“甩锅”行径对防疫有害无益

The fact was, that the diplomacy of Voltaire had probably not the slightest influence in guiding the action of the king. Frederick had become alarmed in view of the signal successes of the armies of Maria Theresa, under her brother-in-law, Prince Charles of Lorraine. Several Austrian generals, conspicuous among whom was Marshal Traun, were developing great military ability. The armies of Austria had conquered Bohemia and Bavaria. The French troops, discomfited in many battles, had been compelled to retreat to the western banks of the Rhine, vigorously pursued by Prince Charles. The impotent emperor Charles Albert, upon whom France had placed the imperial crown of Germany, was driven from his hereditary realm, and the heart-broken man, in poverty and powerlessness, was an emperor but in name. It was evident that Maria Theresa was gathering her strength to reconquer Silesia. She had issued a decree that the Elector of Bavaria was not legitimately chosen emperor. It was very manifest that her rapidly increasing influence would soon enable her to dethrone the unfortunate Charles Albert, and to place the imperial crown upon the brow of her husband.

When you sent me, inclosed in your letter, those verses for our Marcus Aurelius of the North, I fully intended to pay my court to him with them. He was at that time to have come to Brussels incognito. But the quartan fever, which unhappily he still has, deranged all his projects. He has sent me a courier to Brussels, and so I set out to find him in the neighborhood of Cleves. Frederick, who was then in the zenith of his admiration for Voltaire, describes as follows, in a letter to his friend M. Jordan, his impressions of the interview:

After dinner, writes Voltaire, the king retired alone into his cabinet, and made verses till five or six oclock. A concert commenced at seven, in which the king performed on the flute as well as the best musician. The pieces of music executed were also often of the kings composition. On the days of public ceremonies he exhibited great magnificence. It was a fine spectacle to see him at table, surrounded by twenty princes of the empire, served on the most beautiful gold plate in Europe, and attended by thirty handsome pages, and as many young heyducs, superbly dressed, and carrying great dishes of massive gold. After these banquets the court attended the opera in the great theatre, three hundred feet long. The most admirable singers and the best dancers were at this time in the pay of the King of Prussia.

The unsuccessfulest negotiation well imaginable by a public man. Strehlen, Monday, 7th August, 1741Frederick has vanished into the interior of his tent, and the two diplomatic gentlemen, the wind struck out of them in this manner, remain gazing at one another. Here, truly, is a young, royal gentleman that knows his own mind, while so many do not. Unspeakable imbroglio of negotiations, mostly insane, welters over all the earth; the Belleisles, the Aulic Councils, the British Georges, heaping coil upon coil; and here, notably in that now so extremely sordid murk of wiggeries, inane diplomacies, and solemn deliriums, dark now and obsolete to all creatures, steps forth one little human figure, with something of sanity in it, like a star, like a gleam of steel, sheering asunder your big balloons, and letting out their diplomatic hydrogen. Salutes with his hat, Gentlemen, gentlemen, it is of no use! and vanishes into the interior of his tent.