On the 11th it was announced that Frederick, with nearly the whole Prussian army, was within five days¡¯ march of Berlin. The allies held him in such dread, when he had any thing like an equality of numbers with them, that they fled from him at the rate of thirty miles a day. But terrible were the ravages which they inflicted on the Prussian people during this retreat.
To meet the demands of thirst, a bottle of brandy, and another of water, stood by Major Bergan's plate; which, after filling his own glass, he pushed over to his nephew.
Frederick¡¯s treatment of the unfortunate General Zastrow, who was in command at Schweidnitz, was quite peculiar. Very generously he wrote to him:
Poniatowski was elected King of Poland on the 7th of September, 1764, and crowned on the 25th of November. He was then thirty-two years of age, and the scarcely disguised agent of Catharine. Two or three years passed of wars and rebellions, and all the usual tumult of this tumultuous world. In August, 1765, the Emperor Francis died. He was at Innsprück, attending the marriage festivities of his second son Leopold. About nine o¡¯clock in the evening of the 18th, while sauntering through the rooms in the midst of the brilliant gala, he was struck with apoplexy. He staggered for a moment, fell into the hands of his son Joseph, and instantly died.
From this exhausting journey for so old a man the king returned to Potsdam through a series of state dinners, balls, and illuminations. On the night of the 18th of September he was awoke by a very severe fit of suffocation. It was some time before he could get any relief, and it was thought that he was dying. The next day gout set in severely. This was followed by dropsy. The king suffered severely through the winter. There is no royal road through the sick-chamber to the tomb. The weary months of pain and languor came and went. The renowned Mirabeau visited the king in his sick-chamber on the 17th of April, 1786. He writes:
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