manners were very animated; and he was so assiduous to
"Friedrich's own view of these sad matters, as he closes his
OF THE SMALL-WAR IN SPRING, 1759. THERE ARE FIVE DISRUPTIONS OF THAT GRAND CORDON (February-April); AND FERDINAND OF BRUNSWICK FIGHTS HIS BATTLE OF BERGEN (April 13th).
Friedrich, being denied an aggressive course this Year, by no means sits idly expectant and defensive in the interim; but, all the more vigorously, as is observable, from February onwards, strikes out from him on every side: endeavoring to spoil the Enemy's Magazines, and cripple his operations in that way. So that there was, all winter through, a good deal of Small-War (some of it not Small), of more importance than usual,--chiefly of Friedrich's originating, with the above view, or of Ferdinand his Ally's, on a still more pressing score. And, on the whole, that immense Austrian-French Cordon, which goes from the Carpathians to the Ocean, had by no means a quiet time; but was broken into, and violently hurled back, in different parts: some four, or even five, attacks upon it in all; three of them by Prince Henri,--in two of which Duke Ferdinand's people co-operated; the business being for mutual behoof. These latter Three were famous in the world, that Winter; and indeed are still recognizable as brilliant procedures of their kind; though, except dates and results, we can afford almost nothing of them here. These Three, intended chiefly against Reichs people and their Posts and Magazines, fell out on the western and middle part of the Cordon. Another attack was in the extreme eastward, and was for Friedrich's own behoof; under Fouquet's management;--intended against the Austrian-Moravian Magazines and Preparations, but had little success. Still another assault, or invasive outroad, northward against the Russian Magazines, there also was; of which by and by. Besides all which, and more memorable than all, Duke Ferdinand, for vital reasons of his own, fought a Battle this Spring, considerable Battle, and did NOT gain it; which made great noise in the world.
It is not necessary the reader should load his memory with details of all these preliminary things; on the contrary, it is necessary that he keep his memory clear for the far more important things that lie ahead of these, and entertain these in a summary way, as a kind of foreground to what is coming. Perhaps the following Fractions of Note, which put matters in something of Chronological or Synoptical form, will suffice him, or more than suffice. He is to understand that the grand tug of War, this Year, gradually turns out not to be hereabouts, nor with Daun and his adjacencies at all, but with the Russians, who arrive from the opposite Northern quarter; and that all else will prove to be merely prefatory and nugatory in comparison.
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]-----------
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