Not till March 26th, 1769, six months after declaring in such haste, did the blind Turks "display their Banner of Mahomet," that is, begin in earnest to assemble and make ready. Nor were the Russians shiningly strategic, though sooner in the field,--a Prince Galitzin commanding them (an extremely purblind person); till replaced by Romanzow, our old Colberg acquaintance, who saw considerably better. Galitzin, early in the season, made a rush on Choczim (ChoTzim), the first Turk Fort beyond the Dniester; and altogether failed,--not by Turk prowess, but by his own purblind mal-arrangements (want of ammunition, want of bread, or I will forget what);--which occasioned mighty grumblings in Russia: till in a month or two, by favor of Fortune and blindness of the Turk, matters had come well round again; and Galitzin, walking up to Choczim the second time, found there was not a Turk in the place, and that Choczim was now his on those uncommonly easy terms!
Instead of farther details on such a War,--the shadow or reflex of which, as mirrored in the Austrian mind, has an importance to Friedrich and us; but the self or substance of which has otherwise little or none,--we will close here with a bit of Russian satire on it, which is still worth reading. The date is evidently Spring, 1769; the scene what we are now treating of: Galitzin obliged to fall back from Choczim; great rumor--"What a Galitzin; what a Turk War his, in contrast to the last we had!" [Turk War of 1736-1739, under Munnich (supra, vii. 81-126).]--no Romanzow yet appointed in his room. And here is a small Manuscript, which was then circulating fresh and new in Russian Society; and has since gone over all the world (though mostly in an uncertain condition, in old Jest-Books and the like), as a genuine bit of CAVIARE from those Northern parts:--
MANUSCRIPT CIRCULATING IN RUSSIAN SOCIETY. Galitzin, much grieved about Choczim, could not sleep; and, wandering about in his tent, overheard, one night, a common soldier recounting his dream to the sentry outside the door.
"A curious dream," said the soldier: "I dreamt I was in a battle; that I got my head cut off; that I died; and, of course, went to Heaven. I knocked at the door: Peter came with a bunch of Keys; and made such rattling that he awoke God; who started up in haste, asking, 'What is the matter?' 'Why,' says Peter, 'there is a great War on earth between the Russians and the Turks.' 'And who commands my Russians?' said the Supreme Being. 'Count Munnich,' answered Peter. 'Very well; I may go to sleep again!'--But this was not the end of my dream," continued the soldier; "I fell asleep and dreamt again, the very same as before, except that the War was not Count Munnich's, but the one we are now in. Accordingly, when God asked, 'Who commands my Russians?' Peter answered, 'Prince Galitzin.' 'Galitzin? Then get me my boots!' said the [Russian] Supreme Being." [W. Richardson (then at Petersburg, Tutor to Excellency Cathcart's Children; afterwards Professor at Glasgow, and a man of Some reputation in his old age),
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.]
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