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THE SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN DIFFICULTY.
clear to people who heard of them for the the federal engagements which were due in first time, nor was it by any means to be con- Holstein, and to maintain various privileges cluded that the King of Prussia had any just and immunities which were claimed by the claim to make such an easy display of the German inhabitants of Schleswig. In 1852 growing power of his authority, by commenc- the great powers thought it expedient, in ing hostilities against a small state in defiance anticipation of the extinction of the dynasty, of European opinion. He had become strong to provide for the integrity of the Danish enough to refuse the urgent invitation of the monarchy, including the ancient dependencies Emperor of Austria to attend a congress of
of the crown. By the Treaty of London, the German sovereigns at Frankfort for the executed by the five powers and by Denpurpose of forming a Bund or confederation mark and Sweden, the succession was settled of all their states. The dream of “United on Prince Christian of Schleswig-HolsteinGermany” must be realized, if it were to be Glücksburg, whose wife became, by aid of realized at all, by the domination of Prussia certain family renunciations, the heiress of -and thus it was realized years afterward; the royal crown of Denmark. The Duke of but not till Austria had been temporarily Augustenburg, who was heir of Holstein crushed by a war which, for a time, crippled and claimant of Schleswig, was induced to her resources and left her German scarcely relinquish his pretensions; and the King of even in name.
Prussia, who was head of the ducal house of There is no need to go into the remote his- | Holstein-Gottorp, agreed to postpone any tory of the relations between the German hereditary claim which he might have asserted. states, the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein, All the principal German states, except Baand the kingdom of Denmark.
varia and Baden, afterwards adhered to the The dispute which menaced the peace of treaty; and on the death of Frederick VII. Europe was, as the Times said, not calculated Prince Christian possessed an undisputed dipto inspire implicit confidence in the arrange- lomatic title. In the interval, however, exments of governments assembled in congresses treme irritation had existed between Germany or in conferences. The chronic difficulty of and Denmark, especially when Frederick VII. the duchies attached to the Danish crown was said to have encroached on federal rights had been unexpectedly rendered urgent by by a patent establishing a constitution in Holthe death of Frederick VII., the last king of stein, issued in the spring of the year 1863. the house of Oldenburg. As long as the kings Federal execution in the duchy was imminent, were absolute in Denmark their ducal sove- when the accession of King Christian IX. in reignty in Schleswig and Holstein involved Denmark afforded an excuse for opening the no subordination of their German subjects to question of his right to the duchies. Prince the Danes of the kingdom. It was only when Frederick, son of the Duke of Augustenburg, a representative constitution was granted in disputed the validity of his father's renunci1846 that the conflict of races seriously com- ation, and nearly every legislative assembly menced, and in 1818 it produced civil war. in the German states urged their respective With the aid of Prussia the Germans of Hol- governments to recognize his title. stein and Schleswig expelled the Danish forces But the points actually in dispute, the confrom both duchies, but on the withdrawal of cessions in regard to which Prussia and the the Prussian troops the Danes recovered the diet had at one stage of the negotiations virgreater part of Schleswig; and finally, the tually agreed to accept, may be all summed authority of Frederick VII. was re-established up in a single question--that of the budget. in both duchies by various conventions in 1850 The duchy and the diet had rejected any and 1851. Austria and Prussia, on behalf of plan for a constitution of the whole monarchy Germany, assented to the dissolution of the by Frederick VII., and any reasonable plan ancient union between Holstein and Schleswig, for a provisional government of the duchy and, in return, Denmark undertook to perform alone. As the government had to be carried
on, however, the only way that remained was bably averse to take a position in hostilities through the King of Denmark as absolute against a small state when they could only do Duke of Holstein and the old assembly of so by acting in conjunction with those other estates. It was quite obvious, also, that while German states, the congress of which, under any connection remained between the govern- Austrian influence, they had refused to attend. ment of Denmark and Holstein, the latter Austria had perhaps no relish for measuring must contribute to the expenses of that her military efficiency with that of Prussia at government. It was on the budget, therefore, such a time. But the minor states, under the that the dispute between the king and the direction of the Saxon minister, Baron Beust, duchy arose. The Holstein estates made outvoted Austria and Prussia in the diet, and the demand that they themselves should de- insisted on immediate war. cide the amount of their contribution to the Not till the 2d of December, 1863, did the revenue, and that the budget of the duchy Prussian chambers, by a majority of 231 to should be submitted to their consideration. 63, pass a resolution “ that the honour and This the Danish government had refused, but interests of Germany demand that all the as the diet had actually urged the extravagant German states should preserve the rights of demand that the budget for the whole mon- the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein, that archy should be submitted to the deliberate they should recognize the hereditary prince of vote of the Holstein estates, the three great Schleswig-Holstein - Sonderburg - Augustenpowers-Russia, France, and England-had burg as Duke of Schleswig-Holstein, and recommended Denmark to make concessions should lend him assistance in vindication of enabling the estates to deliberate on the his rights.” Probably this was a timely
" budget for the duchy. In a new provisional diversion of the attention of the Prussian asconstitution for the duchy these concessions semblies from the autocratic contempt which were granted on the advice of the great powers Count Bismarck and the king had constantly who were parties to the original treaty, in shown for popular demands and parliamentary order to preserve the peace of Europe; but representations. The King of Denmark dethe estates, supported by Prussia and the diet, clared that he would resist all revolutionary continued to reject the proposals though they movements in Holstein. The Danish foreign included the demands which had formerly minister afterwards addressed the ministers been made. It was therefore not unnaturally of Prussia, Austria, Saxony, and Hanover, concluded by Denmark that the great powers pronouncing the decree of the federal diet for would address a firm, united, and urgent re- giving effect to procedure of execution in the monstrance to the diet and Prussia, and would duchies to be devoid of binding force because support Denmark by protesting against any of the exclusion of the plenipotentiary of federal execution being attempted. But the Denmark from the assembly. He also anvery proposal of the constitution, in which the nounced that the mediation which had been concessions were included, was resented as an proffered by the British government had been unauthorized assumption of power. On the accepted. His representations were made on accession of King Christian IX. Austria and the 19th of December. On the 23d a detachPrussia were for demanding the repeal of the ment of Saxon and Hanoverian troops entered constitution of the kingdom, which included Holstein. Schleswig, and proposed to the diet that the Of course neither Prussia nor Austria coud duchy should be occupied till the concession hold back on an occasion when it was neceswas made. They did not desire to proceed to sary for them to assert their importance as actual
and the Prussian minister did not chief states in the German Confederation. recognize the claims of the Duke of Augusten- Circumstances had imposed on them the conburg, while Austria was believed to be not dition that they should only be able to assert unwilling to yield to “moral” intervention. their rivalry by becoming allies. On the 16th Bismarck and the Prussian sovereign were pro- of January, 1864, the federal commission FRANCE, RUSSIA, AND ENGLAND DECLINE TO INTERFERE. 103 having supressed the administration of Hol- Meza, the Danish commander, said he had stein and established a ducal government at orders to defend. Kiel, Austria and Prussia demanded of Den- The very day before the opening of the mark that the constitution of November, 1863, British parliament the Prussians had bomshould be suppressed within forty-eight hours. barded and begun to burn Missunde; three This was refused, and an Austro-Prussian days afterward the Danes had retreated from army under Marshal Wrangel, entered Hol- the Dannewerke, leaving behind all the heavy stein on the 21st.
artillery which defended the forts; in less than England had remonstrated. Earl Russell a week the Austro-Prussian army had ochad spoken with considerable plaindess. On cupied North Schleswig. Then the Danes the 31st of December, 1863, he had addressed quitted the place, declaring both duchies in a a note to the federal diet demanding in the state of blockade, and before the end of the interests of peace that a conference of the month (February, 1864) Denmark had first powers that signed the Treaty of London opposed the proposal of Earl Russell to leave should, in conjunction with a representative the settlement of the question of succession to from the German Confederation, meet in Paris a conference of the powers concerned in the or London to settle the differences between former treaty. It was not unnatural that Germany and Denmark, and that the status Denmark should hope for material aid from quo should be maintained till the conference England, or from England and France tohad concluded its work. The “status quo," gether; but the English government declined as we have seen, had been changed before any- to enter into a conflict alone, with the prothing was done. Even if Austria and Prussia bability of finding that their action had prohad been inclined to hold their hands after duced a war which would alter the relative disthe serious representations of England, they position of all the powers of Europe. France, were urged on by the smaller confederated Russia, and Sweden showed no alacrity in states, by which Prussia had previously been joining to force the hand of Prussia and deaccused of a want of a national spirit for feat the demands of the German Confederahesitating to break the treaties which secured tion. Denmark was obstinately deaf to the the Danish monarchy. It was a juncture advice that by yielding to certain claims which when the state that must take the lead in a had been interpreted into engagements to Gerpossibly united Germany of the future would many, her own undoubted claims might be have to sacrifice some scruples, and even risk more effectually supported. Earl Russell arthe disfavour of the other powers of Europe. gued that England was not bound to act alone
Was the risk so very great? The queen’s while there were other parties to the treaty, and speech at the opening of the English parlia- therefore the honour of England was not inment in 1864 set forth that the death of the volved because the Danes bad formed expectalate King of Denmark brought into immediate tions of our assistance while refusing to accept application the stipulation of the treaty of advice. At all events the Emperor of the 1852 which declared that it was conducive to French did not seem disposed to propose any the preservation of the balance of power and joint action with this country. He had been to the peace of Europe that the integrity of piqued at the refusals to join in a general conthe Danish monarchy should be maintained; gress of nations, and he had himself received but this speech was delivered four days after no overtures from us when he was supposed Austria and Prussia had told the Diet of to be willing to intervene on behalf of Poland. Frankfort that they should take the occupa- On the other hand, Russia was shy of both tion of Schleswig into their own hands as par- France and England. The Polish insurrection ties to the treaty of 1852; and had summoned had been put down in fire, in carnage, and in Denmark to annul the constitution by which banishment; and the element of religious Schleswig was incorporated with the kingdom, persecution had been imported into it till and to surrender the duchy which General de the cruelties against the Roman Catholics of Poland had actually aroused the remonstrances opposed to war, and that the whole country of the pope, whose voice had not been heard regarded the Mexican expedition as a disaster in denouncing the cruelties of tyranny while from which France had scarcely escaped with it had the name of being merely secular. honour. In the course of a debate on suppleRussia, too, probably recognized its obligations mental credits, on the opening of the chamto Prussia in this matter, and though willing ber in 1864, M. Berryer and M. Emile Ollivier to add grave remonstrances to the representa- spoke of the necessity of disarming; M. Berrytions of other powers against the breach of er denouncing the idea of France, oppressed treaty obligations and the duty of abstaining with financial difficulties, embarking needlessly from demands which would imperil the peace in any European war. of Europe, was not at all likely to repay aid M. Ollivier, a distinguished leader of the against Poland by hostilities to preserve Den- opposition, said: “There are two modes of mark.
always endangering influence with other naIt may have seemed good for Denmark tions. The one is to be too weak, the other that the conference in London was at length is to be too strong. The nation that is too agreed to, but it is scarcely to be wondered at weak is despised, and its opinion has no weight. that Prussia and Austria, flushed with success The nation that is too strong is feared, and and perceiving little probability of provoking then those who would naturally be disunited, hostilities by refusal, obstinately declined to by a feeling of prudence approach each other accept the boundary line which was suggested and unite against those they fear. The danger as the reasonable division of the duchies from of France in Europe at this moment comes Denmark, and demanded the cession, not only from her being too strong. The consequence of Schleswig and Holstein, but of Lauenburg, is that every time she treats, every time she which had been an acknowledged part of the acts, whatever proposal she makes, people supDanish monarchy. In fact no agreement was pose that she has personal objects in view, come to. Denmark had in effect accepted the and they do not believe in her disinterestedconcessions proposed, but Prussia and Austria, ness. Try to convince them of the disinterunwilling now to recede, and supported in their estedness of France, and all difficulties will demands by the persistent and convenient vanish; our influence will no more encounter agitation of Baron Beust, the envoy of the opposition, and, while you increase our prestige diet (who had no claim to be at the congress, in the world, you will have found the only since the diet had no hand in the treaty of real remedy for our embarrassed finances. But 1852), refused to abandon their position. The I warn you, you will be condemned to a last conference broke up on the 22d of June; sacrifice, for neither economy, nor grace, nor hostilities were resumed next day, and Den- disarming will suffice if you do not grant mark, finding that no support could be ob- liberty to France." tained, was obliged to end a brave resistance These words were vaguely suggestive of the against vastly superior forces by retiring conditions that were soon to be experienced. from the island of Alsen and abandoning The war between Prussia and Austria, which further resistance. Overtures for peace were afterwards arose out of the dispute with made and preliminaries signed. On the first Denmark and the seizure of Schleswig by of August a treaty was concluded; and the Prussia, remained uninfluenced by French two powers, triumphant with military suc- representations. In that tremendous conflict cesses, enforced the cession of Schleswig, Hol- it was seen that Prussia, intent on internal stein, and Lauenburg, and the payment of a development, and silently organizing resources large proportion of the expenses of the war. and consolidating her national strength, had
attained to a position previously unsuspected, There can be no doubt that during the with a great and perfectly appointed army period from 1864 to 1868 the opposition mem- and material of war, that gave her at once bers of the chamber in France were utterly the rank of a first-rate power in Europe.
GLADSTONE AND DISRAELI-A SHARP ENCOUNTER.
There were indications in France by that what is not our policy. We will not threaten time that the national expenditure was exces- and then refuse to act, we will not lead on sive, while the condition of the public finances our allies with expectations we do not intend was most unsatisfactory. Added to this there to fulfil. And, sir, if it ever be the lot of were symptoms of disaffection, which, while myself, and of those with whom I act, to they did not reach to public disturbances, kept carry on important negotiations of this society in a state of subdued excitement, and country, as the noble lord and his colleagues made the demand for an extension of political have done, I trust we shall not, at least, carry freedom deep, if not loud.
them on in such a manner as that it will be In England, parliament intervened to call our duty to come to parliament and announce ministers to account for their conduct in the that we have no ally, and then to declare that Danish question. During the whole of the England can never act alone. Sir, these are session there had been frequent interpellations words that ought never to have escaped the and fragmentary debates upon this Dano- lips of any British minister. They are sentiGerman struggle; but in the beginning of ments which ought never to have entered his July a simultaneous attack was made in both heart. I repudiate them and reject them. houses upon the policy of the government.
I remember that there was a time when In the House of Lords, a resolution against England had not a tithe of our resources, the government, moved by Lord Malmesbury, when, inspired by a patriotic cause, she was carried by a majority of nine; and in the triumphantly encountered a world in arms. House of Commons Mr. Disraeli proposed a And, sir, I believe, now,
if the occasion were similar resolution :-“To thank her majesty fitting, and our independence and our honour for having directed the correspondence on were attacked and assailed, if our empire Denmark and Germany, and the protocol of were endangered, I believe that England the conference recently held in London, to would arise in the magnificence of her might be laid before parliament; to assure her and struggle triumphantly for those objects majesty that we have heard with deep con- for which men live and nations flourish. But, cern that the sittings of the conference have sir, I for one will never consent to go to war been brought to a close without accomplish- to extricate British ministers from the conseing the important purpose for which it quences of their own indiscretion, and it is was convened; and to express to her ma- in this spirit that I have drawn up this adjesty our great regret that, while the course dress to the crown. I have drawn it up in pursued by her majesty's government has the spirit in which the royal speech was failed to maintain their avowed policy of delivered at the commencement of this session. upholding the integrity and independence of I am ready to vindicate the honour of this Denmark, it has lowered the just influence country when it is necessary, but I have of this country in the capitals of Europe, and drawn it up in the interests of peace.” thereby diminished the securities for peace.” Mr. Gladstone at once replied: “This is As an amendment to the last sentence of the the very first occasion that the British House resolution Mr. Kinglake proposed to substi- of Commons has been called upon, for the tute the words:-—"To express the satisfaction sake of displacing a government, to record the with which we have learned that at this con- degradation of its country. Why cannot juncture her majesty has been advised to the right honourable gentleman speak plainly abstain from armed interference in the war in his motion? Why does he not adopt the now going on between Denmark and the language of our forefathers, who, when they German powers.” “It is not for us," said were dissatisfied with the government, adMr. Disraeli, “it is not for any man in this dressed the crown, and prayed that the govhouse, to indicate to the ministers what ernment might be dismissed? They said should be the foreign policy of the country. | boldly that the conduct of the government The most we can do is to tell the noble lord was open to such and such charges, and they