At this point, to relieve the reader's mind, and, at any rate, as the date is fully come, we will introduce a small NEWSPAPER ARTICLE from a very high hand, little guessed till long afterwards as the writer,--namely, from King Friedrich's own. It does not touch on the Dissident Question, or the Polish troubles; but does, in a back-handed way, on Prussian Rumors rising about them; and may obliquely show more of the King's feeling on that subject than we quite suppose. It seems the King had heard that the Berlin people were talking and rumoring of "a War being just at hand;" whereupon--"MARCH 5th, 1767, IN THE VOSSISCHE ZEITUNG (Voss's Chronicle), No. 28," an inquisitive Berlin public read as follows:--
"We are advised from Potsdam, that, on the 27th of February, towards evening, the sky began to get overcast; black clouds, presaging a tempest of unexampled fury, covered all the horizon: the thunder, with its lightnings, forked bolts of amazing brilliancy, burst out; and, under its redoubled peals, there descended such a torrent of hail as within man's memory had not been seen. Of two bullocks yoked in their plough, with which a peasant was hastening home, one was struck on the head by a piece of it, and killed outright. Many of the common people were wounded in the streets; a brewer had his arm broken. Roofs are destroyed by the weight of this hail; all the windows that looked windward while it fell were broken. In the streets, hailstones were found of the size of pumpkins (CITROUILLES), which had not quite melted two hours after the storm ceased. This singular phenomenon has made a very great impression. Scientific people say, the air had not buoyancy enough to support these solid masses when congealed to ice; that the small hailstones in these clouds getting so lashed about in the impetuosity of the winds, had united the more the farther they fell, and had not acquired that enormous magnitude till comparatively near the earth. Whatever way it may have happened, it is certain that occurrences of that kind are rare, and almost without example." [VOSSISCHE ZEITUNG, ubi supra:
Another singularity is, "Professor Johann Daniel Titius of Wittenberg," who teaches NATURAL PHILOSOPHY in that famous University, one may judge with what effect, wrote a Monograph on this unusual Phenomenon! [Rodenbeck (ii. 285) gives the Title of it, "CONSIDERATIONS ON THE POTSDAM HAIL OF LAST YEAR (Wittenberg, 1768)."]
CONFEDERATION OF BAR ENSUES, ON THE PER-CONTRA SIDE (March 28th, 1768); AND, AS FIRST RESULT OF ITS ACHIEVEMENTS (October 6th, 1768), A TURK-RUSSIAN WAR.
The Confederation of Radom, and its victorious Diet, had hardly begun their Song of Triumph, when there ensued on the per-contra side a flaming CONFEDERATION OF BAR;--which, by successive stages, does at last burn out the Anarchies of Poland, and reduce them to ashes. Confederation of Bar; and then, as progeny of that, for and against, such a brood of Confederations, orthodox, heterodox, big, little, short-lived, long-lived, of all complexions and degrees of noisy fury, potent, at any rate, each of them for murder and arson, within a certain radius, as the Earth never saw before. Now was the time of those inextricable marchings (as inroads and outroads) through the Lithuanian Bogs, of those death-defiant, unparalleled exploits, skirmishings, scaladings, riding by the edge of precipices, of Pulawski, Potocki and others,--in which Rulhiere loses himself and turns on his axis, amid impatient readers.
For the Russian troops (summoned by a trembling Stanislaus and his Senate, in terms of Treaty 1764), and in more languid manner, the Stanislaus soldiery, as per law of the case, proceeded to strike in,--generally, my impression was, with an eye to maintain the King's Peace and keep down murder and arson:--and sure enough, the small bodies of drilled Russians blew an infuriated orthodox Polack chivalry to right and left at a short notice; but as to the Constable's Peace or King's, made no improvement upon that, far the reverse. It is certain the Confederate chivalry were driven about, at a terrible rate,--over the Turk frontier for shelter; began to appeal to the Grand Turk, in desperate terms: "Brother of the Sun and Moon, saw you ever such a chance for finishing Russia? Polack chivalry is Orthodox Catholic, but also it is Anti-Russian!" The Turk beginning to give ear to it, made the matter pressing and serious. Here, more specifically, are some features and successive phases,--unless the reader prefer to skip.
"BAR, MARCH, 1768. The Confederation of Radom, as efficient preliminary, and chief agent in that Diet of emancipation to the Dissident human mind, might long have been famous over Poland and the world; but there instantly followed as corollary to it a CONFEDERATION OF BAR, which quite dimmed the fame of Radom, and indeed of all Confederations prior or posterior! As the Confederation of Bar and its Doings, or rather sufferings and tragical misdoings and undoings, still hang like fitful spectralities, or historical shadows, of a vague ghastly complexion, in the human memory, one asks at least: Since they were on this Planet, tell us where? Bar is in the Waiwodship Podol (what we call Podolia), some 400 miles southeast of Warsaw; not far from the Dniester River:--not far very from that mystery of the Dniester, the Zaporavian Cossacks,--from those rapids or cataracts (quasi-cataracts of the Dniester, with Islands in them, where those Cossack robbers live unassailable):--across the Dniester lies Turkey, and its famed Fortress of Choczim. This is a commodious station for Polish Gentlemen intending mutiny by law.
"MARCH 8th, 1768, Three short days after the Diet of Radom had done its fine feat, and retired to privacy, news came to Warsaw, That Podolia and the Southern parts are all up, confederating with the highest animation; in hot rage against such decision of a Diet, contrary to Holy Religion and to much else; and that the said decision will have to fight for itself, now that it has done voting. This interesting news is true; and goes on intensifying and enlarging itself, one dreadful Confederation springing up, and then another and ever another, day after day; till at last we hear that on the 27th of the month, MARCH 27th, 1768, at Bar, a little Town on the Southern or Turkish Frontier, all these more or less dreadful Confederations have met by delegates, and coalesced into one 'Confederatiou of Bar,'--which did surely prove dreadful enough, to itself especially, in the months now ensuing!"
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