History of Friedrich II of Prussia ? Volume 13(txt+pdf+epub+mobi电子书下载)

作者:Carlyle, Thomas

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History of Friedrich II of Prussia ? Volume 13

History of Friedrich II of Prussia ? Volume 13试读:

 版权信息书名:History of Friedrich II of Prussia ¿ Volume 13作者:Carlyle, Thomas排版:昷一出版时间:2017-11-28本书由当当数字商店(公版书)授权北京当当科文电子商务有限公司制作与发行。— · 版权所有 侵权必究 · —Chapter I.— BRITANNIC MAJESTY AS PALADIN OF THE PRAGMATIC.

Part, is now perhaps conceivable to readers. But as to the Second, the Germanic or Pragmatic Part,—articulate History, after much consideration, is content to renounce attempting these; feels that these will remain forever inconceivable to mankind in the now altered times. So small a gentleman; and he feels, dismally though with heroism, that he has got the axis of the world on his shoulder. Poor Majesty! His eyes, proud as Jove's, are nothing like so perspicacious; a pair of the poorest eyes: and he has to scan with them, and unriddle under pain of death, such a waste of insoluble intricacies, troubles and world-perils as seldom was,—even in Dreams. In fact, it is of the nature of a long Nightmare Dream, all this of the Pragmatic, to his poor Majesty and Nation; and wakeful History must not spend herself upon it, beyond the essential.

May 12th, betimes this Year, his Majesty got across to Hanover, Harrington with him; anxious to contemplate near at hand that Camp of the Old Dessauer's at Gottin, and the other fearful phenomena, French, Prussian and other, in that Country. His Majesty, as natural, was much in Germany in those Years; scanning the phenomena; a long while not knowing what in the world to make of them. Bully Belleisle having stept into the ring, it is evident, clear as the sun, that one must act, and act at once; but it is a perfect sphinx-enigma to say How. Seldom was Sovereign or man so spurred, and goaded on, by the highest considerations; and then so held down, and chained to his place, by an imbroglio of counter-considerations and sphinx-riddles! Thrice over, at different dates (which shall be given), the first of them this Year, he starts up as in spasm, determined to draw sword, and plunge in; twice he is crushed down again, with sword half drawn; and only the third time (in 1743) does he get sword out, and brandish it in a surprising though useless manner. After which he feels better. But up to that crisis, his case is really tragical,—had idle readers any bowels for him; which they have not! One or two Fractions, snatched from the circumambient Paper Vortex, must suffice us for the indispensable in this place:—CUNCTATIONS, YET INCESSANT AND UBIQUITOUS ENDEAVORINGS, OF HIS BRITANNIC

MAJESTY (1741-1743).

... After the wonderful Russian Partition-Treaty, which his English Walpoles would not hear of,—and which has produced the Camp of Gottin, see, your Majesty!—George does nothing rashly. Far from it: indeed, except it be paying money, he becomes again a miracle of cunctations; and staggers about for years to come, like the—Shall we say, like the White Hanover Horse amid half a dozen sieves of beans? Alas, no, like the Hanover Horse with the shadows of half a dozen Damocles'-swords dangling into the eyes of it;—enough to drive any Horse to its wit's end!—

"To do, to dare," thinks the Britannic Majesty;—yes, and of daring there is a plenty: but, "In which direction? What, How?" these are questions for a fussy little gentleman called to take the world on his shoulders. We suppose it was by Walpole's advice that he gave her Hungarian Majesty that 200,000 pounds of Secret-Service Money;—advice sufficiently Walpolean: "Russian Partition-Treaties; horrible to think of;—beware of these again! Give her Majesty that cash; can be done; it will keep matters afloat, and spoil nothing!" That, till the late Subsidy payable within year and day hence, was all of tangible his Majesty had yet done;—truly that is all her Hungarian Majesty has yet got by hawking the world, Pragmatic Sanction in hand. And if that were the bit of generosity which enabled Neipperg to climb the Mountains and be beaten at Mollwitz, that has helped little! Very big generosities, to a frightful cipher of Millions Sterling through the coming years, will go the same road; and amount also to zero, even for the receiving party, not to speak of the giving! For men and kings are wise creatures.

But wise or unwise, how great are his Britannic Majesty's activities in this Pragmatic Business! We may say, they are prodigious, incessant, ubiquitous. They are forgotten now, fallen wholly to the spiders and the dust-bins;—though Friedrich himself was not a busier King in those days, if perhaps a better directed. It is a thing wonderful to us, but sorrowful and undeniable. We perceive the Britannic Majesty's own little mind pulsing with this Pragmatic Matter, as the biggest volcano would do;—shooting forth dust and smoke (subsidies, diplomatic emissaries, treaties, offers of treaty, plans, foolish futile exertions), at an immense rate. When the Celestial Balances are canting, a man ought to exert himself. But as to this of saving the House of Austria from France,—surely, your Britannic Majesty, the shortest way to that, if that is so indispensable, were: That the House of Austria should consent to give up its stolen goods, better late than never; and to make this King of Prussia its friend, as he offers to be! Joined with this King, it would manage to give account of France and its balloon projects, by and by. Could your Britannic Majesty but take Mr. Viner's hint; and, in the interim, mind your OWN business!—His Britannic Majesty intends immediate fighting; and, both in England and Hanover, is making preparation loud and great. Nay, he will in his own person fight, if necessary, and rather likes the thought of it: he saw Oudenarde in his young days; and, I am told, traces in himself a talent for Generalship. Were the Britannic Majesty to draw his own puissant sword!-His own puissant purse he has already drawn; and is subsidizing to right and left; knocking at all doors with money in hand, and the question, "Any fighting done here?" In England itself there goes on much drilling, enlisting; camping, proposing to camp; which is noisy enough in the British Newspapers, much more in the Foreign. One actual Camp there was "on Lexden Heath near Colchester," from May till October of this 1741, [Manifold but insignificant details about it, in the old Newspapers of those Months.]—Camp waiting always to be shipped across to the scene of action, but never was:—this actual Camp, and several imaginary ones here, which were alarming to the Continental Gazetteer. In England his Majesty is busy that way; still more among his Hanoverians, now under his own royal eye; and among his Danes and Hessians, whom he has now brought over into Hanover, to combine with the others. Danes and Hessians, 6,000 of each kind, he for some time keeps back in stall, upon subsidy, ready for such an occasion. Their "Camp at Hameln," "Camp at Nienburg" (will, with the Hanoverians, be 30,000 odd); their swashing and blaring about, intending to encamp at Hameln, at Nienburg, and other places, but never doing it, or doing it with any result: this, with the alarming English Camps at Lexden and in Dreamland, which also were void of practical issue, filled Europe with rumor this Summer.—Eager enough to fight; a noble martial ardor in our little Hercules-Atlas! But there lie such enormous difficulties on the threshold; especially these Two, which are insuperable or nearly so.

Difficulty FIRST, is that of the laggard Dutch; a People apt to be heavy in the stern-works. They are quite languid about Pragmatic Sanction, these Dutch; they answer his Britannic Majesty's enthusiasm with an obese torpidity; and hope always they will drift through, in some way; buoyant in their own fat, well ballasted astern; and not need such swimming for life. "What a laggard notion," thinks his Majesty; "notion in ten pair of breeches, so to speak!" This stirring up of the Dutch, which lasts year on year, and almost beats Lord Stair, Lord Carteret, and our chief Artists, is itself a thing like few! One of his Britannic Majesty's great difficulties;—insuperable he never could admit it to be. "Surely you are a Sea-Power, ye valiant Dutch; the OTHER Sea-Power? Bound by Barrier Treaty, Treaty of Vienna, and Law of Nature itself, to rise with us against the fatal designs of France; fatal to your Dutch Barrier, first of all; if the Liberties of Mankind were indifferent to you! How is it that you will not?" The Dutch cannot say how. France rocks them in security, by oily-mouthed Diplomatists, Fenelon and others: "Would not touch a stone of your Barrier, for the world, ye admirable Dutch neighbors: on our honor, thrice and four times, No!" They have an eloquent Van Hoey of their own at Paris; renowned in Newspapers: "Nothing but friendship here!" reports Van Hoey always; and the Dutch answer his Britannic Majesty: "Hm, rise? Well then, if we must!"—but sit always still.

Nowhere in Political Mechanics have I seen such a Problem as this of hoisting to their feet the heavy-bottomed Dutch. The cunningest leverage, every sort of Diplomatic block-and-tackle, Carteret and Stair themselves running over to help in critical seasons, is applied; to almost no purpose. Pull long, pull strong, pull all together,—see, the heavy Dutch do stir; some four inches of daylight fairly visible below them: bear a hand, oh, bear a hand!—Pooh, the Dutch flap down again, as low as ever. As low,—unless (by Diplomatic art) you have WEDGED them at the four inches higher; which, after the first time or two, is generally done. At the long last, partially in 1743 (upon which his Britannic Majesty drew sword), completely in 1747, the Dutch were got to their feet;—unfortunately good for nothing when they were! Without them his Britannic Majesty durst not venture. Hidden in those dust-bins, there is nothing so absurd, or which would be so wearisome, did it not at last become slightly ludicrous, as this of hoisting the Dutch.

Difficulty SECOND, which in enormity of magnitude might be reckoned first, as in order of time it ranks both first and last, is: The case of dear Hanover; case involved in mere insolubilities. Our own dear Hanover, which (were there nothing more in it) is liable, from that Camp at Gottin, to be slit in pieces at a moment's warning! No drawing sword against a nefarious Prussia, on those terms. The Camp at Gottin holds George in checkmate. And then finally, in this same Autumn, 1741, when a Maillebois with his 40 or 50,000 French (the Leftward or western of those Two Belleisle Armies), threatening our Hanover from another side, crossed the Lower Rhine—But let us not anticipate. The case of Hanover, which everybody saw to be his Majesty's vulnerable point, was the constant open door of France and her machinations, and a never-ending theme of angry eloquences in the English Parliament as well.

So that the case of Hanover proved insoluble throughout, and was like a perpetual running sore. Oh the pamphleteerings, the denouncings, the complainings, satirical and elegiac, which grounded themselves on Hanover, the CASE OF THE HANOVER FORCES, and innumerable other Hanoverian cases, griefs and difficulties! So pungently vital to somnambulant mankind at that epoch; to us fallen dead as carrion, and unendurable to think of. My friends, if you send for Gentlemen from Hanover, you must take them with Hanover adhering more or less; and ought not to quarrel with your bargain, which you reckoned so divine! No doubt, it is singular to see a Britannic Majesty neglecting his own Spanish War, the one real business he has at present; and running about over all the world; busy, soul, body and breeches-pocket, in other people's wars; egging on other fighting, whispering every likely fellow he can meet, "Won't you perhaps fight? Here is for you, if so!"—hand to breeches-pocket accompanying the word. But it must be said, and ought to be better known than in our day it is, His Majesty's Ministers, and the English State-Doctors generally, were precisely of the same mind. TO them too the Austrian Quarrel was everything, their own poor Spanish Quarrel nothing; and the complaint they make of his Majesty is rather that he does not rush rapidly enough, with brandished sword, as well as with guineas raining from him, into this one indispensable business. "Owing to his fears for Hanover!" say they, with indignation, with no end of suspicion, angry pamphleteering and covert eloquence, "within those walls" and without.

The suspicion of Hanover's checking his Majesty's Pragmatic velocity is altogether well founded; and there need no more be said on that Hanover score. Be it well understood and admitted, Hanover was the Britannic Majesty's beloved son; and the British Empire his opulent milk-cow. Richest of milk-cows; staff of one's life, for grand purposes and small; beautiful big animal, not to be provoked; but to be stroked and milked:—Friends, if you will do a Glorious Revolution of that kind, and burn such an amount of tar upon it, why eat sour herbs for an inevitable corollary therefrom! And let my present readers understand, at any rate, that,—except in Wapping, Bristol and among the simple instinctive classes (with whom, it is true, go Pitt and some illustrious figures),—political England generally, whatever of England had Parliamentary discourse of reason, and did Pamphlets, Despatches, Harangues, went greatly along with his Majesty in that Pragmatic Business. And be the blame of delirium laid on the right back, where it ought to lie, not on the wrong, which has enough to bear of its own. And go not into that dust-whirlwind of extinct stupidities, O reader:—what reader would, except for didactic objects? Know only that it does of a truth whirl there; and fancy always, if you can, that certain things and Human Figures, a Friedrich, a Chatham and some others, have it for their Life-Element. Which, I often think, is their principal misfortune with Posterity; said Life-Element having gone to such an unutterable condition for gods and men.

"One other thing surprises us in those Old Pamphlets," says my Constitutional Friend: "How the phrase, 'Cause of Liberty' ever and anon turns up, with great though extinct emphasis, evidently sincere. After groping, one is astonished to find it means Support of the House of Austria; keeping of the Hapsburgs entire in their old Possessions among mankind! That, to our great-grandfathers, was the 'Cause of Liberty;'—said 'Cause' being, with us again, Electoral Suffrage and other things; a notably different definition, perhaps still wider of the mark.

"Our great-grandfathers lived in perpetual terror that they would be devoured by France; that French ambition would overset the Celestial Balance, and proceed next to eat the British Nation. Stand upon your guard then, one would have said: Look to your ships, to your defences, to your industries; to your virtues first of all,—your VIRTUTES, manhoods, conformities to the Divine Law appointed you; which are the great and indeed sole strength to any Man or Nation! Discipline yourselves, wisely, in all kinds; more and more, till there be no anarchic fibre left in you. Unanarchic, disciplined at all points, you might then, I should say, with supreme composure, let France, and the whole World at its back, try what they could do upon you and the unique little Island you are so lucky as to live in?—Foolish mortals: what Potentiality of Battle, think you (not against France only, but against Satanas and the Ministers of Chaos generally), would a poor Friedrich Wilhelm, not to speak of better, have got out of such a Possession, had it been his to put in drill! And drill is not of soldiers only; though perhaps of soldiers first and most indispensably of all; since 'without Being,' as my Friend Oliver was wont to say, 'Well-being is not possible.' There is military drill; there is industrial, economic, spiritual; gradually there are all kinds of drill, of wise discipline, of peremptory mandate become effective everywhere, 'OBEY the Laws of Heaven, or else disappear from these latitudes!' Ah me, if one dealt in day-dreams, and prophecies of an England grown celestial,—celestial she should be, not in gold nuggets, continents all of beef, and seas all of beer, Abolition of Pain, and Paradise to All and Sundry, but in that quite different fashion; and there, I should say, THERE were the magnificent Hope to indulge in! That were to me the 'Cause of Liberty;' and any the smallest contribution towards that kind of 'Liberty' were a sacred thing!—

"Belleisle again may, if he pleases, call his the Cause of Sovereignty. A Sovereign Louis, it would appear, has not governing enough to do within his own French borders, but feels called to undertake Germany as well;—a gentleman with an immense governing faculty, it would appear? Truly, good reader, I am sick of heart, contemplating those empty sovereign mountebanks, and empty antagonist ditto, with their Causes of Liberty and Causes of Anti-Liberty; and cannot but wish that we had got the ashes of that World-Explosion, of 1789, well riddled and smelted, and the poor World were quit of a great many things!"—

My Constitutional Historian of England, musing on Belleisle and his Anti-Pragmatic industries and grandiosities,—"how Chief-Bully Belleisle stept down into the ring as a gay Volunteer, and foolish Chief-Defender George had to follow dismally heroic, as a Conscript of Fate,"—drops these words: in regard to the Wages they respectively had:—

"Nations that go into War without business there, are sure of getting business as they proceed; and if the beginning were phantasms,—especially phantasms of the hoping, self-conceited kind,—the results for them are apt to be extremely real! As was the case with the French in this War, and those following, in which his Britannic Majesty played chief counter-tenor. From 1741, in King Friedrich's First War, onwards to Friedrich's Third War, 1756-1763, the volunteer French found a great deal of work lying ready for them,—gratuitous on their part, from the beginning. And the results to them came out, first completely visible, in the World-Miracles of 1789, and the years following!

"Nations, again, may be driven upon War by phantasm TERRORS, and go into it, in sorrow of heart, not gayety of heart; and that is a shade better. And one always pities a poor Nation, in such case;—as the very Destinies rather do, and judge it more mercifully. Nay, the poor bewildered Nation may, among its brain-phantasms, have something of reality and sanity inarticulately stirring it withal. It may have a real ordinance of Heaven to accomplish on those terms:—and IF so, it will sometimes, in the most chaotic circuitous ways, through endless hazards, at a hundred or a hundred thousand times the natural expense, ultimately get it done! This was the case of the poor English in those Wars.

"They were Wars extraneous to England little less than to France; neither Nation had real business in them; and they seem to us now a very mad object on the part of both. But they were not gratuitously gone into, on the part of England; far from that. England undertook them, with its big heart very sorrowful, strange spectralities bewildering it; and managed them (as men do sleep-walking) with a gloomy solidity of purpose, with a heavy-laden energy, and, on the whole, with a depth of stupidity, which were very great. Yet look at the respective net results. France lies down to rot into grand Spontaneous-Combustion, Apotheosis of Sansculottism, and much else; which still lasts, to her own great peril, and the great affliction of neighbors. Poor England, after such enormous stumbling among the chimney-pots, and somnambulism over all the world for twenty years, finds on awakening, that she is arrived, after all, where she wished to be, and a good deal farther! Finds that her own important little errand is somehow or other, done;—and, in short, that 'Jenkins's Ear [as she named the thing] HAS been avenged,' and the Ocean Highways 'opened' and a good deal more, in a most signal way! For the Eternal Providences—little as poor Dryasdust now knows of it, mumbling and maundering that sad stuff of his—do rule; and the great soul of the world, I assure you once more, is JUST. And always for a Nation, as for a man, it is very behooveful to be honest, to be modest, however stupid!"—

By this time, however,—Mollwitz having fallen out, and Belleisle being evidently on the steps,—his Britannic Majesty recognizes clearly, and insists upon it, strengthened by his Harringtons and everybody of discernment, That, nefarious or not, this Friedrich will require to be bargained with. That, far from breaking in upon him, and partitioning him (how far from it!), there is no conceivable method of

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