History of Friedrich II of Prussia— Volume 6

Author: Thomas Carlyle

Chapter IX. Double-Marriage Shall Be or Shall Not Be.

For one thing, Friedrich Wilhelm, weary of all this English pother and futility, will end the Double-Marriage speculation; Wilhelmina shall be disposed of, and so an end. Friedrich Wilhelm, once the hunting was over at Wusterhausen, ran across, southward,—to "Lubnow," Wilhelmina calls it,—to Lubben in the Nether Lausitz, [25th October, 1729 (Fassmann, p. 404).] a short day’s drive; there to meet incognito the jovial Polish Majesty, on his route towards Dresden; to see a review or so; and have a little talk with the ever-cheerful Man of Sin. Grumkow and Seckendorf, of course these accompany; Majesty’s shadow is not surer.

Review was held at Lubben, Weissenfels Commander-in-chief taking charge; dinner also, a dinner or two, with much talk and drink;— and there it was settled, Wilhelmina has since known, that Weissenfels, Royal Highness in the Abstract, was to be her Husband, after all. Weissenfels will do; either Weissenfels or else the Margraf of Schwedt, thinks Friedrich Wilhelm; somebody shall marry the baggage out of hand, and let us have done with that. Grumkow, as we know, was very anxious for it; calculating thereby to out the ground from under the Old Dessauer, and make this Weissenfels Generalissimo of Prussia; a patriotic thought. Polish Majesty lent hand, always willing to oblige.

Friedrich Wilhelm, on his return homewards, went round by Dahme for a night:—not "Dam," O Princess, there is no such town or schloss! Round by Dahme, a little town and patch of territory, in the Saxon Countries, which was Weissenfels’s Apanage;—"where plenty of Tokay" cheered the royal heart; and, in such mood, it seemed as if one’s Daughter might do very well in this extremely limited position. And Weissenfels, though with dark misgivings as to Queen Sophie, was but too happy to consent: the foolish creature; a little given to liquor too! Friedrich Wilhelm, with this fine project in his head, drove home to Potsdam;—and there laid about him, on the poor Crown-Prince, in the way we have seen; terrifying Queen and Princess, who are at Berlin till Christmas and the Carnival be over. Friedrich Wilhelm means to see the Polish Majesty again before long,—probably so soon as this of Weissenfels is fairly got through the Female Parliament, where it is like there will be difficulties.

Christmas came to Berlin, and the King with it; who did the gayeties for a week or two, and spoke nothing about business to his Female Parliament. Dubourgay saw him, at Parade, on New-Year’s morning; whither all manner of Foreign Dignitaries had come to pay their respects: "Well," cried the King to Dubourgay, "we shall have a War, then,"—universa1 deadly tug at those Italian Apanages, for and against an insulted Kaiser,—"War; and then all that is crooked will be pulled straight!" So spake Friedrich Wilhelm on the New-Year’s morning; War in Italy, universal spasm of wrestle there, being now the expectation of foolish mankind: Crooked will be pulled straight, thinks Friedrich Wilhelm; and perhaps certain high Majesties, deaf to the voice of Should-not, will understand that of Can-not, Excellenz!— Crooked will become straight? "Indeed if so, your Majesty, the sooner the better!" I ventured to answer. [Dubourgay, 8th January, 1730.]

New Year’s day is not well in, and the ceremonial wishes over, when Friedrich Wilhelm, his mind full of serious domestic and foreign matter, withdraws to Potsdam again; and therefrom begins fulminating in a terrible manner on his womankind at Berlin, what we called his Female Parliament,—too much given to opposition courses at present. Intends to have his measures passed there, in defiance of opposition; straightway; and an end put to this inexpressible Double-Marriage higgle-haggle. Speed to him! we will say.—Three high Crises occur, three or even four, which can now without much detail be made intelligible to the patient reader: on the back of which we look for some catastrophe and finis to the Business;—any catastrophe that will prove a finis, how welcome will it be!


Still early in January, a few days after his Majesty’s return to Potsdam, three high Official gentlemen, Count Fink van Finkenstein, old Tutor to the Prince, Grumkow and General Borck announce themselves one morning; "Have a pressing message from the King to her Majesty." [Wilhelmina, i. 180.] Queen is astonished; expecting anything sooner.—"This regards me, I have a dreading!" shuddered Wilhelmina to Mamma. "No matter," said the Queen, shrugging her shoulders; "one must have firmness; and that is not what I shall want;"—and her Majesty went into the Audience-chamber, leaving Wilhelmina in such tremors.

Finkenstein, a friendly man, as Borck too is, explains to her Majesty, "That they three have received each a Letter overnight,— Letter from the King, enjoining in the FIRST place ’silence under pain of death;’ in the SECOND place, apprising them that he, the King, will no longer endure her Majesty’s disobedience in regard to the marriage of his Daughter, but will banish Daughter and Mother ’to Oranienburg,’ quasi-divorce, and outer darkness, unless there be compliance with his sovereign will; THIRDLY, that they are accordingly to go, all three, to her Majesty, to deliver the enclosed Royal Autograph [which Finkenstein presents], testifying what said sovereign will is, and on the above terms expect her Majesty’s reply;"—as they have now sorrowfully done, Finkenstein and Borck with real sorrow; Grumkow with the reverse of real.

Sovereign will is to the effect: "Write to England one other time, Will you at once marry, or not at once; Yea or No? Answer can be here within a fortnight; three weeks, even in case of bad winds. If the answer be not Yea at once; then you, Madam, you at once choose Weissenfels or Schwedt, one or the other,—under what penalties you know; Oranienburg and worse!"

Here is a crisis. But her Majesty did not want firmness. "Write to England? Yes, willingly. But as to Weissenfels and Schwedt, whatever answer come from England,—Impossible!" steadily answers her Majesty. There was much discourse, suasive, argumentative; Grumkow "quoting Scripture on her Majesty, as the Devil can on occasion," says Wilhelmina. Express Scriptures, <italic> Wives, be obedient to your husbands, <end italic> and the like texts: but her Majesty, on the Scripture side too, gave him as good as he brought. "Did not Bethuel the son of Milcah, [Genesis xxiv. 14-58.] when Abraham’s servant asked his daughter in marriage for young Isaac, answer, <italic> We will call the damsel and inquire of her mouth. And they called Rebecca, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go." <end italic> Scripture for Scripture, Herr von Grumkow! "Wives must obey their husbands; surely yes. But the husbands are to command things just and reasonable. The King’s procedure is not accordant with that law. He is for doing violence to my Daughter’s inclination, and rendering her unhappy for the rest of her days;—will give her a brutal debauchee," fat Weissenfels, so describable in strong language; "a younger brother, who is nothing but the King of Poland’s Officer; landless, and without means to live according to his rank. Or can it be the State that will profit from such a marriage? If they have a Household, the King will have to support it.—Write to England; Yes; but whatever the answer of England, Weissenfels never! A thousand times sooner see my child in her grave than hopelessly miserable!" Here a qualm overtook her Majesty; for in fact she is in an interesting state, third month of her time: "I am not well; You should spare me, Gentlemen, in the state I am in.—I do not accuse the King," concluded she: "I know," hurling a glance at Grumkow, "to whom I owe all this;"— and withdrew to her interior privacies; reading there with Wilhelmina "the King’s cruel Letter," and weeping largely, though firm to the death. [Wilhelmina, i. 179-182. Dubourgay has nothing,—probably had heard nothing, there being "silence under pain of death" for the moment.]

What to do in such a crisis? Assemble the Female Parliament, for one thing: good Madam Finkenstein (old Tutor’s wife), good Mamsell Bulow, Mamsell Sonsfeld (Wilhelmina’s Governess), and other faithful women:—well if we can keep away traitresses, female spies that are prowling about; especially one "Ramen," a Queen’s soubrette, who gets trusted with everything, and betrays everything; upon whom Wilhelmina is often eloquent. Never was such a traitress; took Dubourgay’s bribe, which the Queen had advised; and, all the same, betrays everything,—bribe included. And the Queen, so bewitched, can keep nothing from her. Female Parliament must, take precautions about the Ramen!—For the rest, Female Parliament advises two things: 1. Pressing Letter to England; that of course, written with the eloquence of despair: and then 2. That in ease of utter extremity, her Majesty "pretend to fall ill." That is Crisis First; and that is their expedient upon it.

Letter goes to England, therefore; setting forth the extremity of strait, and pinch: "Now or never, O my Sister Caroline!" Many such have gone, first and last; but this is the strongest of all. Nay the Crown-Prince too shall write to his Aunt of England: you, Wilhelmina, draw out, a fit brief Letter for him: send it to Potsdam, he will copy it there! [Wilhelmina, i. 183.] So orders the Mother: Wilhelmina does it, with a terrified heart; Crown-Prince copies without scruple: "I have already given your Majesty my word of honor never to wed any one but the Princess Amelia your Daughter; I here reiterate that Promise, in case your Majesty will consent to my Sister’s Marriage,"—should that alone prove possible in the present intricacies. "We are all reduced to such a state that"—Wilhelmina gives the Letter in full; but as it is professedly of her own composition, a loose vague piece, the very date of which you have to grope out for yourself, it cannot even count among the several Letters written by the Crown-Prince, both before and after it, to the same effect, which are now probably all of them lost, [TRACE of one, Copy of ANSWER from Queen Caroline to what seems to have been one, Answer rather of dissuasive tenor, is in State-Paper Office: <italic> Prussian Despatches, <end italic> vol. xl,—dateless; probably some months later in 1780.] without regret to anybody; and we will not reckon it worth transcribing farther. Such Missive, such two Missives (not now found in any archive) speed to England by express; may the winds be favorable. Her Majesty waits anxious at Berlin; ready to take refuge in a bed of sickness, should bad come to worse.


In England, in the mean while, they have received a curious little piece of secret information. One Reichenbach, Prussian Envoy at London—Dubourgay has long marvelled at the man and at the news he sends to Berlin. Here, of date 17th January, 1730, is a Letter on that subject from Dubourgay, official but private as yet, for "George Tilson, Esq.:"—Tilson is Under-Secretary in the Foreign Office, whose name often turns up on such occasions in the DUBOURGAY, the ROBINSON and other extinct Paper-heaps of that time. Dubourgay dates doubly, by old and new style; in general we print by the new only, unless the contrary be specified.


"BERLIN, 6th Jan. 1729 (by new style, 17th Jan. 1730).

"SIR,—I believe you may remember that we have for a long time suspected that most of Reichenbach’s Despatches were dictated by some people here. About two days ago a Paper fell into my hands," realized quietly for a consideration, "containing an Account of money charged to the ’Brothers Jourdan and Lautiers,’ Merchants here, by their Correspondent in London, for sending Letters from," properly in, or through, "your City to Reichenbach.

"Jourdan and Lautiers’s London Correspondents are Mr. Thomas Greenhill in Little Bell Alley and Mr. John Motteux in St. Mary Axe. Mr. Guerin my Agent knows them very well; having paid them several little bills on my account:"—Better ask Mr. Guerin. "I know not through the hands of which of those Merchants the above-mentioned Letters have passed; but you have ways enough to find it out, if you think it worth while. I make no manner of doubt but Grumkow and his party make use of this conveyance to (SIC) their instructions to Reichenbach. In the Account which I have seen, ’eighteen-pence’ is charged for carrying each Letter to Reichenbach: the charge in general is for ’Thirty-two Letters;’ and refers to a former Account." So that they must have been long at it.

"I am, with the greatest truth,


Here is a trail which Tilson will have no difficulty in running down. I forget whether it was in Bell Alley or St. Mary Axe that the nest was found; but found it soon was, and the due springes were set; and game came steadily dropping in,—Letters to and Letters from,—which, when once his Britannic Majesty had, with reluctance, given warrant to open and decipher them, threw light on Prussian Affairs, and yielded fine sport and speculation in the Britannic Majesty’s Apartment on an evening.

This is no other than the celebrated "Cipher Correspondence between Grumkow and Reichenbach;" Grumkow covertly instructing his slave Reichenbach what the London news shall be: Reichenbach answering him, To hear is to obey! Correspondence much noised of in the modern Prussian Books; and which was, no doubt, very wonderful to Tilson and Company;—capable of being turned to uses, they thought. The reader shall see specimens by and by; and he will find it unimportant enough, and unspeakably stupid to him. It does show Grumkow as the extreme of subtle fowlers, and how the dirty-fingered Seckendorf and he cooked their birdlime: but to us that is not new, though at St. James’s it was. Perhaps uses may lie in it there? At all events, it is a pretty topic in Queen Caroline’s apartment on an evening; and the little Majesty and she, with various laughters and reflections, can discern, a little, How a poor King of Prussia is befooled by his servants, and in what way a fierce Bear is led about by the nose, and dances to Grumkow’s piping. Poor soul, much of his late raging and growling, perhaps it was only Grumkow’s and not his! Does not hate us, he, perhaps; but only Grumkow through him? This doleful enchantment, and that the Royal Wild Bear dances only to tunes, ought to be held in mind, when we want anything with him.— Those, amid the teheeings, are reflections that cannot escape Queen Caroline and her little George, while the Prussian Express, unknown to them, is on the road.


The Prussian Express, Queen Sophie’s Courier to England, made his best speed: but he depends on the winds for even arriving there; and then he depends on the chances for an answer there; an uncertain Courier as to time: and it was not in the power of speed to keep pace with Friedrich Wilhelm’s impatience. "No answer yet?" growls Friedrich Wilhelm before a fortnight is gone. "No answer?"—and January has not ended till a new Deputation of the same Three Gentlemen, Finkenstein, Borck, Grumkow, again waits on the Queen, for whom there is now this other message. "Wednesday, 25th January, 1730," so Dubourgay dates it; so likewise Wilhelmina, right for once: "a day I shall never forget," adds she.

Finkenstein and Borck, merciful persons, and always of the English party, were again profoundly sorry. Borck has a blaze of temper in him withal; we hear he apprised Grumkow, at one point of the dialogue, that he, Grumkow, was a "scoundrel," so Dubourgay calls it,—which was one undeniable truth offered there that day. But what can anything profit? The Message is: "Whatever the answer now be from England, I will have nothing to do with it. Negative, procrastinative, affirmative, to me it shall be zero. You, Madam, have to choose, for Wilhelmina, between Weissenfels and Schwedt; otherwise I myself will choose: and upon you and her will alight Oranienburg, outer darkness, and just penalties of mutiny against the Authority set over you by God and men. Weissenfels or Schwedt: choose straightway." This is the King’s message by these Three.

"You can inform the King," replied her Majesty, [Wilhelmina, i. 188.] "that he will never make me consent to render my Daughter miserable; and that, so long as a breath of life (UN SOUFFLE DE VIE) remains in me, I will not permit her to take either the one or the other of those persons." Is that enough? "For you, Sir," added her Majesty, turning to Grumkow, "for you, Sir, who are the author of my misfortunes, may my curse fall upon you and your house! You have this day killed me. But I doubt not, Heaven will hear my prayer, and avenge these wrongs." [Dubourgay, 28th January, 1730; Wilhelmina, i. 188 (who suppresses the maledictory part).]—And herewith to a bed of sickness, as the one refuge left!

Her Majesty does now, in fact, take to bed at Berlin; "fallen very ill," it would appear; which gives some pause to Friedrich Wilhelm till he ascertain. "Poorly, for certain," report the Doctors, even Friedrich Wilhelm’s Doctor. The humane Doctors have silently given one another the hint; for Berlin is one tempest of whispers about her Majesty’s domestic sorrows, "Poorly, for interesting reasons: —perhaps be worse before she is better, your Majesty!"—"Hmph!" thinks Friedrich Wilhelm out at Potsdam. And then the treacherous Ramen reports that it is all shamming; and his Majesty, a Bear, though a loving one, is driven into wrath again; and so wavers from side to side.

It is certain the Queen held, faster or looser, by her bed of sickness, as a main refuge in these emergencies: the last shift of oppressed womankind;—sanctioned by Female Parliament, in this instance. "Has had a miscarriage!" writes Dubourgay, from Berlin gossip, at the beginning of the business. Nay at one time she became really ill, to a dangerous length; and his Majesty did not at first believe it; and then was like to break his heart, poor Bear; aud pardoned Wilhelmina and even Fritz, at the Mother’s request,—till symptoms mended again. [Wilhelmina, i. 207.] JARNI-BLEU, Herr Seckendorf, "Grumkow serves us honorably (DIENET EHRLICH)"—does not he!—Ambiguous bed of sickness, a refuge in time of trouble, did not quite terminate till May next, when her Majesty’s time came; a fine young Prince the result; [23d May, 1730, August Ferdinand; her last child.] and this mode of refuge in trouble ceased to be necessary.


Directly on the back of that peremptory act of disobedience by the womankind on Wednesday last, Friedrich Wilhelm came to Berlin himself. He stormfully reproached his Queen, regardless of the sick-bed; intimated the infallible certainty, That Wilhelmina nevertheless would wed without delay, and that either Weissenfels or Schwedt would be the man. And this said, he straightway walked out to put the same in execution.

Walked, namely, to the Mother Margravine of Schwedt, the lady in high colors, Old Dessauer’s Sister; and proposed to her that Wilhelmina should marry her Son.—"The supreme wish of my life, your Majesty," replied she of the high colors: "But, against the Princess’s own will, how can I accept such happiness? Alas, your Majesty, I never can!"—and flatly refused his Majesty on those terms: a thing Wilhelmina will ever gratefully remember of her. [Wilhelmina, i. 197.]

So that the King is now reduced to Weissenfels; and returns still more indignant to her Majesty’s apartment. Weissenfels, however, it shall be; and frightful rumors go that he is written to, that he is privately coming, and that there will be no remedy. [Wilhelmina, i. 197.] Wilhelmina, formerly almost too florid, is gone to a shadow; "her waist hardly half an ell;" worn down by these agitations. The Prince and she, if the King see either of them,—it is safer to run, or squat behind screens.


In this high wind of extremity, the King now on the spot and in such temper, Borck privately advises, "That her Majesty bend a little,—pretend to give up the English connection, and propose a third party, to get rid of Weissenfels."—"What third party, then?"—"Well, there is young Brandenburg-Culmbach, for example, Heir-Apparent of Baireuth; Friedrich, a handsome enough young Prince, just coming home from the Grand Tour, we hear; will have a fine Territory when his Father dies: age is suitable; old kinship with the House, all money-quarrels settled eight or ten years ago: why not him?"—"Excellent!" said her Majesty; and does suggest him to the King, in the next Schwedt-Weissenfels onslaught. Friedrich Wilhelm grumbles an assent, "Well, then:—but I will be passive, observe; not a GROSCHEN of Dowry, for one thing!"—

And this is the first appearance of the young Margraf Friedrich, Heir-Apparent of Baireuth; who comes in as a hypothetic figure, at this late stage;—and will carry off the fair prize, as is well known. Still only doing the Grand Tour; little dreaming of the high fortune about to drop into his mouth. So many wooers, "four Kings" among them, suing in vain; him, without suing, the Fates appoint to be the man.

Not a bad young fellow at all, though no King. Wilhelmina, we shall find, takes charmingly to him, like a good female soul; regretless of the Four Kings;—finds her own safe little island there the prettiest in the world, after such perils of drowning in stormy seas.—Of his Brandenburg genealogy, degree of cousinship to Queen Caroline of England, and to the lately wedded young gentleman of Anspach Queen Caroline’s Nephew, we shall say nothing farther, having already spoken of it, and even drawn an abstruse Diagram of it, [Antea, vol. v. p. 309c.] sufficient for the most genealogical reader. But in regard to that of the peremptory "Not a GROSCHEN of Dowry" from Friedrich Wilhelm (which was but a bark, after all, and proved the reverse of a bite, from his Majesty), there may a word of explanation be permissible.

The Ancestor of this Baireuth Prince Friedrich,—as readers knew once, but doubtless have forgotten again,—was a Younger Son; and for six generations so it stood: not till the Father of this Friedrich was of good age, and only within these few years, did the Elder branch die out, and the Younger, in the person of said Father, succeed to Baireuth. Friedrich’s Grandfather, as all these progenitors had done, lived poorly, like Cadets, on apanages and makeshifts.

So that the Young Prince’s Father, George Friedrich, present incumbent, as we may call him, of Baireuth, found himself—with a couple of Brothers he has, whom also we may transiently see by and by—in very straitened circumstances in their young years. THEIR Father, son of younger sons as we saw, was himself poor, and he had Fourteen of them as family. Now, in old King Friedrich I.’s time, it became apparent, as the then reigning Margraf of Baireuth’s children all died soon after birth, that one of these necessitous Fourteen was likely to succeed in Baireuth, if they could hold out. Old King Friedrich thereupon said, "You have chances of succession; true enough,—but nobody knows what will become of that. Sell your chance to me, who am ultimate Heir of all: I will give you a round sum,—the little ’Domain of Weverlingen’ in the Halberstadt Country, and say ’Half a Million Thalers;’ there you can live comfortably, and support your Fourteen Children,"—"Done," said the necessitous Cousin; went to Weverlingen accordingly; and there lived the rest of his days, till 1708; leaving his necessitous Fourteen, or about Ten of them that were alive and growing up, still all minors, and necessitous enough.

The young men, George Friedrich at the top of them, kept silence in Weverlingen, and conformed to Papa; having nothing to live upon elsewhere. But they had their own thoughts; especially as their Cousin of Baireuth was more and more likely to die childless. And at length, being in the Kaiser’s service as soldiers some of them, and having made what interest was feasible, they, early in Friedrich Wilhelm’s reign, burst out. That is to say, appealed to the REICHSHOFRATH (Imperial Aulic Council at Vienna; chief Court of the Empire in such cases); openly protesting there, That their Papa had no power to make such a bargain, selling their birthright for immediate pottage; and that, in brief, they would not stand by it at all;—and summoned Friedrich Wilhelm to show cause why they should.

Long lawsuit, in consequence; lengthy law-pleadings, and much parchment and wiggery, in that German Triple-Elixir of Chancery;— little to the joy of Friedrich Wilhelm. Friedrich Wilhelm, from the first, was fairness itself: "Pay me back the money; and let it be, in all points, as you say!" answered Friedrich Wilhelm, from the first. Alas, the money was eaten; how could the money be paid back? The Reichshofrath dubitatively shook its wig, for years: "Bargain bad in Law; but Money clearly repayable: the Money was and is good;—what shall be done about the Money!" At length, in 1722, Friedrich Wilhelm, of himself, settled with this present Margraf, then Heir-Presumptive, How, by steady slow instalments, it could be possible, from the revenues of Baireuth, thriftily administered, to pay back that Half-Million and odd Thalers; and the now Margraf, ever since his accession in 1726, has been annually doing it. So that there is, at this time, nothing but composed kinship and friendship between the two Courts, the little and the big: only Friedrich Wilhelm, especially with his will crossed in this matter of the Baireuth Marriage, thinks to himself, "Throw more money into such a gulf? The 600,000 Thalers had better be got out first!" and says, he will give no Dowry at all, nor take any charge, not so much as give away the Bride, but be passive in the matter.

Queen Sophie, delighted to conquer Grumkow at any rate, is charmed with this notion of Baireuth; and for a moment forgets all other considerations: Should England prove slack and fail, what a resource will Baireuth be, compared with Weissenfels! And Wilhelmina entering, her Majesty breaks forth into admiration over the victory, or half-victory, just gained: What a husband for you this, my dear, in comparison! And as Wilhelmina cannot quite join in the rapture on a sudden; and cannot even consent, unless Papa too give his real countenance to the match, Mamma flies out upon the poor young Lady: [Wilhelmina, i. 201.] "Take the Grand Turk or the Great Mogul, then," said the Queen, "and follow your own caprice! I should not have brought so many sorrows on myself, had I known you better. Follow the King’s bidding, then; it is your own affair. I will no longer trouble myself about your concerns;—and spare me, please, the sorrow of your odious presence, for I cannot stand it!" Wilhelmina wished to reply, but the answer was, "Silence! Go, I tell you!" "And I retired all in tears."

"All in tears." The Double-Marriage drifting furiously this long while, in such a sea as never was; and breakers now Close a-lee,— have the desperate crew fallen to staving-in the liquor-casks, and quarrelling with one another?—Evident one thing is, her Majesty cannot be considered a perfectly wise Mother! We shall see what her behavior is, when Wilhelmina actually weds this respectable young Prince. Ungrateful creature, to wish Papa’s consent as well as mine! that is the maternal feeling at this moment; and Wilhelmina weeps bitterly, as one of the unluckiest of young Ladies.

Nay, her Brother himself, who is sick of this permanent hurricane, and would fain see the end of it at any price, takes Mamma’s part; and Wilhelmina and he come to high words on the matter. This was the unkindest cut of all:—but, of course, this healed in a day. Poor Prince, he has his own allowance of insults, disgraces, blows; has just been found out in some plan, or suspicion of a plan; found out to be in debt at least, and been half miraculously pardoned;—and, except, in flight, he still sees no deliverance ahead. Five days ago, 22d January, 1730, there came out a Cabinet-Order (summary Act of Parliament, so to speak) against "lending money to Princes of the Blood, were it even to the Prince-Royal." A crime and misdemeanor, that shall now be; and Forfeiture of the Money is only part of the penalty, according to this Cabinet-Order. Rumor is, the Crown-Prince had purchased a vehicle and appurtenances at Leipzig, and was for running off. Certainty is, he was discovered to have borrowed 1,000 Thalers from a certain moneyed man at Berlin (money made from French scrip, in Mississippi Law’s time);—which debt Friedrich Wilhelm instantly paid. "Your whole debt, then, is that? Tell me the whole!"—"My whole debt," answered the Prince; who durst not own to about 9,000 other Thalers (1,500 pounds) he has borrowed from other quarters, first and last. Friedrich Wilhelm saw perhaps some premonition of flight, or of desperate measures, in this business; and was unexpectedly mild: paid the 1,000 Thalers instantly; adding the Cabinet-Order against future contingencies. [Ranke, i. 296; Forster, &c.] The Prince was in this humor when he took Mamma’s side, and redoubled Wilhelmina’s grief.


Faithful Mamsell Bulow consoles the Princess: "Wait, I have news that will put her Majesty in fine humor!"—And she really proved as good as her word. Her news is, Dubourgay and Knyphausen, in this extremity of pinch, have decided to send off not letters merely; but a speaking Messenger to the English Court. One Dr. Villa; some kind of "English Chaplain" here, [Wilhelmina, i. 203; Dubourgay’s Despatch, 28th January, 1730.] whose chief trade is that he teaches Wilhelmina English; Rev. Dr. Villa, who honors Wilhelmina as he ought, shall be the man. Is to go instantly; will explain what the fatal pass we are reduced to is, and whether Princess Wilhelmina is the fright some represent her there or not.

Her Majesty is overjoyed to hear it: who would not be? Her Majesty "writes Letters" of the due vehemency, thinks Wilhelmina,—dare not write at all, says Dubourgay;—but loads Villa with presents, with advices; with her whole heart speeds him under way. "Dismissed, turned off for some fault or other—or perhaps because the Princess knows enough of English?" so the rumor goes, in Villa’s Berlin circle.

"The Chaplain set out with his despatches," says Wilhelmina, who does not name him, but is rather eloquent upon his errand; "loaded with presents from the Queen. On taking leave of me he wept warm tears. He said, saluting in the English fashion,"—I hope with bended knee, and the maiden’s fingers at his lips—"’He would deny his Country, if it did not do its duty on this occasion.’" And so hastened forth on his errand. Like a Carrier-Pigeon sent in extremity;—like Noah’s-Dove in the Deluge: may he revisit our perishing Ark with Olive in his bill!



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Chicago: Thomas Carlyle, "Chapter IX. Double-Marriage Shall Be or Shall Not Be.," History of Friedrich II of Prussia— Volume 6 in History of Friedrich II of Prussia—Volume 6 Original Sources, accessed September 30, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=KQIIPPW524XK7CN.

MLA: Carlyle, Thomas. "Chapter IX. Double-Marriage Shall Be or Shall Not Be." History of Friedrich II of Prussia— Volume 6, in History of Friedrich II of Prussia—Volume 6, Original Sources. 30 Sep. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=KQIIPPW524XK7CN.

Harvard: Carlyle, T, 'Chapter IX. Double-Marriage Shall Be or Shall Not Be.' in History of Friedrich II of Prussia— Volume 6. cited in , History of Friedrich II of Prussia—Volume 6. Original Sources, retrieved 30 September 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=KQIIPPW524XK7CN.