nearest group of merry-makers, their flambeaux were seen,

Which the spheral friend does. Nor was it "irony," as the new Commentators think; not at all; sincere enough, what you call sincere;--Voltaire himself had a nose for "irony"! This was what you call sincere Panegyric in liberal measure; why be stingy with your measure? It costs half an hour: it will end Voltaire's importunities; and so may, if anything, oil the business-wheels withal. For Friedrich foresees business enough with Louis and the French Ministries, though he will not enter on it with Voltaire. This Journey to Baireuth and Anspach, for example, this is not for a visit to his Sisters, as Friedrich labels it; but has extensive purposes hidden under that title,--meetings with Franconian Potentates, earnest survey, earnest consultation on a state of things altogether grave for Germany and Friedrich; though he understands whom to treat with about it, whom to answer with a "BIRIBIRI, MON AMI." That Austrian Exorbitancy of a message to the Diet has come out (August 16th, and is struggling to DICTATUR); the Austrian procedures in Baiern are in their full flagrancy: Friedrich intends trying once more, Whether, in such crisis, there be absolutely no "Union of German Princes" possible; nor even of any two or three of them, in the "Swabian and Franconian Circles," which he always thought the likeliest?

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The Journey took effect, Tuesday, 10th September [Rodenbeck, i. 93.] (not the day before, as Friedrich had been projecting); went by Halle, straight upon Baireuth; and ended there on Thursday. As usual, Prince August Wilhelm, and Prince Ferdinand of Brunswick, were of it; Voltaire failed not to accompany. What the complexion of it was, especially what Friedrich had meant by it, and how ill he succeeded, will perhaps be most directly visible through the following compressed Excerpts from Voltaire's long LETTER to Secretary Amelot on the subject,--if readers will be diligent with them. Friedrich, after four days, ran across to Anspach on important business; came back with mere failure, and was provokingly quite silent on it; stayed at Baireuth some three days more; thence home by Gotha (still on "Union" business, still mere failure), by Leipzig, and arrived at Potsdam, September 25th;-- leaving Voltaire in Wilhelmina's charmed circle (of which unhappily there is not a word said), for about a week more. Voltaire, directly on getting back to Berlin, "resumes the thread of his journal" to Secretary Amelot; that is, writes him another long Letter:--

nearest group of merry-makers, their flambeaux were seen,

VOLTAIRE (from Berlin, 3d October, 1743) TO SECRETARY AMELOT.

nearest group of merry-makers, their flambeaux were seen,

"... The King of Prussia told me at Baireuth, on the 13th or 14th of last month, He was glad our King had sent the Kaiser money;"-- useful that, at any rate; Noailles's 6,000 pounds would not go far. "That he thought M. le Marechal de Noailles's explanation [of a certain small rumor, to the disadvantage of Noailles in reference to the Kaiser] was satisfactory: 'but,' added he, 'it results from all your secret motions that you are begging Peace from everybody, and there may have been something in this rumor, after all.'

"He then told me he was going over to Anspach, to see what could be done for the Common Cause [Kaiser's and Ours]; that he expected to meet the Bishop of Wurzburg there; and would try to stir the Frankish and Swabian Circles into some kind of Union. And, at setting off [from Baireuth, September 16th, on this errand], he promised his Brother-in-law the Margraf, He would return with great schemes afoot, and even with great success;" which proved otherwise, to a disappointing degree.

"... The Margraf of Anspach did say he would join a Union of Princes in favor of the Kaiser, if Prussia gave example. But that was all. The Bishop of Wurzburg," a feeble old creature, "never appeared at Anspach, nor even sent an apology; and Seckendorf, with the Imperial Army"--Seckendorf, caged up at Wembdingen (whom Friedrich drove off from Anspach, twenty miles, to see and consult), was in a disconsolate moulting condition, and could promise or advise nothing satisfactory, during the dinner one took with him. [September 19th, "under a shady tree, after muster of the troops" (Rodenbeck, p. 93).] Four days running about on those errands had yielded his Prussian Majesty nothing. "Whilst he (Prussian Majesty) was on this Anspach excursion, the Margraf of Baireuth, who is lately made Field-marshal of his Circle, spoke much to me of present affairs: a young Prince, full of worth and courage, who loves the French, hates the Austrians,"--and would fain make himself generally useful. "To whom I suggested this and that" (does your Lordship observe?), if it could ever come to anything.

"The King of Prussia, on returning to Baireuth [guess, 20th September], did not speak the least word of business to the Margraf: which much surprised the latter! He surprised him still more by indicating some intention to retain forcibly at Berlin the young Duke of Wurtemberg, under pretext, 'that Madam his Mother intended to have him taken to Vienna,' for education. To anger this young Duke, and drive his Mother to despair, was not the method for acquiring credit in the Circle of Swabia, and getting the Princes brought to unite!

"The Duchess of Wurtemberg, who was there at Baireuth, by appointment, to confer with the King of Prussia, sent to seek me. I found her all dissolved in tears. 'Ah!' said she,--[But why is our dear Wilhelmina left saying nothing; invisible, behind the curtains of envious Chance, and only a skirt of them lifted to show us this Improper Duchess once more!]--'Ah!' said she (the Improper Duchess, at sight of me), 'will the King of Prussia be a tyrant, then? To pay me for intrusting my Boys to him, and giving him two Regiments [for money down], will he force me to implore justice against him from the whole world? I must have my Child! He shall not go to Vienna; it is in his own Country that I will have him brought up beside me. To put my Son in Austrian hands? [unless, indeed, your Highness were driven into Financial or other straits?] You know if I love France;--if my design is not to pass the rest of my days there, so soon as my Son comes to majority!' Ohone, ohoo!

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