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SIEGE OF OLMüTZ, MAY 12JULY 2, 1758. With almost unprecedented rapidity Frederick pressed his troops along, accomplishing in three marches near upon seventy miles. The course of the Oder here is, in its general direction, northwest. The army marched along its southwestern banks. On Saturday evening, the last day of the year, the advance-guard took possession of the southern and western suburbs of Breslau.229 The city, of one hundred thousand inhabitants, was spread out over both banks of the stream. Frederick established his headquarters at the palace of Pilsnitz, about five miles from the city. There were many Protestants in Breslau, who rejoiced in the idea of exchanging a Catholic for a Protestant government. It is said that some of the sentinels on the walls would watch their opportunity and present arms to the Prussian soldiers, and even at times exclaim, Welcome, dear sirs!

General Daun was proverbially slow-footed. For thirteen days the wretched city burned and bled. In a memorial to the world, which the King of Poland, as Elector of Saxony, published on the occasion, he said, The army, writes Prince Charles, mournfully, was greatly dilapidated. The soldiers were without clothes, and in a condition truly pitiable. So closely were we pursued by the enemy that at night we were compelled to encamp without tents. As we have stated, Frederick had declared that if any rumor should be spread abroad of the fact that he had entered into a secret treaty with Austria, he would deny it, and would no longer pay any regard to its stipulations. He had adopted the precaution not to affix his signature to any paper. By this ignoble stratagem he had obtained Neisse and Silesia. The rumor of the secret treaty had gone abroad. He had denied it. And now, in accordance with the principles of his peculiar code of honor, he felt himself at liberty to pursue any course which policy might dictate.

Still the clergymen pressed upon him his sins, his many acts of oppression, his unrelenting and unforgiving spirit. Singularly enough, most of the members of the tobacco parliament were present at this strange interview; and some of them, courtier like, endeavored to defend the king against several of the charges brought against him. The king might emphatically be called a good hater; and he hated his brother-in-law, the King of England, perhaps with passion as implacable as ever took possession of a human heart. In allusion to this, one of the clergymen, M. Roloff, said,

Frederick was in a towering passion. Voltaire was alarmed at the commotion he had created. He wrote a letter to the king, in which he declared most solemnly that he had not intended to392 have the pamphlet published; that a copy had been obtained by treachery, and had been printed without his consent or knowledge. But the king wrote back:

It was an act of desperation. The king fully appreciated its peril. But the time had long since passed when he could rely upon the ordinary measures of prudence. In despair was his only hope.

On the 3d of July Frederick issued his declaration of war. On that very day his solid battalions, one hundred thousand556 strong, with menacing banners and defiant bugle-notes, crossed the border, and encamped on Bohemian ground. At the same moment, the kings brother, Prince Henry, with another army of one hundred thousand men, commenced a march from the west to co-operate in an impetuous rush upon Vienna. These tidings caused the utmost consternation in the Austrian capital. An eye-witness writes:

548 Fredericks share, writes Mr. Carlyle, as an anciently Teutonic country, and as filling up the always dangerous gap between his Ost Prussen and him, has, under Prussian administration, proved much the most valuable of the three, and, next to Silesia, is Fredericks most important acquisition.

Directly at two he goes back to his room. Duhan is then ready; takes him upon maps and geography from two to three oclock, giving account of all the European kingdoms, their strength and weakness; the size, riches, and poverty of their towns. From three oclock till four Duhan shall treat of morality; from four till five shall write German letters with him, and see that he gets a good style. About five oclock Fritz shall wash his hands and go to the king; ride out, and divert himself in the air, and not in his room, and do what he likes if it is not against God.

The risk is too great, said he; Soltikof has seventy thousand men, and no end of artillery. We have but twenty-six thousand, and know not that we can bring a single gun to where Soltikof is.