of the transaction, oh learned judges, wants that consistency

time:2023-12-04 05:03:19source:iosedit:android

Peter's, VIATICUM, the Antique Indecency, Friedrich Wilhelm did not grudge to part with; glad to purchase the Czar's good-will by coin of that kind. Last year, at Havelberg, he had given the Czar an entire Cabinet of Amber Articles, belonging to his late Father. Amber Cabinet, in the lump; and likewise such a Yacht, for shape, splendor and outfit, as probably Holland never launched before;-- Yacht also belonging to his late Father, and without value to Friedrich Wilhelm. The old King had got it built in Holland, regardless of expense,--15,000 pounds, they say, perhaps as good as 50,000 pounds now; --and it lay at Potsdam: good for what? Friedrich Wilhelm sent it down the Havel, down the Elbe, silk sailors and all, towards Hamburg and Petersburg, with a great deal of pleasure. For the Czar, and peace and good-will with the Czar, was of essential value to him. Neither, at any rate, is the Czar a man to take gifts without return. Tall fellows for soldiers: that is always one prime object with Friedrich Wilhelm; for already these Potsdam Guards of his are getting ever more gigantic. Not less an object, though less an ideal or POETIC one (as we once defined), was this other, to find buyers for the Manufactures, new and old, which he was so bent on encouraging. "It is astonishing, what quantities of cloth, of hardware, salt, and all kinds of manufactured articles the Russians buy from us," say the old Books;--"see how our 'Russian Company' flourishes!" In both these objects, not to speak of peace and good-will in general, the Czar is our man.

of the transaction, oh learned judges, wants that consistency

Thus, this very Autumn, there arrive, astonished and astonishing, no fewer than a hundred and fifty human figures (one half MORE than were promised), probably from seven to eight feet high; the tallest the Czar could riddle out from his Dominions: what a windfall to the Potsdam Guard and its Colonel-King! And all succeeding Autumns the like, so long as Friedrich Wilhelm lived; every Autumn, out of Russia a hundred of the tallest mortals living. Invaluable,--to a "man of genius" mounted on his hobby! One's "stanza" can be polished at this rate.

of the transaction, oh learned judges, wants that consistency

In return for these Russian sons of Anak, Friedrich Wilhelm grudged not to send German smiths, millwrights, drill-sergeants, cannoneers, engineers; having plenty of them. By whom, as Peter well calculated, the inert opaque Russian mass might be kindled into luminosity and vitality; and drilled to know the Art of War, for one thing. Which followed accordingly. And it is observable, ever since, that the Russian Art of War has a tincture of GERMAN in it (solid German, as contradistinguished from unsolid Revolutionary-French); and hints to us of Friedrich Wilhelm and the Old Dessauer, to this hour.--EXEANT now the Barbaric semi-fabulous Sovereignties, till wanted again.

of the transaction, oh learned judges, wants that consistency


In his seventh year, young Friedrich was taken out of the hands of the women; and had Tutors and Sub-Tutors of masculine gender, who had been nominated for him some time ago, actually set to work upon their function. These we have already heard of; they came from Stralsund Siege, all the principal hands.

Duhan de Jandun, the young French gentleman who had escaped from grammar-lessons to the trenches, he is the practical teacher. Lieutenant-General Graf Fink von Finkenstein and Lieutenant-Colonel von Kalkstein, they are Head Tutor (OBERHOFMEISTER) and Sub-Tutor; military men both, who had been in many wars besides Stralsund. By these three he was assiduously educated, subordinate schoolmasters working under them when needful, in such branches as the paternal judgment would admit; the paternal object and theirs being to infuse useful knowledge, reject useless, and wind up the whole into a military finish. These appointments, made at different precise dates, took effect, all of them, in the year 1719.

Duhan, independently of his experience in the trenches, appears to have been an accomplished, ingenious and conscientious man; who did credit to Friedrich Wilhelm's judgment; and to whom Friedrich professed himself much indebted in after life. Their progress in some of the technical branches, as we shall perceive, was indisputably unsatisfactory. But the mind of the Boy seems to have been opened by this Duhan, to a lively, and in some sort genial, perception of things round him;--of the strange confusedly opulent Universe he had got into; and of the noble and supreme function which Intelligence holds there; supreme in Art as in Nature, beyond all other functions whatsoever. Duhan was now turned of thirty: a cheerful amiable Frenchman; poor, though of good birth and acquirements; originally from Champagne. Friedrich loved him very much; always considered him his spiritual father; and to the end of Duhan's life, twenty years hence, was eager to do him any good in his power. Anxious always to repair, for poor Duhan, the great sorrows he came to on his account, as we shall see.

Of Graf Fink von Finkenstein, who has had military experiences of all kinds and all degrees, from marching as prisoner into France, "wounded and without his hat," to fighting at Malplaquet, at Blenheim, even at Steenkirk, as well as Stralsund; who is now in his sixtieth year, and seems to have been a gentleman of rather high solemn manners, and indeed of undeniable perfections,--of this supreme Count Fink we learn almost nothing farther in the Books, except that his little Pupil did not dislike him either. The little Pupil took not unkindly to Fink; welcoming any benignant human ray, across these lofty gravities of the OBERHOFMEISTER; went often to his house in Berlin; and made acquaintance with two young Finks about his own age, whom he found there, and who became important to him, especially the younger of them, in the course of the future. [Zedlitz-Neukirch, Preussisches Adels-Lexikon (Leipzig, l836), ii. 168. Militair-Lexicon, i. 420.] This Pupil, it may be said, is creditably known for his attachment to his Teachers and others; an attached and attaching little Boy. Of Kalkstein, a rational, experienced and earnest kind of man, though as yet but young, it is certain also that the little Fritz loved him; and furthermore that the Great Friedrich was grateful to him, and had a high esteem of his integrity and sense. "My master, Kalkstein," used to be his designation of him, when the name chanced to be mentioned in after times. They continued together, with various passages of mutual history, for forty years afterwards, till Kalkstein's death. Kalkstein is at present twenty-eight, the youngest of the three Tutors; then, and ever after, an altogether downright correct soldier and man. He is of Preussen, or Prussia Proper, this Kalkstein;--of the same kindred as that mutinous Kalkstein, whom we once heard of, who was "rolled in a carpet," and kidnapped out of Warsaw, in the Great Elector's time. Not a direct descendant of that beheaded Kalkstein's but, as it were, his NEPHEW so many times removed. Preussen is now far enough from mutiny; subdued, with all its Kalksteins, into a respectful silence, not lightly using the right even of petition, or submissive remonstrance, which it may still have. Nor, except on the score of parliamentary eloquence and newspaper copyright, does it appear that Preussen has suffered by the change.


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