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      The captive Crown Prince was conveyed from Wesel to the castle of Mittenwalde, where he was imprisoned in a room without furniture or bed. An old chest which chanced to be there was his only seat. One of the kings favorite ministers, Grumkow, with other officials, was sent to interrogate him. The prince, probably aware that nothing which he could now do could make matters worse than they actually were, displayed much spirit in the interview. Frankly avowing his intention to escape, he refused to make any disclosures which should implicate his friends. Grumkow insolently informed him that the101 use of the rack was not yet abolished in his majestys dominions, and that, if he were not more pliant, the energies of that instrument might be called into requisition. Frederick admitted afterward that his blood ran cold at that suggestion. Still he had the nerve to reply, according to the testimony of Wilhelmina,As the king was about to embark upon this enterprise, it was proposed to place upon the banners the words For God and our Country. But Frederick struck out the words For God, saying that it was improper to introduce the name of the Deity into the quarrels of men, and that he was embarking in war to gain a province, not for religion.43 In a brief speech to his soldiers he said,

      Voltaire, in his Memoirs, says that he drew up the manifesto for Frederick upon this occasion. The pretext, he writes, for this fine expedition was certain rights which his majesty pretended to have over a part of the suburbs. It was to me he committed the task of drawing up the manifesto, which I performed as well as the nature of the case would let me, never suspecting that a king, with whom I supped, and who called me his friend, could possibly be in the wrong. The affair was soon brought to a conclusion by the payment of a million of livres, which he exacted in good hard ducats, and which served to defray the expenses of his tour to Strasbourg, concerning which he complained so loudly in his poetic prose epistle.

      I am at the head of an army which has already vanquished the enemy, and which is ready to meet the enemy again. The country which alone I desire is already conquered and securely held. This is all I want. I now have it. I will and must keep it. Shall I be bought out of this country? Never! I will sooner perish in it with all my troops. With what face shall I meet my ancestors if I abandon my right which they have transmitted to me? My first enterprise, and to be given up lightly?The queen, looking reproachfully at Grumkow, remarked, I know full well to whom I owe all this. She then excused herself, saying that she was not well, and retired to her apartment. There she communicated to the anxious Wilhelmina the cruel message of the king. Sophie Dorothee then wrote a very earnest letter to Queen Caroline, the wife of George II., imploring that all obstacles in the way of the marriage of Wilhelmina with the Prince of Wales might be withdrawn. The idea of marriage with either Weissenfels or Schwedt was dreadful. But, on the other hand, the wrath of the king, the divorce of the queen, and75 the imprisonment of both mother and daughter in the chateau of Oranienburg, were also dreadful. Fritz was taken into the councils of his mother and sister. It was decided that he should also write to his aunt, urging his suit for the Princess Amelia. It is true that George II. was ready to accede to this marriage, but Frederick William threw obstacles in the way. It was probably the hope of Fritz to secure Amelia, notwithstanding his fathers opposition. The ready pen of Wilhelmina was employed to draft the letter, which her brother submissively copied. As it was not probable, in the intricacies in which the question was now involved, that both marriages could take place together, Fritz wrote pleading for the marriage of Wilhelmina at once, pledging his word that he would remain faithful to the Princess Amelia.

      270 Yes, Frederick replied; but for not less than six months (counting on his fingers from May to December)till December 1. The season then would be so far gone that they could do nothing.In reference to this event, the prince wrote to his mother from Potsdam, I am in the utmost despair. What I had always apprehended has at last come on me. The king has entirely forgotten that I am his son. This morning I came into his room as usual. At the first sight of me he sprang forward, seized me by the collar, and struck me a shower of blows with his rattan. I tried in vain to screen myself, he was in so terrible a rage, almost out of himself. It was only weariness that made him give up. I am driven to extremity. I have too much honor to endure such treatment, and I am resolved to put an end to it in one way or another.

      One evening, being too unwell to read his usual devotions, he called upon his valet de chambre to read prayers. In the prayer occurred the words, May God bless thee. The servant, not deeming it respectful to use thee in reference to the king, took the liberty to change the phrase, and read it, May God bless you. The king, exasperated, hurled something at the head of the speaker, exclaiming, It is not so; read it again. The terrified servant, not conceiving in what he had done wrong, read again, May God bless you. The irascible monarch, having nothing else he could grasp, took off his night-cap and threw it into the mans face, exclaiming, It is not so; read it over again. The servant, frightened almost out of his senses, read for the third time, May God bless you. Thee, rogue, shouted the king. May God bless thee. Dost thou not know, rascal, that, in the eyes of God, I am only a miserable rascal like thyself?On Monday, the 8th of June, 1733, the Crown Prince left Ruppin, and, joining his father and mother, set out, with a suitable retinue, for the ducal palace of Salzdahlum, in Brunswick, where the marriage ceremony was to be solemnized. Fritz was twenty-one years of age. Elizabeth was not quite eighteen. The wedding took place at noon of Friday, the 12th, in the beautiful chapel of the palace, with the usual display of splendor and rejoicing. The mansion, situated a few miles from Wolfenbüttel, was renowned for its gardens and picture-galleries, and was considered one of the finest in Europe.

      Here, in the little town of Cüstrin, in a house very meagerly furnished, the Crown Prince established his household upon the humblest scale. The prince was allowed to wear his sword, but not his uniform. He was debarred all amusements, and was forbidden to read, write, or speak French. To give him employment,114 he was ordered to attend regularly the sittings of the Chamber of Counselors of that district, though he was to take his seat as the youngest member. Three persons were appointed constantly to watch over him. Lord Dover writes:There was an institution, if we may so call it, in the palace of the King of Prussia which became greatly renowned, and which was denominated The Tobacco College, or Tobacco Parliament. It consisted simply of a smoking-room very plainly furnished,46 where the king and about a dozen of his confidential advisers met to smoke and to talk over, with perfect freedom and informality, affairs of state. Carlyle thus quaintly describes this Tabagie:



      164 On the fourth day after the arrival of the Crown Prince at Baireuth, a courier came with a letter from the queen conjuring him to return immediately, as the king was growing worse and worse. Frederick immediately hastened to Potsdam, and on the 12th of October entered the sick-chamber of his father in the palace there. He seems to have thought nothing of his wife, who was at Berlin. We have no evidence that he wrote to her during his absence, or that he visited her upon his return. For four months the king remained a great sufferer in Potsdam, trembling between life and death. It was often with great difficulty that he could breathe. He was impatient and irritable in the extreme. As he was rolled about in his Bath chair, he would petulantly cry out, Air! air! as if his attendants were to blame for his shortness of breath. The distress from the dropsy was very great. If you roll the king a little fast, writes an attendant, you hear the water jumble in his body. The Crown Prince was deeply affected in view of the deplorable condition of his father, and wept convulsively. The stern old king was stern to the end. He said one day to Frederick, If you begin at the wrong end with things, and all go topsy-turvy after I am gone, I will laugh at you out of my grave.


      One week after the reception of this letter the Crown Prince wrote to Baron Grumkow in the following flippant and revolting strain. He probably little imagined that the letter was to be read by all Europe and all America. But those whose paths through life lead over the eminences of rank and power can not conceal their words or deeds from the scrutiny of the world. Grumkow, a very shrewd man, had contrived to secure influence over both the father and the son. The princes letter was dated Cüstrin, February 11, 1732:182