letters, one of which, he said, was directed to Lady Julia

time:2023-12-04 05:43:51source:qsjedit:news

Stralsund he did not reckon his; left it with the Danes, to hold in pawn till some general Treaty. Nor was there farther outbreak of war in those regions; though actual Treaty of Peace did not come till 1720, and make matters sure. It was the new Queen of Sweden, Ulrique Eleonora (Charles's younger Sister, wedded to the young Landgraf of Hessen-Cassel),--much aided by an English Envoy,--who made this Peace with Friedrich Wilhelm. A young English Envoy, called Lord Carteret, was very helpful in this matter; one of his first feats in the diplomatic world. For which Peace, [Stockholm, 21st January, 1720: in Mauvillon (i. 380-417) the Document itself at large.] Friedrich Wilhelm was so thankful, good pacific armed-man, that happening to have a Daughter born to him just about that time, he gave the little creature her Swedish Majesty's name; a new "Ulrique," who grew to proper stature, and became notable in Sweden, herself, by and by. [Louisa Ulrique, born 24th July, 1720; Queen of Sweden in time coming.]

letters, one of which, he said, was directed to Lady Julia

In the Autumn of 1717, Peter the Great, coming home from his celebrated French journey, paid Friedrich Wilhelm a visit; and passed four days at Berlin. Of which let us give one glimpse, if we can with brevity.

letters, one of which, he said, was directed to Lady Julia

Friedrich Wilhelm and the Czar, like in several points, though so dissimilar in others, had always a certain regard for one another; and at this time, they had been brought into closer intercourse by their common peril from Charles XII., ever since that Stralsund business. The peril was real, especially with a Gortz and Alberoni putting hand to it; and the alarm, the rumor, and uncertainty were great in those years. The wounded Lion driven indignant into his lair, with Plotting Artists now operating upon the rage of the noble animal: who knows what spring he will next take? George I. had a fleet cruising in the Baltic Sounds, and again a fleet;-- paying, in that oblique way, for Bremen and Verden; which were got, otherwise, such a bargain to his Hanover. Czar Peter had marched an Army into Denmark; united Russians and Danes count fifty thousand there; for a conjunct invasion, and probable destruction, of Sweden: but that came to nothing; Charles looking across upon it too dangerously, "visible in clear weather over from the Danish side." [1716: Fassmann, p. 171.] So Peter's troops have gone home again; Denmark too glad to get them away. Perhaps they would have stayed in Denmark altogether; much liking the green pastures and convenient situation,--had not Admiral Norris with his cannon been there! Perhaps? And the Pretender is coming again, they say? And who knows what is coming?--How Gortz, in about a year hence was laid hold of, and let go, and then ultimately tried and beheaded (once his lion Master was disposed of); [19th March, 1719: see Kohler ( Munzbelustiggungen, vi. 233-240, xvii. 297-304) for many curious details of Gortz and his end.] how, Ambassador Cellamare, and the Spanish part of the Plot, having been discovered in Paris, Cardinal Alberoni at Madrid was discovered, and the whole mystery laid bare; all that mad business, of bringing the Pretender into England, throwing out George I., throwing out the Regent d'Orleans, and much more,--is now sunk silent enough, not worthy of reawakening; but it was then a most loud matter; filling the European Courts, and especially that of Berlin, with rumors and apprehensions. No wonder Friedrich Wilhelm was grateful for that Swedish Peace of his, and named his little daughter "Ulrique" in honor of it. Tumultuous cloud-world of Lapland Witchcraft had ceased hereby, and daylight had begun: old women (or old Cardinals) riding through the sky, on broomsticks, to meet Satan, where now are they? The fact still dimly perceptible is, Europe, thanks to that pair of Black-Artists, Gortz and Alberoni, not to mention Law the Finance-Wizard and his French incantations, had been kept generally, for these three or four years past, in the state of a Haunted House; riotous Goblins, of unknown dire intent, walking now in this apartment of it, now in that; no rest anywhere for the perturbed inhabitants.

letters, one of which, he said, was directed to Lady Julia

As to Friedrich Wilhelm, his plan in 1717, as all along, in this bewitched state of matters, was: To fortify his Frontier Towns; Memel, Wesel, to the right and left, especially to fortify Stettin, his new acquisition;--and to put his Army, and his Treasury (or Army-CHEST), more and more in order. In that way we shall better meet whatever goblins there may be, thinks Friedrich Wilhelm. Count Lottum, hero of the Prussians at Malplaquet, is doing his scientific uttermost in Stettin and those Frontier Towns. For the rest, his Majesty, invited by the Czar and France, has been found willing to make paction with them, as he is with all pacific neighbors. In fact, the Czar and he had their private Conference, at Havelberg, last year,--Havelberg, some sixty miles from Berlin, on the road towards Denmark, as Peter was passing that way;--ample Conference of. five days; [23d-28th November, 1716: Fassmann, p. 172.]--privately agreeing there, about many points conducive to tranquillity. And it was on that same errand, though ostensibly to look after Art and the higher forms of Civilization so called, that Peter had been to France on this celebrated occasion of 1717. We know he saw much Art withal; saw Marly, Trianon and the grandeurs and politenesses;--saw, among other things, "a Medal of himself fall accidentally at his feet;" polite Medal "just getting struck in the Mint, with a rising sun on it; and the motto, VIRES ACQUIRIT EUNDO." [Voltaire, OEuvres Completes (Histoire du Czar Pierre), xxxi. 336.--Kohler in Munzbelustigungen, xvii. 386-392 (this very MEDAL the subject), gives authentic account, day by day, of the Czar's visit there.] Ostensibly it was to see CETTE BELLE FRANCE; but privately withal the Czar wished to make his bargain, with the Regent d'Orleans, as to these goblins walking in the Northern and Southern parts, and what was to be done with them. And the result has been, the Czar, Friedrich Wilhelm and the said Regent have just concluded an Agreement; [4th August, 1717; Buchholz, i. 43.] undertaking in general, that the goblins shall be well watched; that they Three will stand by one another in watching them. And now the Czar will visit Berlin in passing homewards again. That is the position of affairs, when he pays this visit. Peter had been in Berlin more than once before; but almost always in a succinct rapid condition; never with his "Court" about him till now. This is his last, and by far his greatest, appearance in Berlin.

Such a transit, of the Barbaric semi-fabulous Sovereignties, could not but be wonderful to everybody there. It evidently struck Wilhelmina's fancy, now in her ninth year, very much. What her little Brother did in it, or thought of it, I nowhere find hinted; conclude only that it would remain in his head too, visible occasionally to the end of his life. Wilhelmina's Narrative, very loose, dateless or misdated, plainly wrong in various particulars, has still its value for us: human eyes, even a child's, are worth something, in comparison to human want-of-eyes, which is too frequent in History-books and elsewhere!--Czar Peter is now forty-five, his Czarina Catherine about thirty-one. It was in 1698 that he first passed this way, going towards Saardam and practical Ship-building: within which twenty years what a spell of work done! Victory of Pultawa is eight years behind him; [27th June, 1709.] victories in many kinds are behind him: by this time he is to be reckoned a triumphant Czar; and is certainly the strangest mixture of heroic virtue and brutish Samoeidic savagery the world at any time had.

It was Sunday, 19th September, 1717, when the Czar arrived in Berlin. Being already sated with scenic parades, he had begged to be spared all ceremony; begged to be lodged in Monbijou, the Queen's little Garden-Palace with river and trees round it, where he hoped to be quietest. Monbijou has been set apart accordingly; the Queen, not in the benignest humor, sweeping all her crystals and brittle things away; knowing the manners of the Muscovites. Nor in the way of ceremony was there much: King and Queen drove out to meet him; rampart-guns gave three big salvos, as the Czarish Majesty stept forth. "I am glad to see you, my Brother Friedrich," said Peter, in German, his only intelligible language; shaking hands with the Brother Majesty, in a cordial human manner. The Queen he, still more cordially, "would have kissed;" but this she evaded, in some graceful effective way. As to the Czarina,-- who, for OBSTETRIC and other reasons, of no moment to us, had stayed in Wesel all the time he was in France,--she followed him now at two days' distance; not along with him, as Wilhelmina has it. Wilhelmina says, she kissed the Queen's hand, and again and again kissed it; begged to present her Ladies,--"about four hundred so-called Ladies, who were of her Suite."--Surely not so many as four hundred, you too witty Princess? "Mere German serving-maids for the most part," says the witty Princess; "Ladies when there is occasion, then acting aa chambermaids, cooks, washerwomen, when that is over."

Queen Sophie was averse to salute these creatures; but the Czarina Catherine making reprisals upon our Margravines, and the King looking painfully earnest in it, she prevailed upon herself. Was there ever seen such a travelling tagraggery of a Sovereign Court before? "Several of these creatures [PRESQUE TOUTES, says the exaggerative Princess] had, in their arms, a baby in rich dress; and if you asked, 'Is that yours, then?' they answered, making salaams in Russian style, 'The Czar did me the honor ( m'a fait l'honneur de me faire cet enfant )!'"--

Which statement, if we deduct the due 25 per cent, is probably not mythic, after all. A day or two ago, the Czar had been at Magdeburg, on his way hither, intent upon inspecting matters there; and the Official Gentlemen,--President Cocceji (afterwards a very celebrated man) at the head of them,--waited on the Czar, to do what was needful. On entering, with the proper Address or complimentary Harangue, they found his Czarish Majesty "standing between two Russian Ladies," clearly Ladies of the above sort; for they stood close by him, one of his arms was round the neck of each, and his hands amused themselves by taking liberties in that posture, all the time Cocceji spoke. Nay, even this was as nothing among the Magdeburg phenomena. Next day, for instance, there appeared in the audience-chamber a certain Serene high-pacing Duke of Mecklenburg, with his Duchess;--thrice-unfortunate Duke, of whom we shall too often hear again; who, after some adventures, under Charles XII. first of all, and then under the enemies of Charles, had, about a year ago, after divorcing his first Wife, married a Niece of Peter's:--Duke and Duchess arrive now, by order or gracious invitation of their Sovereign Uncle, to accompany him in those parts; and are announced to an eager Czar, giving audience to his select Magdeburg public. At sight of which most desirable Duchess and Brother's Daughter, how Peter started up, satyr-like, clasping her in his arms, and snatching her into an inner room, with the door left ajar, and there--It is too Samoeidic for human speech! and would excel belief, were not the testimony so strong. [Pollnitz ( Memoiren, ii. 95) gives Friedrich Wilhelm as voucher, "who used to relate it as from eye-and-ear witnesses."] A Duke of Mecklenburg, it would appear, who may count himself the NON-PLUS-ULTRA of husbands in that epoch;--as among Sovereign Rulers, too, in a small or great way, he seeks his fellow for ill-luck!

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