"Late in the season (always late, War-Offices at home, and Captaincies here, being in such a state), they emerged from Stralsund, an impregnable place of their own,--where the men, I observe, have had to live on dried fishy substances, instead of natural boiled oatmeal; [Montalembert, i. 32-37, 335. 394, &c. (that of the demand for Neise PORRIDGE, which interested me, I cannot find again).] and have died extensively in consequence:-- they march from Stralsund, a forty or thirty miles, till they reach the Swedish-Pommern boundary, Peene River; a muddy sullen stream, flowing through quagmire meadows, which are miles broad, on each shore. River unfordable everywhere; only to be crossed in four or five places, where paved causeways are. The Swedes, with deliberation, cross Peene; after some time, capture the bits of Redoubts, and the one or two poor Prussian Towns upon it; Anklam Redoubt, PEENE-MUNDE (Peene-mouth) Redoubt; and rove forward into Prussian Pommern, or over into the Uckermark, for fifty, for a hundred miles; exacting contributions; foraging what they can; making the poor country-people very miserable, and themselves not happy,--their soldiers 'growing yearly more plunderous,' says Archenholtz, 'till at length they got, though much shyer of murder, to resemble Cossacks,' in regard to other pleas of the crown.
"There is generally some fractional regiment or two of Prussian force, left under some select General Manteuffel, Colonel Belling; who hangs diligently on the skirts of them, exploding by all opportunities. There have been Country Militias voluntarily got on foot, for the occasion; five or six small regiments of them; officered by Prussian Veterans of the Squirearchy in those parts; who do excellent service. The Governor of Stettin, Bevern, our old Silesian friend, strikes out now and then, always vigilant, prompt and effective, on a chance offering. This, through Summer, is what opposition can be made: and the Swedes, without magazines, scout- service, or the like military appliances, but willing enough to fight [when they can see], and living on their shifts, will rove inward, perhaps 100 miles; say southwestward, say southeastward [towards Ruppin, which we used to know],--they love to keep Mecklenburg usually on their flank, which is a friendly Country. Small fights befall them, usually beatings; never anything considerable. That is their success through Summer.
"Then, in Autumn, some remnant more of Prussian regulars arrive, disposable now for that service; upon which the Swedes are driven over Peene again (quite sure to be driven, when the River with its quagmires freezes); lose Anklam Redoubt, Peene-munde Redoubt; lose Demmin, Wollin; are followed into Swedish Pommern, oftenest to the gates of Stralsund, and are locked up there, there and in Rugen adjoining, till a new season arrive."--This year (1757-1758), Lehwald, on turning the key of Stralsund, might have done a fine feat; frost having come suddenly, and welded Rugen to mainland. "What is to hinder you from starving them into surrender?" signifies Friedrich, hastily: "Besiege me Stralsund!" Which Lehwald did; but should have been quicker about it; or the thaw came too soon, and admitted ships with provision again. Upon which Lehwald resigned, to a General Graf von Dohna; and went home, as grown too old: and Dohna kept them bottled there till the usual Russian Advent (deep in June); by which time, what with limited stockfish diet, what with sore labor (breaking of the ice, whenever frost reappeared) and other hardship, more than half of them had died.-- "Every new season there was a new General tried; but without the least improvement. There was mockery enough, complaint enough; indignant laughter in Stockholm itself; and the Dalecarlians thought of revolting: but the Senator Committee-men held firm, ballasted by French gold, for four years.
"The Prussian Militias are a fine trait of the matter; about fifteen regiments in different parts;--about five in Pommern, which set the example; which were suddenly raised last Autumn by the STANDE themselves, drilled in Stettin continually, while the Swedes were under way, and which stood ready for some action, under veterans of the squirearchy, when the Swedes arrived. They were kept up through the War. The STANDE even raised a little fleet, [Archenholtz, i. 110.] river fleet and coast fleet, twelve gunboats, with a powerful carronade in each, and effective men and captain; a great check on plundering and coast mischief, till the Swedes, who are naval, at last made an effort and destroyed them all."
Friedrich was very sensible of these procedures on the part of his STANDE; and perhaps readers are not prepared for such, or for others of the like, which we could produce elsewhere, in a Country without Constitution to speak of. Friedrich raises no new taxes,-- except upon himself exclusively, and these to the very blood:-- Friedrich gets no Life-and-Fortune Addresses of the vocal or printed sort, but only of the acted. Very much the preferable kind, where possible, to all parties concerned. These poor militias and flotillas one cheerfully puts on record; cheerfully nothing else, in regard to such a Swedish War;--nor shall we henceforth insult the human memory by another word upon it that is not indispensable.
One of Friedrich's most important affairs, at present,--vitally connected with his Army and its furnishings, which is the all- important,--was his Subsidy Treaty with England. It is the third treaty he has signed with England in regard to this War; the second in regard to subsidy for it; and it is the first that takes real practical effect. It had cost difficulty in adjusting, not a little correspondence and management from Mitchell; for the King is very shy about subsidy, though grim necessity prescribes it as inevitable; and his pride, and his reflections on the last Subsidy Treaty, "One Million sterling, Army of Observation, and Fleet in the Baltic," instead of which came Zero and Kloster-Zeven, have made him very sensitive. However, all difficulties are got over; Plenipotentiary Knyphausen, Pitt, Britannic Majesty and everybody striving to be rational and practical; and at London, 11th April, 1758, Subsidy Treaty, admirably brief and to the point, is finished: [In four short Articles; given in
In all the spoken or covenanted points the Treaty was accurately kept: 670,000 pounds, two-thirds of a million very nearly, will, in punctual promptitude, come to Friedrich's hand, were October here. And in regard to Ferdinand (a point left silent, this too), Friedrich's expectations were exceeded, not the contrary, so long as Pitt endured. This is the Third English-Prussian Treaty of the Seven-Years War, as we said above; and it is the First that took practical effect: this was followed by three others, year after year, of precisely the same tenor, which were likewise practical and punctually kept,--the last of them, "12th December, 1760," had reference to Subsidy for 1761:--and before another came, Pitt was out. So that, in all, Friedrich had Four Subsidies; 670,000 pounds x4=2,680,000 pounds of English money altogether:--and it is computed by some, there was never as much good fighting otherwise had out of all the 800,000,000 pounds we have funded in that peculiar line of enterprise. [First Treaty, 16th January, 1756 (is in
Pitt had no difficulty with his Parliament, or with his Public, in regard to this Subsidy; the contrary rather. Seldom, if ever, was England in such a heat of enthusiasm about any Foreign Man as about Friedrich in these months since Rossbach and what had followed. Celebrating this "Protestant Hero," authentic new Champion of Christendom; toasting him, with all the honors, out of its Worcester and other Mugs, very high indeed. Take these Three Clippings from the old Newspapers, omitting all else; and rekindle these, by good inspection and consideration, into feeble symbolic lamps of an old illumination, now fallen so extinct.