I have the labors of Hercules to perform, at an age, too, when my strength is leaving me, when my infirmities increase, and, to speak the truth, when hope, the only consolation of the unhappy, begins to desert me. You are not sufficiently acquainted with the posture of affairs to know the dangers which threaten the state. I know them, but conceal them. I keep all my fears to myself, and communicate to the public only my hopes and the trifle of good news I may now and then have. If the blow I now meditate succeeds, then, my dear marquis, will be the time to express our joy. But, till then, do not let us flatter ourselves, lest unexpected bad news deject us too much.

Any room that was large enough, and had height of ceiling and air circulation, and no cloth furniture, would do. And in each palace is one, or more than one, that has been fixed upon and fitted out for that object. A high room, as the engravings give it us; contented, saturnine human figures, a dozen or so of them, sitting around a large, long table furnished for the occasion; a long Dutch pipe in the mouth of each man; supplies of knaster easily accessible; small pan of burning peat, in the Dutch fashion (sandy native charcoal, which burns slowly without smoke), is at your left hand; at your right a jug, which I find to consist of excellent, thin, bitter beer; other costlier materials for drinking, if you want such, are not beyond reach. On side-tables stand wholesome cold meats, royal rounds of beef not wanting, with bread thinly sliced and buttered; in a rustic, but neat and abundant way, such innocent accommodations, narcotic or nutritious, gaseous, fluid, and solid, as human nature can require.47 Perfect equality is the rule; no rising or no notice taken when any body enters or leaves. Let the entering man take his place and pipe without obligatory remarks. If he can not smoke, let him at least affect to do so, and not ruffle the established stream of things. And so puff, slowly puff! and any comfortable speech that is in you, or none, if you authentically have not any. In July of this year the Crown Prince took another journey with his father through extensive portions of the Prussian territory. The following extract from one of his letters to Voltaire reflects pleasing light upon the heart of Frederick, and upon the administrative ability of his father:

They have a daughter, Sophie-Frederike, now near fifteen, and very forward for her age; comely to look upon, wise to listen to. Is not she the suitable one? thinks Frederick in regard to this matter. Pier kindred is of the oldestold as Albert the Bear. She has been frugally brought up, Spartan-like, though as a princess by birth. Let her cease skipping ropes on the ramparts yonder with her young Stettin playmates, and prepare for being a czarina of the Russias, thinks he. And communicates his mind to the czarina, who answers, Excellent! How did I never think of that myself!

500 Frederick also seized money wherever he could find it, whether in the hands of friend or foe. His contributions levied upon the Saxons were terrible. The cold and dreary winter passed rapidly away. The spring was late in that northern clime. It was not until the middle of June that either party was prepared vigorously to take the field. It was generally considered by the European world that Frederick was irretrievably ruined. In the last campaign he had lost sixty thousand men. Universal gloom and discouragement pervaded his kingdom. Still Frederick, by his almost superhuman exertions, had marshaled another army of one hundred thousand men. But the allies had two hundred and eighty thousand to oppose to them. Though Frederick in public assumed a cheerful and self-confident air, as if assured of victory, his private correspondence proves that he was, in heart, despondent in the extreme, and that scarcely a ray of hope visited his mind. To his friend DArgens he wrote:

Frederick, Prince Royal of Prussia.

While pushing these intrigues of diplomacy, Frederick was equally busy in marshaling his armies, that the sword might contribute its energies to the enforcement of his demands. One hundred thousand troops were assembled in Berlin, in the highest state of discipline and equipment, ready to march at a moments warning.


To obviate the difficulty of the Crown Prince becoming the head of a party in Berlin antagonistic to the king, the plan was suggested of having him appointed, with his English princess, vice-regent of Hanover. But this plan failed. Hotham now84 became quite discouraged. He wrote home, on the 22d of April, that he had that day dined with the king; that the Crown Prince was present, but dreadfully dejected, and that great sympathy was excited in his behalf, as he was so engaging and so universally popular. He evidently perceived some indications of superiority in the Crown Prince, for he added, If I am not much mistaken, this young prince will one day make a very considerable figure.

On the 28th of June, 1729, the population of Bühlitz, a Hanoverian border village, sallied forth with carts, escorted by a troop of horse, and, with demonstrations both defiant and exultant, raked up and carried off all the hay. The King of Prussia happened to be at that time about one hundred miles distant from Bühlitz, at Magdeburg, reviewing his troops. He was thrown into a towering passion. Sophie Dorothee, Wilhelmina, Fritz, all felt the effects of his rage. Dubourgay writes, under date of July 30, 1729: