honour of being presented to Lady Frances L.,” said Mr.
JANUARY 2d, 1759: FRANKFURT-ON-MAYN, THOUGH IT IS A REICHSTADT, FINDS ITSELF SUDDENLY BECOME FRENCH. "Prince de Soubise lies between Mayn and Lahn, with his 25,000; beautifully safe and convenient,--though ill off for a place-of-arms in those parts. Opulent Frankfurt, on his right; how handy would that be, were not Reichs Law so express! Marburg, Giessen are outposts of his; on which side one of Ferdinand's people, Prince von Ysenburg, watches him with an 8 or 10,000, capable of mischief in that quarter.
"On the Eve of New-year's day, or on the auspicious Day itself, Soubise requests, of the Frankfurt Authorities, permission for a regiment of his to march through that Imperial City. To which, by law and theory, the Imperial City can say Yes or No; but practically cannot, without grave inconvenience, say other than Yes, though most Frankfurters wish it could. 'Yes,' answer the Frankfurt Magnates; Yes surely, under the known conditions. Tuesday, January 2d, about 5 in the morning, while all is still dark in Frankfurt, regiment Nassau appears, accordingly, at the Sachsenhausen Gate, Town-guard people all ready to receive it and escort it through; and is admitted as usual. Quite as usual: but instead of being escorted through, it orders, in calm peremptory voice, the Town-guard, To ground arms; with calm rapidity proceeds to admit ten other regiments or battalions, six of them German; seizes the artillery on the Walls, seizes all the other Gates:--and poor Frankfurt finds itself tied hand and foot, almost before it is out of bed! Done with great exactitude, with the minimum of confusion, and without a hurt skin to anybody. The Inhabitants stood silent, gazing; the Town-guard laid down their arms, and went home. Totally against Law; but cleverly done; perhaps Soubise's chief exploit in the world; certainly the one real success the French have yet had.
"Soubise made haste to summon the Magistrates: 'Law of Necessity alone, most honored Sirs! Reichs Law is clear against me. But all the more shall private liberties, religions, properties, in this Imperial Free-Town, be sacred to us. Defence against any aggression: and the strictest discipline observed. Depend on me, I bid you!'--And kept his word to an honorable degree, they say; or in absence, made it be kept, during the Four Years that follow. Most Frankfurters are, at heart, Anti-French: but Soubise's affability was perfect; and he gave evening parties of a sublime character; the Magistrates all appearing there, in their square perukes and long gowns, with a mournful joy." [Tempelhof, iii. 7-8; Stenzel, v. 198-200.]
Soubise soon went home, to assist in important businesses,-- Invasion of England, no less; let England look to itself this Summer!--and Broglio succeeded him, as Army-Captain in the Frankfurt parts; with laurels accruing, more or less. Soubise, like Broglio, began with Rossbach; Soubise ends with Frankfurt, for the present; where Broglio also gains his chief laurels, as will shortly be seen. Frankfurt is a great gain to France, though an illicit one. It puts a bar on Duke Ferdinand in that quarter; secures a starting-point for attacks on Hessen, Hanover; for co-operation with Contades and the Lower Rhine. It is the one success France has yet had in this War, or pretty much that it ever had in it. Due to Prince de Soubise, in that illegal fashion.-- A highly remarkable little Boy, now in his tenth year, Johann Wolfgang Goethe, has his wondering eyes on these things: and, short while hence, meets daily, on the stairs and lobbies at home, a pleasant French Official Gentlemen who is quartered there; ------page 195 Book XIX-----^ [sic]-----------
between whom and Papa occur rubs,--as readers may remember, and shall hear in April coming.
GRAND CORDON DISRUPTED: ERFURT COUNTRY, 16th FEBRUARY-2d MARCH. "About six weeks after this Frankfurt achievement, certain Reichsfolk and Austrian Auxiliaries are observed to be cutting down endless timber, '18,800 palisades, 6,000 trees of 60 feet,' and other huge furnishings, from the poor Duke of Gotha's woods; evidently meaning to fortify themselves in Erfurt. Upon which Prince Henri detaches a General Knobloch thitherward, Duke Ferdinand contributing 4,000 to meet him there; which combined expedition, after some sharp knocking and shoving, entirely disrooted the Austrians and Reichsfolk, and sent them packing. Had them quite torn out by the end of the month; and had planned to 'attack them on two sides at once' (March 2d), with a view of swallowing them whole,--when they (these Reichs Volscians, in such a state of flutter) privately hastened off, one and all of them, the day before." [Narrative, in
This was BREAKAGE FIRST of the Grand Cordon; an explosive hurling of it back out of those Erfurt parts. Done by Prince Henri's people, in concert with Duke Ferdinand's,--who were mutually interested in the thing.
BREAKAGE SECOND: ERFURT-FULDA COUNTRY, 31st MARCH-8th APRIL. "About the end of March, these intrusive Austrian Reichsfolk made some attempt to come back into those Countries; but again got nothing but hard knocks; and gave up the Erfurt project. For, close following on this FIRST, there was a SECOND still deeper and rougher Breakage, in those same regions; the Hereditary Prince of Brunswick dashing through, on a special Errand of Ferdinand's own [of which presently], with an 8 or 10,000, in his usual fiery manner; home into the very bowels of the Reich (April 3d, and for a week onward); and returning with 'above 2,000 prisoners' in hand; especially with a Reich well frightened behind him;--still in time for Duke Ferdinand's Adventure [in fact, for his Battle of Bergen, of which we are to hear]. Had been well assisted by Prince Henri, who 'made dnngerous demonstrations in the distance,' and was extremely diligent--though the interest was chiefly Ferdinand's this time." [Tempelhof, iii. 19-22.]--Contemporary with that FIRST Erfurt Business, there went on, 300 miles away from it, in the quite opposite direction, another of the same;--too curious to be omitted.
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