Page images
PDF
EPUB

ance of the

chamber to move beyond the region of official routine. Thus pettiest princeling had his army, his palaces, his multitudes of before the Thirty Years' War the Empire had virtually ceased household officers; and most of them pampered every vulgar to exist, Germany having become a loose confederation of princi- appetite without respect either to morality or to decency. Many palities and free cities. For a moment the emperor Ferdinand nobles, whose lands had been wasted during the war, flocked to appeared to have touched the ideal of Charles V. in so far, at the little capitals to make their way by contemptible court least, as it related to Germany, but only for a moment. The services. Beneath an outward gloss of refinement these nobles stars in their courses fought against him, and at the time of his were, as a class, coarse and selfish, and they made it their chief death he saw how far beyond his power were the forces with object to promote their own interests by fostering absolut ist which even Charles had been unable to contend. The state of tendencies. Among the people there was no public opinion to things which actually existed the peace of Westphalia made discourage despotism; the majority accepted their lot as legal. So nearly complete was the independence of the states inevitable, and tried rather to reproduce than to restrain the vices that cach received the right to form alliances with any of the of their rulers. Even the churches offered little opposition to others, or with foreign powers, nominally on condition that their the excesses of persons in authority, and in many instances the alliances should not be injurious to the emperor or to the Empire. clergy, both Protestant and Catholic, acquired an unenviable Any authority which still lawfully belonged to the emperor was notoriety for their readiness to overlook or condone actions transferred to the diet. It.alone had now the power of making which outraged the higher sentiments of humanity. In the laws, of concluding treaties in the name of Germany, and of free imperial cities there was more manliness of tone than elsedeclaring war and re-establishing peace. No one, however, ex- where, but there was little of the generous rivalry

The pected that it would be of any real service. From 1663 it became among the different classes which had once raised them

citles. a permanent body, and was attended only by the representatives to a high level of prosperity. Most of them resigned of the princes and the cities; and from that time it occupied their liberties into the hands of oligarchies, and others allowed itself mainly with trifles, leaving the affairs of each state to be themselves to be annexed by ambitious princes. (A. W. H.*) looked after by its own authorities, and those of the country Ferdinand III. succeeded to the throne when the fortunes generally to such fortunes as chance should determine.

of his house were at a low ebb, and he continued the Thirty It would not have been strange if so shadowy an Empire had Years War, not in the hope of re-establishing the

Ferdid sod been brought altogether to an end. Some slight bond of con. Roman Catholic religion or of restoring the imperial m. Contou- nexion was, however, necessary for defence against authority, but of remedying as far as he could the

common dangers; and the Empire had existed so long, havoc caused by his father's recklessness. After the cor.clusion

and so many great associations were connected with of peace nothing happened to make his reign memorable. His empire.

it, that it seemed to all parties preferable to any other son Leopold I. was a man of narrow intellect and form of union. Moreover, Sweden, and other states which were feeble will; yet Germany seldom so keenly felt the

Leopoldi. now members of the Empire, warmly supported it; and the need of a strong emperor, for she had during two generations to house of Habsburg, on which it reflected a certain splendour, contend with a watchful and grasping rival. For more than a would not willingly have let it die. An Austrian ruler, even century it had been the policy of France to strengthen herself when he spoke only in the name of Austria, derived authority by fostering the internal dissensions of Germany. This was now from the fact that as emperor he represented many of the greatest easy, and Louis XIV. made unscrupulous use of the memories of European history.

advantages his predecessors had helped to gain for

XIV. of The effect of the Thirty Years' War on the national life was him. Germany, as a whole, could not for a long time

France. disastrous. It had not been carried on by disciplined armies, be induced to resist him. His schemes directly

but by hordes of adventurers whose sole object was threatened the independence of the princes; but they were too Natiooal life.

plunder. The cruelties they inflicted on their victims indolent to unite against his ambition. They grudged even the

are almost beyond conception. Before the war the contributions necessary for the maintenance of the frontier population was nearly twenty millions; after it the number fortresses, and many of them stooped to accept the bribes he was probably about six millions. Whole towns and villages offered them on condition that they should remain quiet. In his were laid in ashes, and vast districts turned into deserts. war with the United Provinces and Spain, begun in 1672, he was Churches and schools were closed by hundreds, and to such opposed by the emperor as ruler of Austria, and by Frederick straits were the people often reduced that cannibalism is said to William, the elector of Brandenburg; and in 1675 the latter have been not uncommon. Industry and trade were so com- gained a splendid victory at Fehrbellin over his allies, the Swedes. pletely paralysed that in 1635 the Hanseatic League was virtually | At the end of the war, in 1678, by the peace of Nijmwegen, Louis broken up, because the members, once so wealthy, could not took care that Frederick William should be deprived of the meet the necessary expenditure. The population was not only fruits of his victory, and Austria had to resign Freiburg im impoverished and reduced in numbers but broken in spirit. Breisgau to the French. Under the pretence that when France It lost confidence in itself, and for a time effected in politics, gained the Austrian lands in Alsace she also acquired a right literature, art and science little that is worthy of serious to all places that had ever been united to them, Louis began a study.

series of systematic robberies of German towns and territories. The princes knew well how to profit by the national prostration. Chambers of Reunion” were appointed to give an appearance The local diets, which, as we have seen, formed a real check of legality to these proceedings, which culminated, in 1681, in

on petty tyranny, and kept up an intimate relation the seizure of Strassburg. Germans of all states and ranks were prioces.

between the princes and their subjects, were nearly indignant at so gross a humiliation, but even the loss of Strassburg

all destroyed. Those which remained were injurious did not suffice to move the diet. The emperor himself might rather than beneficial, since they often gave an appearance of probably have interfered, but Louis had provided him with lawsulness to the caprices of arbitrary sovereigns. After the ample employment by stirring up against him the Hungarians Thirty Years' War it became fashionable for the heirs of princi- and the Turks. So complete was his hold over the majority of palities to travel, and especially to spend some time at the court the princes that when the Turks, in 1683, surrounded Vienna, of France. Here they readily imbibed the ideas of Louis XIV., and appeared not unlikely to advance into the heart of Germany, and in a short time nearly every petty court in Germany was a they looked on indifferently, and allowed the emperor to be saved feeble imitation of Versailles. Before the Reformation, and even by the promptitude and courage of John Sobieski, king of Poland. for some time after it, the princes were thorough Germans in At last, when, in 1689, on the most frivolous pretext, Louis sympathies and habits; they now began to be separated by a poured into southern Germany armies which were guilty of wide gulf from their people. Instead of studying the general shameful outrages, a number of princes came forward and aided welfare, they wrung from exhausted states the largest possible the emperor. This time France was sternly opposed by the revenue to support a lavish and ridiculous expenditure. The I league of which William III. of England was the moving spirit;

Louis

The

War of

the Great.

Charles

Second Silesias war.

sanction.

and although at the end of the war he kept Strassburg, he had matic sanction, but as the conditions on which the guarantee had to give up Freiburg, Philipsburg, Breisach, and the places he been granted had not been fulfilled by Charles VI., Frederick

had seized because of their former connexion with did not feel bound by it, and revived some old claims Spanish Alsace. In the War of the Spanish Succession two of his family on certain Silesian ducbies. Maria Frederick Succes

powerful princes, the elector of Bavaria and the elector Theresa would not abato her rights, but before she sioa.

of Cologne, joined Louis; but as the states of the could assert them Frederick had entered Silesia and Empire declared war against him in 1702, the other princes, made himself master of it. Meanwhile, the elector of Bavaria more or less loyally, supported the emperor and his allics. had come forward and disputed Maria Theresa's right to the Leopold died during the progress of this war, but it was vigorously succession, and the elector of Saxony had also put in a continued by his son Joseph I.

claim to the Austrian lands. Taking advantage of Sian war.

First SileJoseph's brother and successor, Charles VI., also went on with these disputes, France formed an alliance with the two it; and such were the blows inflicted on France by the victories electors and with the king of Prussia against Austria; and in Charles VI.

of Blenheim, Ramillies and Malplaquet that the war the war which followed the allies were at first so successful

' was generally expected to end in her utter discomfture. that the elector of Bavaria, through the influence of France, But the conclusion of the treaty of Utrecht by England, in 1713, was crowned emperor as Charles VII. (1742-1745). Maria so limited the military power of Charles VI. that he was obliged Theresa, a woman of a noble and undaunted spirit, to resign the claims of Austria to the Spanish throne, and to appealed, with her infant son, afterwards Joseph II.,

VII. content himself with the Spanish Netherlands, Milan, Naples in her arms, to the Hungarian diet, and the enthusiastic and Sardinia. He cared so little for Germany, as distinguished Magyars responded chivalrously to her call. To be more at from Austria, lhat he allowed Louis to compel the diet to cede the freedom she concluded peace with Frederick, and ceded Silesia imperial fortress of Landau. At a later stage in his reign he was to him, although greatly against her will. Saxony also was guilty of an act of even grosser selfishness; for after the War pacified and retired from the struggle. After this Maria Theresa, of the Polish Succession, in which he supported the claims of supported by England, made way so rapidly and so triumphantly Augustus III., elector of Saxony, he yiclded Lorraine to Stanislaus that Frederick became alarmed for his new possessions; and Leszczynski, whose claims had been defended by France, and in 1742 he once more proclaimed war against her, through whom France ultimately secured this beautiful German nominally in aid of the emperor, Charles VII. UltiPragmatic

province. Having no son, Charles drew up in 1713 mately, in 1748, she was able to conclude an honourable
the pragmatic sanction, which ordained that, in the peace at Aix-la-Chapelle; but she had been forced,

event of an Austrian ruler being without male heirs, as before, to rid herself of Frederick by confirming him in the his hereditary lands and titles should pass to his nearest female sovereignty of the territory he had seized. relative. The aim of his whole policy was to secure for this After the death of Charles VII., Francis, grand duke of Tuscany, measure, which was proclaimed as a fundamental law in 1724, Maria Theresa's husband, was elected emperor. Francis I. the approval of Europe; and by promises and threats he did(1745-1765), an amiable nonentity, with the instincts

Francis I. at last obtain the guarantee of the states of the Empire and the of a shopkeeper, made no pretence of discharging leading European powers.

important imperial duties, and the task of ruling the hereditary Germany was now about to be aroused from the torpor into possessions of the house of Habsburg fell wholly to the empresswhich she had been cast by the Thirty Years' War; but her queen. She executed it with discretion and vigour, so that

awakening was due, not to the action of the Empire, Austria in her hands was known to be one of the most formidable Growth of Prussia.

which was more and more seen to be practically dead, powers in the world. Her rival, Frederick II., was, if possible,

but to the rivalry of two great German states, Austria still more active. It did not occur to him, any more than to and Prussia. The latter had long been laying the foundations the other German sovereigns of the i$th century, to associate of her power. Brandenburg, the centre of the Prussian kingdom, his people with him in the government of the country; he was was, as we have seen, granted in the 15th century by the emperor in every respect a thoroughly absolute sovereign. But he shared Sigismund to Frederick, count of Hohenzollern. În bis hands, the highest ideas of the age respecting the responsibilities of a and in those of his prudent successors, it became one of the most king, and throughout his long reign acted in the main faithfully flourishing of the North-German principalities. At the time of as “the first servant of the state." The army he always kept the Reformation Albert, a meinber of a subordinate branch of in readiness for war; but he also encouraged peaceful arts, and the house of Hohenzollern, happened to be grand master of the diffused throughout his kingdom so much of his own alert and Teutonic Order. He became a Protestant, dissolved the order, aggressive spirit that the Prussians became more intelligent and received in fief of the king of Poland the duchy of Prussia. and more wealthy than they had ever before been. He excited In 1611 this duchy fell by inheritance to the elector of Branden- the admiration of the youth of Germany, and it was soon the burg, and by the treaty of Wehlau, in 1657, in the time of fashion among the petty princes to imitate his methods of govern. Frederick William, the Great Elector, it was declared independent ment. As a rule, they succeeded only in raising far larger of Poland. By skill, foresight and courage Frederick William armies than the taxpayers could afford to maintain. managed to add largely to his territories; and in an age of Maria Theresa never gave up the hope of winning back Silesia, degenerate sovereigns he was looked upon as an almost model and, in order to secure this object, she laid aside the jealousies ruier. His son, Frederick, aspired to royal dignity, and in 1701, of her house, and offered to conclude an alliance with France. having obtained the emperor's assent, was crowned king of Frederick had excited the envy of surrounding sovereigns, and Prussia. The extravagance of Frederick drained the resources had embittered them against him by stinging sarcasms. Not of his state, but this was amply atoned for by the rigid economy only France, therefore, but Russia, Saxony and ultimately of Frederick William I., who not only paid off the debts accumu- Sweden, willingly came to terms with Austria, and the aim of lated by his father, but amassed an enormous treasure. He so their union was nothing short of the partition of Prussia.

organized all branches of the public service that they Frederick, gaining knowledge of the plot, turned to
were brought to a point of high efficiency, and his England, which had in the previous war helped Yearso

army was one of the largest, best appointed and best Austria. At the close of 1755 his offer of an alliance War, trained in Europe (see PRUSSIA: History). He died in 1740, was acceded to; and in the following year, hoping and within six months, when Frederick II, was on the Prussian by vigorously taking the initiative to prevent his throne, Maria Theresa claimed, in virtue of the pragmatic sanc- enemies from united action, he invaded Saxony, and began the tion, the lands and hereditary titles of her father Charles VI. Seven Years' War (q.v.), the result of which was to confirm

Frederick II., a young, ambitious and energetic sovereign, Prussia in the possession of Silesia. longed not only to add to his dominions but to play a great Prussia now took rank as one of the leading European powers, pari in European politics. His father had guaranteed the prag- I and by her rise a new element was introduced into the political

The Seven

Marta
Theresa.

17561763.

defeated

life of Germany. Austria, although associated with the Empire, of Napoleon for the Empire was illustrated by his occupation of could no longer feel sure of her predominance, and it was inevi- Hanover in 1803, and by his seizure of the duke of Enghien on table that the jealousies of the iwo states should lead to a final imperial territory in 1804. In 1805 Austria once more appealed conflict for supremacy. Even before the Seven Years! War to arms in association with her former allies, but in vain. By there were signs that the German people were beginning to the peace of Presburg she accepted more disastrous terms than tire of incessant imitation of France, for in literature they ever, and for the moment it seemed as if she could not again welcomed the early efforts of Klopstock, Wieland and Lessing; hope to rise to her former splendour. In this war she was but the movement received a powerful impulse from the great opposed not only by France, but by Bavaria, Württemberg deeds of Frederick. The nation, as a whole, was proud of him, and Baden, all of which were liberally rewarded for their services, and began, for the first time since the Thirty Years' War, to the rulers of the two former countries being proclaimed kings. feel that it might once more assume a commanding place in the The degradation of Germany was completed by the formation, world.

in 1806, of the Confederation of the Rhine, which was composed In 1772 the necessities of Frederick's position compelled him of the chief central and southern states. The welfare of the to join Russia and Austria in the deplorable partition of Poland, Empire was asserted to be its object, but a body of Eed of

whereby he gained West Prussia, exclusive of Danzig which Napoleon was the protector existed, of course, the Holy of Poland. and Thorn, and Austria acquired West Silesia. After for no other purpose than to be a menace to Austria Roman

this he had to watch closely the movements of the and Prussia. Francis II., who had succeeded Leopold Empire. emperor Joseph II., who, although an ardent admirer of Frederick, 11. in 1792 and in 1804 had proclaimed himself hereditary was anxious to restore to Austria the greatness she had partially emperor of Austria, as Francis I., now resigned the imperial lost. The younger branch of the Wittelsbach line, which crown, and thus the Holy Roman Empire and the German

had hitherto possessed Bavaria, having died out in kingdom came to an end. The various states, which had for Joseph II.

1777, Joseph asserted claims to part of its territory. centuries been virtually independent, were during the next Frederick intervened, and although no battle was fought in the few years not connected even by a nominal bond. (J. Sı.) nominal war which followed, the emperor was obliged to content Frederick William III. (1797-1840) of Prussia, the successor himself with a very unimportant concession. He made a second of Frederick William II., had held aloof from the struggle of attempt in 1785, but Frederick again came forward. This time Austria with France. This attitude had been dictated

Prussia he formed a league (Fürstenbund) for the defence of the imperial partly by his constitutional timidity, partly by The. constitution, and it was joined by the majority of the small desire to annex Hanover, to which Austria and Russia

at Jesa states. The memory of this league was almost blotted out by would never have assented, but which Napoleon was the tremendous events which soon absorbed the attention of willing to concede in return for a Prussian alliance. The ConGermany and the world, but it truly indicated the direction of federation of the Rhine, however, was a menace to Prussia too the political forces which were then at work bencath the surface, serious to be neglected; and Frederick William's hesitations and which long afterwards triumphed. The formation of the were suddenly ended by Napoleon's contemptuous violation of league was a distinct attempt on the part of Prussia to make Prussian territory in marching three French brigades through herself the centre for the national aspirations both of northern Ansbach without leave asked. The king at once concluded a and of southern Germany.

convention with the emperor Alexander I. of Russia and declared The French Revolution was hailed by many of the best minds war on France. The campaign that ended in the disastrous of Germany as the opening of a new era. Among the princes battle of Jena (October 14, 1806) followed; and the prestige

it excited horror and alarm, and in 1792 the emperor of the Prussian arms, created by Frederick the Great, perished Leopold II. and Frederick William II., the unworthy at a blow. With the aid of Russia Frederick William held out a successor of Frederick the Great, met at Pillnitz, while longer, but after Napoleon's decisive victory at Friedland

and agreed to support by arms the cause of the French (June 14, 1807) the tsar came to terms with the French emperor, king. A more important resolution was never taken. It plunged sacrificing the interests of his ally. By the treaty of Tilsit Europe into a conflict which cost millions of lives, and which (July 9) the king of Prussia was stripped of the best part of his overthrew the entire states system of the continent. Germany dominions and more than half his subjects. herself was the principal sufierer. The structure which the Germany now seemed fairly in the grip of Napoleon. Early princes had so laboriously built up crumbled into ruins, and in November 1806 he had contemptuously deposed the elector ihe mistakes of centuries were expiated in an agony of disaster of Hesse and added his dominions to Jerome's kingdom

Napokon and humiliation.

of Westphalia; on the 21st of the same month he

in power The states of the Empire joined Austria and Prussia, and, issued from Berlin the famous decree establishing the had there been hearty co-operation between the allies, they continental system,” which, by forbidding all trade with could scarcely have failed of success.. While the war was in England, threatened German commerce with ruin. His triumph progress, in 1793, Prussia joined Russia in the second partition seemed complete when, on the 11th of October 1807, Metternich of Poland. Austria considered herself overrcached, and began signed at Fontainebleau, on behalf of Austria, a convention that negotiations with Russia for the third and final partition, which conceded all his outstanding claims, and secmed to range the was effected by the three powers in 1795. Prussia, irritated Habsburg monarchy definitely on his side. There was, however, by the proceedings of her rival, did as little as possible in the war to be one final struggle before Napoleon's supremacy was estab with France; and in 1795 she retired from the struggle, and lished. The submission of Austria bad been but an expedient by the treaty of Basel ceded to the French republic her possessions for gaining time; under Count Stadion's auspices she set to on the left bank of the Rhine. The war was continued by work increasing and reorganizing her forces; and when it Austria, but her power was so effectually shattered by blow became clear from Napoleon's resentment that he was meditating after blow that in 1797 she was forced to conclude the peace fresh designs against her she declared war (1809). The campaign of Campo Formio. Napoleon Bonaparte, to whose genius the ended in the crushing defeat of Wagram (July 6) and the humiliat: triumph of France was mainly due, began separate negotiations ing treaty of peace dictated by Napoleon at the palace of Schönwith the states of the Empire at Rastadt; but, before terms brunn in Vienna (October 14). Austria, shorn of her fairest could be agreed upon, war again began in 1799, Austria acting provinces, robbed of her oversea commerce, bankrupt and on this occasion as the ally of Great Britain and Russia. She surrounded on all sides by the territories of the French emperor was beaten, and the peace of Lunéville added fresh humiliations and his allies, seemed to exist only on sufferance, and had to those imposed upon her by the previous war. France now ceased to have any effective authority in Germany-now obtained the whole of the left bank of the Rhine, the dispossessed absolutely in the power of Napoleon, who proved this in 1810 princes being compensated by grants of sccularized church by annexing the whole of the northern coast as far as the Elbe lands and of mediatized imperial cities (1803). The contempt I to his empire.

French Revolution.

War of Libera. Hoa.

The very completeness of the humiliation of Germany was princes for the restoration of their “ liberties," no attempt was the means of her deliverance. She had been taught self-respect made to reverse the essential changes in the territorial disposition

by Frederick II., and by her great writers in literature of Germany made during the revolutionary epoch. Of the Revival of Germany.

and philosophy; it was felt to be intolerable that 300 odd territorial sovereignties under the Holy Empire only

in politics she should do the bidding of a foreign 39 survived, and these were readjusted on the traditional prinmaster. Among a large section of the community patriotism ciples of compensations," rectification of frontiers" and became for the first time a consuming passion, and it was “balance of power." The most fateful arrangements were stimulated by the counsels of several manly teachers, among naturally those that affected the two leading powers, Austria whom the first place belongs to the philosopher Fichte. The and Prussia. The latter had made strenuous efforts, supported governments cautiously took advantage of the national move by Alexander I. of Russia, to obtain the annexation of the whole ment to strengthen their position. Even in Austria, where on of Saxony, a project which was defeated by the opposition of the 8th of October 1809 Metternich had become minister for Great Britain, Austria and France, an opposition which resulted foreign affairs and the dominant influence in the councils of the in the secret treaty of the 3rd of January 1815 for eventual empire, some timely concessions were made to the various armed intervention. She received, however, the northern part populations. Prussia, under the guidance of her great minister of Saxony, Swedish Pomerania, Posen and those territoriesStein, reorganized her entire administration. She abolished formerly part of the kingdom of Westphalia-which constitute serfdom, granted municipal rights to the cities, established her Rhine provinces While Prussia was thus established on an admirable system of elementary and secondary education, the Rhine, Austria, by exchanging the Netherlands for Lombardoand invited all classes to compete for civil offices; and ample Venetia and abandoning her claims to the former Habsburg means were provided for the approaching struggle by drastic possessions in Swabia, definitively resigned to Prussia the task military reform. Napoleon had extracted an engagement of defending the western frontier of Germany, while she that the Prussian army should be limited to 42,000 men. This strengthened her power in the south-east by recovering from was fulfilled in the letter, but in spirit set aside, for one body Bavaria, Salzburg, Vorarlberg and Tirol. Bavaria, in her turn, of men was trained after another until the larger part of the male received back the greater part of the Palatinate on the left bank population were in a position, when a fitting opportunity should of the Rhine, with a strip of territory to connect it with the main occur, to take up arms for their country.

body of her dominions. For the rest the sovereigns of WürttemThe disastrous retreat of the French from Moscow in 1812 berg and Saxony retained the title of king bestowed upon them gave Germany the occasion she desired. In 1813 King Frederick by Napoleon, and this title was also given to the elector of

William, after an agony of hesitation, was forced by Hanover; the dukes of Weimar, Mecklenburg and Oldenburg the patrioticinitiative of General Yorck, who concluded became grand dukes; and Lübeck, Bremen, Hamburg and with the Russians the convention of Tauroggen on Frankfort were declared free cities.

his own responsibility, and by the pressure of public As the central organ of this confederation (Bund) was estabopinion supported by Queen Louise and by Hardenberg, to enter lished the federal diet (Bundestag), consisting of delegates of into an alliance with Russia. All now depended on the attitude the several states. By the terms of the Final Act of Austria; and this was for some time doubtful. The diplomacy this diet had very wide powers for the development of Metternich (9.0.), untouched by the patriotic fervour which he of the mutual relations of the governments in all disliked and distrusted, was directed solely to gaining time to matters of common interest. It was empowered to enable Austria to intervene with decisive effect and win for arrange the fundamental laws of the confederation; to fix the the Habsburg monarchy the position it had lost. When the organic institutions relating to its external, internal and military time came, after the famous interview with Napoleon at Dresden, arrangements; to regulate the trade relations between the and the breakdown of the abortive congress of Prague, Austria various federated States. Moreover, by the famous Article threw in her lot with the allies. The campaign that followed, 13, which enacted that there were to be "assemblies of after some initial reverses, culminated in the crushing victory of estates" in all the countries of the Bund, the constitutional the allies at Leipzig (October 16-18, 1813), and was succeeded by liberties of the German people seemed to be placed under its the joint invasion of France, during which the German troops aegis. But the constitution of the diet from the first condemned wreaked vengeance on the unhappy population for the wrongs its debates to sterility. In the so-called narrower assembly and violences of the French rule in Germany.

(Engere Versammlung), for the transaction of ordinary business, Long before the issue of the War of Liberation had been finally Austria, Prussia, Bavaria, Saxony, Hanover, Württemberg, decided, diplomacy had been at work in an endeavour to settle Baden, Hesse-Cassel, Hesse-Darmstadt, Holstein and Luxemburg the future constitution of Germany. In this matter, as in others, had one vote each; while the remaining twenty-eight states the weakness of the Prussian government played into the hands were divided into six curice, of which each had but a single of Austria. Metternich had been allowed to take the initiative vote. In this assembly a vote of the majority decided. Questions in negotiating with the princes of Confederation of the Rhine, of more than usual importance were, however, to be settled in and the price of their adhesion to the cause of the allies had been the general assembly (Plenum) where a two-thirds majority the guarantee by Austria of their independent sovereignty. The was necessary to carry a resolution. In this assembly the voting guarantee had been willingly given; for Metternich had no power was somewhat differently distributed; but the attempt desire to see the creation of a powerful unified German empire, to make it bear some proportion to the importance of the various but aimed at the establishment of a loose cunfederation of weak states worked out so badly that Austria had only four times states over which Austria, by reason of her ancient imperial the voting power of the tiny principality of Liechtenstein. prestige and her vast non-German power, would exercise a Finally it was laid down by Article 7 that a unanimous vote dominant influence. This, then, was the view that prevailed, was necessary for charging " fundamental laws, organic instituand by the treaty of Chaumont (March 1, r814) it was decided tions, individual rights, or in matters of religion,” a formula that Germany should consist of a confederation of sovereign wide enough to embrace every question of importance with states.

which the diet might be called upon to deal. Austria, in virtue The new constitution of Germany, as embodied in the Final of her tradition, received the perpetual presidency of the diet. Act of the congress of Vienna (June 9, 1815) was based on this It was clear that in such a governing body neither Austria por

principle. It was the work of a special committee of Prussia would be content with her constitutional position, and

the congress, presided over by Metternich; and, that the internal politics of Germany would resolve themselves cooledere- owing to the panic created by Napoleon's return from into a diplomatic duel for ascendancy between the two powers,

Elba (March 5), it remained a mere sketch, the hasty for which the diet would merely serve as a convenient arena, output of a few hurried sessions, of which the elaboration was In this duel the victory of Austria was soon declared. The reserved for the future. In spite of the clamour of the mediatized | Prussian government believed that the effective government

The federal diet.

The German

tion.

of Germany could only be secured by a separate understanding | Württemberg, in Bavaria, the sovereigns and the chambers between the two great powers; and the indiscretion of the were at odds, united only in a common opposition to the central Prussian plenipotentiary revealed to the diet a plan for what authority. To sovereigns whose nerves had been shattered by meant practically the division of Germany into Prussian and the vicissitudes of the revolutionary epoch these symptoms Austrian spheres of influence. This threw the lesser princes, were in the highest degree alarming; and Metternich was at already alarmed at the growth of Prussian military power, into pains to exaggerate their significance. The "Wartburg The the arms of Austria, which thus secured a permanent majority festival" of October 1818, which issued in nothing Wartburg in the diet. To avoid any possible modification of a situation worse than the solemn burning, in imitation of Di festival, so satisfactory, Count Buol, the Austrian president of the diet, Martin Luther, of Kamptz's police law, a corporal's

1818. was instructed to announce that the constitution as fixed by the cane and aa uhlan's stays, was magnified into a rebellion; drew Final Act, and guaranteed by Europe, must be regarded as down upon the grand duke of Weimar a collective protest of the final; that it might be interpreted, but not altered.

powers; and set in motion the whole machinery of reaction. The conception of the diet as a sort of international board of The murder of the dramatist Kotzebue, as an agent of this control, responsible in the last resort not to Germany but to reaction, in the following year, by a fanatical student named Europe, exactly suited Metternich's policy, in which the interests Karl Sand, clinched the matter; it became obvious to the governof Germany were subordinate to the wider ambitions of the ments that a policy of rigorous repression was necessary is a Habsburg monarchy. It was, moreover, largely justified by fresh revolution were to be avoided. In October, after a prethe constituent elements of the diet itself. Of the German liminary meeting between Metternich and Hardenberg, in the states represented in it even Prussia, by the acquisition of Posen, course of which the latter signed a convention pledging Prussia had become a non-German power; the Habsburg monarchy to Austria's system, a meeting of German ministers was held at was predominantly non-German; Hanover was attached to Carlsbad, the discussion of which issued in the famous Carlsbad the crown of Great Britain, Holstein to that of Denmark, Luxem- Decrees (October 17, 1819). These contained elaborate provisions burg to that of the Netherlands. The diet, then, properly for supervising the universities and muzzling the press, laying controlled, was capable of being converted into an effective down that no constitution“ inconsistent with the monarchical instrument for furthering the policy of “stability” which principle" should be granted, and setting up a central comMetternich sought to impose upon Europe. Its one effort to mission at Mainz to inquire into the machinations of the great make its authority effective as the guardian of the constitution, revolutionary secret society which existed only in the imaginain the matter of the repudiation of the Westphalian debt and of tion of the authorities. The Carlsbad Decrees, hurried through the sale of the domains by the elector of Hesse, was crushed the diet under Austrian pressure, excited considerable opposition by the indignant intervention of Austria. Henceforth its sole among the lesser sovereigns, who resented the claim of the diet effective function was to endorse and promulgate the decrees to interfere in the internal concerns of their states, and whose of the government of Vienna.

protests at Frankfort had been expunged from the records. In this respect the diet fairly reflected the place of Germany The king of Württemberg, ever the champion of German in Europe. The constitution was the work of the powers, particularism,” gave expression to his feelings by issuing a

which in all matters arising out of it constituted the new constitution to his kingdom, and appealed to his relative, question final court of appeal. The result was not wholly one- the emperor Alexander, who had not yet been won over by

sided. Until the congress of Troppau in 1820 Metternich to the policy of war é outrance against reform, and

Jacobinism was still enthroned in high places took this occasion to issue a fresh manifesto of his Liberal creed. in the person of Alexander I. of Russia, whose“ divine mission,” At the conference of ministers which met at Vienna, on the soth for the time, included a not wholly disinterested advocacy of the of November, for the purpose of " developing and completing due carrying out of Article 13 of the Final Act. It was not the Federal Act of the congress of Vienna," Metternich found to Russia's interest to see Austrian influence supreme in the himself face to face with a more formidable opposition than at confederation. The lesser German princes, too, were quick to Carlsbad. The "middle" states, headed by Württemberg, grasp at any means to strengthen their position against the had drawn together, to form the nucleus of an inner league of dominant powers, and to this end they appealed to the Liberal "pure German States” against Austria and Prussia, and of sentiment of their peoples. Not that this sentiment was very "Liberal particularism" against the encroachments of the diet. deep or widespread. The mass of the people, as Metternich. With Russia and, to a certain extent, Great Britain sympathetic, rightly observed, wished for rest, not constitutions; but the it was impossible to ignore their opposition. Moreover, Prussia minority of thoughtful men-professors, students, officials, was hardly prepared to endorse a policy of greatly strengthening many soldiers-resented the dashing of the hopes of German the authority of the diet, which might have been fatal to the unity aroused by the War of Liberation, and had drunk deep Customs Union of which she was laying the foundation. Metterof the revolutionary inspiration. This sentiment, since it could nich realized the situation, and yielded so gracefully that he gave not be turned to the uses of a united Germany, might be inade his temporary defeat the air of a victory. The result was that to serve the purposes of particularism. Prussia, in spite of the the Vienna Final Act (May 15, 1820), which received the sanction promises of Frederick William in the hour of need, remained of the diet on the 8th of June, was not unsatisfactory to the without a central constitution; all the more reason why the lesser states while doing nothing to lessen Austrian prestige. states of second rank should provide themselves with one. This instrument merely defined more clearly the principles of Charles Augustus, the enlightened grand duke of Weimar, set the Federal Act of 1815. So far from enlarging the powers of the example, from the best of motives. Bavaria, Baden, the diet, it reaffirmed the doctrine of non-intervention; and, Württemberg and others followed, from motives less dis- above all, it renewed the clause forbidding any fundamental interested. Much depended on the success of these experiments. modification of the constitution without a unanimous vote.

To Metternich they were wholly unwelcome. In spite of the On the vexed question of the interpretation of Article 13 ring-fence of censors, and custom-house officers, there was danger Metternich recognized the inexpediency of requiring the South

of the Liberal infection spreading to Austria, with German states to revise their constitutions in a reactionary sense. aich and disintegrating results; and the pose of the tsar as By Articles 56 and 57, however, it was laid down that constitu

protector of German liberties was a perpetual menace. tions could only be altered by constitutional means; that the

The zeal and inexperience of German Liberals played complete authority of the state must remain united in its head; into his hands. The patriotism and Pan-Germanism of the and that the sovereign could be bound to co-operate with the gymnastic societies (Turnvereine) and students' associations estates only in the exercise of particular rights. These provisions, (Burschenschaften) expressed themselves with more noise than in fact, secured for Metternich all that was necessary for the discretion; in the South-German parliaments the platitudes and success of his policy: the maintenance of the status quo. So catchwords of the Revolution were echoed. Soon, in Baden, in I long as the repressive machinery instituted by the Carlsbad

The

of constitutioas.

Metter

the con stltutions.

« PreviousContinue »