sians, were advancing, as if to crush them and end
the war. ‘The Marquis
,’ said Voltaire
, ‘will lose his hereditary states, as well as those which he has won by conquest.’
Assembling his principal officers beneath a beechtree, which is still to be seen between Neumarkt and Leuthen
, Frederic addressed them with a gush of eloquence.
‘While I was restraining the French
and Imperialists, Charles of Lorraine
has succeeded in conquering Schweidnitz, repulsing Prince Bevern, mastering Breslau
A part of Silesia
, my capital, my stores of war, are lost; my disasters would be extreme, had I not a boundless trust in your courage, firmness, and love of country.
There is not one of you, but has distinguished himself by some great and honorable deed.
The moment for courage has come.
Listen, then; I am resolved, against all rules of the art of war, to attack the nearly threefold stronger army of Charles of Lorraine
, wherever I may find it. There is no question of the number of the enemy, nor of the strength of their position.
We must beat them, or all of us find our graves before their batteries.
Thus I think, thus I mean to act; announce my decision to all the officers of my army; prepare the privates for the scenes which are at hand; let them know I demand unqualified obedience.
They are Prussians; they will not show themselves unworthy of the name.
Does any one of you fear to share all dangers with me, he can this day retire; I never will reproach him.’
Then, as the enthusiasm kindled around him, he added, with a serene smile, ‘I know that not one of you will leave me. I rely on your true aid, and am assured of victory.
If I fall, the country must reward you. Go, tell your ’