541 Frederick, though now at peace with all the world, found no nation in cordial alliance with him. He had always disliked England, and England returned the dislike with interest. The Duchess of Pompadour, who controlled France, hated him. Maria Theresa regarded him as a highway robber who had snatched Silesia from her and escaped with it. Frederick, thus left without an ally, turned to his former subject, now Catharine II., whom he had placed on the throne of Russia. On the 11th of April, 1764, one year after the close of the Seven Years War, he entered into a treaty of alliance with the Czarina Catharine. The treaty was to continue eight years. In case either of the parties became involved in war, the other party was to furnish a contingent of twelve thousand men, or an equivalent in money.

Upon the accession of Frederick the Second, as officers were dispatched through the realm to exact oaths of allegiance, the Herstal people, encouraged by the bishop, refused to acknowledge fealty to the new king. Frederick was now in the district of Cleve, in the near vicinity of Herstal. He sent the following very decisive summons to the Prince Bishop of Liege, dated Wesel, September 4, 1740:

My dear General,While in Silesia I mentioned to you, and will now repeat in writing, that my army in Silesia was at no time so bad as at present. Were I to make shoemakers or tailors into generals, the regiments could not be worse. Regiment Thadden is not fit to be the most insignificant militia battalion of a Prussian army. Of the regiment Erlach, the men are so spoiled by smuggling they have no resemblance to soldiers; Keller is like a heap of undrilled boors; Hager has a miserable commander; and your own regiment is very mediocre. Only with Graf Von Anhalt, with Wendessen, and Markgraf Heinrich could I be content. See you, that is the state I found the regiments in, one after one. I will now speak of their man?uvring. Early in the morning Fredericks whole army was on the rapid march for Breslau, which was scarcely twenty miles distant from the battle-field. The Austrians had collected immense military stores in the city. Prince Charles, as he fled through the place with the wreck of his army, left a garrison of seventeen thousand men for its defense. In a siege of twelve days, during which there was an incessant bombardment and continual assaults, the city was carried. A few days after this, Liegnitz, which the Austrians had strongly fortified, was also surrendered to the victor. Frederick had thus reconquered the whole of Silesia excepting the single fortress of Schweidnitz.

The probable object of the Austrian court in revealing the secret treaty of Schnellendorf was to set Frederick and France at variance. Frederick, much exasperated, not only denied the treaty, but professed increased devotion to the interests of Louis XV. The allies, consisting of France, Prussia, Bavaria, and Saxony, now combined to wrest Moravia from Maria Theresa, and annex it to Saxony. This province, governed by a marquis, was a third larger than the State of Massachusetts, and contained a population of about a million and a half. Moravia bounded Silesia on the south. Frederick made a special treaty with the King of Saxony, that the southern boundary of Silesia should be a full German mile, which was between four and five English miles, beyond the line of the River Neisse. With Fredericks usual promptitude, he insisted that commissioners should be immediately sent to put down the boundary stones. France was surprised that the King of Saxony should have consented to the surrender of so important a strip of his territory.

On the 15th of September, two days before Frederick had written the despairing letter we have just given, Wilhelmina wrote again to him, in response to previous letters, and to his poetic epistle.

Berlin was almost defenseless. All Saxony was rising in arms behind Frederick. The invader of Silesia was in danger of having his own realms invaded and his own capital sacked. Frederick was thoroughly roused. But he never allowed himself to appear agitated or anxious. He ordered Leopold, the Old Dessauer, to march immediately, with all the troops he could rally, to the frontiers of Saxony. He even found it necessary to detach to the aid of Leopold some corps from his own enfeebled forces, now menaced by an Austrian army twice as large as he could oppose to them.

His garrison consisted of about fourteen thousand infantry and six hundred dragoons. General Daun was at the distance of but two marches, with a larger Austrian force than Frederick commanded. Nothing can more clearly show the dread with which the Austrians regarded their antagonist than the fact that General Daun did not march immediately upon Olmütz, and,451 with the aid of a sally from the garrison, overwhelm and crush Frederick beneath their united assaults.

All Europe, England alone excepted, was aroused against him. Armies were every where being marshaled. The press of all continental Europe was filled with denunciations of his crimes and encroachments. Not all his efforts to assume a careless air411 could efface from his countenance the impression left there by the struggles of his soul. His features, as seen in a portrait painted about this time, are expressive of the character of an anxious and unhappy man.

One evening, being too unwell to read his usual devotions, he called upon his valet de chambre to read prayers. In the prayer occurred the words, May God bless thee. The servant, not deeming it respectful to use thee in reference to the king, took the liberty to change the phrase, and read it, May God bless you. The king, exasperated, hurled something at the head of the speaker, exclaiming, It is not so; read it again. The terrified servant, not conceiving in what he had done wrong, read again, May God bless you. The irascible monarch, having nothing else he could grasp, took off his night-cap and threw it into the mans face, exclaiming, It is not so; read it over again. The servant, frightened almost out of his senses, read for the third time, May God bless you. Thee, rogue, shouted the king. May God bless thee. Dost thou not know, rascal, that, in the eyes of God, I am only a miserable rascal like thyself?

Ah! here you are. I am glad to see you. Then, taking a light, he carefully examined her from head to foot. After a moments silence, he added, How changed you are! I am sorry for you, on my word. You have not bread to eat, and but for me you might go a-begging. I am a poor man myself; not able to give you much; will do what I can. I will give you now and then twenty or thirty shillings, as my affairs permit. It will always be something to assuage your want. And you, madam, turning to the queen, will sometimes give her an old dress, for the poor child hasnt a shift to her back.

These were his last words. He fainted, and, after a few gasps, died. It was about two oclock in the afternoon of Tuesday, the 31st of May, 1740. Thus the soul of Frederick William passed to the spirit land, in the fifty-first year of its sojourn here on earth.