Prince Henry to Frederick (Saint Petersburg, June 14, 1770)
I admit that my imagination was struck by this idea, the first time that you have done me the honor of speaking of proposals made to you, however vague. But if it is a chimera, it is such an agreeable one that I find it difficult to renounce. I should like to see you master of the coasts of the Baltic, sharing with the most formidable German Prince the influence that those Powers, united, might exercise in Europe. If it is a dream, it is a very gracious one, and you may imagine that the interest that I take in your glory makes me wish to see it realized.
Frederick to Prince Henry (Potsdam, June 25, 1770)
I see, my dear brother, that you are blessed with a hearty appetite in political affairs. But I, who am old, have lost that which I possessed in my youth. Not that your ideas are not excellent, but one must have the wind of fortune in one’s sails for such enterprises to succeed, and I no longer dare, or am able, to flatter myself of this. It is, however, always good to keep these plans in reserve, to realize them if the occasion presents itself. We are placed between two Great Powers, Austria and Russia; it is certain that, to keep the balance between them without risk, we are too weak at present to acquit ourselves well; but the biggest evil is that neither Austria nor Russia is very anxious to contribute to our aggrandizement.