JUNE 9th, 1771. "This Year the Stande of the Kurmark find they have an overplus of 100,000 thalers (15,000 pounds); which sum they do themselves the pleasure of presenting to the King for his Majesty's uses." King cannot accept it for his own uses. "This money," answers he (9th June), "comes from the Province, wherefore I feel bound to lay it out again for advantage of the Province. Could not it become a means of getting English husbandry [TURNIPS in particular, whether short-horns or not, I do not know] introduced among us? In the Towns that follow Farming chiefly, or in Villages belonging to unmoneyed Nobles, we will lend out this 15,000 pounds, at 4 per cent, in convenient sums for that object: hereby will turnip-culture and rotation be vouchsafed us; interest at 4 per cent brings us in 600 pounds annually; and this we will lay out in establishing new Schoolmasters in the Kurmark, and having the youth better educated." What a pretty idea; neat and beautiful, killing two important birds with one most small stone! I have known enormous cannon-balls and granite blocks, torrent after torrent, shot out under other kinds of Finance-gunnery, that were not only less respectable, but that were abominable to me in comparison.
Unluckily, no Nobles were found inclined; English Husbandry ["TURNIPSE" and the rest of it] had to wait their time. The King again writes: "No Nobles to be found, say you? Well; put the 15,000 pounds to interest in the common way,--that the Schoolmasters at least may have solacement: I will add 120 thalers (18 pounds) apiece, that we may have a chance of getting better Schoolmasters; --send me List of the Places where the worst are." List was sent; is still extant; and on the margin of it, in Royal Autograph, this remark:--
"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
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