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fidcnce in himself should prevent their exercise. He used to appeal to the queen to rouse her husband. Unhappily the influence of the ministers arrested the" king's decision; and the treaty which one of them made with Napoleon, after the battle of Austerlitz, destroyed the character of Prussia. The events •which followed, and the undisguised resolution of Napoleon to make Prussia the next victim, overthrew the policy of the ministry, and hurried the king into war. lie had hesitated when his decision might have secured him the alliance of liussia and Austria. He allowed himself to be plunged into war when Napoleon was strengthened by success; and •when the other European states were estranged from Prussia by her own misconduct. The conduct of the war was characterized by the same want of judgment. The choice of the Duke of Brunswick as general was a fatal blunder. The councils of Prussia were betrayed to Napoleon, and the incapacity which the Duke of Brunswick had formerly shown was now increased by age. The gallant Prince Louis fell at the commencement of the war, and the total defeat at Jena annihilated the hopes of Prussia. The queen was a partaker of the full weight of this disaster, as she had accompanied her husband to the army, both to cheer him by her presence, and to encourage the troops. She was, indeed, of a mind equal to the difficulties; while the king was depressed, she was collected; and Gentz, who met her in the camp, •was struck with the precision with which she reasoned, and the just judgment which she formed both of men and events. Whatever could be done under the unfavorable circumstances of the campaign was suggested by her; and the cheerful smile and sweet voice with which she said to the soldiers, "Children, fight like Prussians," inspired courage which indeed was vain, as there were no generals to direct it. After the fatal battle of Jena, she retired from Berlin to KUstrin, and from thence, as Lcipsic and Berlin were in the hands of the enemy, and Magdeburg fell, she fled with the king to Kbmgsberg. The king's fainting spirits were sustained by her resolution; but the trial, though it could not overcome her, bent her to the ground. Her subjects mourned when they saw her grief-bowed head as she walked at Kiistrin, with the king, on the walls; and those who were admitted to her presence at Konigsberg marked with sorrow the traces of deep suffering in her face. She had, indeed, personal as well as public wrongs to endure. As Napoleon found that the qnecn was the object of the loyal affections of the Prussians, he felt that the best mode of detaching them from their allegiance was to defame her character. The foulest calumnies against her
were circulated in public journals; and when the anguish caused by this and her husband's danger overthrew her health, public calamitics thickened upon her. For a fortnight she had been in danger from a low fever, -when news came of fresh defeats. On a damp winter's day she had to fly from Konigsberg and to take refuge in Memcl, the only town which remained to them. Still, through all her illness and sorrow, no word of impatience escaped her, and her smiles and kind worda cheered her attendants. The assistance of the Emperor Alexander changed the face of affairs, and the queen was enabled to return to Konigsberg, and to give her time to the instruction of her children. The literary men, who found a refuge there and were admitted to her society, speak with enchantment of her character — the childlike ingenuousness, the winning attention, and the thoughtful kindness. To her son, then a boy of twelve, she expressed her secret feelings, because she wished to strengthen his character; but with others she never talked on politics. History, education, manners, were her favorite topics; but above all religion. Bishop Borowski's society was-a great comfort to her. He found her at times in an agony of tears, when she poured forth the words, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" But he heard her also bear witness to the consolations of religion. "I have been reading," she said to him, "that precious 126th Psalm, on which we spoke together when you were last here. Amidst all the sorrow it expresses, the conquering hope rises like the morning dawn; and through the storm of misfortune one hears the glad song of the victor. There is in it a spirit of sadness yet of triumph, of resignation yet of glad confidence; it is a hallelujah in tears." These sentiments encouraged her under every reverse. Writing to her father from Konigsberg in May, 1807, when there was a gleam of light, she savs that, "Dantzig held out; Bliicher was in tne field; all will yet be well, and we shall yet be happy." The following month she •writes from Memcl, after Dantzig and Konigsberg had fallen, that she will soon have to leave the kingdom with her children; "but I direct my eyes to Heaven, from whence comes all, both of good and of evil; and my firm belief is, that He will not send more than we can bear." And, again, in a later letter, she writes, " On the path of right to live, to die, or, if so it must be, to live upon bread and salt, never shall I be wholly unhappy." Hope was now gone, yet she says: "\ ct all comes from thee, Father of Goodness; my faith cannot waver, though I can hope no more." One who had seen her in May, 1807, -writes thus of her habits: "The queen leads a most ! retired life; the exercise of benevolence and humanity fills up her days. She seeks, so far as her sex permits, to alleviate the miseries occasioned by war; she provides, with incessant efforts and with considerable contributions, for the wounded and the needy. She visits no theatres, gives no concerts nor balls; but every one who, like myself, has the pleasure of approaching her, must acknowledge that she, or else no woman upon earth, realizes the high idea of fairest womanhood. Not striking out softly magical is the impression which she makes on all. The calm, the resignation, with which she bears her misfortunes, deeply touches the heart."
From these scenes of suffering, but of tranquil patience, she was led to a sharper trial. The defeat of the Russian forces disposed the emperor of Russia to make peace; and the temptations which Napoleon held out to him on the side of ambition, drew both emperors into a close friendship. Prussia had now to learn how much her confederacy with Russia cost her. The assistance of Russia had been fruitless, her desertion was fatal. Happily, however, the designs of Napoleon were too openly made known. He himself had stated that his intentiontwas to name Jerome Buonaparte king of Prussia, and to expel the royal family. Even to Alexander he divulged his project of crushing the Prussian throne and leaving the sovereign scarcely a margrave of Brandenburg. But such projects alarmed Alexander; to have on his frontier such a neighbor as Napoleon was seriously to be deprecated. What fidelity to treaties would not make him do was suggested by his own interest. He exerted himself to preserve Prussia; and, as he hoped much from the talent and fascination of the queen, he invited her to Tilsit. It was a bitter trial to meet the usurper who had conquered her country, and the slanderer who had defamed her character. "What struggles it has cost me," she writes in her diary, " God only knows! It wil^ cost me much to be courteous to him; but the hardship is required of me, and I am used to make sacrifices." Her presence was indeed necessary; for the king of Prussia, naturally dejected, and now depressed by misfortune, was present, — a sad and helpless spectator of arrangements which he could not influence. When he spoke to Napoleon of the pain of losing hereditary provinces, Napoleon answered with contempt, " Such losses are common in the chances of war." When he answered, "That one could not forget them any more than one can forget This cradle;" "The camp should be the cradle," answered Napoleon; "a man has no time to think of suefi things." With these dispositions, and this insolence of conquest, it was not likely that a woman's influence could prevail. Yet the queen did all in her power.
She arrived on the 5th of July, at Tilsit, and was received by Napoleon with outward courtesy. At dinner she was seated between tho two emperors, and Napok'on paid her the utmost attention. He admitted afterwards not only her singular beauty, but her bewitching power; that in spite of all his efforts she constantly led the conversation, returned at pleasure to her subject, and directed it as she chose; but still with so much tact and delicacy, that it was impossible to take offence. In her interviews with Napoleon, she pleaded with warm eloquence the cause of her country; she conjured him to prove himself a hero, by showing magnanimity to a vanquished foe, to grant her the happiness of being able to assure him that he had won her esteem, and at least to give baek Mogdcburg. Napoleon was moved for a moment; his resolution was shaken, but the blight of Talleyrand's influence interposed. "Shall poste'riry say that Napoleon sacrificed his greatest conquest to a pretty woman?" Before her departure, the unhappy queen made a last effort; and then finding it useless, threw herself sobbing into her carriage, overwhelmed with the conviction of the useless degradation to which she had submitted.
The Elbe became the boundary of Prussia, and an enormous sum was laid upon the impoverished country. The king and queen returned to Memel, where in a country town and in a private house, they passed a life of the. strictest economy. Many a citizen was better lodged, and kept a better table; tho golden plate of the great Frederick was melted down; and loans and gifts from their sympathizing subjects were received in order to meet the French contribution. The king and queen were much affected by letters from their subjects in Lower Westphalia, whom they were obliged to abandon. "Our hearts were nigh to break," so the latter ran, "when we read thy farewell to us; we could not persuade ourselves that we should cease to be thy true subjects, we who loved thco always so much."
Under this cloud the faith of the queen did not fail, nor her strength of mind. "The king," she writes, "is greater than his opponent; he has refused a confederacy with evil, and this will bring Prussia a blessing some day." The king derived comfort from his wife's strength of mind, and from the consolations of his friend Bishop Borowski. He opened to him the counsels of Cod from His word, and led him to see through this sore discipline a vista of future blessings. In every thing the vigor of the queen's mind was felt. Hardenburg and Stein were the ablest ministers of Prussia. Stein had been unjustly dismissed early in 1807, through the cabal of a rival minister. Hardenburg had been sacrificed to the peremptory orders of Napoleon. Before his retirement he had entreated the king to send for the able and faithful Stein; but it was natural that Stein should remember the wrongs he had received. Then it was that the queen wrote to him a letter of entreaty, and she prevailed. "Stein is coming," she writes, " and with him a little light dawns upon me." "Thank God," she writes again, "Stein is here; that is a proof that God has not forsaken us." It was indeed a fearful state of things which the new minister of the interior had to face. A weak country was trampled under foot by a grasping conqueror. The Prussian ambassador at Paris was refused an interview with the emperor, and was treated by his minister for foreign affairs with insolent contempt Prussia must take care how she behaved, her future fate depended on her submission. A portion of Silesia had been left to her. Now it was torn away; the concession, it was said, had been a mistake, a slip of the pen. "Say, if that be not enough," writes the queen," to justify despair?" Marshal Soult domineered over Prussia, — " he does," the queen writes, "what he thooscs, and may hold us prisoners in Memel for years." An enormous contribution must be paid, and to secure it the French demanded five fortresses, to be garrisoned with 40,000 Frenchmen, who were to be clothed and fed at the expense of Prussia. "This is our frightful position; every one here is in despair. My future is of the gloomiest. If we only keep Berlin; but sometimes the thought weighs on my boding heart, that that, too, will be taken from us and made the capital of another kingdom. Then I should have only one wish, — to emigrate far away, to live as private people, and, if possible, forget." The queen's feelings are more fully developed in her letters to her father, written early in the spring of 1808 : —
"All is over with us for the present, if not forever. For my life, I liopo nothing more. I have resigned myself, and in tliis resignation, in this dispensation of heaven, I am now tranquil and enjoy repose, which, if it bo not earthly happiness', is something more, even spiritual peace."
She then remarks, in very striking terms, on the dealings of Providence, which cmployed Napoleon as its instrument to correct the vices ot German institutions, and to break up that old system which should pass away. And then she speaks of him with a true prophecy, as not firm and secure upon his glittering throne. "For," she says, "truth and justice only arc calm and secure; while he, in his boundless ambition, consults only himself and his personal interest; dazzled by success, and thinking nothing impossible to him, he is
therefore without all moderation; and he who does not keep within measure, loses his balance and falls." Her belief in God and in his moral government gave her an assured hope that the reign of violence would be temporary, and that better times would come. Of herself she speaks in terms alike touching in their resignation and foreboding. "The good which is to come we shall not behold," she says, " but shall die upon the road. As God wills; all as he wills it; but I find strength, courage, and cheerfulness in this hope, which lies deep in my soul. The world is in a course of transit; we, too, must pass through it. Let us take heed that every day rondel's us more prepared and better."
Yet she had her consolations. The king's affection was constant; "his friendship, his confidence, and affectionate behavior make my happiness." As the French troops had partially evacuated Prussia, the royal family was able, by January, 1808. to remove to Konigsberg. There Louisa, whose health had suffered severely, gave birth to a daughter. A touching ceremonial took place at its baptism, when representatives from the various classes of old Prussia stood} sponsors to the child, and, as they laid their hands upon it,
Erayed in mutual sorrow that the king and is people might remain united. As the spring came on, the king hired a small country house near Kbnigsbcrg, to which he removed his family; a house so small as not to contain all the royal children, but they were surrounded with the affection of their people, who watched at their own doors to see them pass, and to bless them, hung garlands of flowers on their gate to mark the king's birthday, and paid to the queen the homage of a warm attachment, whicli was increased by her acts of considerate kindness. The village country house revived the thoughts and pleasures of their earlier days. "You will gladly hear, dear father," she writes, "that the misfortune which has struck us, has not penetrated to our married and domestic happiness, but has rather confirmed and purified it. The king, the best of men, is more affectionate and ki:x! than ever. I often think I see in him still the lover and the bridegroom. More given as ho is to actions than to words, I recognize his consideration and love for me everywhere. Only yesterday he said to mo quietly and simply, with his truthful eyes fixed upon me, 'Dear Louisa, thou hast "become to mo still dearer and more precious in misfortune. Now I know from experience what I possess in thee.'" Then she tells her father of the character of her children; "on whom," she says, " our eyes dwell with satisfaction and hope. One does not require much to be contented; health, air, tranquil scenery, a few shady trees, a few flower beds, and an arbor,
are enough. My husband and I arc, with our children, sufficient for ourselves; besides • I have good books, a good piano, and a good conscience, and thus one can live more quietly amidst the storms of life, than those by whom the storms are excited."
In the interest of her children, and in the study of history, the queen sought to forget her misfortunes. As the future was dark, she strove to live in the light of the past; and realizing with her fervid imagination the great characters of the past, she painted to the historian the scenes and men whom he I had described, with a vivid power which surprised him. She in her modesty was the only one who was unconscious of her power; the compliment of the historian she thought was paid to her rank, and her great minister, Stein, was aroused at last to say, " O gracious queen, how unjust is your distrust of your own judgment!"
Another subject, which powerfully interested, her, was the education of the people. She saw the deep corruption of the upper classes; her hope was, that by good training the lower might be improved. She read eagerly every book which treated of this subject, and followed with eager delight the new plans and writings of Pcstalozzi. "Were I my own mistress, I would get into my carriage and roll away to Pestalozzi in Switzerland, to thank the noble man with tears in my eyes. He docs his best for mankind. In the name of mankind, I thank him for it"
One passage in Pcstalozzi's work struck her: "Sorrow and suffering are God's blessings." "Yes," she said, "and even in my sorrow I can say, it is God's blessing; how much nearer am I to God by reason of it." The fearful events which were passing filled her mind. In July, 1808, she refers to the day as the anniversary of her interview with Napoleon. "Ah! what a remembrance I how I suffered then! suffered more for the sake of others than myself! I wept, I entreated in the name of pity and humanity, in the name of our misfortunes, of the laws which govern the world; and I was only a woman, and yet how highly exalted above this adversary." The monstrous attack of Napoleon on Spain added to her gloom. "It is a new finger trace of the iron hand," she writes, "which is passing over the face of Europe — a warning one for us." The gallantry of the Spaniards inspired her with sonic hope. But fresh blows were at hand. The faithful Stein, •who had occasioned Napoleon's anger by his manly policy, was compelled to resign. The kindness of the Emperor Alexander brought some alleviation. In proceeding to Krfurth he had passed through Konigsbcrg, and had urged the king and queen to return his visit at St Petersburg. They did so early in 1809,
were received with the utmost attention, and overwhelmed with gifts; but Louisa turned from the splendor and the gifts which the emperor heaped upon her with a weary heart When some one remarked to her afterwards on the beauty of a set of pearl ornaments which she wore, "Yes," she said, " I kept these back, when I had to part with all my either jewels. Pearls suit me. They are emblematic of tears, and I have shed so many." It was a relief to her to return to Konigsberg. "Nothing dazzles me now," she said, "and once more I repeat, my kingdom is not of this world." Her friend Borowski thus describes her: "Her seriousness has a quiet cheerfulness about it; and the faith and courage which God gives her, spread over her whole being a sweetness which may be called dignified. Her eyes, indeed, have lost their early liveliness, and one sees in them that she has wept, and still weeps much; but they have acquired a mild expression of soft melancholy and silent longing, which is better than mere joyousness. The bloom has vanished from her checks, and is replaced by a soft pallor; vet her face is still fair, and the white roses there please me almost better than the earlier red ones. Round her mouth, where a sweet happy smile used to play, one now from time to time remarks a trembling of the lips, which speaks of pain, but not ot bitter pain." The gallant struggle. in the Tyrol gave her a momentary delight. She hailed the flame of freedom kindled, as she says, both in the mountains of the Tyrol awl of Spain. "What a man is this Andreas Uofer; a peasant is become a general, and what a general! His arms are prayer, his ally God. He fights on bended knee, with folded hands, and conquers as with the flaming sword of the cherubim." Then she hopes that the days of the maid of Orleans may return, and that thus, perhaps, the evil adversary will be overcome. But the war with Austria darkened her prospects. Her birthday had been kept by the simple citizens of Konigsberg in March, 1809, by a banquet at the castle and a fete given by the inhabitants of the town. Tlie poor queen was ill, and was heart-broken with sorrow and foreboding. Reproaches fell upon her, a huge burden of sorrow; she says she " had to sigh and swallow her tears." "My birthday," she writes to Iier confidential friend, " was a fearful day for me. My heart seemed breaking. I danced, I smiled, I said pleasant things to the fetegivers. I was friendly to every one, while all the time I knew not which way to turn for misery. To whom will Prussia belong next year? whither shall we all be dispersed? God Almighty, Father, have pity!"
When afterwards she heard of the defeat of Austria at Wagram, she writes, — " Alas! O God, how much trouble is gone over me! Thou alone hclpest. I no longer believe in an earthly future. God knows where I shall be buried; scarcely on German ground. Austria sings her swan song, and then, adc Gcrmania."
But at length there was a change for the better. Princu William, after long negotiation, obtained the evacuation of Prussia by the French troops. Two days before Christmas, 1809, the king and queen returned to Berlin. However basely the upper classes had succumbed to Napoleon, the heart of the citizens was true. They sent as their gift a new carriage to meet the queen out of Berlin, which they had lined with lilac, her favorite color; and in the midst of thundering cannon and pealing bells, the king on horseback, and the queen in her new carriage, re-entered the capital.
In the previous autumn she had given birth to a prince; and her health, undermined by sorrow and the severe climate, had been unusually delicate. She had then longed for a return to Berlin; but now, when her wish was granted, and she bent forward eagerly to see each well-known spot, and to return her people's greetings, the change that had passed since she had entered the capital a happy bride sixteen years before, came across her, and her smiles were mingled with tears.
In her desertion she had found a faithful friend. On a public occasion Napoleon had uttered one of his scandalous falsehoods agaiiist her. The French clergyman, Erman, an old man, bluntly exclaimed, " That is false, sire!" which so astonished Napoleon, that he passed the remark by. Now, on a public occasion, the queen went to the old man with her filled glass, drank " to the health of the knight who had the courage to break a lance for the honor of his queen," and asked him to pledge her.
But though the joy of the citizens and the delight of her husband brought soothing thoughts, joy came too late for the worn spirit and overtasked frame. She had borne up during the tension of anxiety, but her strength gave way in the first moment of rest. She had herself said, as she returned to Berlin, " I feel overpowered with joy, but black forebodings trouble me." At first, a subdued melancholy took the place of her usual cheerfulness, and slight attacks of spasms showed where the malady had fixed itself. But she revived as spring advanced; her piety brought composure; that piety which spoke little, which approached religion with a sort of diffident humility, and yet presented to the thoughtful observer the evidence
of a longing and thirsting for holiness which could not be mistaken. She received the sacrament on Easter Sunday, and the clergyman, who administered it, spoke afterwards of that scene as one never to be forgotten. Her countenance seemed lighted up with holiness, and her noble features wore a heavenly expression. Her old father, the Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, had met her in Berlin. She had promised to return his visit in summer, and see once more her grandmother, who was too infirm to travel. On the 24th of June she removed toNeu-Strelitz, where she was welcomed bv all her own family, and where the king joined her on the 28th. She spoke to her brother of her happiness, and wrote a line on her father's desk, the last she ever wrote, expressive of her joy. On the 29th the attack of spasms of the heart came on; she rallied at first, and though during the king's absence (who was compelled to return to Berlin) the medical men lioped that the danger was over, the spasms returned with increased force.
She lay, except when the attack was on her, in perfect peace, looking, as some one remarked, like an angel, and repeating to herself parts of hymns which she had learned in her childhood. The king's letters she put under her pillow, and read them with delight. For her husband and children's sake she clung to life. "It would be hard," she said, "if I should die; think of the king and the children!" Before the last attack the king returned, and on the 19th of July all was over. His arm was round her when the spasms became more violent. "Lord Jesus, make it short," she said, gave a low sigb, and so departed.
The king's anguish and affection -were shown in his after-life. The mausoleum at Charlottenburg bears witness, through the genius of Rauch, to the lost queen. The school for the training of females, and the almshouscs for the poor set up in her memory, were called by her name. The order of the Iron Cross was instituted on her birthday; and when the great struggle came, and Prussia once more took her part in behalf of the liberties of Europe on the well-fought fields of Dresden, and Lcipsic, and Quatre Bras, the arm of many a Prussian soldier was nerved and his heart steadied by the recollection of her wrongs whom Prussia had lost,—lost through imperial cruelty and selfish ambition; but not till she had made for herself a spotless fame which has given lustre to queens, and set an example which, we trust, will secure a lasting blessing to the Prussian throne.