But Nature had been very kind to this new child of hers. And among, the confused hurtful elements of his Schooling, there was always, as we say, this eminently salutary and most potent one, of its being, in the gross, APPRENTICESHIP TO FRIEDRICH WILHELM the Rhadamanthine Spartan King, who hates from his heart all empty Nonsense, and Unveracity most of all. Which one element, well aided by docility, by openness and loyalty of mind, on the Pupil's part, proved at length sufficient to conquer the others; as it were to burn up all the others, and reduce their sour dark smoke, abounding everywhere, into flame and illumination mostly. This radiant swift-paced Son owed much to the surly, irascible, sure-footed Father that bred him. Friedrich did at length see into Friedrich Wilhelm, across the abstruse, thunderous, sulphurous embodiments and accompaniments of the man;--and proved himself, in all manner of important respects, the filial sequel of Friedrich Wilhelm. These remarks of a certain Editor are perhaps worth adding:--
"Friedrich Wilhelm, King of Prussia, did not set up for a Pestalozzi; and the plan of Education for his Son is open to manifold objections. Nevertheless, as Schoolmasters go, I much prefer him to most others we have at present. The wild man had discerned, with his rugged natural intelligence (not wasted away in the idle element of speaking and of being spoken to, but kept wholesomely silent for most part), That human education is not, and cannot be, a thing of VOCABLES. That it is a thing of earnest facts; of capabilities developed, of habits established, of dispositions well dealt with, of tendencies confirmed and tendencies repressed:--a laborious separating of the character into two FIRMAMENTS; shutting down the subterranean, well down and deep; an earth and waters, and what lies under them; then your everlasting azure sky, and immeasurable depths of aether, hanging serene overhead. To make of the human soul a Cosmos, so far as possible, that was Friedrich Wilhelm's dumb notion: not to leave the human soul a mere Chaos;--how much less a Singing or eloquently Spouting Chaos, which is ten times worse than a Chaos left MUTE, confessedly chaotic and not cosmic! To develop the man into DOING something; and withal into doing it as the Universe and the Eternal Laws require,--which is but another name for really doing and not merely seeming to do it:--that was Friedrich Wilhelm's dumb notion: and it was, I can assure you, very far from being a foolish one, though there was no Latin in it, and much of Prussian pipe-clay!"
But the Congress of Cambrai is met, and much else is met and parted: and the Kaiser's Spectre-Hunt, especially his Duel with the She-Dragon of Spain, is in full course; and it is time we were saying something of the Double-Marriage in a directly narrative way.
History of Friedrich II of Prussia V 5
Carlyle's "History of Friedrich II of Prussia"
DOUBLE-MARRIAGE PROJECT, AND WHAT ELEMENT IT FELL INTO.
We saw George I. at Berlin in October, 1723, looking out upon his little Grandson drilling the Cadets there; but we did not mention what important errand had brought his Majesty thither.
Visits between Hanover and Berlin had been frequent for a long time back; the young Queen of Prussia, sometimes with her husband, sometimes without, running often over to see her Father; who, even after his accession to the English crown, was generally for some months every year to be met with in those favorite regions of his. He himself did not much visit, being of taciturn splenetic nature: but this once he had agreed to return a visit they had lately made him,--where a certain weighty Business had been agreed upon, withal; which his Britannic Majesty was to consummate formally, by treaty, when the meeting in Berlin took effect. His Britannic Majesty, accordingly, is come; the business in hand is no other than that thrice-famous "Double-Marriage" of Prussia with England; which once had such a sound in the ear of Rumor, and still bulks so big in the archives of the Eighteenth Century; which worked such woe to all parties concerned in it; and is, in fact, a first-rate nuisance in the History of that poor Century, as written hitherto. Nuisance demanding urgently to be abated;-- were that well possible at present. Which, alas, it is not, to any great degree; there being an important young Friedrich inextricably wrapt up in it, to whom it was of such vital or almost fatal importance! Without a Friedrich, the affair could be reduced to something like its real size, and recorded in a few pages; or might even, with advantage, be forgotten altogether, and become zero. More gigantic instance of much ado about nothing has seldom occurred in human annals;--had not there been a Friedrich in the heart of it.