The plan of France, as conceived and pushed resolutely forward by the Count of Belleisle, the renowned minister of Louis XV., was to divide Germany into four small kingdoms of about equal power, Bavaria, Saxony, Prussia, and Austria. The King of Bavaria, as one of the protgs of France, was to be chosen Emperor of Germany. To accomplish this, Austria was to be reduced to a second-rate power by despoiling the young queen, Maria Theresa, of large portions of her territory, and annexing271 the provinces wrested from her to the petty states of Prussia, Bavaria, and Saxony, thus sinking Austria to an equality with them. France, the grand nation, would then be indisputably the leading power in Europe. By bribery, intimidation, and inciting one kingdom against another, the court of Versailles could control the policy of the whole Continent. Magnificent as was this plan, many circumstances seemed then combining to render it feasible. The King of Prussia, inspired simply by the desire of enlarging his kingdom by making war against Austria, and striving to wrest Silesia from the realms of Maria Theresa, was co-operating, in the most effectual way possible, to further the designs of France. And it had now also become a matter of great moment to Frederick that he should secure the alliance of the court of Versailles.

THE DRESSING-GOWN.

Frederick, not willing utterly to destroy the city, which he wished to preserve for himself, and perhaps, though no word of his indicates it, influenced by some sympathy for the seven thousand unoffending inhabitants of the place, men, women, and children, very many of whom were Protestants, who were suffering far more from the missiles of war than the Austrian garrison, arrested the fire of his batteries, and decided to convert the siege into a blockade. His own troops were suffering much in the bleak fields swept by the gales of winter. The whole of Silesia was in his hands excepting the small towns of Brieg, Glogau, and Neisse. These were so closely invested that neither food nor re-enforcements could be introduced to them. Should they hold out until spring, Frederick could easily then, aided by the warm weather, break open their gates. 413 The final and decisive struggle took place on and around two important eminences, called the Sterbohol Hill and the Homoly Hill. Both of these heights the Prussians stormed. In the following glowing words Carlyle pictures the scene:

My dear Brother,Your bad conduct has greatly injured my affairs. It is not the enemy, but your ill-concerted measures, which have done me this harm. My generals also are inexcusable, whether they gave you bad advice or only suffered you to come to such injudicious resolutions. In this sad situation it only remains for me to make a last attempt. I must hazard a battle. If we can not conquer, we must all of us have ourselves killed.