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moved nor breathed, till their receding steps were lost

source:iostime:2023-11-29 22:33:27

KING (22d March). "Eight regiments, you said? Here, by enclosed List, are seventeen of them, names and particulars all given", which is rather a different view of the account against Silesia! Seventeen of them, going, not for Glatz, I should say, but to strengthen our Enemies hereabouts.

moved nor breathed, till their receding steps were lost

HENRI. "Hm, hah [answers only in German; dry military reports, official merely;--thinks of writing to Chief-Clerk Eichel, who is factotum in these spheres]. ... Artillery recruits are scarce in the extreme; demand bounty: five thalers, shall we say?"

moved nor breathed, till their receding steps were lost

KING. "Seventeen regiments of them, beyond question, instead of eight, coming on us: strange that you did n't warn me better. I have therefore ordered your Major-General Schmettau hitherward at once. As he has not done raising the contributions in the Lausitz, you must send another to do it, and have them ready when General Platen passes that way hither."--"'Five thalers bounty for artillery men" say you? It is not to be thought of. Artillery men can be had by conscription where you are." Henri (in silence, still more indignant) sends military reports exclusively. March 26th, Henri's gloom reaches the igniting point; he writes to Chief- Clerk Eichel:--

moved nor breathed, till their receding steps were lost

"Monsieur, you are aware that Adjutant von Anhalt is on the way hither. To judge by his orders, if they correspond to the Letters I have had from the King, Adjutant von Anhalt's appearance here will produce an embarrassment, from which I am resolved to extricate myself by a voluntary retirement from office. My totally ruined (ABIMEE) health, the vexations I have had, the fatigues and troubles of war, leave in me little regret to quit the employment. I solicit only, from your attentions and skill of management, that my retreat be permitted to take place with the decency observed towards those who have served the State. I have not a high opinion of my services; but perhaps I am not mistaken in supposing that it would be more a shame to the King than to me if he should make me endure all manner of chagrins during my retirement." [Schoning, iii. 307.]

Eichel sinks into profound reflection; says nothing. How is this fire to be got under? Where is the place to trample on it, before opening door or window, or saying a word to the King or anybody?

HENRI (same day, 26th March). "My dearest Brother,--In the List you send me of those seventeen Austrian regiments, several, I am informed, are still in Saxony; and by all the news that I get, there are only eight gone towards Silesia."--"From Leipzig my accounts are, the Reichs Army is to make a movement in advance, and Prince Xavier with the Saxons was expected at Naumburg the 20th ult. I know not if you have arranged with Duke Ferdinand for a proportionate succor, in case his French also should try to penetrate into Saxony upon me? I am, with the profoundest attachment, your faithful and devoted servant and Brother."

KING (30th March). "Seventeen of them, you may depend; I am too well informed to be allowed to doubt in any way. What you report of the Reichsfolk and Saxons moving hither, thither; that seems to me a bit of game on their part. They will try to cut one post from you, then another, unless you assemble a corps and go in upon them. Till you decide for this resolution, you have nothing but chicanes and provocations to expect there. As to Duke Ferdinand of Brunswick, I don't imagine that his Orders [from England] would permit him what you propose [for relief of yourself]: at any rate, you will have to write at least thrice to him,--that is to say, waste three weeks, before he will answer No or Yes. You yourself are in force enough for those fellows: but so long as you keep on the defensive alone, the enemy gains time, and things will always go a bad road." Henri's patience is already out; this same day he is writing to the King.

HENRI (30th March). ... "You have hitherto received proofs enough of my ways of thinking and acting to know that if in reality I was mistaken about those eight regiments, it can only have been a piece of ignorance on the part of my spy: meanwhile you are pleased to make me responsible for what misfortune may come of it. I think I have my hands full with the task laid on me of guarding 4,000 square miles of country with fewer troops than you have, and of being opposite an enemy whose posts touch upon ours, and who is superior in force. Your preceding Letters [from March 16th hitherto], on which I have wished to be silent, and this last proof of want of affection, show me too clearly to what fortune I have sacrificed these Six Years of Campaigning."