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History of Friedrich II of Prussia — Volume 10

That Algarotti came to Reinsberg


It

was under escort of Baltimore, "an English Milord," recommended from Potsdam itself, that Algarotti came to Reinsberg; the Signor had much to do with English people now and after. Where Baltimore first picked him up, I know not: but they have been to Russia together; Baltimore by twelve years the elder of the two: and now, getting home towards England again, they call at Reinsberg in the fine Autumn weather;--and considerably captivate the Crown-Prince, Baltimore playing chief, in that as in other points. The visit lasted five days: [20th-25th September, 1739 (_OEuvres de Frederic,_ xiv. p. xiv).] there was copious speech on many things;--discussion about Printing of the ANTI MACHIAVEL; Algarotti to get it printed in England, Algarotti to get Pine and his Engraved HENRIADE put under way; neither of which projects took effect;--readers can conceive what a charming five days these were. Here, in the Crown-Prince's own words, are some brief glimmerings which will suffice us:--

REINSBERG, 25th SEPT. 1739 (Crown-Prince to Papa).... that "nothing new has occurred in the Regiment, and we have few sick. Here has the English Milord, who was at Potsdam, passing through [stayed five days, though we call it passing, and suppress the Algarotti, Baltimore being indeed chief]. He is gone towards Hamburg, to take ship for England there. As I heard that my Most All-gracious Father wished I should show him courtesy, I have done for him what I could. The Prince

of Mirow has also been here,"--our old Strelitz friend. Of Baltimore nothing more to Papa. But to another Correspondent, to the good Suhm (who is now at Petersburg, and much in our intimacy, ready to transact loans for us, translate Wolf, or do what is wanted), there is this passage next day:--

REINSBERG, 26th SEPTEMBER, 1739 (to Suhm). "We have had Milord Baltimore here, and the young Algarotti; both of them men who, by their accomplishments, cannot but conciliate the esteem and consideration of all who see them. We talked much of you [Suhm], of Philosophy, of Science, Art; in short, of all that can be included in the taste of cultivated people (HONNETES GENS)." [_OEuvres de Frederic,_ xvi. 378.] And again to another, about two weeks hence:--

REINSBERG, 10th OCTOBER, 1739 (to Voltaire). "We have had Milord Baltimore and Algarotti here, who are going back to England. This Milord is a very sensible man (HOMME TRESSENSE); who possesses a great deal of knowledge, and thinks, like us, that sciences can be no disparagement to nobility, nor degrade an illustrious rank. I admired the genius of this ANGLAIS, as one does a fine face through a crape veil. He speaks French very ill, yet one likes to hear him speak it; and as for his English, he pronounces it so quick, there is no possibility of following him. He calls a Russian 'a mechanical animal.' He says 'Petersburg is the eye of Russia, with which it keeps civilized countries in sight; if you took this eye from it, Russia would fall again into barbarism, out of which it is just struggling.' [Ib. xxi. 326, 327.]... Young Algarotti, whom you know, pleased me beyond measure. He promised that he"--But Baltimore, promise or not, is the chief figure at present.


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