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CHAPTER XVIII.

Frederick's Victories Of Peace.

CAHLYLE expresses the opinion that Frederick was as great in peace as in war, "a first-rate Husbandman," who not only defended Prussia, but instructed the nation in industrv and in thrift. Nothing that is recorded of Frederick does him more credit than the pride he took in his victories of peace as compared with those purchased by human blood. At the end of the Seven Years' War, he set himself, with the promptitude, energy, and insight that had shone so conspicuously in his campaigns, to repress the anarchy into which the country had fallen during the struggle, and to repair the frightful waste in its resources. "There is something," says Carlyle, "of flowingly eloquent in Friedrich's account of this battle waged against the inanimate Chaos; something of exultant and triumphant, not noticeable of him in regard to his other victories. On the Leuthens, Rossbachs, he is always cold as water, and nobody could gather that he had the least pleasure in recording them. Not so here."

When, at last, those seven years of calamity, in which a Hebrew prophet might have discerned the vengeance of Heaven for the crime of seizing Silesia, were at an end, the spectacle presented by Frederick's dominions was appalling. So thoroughly had some districts been laid waste that the very traces of the houses could hardly be found. Some towns were destroyed wholly, some half-burned. The very vestiges of thirteen thousand dwellings had disappeared. The fields lay unsown, no seed to cast upon them; the inhabitants lacked grain for food; and a kind of bewildered and amazed dispiritment RESULTS OF THE WAR.

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had sunk down upon the heart of the population. The ground could not he ploughed for want of horses; sixty thousand, it was caleulated, were required to start once more the regular cultivation of the soil. "In the provinces generally, half a million less population," according to Frederick's estimate, were on the land than when the war broke out; "upon only four millions and a half, the ninth man was wanting." It is strange that the question never seems to have pressed itself on Frederick's conscience, who was expressly responsible for that haggard spectacle of death and misery. If he had never attacked Silesia, and if he had not infuriated other European Courts, besides the Austrian, by his diplomatic falsity and political selfishness, not to mention his arrogance and blistering scorn, there is no reason to believe that one drop of that blood would have been shed. Frederick is Mr. Carlyle's last model king—the type of a kind of man without whom there can be no right governing authority, nothing but anarchy and chaos—and, on Frederick's own estimate, five hundred thousand of his subjects pay for his kingship with their lives in one grim week of years! Might we not reply to Mr. Carlyle that this one fact affords demonstration that the dependence of millions of lives upon the will of a single man—the very existence of kingship, except in the constitutional and representative sense — is a ghastly anachronism in modern civilization?

Frederick had been a close student of history, and one of the soundest of his father's educational notions was that the boy ought to be made thoroughly acquainted with the history of recent times and of his own country. He knew, therefore, that after the Thirty Years' War the wasted districts, left to the mere natural action of time, had required for their recovery about a hundred years. Warned by this deterrent example, he resolved not to trust to time, but to step in at once with active remedies. Mr. Carlyle thinks that political economists are pledged by their science to disapprove of this decision, but I see no cause why this should be so. The doctrine that it is unwise to do by artificial means what will be consummately well effected by natural means does not conflict with the common-sense rule of applying exceptional means to exceptional emergencies. A system of bounties to secure the growing of corn is likely, under ordinary circumstances, to be superfluous or pernicious; but if the farmers of a particular district are so impoverished that it is hardly possible for them to plough and sow their fields, they may be relieved, without injury to any one, by help in money, or by a temporary remission of taxes. The charge which "professors of the dismal science" have made against Frederick is sufficiently illustrated in a single well-packed sentence of Macaulay's, and there is no allusion in it to the extraordinary assistance which he lent his subjects when such had been rendered indispensable by war. "The public money," says Macaulay, " of which the King was generally so sparing, was lavishly spent in ploughing bogs, in planting mulberry-trees amidst the sand, in bringing sheep from Spain to improve the Saxon wool, in bestowing prizes for fine yarn, in building manufactories of porcelain, manufactories of carpets, manufactories of hardware, manufactories of lace." Whether Frederick was far wrong in stimulating his people to improve their wool and their yarn may be doubted, but it is clear that the case of a country desolated aud demoralized by war does not fall within any of the categories specified by Macaulay, nor does he, in his other remarks upon Frederick's administration, pronounce one syllabic of censure upon the policy of exceptional outlay in that instance.

During the war, Frederick had not burdened himself with any considerable debt, and at its close he had upward of three millions sterling ready for another campaign. With this money he set about rebuilding the towns, repaying the impositions wrung from the provinces by the enemy, and giving aid to the necessitous. The artillery, baggage, and comFREDERICK WORKING FOR HIS PEOPLE.

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missariat horses were distributed among those who had none, to be employed in tillage of the land. The Government grain stores were taken for the food of the people, and to sow the ground. All taxes were remitted to Silesia for six months; to I'omerania and the Newmark for two years. "Repeated gifts restored courage to the poor husbandmen, who began to despair of their lot; by the helps given, hope in all classes sprang up anew; encouragement of labor produced activity; love of country arose again with fresh life; in a word, the fields were cultivated again, manufacturers resumed their work, and the police, once more in vigor, corrected by degrees the vices that had taken root during the time of anarchy." Within the second year improvement was manifest, and within seven years the country had regained its wonted look of prosperity. "In Lower Silesia," says Frederick, with glowing satisfaction, " we managed to increase the number of husbandmen by four thousand families." With like alacrity and energy, he set about restoring the currency, and getting rid of the debased coinage which war had forced upon him. Within some fourteen months of the cessation of hostilities, the money was pure. One can understand enthusiasm for a King who could work for his people in this fashion!

CHAPTER XIX.

THK PARTITION OF POLAND.—FREDERICK'S LAW REFORMS.

'REDERICK has been much blamed for his share in the

partition of Poland; but if we are to do him anything like justice in that matter, we must view him, in Poland also, in capacity of regal husbandman. Mr. Carlyle goes much farther than merely to commend his administration of the part of Poland which fell to his share, averring that much is to be said in defence of the partition itself; and I own that, after considering the question as carefully as I can, I regard Mr. Carlyle, in this instance, as on the whole, right. He by no means pronounces an unqualified approval on Frederick. Poland, he says, was looked upon by Frederick as "a moribund anarch}-, fallen down as carrion on the common highways of the world; belonging to nobody in particular; liable to be cut into on a great and critically stringent occasion." He does not say that Frederick's conception of the way in which the Polish problem ought to be solved was morally right, or that "a higher rectitude" might not have dictated a different course from that pursued by the Prussian king. The case was exceptional, and no precedent is to be founded on it. "Were it never so just, proper, and needful, this is by nature a case of Lynch Law; upon which, in the way of approval or apology, no spoken word is permissible. Lynch being so dangerous a law-giver, even when an indispensable one!"

It is difficult to conceive a caso in which the intervention of Lynch law could have been more Galled for than in that of Poland. Not only was the anarchy of the country inveterate, chronic, incurable; not only did it involve risk to the neigh

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