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THE GERMAN DIET.
[The following Memoir on the composition of the Diet of Frankfort has been transmitted to us by a ci-devant Member of the Diplomatic Body.]
The Congress of Vienna, in its arrangements relative to the affairs of Germany, had as little responded to the wishes of Austria as to the hopes of Prussia. They had not agreed upon the question of knowing whether they should divide the supremacy in Germany between them, or whether for the sake of form they should place themselves on a level with the other members of the confederation. In fact, the two parties thought themselves obliged to have recourse to the expedient of all political philosophers, who do not know how to extricate themselves from a difficulty - they
thought it necessary to wait. This policy may have its inconveniences, but it is inviting to most men, and they never know how to act otherwise on occasions when decision and prompt execution appear difficult.
The first years after the Diet had been consti
tuted elapsed without affording this assembly the opportunity of displaying any great activity. They did not as yet know how to use the excellent opportunity offered to them by the Amphictyons of Frankfort. They concerned themselves but little with the individuals composing the Diet, and seemed to care but little whether this or that person represented Austria, Prussia, or any other state. Thus it happened that an opposition to the views of Austria and Prussia developed itself in the councils of the Diet; an opposition the more vexatious, as it was founded on a liberal basis. The most distinguished member of this opposition was the Minister of Wirtemberg, the Baron de Wangenheim, who appeared more particularly cal. culated to represent a Prince who had the juvenile caprice of choosing to be liberal, and choosing, in concert with other constitutional states of southern Germany, to form an opposition against Austria and Prussia. Count Buol-Schauenstein, at that time Minister of Austria at the Diet, appeared in his simplicity and in the confidence with which he was inspired by the superiority of the power by whom he was commissioned, not to perceive the real nature of this opposition in the Diet. The
Prussian Minister, Count de Goltz, had given it some attention, but he thought it too insignificant to attach to it any importance in his communications to his Court. Nevertheless, the rôle which the King of Wirtemberg intended to play could not remain a mystery to the Cabinets of Austria or of Prussia.
Austria had placed in the military commission of the Diet General Langenau, Member and President of the Commission. Endowed with a more than ordinary talent for judging and directing secret intrigues, he possessed the confidence of Prince Metternich, who employed him in all affairs relating to Germany. An attentive observer, he had perceived the peculiar position which the Diet had taken in 1822 and 1823, without any fixed project, or without being aware of what it was doing. He had warned Prince Metternich of it, adding his own suggestions respecting the official functionaries at Frankfort.
At this same epoch (1822) Baron de Berstett, formerly Minister at the Diet, was Minister of State in the Grand Duchy of Baden. He had on various former occasions shown his aptitude in business, and his penetration in judging the cha
VOL. IV,-NO. XXVIII.
racter of individuals. In 1822, we do not know with what view, he drew up a Memoir, in which the Envoys to the Diet were minutely portrayed in their official positions, and in their mutual relations, in a manner which could easily be recognized. The manuscript, in which the different personages were designated by ciphers, was first circulated among the Members of the Diet, several of whom received it without knowing whence it came, or what was its origin. However, the accredited opinion named the Baron de Berstett as its author, so much so that he was able in confidential conversations to avow his work. As this Memoir could not remain a secret from the Courts of Vienna and Berlin, more attention was directed to the Diet, and no other means were found to stifle the spirit of opposition which threatened to become dangerous, than that of remodelling the assembly itself, in the principal members who composed it. In the exchange of notes which ensued between the Courts of Berlin and Vienna, the Cabinet of Austria insisted upon the importance of these considerations, viz. that "Prussia and Austria, directed by the same principles of government, could not tolerate the manifestation
in the secondary states of Germany of a spirit of opposition-a spirit so much the more dangerous, inasmuch as it was caused or provoked by the liberal mania; that already the most important situations in certain states were occupied by men whose principles did not offer a sufficient guarantee for the maintenance of the statu quo, and for securing tranquillity and order; that it had become almost impossible to remove all these people from their places, and to find others who would unite ability to the character which would be desirable; that Austria and Prussia ought, therefore, to aim, more especially by means of the Diet, to put a curb and an end to these inconvenient efforts, and to extinguish opposition. But, in order to attain this end efficaciously, the only sufficient means would be a regeneration of the Diet itself, as it was more than probable that the opponents among the Ministers at the Diet added farther by their individual views to the force and to the extent of the official opposition." Prussia adhered to all these remarks of Austria, and the two Courts decided upon sending in the place of the representatives they had hitherto employed, on the part of Austria, Baron Münch-Bellinghausen ;