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    What! cried the queen, have you had the barbarity to kill him?No, the empress replied; I could sleep, but I must not. Death is too near. He must not steal upon me. These fifteen years I have been making ready for him; I will meet him awake. Ann Amelia.7281 The object of Colonel Hothams mission was well known. The cordial reception he had met from the king indicated that his message was not an unwelcome one to his Prussian majesty. In the indecent hilarity of the hour, it was assumed that the marriage contract between Wilhelmina and the Prince of Wales was settled. Brains addled with wine gave birth to stupid jokes upon the subject. A German ducat was to be exchanged for an English half guinea. At last, in the semi-delirium of their intoxication, one proposed as a toast, To the health of Wilhelmina, Princess of Wales. The sentiment was received with uproarious jollity. Though all the company were in the same state of silly inebriation, neither the king nor the British ministers, Hotham and Dubourgay, for a moment lost sight of their settled policy. The king remained firm in his silent resolve to consent only to the marriage of Wilhelmina and the Prince of Wales. Hotham and Dubourgay could not swerve from the positive instructions which they had received, to insist upon both marriages or neither. Thus, notwithstanding this bacchanal jollification, neither party was disposed to swerve a hairs breadth from its fixed resolve, and the question was no nearer a settlement than before.
    Slider 1 The Emperor Charles VI. left no son. He therefore promulgated a new law of succession in a decree known throughout213 Europe as the Pragmatic Sanction. By the custom of the realm the sceptre could descend only to male heirs. But by this decree the king declared that the crown of the house of Hapsburg should be transmitted to his daughter, Maria Theresa. This law had been ratified by the estates of all the kingdoms and principalities which composed the Austrian monarchy. All the leading powers of EuropeEngland, France, Spain, Prussia, Russia, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, and the Germanic bodyhad bound themselves by treaty to maintain the Pragmatic Sanction. It was a peaceable and wise arrangement, acceptable to the people of Austria and to the dynasties of Europe as a means of averting a war of succession, which might involve all the nations of the Continent in the conflict.
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    Slider 3 The selfish rapacity of the King of Prussia gave the signal to his neighbors. His example quieted their sense of shame. The whole world sprang to arms. On the head of Frederick is all the blood which was shed in a war which raged during many years, and in every quarter of the globethe blood of the column of Fontenoy, the blood of the brave mountaineers who were slaughtered at Culloden. The evils produced by this wickedness were felt in lands where the name of Prussia was unknown. In order that he might rob a neighbor whom he had promised to defend, black men fought on the coast of Coromandel, and red men scalped each other by the great lakes of North America.

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    During this time, in May, the king wrote a very bitter and satirical ode against Louis XV.the plaything of the Pompadour, polluted with his amours, and disgracefully surrendering the government of his realms to chance. The ode he sent to Voltaire. The unprincipled poet, apprehending that the ode might come to light, and that he might be implicated, treacherously sent it to the prime minister, the Duke De Choiseul, to be shown to the king. At the same time, he wrote to Frederick that he had burned the ode. In the account which Voltaire himself gives of this disgraceful transaction, he writes:

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    Frederick exclaimed, in astonishment, What an infernal fire! Did you ever hear such a cannonade before? I never did.

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    On Sunday morning, January 15th, the deadly, concentric fire of shot and shell was opened upon the crowded city, where women and children, torn by wars merciless missiles, ran to and fro frantic with terror. The dreadful storm continued to rage, with but few intermissions, until Wednesday. Still there were no signs of surrender. The king, though his head-quarters were a few miles distant, at Ottmachau, was almost constantly on the ground superintending every thing. As he felt sure of the entire conquest of Silesia, the whole province being now in his possession except three small towns, he looked anxiously upon the destruction which his own balls and bombs were effecting. He was destroying his own property.

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    Wilhelmina.

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    The king having breathed his last, Frederick, in tears, retired to a private room, there to reflect upon the sad receding past, and upon the opening future, with the vast responsibilities thus suddenly thrown upon him. He was now King of Prussia; and not only absolute master of himself, but absolute monarch over a realm containing two millions two hundred and forty thousand souls. He was restrained by no Parliament, no Constitution, no customs or laws superior to his own resolves. He could take advice of others, and call energetic men to his aid, but his will alone was sovereign.

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    It was supposed that his Prussian majesty would now march southwest for the invasion of Bohemia. Austria made vigorous preparations to meet him there. Much to the surprise and bewilderment449 of the Austrians, the latter part of April Frederick directed his columns toward the southeast. His army, about forty thousand strong, was in two divisions. By a rapid march through Neisse and Jagerndorf he reached Troppau, on the extreme southern frontier of Silesia. He then turned to the southwest. It was again supposed that he intended to invade Bohemia, but from the east instead of from the north.

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    In the following terms, Frederick, the moment the battle was over, announced his victory, not to his wife, but to his friend Jordan:

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    And then, grumbling and blaming, would alter the camp till it was all out of rule, and then say,

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    I will obey your commands as to sending those unpublished pieces. Your criticism will be my reward. It is a price few sovereigns can pay. I am sure of your secrecy. Your virtue and your intellect must be in proportion. I should indeed consider it a precious happiness to come and pay my court to your royal highness. One travels to Rome to see paintings and ruins. A prince such as you is a much more singular object, worthier of a long journey.

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    The loss of Silesia she regarded as an act of pure highway robbery. It rankled in her noble heart as the great humiliation and disgrace of her reign. Frederick was to her but as a hated and successful bandit, who had wrenched from her crown one of318 its brightest jewels. To the last day of her life she never ceased to deplore the loss. It is said that if any stranger, obtaining an audience, was announced as from Silesia, the eyes of the queen would instantly flood with tears. But the fortunes of war had now triumphantly turned in her favor. Aided by the armies and the gold of England, she was on the high career of conquest. Her troops had overrun Bohemia and Bavaria. She was disposed to hold those territories in compensation for Silesia, which she had lost.

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    160 After this interview the Crown Prince hurried away on his route to Philipsburg. He reached Nürnberg that night, where he wrote the following brief but affectionate letter to his sister:

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