Youth of the Great Elector - George Upton

Mother and Son

On the same day the Prince talked with his mother about the events we have described, and at last they spoke of Schwarzenberg, whom they equally disliked. "When he entered our service," said the Electoress, he was poor; now he is rich. Indeed he has a larger private fortune than we. Tell me of any good thing he has done. It is an indelible stain upon him that he has enriched himself while the people have sunk with utter wretchedness through hunger, war, and pestilence. A man who can do such a thing is capable of any meanness or villainy. I believe, my son, that he is in the pay of the Emperor's party. But God watches over us. They maintain in Vienna that your father is far less sharp-sighted than he really is. The fools! With the good Catholic Schwarzenberg at the head of Protestant Brandenburg no wonder they have high expectations at the court of Vienna. But wisdom and intelligence on the Spree and the Havel are perhaps even stronger than on the Danube. Let them continue to believe that Schwarzenberg will accomplish his purpose; let them keep up their delusion as to this crafty, egotistical, covetous, corruptible man! The Elector, gentle, sick, and heroic in endurance, is wiser, or at least as wise, as any of these gentleman, who think they have him entrapped. It is little matter to him what the Count wishes. Would you leave him in the service of the State if your father to-day should place the cares of government upon your shoulders?"

"God will guide me," replied the Prince.

"But if it should become necessary, then certainly you would dismiss the Count immediately, as he has discharged Pruckmann and others because they have opposed the Emperor's politics."

"No, Mother, out of respect to my father I could not discharge him at once. That would be looked upon by the people as a reproach against my father. But I would not endure him long."

"My dear son, by these words you show me that you recognize filial duty and that you are ready to perform it. God's blessing will be upon you for it. When I look into your eyes, my son, something tells me your politics will not be those of your father. In your nature there is a resolute determination which is lacking in your father's. The times need men of iron. Anvil and hammer! That is the watchword of our time.