<155> anything but a squadron to be sent to the Baltic, and have yet received no answer to my demand.“ Upon this I offered to write again; he answered cooly « It is to no purpose, they will give no answer; I know you have written about it several times. »

I answered this was owing to the unhappy state of our internal affairs.1 He replied « It is true, and to that is likewise owing that the English are no longer the same people, your want of union and steadiness has dissipated the natural strength of your nation, and if the same conduct is continued, England will no longer be considered of that great importance in Europe. Your marine is certainly superior to that of France, and yet, for want of spirit to exert yourselves, that of France still triumphs; it is in your power to distress France many ways, but you have acted hitherto with the cool indifference of auxiliaries and not with that ardor and spirit which would become your nation. »

Here I was very glad the conversation ended upon my asking a question about the state of the Russian fleet, which, he told, was very weak,2 and that he believed a bare declaration3 on the part of the King, that he intended to send a squadron into the Baltic, would prevent the Russians from attempting anything by sea, but that surely a very small squadron of English men-of-war in that sea would secure everything.

As I found His Prussian Majesty in this humour, I did not think it a proper time to ask for explanations, but by accident i imagine i have got a satisfactory one of what i was directed to enquire about by Your Lordship's secret letter of the 6th May.4 At the end of this conversation, I took the liberty to ask the King of Prussia concerning the intelligence he had from France. He told me very freely that his accounts were very imperfect, that the best he had were by a secretary or resident of the Dutch, that the letters passed thro' the Princess of Orange's hands, and that he was much obliged to Her Royal Highness for it . . .“5

Nach den Ausfertigungen im Public Record Office zu London.


[Au camp de Prague] 10 juin 1757.

J'ai reçu, mon cher Maréchal, la lettre que vous m'avez faite sur celle que je vous renvoie ci-close,6 et je suis de votre sentiment qu'il ne convient pas d'entrer trop loin dans une telle correspondance qui ne

1 Vergl. S. 123.

2 Vergl. Bd. XIV, 511.

3 Vergl. S. 143; Bd. XIV, 502.

4 In Betreff der den englischen Argwohn erregenden Nachricht, dass ein Packet durch die Hand der Prinzessin von Oranien aus Paris in das preussische Hauptquartier gelangt sei. Vergl. S. 61. 62.

5 Vergl. Bd. XIV, 323. 388.

6 Dies Schreiben liegt nicht vor; es ist wohl ein Schreiben des Feldmarschalls Browne gemeint. Keith hatte am 10. Juni gemeldet, dass ein österreichischer Trompeter angelangt, aber nichts weiter als eine Anzahl Briefe überbracht habe.