"The Places are well selected. The bad Schoolmasters are mostly Tailors; and you must see whether they cannot be got removed to little Towns, and set to tailoring again, or otherwise disposed of, that our Schools might the sooner rise into good condition, which is an interesting thing." "Eager always our Master is to have the Schooling of his People improved and everywhere diffused," writes, some years afterwards, the excellent Zedlitz, officially "Minister of Public Justice," but much and meritoriously concerned with School matters as well. The King's ideas were of the best, and Zedlitz sometimes had fine hopes; but the want of funds was always great.
"In 1779," says Preuss, "there came a sad blow to Zedlitz's hopes: Minister von Brenkenhof [deep in West-Preussen canal-diggings and expenditures] having suggested, That instead of getting Pensions, the Old Soldiers should be put to keeping School." Do but fancy it; poor old fellows, little versed in scholastics hitherto! "Friedrich, in his pinch, grasped at the small help; wrote to the War-Department: 'Send me a List of Invalids who are fit [or at least fittest] to be Schoolmasters.' And got thereupon a list of 74, and afterwards 5 more [79 Invalids in all]; War-Department adding, That besides these scholastic sort, there were 741 serving as BUDNER [Turnpike-keepers, in a sort], as Forest-watchers and the like; and 3,443 UNVERSORGT" (shifting for themselves, no provision made for them at all),--such the check, by cold arithmetic and inexorable finance, upon the genial current of the soul!--
The TURNIPS, I believe, got gradually in; and Brandenburg, in our day, is a more and more beautifully farmed Country. Nor were the Schoolmasters unsuccessful at all points; though I cannot report a complete educational triumph on those extremely limited terms. [Preuss, iii. 115, 113, &c.]
Queen Ulrique left, I think, on the 9th of August, 1772; there is sad farewell in Friedrich's Letter next day to Princess Sophie Albertine, the Queen's Daughter, subsequently Abbess of Quedlinburg: he is just setting out on his Silesian Reviews; "shall, too likely, never see your good Mamma again." ["Potsdam, 10th August, 1772:"
Ten days afterwards (19th August, 1772),--Queen Ulrique not yet home,--her Son, the spirited King Gustav III., at Stockholm had made what in our day is called a "stroke of state,"--put a thorn in the snout of his monster of a Senate, namely: "Less of palaver, venality and insolence, from you, Sirs; we 'restore the Constitution of 1680,' and are something of a King again!" Done with considerable dexterity and spirit; not one person killed or hurt. And surely it was the muzzling-up of a great deal of folly on their side,--provided only there came wisdom enough from Gustav himself instead. But, alas, there did not, there hardly could. His Uncle was alarmed, and not a little angry for the moment: "You had two Parties to reconcile; a work of time, of patient endeavor, continual and quiet; no good possible till then. And instead of that--!" Gustav, a shining kind of man, showed no want of spirit, now or afterwards: but he leant too much on France and broken reeds;--and, in the end, got shot in the back by one of those beautiful "Nobles" of his, and came to a bad conclusion, they and he. ["16th-29th March, 1792," death of Gustav III. by that assassination: "13th March, 1809," his Son Gustav IV, has to go on his travels; "Karl XIII.," a childless Uncle, succeeds for a few years: after whom &c.] Scandinavian Politics, thank Heaven, are none of our business.
Queen Ulrique was spared all these catastrophes. She had alarmed her Brother by a dangerous illness, sudden and dangerous, in 1775; who writes with great anxiety about it, to Another still more anxious: [See "Correspondence with Gustav III." (in
WILHELMINA'S DAUGHTER, ELIZABETH FREDERIKE SOPHIE, DUCHESS OF WURTEMBERG, APPEARS AT FERNEY (September, 1773).
Of our dear Wilhelmina's high and unfortunate Daughter there should be some Biography; and there will surely, if a man of sympathy and faculty pass that way; but there is not hitherto. Nothing hitherto but a few bare dates; bare and sternly significant, as on a Tombstone; indicating that she had a History, and that it was a tragic one. Welcome to all of us, in this state of matters, is the following one clear emergence of her into the light of day, and in company so interesting too! Seven years before her death she had gone to Lausanne (July, 1773) to consult Tissot, a renowned Physician of those days. From Lausanne, after two months, she visited Voltaire at Ferney. Read this Letter of Voltaire's:--
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