Readings in Modern European History: A Collection of Extracts from the Sources Chosen With the Purpose of Illustrating Some of the Chief Phases of the Development of Europe During the Last Two Hundred Years, Volume 1: The Eighteenth Century: The French Re

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Author: Frederick II

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SCHILLING, Quellenbuch zur Geschichte der Neuzeit (2d ed., Berlin, 1890), pp. 241 sq. World History

WUSTERHAUSEN, September 11, 1728

32.

A Youthful Letter of Frederick the Great to His Father

I have not ventured for a long time to present myself before my dear papa, partly because I was advised against it, but chiefly because I anticipated an even worse reception than usual and feared to vex my dear papa still further by the favor I have now to ask; so I have preferred to put it in writing.

I beg my dear papa that he will be kindly disposed toward me. I do assure him that after long examination of my conscience I do not find the slightest thing with which to reproach myself; but if, against my wish and will, I have vexed my dear papa, I hereby beg most humbly for forgiveness, and hope that my dear papa will give over the fearful hate which has appeared so plainly in his whole behavior and to which I cannot accustom myself. I have always thought hitherto that I had a kind father, but now I see the contrary. However, I will take courage and hope that my dear papa will think this all over and take me again into his favor. Meantime I assure him that I will never, my life long, willingly fail him, and in spite of his disfavor I am still, with most dutiful and childlike respect, my dear papa’s

Most obedient and faithful servant and son,

FREDERICK

Frederick William replied:

Frederick William’s reply

A bad, obstinate boy, who does not love his father; for when one does one’s best, and especially when one loves one’s father, one does what he wishes not only when he is standing by but when he is not there to see. Moreover you know very well that I cannot stand an effeminate fellow who has no manly tastes, who cannot ride or shoot (to his shame be it said!), is untidy about his person, and wears his hair curled like a fool’s instead of cutting it; and that I have condemned all these things a thousand times, and yet there is no sign of improvement. For the rest, haughty, offish as a country lout, conversing with none but a favored few instead of being affable and popular, grimacing like a fool, and never following my wishes out of love for me but only when forced into it, caring for nothing but to have his own way, and thinking nothing else is of any importance. This is my answer.

FREDERICK WILLIAM

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Chicago: Frederick, "A Youthful Letter of Frederick the Great to His Father," Readings in Modern European History: A Collection of Extracts from the Sources Chosen With the Purpose of Illustrating Some of the Chief Phases of the Development of Europe During the Last Two Hundred Years, Volume 1: The Eighteenth Century: The French Re in Readings in Modern European History: A Collection of Extracts from the Sources Chosen With the Purpose of Illustrating Some of the Chief Phases of the Development of Europe During the Last Two Hundred Years, Volume 1: The Eighteenth Century: The French Re, ed. James Harvey Robinson (1863-1936) and Charles A. Beard (Boston: Ginn and Company, 1908), 66–67. Original Sources, accessed October 4, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4VMGZY3HG9P81JX.

MLA: Frederick. "A Youthful Letter of Frederick the Great to His Father." Readings in Modern European History: A Collection of Extracts from the Sources Chosen With the Purpose of Illustrating Some of the Chief Phases of the Development of Europe During the Last Two Hundred Years, Volume 1: The Eighteenth Century: The French Re, in Readings in Modern European History: A Collection of Extracts from the Sources Chosen With the Purpose of Illustrating Some of the Chief Phases of the Development of Europe During the Last Two Hundred Years, Volume 1: The Eighteenth Century: The French Re, edited by James Harvey Robinson (1863-1936) and Charles A. Beard, Boston, Ginn and Company, 1908, pp. 66–67. Original Sources. 4 Oct. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4VMGZY3HG9P81JX.

Harvard: Frederick, 'A Youthful Letter of Frederick the Great to His Father' in Readings in Modern European History: A Collection of Extracts from the Sources Chosen With the Purpose of Illustrating Some of the Chief Phases of the Development of Europe During the Last Two Hundred Years, Volume 1: The Eighteenth Century: The French Re. cited in 1908, Readings in Modern European History: A Collection of Extracts from the Sources Chosen With the Purpose of Illustrating Some of the Chief Phases of the Development of Europe During the Last Two Hundred Years, Volume 1: The Eighteenth Century: The French Re, ed. , Ginn and Company, Boston, pp.66–67. Original Sources, retrieved 4 October 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4VMGZY3HG9P81JX.