In the Summer of 1736, in consequence of these arrangements,-- which were completed so far, though difficulties on Pragmatic Sanction and other points retarded the final signature for many months longer,--the Titular Majesty Stanislaus girt himself together for departure towards his new Dominion or Life-rent; quitted Konigsberg; traversed Prussian Poland, safe this time, "under escort of Lieutenant-General von Katte [our poor Katte of Custrin's Father] and fifty cuirassiers;" reached Berlin in the middle of May, under flowerier aspects than usual. He travelled under the title of "Count" Something, and alighted at the French Ambassador's in Berlin: but Friedrich Wilhelm treated him like a real Majesty, almost like a real Brother; had him over to the Palace; rushed out to meet him there, I forget how many steps beyond the proper limits; and was hospitality itself and munificence itself;--and, in fact, that night and all the other nights, "they smoked above thirty pipes together," for one item. May 21st, 1736, [Forster (i. 227), following loose Pollnitz (ii. 478), dates it 1735: a more considerable error, if looked into, than is usual in Herr Forster; who is not an ill-informed nor inexact man;--though, alas, in respect of method (that is to say, want of visible method, indication, or human arrangement), probably the most confused of all the Germans!] Ex-Majesty Stanislaus went on his way again; towards France,--towards Meudon, a quiet Royal House in France,--till Luneville, Nanci, and their Lorraine Palaces are quite ready. There, in these latter, he at length does find resting-place, poor innocent insipid mortal, after such tossings to and fro: and M. de Voltaire, and others of mark, having sometimes enlivened the insipid Court there, Titular King Stanislaus has still a kind of remembrance among mankind.
Of his Prussian Majesty we said that, though the Berlin populations reported him well again, it was not so. The truth is, his Majesty was never well again. From this point, age only forty- seven, he continues broken in bodily constitution; clogged more and more with physical impediments; and his History, personal and political withal, is as that of an old man, finishing his day. To the last he pulls steadily, neglecting no business, suffering nothing to go wrong. Building operations go on at Berlin; pushed more than ever, in these years, by the rigorous Derschau, who has got that in charge. No man of money or rank in Berlin but Derschau is upon him, with heavier and heavier compulsion to build: which is felt to be tyrannous; and occasions an ever- deepening grumble among the moneyed classes. At Potsdam his Majesty himself is the Builder; and gives the Houses away to persons of merit. [Pollnitz, ii. 469.]
Nor is the Army less an object, perhaps almost more. Nay, at one time, old Kur-Pfalz being reckoned in a dying condition, Friedrich Wilhelm is about ranking his men, prepared to fight for his rights in Julich and Berg; Kaiser having openly gone over, and joined with France against his Majesty in that matter. However, the old Kur-Pfalz did not die, and there came nothing of fight in Friedrich Wilhelm's time. But his History, on the political side, is henceforth mainly a commentary to him on that "word" he heard in Priort, "which was as if you had turned a dagger in my heart!" With the Kaiser he has fallen out: there arise unfriendly passages between them, sometimes sarcastic on Friedrich Wilhelm's part, in reference to this very War now ended. Thus, when complaint rose about the Prussian misbehaviors on their late marches (misbehaviors notable in Countries where their recruiting operations had been troubled), the Kaiser took a high severe tone, not assuaging, rather aggravating the matter; and, for his own share, winded up by a strict prohibition of Prussian recruiting in any and every part of the Imperial Dominions. Which Friedrich Wilhelm took extremely ill. This is from a letter of his to the Crown-Prince, and after the first gust of wrath had spent itself: "It is a clear disadvantage, this prohibition of recruiting in the Kaiser's Countries. That is our thanks for the Ten Thousand men sent him, and for all the deference I have shown the Kaiser at all times; and by this you may see that it would be of no use if one even sacrificed oneself to him. So long as they need us, they continue to flatter; but no sooner is the strait thought to be over, and help not wanted, than they pull off the mask, and have not the least acknowledgment. The considerations that will occur to you on this matter may put it in your power to be prepared against similar occasions in time coming." [6th February, 1736:
Thus, again, in regard to the winter-quarters of the Ziethen Hussars. Prussian Majesty, we recollect, had sent a Supernumerary Squadron to the last Campaign on the Rhine. They were learning their business, Friedrich Wilhelm knew; but also were fighting for the Kaiser,--that was what the Kaiser knew about them. Somewhat to his surprise, in the course of next year, Friedrich Wilhelm received, from the Vienna War-Office, a little Bill of 10,284 florins (1,028 pounds 8 shillings) charged to him for the winter- quarters of these Hussars. He at once paid the little Bill, with only this observation: "Heartily glad that I can help the Imperial AERARIUM with that 1,028 pounds 8 shillings. With the sincerest wishes for hundred-thousandfold increase to it in said AERARIUM; otherwise it won't go very far!" [Letter to Seckendorf (SENIOR): Forster, ii. 150.]
At a later period, in the course of his disastrous Turk War, the Kaiser, famishing for money, set about borrowing a million gulden (l00,000 pounds) from the Banking House Splittgerber and Daun at Berlin. Splittgerber and Daun had not the money, could not raise it: "Advance us that sum, in their name, your Majesty," proposes the Vienna Court: "There shall be three-per-cent bonus, interest six per cent, and security beyond all question!" To which fine offer his Majesty answers, addressing Seckendorf Junior: "Touching the proposal of my giving the Bankers Splittgerber and Daun a lift, with a million gulden, to assist in that loan of theirs,-- said proposal, as I am not a merchant accustomed to deal in profits and percentages, cannot in that form take effect. Out of old friendship, however, I am, on TheirO Imperial Majesty's request, extremely ready to pay down, once and away (A FOND PERDU), a couple of million gulden, provided the Imperial Majesty will grant me the conditions known to your Uncle [FULFILMENT of that now oldish Julich-and-Berg promise, namely!] which are FAIR. In such case the thing shall be rapidly completed!" [Forster, ii. 151 (without DATE there).]
In a word, Friedrich Wilhelm falls out with the Kaiser more and more; experiences more and more what a Kaiser this has been towards him. Queen Sophie has fallen silent in the History Books; both the Majesties may look remorsefully, but perhaps best in silence, over the breakages and wrecks this Kaiser has brought upon them. Friedrich Wilhelm does not meanly hate the Kaiser: good man, he sometimes pities him; sometimes, we perceive, has a touch of authentic contempt for him. But his thoughts, in that quarter, premature old age aggravating them, are generally of a tragic nature, not to be spoken without tears; and the tears have a flash at the bottom of them, when he looks round on Fritz and says, "There is one, though, that will avenge me!" Friedrich Wilhelm, to the last a broad strong phenomenon, keeps wending downward, homeward, from this point; the Kaiser too, we perceive, is rapidly consummating his enormous Spectre-Hunts and Duels with Termagants, and before long will be at rest. We have well-nigh done with both these Majesties.
The Crown-Prince, by his judicious obedient procedures in these Four Years at Ruppin, at a distance from Papa, has, as it were, completed his APPRENTICESHIP; and, especially by this last Inspection-Journey into Preussen, may be said to have delivered his PROOF-ESSAY with a distinguished success. He is now out of his Apprenticeship; entitled to take up his Indentures, whenever need shall be. The rugged old Master cannot but declare him competent, qualified to try his own hand without supervision:--after all those unheard-of confusions, like to set the shop on fire at one time, it is a blessedly successful Apprenticeship! Let him now, theoretically at least, in the realms of Art, Literature, Spiritual Improvement, do his WANDERJAHRE, over at Reinsberg, still in the old region,--still well apart from Papa, who agrees best NOT in immediate contact;--and be happy in the new Domesticities, and larger opportunities, provided for him there; till a certain time come, which none of us are in haste for.
from the Renaissance to the French Revolution Volume 2
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