Home > Uncategorized > Friedrich Melchior von Grimm: History lauds brutal warriors, views the peaceful with contempt

Friedrich Melchior von Grimm: History lauds brutal warriors, views the peaceful with contempt

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Anti-war essays, poems, short stories and literary excerpts

German writers on peace and war

Voltaire: Bellicose father or pacific son?

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Friedrich Melchior von Grimm

It is indubitable that the King of Russia, by yielding Silesia, could have prevented the war from ever breaking out. In so doing he would have done a very wise thing. How many evils would he have prevented! And what can there be in common between the possession of a province and the happiness of a king? Was not the great Elector a very happy and highly respected prince without possessing Silesia? It is also quite clear that a king might have taken this course in obedience to the precepts of the soundest reason, and yet – I know not how – that king would inevitably have been the object of universal contempt, while Frederick, sacrificing everything to the necessity of keeping Silesia, has invested himself with immortal glory.

Without any doubt the action of Cromwell’s son was the wisest a man could take: he preferred obscurity and repose to the bother and danger of ruling over a people sombre, fiery and proud. This wise man won the contempt of his own time and of posterity; while his father, to this day, has been held a great man by the wisdom of nations.

As cited by Stendhal in De l’Amour.

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