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The latter part of April Prince Charles had gathered a large force of Austrian regulars at Olmütz, with the manifest intention of again invading Silesia. The King of Poland had entered into cordial alliance with Austria, and was sending a large army of Saxon troops to co-operate in the enterprise. Fredericks indignation was great, and his peril still greater. Encamped in the valley of the Neisse, assailed on every side, and menaced with still more formidable foes, he dispatched orders to the Old Dessauer immediately to establish an army of observation (thirty thousand strong) upon the frontiers of Saxony. He was to be prepared instantly, upon the Saxon troops leaving Saxony, to ravage the country with the most merciless plunderings of war.
Upon the reception of this letter, the prince, without replying to it, verbally asked leave, through one of his officers, to throw up his commission and retire to his family in Berlin. The king scornfully replied, Let him go; he is fit for nothing else. In the deepest dejection the prince returned to his home. Rapidly his health failed, and before the year had passed away, as we shall have occasion hereafter to mention, he sank into the grave, deploring his unhappy lot.
The dying king strangely decided, at that late hour, to abdicate. All the officials were hurriedly summoned to his chamber. The poor old man, bandaged, with his night-cap on, and a mantle thrown over him, was wheeled into the anteroom where the company was assembled. As he saw P?llnitz he exclaimed, sadly, It is all over. Noticing one in tears, he said to him, kindly, Nay, my friend, this is a debt we all have to pay. The king then solemnly abdicated in favor of his good son Frederick. The deed was made out, signed, and sealed. But scarcely was it executed ere the king fainted, and was carried to his bed. Still the expiring lamp of life flickered in its socket. About eleven oclock the clergyman, M. Cochius, was sent for. The king was in his bed, apparently speechless. He, however, revived a little, and was in great pain, often exclaiming, Pray for me; pray for me; my trust is in the Savior. He called for a mirror, and carefully examined his face for some moments, saying at intervals, Not so worn out as I thought. An ugly face. As good as dead already.31 Salzdahlum, Noon, June 12, 1733.
It was perhaps the most difficult of all questions to answer. How are the blind eyes to be opened, and the deaf ears unstopped? How is the frozen heart to be softened, and the slumbering affection to be wakened into leaf and bloom? How is the Father to be made acceptable to the children that are insensible of His goodness, and will none of His reproof? And how is the Saviour to be presented unto those to whom He has hitherto been without form or comeliness, in such beauty as that they shall desire Him?
It is inconceivable to me, Frederick replied, how Austria should dare to think of such a proposal. Limburg! Are there not solemn engagements upon Austria which render every inch of ground in the Netherlands inalienable?