FREDERICK II (1712-1786, 'the Great'), King of Prussia. Autograph letter signed ('Federic') to Jacques-Égide Duhan de Jaudun, Nachod, 14 [June] 1745, one page, 4to, integral blank, docketed 'Reçu le 19 de juin 1745' (4 small ink blots, tiny hold in centre fold).
ON HIS GREAT VICTORY AT HOHENFRIEDBERG: a reply to his former tutor's congratulations, commenting on the transitory nature of success for the man who thinks: 'Vous etes philosophe et Vous me felicitéz sur une battaille gagnée! Je ne Vous reconois point à Cela et j'ai Crû que Vous vous Contenteriéz de soupirér sur les Cruautéz que Mes enemis M'ont obligé d'ensensér sur eux. Pour moy je me rejouis D'avoir Sauvé Mon païs du plus Cruel des Malheurs, et d'avoir retabli la Reputation de Mes troupes que mes Enemis prenoient à Tache d'obscursir dans le monde ... Tant D'hôm[m]es plus grand Centfois que Moy ont remporté Des Victoires, plus grandes et ausi Completes que Celle du 4, des Sucéz passagers et qui n'ont qu'un tems, ne doivent point enflér L'orgeuil d'un homme qui pense.'
Frederick II's crushing defeat of the combined Austrian and Saxon armies at Hohenfriedburg on 4 June was his greatest victory during the Second Silesian War. Seven thousand of the enemy were captured, over four thousand killed and almost eighty banners or standards seized; Silesia, which had been secured in 1741, was saved for Prussia and the following December the treaty of Dresden concluded the Austro-Prussian war. Duhan de Jaudun, a Huguenot whose father was secretary to Marshal Turenne, was tutor to Frederick in history and geography, and in 1727 procured a library for him. Frederick held him in the greatest affection, and on his accession appointed Duhan director of the noblemen's academy in Silesian Liegnitz. He addressed to him some of his most serious reflections, including the striking lines in the present letter on the need for the man of thought not to be puffed up with pride at passing success. Published in the Oeuvres (1851) XVII, 283, 287.