The Life and Adventures of Baron Trenck - Volume 1
Baron Trenck

Part 3 out of 3

chancellor, that he might obtain some intelligence, who immediately
reproached him for having granted an asylum to a traitor. "What has
this traitor done?" said Hyndford. "Faithlessly copied a plan of
Cronstadt, from my cabinet drawings," said the chancellor; "which he
has sold to the Prussian minister for two hundred ducats."

Hyndford was astonished; he knew me well, and also knew that he had
then in money and jewels, more than eight thousand ducats of mine in
his own hands: nor was he less ignorant of the value I set on
money, or of the sources whence I could obtain it, when I pleased.
"Has your excellency actually seen this drawing of Trenck's?"--"Yes,
I have been shown it by Goltz."--"I wish I might likewise be
permitted to see it; I know Trenck's drawing, and make myself
responsible that he is no traitor. Here is some mystery; be so kind
as to desire M. Goltz will come and bring his plan of Cronstadt.
Trenck is at my house, shall be forthcoming instantly, and I will
not protect him if he proves guilty."

The Chancellor wrote to Goltz; but he, artful as he was, had no
doubt taken care to be informed that the lieutenant of the police
had missed his prey. He therefore sent an excuse, and did not
appear. In the meantime I entered; Hyndford then addressed me, with
the openness of an Englishman, and asked, "Are you a traitor,
Trenck? If so, you do not merit my protection, but stand here as a
state prisoner. Have you sold a plan of Cronstadt to M. Goltz?" My
answer may easily be supposed. Hyndford rehearsed what the
chancellor had told him; I was desired to leave the room, and Funk
was sent for. The moment he came in, Hyndford said, "Sir, where is
that plan of Cronstadt which Trenck copied?" Funk, hesitating,
replied, "I will go for it." "Have you it," continued Hyndford, "at
home? Speak, upon your honour."--"No, my Lord, I have lent it, for
a few days, to M. Goltz, that he may take a copy."

Hyndford immediately then saw the whole affair, told the chancellor
the history of this plan, which belonged to him, and which he had
lent to Funk, and requested a trusty person might be sent with him
to make a proper search. Bestuchef named his first secretary, and
to him were added Funk and the Dutch envoy, Schwart, who happened
then to enter. All went together to the house of Goltz. Funk
demanded his plan of Cronstadt; Goltz gave it him, and Funk returned
it to Lord Hyndford.

The secretary and Hyndford both then desired he would produce the
plan of Cronstadt which he had bought of Trenck for two hundred
ducats. His confusion now was great, and Hyndford firmly insisted
this plan should be forthcoming, to vindicate the honour of Trenck,
whom he held to be an honest man. On this, Goltz answered, "I have
received my king's commands to prevent the preferment of Trenck in
Russia, and I have only fulfilled the duty of a minister."

Hyndford spat on the ground, and said more than I choose to repeat;
after which the four gentlemen returned to the chancellor, and I was
again called. Everybody complimented me, related to me what had
passed, and the chancellor promised I should be recompensed;
strictly, however, forbidding me to take any revenge on the Prussian
ambassador, I having sworn, in the first transports of anger, to
punish him wherever I should find him, even were it at the altar's

The chancellor soothed me, kept me to dine with him, and endeavoured
to assuage my boiling passions. The countess affected indifference,
and asked me if suchlike actions characterised the Prussian nation.
Funk and Schwart were at table. All present congratulated me on my
victory, but none knew to whom I was indebted for my deliverance
from the hasty and unjust condemnation of the chancellor, although
my protectress was one of the company. I received a present of two
thousand roubles the next day from the chancellor, with orders to
thank the Empress for this mark of her bounty, and accept it as a
sign of her special favour. I paid these my thanks some days after.
The money I disregarded, but the amiable Empress, by her enchanting
benevolence, made me forget the past. The story became public, and
Goltz appeared neither in public, nor at court. The manner in which
the countess personally reproached him, I shall out of respect pass
over. Bernes, the crafty Piedmontese, assured me of revenge,
without my troubling myself in the matter, and--what happened after
I know not; Goltz appeared but little in company, fell ill when I
had left Russia, and died soon after of a consumption.

This vile man was, no doubt, the cause of all the calamities which
fell upon me. I should have become one of the first men in Russia:
the misfortune that befel Bestuchef and his family some years
afterward might have been averted: I should never have returned to
Vienna, a city so fatal to the name of Trenck: by the mediation of
the Russian Court, I should have recovered my great Sclavonian
estates; my days of persecution at Vienna would have passed in peace
and pleasure: nor should I have entered the dungeon of Magdeburg.


How little did the Great Frederic know my heart. Without having
offended, he had rendered me miserable, had condemned me to
imprisonment at Glatz on mere suspicion, and on my flying thence,
naked and destitute, had confiscated my paternal inheritance. Not
contented with inflicting all these calamities, he would not suffer
me peaceably to seek my fortune in a foreign land.

Few are the youths who, in so short a time, being expelled their
native country with disgrace, by their own efforts, merits, and
talents, have obtained honour and favour so great, acquired such
powerful friends, or been entrusted with confidence equally
unlimited in transactions so important. Enraged as I was at the
treachery of Goltz, had opportunity offered, I might have been
tempted even to turn my native country into a desert; nor do I deny
that I afterwards promoted the views of the Austrian envoy, who knew
well how to cherish the flame that had been kindled, and turn it to
his own use. Till this moment I never felt the least enmity either
to my country or king, nor did I suffer myself, on any occasion, to
be made the agent of their disadvantage.

No sooner was I entrusted more intimately with cabinet secrets, than
I discovered the state of factions, and that Bestuchef and Apraxin
were even then in Prussian pay; that a counterpoise, by their means,
might be formed to the prevalence of the Austrian party.

Hence we may date the change of Russian politics in the year 1762.
Here also we may find a clue to the contradictory orders, artifices,
positions, retreats and disappointments of the Russian army, in the
seven years' war, beginning in 1756. The countess, who was obliged
to act with greater caution, foresaw the consequence of the various
intrigues in which her husband was engaged: her love for me
naturally drew her from her former party; she confided every secret
to me, and ever remained till her fall, which happened in 1758,
during my imprisonment, my best friend and correspondent. Hence was
I so well informed of all the plans against Prussia, to the years
1754 and 1756; much more so than many ministers of the interested
courts, who imagined they alone were in the secret. How many after
events could I then have foretold! Such was the perverseness of my
destiny, that where I should most have been sought for, and best
known, there was I least valued.

No man, in my youth, would have believed I should live to my
sixtieth year, untitled and obscure. In Berlin, Petersburg, London,
and Paris, have I been esteemed by the greatest statesmen, and now
am I reduced to the invalid list. How strange are the caprices of
fortune! I ought never to have left Russia: this was my great
error, which I still live to repent.

I have never been accustomed to sleep more than four or five hours,
so that through life I have allowed time for paying visits and
receiving company. I have still had sufficient for study and
improvement. Hyndford was my instructor in politics; Boerhaave,
then physician to the court, my bosom friend, my tutor in physic and
literary subjects. Women formed me for court intrigues, though
these, as a philosopher, I despised.

The chancellor had greatly changed his carriage towards me since the
incident of the plan. He observed my looks, showed he was
distrustful, and desirous of revenge. His lady, as well as myself,
remarked this, and new measures became necessary. I was obliged to
act an artful, but, at the same time, a very dangerous part.

My cousin, Baron Trenck, died in the Spielberg, October 4, 1749, and
left me his heir, on condition I should only serve the house of
Austria. In March, 1750, Count Bernes received the citation sent me
to enter on this inheritance. I would hear nothing of Vienna; the
abominable treatment of my cousin terrified me. I well knew the
origin of his prosecution, the services he had rendered his country,
and had been an eye-witness of the injustice by which he was repaid.
Bernes represented to me that the property left me was worth much
above a million: that the empress would support me in pursuit of
justice, and that I had no personal enemy at Vienna, that a million
of certain property in Hungary was much superior to the highest
expectations in Russia, where I myself had beheld so many changes of
fortune, and the effects of family cabals. Russia he painted as
dangerous, Vienna as secure, and promised me himself effectual
assistance, as his embassy would end within the year. Were I once
rich, I might reside in what country I pleased; nor could the
persecutions of Frederic anywhere pursue me so ineffectually as in
Austria. Snares would be laid for me everywhere else, as I had
experienced in Russia. "What," said he, "would have been the
consequence, had not the countess warned you of the impending
danger? You, like many other honest and innocent men, would have
been sent to Siberia. Your innocence must have remained untested,
and yourself, in the universal opinion, a villain and a traitor."

Hyndford spoke to me in the same tone, assured me of his eternal
protection, and described London as a certain asylum, should I not
find happiness at Vienna. He spoke of slavery as a Briton ought to
speak, reminded me of the fate of Munich and Osterman, painted the
court such as I knew it to be, and asked me what were my
expectations, even were I fortunate enough to become general or
minister in such a country.

These reasonings at length determined me; but having plenty of
money, I thought proper to take Stockholm, Copenhagen, and Holland
in my way, and Barnes was in the meantime to prepare me a favourable
reception at Vienna. He desired, also, I would give him authority
to get possession of the estates to which I was heir. My mistress
strongly endeavoured to detain me, but yielded at length to the
force of reason. I tore myself away, and promised, on my honour, to
return as soon as I had arranged my affairs at Vienna. She made the
proposition of investing me within some foreign embassy, by which I
might render the most effectual services to the court at Vienna. In
this hope we parted with heavy hearts: she presented me with her
portrait, and a snuffbox set with diamonds; the first of these,
three years after was torn from my bosom by the officers in my first
dungeon at Magdeburg, as I shall hereafter relate. The chancellor
embraced me, at parting, with friendship. Apraxin wept, and clasped
me in his arms, prophesying at the same time, I should never be so
happy as in Russia. I myself foreboded misfortune, and quitted
Russia with regret, but still followed the advice of Hyndford and

From Moscow I travelled to Petersburg, where I found a letter, at
the house of Baron Wolf, the banker, from the countess, which rent
my very heart, and almost determined me to return. She endeavoured
to terrify me from proceeding to Vienna, yet inclosed a bill for
four thousand roubles, to aid me on my journey, were I absolutely
bent to turn my back on fortune.

My effects, in money and jewels, amounted to about thirty-six
thousand florins; I therefore returned the draft, intreated her
eternal remembrance, and that she would reserve her favour and
support to times in which they might become needful. After
remaining a few days at Petersburg, I journeyed, by land, to
Stockholm; taking with me letters of recommendation from all the
foreign envoys

I forgot to mention that Funk was inconsolable for my departure; his
imprudence had nearly plunged me into misery, and destroyed all my
hopes in Russia. Twenty-two years after this I met the worthy man,
once more in Dresden. He, there, considered himself as the cause of
all the evils inflicted on me, and assured me the recital of my
sufferings had been so many bitter reproaches to his soul. Our
recapitulation of former times gave us endless pleasure, and it was
the sweetest of joys to meet and renew my friendship with such a
man, after having weathered so many storms of fate.

At Stockholm I wanted for no recommendation; the Queen, sister to
the great Frederic, had known me at Berlin, when I had the honour,
as an officer of the body guard, of accompanying her to Stettin. I
related my whole history to her without reserve. She, from
political motives, advised me not to make any stay at Stockholm, and
to me continued till death, an ever-gracious lady. I proceeded to
Copenhagen, where I had business to transact for M. Chaise, the
Danish envoy at Moscow: from whom also I had letters of
recommendation. Here I had the pleasure of meeting my old friend,
Lieutenant Bach, who had aided me in my escape from my imprisonment
at Glatz. He was poor and in debt, and I procured him protection,
by relating the noble manner in which he behaved I also presented
him with five hundred ducats, by the aid of which he pushed his
fortune. He wrote to me in the year 1776, a letter of sincere
thanks, and died a colonel of hussars in the Danish service in 1776.

I remained in Copenhagen but a fortnight, and then sailed in a Dutch
ship, from Elsineur to Amsterdam. Scarcely had we put to sea,
before a storm arose, by which we lost a mast and bowsprit, had our
sails shattered, and were obliged to cast anchor among the rocks of
Gottenburg, where our deliverance was singularly fortunate.

Here we lay nine days before we could make the open sea, and here I
found a very pleasant amusement, by going daily in the ship's boat
from rock to rock, attended by two of my servants, to shoot wild
ducks, and catch shell-fish; whence I every evening returned with
provisions, and sheep's milk, bought of the poor inhabitants, for
the ship's crew.

There was a dearth among these poor people. Our vessel was laden
with corn; some of this I purchased, to the amount of some hundreds
of Dutch florins, and distributed wherever I went. I also gave one
of their ministers a hundred florins for his poor congregation, who
was himself in want of bread, and whose annual stipend amounted to
one hundred and fifty florins.

Here in the sweet pleasure of doing good, I left behind me much of
that money I had so easily acquired in Russia; and perhaps had we
stayed much longer should myself have left the place in poverty. A
thousand blessings followed me, and the storm-driven Trenck was long
remembered and talked of at Gottenburg.

In this worthy employment, however, I had nearly lost my life.
Returning from carrying corn, the wind rose, and drove the boat to
sea. I not understanding the management of the helm, and the
servants awkwardly handling the sails, the boat in tacking was
overset. The benefit of learning to swim, I again experienced, and
my faithful servant, who had gained the rock, aided me when almost
spent. The good people who had seen the shallop overset, came off
in their boats to my assistance. An honest Calmuc, whom I had
brought from Russia, and another of my servants perished. I saw the
first sink after I had reached the shore.

The kind Swedes brought me on board, and also righted and returned
with the shallop. For some days I was sea-sick. We weighed anchor,
and sailed for the Texel, the mouth of which we saw, and the pilots
coming off, when another storm arose, and drove us to the port of
Bahus, in Norway, into which we ran, without farther damage. In
some few days we again set sail, with a fair wind, and at length
reached Amsterdam.

Here I made no long stay; for the day after my arrival, an
extraordinary adventure happened, in which I was engaged chiefly by
my own rashness.

I was a spectator while the harpooners belonging to the whale
fishery were exercising themselves in darting their harpoons, most
of whom were drunk. One of them, Herman Rogaar by name, a hero
among these people, for his dexterity with his snickasnee, came up,
and passed some of his coarse jests upon my Turkish sabre, and
offered to fillip me on the nose. I pushed him from me, and the
fellow threw down his cap, drew his snickasnee, challenged me,
called me monkey-tail, and asked whether I chose a straight, a
circular, or a cross cut.

Thus here was I, in this excellent company, with no choice but that
of either fighting or running away. The robust, Herculean fellow
grew more insolent, and I, turning round to the bystanders, asked
them to lend me a snickasnee. "No, no," said the challenger, "draw
your great knife from your side, and, long as it is, I will lay you
a dozen ducats you get a gash in the cheek." I drew; he confidently
advanced with his snickasnee, and, at the first stroke of my sabre,
that, and the hand that held it, both dropped to the ground, and the
blood spouted in my face.

I now expected the people would, indubitably, tear me to pieces; but
my fear was changed into astonishment at hearing a universal shout
applauding the vanquisher of the redoubted Herman Rogaar who, so
lately feared for his strength and dexterity, became the object of
their ridicule. A Jew spectator conducted me out of the crowd, and
the people clamorously followed me to my inn. This kind of duel, by
which I gained honour, would anywhere else have brought me to the
highest disgrace. A man who knew the use of the sabre, in a single
day, might certainly have disabled a hundred Herman Rogaars. This
story may instruct and warn others. He that is quarrelsome shall
never want an enemy. My temerity often engaged me in disputes
which, by timely compliance and calmness, might easily have been
avoided; but my evil genius always impelled me into the paths of
perplexity, and I seldom saw danger till it was inevitable

I left Amsterdam for the Hague, where I had been recommended to Lord
Holderness, the English ambassador, by Lord Hyndford; to Baron
Reisbach, by Bernes; to the Grand Pensionary Fagel, by Schwart; and
from the chancellor I had a letter to the Prince of Orange himself I
could not, therefore, but be everywhere received with all possible
distinction. Within these recommendations, and the knowledge I
possessed, had I had the good fortune to have avoided Vienna, and
gone to India, where my talents would have insured me wealth, how
many tears of affliction had I been spared! My ill fortune,
however, had brought me letters from Count Bernes, assuring me that
heaven was at Vienna, and including a citation from the high court,
requiring me to give in my claim of inheritance. Bernes further
informed me the Austrian court had assured him I should meet with
all justice and protection, and advised me to hasten my journey, as
the executorship of the estates of Trenck was conducted but little
to my advantage.

This advice I took, proceeded to Vienna, and from that moment all my
happiness had an end. I became bewildered in lawsuits, and the arts
of wicked men, and all possible calamities assaulted me at once, the
recital of which would itself afford subject matter for a history.
They began by the following incidents:-

One M. Schenck sought my acquaintance at the Hague. I met with him
at my hotel, where he intreated I would take him to Nuremberg,
whence he was to proceed to Saxony. I complied, and bore his
expenses; but at Hanau, waking in the morning, I found my watch, set
with diamonds, a ring worth two thousand roubles, a diamond snuff-
box, with my mistress's picture, and my purse, containing about
eighty ducats, stolen from my bed-side, and Schenck become
invisible. Little affected by the loss of money, at any time, I yet
was grieved for my snuff-box. The rascal, however, had escaped, and
it was fortunate that the remainder of my ready money, with my bills
of exchange, were safely locked up.

I now pursued my journey without company, and arrived in Vienna. I
cannot exactly recollect in what month, but I had been absent about
two years; and the reader will allow that it was barely possible for
any man, in so short a time, to have experienced more various
changes of fate, though many smaller incidents have been suppressed.
The places, where my pledged fidelity required discretion will be
easily supposed, as likewise will the concealment of court
intrigues, and artifices, the publication of which might even yet
subject me to more persecutions. All writers are not permitted to
speak truth of monarchs and ministers. I am the father of eight
children, and parental love and duty vanquish the inclination of the
author; and this duty, this affection, have made me particularly
cautious in relating what happened to me at Vienna, that I might,
thereby, serve them more effectually than by indulging the pride of
the writer, or the vengeance of the man.


Since accounts so various, contradictory, and dishonourable to the
name of Trenck, have been circulated in Vienna, concerning facts
which happened thirty-seven years ago, I will here give a short
abstract of them, and such as may he verified by the records of the
court. I pledge my honour to the truth of the statement, and were I
so allowed, would prove it, to the conviction of any unprejudiced
court of justice: but this I cannot hope, as princes are much more
disposed to bestow unmerited favours than to make retribution to
those whom they have unjustly punished.

Francis Baron Trenck died in the Spielberg, October 4th, 1749. It
has been erroneously believed in Vienna that his estates were
confiscated by the sentence which condemned him to the Spielberg.
He had committed no offence against the state, was accused of none,
much less convicted. The court sentence was that the administration
of his estate should be committed to Counsellor Kempf and Baron
Peyaczewitz, who were selected by himself, and the accounts of his
stewards and farmers were to be sent him yearly. He continued, till
his death, to have the free and entire disposal of his property.

Although, before his death, he sent for his advocate, Doctor Berger,
and by him petitioned the Empress she would issue the necessary
orders to the Governor of the Spielberg, to permit the entrance of
witnesses, and all things necessary to make a legal will, it by no
means follows that he petitioned her for permission to make this
will. The case is too clear to admit of doubt. The royal commands
were given, that he should enjoy all freedom of making his will.
Permission was also given that, during his sickness, he might be
removed to the capuchin convent, which was equal to liberty, but
this he refused to accept.

Neither was his ability to make a will questioned. The advocate was
only to request the Queen's permission to supply some formalities,
which had been neglected, when he purchased the lordships of Velika
and Nustar, which petition was likewise granted. The royal mandate
still exists, which commissioned the persons therein named as
trustees to the estate and effects of Trenck, and this mandate runs
thus: "Let the last will of Trenck be duly executed: let dispatch
be used, and the heir protected in all his rights." Confiscation,
therefore, had never been thought of, nor his power to make a will

I will now show how I have been deprived of this valuable
inheritance, while I have been obliged to pay above sixty thousand
florins, to defray legacies he had left; and when this narrative is
read, it will no longer be affirmed at Vienna, that by the favours
of the court I inherited seventy-six thousand florins, or the
lordship of Zwerbach from Trenck, I shall proceed to my proofs.

The father of Baron Trenck, who died in the year 1743, governor of
Leitschau, in Hungary, named me in his will the successor of his
son, should he die without heirs male.

This will was sent to be proved, according to form, at Vienna, after
having been authenticated in the most legal manner in Hungary. The
court called Hofkriegsrath, at Vienna, neglected to provide a
curator for the security of the next heir; yet this could not annul
my right of succession. When Trenck succeeded his father, he
entered no protest to this, his father's will; therefore, dying
without children, in the year 1749, my claim was indisputable. I
was heir had he made no will: and even in case of confiscation, my
title to his father's estates still remained valid.

Trenck knew this but too well: he, as I have before related, was my
worst enemy, and even attempted my life. I will therefore proceed
to show the real intent of this his crafty testament.

Determined no longer to live in confinement, or to ask forgiveness,
by which, it is well known, he might have obtained his freedom,
having lost all hopes of reimbursing his losses, his avarice was
reduced to despair. His desire of fame was unbounded, and this
could no way be gratified but by having himself canonized for a
saint, after spending his life in committing all the ravages of a
pandour. Hence originated the following facts:-

He knew I was the legal claimant to his father's estates. His
father had bought with the family money, remitted from Prussia, the
lordships of Prestowacz and Pleternitz, in Sclavonia, and he
himself, during his father's life, and with his father's money, had
purchased the lordship of Pakratz, for forty thousand florins: this
must therefore descend also to me, he having no more power to will
this from me, than he had the remainder of his paternal inheritance.
The property he himself had gained was consigned to administrators,
but a hundred thousand florins had been expended in lawsuits, and
sixty-three suits continued actually pending against him in court;
the legacies he bequeathed amounted to eighty thousand florins.
These, he saw, could not be paid, should I claim nothing more than
the paternal inheritance; he, therefore, to render me unfortunate
after his death, craftily named me his universal heir, without
mentioning his father's will, but endeavoured, by his mysterious
death, and the following conditions, to enforce the execution of his
own will.

First,--I was to become a Catholic.

Secondly,--I was to serve only the house of Austria; and,

Lastly,--He made his whole estate, without excepting the paternal
inheritance, a Fidei commissum.

Hence arose all my misfortunes, as indeed was his intention; for,
but a short time before his death, he said to the Governor, Baron
Kottulinsky, "I shall now die contented, since I have been able to
trick my cousin, and render him wretched."

His death, believed in Vienna to be miraculous, happened after the
following manner; and by this he had induced many weak people, who
really believed him a saint, to further his views.

Three days before his death, while in perfect health, he desired the
governor of the Spielberg would send for his confessor, for that St.
Francis had revealed to him he should be removed into life
everlasting on his birth-day at twelve o'clock. The capuchin was
sent for, but the prediction laughed at.

The day, however, after the departure of his confessor, he said,
"Praise be to God, my end approaches; my confessor is dead, and has
appeared to me." Strange as it may seem; it was actually found to
be true that the priest was dead. He now had all the officers of
the garrison of Brunn assembled, tonsured his head like a capuchin,
took the habit of the order, publicly confessed himself in a sermon
of an hour's length, exhorted them all to holiness, acted the part
of a most exemplary penitent, embraced all present, spoke with a
smile of the insignificance of all earthly possessions, took his
leave, knelt down to prayers, slept calmly, rose, prayed again, and
about eleven in the forenoon, October 4th, taking his watch in his
hand, said, "Thanks be to my God, my last hour approaches." All
laughed at such a farce from a man of such a character; yet they
remarked that the left side of his face grew pale. He then leaned
his arm on the table, prayed, and remained motionless, with his eyes
closed. The clock struck twelve--no signs of life or motion could
be discovered; they spoke to him, and found he was really dead.

The word miracle was echoed through the whole country, and the
transmigration of the Pandour Trenck, from earth to heaven, by St.
Francis, proclaimed. The clue to this labyrinth of miracles, known
only to me, is truly as follows:- He possessed the secret of what is
called the aqua tofana, and had determined on death. His confessor
had been entrusted with all his secrets, and with promissory notes,
which he wished to invalidate. I am perfectly certain that he had
returned a promissory note of a great prince, given for two hundred
thousand florins, which has never been brought to account. The
confessor, therefore, was to be provided for, that Trenck might not
be betrayed, and a dose of poison was given him before he set off
for Vienna: his death was the consequence. He took similar means
with himself, and thus knew the hour of his exit; finding he could
not become the first on earth, he wished to be adored as a saint in
heaven. He knew he should work miracles when dead, because he
ordered a chapel to be built, willed a perpetual mass, and
bequeathed the capuchins sixty thousand florins.

Thus died this most extraordinary man, in the thirty-fourth year of
his age, to whom nature had denied none of her gifts; who had been
the scourge of Bavaria; the terror of France; and who had, with his
supposed contemptible pandours, taken above six thousand Prussian
prisoners. He lived a tyrant and enemy of men, and died a
sanctified impostor.

Such was the state of affairs, as willed by Trenck, when I came to
Vienna, in 1759, where I arrived with money and jewels to the amount
of twenty thousand florins.

Instead of profiting by the wealth Trenck had acquired, I expended a
hundred and twenty thousand florins of my own money, including what
devolved to me from my uncle, his father, in the prosecution of his
suits. Trenck had paid two hundred ducats to the tribunal of
Vienna, in the year 1743, to procure its very reprehensible silence
concerning a curator, to which I was sacrificed, as the new judges
of this court refused to correct the error of their predecessors.
Such are the proceedings of courts of justice in Vienna!

On my first audience, no one could be received more kindly than I
was, by the Empress Queen. She spoke of my deceased cousin with
much emotion and esteem, promised me all grace and favour, and
informed me of the particular recommendations she had received, on
my behalf, from Count Bernes. Finding sixty-three cases hang over
my head, in consequence of the inheritance of Trenck, to obtain
justice in any one of which in Vienna, would have employed the whole
life of an honest man, I determined to renounce this inheritance,
and claim only under the will and as the heir of my uncle.

With this view I applied for and obtained a copy of that will, with
which I personally appeared, and declared to the court that I
renounced the inheritance of Francis Trenck, would undertake none of
his suits, nor be responsible for his legacies, and required only
his father's estates, according to the legal will, which I produced;
that is to say, the three lordships of Pakratz, Prestowacz, and
Pleneritz, without chattels or personal effects. Nothing could be
more just or incontrovertible than this claim. What was my
astonishment, to be told, in open court, that Her Majesty had
declared I must either wholly perform the articles of the will of
Trenck, or be excluded the entire inheritance, and have nothing
further to hope. What could be done? I ventured to remonstrate,
but the will of the court was determined and absolute: I must
become a Roman Catholic.

In this extremity I bribed a priest, who gave me a signed
attestation, "That I had abjured the accursed heresy of
Lutheranism." My religion, however, remained what it had ever been.
General Bernes about this time returned from his embassy, and I
related to him the lamentable state in which I found my affairs. He
spoke to the Empress in my behalf, and she promised everything. He
advised me to have patience, to perform all that was required of me,
and to make myself responsible for the depending suits. Some family
concerns obliged him, as he informed me, to make a journey to Turin,
but his return would be speedy: he would then take the management
of my affairs upon himself, and insure my good fortune in Austria.
Bernes loved me as his son, and I had reason to hope, from his
assurance, I should be largely remembered in his will, which was the
more probable, as he had neither child nor relations. He parted
from me, like a father, with tears in his eyes; but he had scarcely
been absent six weeks before the news arrived of his death, which,
if report may be credited, was effected by poison, administered by A
FRIEND. Ever the sport of fortune, thus were my supporters snatched
from me at the very moment they became most necessary.

The same year was I, likewise, deprived by death of my friend and
protector, Field-marshal Konigseck, Governor of Vienna, when he had
determined to interest himself in my behalf. I have been beloved by
the greatest men Austria ever produced, but unfortunately have been
persecuted by the chicanery of pettifoggers, fools, fanatics, and
priests, who have deprived me of the favour of my Empress, guiltless
as I was of crime or deceit, and left my old age in poverty.

My ills were increased by a new accident. Soon after the departure
of Bernes, the Prussian minister, taking me aside, in the house of
the Palatine envoy, M. Becker, proposed my return to Berlin, assured
me the King had forgotten all that was past, was convinced of my
innocence, that my good fortune would there be certain, and be
pledged his honour to recover the inheritance of Trenck. I
answered, the favour came too late; I had suffered injustice too
flagrant, in my own country, and that I would trust no prince on
earth whose will might annihilate all the rights of men. My good
faith to the King had been too ill repaid; my talents might gain me
bread in any part of the world, and I would not again subject myself
to the danger of unmerited imprisonment.

His persuasions were strong, but ineffectual. "My dear Trenck,"
said he, "God is my judge that my intentions are honest; I will
pledge myself, that my sovereign will insure your fortune: you do
not know Vienna; you will lose all by the suits in which you are
involved, and will be persecuted because you do not carry a rosary."

How often have I repented I did not then return to Berlin! I should
have escaped ten years' imprisonment; should have recovered the
estates of Trenck: should not have wasted the prime of life in the
litigation of suits, and the writing of memorials; and should have
certainly been ranked among the first men in my native country.
Vienna was no place for a man who could not fawn and flatter: yet
here was I destined to remain six-and-thirty years, unrewarded,
unemployed; and through youth and age, to continue on the list of
invalid majors.

Having rejected the proposition of the Prussian envoy, all my hopes
in Vienna were ruined; for Frederic, by his residents and
emissaries, knew how to effect whatever he pleased in foreign
courts, and determined that the Trenck who would no longer serve or
confide in him should at least find no opportunity of serving
against him: I soon became painted to the Empress as an arch
heretic who never would be faithful to the house of Austria, and
only endeavoured to obtain the inheritance of Trenck that he might
devote himself to Prussia. This I shall hereafter prove; and
display a scene that shall be the disgrace of many, by whom the
Empress was induced to harbour unjust suspicions of an able and
honest man. I here stand erect and confident before the world;
publish the truth, and take everlasting shame to myself, if any man
on earth can prove me guilty of one treacherous thought. I owe no
thanks; but so far from having received favours, I have six and
thirty years remained unable to obtain justice, though I have all
the while been desirous of shedding my blood in defence of the
monarchy where I have thus been treated. Till the year 1746, I was
equally zealous and faithful to Prussia; yet my estates there,
though confiscated, were liable to recovery: in Hungary, on the
contrary, the sentence of confiscation is irrevocable. This is a
remarkable proof in favour of my honour, and my children's claims.

Surely no reader will be offended at these digressions; my mind is
agitated, my feelings roused, remembering that my age and grey hairs
deprive me of the sweet hope of at length vanquishing opposition,
either by patience, or forcing justice, by eminent services, or
noble efforts.

This my history will never reach a monarch's eye, consequently no
monarch, by perceiving, will be induced to protect truth. It may,
indeed, be criticised by literati; it will certainly be decried by
my persecutors, who, through life, have been my false accusers, and
will probably, therefore, be prohibited by the priests. All
Germany, however, will read, and posterity perhaps may pity, should
my book escape the misfortune of being classed among improbable
romances; to which it is the more liable, because that the
biographers of Frederic and Maria Theresa, for manifest reasons,
have never so much as mentioned the name of Trenck.

Once more to my story: I was now obliged to declare myself heir,
but always cum reservatione juris mei, not as simply claiming under
the will of Francis Trenck I was obliged to take upon myself the
management of the sixty-three suits, and the expenses attending any
one of these are well known in Vienna. My situation may be
imagined, when I inform the reader I only received, from the whole
estate of Trenck, 3,600 florins in three years, which were scarcely
sufficient to defray the expenses of new year's gifts to the
solicitors and masters in chancery. How did I labour in stating and
transcribing proofs for the court! The money I possessed soon
vanished. My Prussian relations supported me, and the Countess
Bestuchef sent me the four thousand roubles I had refused at
Petersburg. I had also remittances from my faithful mistress in
Prussia; and, in addition, was obliged to borrow money at the
usurious rate of sixty per cent. Bewildered as I was among lawyers
and knaves, my ambition still prompted me to proceed, and all things
are possible to labour and perseverance; but my property was
expended: and, at length, I could only obtain that the contested
estates should be made a Fidei commissum, or put under trust;
whereby, though they were protected from being the further prey of
others, I did not inherit them as mine. In this pursuit was my
prime of life wasted, which might have been profitably and
honourably spent.

In three years, however, I brought my sixty-three suits to a kind of
conclusion; the probabilities were this could not have been effected
in fifty. Exclusive of my assiduity, the means I took must not be
told; it is sufficient that I here learnt what judges were, and thus
am enabled to describe them to others.

For a few ducats, the president's servant used to admit me into a
closet where I could see everything as perfectly as if I had myself
been one of the council. This often was useful, and taught me to
prevent evil; and often was I scarcely able to refrain bursting in
upon this court.

Their appointed hour of meeting was nine in the morning, but they
seldom assembled before eleven. The president then told his beads,
and muttered his prayers. Someone got up and harangued, while the
remainder, in pairs, amused themselves with talking instead of
listening, after which the news of the day became the common topic
of conversation, and the council broke up, the court being first
adjourned some three weeks, without coming to any determination.
This was called judicium delegatum in causis Trenkiansis; and when
at last they came to a conclusion, the sentence was such as I shall
ever shudder at and abhor.

The real estates of Trenck consisted in the great Sclavonian manors,
called the lordships of Pakratz, Prestowatz, and Pleternitz, which
he had inherited from his father, and were the family property,
together with Velika and Nustak, which he himself had purchased:
the annual income of these was 60,000 florins, and they contained
more than two hundred villages and hamlets. The laws of Hungary
require -

1st. That those who purchase estates shall obtain the consensus
regius (royal consent).

2nd. That the seller shall possess, and make over the right of
property, together with that of transferring or alienating, and

3dly. That the purchaser shall be a native born, or have bought his

In default of all, or any of these, the Fiscus, on the death of the
purchaser, takes possession, repaying the summa emptitia, or
purchase-money, together within what can be shown to have been laid
out in improvements, or the summa inscriptitia, the sum at which it
stands rated in the fiscal register.

Without form or notice, the Hungarian Fiscal President, Count
Grassalkowitz, took possession of all the Trenck estates on his
decease, in the name of the Fiscus. The prize was great, not so
much because of the estates themselves, as of the personal property
upon them. Trenck had sent loads of merchandise to his estates, of
linen, ingots of gold and silver from Bavaria, Alsatia, and Silesia.
He had a vast storehouse of arms, and of saddles; also the great
silver service of the Emperor Charles VII., which he had brought
from Munich, with the service of plate of the King of Prussia; and
the personal property on these estates was affirmed considerably to
exceed in value the estates themselves.

I was not long since informed by one of the first generals, whose
honour is undoubted, that several waggons were laden with these rich
effects and sent to Mihalefze. His testimony was indubitable; he
knew the two pandours, who were the confidants of Trenck, and the
keepers of his treasures; and these, during the general plunder,
each seized a bag of pearls, and fled to Turkey, where they became
wealthy merchants. His rich stud of horses were taken, and the very
cows driven off the farms. His stand of arms consisted of more than
three thousand rare pieces. Trenck had affirmed he had sent linen
to the amount of fifty thousand florins, in chests from Dunnhausen
and Cersdorf, in the county of Glatz, to his estates. The pillage
was general; and when orders came to send all the property of Trenck
and deliver it to his universal heir, nothing remained that any
person would accept. I have myself seen, in a certain Hungarian
nobleman's house, some valuable arms, which I knew I had been robbed
of! and I bought at Esseck some silver plates on which were the arms
of Prussia, that had been sold by Counsellor D-n, who had been
empowered to take possession of these estates, and had thus rendered
himself rich. Of this I procured an attestation, and proved the
theft: I complained aloud at Vienna, but received an order from the
court to be silent, under pain of displeasure, and also to go no
more into Sclavonia. The principal reason of my loss of the landed
property in Hungary was my having dared to make inquiries concerning
the personal, not one guinea of which was ever brought to account.
I then proved my right to the family estates, left by my uncle,
beyond all dispute, and also of those purchased by my cousin. The
commissions appointed to inquire into these rights even confirmed
them; yet after they had been thus established, I received the
following order from the court, in the hand of the Empress herself:-
"The president, Count Grassalkowitz, takes it upon his conscience
that the Sclavonian estates do not descend to Trenck, in natura; he
must therefore receive the summa emptitia et inscriptitia, together
with the money he can show to have been expended in improvements."


And herewith ended my pleadings and my hopes. I had sacrificed my
property, laboured through sixty-three inferior suits, and lost this
great cause without a trial. I could have remained satisfied with
the loss of the personal property: the booty of a soldier, like the
wealth amassed by a minister, appears to me little better than a
public robbery; but the acquirements of my ancestors, my birth-right
by descent, of these I could not be deprived without excessive
cruelty. Oh patience! patience!--Yet shall my children never become
the footmen, nor grooms, of those who have robbed them of their
inheritance; and to them I bequeathed my rights in all their power:
nor shall any man prevent my crying aloud, so long as justice shall
not be done.

The president, it is true, did not immediately possess himself of
the estates, but he took good care his friends should have them at
such rates that the sale of them did not bring the fiscal treasury
150,000 florins, while I, in real and personal property, lost a
million and a half; nay, probably a sum equal to this in personal
property alone.

The summa inscriptitia et emptitia for all these great estates only
amounted to 149,000 florins, and this was to be paid by the chamber,
but the president thought proper to deduct 10,000 on pretence the
cattle had been driven off the estate of Pakratz; and, further,
36,000 more, under the shameful pretence that Trenck, to recruit his
pandours, had drained the estates of 3,600 vassals, who had never
returned; the estates, therefore, must make them good at the rate of
thirty florins per head, which would have amounted to 108,000
florins; but, with much difficulty, this sum was reduced, as above
stated, to 36,000 florins, each vassal reckoned at ten florins per
head. Thus was I obliged, from the property of my family, to pay
for 3,600 men who had gloriously died in war, in defence of the
contested rights of the great Maria Theresa; who had raised so many
millions of contributions for her in the countries of her enemies;
who, sword in hand, had stormed and taken so many towns, and
dispersed, or taken prisoners, so many thousands of her foes. Would
this be believed by listening nations?

All deductions made for legacies, fees, and formalities, there
remained to me 63,000 florins, with which I purchased the lordship
of Zwerbach, and I was obliged to pay 6,000 florins for my
naturalisation. Thus, when the sums are enumerated which I expended
on the suits of Trenck, received from my friends at Berlin and
Petersburg, it will be found that I cannot, at least, have been a
gainer by having been made the universal heir of the immensely rich
Trenck. With regret I write these truths in support of my
children's claims, that they may not, in my grave, reproach me for
having neglected the duty of a father.

I will mere add a few particulars which may afford the reader matter
for meditation, cause him to commiserate my fate, and give a picture
of the manner in which the prosecution was carried on against

One Schygrai, a silly kind of beggarly baron, who was treated as a
buffoon, was invited in the year 1743 to dine with Baron
Pejaczewitz, when Trenck happened to be present. The conversation
happened to turn on a kind of brandy made in this country, and
Trenck jocularly said he annually distilled this sort of brandy from
cow-dung to the value of thirty thousand florins. Schygrai supposed
him serious, and wished to learn the art, which Trenck promised to
teach him Pejaczewitz told him he could give him thirty thousand
load of dung.

"But where shall I get the wood?" said Schygrai. "I will give you
thirty thousand klafters," answered Trenck. The credulous baron,
thinking himself very fortunate, desired written promises, which
they gave him; and that of Trenck ran thus: "I hereby permit and
empower Baron Schygrai to sell gratis, in the forest of Tscherra
Horra, thirty thousand klafters of wood.

"Witness my hand,

Trenck was no sooner dead than the Baron brought his note, and made
application to the court. His attorney was the noted Bussy, and the
court decreed the estates of Trenck should pay at the rate of one
form thirty kreutzers per klafter, or forty-five thousand florins,
with all costs, and an order was given to the administrators to pay
the money.

Just at this time I arrived at Vienna, from Petersburg. Doctor
Berger, the advocate of Trenck, told me the affair would admit of no
delay. I hastened to the Empress, and obtained an order to delay
payment. An inquiry was instituted, and this forest of Tscherra
Horra was found to be situated in Turkey. The absurdity and
injustice were flagrant, and it was revoked. I cannot say how much
of these forty-five thousand florins the Baron had promised to the
noble judge and the attorney. I only know that neither of them was
punished. Had not some holidays luckily intervened, or had the
attorney expected my arrival, the money would have been paid, and an
ineffectual attempt to obtain retribution would have been the
consequence, as happened in many similar instances.

I have before mentioned the advertisement inviting all who had any
demands or complaints against Trenck to appear, with the promise of
a ducat a day; and it is mere proper to add that the sum of fifteen
thousand florins was brought to account, and paid out of the estates
of Trenck. For this shameful purpose some thousand of florins were
paid besides to this species of claimants and though, after
examination, their pretensions all proved to be futile, and
themselves were cast in damages, yet was none of this money ever
refunded, or the false claimants punished. Among these the
pretended daughter of General Schwerin received two thousand
florins, notorious as was her character. Again, Trenck was accused
of having appropriated the money to his own use, and treated as if
convicted. After his death a considerable demand was accordingly
made. I happening, however, to meet with Ruckhardt, his quarter-
master, he with asseverations declared that, instead of being
indebted to the regiment, the regiment was more than a hundred
thousand florins indebted to him, advised me to get attestations
from the captains, and assured me he himself would give in a clear
statement of the regiment's accounts.

I followed his advice, hastened to the regiment, and obtained so
many proofs, that the quarter-master of the regiment, who, with the
major, had in reality pocketed the money, was imprisoned and put in
irons. What became of the thief or the false witness afterward I
know not; I only know that nothing was refunded, that the quarter-
master found protectors, detained the money, and, some years after
this vile action, purchased a commission. One instance more.

Trenck, to the corps of infantry he commanded, added a corps of
hussars, which he raised and provided with horses and accoutrements
sold by auction. My demand on this account was upwards of sixty
thousand florins, to which I received neither money nor reply. He
had also expended a hundred thousand florins for the raising and
equipping his three thousand pandours; in consequence of which a
signed agreement had been given by the Government that these hundred
thousand florins should be repaid to his heir, or he, the heir,
should receive the command of the regiment. The regiment, however,
at his decease, was given to General Simschen; and as for the
agreement, care was taken it should never come into my hands. Thus
these hundred thousand florins were lost.

Yet it has been wickedly affirmed he was imprisoned in the Spielberg
for having embezzled the regiment's money; whereas, I would to God I
only was in possession of the sums he expended on this regiment; for
he considered the regiment as his own; and great as was his avarice,
still greater was his desire of fame, and greater still his love for
his Empress, for whom he would gladly have yielded both property and

Within respect to the money that was to have been repaid for
improvement of the estates, I must add, these estates were bought at
a time when the country had been left desolate by the Turks, and the
reinstalment of such places as had fallen into their hands, and the
erecting of farmhouses, mills, stocking them with horses, cattle,
and seed corn, according to my poor estimate, could not amount to
less than eighty thousand florins; but I was forbidden to go into
Sclavonia, and the president offered, as an indemnification, four
thousand florins. Everybody was astonished, but he, within the
utmost coolness, told me I must either accept this or nothing. The
hearers of this sentence cast their eyes up to heaven and pitied me.
I remonstrated, and thereby only made the matter worse. Grief and
anxiety occasioned me to take a journey into Italy, passing through
Venice, Rome, and Florence.

On my return to Vienna, I, by a friendly interference in behalf of a
woman whose fears rather than guilt had brought her into danger,
became suspected myself; and the very officious officers of the
police had me imprisoned as a coiner without the least grounds for
any such accusation except their own surmises. I was detained
unheard nine days, and when, having been heard, I had entirely
justified myself, was again restored to liberty; public declaration
was then made in the Gazette that the officers of the police had
acted too precipitately.

This was the satisfaction granted, but this did not content me. I
threatened the counsellor by whom my character had been so aspersed,
and the Empress, condescending to mediate, bestowed on me a
captainship of cavalry in the Cordova cuirassiers.

Such was the recompense I received for wounds so deep, and such the
neglect into which I was thrown at Vienna. Discontent led me to
join my regiment in Hungary.

Here I gained the applause of my colonel, Count Bettoni, who himself
told the Empress I, more than any other, had contributed to the
forming of the regiment. It may well be imagined how a man like me,
accustomed, as I had been, to the first company of the first courts,
must pass my time among the Carpathian mountains, where neither
society nor good books were to be found, nor knowledge, of which I
was enamoured, improved. The conversation of Count Bettoni, and the
chase, together with the love of the general of the regiment, old
Field-marshal Cordova, were my only resources; the persecutions,
neglect, and even contempt, I received at Vienna, were still the

In the year 1754, in the month of March, my mother died in Prussia,
and I requested the permission of the court that held the
inheritance of Trenck, as a fidei commissum, to make a journey to
Dantzic to settle some family affairs with my brothers and sister,
my estates being confiscated. This permission was granted, and
thither I went in May, where I once more fell into the hands of the
Prussians; which forms the second great and still more gloomy epoch
in my life. All who read what follows will shudder, will
commiserate him who, feeling himself innocent, relates afflictions
he has miserably encountered and gloriously overcome.

I left Hungary, where I was in garrison, for Dantzic, where I had
desired my brothers and sister to meet me that we might settle our
affairs. My principal intent, however, was a journey to Petersburg,
there to seek the advice and aid of my friends, for law and
persecution were not yet ended at Vienna; and my captain's pay and
small income scarcely sufficed to defray charges of attorneys and

It is here most worthy of remark that I was told by Prince Ferdinand
of Brunswick, governor of Magdeburg, he had received orders to
prepare my prison at Magdeburg before I set out from Hungary.

Nay, more; it had been written from Vienna to Berlin that the King
must beware of Trenck, for that he would be at Dantzic at the time
when the King was to visit his camp in Prussia

What thing more vile, what contrivance more abominable, could the
wickedest wretch on earth find to banish a man his country, that he
might securely enjoy the property of which the other had been
robbed? That this was done I have living witnesses in his highness
Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick and the Berlin ministry, from whose
mouths I learned this artifice of villainy. It is the more
necessary to establish this truth, because no one can comprehend why
the GREAT FREDERIC should have proceeded against me in a manner so
cruel that, when it comes to be related, must raise the indignation
of the just, and move hearts of iron to commiserate.

Men so vile, so wicked, as I have described them, in conjunction
with one Weingarten, secretary to Count Puebla, then Austrian
minister at Berlin, have brought on me these my misfortunes.

This was the Weingarten who, as is now well known, betrayed all the
secrets of the Austrian court to Frederic, who at length was
discovered in the year 1756, and who, when the war broke out,
remained in the service of Prussia. This same Weingarten, also, not
only caused my wretchedness, but my sister's ruin and death, as he
likewise did the punishment and death of three innocent men, which
will hereafter be shown.

It is an incontrovertible truth that I was betrayed and sold by men
in Vienna whose interest it was that I should be eternally silenced.

I was immediately visited by my brothers and sister on my arrival at
Dantzic, where we lived happy in each other's company during a
fortnight, and an amicable partition was made of my mother's
effects; my sister perfectly justified herself concerning the manner
in which I was obliged to fly from her house an the year 1746: our
parting was kind, and as brother and sister ought to part.

Our only acquaintance in Dantzic was the Austrian resident, M.
Abramson, to whom I brought letters of recommendation from Vicuna,
and whose reception of us was polite even to extravagance.

This Abramson was a Prussian born, and had never seen Vienna, but
obtained his then office by the recommendation of Count Bestuchef,
without security for his good conduct, or proof of his good morals,
heart, or head. He was in close connection with the Prussian
resident, Reimer; and was made the instrument of my ruin.

Scarcely had my brothers and sister departed before I determined to
make a voyage by sea to Russia. Abramson contrived a thousand
artifices, by which he detained me a week longer in Dantzic, that,
he in conjunction with Reimer, might make the necessary

The King of Prussia had demanded that the magistrates of Dantzic
should deliver me up; but this could not be done without offending
the Imperial court, I being a commissioned officer in that service,
with proper passports; it was therefore probable that this
negotiation required letters should pass and repass; and for this
reason Abramson was employed to detain me some days longer, till, by
the last letters from Berlin, the magistrates of Dantzic were
induced to violate public safety and the laws of nations. Abramson,
I considered as my best friend, and my person as in perfect
security; he had therefore no difficulty in persuading me to stay.

The day of supposed departure on board a Swedish ship for Riga
approached, and the deceitful Abramson promised me to send one of
his servants to the port to know the hour. At four in the afternoon
he told me he had himself spoken to the captain, who said he would
not sail till the next day; adding that he, Abramson, would expect
me to breakfast, and would then accompany me to the vessel. I felt
a secret inquietude which made me desirous of leaving Dantzic, and
immediately to send all my luggage, and to sleep on board. Abramson
prevented me, dragging me almost forcibly along with him, telling me
he had much company, and that I must absolutely dine and sup at his
house; accordingly I did not return to my inn till eleven at night.

I was but just in bed when I heard a tremendous knocking at my
chamber door, which was not shut, and two of the city magistrates
with twenty grenadiers entered my chamber, and surrounded my bed so
suddenly that I had not time to take to my arms and defend myself.
My three servants had been secured and I was told that the most
worthy magistracy of Dantzic was obliged to deliver me up as a
delinquent to his majesty the King of Prussia.

What were my feelings at seeing myself thus betrayed! They silently
conducted me to the city prison, where I remained twenty-four hours.
About noon Abramson came to visit me, affected to be infinitely
concerned and enraged, and affirmed he had strongly protested
against the illegality of this proceeding to the magistracy, as I
was actually in the Austrian service; but that they had answered him
the court of Vienna had afforded them a precedent, for that, in
1742, they had done the same by the two sons of the burgomaster
Rutenberg, of Dantzic, and that, therefore, they were justified in
making reprisal; and likewise, they durst not refuse the most
earnest request accompanied with threats, of the King of Prussia.

Their plea of retaliation originated as follows:- There was a kind
of club at Vienna, the members of which were seized for having
committed the utmost extravagance and debauchery, two of whom were
the sons of the burgomaster Rutenberg, and who were sentenced to the
pillory. Great sums were offered by the father to avoid this public
disgrace, but ineffectually--they were punished, their punishment
was legal, and had no similarity whatever to my case, nor could it
any way justly give pretence of reprisal.

Abramson, who had in reality entered no protest whatever, but rather
excited the magistracy, and acted in concert with Reimer, advised me
to put my writings and other valuable effects into his hands,
otherwise they would be seized. He knew I had received letters of
exchange from my brothers and sister, about seven thousand florins,
and these I gave him, but kept my ring, worth about four thousand,
and some sixty guineas, which I had in my purse. He then embraced
me, declared nothing should be neglected to effect my immediate
deliverance; that even he would raise the populace for that purpose;
that I could not be given up to the Prussians in less than a week,
the magistracy being still undetermined in an affair so serious, and
he left me, shedding abundance of crocodile tears, like the most
affectionate of friends.

The next night two magistrates, with their posse, came to my prison,
attended by resident Reimer, a Prussian officer and under officers,
and into their hands I was delivered. The pillage instantly began;
Reimer tore off my ring, seized my watch, snuff-box, and all I had,
not so much as sending me a coat or shirt from my effects; after
which, they put me into a close coach with three Prussians. The
Dantzic guard accompanied the carriage to the city gate, that was
opened to let me pass; after which the Dantzic dragoons escorted me
as far as Lauenburg in Pomerania.

I have forgotten the date of this miserable day; but to the best of
my memory, it must have been in the beginning of June. Thirty
Prussian hussars, commanded by a lieutenant, relieved the dragoons
at Lauenburg, and thus was I escorted from garrison to garrison,
till I arrived at Berlin.

Hence it was evidently falsely affirmed, by the magistracy of
Dantzic, and the conspirator Abramson, who wrote in his own excuse
to Vienna, that my seizure must be attributed wholly to my own
imprudence, and that I had exposed myself to this arrest by going
without the city gates, where I was taken and carried off; nor was
it less astonishing that the court of Vienna should not have
demanded satisfaction for the treachery of the Dantzickers toward an
Austrian officer. I have incontrovertibly proved this treachery,
after I had regained my liberty Abramson indeed they could not
punish, for during my imprisonment he had quitted the Austrian for
the Prussian service, where he gradually became so contemptible,
that in the year 1764, when I was released from my imprisonment, he
was himself imprisoned in the house of correction; and his wife,
lately so rich, was obliged to beg her bread. Thus have I generally
lived to see the fall of my betrayers; and thus have I found that,
without indulging personal revenge, virtue and fortitude must at
length triumph over the calumniator and the despot.

This truth will be further proved hereafter, nor can I behold,
unmoved, the open shame in which my persecutors live, and how they
tremble in my presence, their wicked deeds now being known to the
world Nay, monarchs may yet punish their perfidy:- Yet not so!--May
they rather die in possession of wealth they have torn from me! I
only wish the pity and respect of the virtuous and the wise.

But, though Austria has never resented the affront commenced on the
person of an officer in its service, still have I a claim on the
city of Dantzic, where I was thus treacherously delivered up, for
the effects I there was robbed of, the amount of which is between
eleven and twelve thousand florins. This is a case too clear to
require argument, and the publication of this history will make it
known to the world. This claim also, among others, I leave to the
children of an unfortunate father.

Enough of digression; let us attend to the remarkable events which
happened on the dismal journey to Berlin. I was escorted from
garrison to garrison, which were distant from each other two, three,
or at most five miles; wherever I came, I found compassion and
respect. The detachment of hussars only attended me two days; it
consisted of twelve men and an officer, who rode with me in the

The fourth day I arrived at -, where the Duke of Wirtemberg, father
of the present Grand Duchess of Russia, was commander, and where his
regiment was in quarters. The Duke conversed with me, was much
moved, invited me to dine, and detained me all the day, where I was
not treated as a prisoner. I so far gained his esteem that I was
allowed to remain there the next day; the chief persons of the place
were assembled, and the Duchess, whom he had lately married,
testified every mark of pity and consideration. I dined with him
also on the third day, after which I departed in an open carriage,
without escort, attended only by a lieutenant of his regiment.

I must relate this, event circumstantially for it not only proves
the just and noble character of the Duke, but likewise that there
are moments in which the brave may appear cowards, the clear-sighted
blind, and the wise foolish; nay, one might almost be led to
conclude, from this, that my imprisonment at Magdeburg, was the
consequence of predestination, since I remained riveted in stupor,
in despite of suggestions, forebodings, and favourable
opportunities. Who but must be astonished, having read the daring
efforts I made at Glatz, at this strange insensibility now in the
very crisis of my fate? I afterwards was convinced it was the
intention of the noble-minded Duke that I should escape, and that he
must have given particular orders to the successive officers. He
would probably have willingly subjected himself to the reprimands of
Frederic if I would have taken to fight. The journey through the
places where his regiment was stationed continued five days, and I
everywhere passed the evenings in the company of the officers, the
kindness of whom was unbounded I slept in their quarters without
sentinel, and travelled in their carriages, without other guard than
a single officer in the carriage. In various places the high road
was not more than two, and sometimes one mile from the frontier
road; therefore nothing could have been easier than to have escaped;
yet did the same Trenck, who in Glatz had cut his way through thirty
men to obtain his freedom, that Trenck, who had never been
acquainted with fear, now remain four days bewildered, and unable to
come to any determination.

In a small garrison town, I lodged in the house of a captain of
cavalry, and continually was treated by him with every mark of
friendship. After dinner he rode at the head of his squadron to
water the horse, unsaddled. I remained alone in the house, entered
the stable, saw three remaining horses, with saddles and bridles; in
my chamber was my sword and a pair of pistols. I had but to mount
one of the horses and fly to the opposite gate. I meditated on the
project, and almost resolved to put it in execution, but presently
became undetermined by some secret impulse. The captain returned
some time after, and appeared surprised to find me still there. The
next day he accompanied me alone in his carriage; we came to a
forest, he saw some champignons, stopped, asked me to alight, and
help him to gather them; he strayed more than a hundred paces from
me, and gave me entire liberty to fly; yet notwithstanding all this,
I voluntarily returned, suffering myself to be led like a sheep to
the slaughter.

I was treated so well, during my stay at this place, and escorted
with so much negligence, that I fell into a gross error. Perceiving
they conveyed me straight to Berlin, I imagined the King wished to
question me concerning the plan formed for the war, which was then
on the point of breaking out. This plan I perfectly knew, the
secret correspondence of Bestuchef having all passed through my
hands, which circumstance was much better known at Berlin than at
Vienna. Confirmed in this opinion, and far from imagining the fate
that awaited me, I remained irresolute, insensible, and blind to
danger. Alas, how short was this hope! How quickly was it
succeeded by despair! when, after four days' march, I quitted the
district under the command of the Duke of Wirtemberg, and was
delivered up to the first garrison of infantry at Coslin! The last
of the Wirtemberg officers, when taking leave of me, appeared to be
greatly affected; and from this moment till I came to Berlin, I was
under a strong escort, and the given orders were rigorously


Arrived here, I was lodged over the grand guardhouse, with two
sentinels in my chamber, and one at the door. The King was at
Potzdam, and here I remained three days; on the third, some staff-
officers made their appearance, seated themselves at a table, and
put the following questions to me:-

First. What was my business at Dantzic?

Secondly. Whether I was acquainted with M. Goltz, Prussian
ambassador to Russia?

Thirdly. Who was concerned with me in the conspiracy at Dantzic?

When I perceived their intention, by these interrogations, I
absolutely refused to reply, only saying I had been imprisoned in
the fortress of Glatz, without hearing, or trial by court-martial;
that, availing myself of the laws of nature, I had by my own
exertions procured my liberty, and that I was now a captain of
cavalry in the imperial service; that I demanded a legal trial for
my first unknown offence, after which I engaged to answer all
interrogatories, and prove my innocence; but that at present, being
accused of new crimes, without a hearing concerning my former
punishment, the procedure was illegal. I was told they had no
orders concerning this, and I remained dumb to all further

They wrote some two hours, God knows what; a carriage came up; I was
strictly searched, to find whether I had any weapons; thirteen or
fourteen ducats, which I had concealed, were taken from me, and I
was conducted under a strong escort, through Spandau to Magdeburg.
The officer here delivered me to the captain of the guard at the
citadel; the town major came, and brought me to the dungeon,
expressly prepared for me; a small picture of the Countess of
Bestuchef, set with diamonds, which I had kept concealed in my
bosom, was now taken from me; the door was shut, and here was I

My dungeon was in a casemate, the fore part of which, six feet wide
and ten feet long, was divided by a party wall. In the inner wall
were two doors, and a third at the entrance of the casemate itself.
The window in the seven-feet-thick wall was so situated that, though
I had light, I could see neither heaven nor earth; I could only see
the roof of the magazine; within and without this window were iron
bars, and in the space between an iron grating, so close and so
situated, by the rising of the walls, that it was impossible I
should see any parson without the prison, or that any person should
see me. On the outside was a wooden palisade, six feet from the
wall, by which the sentinels were prevented from conveying anything
to me. I had a mattress, and a bedstead, but which was immovably
ironed to the floor, so that it was impossible I should drag it, and
stand up to the window; beside the door was a small iron stove and a
night table, in like manner fixed to the floor. I was not yet put
in irons, and my allowance was a pound and a half per day of
ammunition bread, and a jug of water.

From my youth I had always had a good appetite, and my bread was so
mouldy I could scarcely at first eat the half of it. This was the
consequence of Major Reiding's avarice, who endeavoured to profit
even by this, so great was the number of unfortunate prisoners;
therefore, it is impossible I should describe to my readers the
excess of tortures that, during eleven months, I felt from ravenous
hunger. I could easily every day have devoured six pounds of bread;
and every twenty-four hours after having received and swallowed my
small portion, I continued as hungry as before I began, yet must
wait another twenty-four hours for a new morsel. How willingly
would I have signed a bill of exchange for a thousand ducats, on my
property at Vienna, only to have satiated my hunger on dry bread!
For, so extreme was it, that scarcely had I dropt into a sweet
sleep. Therefore I dreamed I was feasting at some table luxuriously
loaded, where, eating like a glutton, the whole company were
astonished to see me, while my imagination was heated by the
sensation of famine. Awakened by the pains of hunger, the dishes
vanished, and nothing remained but the reality of my distress; the
cravings of nature were but inflamed, my tortures prevented sleep,
and, looking into futurity, the cruelty of my fate suffered, if
possible, increase, from imagining that the prolongation of pangs
like these was insupportable. God preserve every honest man from
sufferings like mine! They were not to be endured by the villain
most obdurate. Many have fasted three days, many have suffered want
for a week, or more; but certainly no one, beside myself, ever
endured it in the same excess for eleven months. Some have supposed
that to eat little might become habitual, but I have experienced the
contrary. My hunger increased every day; and of all the trials of
fortitude my whole life has afforded, this, of eleven months, was
the most bitter.

Petitions, remonstrances, were of no avail; the answer was--"We must
give no more, such is the King's command." The Governor, General
Borck, born the enemy of man, replied, when I entreated, at least,
to have my fill of bread, "You have feasted often enough out of the
service of plate taken from the King, by Trenck, at the battle of
Sorau; you must now eat ammunition bread in your dirty kennel. Your
Empress makes no allowance for your maintenance, and you are
unworthy of the bread you eat, or the trouble taken about you."
Judge, reader, what pangs such insolence, added to such sufferings
must inflict. Judge what were my thoughts, foreseeing, as I did, an
endless duration to this imprisonment and these torments.

My three doors were kept ever shut, and I was left to such
meditations as such feelings and such hopes might inspire. Daily,
about noon, once in twenty-four hours, my pittance of bread and
water was brought. The keys of all the doors were kept by the
governor; the inner door was not opened, but my bread and water were
delivered through an aperture. The prison doors were opened only
once a week, on a Wednesday, when the governor and town major, my
hole having been first cleaned, paid their visit.

Having remained thus two months, and observed this method was
invariable, I began to execute a project I had formed, of the
possibility of which I was convinced.

Where the night-table and stove stood, the floor was bricked, and
this paving extended to the wall that separated my casemate from the
adjoining one, in which was no prisoner. My window was only guarded
by a single sentinel; I therefore soon found, among those who
successively relieved guard, two kind-hearted fellows, who described
to me the situation of my prison; hence I perceived I might effect
my escape, could I but penetrate into the adjoining casemate, the
door of which was not shut. Provided I had a friend and a boat
waiting for me at the Elbe, or could I swim across that river, the
confines of Saxony were but a mile distant.

To describe my plan at length would lead to prolixity, yet I must
enumerate some of its circumstances, as it was remarkably intricate
and of gigantic labour.

I worked through the iron, eighteen inches long, by which the night-
table was fastened, and broke off the clinchings of the nails, but
preserved their heads, that I might put them again in their places,
and all might appear secure to my weekly visitors. This procured me
tools to raise up the brick floor, under which I found earth. My
first attempt was to work a hole through the wall, seven feet thick
behind, and concealed by the night-table. The first layer was of
brick. I afterwards came to large hewn stones. I endeavoured
accurately to number and remember the bricks, both of the flooring
and the wall, so that I might replace them and all might appear
safe. This having accomplished, I proceeded.

The day preceding visitation all was carefully replaced, and the
intervening mortar as carefully preserved; the whole had, probably,
been whitewashed a hundred times; and, that I might fill up all
remaining interstices, I pounded the white stuff this afforded,
wetted it, made a brush of my hair, then applied this plaster,
washed it over, that the colour might be uniform, and afterwards
stripped myself, and sat with my naked body against the place, by
the heat of which it was dried.

While labouring, I placed the stones and bricks upon my bedstead,
and had they taken the precaution to come at any other time in the
week, the stated Wednesday excepted, I had inevitably been
discovered; but, as no such ill accident befell me, in six months my
Herculean labours gave me a prospect of success.

Means were to be found to remove the rubbish from my prison; all of
which, in a wall so thick, it was impossible to replace; mortar and
stone could not be removed. I therefore took the earth, scattered
it about my chamber, and ground it under my feet the whole day, till
I had reduced it to dust; this dust I strewed in the aperture of my
window, making use of the loosened night-table to stand upon, I tied
splinters from my bedstead together, with the ravelled yarn of an
old stocking, and to this I affixed a tuft of my hair. I worked a
large hole under the middle grating, which could not be seen when
standing on the ground, and through this I pushed my dust with the
tool I had prepared in the outer window, then, waiting till the wind
should happen to rise, during the night I brushed it away, it was
blown off, and no appearance remained on the outside. By this
simple expedient I rid myself of at least three hundred weight of
earth, and thus made room to continue my labours; yet, this being
still insufficient, I had recourse to another artifice, which was to
knead up the earth in the form of sausages, to resemble the human
faeces: these I dried, and when the prisoner came to clean my
dungeon, hastily tossed them into the night-table, and thus
disencumbered myself of a pound or two more of earth each week. I
further made little balls, and, when the sentinel was walking, blew
them, through a paper tube, out of the window. Into the empty space
I put my mortar and stones, and worked on successfully.

I cannot, however, describe my difficulties after having penetrated
about two feet into the hewn stone. My tools were the irons I had
dug out, which fastened may bedstead and night-table. A
compassionate soldier also gave me an old iron ramrod and a
soldier's sheath knife, which did me excellent service, more
especially the latter, as I shall presently more fully show. With
these two I cut splinters from my bedstead, which aided me to pick
the mortar from the interstices of the stone; yet the labour of
penetrating through this seven-feet wall was incredible; the
building was ancient, and the mortar occasionally quite petrified,
so that the whole stone was obliged to be reduced to dust. After
continuing my work unremittingly for six months, I at length
approached the accomplishment of my hopes, as I knew by coming to
the facing of brick, which now was only between me and the adjoining

Meantime I found opportunity to speak to some of the sentinels,
among whom was an old grenadier called Gelfhardt, whom I here name
because he displayed qualities of the greatest and most noble kind.
From him I learned the precise situation of my prison, and every
circumstance that might best conduce to my escape.

Nothing was wanting but money to buy a boat, and crossing the Elbe
with Gelfhardt, to take refuge in Saxony. By Gelfhardt's means I
became acquainted with a kind-hearted girl, a Jewess, and a native
of Dessau, Esther Heymannin by name, and whose father had been ten
years in prison. This good, compassionate maiden, whom I had never
seen, won over two other grenadiers, who gave her an opportunity of
speaking to me every time they stood sentinel. By tying my
splinters together, I made a stick long enough to reach beyond the
palisades that were before my window, and thus obtained paper,
another knife, and a file.

I now wrote to my sister, the wife of the before-mentioned only son
of General Waldow; described my awful situation, and entreated her
to remit three hundred rix-dollars to the Jewess, hoping, by this
means, I might escape from my prison. I then wrote another
affecting letter to Count Puebla, the Austrian ambassador at Berlin,
in which was enclosed a draft for a thousand florins on my effects
at Vienna, desiring him to remit these to the Jewess, having
promised her that sum as a reward for her fidelity. She was to
bring the three hundred rix-dollars my sister should send to me, and
take measures with the grenadiers to facilitate my flight, which
nothing seemed able to prevent, I having the power either to break
into the casemate or, aided by the grenadiers and the Jewess' to cut
the locks from the doors and that way escape from my dungeon. The
letters were open, I being obliged to roll them round the stick to
convey them to Esther.

The faithful girl diligently proceeded to Berlin, where she arrived
safe, and immediately spoke to Count Puebla. The Count gave her the
kindest reception, received the letter, with the letter of exchange,
and bade her go and speak to Weingarten, the secretary of the
embassy, and act entirely as he should direct. She was received by
Weingarten in the most friendly manner, who, by his questions, drew
from her the whole secret, and our intended plan of flight, aided by
the two grenadiers, and also that she had a letter for my sister,
which she must carry to Hammer, near Custrin. He asked to see this
letter; read it, told her to proceed on her Journey, gave her two
ducats to bear her expenses, ordered her to come to him on her
return, said that during this interval he would endeavour to obtain
her the thousand florins for my draft, and would then give her
further instructions.

Esther cheerfully departed for Hammer, where my sister, then a
widow, and no longer, as in 1746, in dread of her husband, joyful to
hear I was still living, immediately gave her three hundred rix-
dollars, exhorting her to exert every possible means to obtain my
deliverance. Esther hastened back with the letter from my sister to
Berlin, and told all that passed to Weingarten, who read the letter,
and inquired the names of the two grenadiers. He told her the
thousand florins from Vienna were not yet come, but gave her twelve
ducats; bade her hasten back to Magdeburg, to carry me all this good
news, and then return to Berlin, where he would pay her the thousand
florins. Esther came to Magdeburg, went immediately to the citadel,
and, most luckily, met the wife of one of the grenadiers, who told
her that her husband and his comrade had been taken and put in irons
the day before. Esther had quickness of perception, and suspected
we had been betrayed; she therefore instantly again began her
travels, and happily came safe to Dessau.

Here I must interrupt my narrative, that I may explain this infernal
enigma to my readers, an account of which I received after I had
obtained my freedom, and still possess, in the handwriting of this
Jewess. Weingarten, as was afterwards discovered, was a traitor,
and too much trusted by Count Puebla, he being a spy in the pay of
Prussia, and one who had revealed, in the court of Berlin, not only
the secrets of the Imperial embassy, but also the whole plan of the
projected war. For this reason he afterwards, when war broke out,
remained at Berlin in the Prussian service. His reason for
betraying me was that he might secure the thousand florins which I
had drawn for on Vienna; for the receipt of the 24th of May, 1755,
attests that the sum was paid, by the administrators of my effects,
to Count Puebla, and has since been brought to account; nor can I
believe that Weingarten did not appropriate this sum to himself,
since I cannot be persuaded the ambassador would commit such an
action, although the receipt is in his handwriting, as may easily be
demonstrated, it being now in my possession. Thus did Weingarten,
that he might detain a thousand florins with impunity, bring new
evils upon me and upon my sister, which occasioned her premature
death; caused one grenadier to run the gauntlet three successive
days, and another to be hung.

Esther alone escaped, and since gave me an elucidation of the whole
affair. The report at Magdeburg was, that a Jewess had obtained
money from my sister and bribed two grenadiers, and that one of
these had trusted and been betrayed by his comrade. Indeed, what
other story could be told at Magdeburg, or how could it be known I
had been betrayed to the Prussian ministry by the Imperial
secretary? The truth, however, is as I have stated: my account-
book exists, and the Jewess is still alive.

Her poor imprisoned father was punished with more than a hundred
blows to make him declare whether his daughter had entrusted him
with the plot, or if he knew whither she was fled, and miserably
died in fetters. Such was the mischief occasioned by a rascal! And
who might be blamed but the imprudent Count Puebla?

In the year 1766, this said Jewess demanded of me a thousand
florins; and I wrote to Count Puebla, that, having his receipt for
the sum, which never had been repaid, I begged it might be restored.
He received my agent with rudeness, returned no answer, and seemed
to trouble himself little concerning my loss. Whether the heirs of
the Count be, or be not, indebted to me these thousand florins and
the interest, I leave the world to determine. Thrice have I been
betrayed at Vienna and sold to Berlin, like Joseph to the Egyptians.
My history proves the origin of my persuasion that residents,
envoys, and ambassadors must be men of known worth and honesty, and
not the vilest of rascals and miscreants. But, alas! the effects
and money they have robbed me of have never been restored; and for
the miseries they have brought upon me, they could not be
recompensed by the wealth of any or all the monarchs on earth.
Estates they may, but truth they cannot confiscate; and of the
villainy of Abramson and Weingarten I have documents and proofs that
no court of justice could disannul. Stop, reader, if thou hast a
heart, and in that heart compassion for the unfortunate! Stop and
imagine what my sensations are while I remember and recount a part
only of the injustice that has been done me, a part only of the
tyranny I have endured! By this last act of treachery of Weingarten
was I held in chains, the most horrible, for nine succeeding years!
By him was an innocent man brought to the gallows! By him, too, my
sister, my beloved, my unfortunate sister, was obliged to build a
dungeon at her own expense! besides being amerced in a fine, the
extent of which I never could learn. Her goods were plundered, her
estates made a desert, her children fell into extreme poverty, and
she herself expired in her thirty-third year, the victim of cruelty,
persecution, her brother's misfortunes, and the treachery of the
Imperial embassy!


{1} A common expression with Frederic when he was angry, and which
has since become proverbial among the Prussian and other German
officers. See Critical Review, April, 1755.

{2} The same Doo who was governor of Glatz during the Seven Years'
war, and who, having been surprised by General Laudohu, was made
prisoner, which occasioned the loss of Glatz. The King broke him
with infamy, and banished him with contempt. In 1764 he came to
Vienna, where I gave him alms. He was, by birth, an Italian, a
selfish, wicked man; and, while major under the government of
Fouquet, at Glatz, brought many people to misery. He was the
creature of Fouquet, without birth or merit; crafty, malignant, but
handsome, and, having debauched his patron's daughter, afterwards
married her; whence at first his good, and at length his ill
fortune. He wanted knowledge to defend a fortress against the
enemy, and his covetousness rendered him easy to corrupt.

{3} The German mile contains from four to seven English miles, and
this variation appears to depend on the ignorance of the people and
on the roads being in some places but little frequented. It seems
probable the Baron and his friend might travel about 809 English


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