exorbitant that even Rita grew astonished and dismayed.
Benedict, the predecessor of the present pope, was also known to have been the enemy of Frederick, but he was wise enough to be silent and not draw down upon the cloisters, and colleges, and Catholics of Prussia the rage of the king.
But Clement, in his fanatical zeal, was not satisfied to pursue this course. He was resolved to do battle against this heretical king. He fulminated the anathemas of the church and bitter imprecations against him, and showered down words of blessing and salvation upon all those who declared themselves his foes. Because of this fanatical hatred, Austria received a new honor, a new title from the hands of the pope. As a reward for her enmity to this atheistical marquis, and the great service which she had rendered in this war, the pope bestowed the title of apostolic majesty upon the empress and her successors. Not only the royal house of Austria, but the generals and the whole army of pious and believing Christians, should know and feel that the blessing of the pope rested upon their arms, protecting them from adversity and defeat. The glorious victory of Hochkirch must be solemnly celebrated, and the armies of the allies incited to more daring deeds of arms.
For this reason, Pope Clement sent to Field-Marshal Daun, who had commanded at the battle of Hochkirch, a consecrated hat and sword, thus changing this political into a religious war. It was no longer a question of earthly possessions, but a holy contest against an heretical enemy of mother church. Up to this time, these consecrated gifts had been only bestowed upon generals who had already subdued unbelievers or subjugated barbarians. [Footnote: OEuvres Posthumes, vol. iii.]
But King Frederick of Prussia laughed at these attacks of God's vicegerent. To his enemies, armed with the sword, he opposed his own glittering blade; to his popish enemy, armed with the tongue and the pen, he opposed the same weapons. He met the first in the open field, the last in winter quarters, through those biting, mocking, keen Fliegenden Blattern, which at that time made all Europe roar with laughter, and crushed and brought to nothing the great deeds of the pope by the curse of ridicule.
The consecrated hat and sword of Field-Marshal Daun lost its value through the letter of thanks from Daun to the pope, which the king intercepted, and which, even in Austria, was laughed at and made sport of.
The congratulatory letter of the Princess Soubise to Daun was also made public, and produced general merriment.
When the pope called Frederick the "heretical Marchese di Brandenburgo," the king returned the compliment by calling him the "Grand Lama," and delighted himself over the assumed infallibility of the vicegerent of the Most High.
But the king not only scourged the pope with his satirical pen--the modest and prudish Empress Maria Theresa was also the victim of his wit. He wrote a letter, supposed to be from the Marquise de Pompadour to the Queen of Hungary, in which the inexplicable friendship between the virtuous empress and the luxurious mistress of Louis was mischievously portrayed. This letter of Frederick's was spread abroad in every direction, and people were not only naive enough to read it, but to believe it genuine. The Austrian court saw itself forced to the public declaration that all these letters were false; that Field-Marshal Daun had not received a consecrated wig, but a hat; and that the empress had never received a letter of this character from the Marquise de Pompadour. [Footnote: In this letter the marquise complained bitterly that the empress had made it impossible for her to hasten to Vienna and offer her the homage, the lore, the friendship she cherished for her in her heart. The empress had established a court of virtue and modesty in Vienna, and this tribunal could hardly receive the Pompadour graciously. The marquise, therefore, entreated the empress to execute judgment against this fearful tribunal of virtue, and to bow to the yoke of the omnipotent goddess Venus. All these letters can be seen in the "Supplement aux OEuvres Posthumes."] These Fliegende Blattern, as we have said, were the weapons with which King Frederick fought against his enemies when the rough, inclement winter made it impossible for him to meet them in the open field. In the winter quarters in 1758 most of those letters appeared; and no one but the Marquis d'Argens, the most faithful friend of Frederick, guessed who was the author of these hated and feared satires.