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[279] put aside their ancient rivalry, and joined to de-
chap. XII.} 1757.
fend the Europe of the Middle Age, with its legitimate despotisms, its aristocracies, and its ecclesiastical powers, against Protestantism and the encroachments of free inquiry.

Among the rulers of the European continent, Frederic, with but four millions of subjects, stood forth alone, ‘the unshaken bulwark of Protestantism and freedom of thought.’1 His kingdom itself was the offspring of the Reformation, in its origin revolutionary and Protestant. His father—whose palace life was conducted with the economy and simplicity of the German middle class,—at whose evening entertainments a wooden chair, a pipe, and a mug of beer were placed for each of the guests that assembled to discuss politics with their prince,2—harsh as a parent, severe as a master, despotic as a sovereign—received with painfully scrupulous piety every article of the Lutheran creed and every form of its worship. His son, who inherited an accumulated treasure and the best army in Europe, publicly declared his opinion, that, ‘politically considered, Protestantism was the most desirable religion;’3 that ‘his royal electoral house, without one example of apostasy, had professed it for centuries;’ and Protestantism saw in him its champion. As the contest advanced, the fervent Clement the Thirteenth commemorated an Austrian victory over Prussia by the present of a consecrated cap and

1 Daum's Denkwurdigkeiten, IV. 387. Politz: Umriss des Preussischen Staates, 195, 210, 237, 242. Schlosser's Geschichte des achtzehnten Jahrhunderts, II. 276.

2 Schlosser, i. 249, 252.

3 Preuss: Leben Friedric II., i. 105, 106.

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