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of Tilsit and the battle of Leipzig is the bore stamped upon it a national German turning point in the history of Germany. character. For the first time in her his
For many preceding generations the stage tory, Prussia, consciously and ex preposito, had been exclusively occupied by rival dy- plunged into a war of the very first magnasties or rival religions, - by emperors, nitude, and in which she staked her very kings, theologians, statesmen, generals, dip- existence, not with a specific Prussian, but lomatists. Now, for the first time, we per- with the largest and most comprehensive ceive the distinct outlines of a people, i.e., national objects in view. As matters then using the term in a sense analogous to that stood there was a large field open
for diploof the old Roman word populus-a politi- macy of the Haugwitz kind, and by a suffical community endowed with an organic cient display of force combined with a polife and a strongly-marked individuality of litic reserve and a spirit of accommodation, its own, and with a consciousness of its col- Prussia might probably, without drawing lective existence pervading all the indivi- the sword, have not only rid her soil of duals who composed it. For those who the presence of French troops, but have had eyes to see, Germany had now at length, made territorial acquisitions of no mean after her thousand years of national exis- kind. But this was not the temper in tence, given birth to a State, as something which the Prussian people took up arms different in kind from a race, or a territory, and dictated the conduct of the war. It or an agglomeration of parishes, or a mer- was to liberate not Prussia only, but Gercantile alliance, or a school of philosophy, many, and not to liberate Germany only, or a gymnastic society, or a choral club; but to regenerate her, and set her up
free a respublica, or commonwealth, the raison and united upon a pinnacle of glory such d'être of whose existence is the public or as she had never before attained, that beardcollective well-being as a concrete entity to less boys and white-haired men enlisted in be laboured for with the hands, and not a the Landwehr--that brides despoiled themimere abstract therland to be dreamt selves of their ornaments, and matrons conabout, had, by the incisive operation of tributed their wedding-rings. The spirit foreign conquest, been plucked alive, though that stirred and animated and inspired was mutilated, out of the loins of the dead Em- a German spirit, but the body that was pire.
stirred and animated was a Prussian body. We have no space to describe the mar- For let us not forget that what is usually vellous process of regeneration by which, termed the German War of Liberation was during the dark period of Prussia's deepest essentially a Prussian war for the liberation humiliation, the nation of mercenaries and of Germany. It is true that when, by the serfs, who had looked on with cynical in- most stupendous efforts ever made by a difference at the catastrophe of Jena, be people, Prussia had in the early months of came transmuted into a nation of citizens 1813 placed her formidable army on foot,* burning with patriotic fire, and able by a individual Germans from all parts of Gerspontaneous effort to organize themselves many flocked to her standard, but it was into those terrible battalions who fought at her organization that gave consistence and the Katzbach, at Grossbeeren, at Denre- direction to these isolated efforts. It was witz, and at Leipzig. Still less can we round her battalions that the German Free trace the predisposing causes and the ante Corps rallied. On the other hand, in those cedent Hohenzollern education which had early months, and even up to the battle of rendered it possible for the soldiers who Leipzig, the non-Prussian States of Gerhad fought for pay, and the tillers who had many, and that honourable corporation, the tilled that others might reap, to be thus in Confederation of the Rhine, were, with few a few short years transformed.
exceptions, fighting in the ranks of the It is however important for the purposes enemy, and it was in many cases Würtenof this essay accurately to note the politi- burg, or Saxon, or Hessian veterans that cal effect, in regard to Germany, of the most obstinately contested the day with Prussian levée de bouchers, and all that it the raw levies of the Prussian Landwehr. implied.
When Austria at last joined in the fray, When, in January 1813, the Provincial States of Eastern Prussia, without autho
* By the month of May 1813, i.e., in four months, rity from the King, and at the risk of his Prussia, then numbering five millions of inhabitants, displeasure, boldly set to work to organize had added 95,000 men to the 46,000 nen of line the “ people's” war against the still por- regiments allowed her by Napoleon, and had called tentous power of Napoleon, they inaugu- up an additional 10,000 men; together, 271,000 men rated a movement which, from first to last, under arms, or one man in eighteen of the popula. and during every phase of its development, tion.
she did so slowly, circumspectly, and after | either by German patriots or Prussian
But in thus condemning the action of The German question was not destined Prussia at Vienna, the difficulties of the to be simplified by the single-handed suc- task assigned to her should not be undercess of Prussia. Great as were the efforts rated. The European “climate of opinion," made by her, they were not sufficient, even to borrow a phrase from an old writer, was with the assistance of Russia, to effect the in the year 1814 absolutely hostile to any desired object. The gain of one more bat. great organic reconstructions. The masses tle would have perhaps sufficed, but at Lüt- yearned for rest, the upper classes for zen the French arms were once more victo amusement. For the better part of an rious, and the co-operation of Austria be- entire generation, good society on the Concame a matter of vital importance. Thus tinent had fasted from all its accustomed the work of German liberation, not taking pleasures. The terrible earnestness of the foreign allies into account, came to be effec times had weighed upon all classes, and ted by the co-operation of two forces—the long arrears on the score of enjoyment had national power of Germany acting through to be made up. The fall of Napoleon gave the brain, the heart, and the hands of Prus- the signal for the splendid orgies of the sia, and the political power of the House of Vienna Congress.* Never had business 01 Austria.
such transcendental importance been transIt was clear that this new distribution of acted by men in such a carnival humour. parts could not but leave its mark upon Even at the present day we cannot read the the history of Germany, and that a new driest records of the work actually done element had been imported into the Ger- without catching an echo of the festive man question. The fact had become patent sounds amidst which each detail was elaboto all that a German people had crystallized rated. There is not a paragraph in the Act into a State of first-rate magnitude, con- of Congress, not a protocol of its sittings, scious of its German mission, and that for which a corresponding masquerade, or henceforth the work of German unity would carrousel, or sledging-party, cach outdoing have to take this fact, whether welcome or the splendour of the last, could not be not, into account. In a word, the question found. of the hegemony of Germany had ceased It was the régime of the “ Man of the to be a question as between two rival dy- World” that had succeeded to the régime nasties, and had become one as between a of the “ Man of the Sword.” For some dynasty whose power was mainly based on two decades the latter had in the mere non-German elements, and a consolidated wantonness of conquest warred for the sake German State whose interests were so in- of warring ; at last an entire people turned terwoven with those of the rest of Ger. to buy, and closing with the professional many, that, like the much-quoted Siamese conqueror threw him. Whilst still twins, nothing could affect the one for good “Dry with rage and extreme toil, or evil without in an equal degree affecting Breathless and faint, and leaning on their the other. Unfortunately these new condi- sword.” tions, which force themselves irresistibly
* It is calculated that three millions sterling were upon the conviction of any, impartial stu
spent by the Austrian Court alone in the feasts given dent of the history of that time, were not to the Allied Sovereigns, and this immediately
after realized as quickly as they might have been a State bankruptcy, and at a time when famine raged
in four D 15 of inhalt 100 per , and we ree Cortes rer, 371,00
n of the pain
the “Man of the World" gracefully stepped | radical reform of the status of the German in,“ neat and trimly dressed,” and appro- within the Fatherland—a radical reform of priated the prizes of victory.
the status of the Fatherland within the This was plainly not a congenial atmos- European family. phere for men of the stamp of Stein and Now, it was undoubtedly owing to the Humboldt, or, even though he was a man indifference of the King, and to the weakof pleasure, for a statesman like Harden- ness of his Ministers, that the first of these berg, whose really large and liberal views objects was not attained, and that the Fede: were out of harmony with the brilliant ral Act, as finally agreed to, contained none frivolities of the day. Still less was it con- of the guarantees for the civil rights of genial to the work they were called upon Germans,-such as abolition of personal to perform. King Frederick-William 11. servitude, habeas corpus, right of free setmight perhaps have effected something, but tlement, liberty of the press, liberty of neither his head nor his heart was in the education, removal of religious disabilities, national movement. He had never under
--and none of the effective safeguards for stood it, and was half afraid, half ashamed the constitutional rights of the individual of it. The same false shame which in the States, for which the Prussian draft of conFrench capital had made him shy of the stitution originally submitted to the Contattered and somewhat grotesque uniforms gress made ample provisions. of the Landwehr battalions, who had so re- That nothing was done to fulfil the sea cently covered themselves with glory, and ond object was owing to causes beyond the insist upon only troops of the line taking control of the ablest and the most zealous part in the triumphal entry into Paris,* statesmen. The more we study the history clung to him at Vienna when the popular of the period the more we become conand national rights of Germany had to be vinced that the time had not arrived for a taken under his protection It was part of really organic reconstruction of Germany the political programme that Prussia should upon a national basis, and that many years
, act as the mouthpiece of the national aspi- not to say generations, and much painful rations, and it should be done pour acquit experience, would be required before any. de conscience ; but in his heart the King thing like a clear appreciation could be ob “ cared for none of these things," he was tained of even the elementary conditions of essentially a Prussian monarch, who cared so stupendous a problem. When we see a for Prussia, and Prussia only, and his whole man of the calibre of Stein, whose whole interest was concentrated on the one ques- life had been dedicated to the work of Gerton of the acquisition of Saxony.
many's regeneration, hold, within a few Hence from the first it was clear that the years, and even a few months, of each other, German programme of the Prussian Pleni- such contradictory views as the following, potentiaries was doomed, and that the latter -constitution of Germany into a monarchy, were playing a losing game. We cannot one and indivisible, all sovereigns but the acquit them of having played that game ruling House to be swept away; division weakly, but we can sympathize with the of Germany into two, Prussia to take one gène and malaise (we can find no English half, Austria the other; restoration of the equivalents) which they must have expe- empire under the House of Hohenzollern, rienced in playing such a game against the because Prussia is the most German; restocourtly adversaries assembled round the ration of the empire under the House of green table of the Vienna Chancery of Hapsburg-Lothringen, because Austria is State.
the least German State, and must be bribed It would be a fallacy, however, to sup- to remain in Germany,-we feel that that pose that it was owing to the above causes consent of opinion in any one direction, that the Congress failed in devising any which alone could have rendered the work national "scheme for the reconstruction of possible, was absolutely wanting, and that Germany. The collateral objects for which men's minds were still too much under the the nation had made such supreme efforts, influence of passing events to enable them and the demands that had never ceased to to distinguish between abiding realities and be formulated, were freedom and union : a ephemeral phenomena.
The only States besides Prussia who in many provinces of the Empire, and when some showed any patriotic feeling were the small50,000 invalids were thrown on the resources of the er States, who, to the number of thirty-two, country.
agitated, under the inspiration of Stein, for * We cannot vouch for the accuracy of this anecdote ; but even if it is a myth, it is one of a “repre- readiness to make large sacrifices to effect
a restoration of the Empire, and showed a sentative" kind, showing what was the temper supposed to prevail in the Court regions at the time. that object; but their scheme, when exam.
ined in detail, is seen to labour under the the former that she elected to ally herself. organic defect common to all attempts The one force acted in a centripetal, the made to combine in a national unit two in other in a centrifugal direction ; but the deternational bodies of such magnitude as velopment of centripetal force in Germany Austria and Prussia.
meant either the dismemberment of AusThe attitude of the Napoleonic kingdoms tria by the attraction of her German provwas logical. They simply declared them- inces within the action of that force, or the selves unable to see the necessity of giving secession of Austria out of Germany in a common constitution to Germany, and order to withdraw those provinces from that made it a condition of their adherence to action. That Prussia's natural ally was the any plan that might be proposed that it national force Austria knew infinitely better should not in any way, either externally or than Prussia knew herself, and she could internally, hamper their perfect liberty of hardly reckon upon Prussian sovereigns for action, especially in the matter of foreign ever remaining blind to the fact. To mainalliances. “Do not let us forget,” observed tain intact, therefore, the international charthe Bavarian Plenipotentiary on one occa- acter to be given to the new Confederation, sion to his Würtemberg colleague, “ that to prevent any germs being deposited in it after all our natural ally is France." By which might later fructify in a national this cynical plainness of speech they over- sense, to establish this Constitution on the shot their mark, and found themselves fight firm basis of European treaties, and under ing for an untenable position against Aus- the guarantee of non-German Powers, and tria, no less than Prussia and the remaining then in a Diplomatic Congress-that is, a States of Germany.
Congress in which the Sovereigns only were With the exception of these kingdoms, represented to trust to her ground of vanwho cannot be accused of not knowing what tage as the natural patron of the Sovereigns, they wanted, but whose attitude was purely and to the conservative instincts which negative, Austria alone appears from the would find their natural home in such a first to have been clearly conscious of the body, for the purpose of paralysing the ends which she desired to compass, and of efforts of Prussia, should that Power ever the principles of reconstruction which it wake to a sense of her national mission, --would suit her interests to see adopted. such in brief outline, was the policy which At a very early stage she had made up her dictated the Austrian reconstruction of Germind to decline the Imperial crown, and to many in 1815. indemnify herself in Italy, and not in Ger- The distinctive character of the Germanic many, for her share in the toils and expendi- Confederation, constituted by the Act of ture of the Napoleonic overthrow. When 1815 and complemented by the Final Act the small States entreated her to resume of 1820, was that of an International Althe crown and purple of the Cæsars, she liance between equal and independent States, effectually damped their ardour by asking whose rights of external and internal sovwho was to pay Cæsar's expenses. Through ereignty remained intact except in so far as out the earlier portion of the negotiations they were practically limited by the objects she withheld her own scheme of reconstruc- for which the alliance was concluded. Those tion, and contented herself with eliminating objects were of a strictly defensive kind, from the Prussian scheme as many of the viz., as defined in section 2 of the Federal provisions respecting civil and constitution. Act, “ the maintenance of the external and al rights as she decently could. It was only internal security of Germany, and of the at the eleventh hour, when the Plenipoten- independence and inviolability of the inditiaries had been exhausted by constant vidual German States. The sole organ of differences, and when public attention was the Confederation, the Frankfort Diet, was wholly absorbed by the events consequent nothing else than a Congress of Plenipotenon Napoleon's escape from Elba, that she tiaries, in which none was theoretically beproduced her draft, which, with scarcely any fore or after another. It only differed from discussion, and some very few amendments, similar congresses in being permanently was definitively accepted and signed on the assembled. The Austrian Plenipotentiary 8th June 1815, as the Act of the Germanic presided in this assembly, but no attributes Confederation.
attached to the office of President other The Federal Constitution thus called into than those necessary for the conduct and life exactly corresponded to what Austria transaction of business. By means of a required of such an institution. Of the two complicated machinery the thirty-eight forces at work in Germany,--the National Plenipotentiaries composing the Diet voted and the Territorial, the sovereigns and the according to the subject-matter on which populations subject to them, -it was with they were called upon to decide, either in a
sid he irty-fr
howras to ci
Restricted Council (Engere Rath)-in which circles as it had been during the latter period the thirty-eight States had seventeen votes of the Empire. In the two great units of between them, the larger States having each the Confederation, Austria and Prussia, the one, the smaller voting curiatim in groups, year 1820 gave the signal for the most ab-or in a Plenary Assembly (Plenum), to solute repression of all independent movewhich sixty-nine votes were allotted, the ment in the direction of political reform. larger Powers having several votes accord- But there was this radical difference be ing to their size, but the smallest Power tween the Southern and the Northern Powhaving at least one. Any matter touching er: In Austria, thought was strangled in the fundamental institutions of the Confede the cradle. “ The system,” as Metternich's ration had to be decided by the “ Plenum," policy was concisely termed, aimed at isa and one vote sufficed to veto any measure lativg Austria materially and intellectually tending to alter those institutions. It was from Germany and the rest of the world. the liberum veto of the old Polish Diets, Austria had alone escaped the contamina. placing the maintenance of the status quo in tion of the French Revolution, and a strict the keeping of such States as Lichtenstein quarantine, permanently established, should or Reuss. For the purposes of military for ever preclude all danger of contagion. defence, a highly-complicated military or- A prohibitive tariff effectually prevented all ganization was called into life, with regard material intercourse, a rigorous censorship to which it will suffice to say that long be- dammed up all the channels through which fore the Confederation ceased to exist it had a connexion might have been maintained been adjudged by common consent to be between the German elements of Austria absolutely worthless.
and the intellectual centres of the common Necessary as it would be for the due ap- Fatherland. preciation of what followed to give some In Prussia, on the contrary, thought was account of the period during which this free; it was only when it attempted to Constitution was in force, our space does shape itself into acts that it came into col. not admit of even the shortest summary of lision with the authorities. Newspapers its sins of omission and commission, and and even pamphlets could be searched for compels us to hasten on to the next great political contraband, and their contents adepoch in the constitutional development of judged good prize; octavo volumes sailed Germany, only premising what follows in under a neutral flag, and as long as the the way of introduction to the events of treatment remained objective the boldest 1848.
speculation could be indulged in from the Above, we called special attention to the university rostrum. By the establishment fact that the prophets and teachers of the of the Zollverein, Prussia identified her people at the close of the last and the com- material interests with those of Germany, mencement of the present century had not by the free exchange of professors and busied themselves with the political educa- teachers between Prussian and German unition of the nation. The case was very versities a unity of intellectual and speculadifferent in the succeeding generation. A tive development was secured. movement like that which resulted in the That the one-sided growth of political War of Liberation could not but be reflect- speculation without a corresponding field of ed in the intellectual activity of the nation. political practice was in itself undesirable As was to be expected, the poets were the and fraught with many evils, will readily first to be inspired, and never was patriotic be admitted. Doctrinaire is a term justly passion attuned to nobler rhyme than that branded with an invidious meaning; not the of Arndt and Körner. When the sword “best possible” but the “possible" is corwas sheathed, the period of political specu- rectly designated as the subject-matter of lation began. The singers went before, the politics. Nevertheless, no one can have atprofessors followed after.
tentively considered the history of modern It is easy for us who come by our know- Germany without convincing himself of the ledge of politics empirically, and by the debt which she owes to her political professame sort of natural process by which we sors, or of the benefits she has derived from learn to ride or to play at cricket, to scoff the patient concentration of the best intel
. at those whose lot it is painfully to evolve lects of the nation on the problem of her political systems and political principles. political reconstruction during the generaWe must remember, however, that during tion when her citizens were excluded from the thirty years that preceded 1848, politi- all share in the management of their own cal activity in Germany, except in the case affairs. If proof were wanted, we should of the smaller and some of the middle require no other than a comparison between States, was as much restricted to official | the professors' Constitution of 1849 and the