Tuesday, October 17, 2017 Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 licence.

Frederick II of Prussia (1712 – 1786)


King of Prussia from 1740 to 1786.
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Frederick II of Prussia
Rascals, would you live forever?
It has been said by a certain general, that the first object in the establishment of an army ought to be making provision for the belly, that being the basis and foundation of all operations.
Frederick II of Prussia
If my soldiers began to think, not one would remain in the ranks.




Audacity, audacity, always audacity!
Frederick II of Prussia
Ich empfinde für das göttliche Wesen die tiefste Verehrung und hüte mich deshalb sehr, ihm ein ungerechtes, wankelmütiges Verhalten zuzuschreiben, das man beim geringsten Sterblichen verurteilen würde. Aus diesem Grunde, liebe Schwester, glaube ich lieber nicht, dass das allmächtige, gütige Wesen sich im mindesten um die menschlichen Angelegenheiten kümmert. Vielmehr schreibe ich alles, was geschieht, den Geschöpfen und notwendigen Wirkungen unberechenbarer Ursachen zu und beuge mich schweigend vor diesem anbetungswürdigen Wesen, indem ich meine Unwissenheit über seine Wege eingestehe, die mir zu offenbaren seiner göttlichen Weisheit nicht gefallen hat.
"I shall not survive this cruel misfortune. The consequences will be worse than defeat itself. I have no resources left, and, to speak quite frankly I believe everything is lost. I shall not outlive the downfall of my country. Farewell, forever!"
Frederick II of Prussia
Je voulus faire un jet d’eau dans mon jardin; Euler calcula l’effort des roues pour faire monter l’eau dans un bassin, d’o? elle devait retomber par des canaux, afin de jaillir ? Sans-Souci. Mon moulin a été exécuté géométriquement, et il n’a pu élever une goutte d’eau ? cinquante pas du bassin. Vanité des vanités! vanité de la géométrie!
Do you think I take any pleasure in this dog's life, in seeing and causing death in people unknown to me, in losing friends and acquaintances daily, in seeing my reputation ceaselessly exposed to the caprices of fortune, in spending the whole year with uneasiness and apprehension, in continually risking my life and my fortune? I certainly know the value of tranquility, the charms of society, the pleasures of life, and I like to be happy as much as anybody. Although I desire all these good things, I will not buy them with baseness and infamy. Philosophy teaches us to do our duty, to serve our country faithfully at the expense of our blood and of our repose, to commit our whole being to it.
Frederick II of Prussia
It is disgusting to notice the increase in the quantity of coffee used by my subjects, and the amount of money that goes out of the country as a consequence. Everybody is using coffee; this must be prevented. His Majesty was brought up on beer, and so were both his ancestors and officers. Many battles have been fought and won by soldiers nourished on beer, and the King does not believe that coffee-drinking soldiers can be relied upon to endure hardships in case of another war.
Frederick II of Prussia
As to your Newton, I confess I do not understand his void and his gravity; I admit he has demonstrated the movement of the heavenly bodies with more exactitude than his forerunners; but you will admit it is an absurdity to maintain the existence of Nothing.
Frederick II of Prussia
Neither antiquity nor any other nation has imagined a more atrocious and blasphemous absurdity than that of eating God. — This is how Christians treat the autocrat of the universe.




Like a long boat which follows in the wake of the warship to which it is tied.
Frederick II of Prussia
I think it better to keep a profound silence with regard to the Christian fables, which are canonized by their antiquity and the credulity of absurd and insipid people.
"My people and I," he said, "have come to an agreement which satisfies us both. They are to say what they please, and I am to do what I please."
Frederick II of Prussia
A single Voltaire will do more honor to France than a thousand pedants, a thousand false wits, a thousand great men of inferior order.
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