In Guben Country, "at Gross-Muckro, October 15th," the day after passing Guben, Friedrich first heard for certain, That the Russians had been in Berlin, and also that they were gone, and that all was over. He made two marches farther,--not now direct for Berlin, but direct for Saxony AND it;--to Lubben, 50 or 60 miles straight south of Berlin; and halted there some days, to adjust himself for a new sequel. "These are the things," exclaims he, sorrowfully, to D'Argens, "which I have been in dread of since Winter last; this is what gave the dismal tone to my Letters to you. It has required not less than all my philosophy to endure the reverses, the provocations, the outrages, and the whole scene of atrocious things that have come to pass." [
Friedrich's orderings and adjustings, dated Lubben, where his Army rested after this news from Berlin, were manifold; and a good deal still of wrecks from the Berlin Business fell to his share. For instance, one thing he had at once ordered: "Your Bill of a Million-and-half to the Russians, don't pay it, or any part of it! When Bamberg was ransomed, Spring gone a year,--Reich and Kaiser, did they respect our Bill we had on Bamberg? Did not they cancel it, and flatly refuse?" Friedrich is positive on the point, "Reprisal our clear remedy!" But Berlin itself was in alarm, for perhaps another Russian visit; Berlin and Gotzkowsky were humbly positive the other way. Upon which a visit of Gotskowsky to the Royal Camp: "Merchants' Bills are a sacred thing, your Majesty!" urged Gotzkowsky. Who, in his zeal for the matter, undertook dangerous visits to the Russian Quarters, and a great deal of trouble, peril and expense, during the weeks following. Magnanimous Gotzkowsky, "in mere bribes to the Russian Officials, spent about 6,000 pounds of his own," for one item. But he had at length convinced his Majesty that Merchants' Bills were a sacred thing, in spite of Bamberg and desecrative individualities; and that this Million-and-half must be paid. Friedrich was struck with Gotzkowsky and his view of the facts. Friedrich, from his own distressed funds, handed to Gotzkowsky the necessary Million-and- half, commanding only profound silence about it; and to Gotzkowsky himself a present of 150,000 thalers (20,000 pounds odd); [Archenholtz, ii. 146.] and so the matter did at last end.
It had been a costly business to Berlin, and to the King, and to the poor harried Country. To Berlin, bombardment of ten hours; alarm of discursive siege-work in the environs for five days; foreign yoke for three days; lost money to the amounts above stated; what loss in wounds to body or to peace of mind, or whether any loss that way, nobody has counted. The Berlin people rose to a more than Roman height of temper, testifies D'Argens; [
Of all this Montalembert declares, "Before God, that he, Montalembert, is and was the mainspring." And indeed, Tempelhof, without censure of Montalembert and his vocation, but accurately computing time and circumstance, comes to the same conclusion;--as thus: "OCTOBER 8th, seeing no Lacy come, Czernichef, had it not been for Montalembert's eloquence, had fixed for returning to Copenik: whom cautious Lacy would have been obliged to imitate. Suppose Czernichef had, OCTOBER 9th, got to Copenik,--Eugen and Hulsen remain at Berlin; Czernichef could not have got back thither before the 11th; on the 11th was news of Friedrich's coming; which set all on gallop to the right about." [Tempelhof, iv. 277.] So that really, before God, it seems Montalembert must have the merit of this fine achievement:--the one fruit, so far as I can discover, of his really excellent reasonings, eloquences, patiences, sown broadcast, four or five long years, on such a field as fine human talent never had before. I declare to you, M. l'Ambassadeur, this excellent vulture-swoop on Berlin, and burning or reburning of the Peasantry of the Mark, is due solely to one poor zealous gentleman!--
What was next to follow out of THIS,--in Torgau neighborhood, where Daun now stands expectant,--poor M. de Montalembert was far from anticipating; and will be in no haste to claim the merit of before God or man.
After Hulsen's fine explosion on the Durrenberg, August 20th, on the incompetent Reichs Generals, there had followed nothing eminent; new futilities, attemptings and desistings, advancings and recoilings, on the part of the Reich; Hulsen solidly maintaining himself, in defence of his Torgau Magazine and Saxon interests in those regions, against such overwhelming odds, till relief and reinforcement for them and him should arrive; and gaining time, which was all he could aim at in such circumstances. Had the Torgau Magazine been bigger, perhaps Hulsen might have sat there to the end. But having solidly eaten out said Magazine, what could Hulsen do but again move rearward? [
The King is very unquestionably coming on; leaves Lubben thitherward October 20th. [Rodenbeck, ii. 35: in
"You, as a follower of Epicurus, put a value on life; as for me, I regard death from the Stoic point of view. Never shall I see the moment that forces me to make a disadvantageous Peace; no persuasion, no eloquence, shall ever induce me to sign my dishonor. Either I will bury myself under the ruins of my Country, or if that consolation appears too sweet to the Destiny that persecutes me, I shall know how to put an end to my misfortunes when it is impossible to bear them any longer. I have acted, and continue to act, according to that interior voice of conscience and of honor which directs all my steps: my conduct shall be, in every time, conformable to those principles. After having sacrificed my youth to my Father, my ripe years to my Country, I think I have acquired the right to dispose of my old age. I have told you, and I repeat it, Never shall my hand sign a humiliating Peace. Finish this Campaign I certainly will, resolved to dare all, and to try the most desperate things either to succeed or to find a glorious end (FIN GLORIEUSE)." [