FREDERICK II (King of Prussia 1740-1786). Autograph letter signed (as Crown Prince) to Tilio de Camas, Ruppin, 15 March 1739, in French, 1½ pages, 4to.
A letter to a close friend, denying that his intellectual preoccupations conflict with the obligations of friendship. 'Il n'y a aucune rettrato as[s]ez profonde, aucun engagement as[s]ez pressent, aucune passion assez forte pour me rendre inaccessible a mes amis ... vous deviez croire que les Sentimens du Coeur sont toujours plus vifs que les ef[f]orts de la speculation, en un mot que le nom seul de Mons[ieur] de Camas me feroit tomber des mains et Livres et Philosophie'. Absent from the political world while recovering his health he continues 'doucement a l'ombre' but will not be caught off guard at the review, and will find a remedy for everything. Referring to Camas's lectures including one which he will give at Crossen, Frederick concludes with a typically rhetorical flourish, 'A revoir mon cher non pas dans les Champs Elisiens, mais dans les Champs ou Lon Moissone reguillerement toute [sic] les anies la gloire, ou les Vainqueurs sont couroniz des couronnes civiques'.
Written during the Arcadian period before his accession when, living mostly with his own court at Rheinsberg (near Ruppin), Frederick, to his father's disquiet, devoted himself to philosophy, science, music and literature, and particularly the composition of high-minded verse. The letter betrays his habitual anxiety about his health, about which he had written to Camas a few months earlier, then referring also to a disagreement with the King. He accompanied Frederick William I to a number of military reviews in 1739.
Colonel Paul-Henri Tilio de Camas, of French origin but born in Prussia, was one of Frederick's older and highly educated friends, and is mentioned in his correspondence with Voltaire and Count Algarotti. On his accession in the spring of 1740 Frederick despatched him on a diplomatic mission to Paris, with a gift of some Hungarian tokay for Voltaire. After Camas died in 1741, Frederick corresponded with his widow (addressed as 'Bonne chere maman') for many years.