proceeds. This slow operation, which lasted all day, was
visible, and its meaning well known, in the besiegers' lines.
The King of Denmark saw it; and brought a battery to bear upon it;
his thought had always been, that Charles should be captured or
killed in Stralsund, and not allowed to get away. Friedrich
Wilhelm was of quite another mind, and had even used secret
influences to that effect; eager that Charles should escape.
It is said, he remonstrated very passionately with the Danish King
and this battery of his; nay, some add, since remonstrances did
not avail, and the battery still threatened to fire, Friedrich
Wilhelm drew up a Prussian regiment or two at the muzzles of it,
and said, You shall shoot us first, then. [Buchholz, p. 138.]
Which is a pleasant myth at least; and symbolical of what the
reality was.

Charles reached his frigate about nightfall, but made little way
from the place, owing to defect of wind. They say, he even heard
the chamade beating in Stralsund next day, and that a Danish
frigate had nearly taken him; both which statements are perhaps
also a little mythical. Certain only that he vanished at this
point into Scandinavia; and general Europe never saw him more.
Vanished into a cloud of untenable schemes, guided by Alberoni,
Baron Gortz and others; wild schemes, financial, diplomatic,
warlike, nothing not chimerical in them but his own unquenchable
real energy;--and found his death (by assassination, as appears)
in the trenches of Frederickshall, among the Norway Hills, one
winter night, three years hence. Assassination instigated by the
Swedish Official Persons, it is thought. The bullet passed through
both his temples; he had clapt his hand upon the hilt of his
sword, and was found leant against the parapet, in that attitude,
--gone upon a long march now. So vanished Charles Twelfth;
the distressed Official Persons and Nobility exploding upon him in
that rather damnable way,--anxious to slip their muzzles at any
cost whatever. A man of antique character; true as a child,
simple, even bashful, and of a strength and valor rarely exampled
among men. Open-hearted Antique populations would have much
worshipped such an Appearance;--Voltaire, too, for the artificial
Moderns, has made a myth of him, of another type; one of those
impossible cast-iron gentlemen, heroically mad, such as they show
in the Playhouses, pleasant but not profitable, to an undiscerning
Pub1ic. [See Adlerfeld ( Military History of Charles XII.
London, 1740, 3 vols., "from the Swedish," through
the French) and Kohler ( Munzbelustigungen,
ubi supra), for some authentic traits of his life and him.]
The last of the Swedish Kings died in this way; and the unmuzzled
Official Persons have not made much of kinging it in his stead.
Charles died; and, as we may say, took the life of Sweden along
with him; for it has never shone among the Nations since, or been
much worth mentioning, except for its misfortunes, spasmodic
impotences and unwisdoms.

Stralsund instantly beat the chamade, as we heard; and all was
surrender and subjection in those regions. Surrender; not yet
pacification, not while Charles lived; nor for half a century
after his death, could Mecklenburg, Holstein-Gottorp, and other
his confederates, escape a sad coil of calamities bequeathed by
him to them. Friedrich Wilhelm returned to Berlin, victorious from
his first, which was also his last Prussian War, in January, 1716;
and was doubtless a happy man, NOT "to be buried in the
Schlosskirche (under penalty of God's curse)," but to find his
little Fritz and Feekin, and all the world, merry to see him, and
all things put square again, abroad as at home. He forbade the
"triumphal entry" which Berlin was preparing for him; entered
privately; and ordered a thanksgiving sermon in all the churches
next Sunday.


In the King's absence nothing particular had occurred,--except
indeed the walking of a dreadful Spectre, three nights over, in
the corridors of the Palace at Berlin; past the doors where our
little Prince and Wilhelmina slept: bringing with it not airs from
Heaven, we may fear, but blasts from the Other place! The stalwart
sentries shook in their paces, and became "half-dead" from terror.
"A horrible noise, one night," says Wilhelmina, "when all were
buried in sleep: all the world started up, thinking it was fire;
but they were much surprised to find that it was a Spectre."
Evident Spectre, seen to pass this way, "and glide along that
gallery, as if towards the apartments of the Queen's Ladies."
Captain of the Guard could find nothing in that gallery, or
anywhere, and withdrew again:--but lo, it returns the way it went!
Stalwart sentries were found melted into actual deliquium of
swooning, as the Preternatural swept by this second time.
"They said, It was the Devil in person; raised by Swedish wizards
to kill the Prince-Royal." [Wilhelmina, Memoires de
Bareith, i. 18.]l Poor Prince-Royal; sleeping sound, we hope;
little more than three years old at this time, and knowing nothing
of it!--All Berlin talked of the affair. People dreaded it might
be a "Spectre" of Swedish tendencies; aiming to burn the Palace,
spirit off the Royal Children, and do one knew not what?

Not that at all, by any means! The Captain of the Guard,
reinforcing himself to defiance even of the Preternatural, does,
on the third or fourth apparition, clutch the Spectre; finds him
to be--a prowling Scullion of the Palace, employed here he will
not say how; who is straightway locked in prison, and so exorcised
at least. Exorcism is perfect; but Berlin is left guessing as to
the rest,--secret of it discoverable only by the Queen's Majesty
and some few most interior parties. To the following effect.

Spectre-Scullion, it turns out, had been employed by Grumkow, as
spy upon one of the Queen's Maids of Honor,--suspected by him to
be a No-maid of Dishonor, and of ill intentions too,--who lodges
in that part of the Palace: of whom Herr Grumkow wishes intensely
to know, "Has she an intrigue with Creutz the new
Finance-Minister, or has she not?" "Has, beyond doubt!" the
Spectre-Scullion hopes he has discovered, before exorcism.
Upon which Grumkow, essentially illuminated as to the required
particular, manages to get the Spectre-Scullion loose again, not
quite hanged; glozing the matter off to his Majesty on his return:
for the rest, ruins entirely the Creutz speculation; and has the
No-maid called of Honor--with whom Creutz thought to have seduced
the young King also, and made the young King amenable--dismissed
from Court in a peremptory irrefragable manner. This is the
secret of the Spectre-Scullion, fully revealed by Wilhelmina
many years after.

This one short glance into the Satan's Invisible-World of the
Berlin Palace, we could not but afford the reader, when an actual
Goblin of it happened to be walking in our neighborhood. Such an
Invisible-World of Satan exists in most human Houses, and in all
human Palaces;--with its imps, familiar demons, spies,
go-betweens, and industrious bad-angels, continually mounting and
descending by THEIR Jacob's-Ladder, or Palace Backstairs:
operated upon by Conjurers of the Grumkow-Creutz or other sorts.
Tyrannous Mamsell Leti, [Leti, Governess to Wilhelmina, but soon
dismissed for insolent cruelty and other bad conduct, was daughter
of that Gregorio Leti ("Protestant Italian Refugee,"
"Historiographer of Amsterdam," &c. &c.), who once had a pension
in this country; and who wrote History-Books, a Life of
Cromwell one of them, so regardless of the difference
between true and false.] treacherous Mamsell Ramen, valet-surgeon
Eversmann, and plenty more: readers of Wilhelmina's Book are too
well acquainted with them. Nor are expert Conjurers wanting;
capable to work strange feats with so plastic an element as
Friedrich Wilhelm's mind. Let this one short glimpse of such
Subterranean World be sufficient indication to the reader's fancy.

Creutz was not dismissed, as some people had expected he might be.
Creutz continues Finance-Minister; makes a great figure in the
fashionable Berlin world in these coming years, and is much talked
of in the old Books,--though, as he works mostly underground, and
merely does budgets and finance-matters with extreme talent and
success, we shall hope to hear almost nothing more of him.
Majesty, while Crown-Prince, when he first got his regiment from
Papa, had found this Creutz "Auditor" in it; a poor but handsome
fellow, with perhaps seven shillings a week to live upon; but with
such a talent for arranging, for reckoning and recording, in brief
for controlling finance, as more and more charmed the royal mind.
[Mauvillon ("Elder Mauvillon," ANONYMOUS), Histoire de
Frederic Guillaume I., par M. de M--(Amsterdam et
Leipzig, 1741), i. 47. A vague flimsy compilation;--gives abundant
"State-Papers" (to such as want them), and echoes of old Newspaper
rumor. Very copious on Creutz.]

One of Majesty's first acts was to appoint him Finance-Minister;
[4th May, 1713: Preuss, i. 349. n.] and there he continued steady,
not to be overset by little flaws of wind like this of the
Spectre-Scullion's raising. It is certain he did, himself, become
rich; and helped well to make his Majesty so. We are to fancy him
his Majesty's bottle-holder in that battle with the Finance
Nightmares and Imbroglios, when so much had to be subjugated, and
drilled into step, in that department. Evidently a long-headed
cunning fellow, much of the Grumkow type;--standing very low in
Wilhelmina's judgment; and ill-seen, when not avoidable
altogether, by the Queen's Majesty. "The man was a poor Country
Bailiff's (AMTMANN'S, kind of Tax-manager's) son: from Auditor of
a regiment," Papa's own regiment, "he had risen to be Director of
Finance, and a Minister of State. His soul was as low as his
birth; it was an assemblage of all the vices," [Wilhelmina,
i. 16.] says Wilhelmina, in the language of exaggeration.--Let him
stand by his budgets; keep well out of Wilhelmina's and the
Queen's way;--and very especially beware of coming on Grumkow's
field again.

Chapter VI.


This Siege of Stralsund, the last military scene of Charles XII.,
and the FIRST ever practically heard of by our little Fritz, who
is now getting into his fourth year, and must have thought a great
deal about it in his little head,--Papa and even Mamma being
absent on it, and such a marching and rumoring going on all round
him,--proved to be otherwise of some importance to little Fritz.

Most of his Tutors were picked up by the careful Papa in this
Stralsund business. Duhan de Jandun, a young French gentleman,
family-tutor to General Count Dohna (a cousin of our Minister
Dohna's), but fonder of fighting than of teaching grammar;
whom Friedrich Wilhelm found doing soldier's work in the trenches,
and liked the ways of; he, as the foundation-stone of tutorage, is
to be first mentioned. And then Count Fink von Finkenstein, a
distinguished veteran, high in command (of whose qualities as
Head-Tutor, or occasional travelling guardian Friedrich Wilhelm
had experience in his own young days [ Biographisches
Lexikon aaler Helden und Militairpersonen, welche sich in
Preussischen Diensten berumht gemacht haben (4 vols.
Berlin, 1788), i. 418, ? Finkenatein.--A praiseworthy, modest,
highly correct Book, of its kind; which we shall, in future, call
Militair-Lexikon, when referring to it.]);
and Lieutenant-Colonel Kalkstein, a prisoner-of-war from the
Swedish side, whom Friedrich Wilhelm, judging well of him,
adopts into his own service with this view: these three come all
from Stralsund Siege; and were of vital moment to our little
Fritz in the subsequent time. Colonel Seckendorf, again, who had
a command in the four thousand Saxons here, and refreshed into
intimacy a transient old acquaintance with Friedrich Wilhelm,--
is not he too of terrible importance to Fritz and him? As we shall
see in time!--

For the rest, here is another little incident. We said it had been
a disappointment to Papa that his little Fritz showed almost no
appetite for soldiering, but found other sights more interesting
to him than the drill-ground. Sympathize, then, with the earnest
Papa, as he returns home one afternoon,--date not given, but to
all appearance of that year 1715, when there was such
war-rumoring, and marching towards Stralsund;--and found the
little Fritz, with Wilhelmina looking over him, strutting about,
and assiduously beating a little drum.

The paternal heart ran over with glad fondness, invoking Heaven to
confirm the omen. Mother was told of it; the phenomenon was talked
of,--beautifulest, hopefulest of little drummers. Painter Pesne, a
French Immigrant, or Importee, of the last reign, a man of great
skill with his brush, whom History yet thanks on several
occasions, was sent for; or he heard of the incident, and
volunteered his services. A Portrait of little Fritz drumming,
with Wilhelmina looking on; to which, probably for the sake of
color and pictorial effect, a Blackamoor, aside with parasol in
hand, grinning approbation, has been added,--was sketched, and
dexterously worked out in oil, by Painter Pesne. Picture approved
by mankind there and then. And it still hangs on the wall, in a
perfect state, in Charlottenburg Palace; where the judicious
tourist may see it without difficulty, and institute reflections
on it.

A really graceful little Picture; and certainly, to Prussian men,
not without weight of meaning. Nor perhaps to Picture-Collectors
and Cognoscenti generally, of whatever couutry,--if they could
forget, for a moment, the correggiosity of Correggio, and the
learned babble of the Sale-room and varnishing Auctioneer;
and think, "Why it is, probably, that Pictures exist in this
world, and to what end the divine art of Painting was bestowed, by
the earnest gods, upon poor mankind?" I could advise it, once, for
a little! Flaying of Saint Bartholomew, Rape of Europa, Rape of
the Sabines, Piping and Amours of goat-footed Pan, Romulus suckled
by the Wolf: all this, and much else of fabulous, distant,
unimportant, not to say impossible, ugly and unworthy, shall pass
without undue severity of criticism, in a Household of such
opulence as ours, where much goes to waste, and where things are
not on an earnest footing for this long while past! As Created
Objects, or as Phantasms of such, pictorially done, all this shall
have much worth, or shall have little. But I say, Here withal is
one not phantasmal; of indisputable certainty, home-grown, just
commencing business, who carried it far!

Fritz is still, if not in "long-clothes," at least in longish and
flowing clothes, of the petticoat sort, which look as of dark-blue
velvet, very simple, pretty and appropriate; in a cap of the same;
has a short raven's feather in the cap; and looks up, with a face
and eyes full of beautiful vivacity and child's enthusiasm, one of
the beautifulest little figures, while the little drum responds to
his bits of drumsticks. Sister Wilhelmina, taller by some three
years, looks on in pretty marching attitude, and with a graver
smile. Blackamoor, and accompaniments elegant enough; and finally
the figure of a grenadier, on guard, seen far off through an
opening,--make up the background.

We have engravings of this Picture; which are of clumsy poor
quality, and misrepresent it much: an excellent Copy in oil, what
might be called almost a fac-simile and the perfection of a Copy,
is now (1854) in Lord Ashburton's Collection here in England.
In the Berlin Galleries,--which are made up, like other Galleries,
of goat-footed Pan, Europa's Bull, Romulus's She-Wolf, and the
correggiosity of Correggio; and contain, for instance, no Portrait
of Frederick the Great; no Likenesses at all, or next to none at
all, of the noble series of Human Realities, or of any part of
them, who have sprung not from the idle brains of dreaming
Dilettanti, but from the Head of God Almighty, to make this poor
authentic Earth a little memorable for us, and to do a little work
that may be eternal there:--in those expensive Halls of "High Art"
at Berlin, there were, to my experience, few Pictures more
agreeable than this of Pesne's. Welcome, like one tiny islet of
Reality amid the shoreless sea of Phantasms, to the reflective
mind, seriously loving and seeking what is worthy and memorable,
seriously hating and avoiding what is the reverse, and intent not
to play the dilettante in this world.

The same Pesne, an excellent Artist, has painted Friedrich as
Prince-Royal: a beautiful young man with MOIST-looking
enthusiastic eyes of extraordinary brilliancy, smooth oval face;
considerably resembling his Mother. After which period, authentic
Pictures of Friedrich are sought for to little purpose. For it
seems he never sat to any Painter, in his reigning days; and the
Prussian Chodowiecki, [Pronounce KODOV-YETSKI;--and endeavor to
make some acquaintance with this "Prussian Hogarth," who has real
worth and originality.] Saxon Graff, English Cunningham had to
pick up his physiognomy from the distance, intermittently, as they
could. Nor is Rauch's grand equestrian Sculpture a thing to be
believed, or perhaps pretending much to be so. The commonly
received Portrait of Friedrich, which all German limners can draw
at once,--the cocked-hat, big eyes and alert air, reminding you of
some uncommonly brisk Invalid Drill-sergeant or Greenwich
Pensioner, as much as of a Royai Hero,--is nothing but a general
extract and average of all the faces of Friedrich, such as has
been tacitly agreed upon; and is definable as a received
pictorial-myth, by no means as a fact, or credible resemblance
of life.

But enough now of Pictures. This of the Little Drummer, the
painting and the thing painted which remain to us, may be taken as
Friedrich's first appearance on the stage of the world;
and welcomed accordingly. It is one of the very few visualities or
definite certainties we can lay hold of, in those young years of
his, and bring conclusively home to our imagination, out of the

waste Prussian dust-clouds of uninstructive garrulity which
pretend to record them for us. Whether it came into existence as a
shadowy emanation from the Stralsund Expedition, can only be
matter of conjecture. To judge by size, these figures must have
been painted about the year 1715; Fritz some three or four years
old, his sister Wilhelmina seven.

It remains only to be intimated, that Friedrich Wilhelm, for his
part, had got all he claimed from this Expedition: namely, Stettin
with the dependent Towns, and quietness in Pommern. Stettin was,
from of old, the capital of his own part of Pommern; thrown in
along with the other parts of Pommern, and given to Sweden (from
sheer necessity, it was avowed), at the Peace of Westphalia, sixty
years ago or more:--and now, by good chance, it has come back.
Wait another hundred years, and perhaps Swedish Pommern altogether
will come back! But from all this Friedrich Wilhelm is still far.
Stettin and quiet are all he dreams of demanding there.

Stralsund he did not reckon his; left it with the Danes, to hold
in pawn till some general Treaty. Nor was there farther outbreak
of war in those regions; though actual Treaty of Peace did not
come till 1720, and make matters sure. It was the new Queen of
Sweden, Ulrique Eleonora (Charles's younger Sister, wedded to the


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