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On the Death of Frederic the Great, King of Pruffia.

tive of good or evil, according as it purfues grand defigns by juftifiable means, or rushes impetuously to fome fplendid object over all that ought to reftrain the paffions of a moral agent, connected in fociety with his fellowmen, and refponfible for his conduct to God. The fecret fprings of human conduct, and efpecially the fprings that give birth to the defigns of princes, cannot always be certainly difcerned: but for the general fcope and tendency of the King of Pruffia's actions, the tenor and main object of his life, a motive may be affigned not unworthy of the greatness of his atchievements; an ardent defire to preserve the independency of his paternal dominions, and the liberties of Germany and of Europe. And, in the pursuit of this great object, he may be jufti fied, at least on the moral principles of kings, for ftrengthening the dominion of Brandenburg by the conqueft of Silefia, Eaft Friezland, and the Western Pruffia; to all of which territories he poffeffed plaufible and ancient pretenfions. If this fhould be allowed, his good for tune was equal to the splendour of his abilities, fince a juft and enlarged policy, which embraced the interefts of all his neighbours, dictated the fame courfe of conduct, which he might have otherwife have pursued from motives of private rapacity and

ambition.

In 1740 two important events happened in the hiftory of Europe: the death of the Emperor Chia. VI, and the acceffion of Frederic III. to the thrones of Pruffia and Brandenburg. The former of these threat ened the fubverfion of the political balance, and the latter contributed to restore and preferve it. By the guaranty of the pragmatic fanction, the fucceffion of all the Auftrian monarchy was fecured to the daughter of the Emperor; but on the death of that monarch, the league VOL. IV. N° 22.

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he had formed for the fecurity of the Auftrian fucceffion was attacked on all fides. The whole of the Auftrian dominions were claimed by the Duke of Bavaria, fupported by France and Spain. France and Spain. At this juncture all the crowns of Maria Therefa feemed to totter on her head. The French poured their armies into Bohemia, and reduced the capi tal, of which and of the whole kingdom they prepared to keep firm poffeffion. The dominions of Autria were about to be partitioned between the Houfe of Bourbon and the Elector of Bavaria. In this fi tuation of affairs the King of Prufs fia had an option of three things: either to remain neutral, or to fup, port the Queen of Hungary, or to take advantage of the circumftances of the times for the purpose of enlarging and ftrengthening his own government. The first could not appear eligible to a Prince, young, ambitious, and at the head of a powerful army and rich treafury; nor would neutrality have been political wifdom; for it would have implied an acquiefcence on the part of the most powerful of the electors in encroachments on the liberties of Germany, and in the end, have drawn attacks and depradations against himself. The fecond would indeed have well become a gallant and generous prince; and it would have been adopted by fuch a king as Henry IV. of France, or Charles XII. of Sweden. But to the King of Pruffia the Auftrian dominions feemed formidable to his country in whatever hands the fate of war might chance to place them; an opportunity was prefented of e stablishing, by the reduction of the Auftrian greatnefs, a barrier for protecting the liberties of Germany; and amidit the fluctuations of coun cils, and the viciffitudes of arms, fome juncture would undoubtedly arife, as in fact it did, when the age L1 grane

grandizement of the Houfe of Brandenburg might be reconciled with the expulfion of the French from Bohemia, and the restoration of the Queen of Hungary to her hereditary dominions of the Imperial family, Silefia only excepted; the difmemberment of which from the Auftrian territories might justly be confidered by every member of the Germanic body as a very falutary amputation.

Whatever may be thought of the motives which impelled the great Frederic, on his acceffion to the dominions of his ancestors, to arms, it is univerfally allowed, that this phiJofopher and hero has carried the art of war to higher perfection than it had ever before attained. The power of difcipline and habit over those accidents which furprize the hearts of men, he calculated almoft with a mathematical exactnefs: his ftratagems of war were various and profound he discovered equal boldnefs in encountering, and addrefs in escaping from danger: under the fevereft misfortunes he poffeffed the most perfect collectedness and selfcommand; and, what is perhaps greatest of all, he had the magnanimity to excufe his generals, his officers, and men, and to afcribe certain great difafters to his own precipitation. Superior force, or a combination of circumftances, which no degree of human forefight could controul, may render victory fome times doubtful, and at others impoffible; but in every fortune, to maintain the nobleft propriety and dignity of conduct, was a leffon the King of Pruffia found himself al ways able to practife. Nor did he appear with greater luftre when he walked triumphant, in ferene and meek majefty, along the lines of his victorious troops, after the battles of Leuthen and Rofbach, in which they had put to flight forces three times fuperior to themfelves in num.

ber, than when he confeffed his er ror at Hochkirchen, and retrieved his difaftrous affairs with fuch admirable prefence of mind; yielding to adverfe fortune, but not defpairing of better; tempering grief with hope, and confident that the fame inftability and fluctuation in human affairs which had involved him in difficulties and distress, if rightly improved, might lead to profperity and triumph. The greatness of his mind communicated itself by a powerful contagion to the breafts not only of princes and kings, but to the humbleft manufacturer and peafant in every Proteftant and free country. Pious men confidered him as an inftrument in the hands of an avenging God, and the great protector of religious as well as civil liberty. In England, the temple of freedom, a fympathy with fo heroic a fpirit was heightened and rendered more active by his confanguinity to the King his uncle, a prince open in council, and bold, like his illuArious nephew in the field of battle. The eloquence of Lord Chatham found a ripe field in the generous fentiments of the English nation; the British parliament interfered for the prefervation of liberty with that of the King of Pruffia. A perfect union and confidence fprang up be tween minds fo congenial as thofe of the Pruffian monarch and the Britifh minifter; and the laurels of Great Britain were intwined with thofe of Pruffia on the famous plains

of Minden.

But neither the victory at Minden, nor thofe fucceffes that preceded it, were able to fix the mutability of fortune, and to bring the war to a fortunate conclufion. Continued reinforcements from Ruffia, the reduction of Colberg by that people, that of Schweidnitz by the Auftrians, and other advantages gained by the enemy, involved the King of Pruffia in fresh difficulties, and

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On the Death of Frederic the Great, King of Pruffia.

and threatened him with utter ruin. Fortune changed, but virtue remained invincible. The billows of adverfity went over his head, but were not able to overwhelm and fink his foul. Then it was that he proved by deeds, on the arduous theatre of true glory, how fincere and determined he was, when, in a poem addreffed to Voltaire, he declared his refolution to be,

"In thought, in iife, in death, a king."

The talents and virtues of the great Frederic, to the eye of reflection, fhone forth with equal luftre in the arts of peace. By thefe he has contributed as largely to the ad.vancement of his power as by his military conquefts. When he afcended the throne in 1740, the whole population of his dominions did not exceed two millions and two hundred thousand perfons. This population was increafed by two millions by the conquered provinces, and nearly two millions more have been added by a wife and vigilant œconomy. The King of Pruffia poffeffed, as a royal domain, one-third part of all the eftates in his dominions. This gave him a mighty advantage in carrying into effect the nobleit schemes that ever filled and expanded the mind of a patriotking. His whole kingdom he confidered as one farm, which he cultivated with affiduous care. He appeared in the venerable character of a patriarch, concerned for the welfare of all his family. He established wife, equitable, and fimple, laws for their good government; and thus tranfmitted from the foot of an arbitrary throne, the fame refreshing ftreams of juftice which are wont to flow from the inftitutions of freedom. Security of property engendered induftry, which was farther ftimulated by the most liberal donations, to the amount of more than two millions of German crowns, annually expended in draining marthes,

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rebuilding cities, establishing manufactories, fettling colonies, relieving diftrefs, and in the other purposes of true philanthropy and extenfive policy. The treafures which his predeceffor on the Pruffian throne would have confined within the vaults of a fortified prifon, he brought forth aud fcattered over his kingdom with the liberal hand of a beneficent God, whofe fupreme delight is in the happiness of the creatures of his hand, the sheep of his pafture. The villages he built, the waftes he inclofed, the farms he beftowed, are the fair and fruitful characters in which we read the praifes of the father of his country!

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As an hedge around this fair trimony, he planted two hundred thoufand armed and difciplined men ; a fence which did not deprive of its due nourishment the field which it inclofed, but which returned in recompence, all its leaves, and flowers, and fruits, into the bofom of the faithful earth.

The Pruffian army may be viewed in the light of a national militia, conftituted in such a manner as to increafe, rather than to diminish, population of this force one half are the fons of peasants, labourers, and other perfons employed in agriculture; who, during the months of April and May, are exercised in military evolutions, and who afterwards return to their families and rural occupations. The other half of the army, which confits of foreign mercenaries, naturalized into Pruffians, by the power of difcipline, commonly refide with their regiments in the different towns, where they attend military duty two days in the week, and employ the rest of their time in different kinds of labour, which a general fpring of activity u niverfally offers to the haud of induftry in all parts of the Pruffian territories. In towns and garrisons marriage is not difcouraged among Lla the

the foldiers. Every regiment has a number of women and children belonging to it, not lefs than of men. The whole Pruffian army, which confifts of 200,000 foldiers, when their wives and children are added, amount to 400,000 fouls. An houfe is alfo eftablished at Potsdam for the maintenance of 5000 children of foldiers; a great part of whom, after they have attained the age of eight years, are fent into the country to be brought up among the peasants, who are allowed for their fubfiftence thirteen crowns a-year for each.

Concerning the Pruffian army, it is farther to be obferved, that inftead of being ftationed upon the frontiers, or only in a fingle province, it is fo judiciously distributed through every province, and in every city, that the money which the foldiers receive for their pay, and which amounts to two-thirds of the Tevenue of the fate, is returned into equal channels; by which means thofe who are to pay contributions, are enabled to bear them. As to national debt, it is a thing unknown in the dominions of Pruffia.

Thus it appears that the immortal Frederic, who had no diftant dominions or colonies to defend, fo happily blended political wisdom with military prudence and kill, that his great army was not a burden; but, on the contrary, at once a defence and follerer of the ftate. With regard to maritime and naval affair's, 1300 Pruffian veffels, on an average, pafs annually through the Sound, and the Pruffian flag ranks in the fifth clafs among thofe that are difplayed in the Baltic. This navigation is fupported by that indultry which the late King excited in all his dominions: the whole capifal of natural and artificial productions, or the produce of the labour of the Pruffian monarchy, amounts, as is computed, to forty millions of Crowns every year; the half of which

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is exported to foreign countries. The pains which the King bestowed, in order to establish trading companies to China and the East Indies, failed through the misconduct, it is faid, of thofe who had engaged to carry his Majesty's fchemes of commerce into execution. His hopes neither appear to have been extravagant or ill founded. The port of Embden may certainly be made one of the best in Europe. It is fituated in the middle of the continent, between the Baltic, German, and Atlantic, feas; and fuch is the prerogative of local fituation, that in the lapfe of time, it may one day become a general emporium, between the nations of the north and the fouth; for which purpofe the Pruffian monarchy, as is evident from a fingle glance of the map, by means of the great rivers it contains, is very advantageously fituated.

On the whole, it appears that the genius of the King of Pruffia has confpired with the fituation of his dominions, to raise up a new power, which has very materially influenced the balance of Europe. The Pruffian monarchy, fituated between the three great continental powers, Ruffia, Auftria, and France, becomes the natural fpot where liberty erects her ftandard, and to which all states and princes, who wish to preferve their independence, will inevitably refort. If the King of Pruffia vio lated any law, in the establishment of his empire, justice and freedom, are, however, deeply interefted in its fupport and prefervation. The three great powers just mentioned, have on fundry occalions fhown, and Atik ftill fhow, a difpofition, by gradual collufion and encroachment, to divide among themselves the continent, and the iflands, which always follow the fate of the adjacent continents of Europe. What European flate then, France, Ruffia, and Auftria alone excepted, is uninterefted in the fortune

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of

Memoirs of the Life of General Eliott.

269

what fingle mafter the world muft obey? Univerfal monarchy being eftablifhed, all that exercifes the nobleft paffions of man would be no more. Ambition in the despot himfelf would become extinct; or if it remained, he would weep with Alexander, the want of a prince to emulate and of a kingdom to con quer. Where would be the fplendour and dignity of empire? For it is not with their fubjects that prinees vie in grandeur; and grandeur is not real, but relative.

IGNOTUS,

of the Ruffian monarchy? Nay, thefe powers too, if their views extend to the distance of even a few centuries, must, inftead of dividing, main tain the unity of this new empire. This being deftroyed, and the other ftates of Germany and the north, with Turkey in Europe and all Italy, fwallowed up and loft in three great monarchies, these rival powers would quarrel among themselves: one of them would be torn to pieces, and occupied by the remaining two; and the day would at laft inevitably come, when one battle between these two would decide the question,

Memoirs of the Life and Military Services of Lieutenant General ELIOTT.

SIRG

of his lord to the fovereignty of the earth which he had embraced. On the event of conqueft, William added to the arms of Alliot, which was a batten or, on a field azure, the arm and fword as a creft, with the motto, Per faxa, per ignes, fortiter et recte.

IR GEORGE-AUGUSTUS ELIOTT, the brave and gallant defender of Gibraltar, is the fon of the late Sir Gilbert Eliott, Baronet, of Stobs, in Roxburghshire. The ancient and honourable family of Eliott of Stobs, as well as the collateral branch of Eliott of Minto in the fame county, and of Elliot of PortElliot in Cornwall, are originally from Normandy. Their ancestor, Mr Alliot, came over with Wil liam the Conqueror, and held a diftinguished rank in his army. There is a traditional anecdote in the family, relating to an honourable diflinction in their coat of arms, which, as it correfponds with history t, bears the appearance of truth. When the Conqueror fet foot on the English land, he ftumbled and fell on the earth. He immediately fprung up and exclaim ed, that it was a happy omen, he had embraced the country of which he was to become the fovereign. Upon this Alliot drew his fword, and fwore by the honour of a foldier, that he would maintain, at the hazard of his blood, the right

Sir Gilbert Eliott of Stobs had nine fons and two daughters. The prefent General was the youngest fon, and he is now the only furviving one. His eldest brother, Sir John, left the title and eftate to his fon the prefent Sir Francis Eliott, who is nephew to the General.

George Auguftus Elliot was born about the year 1718, and received the rudiments of his education under a private tutor retained in the family. At an early age he was fent to the university of Leyden, where he made a rapid progrefs in claffical learning, and fpoke with elegance and fluency the German and French languages. Being defigned for a military life, he was fent from thence to the celebrated Ecole Royale du genie Militaire, at La Fere in Picardy. This fchool was the

Hume's Hiftory of England.

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