中共中央政治局常务委员会召开会议 习近平主持

164 On the fourth day after the arrival of the Crown Prince at Baireuth, a courier came with a letter from the queen conjuring him to return immediately, as the king was growing worse and worse. Frederick immediately hastened to Potsdam, and on the 12th of October entered the sick-chamber of his father in the palace there. He seems to have thought nothing of his wife, who was at Berlin. We have no evidence that he wrote to her during his absence, or that he visited her upon his return. For four months the king remained a great sufferer in Potsdam, trembling between life and death. It was often with great difficulty that he could breathe. He was impatient and irritable in the extreme. As he was rolled about in his Bath chair, he would petulantly cry out, Air! air! as if his attendants were to blame for his shortness of breath. The distress from the dropsy was very great. If you roll the king a little fast, writes an attendant, you hear the water jumble in his body. The Crown Prince was deeply affected in view of the deplorable condition of his father, and wept convulsively. The stern old king was stern to the end. He said one day to Frederick, If you begin at the wrong end with things, and all go topsy-turvy after I am gone, I will laugh at you out of my grave. It will be remembered that Prince Charles was at the head of a strong Austrian army, on the western banks of the Rhine. It numbered over fifty thousand combatants. The King of France had pledged himself to press them closely, so that they could not recross the Rhine and rush into Bohemia to thwart the operations of Frederick; but, unfortunately, Louis XV. was seized with a malignant fever, which brought him near to the grave. Taking advantage of this, Prince Charles, on the night of the 23d of August, crossed the Rhine with his whole army. It was bright moonlight, so that every movement was as visible as if it had been made by day. But the French officers, glad thus to be rid of the Austrian army, preferring much that Frederick334 should encounter it in Bohemia than that they should struggle against it on the Rhine, went quietly to their beds, even forbidding the more zealous subalterns from harassing Prince Charles in his passage of the river. It was then the great object of the French to take Freyburg. The withdrawal of Prince Charles, with his fifty thousand men, was a great relief to them.

After a long pause Lord Hyndford inquired, Would your majesty consent to an armistice?

George II. was far from popular in England. There was but little in the man to win either affection or esteem. The Prince of Wales was also daily becoming more disliked. He was assuming haughty airs. He was very profligate, and his associates were mainly actresses and opera girls. The Prussian minister at London, who was opposed to any matrimonial connection whatever between the Prussian and the English court, watched the Prince of Wales very narrowly, and wrote home quite unfavorable reports respecting his character and conduct. He had searched out the fact that Fritz had written to his aunt, Queen Caroline, pledging to her his word never to marry any body in the world except the Princess Amelia of England, happen what will. This fact was reported to the king, greatly exciting his wrath. As a fit of illness has come on me, which I do not think will have dangerous results, I have, for the present, left the command of my troops to Lieutenant General Von Finck, whose orders you are to execute as if coming directly from myself. On this I pray God139 to have you in his holy and worthy keeping. Here Frederick, with the remainder of the army from Leitmeritz, joined his brother, against whom he was greatly incensed, attributing the disasters he had encountered to his incapacity. At four oclock of the 30th of July the king met the Prince of Prussia and the other generals of the discomfited army. Both parties approached the designated spot on horseback. The king, who was accompanied by his suite, upon his arrival within about two hundred feet of the place where his brother, with his officers, was awaiting him, without saluting the prince or recognizing him in the slightest degree, dismounted, and threw himself in a reclining posture upon the greensward. General Goltz was then sent with the following message to the prince:

It was a dreary winter to Frederick in Breslau. Sad, silent, and often despairing, he was ever inflexibly resolved to struggle till the last possible moment, and, if need be, to bury himself beneath the ruins of his kingdom. All his tireless energies he devoted to the Herculean work before him. No longer did he affect gayety or seek recreations. Secluded, solitary, sombre, he took counsel of no one. In the possession of absolute power, he issued his commands as with the authority of a god.