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Prussian army was much weakened, and the cavalry almost totally destroyed. Peace is easily made when it is necessary to both parties; and the king of Prussia had now reason to believe that the Austrians were not his only enemies. When he found Charles advancing, he sent to Broglio for assistance, and was answered that “he must have orders from Versailles.” Such a desertion of his most powerful ally disconcerted him, but the battle was unavoidable.
When the Prussians were returned to the camp, the king, hearing that an Austrian officer was brought in mortally wounded, had the condescension to visit him. The officer, struck with this act of humanity, said, after a short conversation, “I should die, sir, contentedly after this honour, if I might first show my gratitude to your majesty by informing you with what allies you are now united, allies that have no intention but to deceive you.” The king appearing to suspect this intelligence; “Sir," said the Austrian, “if you will permit me to send a messenger to Vienna, I believe the queen will not refuse to transmit an intercepted letter now in her hands, which will put my report beyond all doubt.”
The messenger was sent, and the letter transmitted, which contained the order sent to Broglio, who was, first, forbidden to mix his troops on any occasion with the Prussians. Secondly, he was ordered to act always at a distance from the king. Thirdly, to keep always a body of twenty thousand men to observe the Prussian army. Fourthly, to observe very closely the motions of the king, for important reasons. Fifthly, to hazard nothing;
but to pretend want of reinforcements or the absence of Bellisle.
The king now with great reason considered himself as disengaged from the confederacy, being deserted by the Saxons, and betrayed by the French; he therefore accepted the mediation of king George, and in three weeks after the battle of Czaslaw made peace with the queen of Hungary, who granted to him the whole province of Silesia, a country of such extent and opulence that he is said to receive from it one third part of his revenues. By one of the articles of this treaty it is stipulated, “that neither should assist the enemies of the other.'
The queen of Hungary thus disentangled on one side, and set free from the most formidable of her enemies, soon persuaded the Saxons to peace; took possession of Bavaria; drove the emperor, after all his imaginary conquests, to the shelter of a neutral town, where he was treated as a fugitive; and besieged the French in Prague, in the city which they had taken from her.
Having thus obtained Silesia, the king of Prussia returned to his own capital, where he reformed his laws, forbid the torture of criminals, concluded a defensive alliance with England, and applied himself to the augmentation of his army.
This treaty of peace with the queen of Hungary was one of the first proofs, given by the king of Prussia, of the secresy of his counsels. Bellisle, the French general, was with him in the camp, as a friend and coadjutor in appearance, but in truth a spy, and a writer of intelligence. Men who have great confidence in their own penetration are often
by that confidence deceived; they imagine that they can pierce through all the involutions of intrigue without the diligence necessary to weaker minds, and therefore sit idle and secure; they believe that none can hope to deceive them, and therefore that none will try. Bellisle, with all his reputation of sagacity, though he was in the Prussian camp, gave every day fresh assurances of the king's adherence to the allies; while Broglio, who commanded the army at a distance, discovered sufficient reason to suspect his desertion. Broglio was slighted, and Bellisle believed, till on the 11th of June the treaty was signed, and the king declared his resolution to keep a neutrality.
This is one of the great performances of polity which mankind seem agreed to celebrate and admire; yet to all this nothing was necessary but the determination of a very few men to be silent.
From this time the queen of Hungary proceeded with an uninterrupted torrent of success. The French, driven from station to station, and deprived of fortress after fortress, were at last enclosed with their two generals, Bellisle and Broglio, in the walls of Prague, which they had stored with all provisions necessary to a town besieged, and where they defended themselves three months before any prospect appeared of relief.
The Austrians, having been engaged chiefly in the field, and in sudden and tumultuary excursions rather than a regular war, had no great degree of skill in attacking or defending towns. They likewise would naturally consider all the mischiefs done to the city as falling ultimately on
themselves, and therefore were willing to gain it by time rather than by force.
It was apparent that, how long soever Prague might be defended, it must be yielded at last, and therefore all arts were tried to obtain an honourable capitulation. The messengers from the city were sent back sometimes unheard, but always with this answer, “ that no terms would be allowed, but that they should yield themselves prisoners of war,"
The condition of the garrison was in the eyes of all Europe desperate ; but the French, to whom the praise of spirit and activity cannot be denied, resolved to make an effort for the honour of their arms. Maillebois was at that time encamped with his army in Westphalia. . Orders were sent him to relieve Prague. The enterprise was considered as romantick. Maillebois was a march of forty days distant from Bohemia, the passes were narrow, and the ways foul; and it was likely that Prague would be taken before he could reach it. The march was, however, begun : the army, being joined by that of count Saxe, consisted of fifty thousand men, who, notwithstanding all the difficulties which two Austrian armies could put in their way, at last entered Bohemia. The siege of Prague, though not raised, was remitted, and a communication was now opened to it with the country. But the Austrians, by perpetual intervention, hindered the garrison from joining their friends. The officers of Maillebois incited him to a battle, because the army was hourly lessening by the want of provisions; but, instead of pressing on to Prague, he retired into Bavaria, and completed the ruin of the emperor's territories.
The court of France, disappointed and offended, conferred the chief command upon Broglio, who escaped from the besiegers with very little difficulty, and kept the Austrians employed till Bellisle by a sudden sally quitted Prague, and without any great loss joined the main army. Broglio then retired over the Rhine into the French dominions, wasting in his retreat the country which he had undertaken to protect, and burning towns, and destroying magazines of corn, with such wantonness, as gave reason to believe that he expected commendation from his court for any mischiefs done, by whatever means.
The Austrians pursued their advantages, recovered all their strong places, in some of which French garrisons had been left, and made themselves masters of Bavaria, by taking not only Munich the capital, but Ingolstadt the strongest fortification in the elector's dominions, where they found a great number of cannon and quantity of ammunition intended in the dreams of projected greatness for the siege of Vienna, all the archives of the state, the plate and ornaments of the electoral palace, and what had been .considered as most worthy of preservation. Nothing but the warlike stores were taken away. An oath of allegiance to the queen was required of the Bavarians, but without any explanation whether temporary or perpetual.
The emperor lived at Francfort in the security that was allowed to neutral places, but without