Voltaire, in summing up a sketch of this campaign of 1757, writes in characteristic phrase:

Every body here is on tiptoe for the event, of which both origin and end are a riddle to most. Those who, in the style of theologians, consider themselves entitled to be certain, maintain that your majesty is expected with religious impatience by the Protestants; and that the Catholics hope to see themselves delivered from a multitude of imposts, which cruelly tear up the beautiful bosom of their Church. You can not but succeed in your valiant and stoical enterprise, since both religion and worldly interest rank themselves under your flag. Wallis, they say, has punished a Silesian heretic, of enthusiastic turn, as blasphemer, for announcing that a new Messiah is just coming. I have a taste for that kind of martyrdom. Critical persons consider the present step as directly opposed to certain maxims in the Anti-Machiavel.

George Ludwig, Count of Berg, who at this time was Bishop of Liege, was a feeble old man, tottering beneath the infirmities of eighty-two years. He did not venture upon physical resistance to the power of Prussia, but confined himself to protests, remonstrances, and to the continued exercise of his own governmental authority. As Herstal was many leagues distant from Berlin, was of comparatively little value, and could only be reached by traversing foreign states, Frederick William offered to sell all his claims to it for about eighty thousand dollars. The proposal not being either accepted or rejected by the bishop, the king, anxious to settle the question before his death, sent an embassador to Liege, with full powers to arrange the difficulty by treaty. For three days the embassador endeavored in vain to obtain an audience. He then returned indignantly to Berlin. The king, of course, regarded this treatment as an insult. The bishop subsequently averred that the audience was prevented by his own sickness. Such was the posture of affairs when Frederick William died. The next morning they learned that Lieutenant Katte had been arrested. All the private papers of Fritz were left, under Kattes charge, in a small writing-desk. These letters would implicate both the mother and the daughter. They were terror-stricken. Count Finckenstein, who was in high authority, was their friend. Through him, by the aid of Madam Finckenstein, they obtained the desk. It was locked and sealed. Despair stimulated their ingenuity. They succeeded in getting the letters. To destroy them and leave nothing in their place would only rouse to greater fury the suspicion and rage of the king. The letters were taken out and burned. The queen and Wilhelmina immediately set to work writing new ones, of a very different character, with which to replace them. For three days they thus labored almost incessantly, writing between six and seven hundred letters. They were so careful to avoid any thing97 which might lead to detection that paper was employed for each letter bearing the date of the year in which the letter was supposed to be written. Fancy the mood, writes Carlyle, of these two royal women, and the black whirlwind they were in. Wilhelminas dispatch was incredible. Pen went at the gallop night and day. New letters of old date and of no meaning are got into the desk again, the desk closed without mark of injury, and shoved aside while it is yet time.

The king was not at all pleased either with his sons studies or his recreations. Philosophy and literature were as obnoxious to the sturdy old monarch as were music and all amusements save the rough pastime of hunting stags and boars. He was a thorough materialist, having no other thought than to drill his troops and develop the resources of his realm. Beer and tobacco, both of which he used inordinately, were almost his only luxuries. He often growled loudly at what he deemed the coxcombry of his son and companions at Reinsberg, and frequently threatened to disperse his associates.

Frederick declares, in his history, that never were tidings more welcome to him than these. He had embarked in the enterprise for the conquest of Moravia with the allies. He could not, without humiliation, withdraw. But, now that the ally, in whose behalf he assumed to be fighting, had abandoned him, he could, without dishonor, relinquish the field. Leaving the Saxons to themselves, with many bitter words of reproach, he countermanded his order for Silesian re-enforcements, assembled his troops at Wischau, and then, by a rapid march through Olmütz, returned to his strong fortresses in the north. Frederick divided his retreating army into two columns. One, led by the young Leopold, was to retire through Glatz. The other, led by Frederick, traversed a road a few leagues to the west, passing through K?niggratz. It was an awful retreat for both these divisionsthrough snow, and sleet, and mud, hungry, weary, freezing, with swarms of Pandours hanging upon their rear. Thousands perished by the way. The horrors of such a retreat no pen can describe. Their very guides deserted them, and became spies, to report their movements to the foe. In case you refuse, or delay beyond the term, the answer which I hereby of right demand, you will render yourself alone responsible, before the world, for the consequences which infallibly will follow. I am, with much consideration, my cousin, your very affectionate cousin,

All Saturday night the bombardment was continued with increasing fury. In the mean time four thousand wagons were packed, and, long before the dawn of Sunday morning, were on the road. The retreat was so admirably conducted that General Daun did not venture even to attempt to harass the retiring columns. Instead of moving in a northerly direction to Silesia, Frederick directed his march to the northwest, into Bohemia. On the 8th of July his long column safely reached Leutomischel. He there seized quite an amount of military stores, which General Daun, in his haste and bewilderment, had not been able to remove or to destroy. Five more marches conducted him to K?niggr?tz.

The friendship of these two remarkable men must have been of a singular character. Voltaire thus maliciously wrote of the king:

471 When the Austrian general conducting the siege at Neisse heard of the rapid approach of Frederick, he, in consternation, blew up many of his works, abandoned several guns, and, on the 6th of November, fled with his army over the hills to the south, to take shelter in Austria. Frederick triumphantly entered Neisse, and, having driven the Austrians from every outpost, commenced, with a recruited army, his return march to Dresden. The more slow-footed Daun did not reach Dresden till the 8th of the month. The city, outside of the walls, was crowded with the dwellings of the more respectable citizens, and the beautiful mansions of the wealthy. The King of Poland was Elector of Saxony, and was in alliance with Austria. For the Austrian commander to pursue any measure which should lead to the destruction, in whole or in part, of this beautiful capital, would inflict a terrible blow upon the subjects of the ally of Austria.