These Polish phenomena were beginning to awaken a good deal of attention, not all of it pleasant, on the part of Friedrich. From the first he had, as usual, been a most clear-eyed observer of everything; and found the business, as appears, not of tragical nature, but of expensive-farcical, capable to shake the diaphragm rather than touch the heart of a reflective on-looker. He has a considerable Poem on it,--WAR OF THE CONFEDERATES by title (in the old style of the PALLADION, imitating an unattainable JEANNE D'ARC),--considerable Poem, now forming itself at leisure in his thoughts, ["LA GUERRE DES CONFEDERES [
Much a laughing-stock to this King hitherto, such a "War of the Confederates,"--consisting of the noisiest, emptiest bedlam tumults, seasoned by a proportion of homicide, and a great deal of battery and arson. But now, with a Russian-Turk War springing from it, or already sprung, there are quite serious aspects rising amid the laughable. By Treaty, this War is to cost the King either a 12,000 of Auxiliaries to the Czarina, or a 72,000 pounds (480,000 thalers) annually; [
FIRST INTERVIEW BETWEEN FRIEDRICH AND KAISER JOSEPH (Neisse, 25th-28th August, 1769).
In 1766, the young Kaiser, who has charge of the Military Department, and of little else in the Government, and is already a great traveller, and enthusiastic soldier, made a pilgrimage over the Bohemian and Saxon Battle-fields of the Seven-Years War. On some of them, whether on all I do not know, he set up memorial- stones; one of which you still see on the field of Lobositz;--of another on Prag field, and of reverent salutation by Artillery to the memory of Schwerin there, we heard long ago. Coming to Torgau on this errand, the Kaiser, through his Berlin Minister, had signified his "particular desire to make acquaintance with the King in returning;" to which the King was ready with the readiest;-- only that Kaunitz and the Kaiserinn, in the interim, judged it improper, and stopped it. "The reported Interview is not to take place," Friedrich warns the Newspapers; "having been given up, though only from courtesy, on some points of ceremonial." ["FRIEDRICH TO ONE OF HIS FOREIGN AMBASSADORS" (the common way of announcing in Newspapers): Preuss, iv. 22 n.]
The young Kaiser felt a little huffed; and signified to Friedrich that he would find a time to make good this bit of uncivility, which his pedagogues had forced upon him. And now, after three years, August, 1769, on occasion of the Silesian Reviews, the Kaiser is to come across from his Bohemian businesses, and actually visit him: Interview to be at Neisse, 25th August, 1769, for three days. Of course the King was punctual, everybody was punctual, glad and cordial after a sort,--no ceremony, the Kaiser, officially incognito, is a mere Graf von Falkenstein, come to see his Majesty's Reviews. There came with him four or five Generals, Loudon one of them; Lacy had preceded: Friedrich is in the palace of the place, ready and expectant. With Friedrich are: Prince Henri; Prince of Prussia; Margraf of Anspach: Friedrich's Nephew (Lady Craven's Margraf, the one remnant now left there); and some Generals and Military functionaries, Seidlitz the notablest figure of these. And so, FRIDAY, AUGUST 25th, shortly after noon-- But the following Two Letters, by an Eye-witness, will be preferable; and indeed are the only real Narrative that can be given:--
No. 1. ENGINEER LEFEBVRE TO PERPETUAL SECRETARY FORMEY (at Berlin).
"NEISSE, 26th [partly 25th] August, 1769.
"MY MOST WORTHY FRIEND,-I make haste to inform you of the Kaiser's arrival here at Neisse, this day, 25th August, 1769, at one in the afternoon. The King had spent the morning in a proof Manoeuvre, making rehearsal of the Manoeuvre that was to be. When the Kaiser was reported just coming, the King went to the window of the grand Episcopal Saloon, and seeing him alight from his carriage, turned round and said, 'JE L'AI VU (I have seen him).' His Majesty then went to receive him on the grand staircase [had hardly descended three or four steps], where they embraced; and then his Majesty led by the hand his august Guest into the Apartments designed for him, which were all standing open and ready,"--which, however, the august Guest will not occupy except with a grateful imagination, being for the present incognito, mere Graf von Falkenstein, and judging that THE THREE-KINGS Inn will be suitabler.
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