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History of Modern Europe 1792-1878 by C. A. Fyffe

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had already arrived before Alexandria, and there executed a convention with
the Viceroy, by which the latter, abandoning all claim upon his other
provinces, and undertaking to restore the Turkish fleet, was assured of the
hereditary possession of Egypt. The convention was one which the English
admiral had no authority to conclude, but it contained substantially the
terms which the Allies intended to enforce; and after Mehemet had made a
formal act of submission to the Sultan, the hereditary government of Egypt
was conferred upon himself and his family by a decree published by the
Sultan and sanctioned by the Powers. This compromise had been proposed by
the French Government after the expiry of the twenty days named in the
Treaty of July, and immediately before the fall of M. Thiers, but
Palmerston would not then listen to any demand made under open or implied
threats of war. Since that time a new and pacific Ministry had come into
office; it was no part of Palmerston's policy to keep alive the antagonism
between England and France; and he readily accepted an arrangement which,
while it saved France from witnessing the total destruction of an ally,
left Egypt to a ruler who, whatever his faults, had certainly shown a
greater capacity for government than any Oriental of that age. It remained
for the Powers to place upon record some authoritative statement of the law
recognised by Europe with regard to the Bosphorus and Dardanelles. Russia
had already virtually consented to the abrogation of the Treaty of Unkiar
Skelessi. It now joined with all the other Powers, including France, in a
declaration that the ancient rule of the Ottoman Empire which forbade the
passage of these straits to the war-ships of all nations, except when the
Porte itself should be at war, was accepted by Europe at large. Russia thus
surrendered its chance of gaining by any separate arrangement with Turkey
the permanent right of sending its fleets from the Black Sea into the
Mediterranean, and so becoming a Mediterranean Power. On the other hand,
Sebastopol and the arsenals of the Euxine remained safe against the attack
of any maritime Power, unless Turkey itself should take up arms against the
Czar. Having regard to the great superiority of England over Russia at sea,
and to the accessibility and importance of the Euxine coast towns, it is an
open question whether the removal of all international restrictions upon
the passage of the Bosphorus and Dardanelles would not be more to the
advantage of England than of its rival. This opinion, however, had not been
urged before the Crimean War, nor has it yet been accepted in our own

[Turkey after 1840.]

[Legislation of Reschid.]

The conclusion of the struggle of 1840 marked with great definiteness the
real position which the Ottoman Empire was henceforth to occupy in its
relations to the western world. Rescued by Europe at large from the
alternatives of destruction at the hands of Ibrahim or complete vassalage
under Russia, the Porte entered upon the condition nominally of an
independent European State, really of a State existing under the protection
of Europe, and responsible to Europe as well for its domestic government as
for its alliances and for the conduct of its foreign policy. The necessity
of conciliating the public opinion of the West was well understood by the
Turkish statesman who had taken the leading part in the negotiations which
freed the Porte from dependence upon Russia. Reschid Pasha, the younger,
Foreign Minister at the accession of the new Sultan, had gained in an
unusual degree the regard and the confidence of the European Ministers with
whom, as a diplomatist, he had been brought into contact. As the author of
a wide system of reforms, it was his ambition so to purify and renovate the
internal administration of the Ottoman Empire that the contrasts which it
presented to the civilised order of the West should gradually disappear,
and that Turkey should become not only in name but in reality a member of
the European world. Stimulated no doubt by the achievements of Mehemet Ali,
and anxious to win over to the side of the Porte the interest which
Mehemet's partial adoption of European methods and ideas had excited on his
behalf, Reschid in his scheme of reform paid an ostentatious homage to the
principles of western administration and law, proclaiming the security of
person and property, prohibiting the irregular infliction of punishment,
recognising the civil rights of Christians and Jews, and transferring the
collection of taxes from the provincial governors to the officers of the
central authority. The friends of the Ottoman State, less experienced then
than now in the value of laws made in a society where there exists no power
that can enforce them, and where the agents of government are themselves
the most lawless of all the public enemies, hailed in Reschid's enlightened
legislation the opening of a new epoch in the life of the Christian and
Oriental races subject to the Sultan. But the fall of the Minister before a
palace-intrigue soon proved on how slight a foundation these hopes were
built. Like other Turkish reformers, Reschid had entered upon a hopeless
task; and the name of the man who was once honoured as the regenerator of a
great Empire is now almost forgotten.


Europe during the Thirty-years' Peace--Italy and Austria--Mazzini--The
House of Savoy--Gioberti--Election of Pius IX.--Reforms expected--
Revolution at Palermo--Agitation in Northern Italy--Lombardy--State of
the Austrian Empire--Growth of Hungarian National Spirit--The Magyars and
Slavs--Transylvania--Parties among the Magyars--Kossuth--The Slavic
National Movements in Austria--The Government enters on Reform in
Hungary--Policy of the Opposition--The Rural System of Austria--
Insurrection in Galicia: the Nobles and the Peasants--Agrarian
Edict--Public Opinion in Vienna--Prussia--Accession and Character of King
Frederick William IV.--Convocation of the United Diet--Its Debates and
Dissolution--France--The Spanish Marriages--Reform Movement--Socialism--
Revolution of February--End of the Orleanist Monarchy.

The characteristic of Continental history during the second quarter of this
century is the sense of unrest. The long period of European peace which
began in 1815 was not one of internal repose; the very absence of those
engrossing and imperious interests which belong to a time of warfare gave
freer play to the feelings of discontent and the vague longings for a
better political order which remained behind after the convulsions of the
revolutionary epoch and the military rule of Napoleon had passed away.
During thirty years of peace the breach had been widening between those
Governments which still represented the system of 1815, and the peoples
over whom they ruled. Ideas of liberty, awakenings of national sense, were
far more widely diffused in Europe than at the time of the revolutionary
war. The seed then prematurely forced into an atmosphere of storm and
reaction had borne its fruit: other growths, fertilised or accelerated by
Western Liberalism, but not belonging to the same family, were springing up
in unexpected strength, and in regions which had hitherto lain outside the
movement of the modern world. New forces antagonistic to Government had
come into being, penetrating an area unaffected by the constitutional
struggles of the Mediterranean States, or by the weaker political efforts
of Germany. In the homes of the Magyar and the Slavic subjects of Austria,
so torpid throughout the agitation of an earlier time, the passion of
nationality was every hour gaining new might. The older popular causes,
vanquished for the moment by one reaction after another, had silently
established a far stronger hold on men's minds. Working, some in exile and
conspiracy, others through such form of political literature as the
jealousy of Governments permitted, the leaders of the democratic movement
upon the Continent created a power before which the established order at
length succumbed. They had not created, nor was it possible under the
circumstances that they should create, an order which was capable of taking
its place.

[Italy. 1831-1848.]

Italy, rather than France, forms the central figure in any retrospect of
Europe immediately before 1848 in which the larger forces at work are not
obscured by those for the moment more prominent. The failure of the
insurrection of 1831 had left Austria more visibly than before master over
the Italian people even in those provinces in which Austria was not
nominally sovereign. It had become clear that no effort after reform could
be successful either in the Papal States or in the kingdom of Naples so
long as Austria held Lombardy and Venice. The expulsion of the foreigner
was therefore not merely the task of those who sought to give the Italian
race its separate and independent national existence, it was the task of
all who would extinguish oppression and misgovernment in any part of the
Italian peninsula. Until the power of Austria was broken, it was vain to
take up arms against the tyranny of the Duke of Modena or any other
contemptible oppressor. Austria itself had twice taught this lesson; and if
the restoration of Neapolitan despotism in 1821 could be justified by the
disorderly character of the Government then suppressed, the circumstances
attending the restoration of the Pope's authority in 1831 had extinguished
Austria's claim to any sort of moral respect; for Metternich himself had
united with the other European Courts in declaring the necessity for
reforms in the Papal Government, and of these reforms, though a single
earnest word from Austria would have enforced their execution, not one had
been carried into effect. Gradually, but with increasing force as each
unhappy year passed by, the conviction gained weight among all men of
serious thought that the problem to be faced was nothing less than the
destruction of the Austrian yoke. Whether proclaimed as an article of faith
or veiled in diplomatic reserve, this belief formed the common ground among
men whose views on the immediate future of Italy differed in almost every
other particular.


Three main currents of opinion are to be traced in the ferment of ideas
which preceded the Italian revolution of 1848. At a time not rich in
intellectual or in moral power, the most striking figure among those who
are justly honoured as the founders of Italian independence is perhaps that
of Mazzini. Exiled during nearly the whole of his mature life, a
conspirator in the eyes of all Governments, a dreamer in the eyes of the
world, Mazzini was a prophet or an evangelist among those whom his
influence led to devote themselves to the one cause of their country's
regeneration. No firmer faith, no nobler disinterestedness, ever animated
the saint or the patriot; and if in Mazzini there was also something of the
visionary and the fanatic, the force with which he grasped the two vital
conditions of Italian revival--the expulsion of the foreigner and the
establishment of a single national Government--proves him to have been a
thinker of genuine political insight. Laying the foundation of his creed
deep in the moral nature of man, and constructing upon this basis a fabric
not of rights but of duties, he invested the political union with the
immediateness, the sanctity, and the beauty of family life. With him, to
live, to think, to hope, was to live, to think, to hope for Italy; and the
Italy of his ideal was a Republic embracing every member of the race,
purged of the priestcraft and the superstition which had degraded the man
to the slave, indebted to itself alone for its independence, and
consolidated by the reign of equal law. The rigidity with which Mazzini
adhered to his own great project in its completeness, and his impatience
with any bargaining away of national rights, excluded him from the work of
those practical politicians and men of expedients who in 1859 effected with
foreign aid the first step towards Italian union; but the influence of his
teaching and his organisation in preparing his countrymen for independence
was immense; and the dynasty which has rendered to United Italy services
which Mazzini thought impossible, owes to this great Republican scarcely
less than to its ablest friends.

[Hopes of Piedmont.]

Widely separated from the school of Mazzini in temper and intention was the
group of politicians and military men, belonging mostly to Piedmont, who
looked to the sovereign and the army of this State as the one hope of Italy
in its struggle against foreign rule. The House of Savoy, though foreign in
its origin, was, and had been for centuries, a really national dynasty. It
was, moreover, by interest and traditional policy, the rival rather than
the friend of Austria in Northern Italy. If the fear of revolution had at
times brought the Court of Turin into close alliance with Vienna, the
connection had but thinly veiled the lasting antagonism of two States
which, as neighbours, had habitually sought expansion each at the other's
cost. Lombardy, according to the expression of an older time, was the
artichoke which the Kings of Piedmont were destined to devour leaf by leaf.
Austria, on the other hand, sought extension towards the Alps: it had in
1799 clearly shown its intention of excluding the House of Savoy altogether
from the Italian mainland; and the remembrance of this epoch had led the
restored dynasty in 1815 to resist the plans of Metternich for establishing
a league of all the princes of Italy under Austria's protection. The
sovereign, moreover, who after the failure of the constitutional movement
of 1821 had mounted the throne surrounded by Austrian bayonets, was no
longer alive. Charles Albert of Carignano, who had at that time played so
ambiguous a part, and whom Metternich had subsequently endeavoured to
exclude from the succession, was on the throne. He had made his peace with
absolutism by fighting in Spain against the Cortes in 1823; and since his
accession to the throne he had rigorously suppressed the agitation of
Mazzini's partizans within his own dominions. But in spite of strong
clerical and reactionary influences around him, he had lately shown an
independence of spirit in his dealings with Austria which raised him in the
estimation of his subjects; and it was believed that his opinions had been
deeply affected by the predominance which the idea of national independence
was now gaining over that of merely democratic change. If the earlier
career of Charles Albert himself cast some doubt upon his personal
sincerity, and much more upon his constancy of purpose, there was at least
in Piedmont an army thoroughly national in its sentiment, and capable of
taking the lead whenever the opportunity should arise for uniting Italy
against the foreigner. In no other Italian State was there an effective
military force, or one so little adulterated with foreign elements.

[Hopes of the Papacy.]

A third current of opinion in these years of hope and of illusion was that
represented in the writings of Gioberti, the depicter of a new and glorious
Italy, regenerated not by philosophic republicanism or the sword of a
temporal monarch, but by the moral force of a reformed and reforming
Papacy. The conception of the Catholic Church as a great Liberal power,
strange and fantastic as it now appears, was no dream of an isolated
Italian enthusiast; it was an idea which, after the French Revolution of
1830, and the establishment of a government at once anti-clerical and
anti-democratic, powerfully influenced some of the best minds in France,
and found in Montalembert and Lamennais exponents who commanded the ear of
Europe. If the corruption of the Papacy had been at once the spiritual and
the political death of Italy, its renovation in purity and in strength
would be also the resurrection of the Italian people. Other lands had
sought, and sought in vain, to work out their problems under the guidance
of leaders antagonistic to the Church, and of popular doctrines divorced
from religious faith. To Italy belonged the prerogative of spiritual power.
By this power, aroused from the torpor of ages, and speaking, as it had
once spoken, to the very conscience of mankind, the gates of a glorious
future would be thrown open. Conspirators might fret, and politicians
scheme, but the day on which the new life of Italy would begin would be
that day when the head of the Church, taking his place as chief of a
federation of Italian States, should raise the banner of freedom and
national right, and princes and people alike should follow the
all-inspiring voice.

[Election of Pius IX., June, 1846.]

[Reforms expected from Pius.]

[Ferrara, June, 1847.]

A monk, ignorant of everything but cloister lore, benighted, tyrannical,
the companion in his private life of a few jolly priests and a gossiping
barber, was not an alluring emblem of the Church of the future. But in 1846
Pope Gregory XVI., who for the last five years had been engaged in one
incessant struggle against insurgents, conspirators, and reformers, and
whose prisons were crowded with the best of his subjects, passed away.
[405] His successor, Mastai Ferretti, Bishop of Imola, was elected under
the title of Pius IX., after the candidate favoured by Austria had failed
to secure the requisite number of votes (June 17). The choice of this
kindly and popular prelate was to some extent a tribute to Italian feeling;
and for the next eighteen months it appeared as it Gioberti had really
divined the secret of the age. The first act of the new Pope was the
publication of a universal amnesty for political offences. The prison doors
throughout his dominions were thrown open, and men who had been sentenced
to confinement for life returned in exultation to their homes. The act
created a profound impression throughout Italy, and each good-humoured
utterance of Pius confirmed the belief that great changes were at hand. A
wild enthusiasm seized upon Rome. The population abandoned itself to
festivals in honour of the Pontiff and of the approaching restoration of
Roman liberty. Little was done; not much was actually promised; everything
was believed. The principle of representative government was discerned in
the new Council of State now placed by the side of the College of
Cardinals; a more serious concession was made to popular feeling in the
permission given to the citizens of Rome, and afterwards to those of the
provinces, to enrol themselves in a civic guard. But the climax of
excitement was reached when, in answer to a threatening movement of
Austria, occasioned by the growing agitation throughout Central Italy, the
Papal Court protested against the action of its late protector. By the
Treaties of Vienna Austria had gained the right to garrison the citadel of
Ferrara, though this town lay within the Ecclesiastical States. Placing a
new interpretation on the expression used in the Treaties, the Austrian
Government occupied the town of Ferrara itself (June 17th, 1847). The
movement was universally understood to be the preliminary to a new
occupation of the Papal States, like that of 1831; and the protests of the
Pope against the violation of his territory gave to the controversy a
European importance. The English and French fleets appeared at Naples; the
King of Sardinia openly announced his intention to take the field against
Austria if war should break out. By the efforts of neutral Powers a
compromise on the occupation of Ferrara was at length arranged; but the
passions which had been excited were not appeased, and the Pope remained in
popular imagination the champion of Italian independence against Austria,
as well as the apostle of constitutional Government and the rights of the

[Revolution at Palermo, Jan., 1848.]

In the meantime the agitation begun in Rome was spreading through the north
and the south of the peninsula, and beyond the Sicilian Straits. The
centenary of the expulsion of the Austrians from Genoa in December, 1746,
was celebrated throughout central Italy with popular demonstrations which
gave Austria warning of the storm about to burst upon it. In the south,
however, impatience under domestic tyranny was a far more powerful force
than the distant hope of national independence. Sicily had never forgotten
the separate rights which it had once enjoyed, and the constitution given
to it under the auspices of England in 1812. Communications passed between
the Sicilian leaders and the opponents of the Bourbon Government on the
mainland, and in the autumn of 1847 simultaneous risings took place in
Calabria and at Messina. These were repressed without difficulty; but the
fire smouldered far and wide, and on the 13th of January, 1848, the
population of Palermo rose in revolt. For fourteen days the conflict
between the people and the Neapolitan troops continued. The city was
bombarded, but in the end the people were victorious, and a provisional
government was formed by the leaders of the insurrection. One Sicilian town
after another followed the example of the capital, and expelled its
Neapolitan garrison. Threatened by revolution in Naples itself, King
Ferdinand II., grandson of the despot of 1821, now imitated the policy of
his predecessor, and proclaimed a constitution. A Liberal Ministry was
formed, but no word was said as to the autonomy claimed by Sicily, and
promised, as it would seem, by the leaders of the popular party on the
mainland. After the first excitement of success was past, it became clear
that the Sicilians were as widely at variance with the newly-formed
Government at Naples as with that which they had overthrown.

[Agitation in Austrian Italy.]

The insurrection of Palermo gave a new stimulus and imparted more of
revolutionary colour to the popular movement throughout Italy.
Constitutions were granted in Piedmont and Tuscany. In the Austrian
provinces national exasperation against the rule of the foreigner grew
daily more menacing. Radetzky, the Austrian Commander-in-chief, had long
foreseen the impending struggle, and had endeavoured, but not with complete
success, to impress his own views upon the imperial Government. Verona had
been made the centre of a great system of fortifications, and the strength
of the army under Radetzky's command had been considerably increased, but
it was not until the eleventh hour that Metternich abandoned the hope of
tiding over difficulties by his old system of police and spies, and
permitted the establishment of undisguised military rule. In order to
injure the finances of Austria, a general resolution had been made by the
patriotic societies of Upper Italy to abstain from the use of tobacco, from
which the Government drew a large part of its revenue. On the first Sunday
in 1848 Austrian officers, smoking in the streets of Milan, were attacked
by the people. The troops were called to arms: a conflict took place, and
enough blood was shed to give to the tumult the importance of an actual
revolt. In Padua and elsewhere similar outbreaks followed. Radetzky issued
a general order to his troops, declaring that the Emperor was determined to
defend his Italian dominion whether against an external or domestic foe.
Martial law was proclaimed; and for a moment, although Piedmont gave signs
of throwing itself into the Italian movement, the awe of Austria's military
power hushed the rising tempest. A few weeks more revealed to an astonished
world the secret that the Austrian State, so great and so formidable in the
eyes of friend and foe, was itself on the verge of dissolution.


[Affairs in Hungary.]

It was to the absence of all stirring public life, not to any real
assimilative power or any high intelligence in administration, that the
House of Hapsburg owed, during the eighteenth century, the continued union
of that motley of nations or races which successive conquests, marriages,
and treaties had brought under its dominion. The violence of the attack
made by the Emperor Joseph upon all provincial rights first re-awakened the
slumbering spirit of Hungary; but the national movement of that time, which
excited such strong hopes and alarms, had been succeeded by a long period
of stagnation, and during the Napoleonic wars the repression of everything
that appealed to any distinctively national spirit had become more avowedly
than before the settled principle of the Austrian Court. In 1812 the
Hungarian Diet had resisted the financial measures of the Government. The
consequence was that, in spite of the law requiring its convocation every
three years, the Diet was not again summoned till 1825. During the
intermediate period, the Emperor raised taxes and levies by edict alone.
Deprived of its constitutional representation, the Hungarian nobility
pursued its opposition to the encroachments of the Crown in the Sessions of
each county. At these assemblies, to which there existed no parallel in the
western and more advanced States of the Continent, each resident land-owner
who belonged to the very numerous caste of the noblesse was entitled to
speak and to vote. Retaining, in addition to the right of free discussion
and petition, the appointment of local officials, as well as a considerable
share in the actual administration, the Hungarian county-assemblies,
handing down a spirit of rough independence from an immemorial past, were
probably the hardiest relic of self-government existing in any of the great
monarchical States of Europe. Ignorant, often uncouth in their habits,
oppressive to their peasantry, and dominated by the spirit of race and
caste, the mass of the Magyar nobility had indeed proved as impervious to
the humanising influences of the eighteenth century as they had to the
solicitations of despotism. The Magnates, or highest order of noblesse, who
formed a separate chamber in the Diet, had been to some extent
denationalised; they were at once more European in their culture, and more
submissive to the Austrian Court. In banishing political discussion from
the Diet to the County Sessions, the Emperor's Government had intensified
the provincial spirit which it sought to extinguish. Too numerous to be won
over by personal inducements, and remote from the imperial agencies which
had worked so effectively through the Chamber of Magnates, the lesser
nobility of Hungary during these years of absolutism carried the habit of
political discussion to their homes, and learnt to baffle the imperial
Government by withholding all help and all information from its subordinate
agents. Each county-assembly became a little Parliament, and a centre of
resistance to the usurpation of the Crown. The stimulus given to the
national spirit by this struggle against unconstitutional rule was seen not
less in the vigorous attacks made upon the Government on the re-assembling
of the Diet in 1825, than in the demand that Magyar, and not Latin as
heretofore, should be the language used in recording the proceedings of the
Diet, and in which communications should pass between the Upper and the
Lower House.

[Magyars and Slavs.]

There lay in this demand for the recognition of the national language the
germ of a conflict of race against race which was least of all suspected by
those by whom the demand was made. Hungary, as a political unity,
comprised, besides the Slavic kingdom of Croatia, wide regions in which the
inhabitants were of Slavic or Roumanian race, and where the Magyar was
known only as a feudal lord. The district in which the population at large
belonged to the Magyar stock did not exceed one-half of the kingdom. For
the other races of Hungary, who were probably twice as numerous as
themselves, the Magyars entertained the utmost contempt, attributing to
them the moral qualities of the savage, and denying to them the possession
of any nationality whatever. In a country combining so many elements
ill-blended with one another, and all alike subject to a German Court at
Vienna, Latin, as the language of the Church and formerly the language of
international communication, had served well as a neutral means of
expression in public affairs. There might be Croatian deputies in the Diet
who could not speak Magyar; the Magyars could not understand Croatian; both
could understand and could without much effort express themselves in the
species of Latin which passed muster at Presburg and at Vienna. Yet no
freedom of handling could convert a dead language into a living one; and
when the love of country and of ancient right became once more among the
Magyars an inspiring passion, it naturally sought a nobler and more
spontaneous utterance than dog-latin. Though no law was passed upon the
subject in the Parliament in which it was first mooted, speakers in the
Diet of 1832 used their mother-tongue; and when the Viennese Government
forbade the publication of the debates, reports were circulated in
manuscript through the country by Kossuth, a young deputy, who after the
dissolution of the Diet in 1836 paid for his defiance of the Emperor by
three years' imprisonment.

[Hungary after 1830.]

[The Diet of 1832-36.]


Hungary now seemed to be entering upon an epoch of varied and rapid
national development. The barriers which separated it from the Western
world were disappearing. The literature, the ideas, the inventions of
Western Europe were penetrating its archaic society, and transforming a
movement which in its origin had been conservative and aristocratic into
one of far-reaching progress and reform. Alone among the opponents of
absolute power on the Continent, the Magyars had based their resistance on
positive constitutional right, on prescription, and the settled usage of
the past; and throughout the conflict with the Crown between 1812 and 1825
legal right was on the side not of the Emperor but of those whom he
attempted to coerce. With excellent judgment the Hungarian leaders had
during these years abstained from raising any demand for reforms,
appreciating the advantage of a purely defensive position in a combat with
a Court pledged in the eyes of all Europe, as Austria was, to the defence
of legitimate rights. This policy had gained its end; the Emperor, after
thirteen years of conflict, had been forced to re-convoke the Diet, and to
abandon the hope of effecting a work in which his uncle, Joseph II., had
failed. But, the constitution once saved, that narrow and exclusive body of
rights for which the nobility had contended no longer satisfied the needs
or the conscience of the time. [406] Opinion was moving fast; the claims of
the towns and of the rural population were making themselves felt; the
agitation that followed the overthrow of the Bourbons in 1830 reached
Hungary too, not so much through French influence as through the Polish war
of independence, in which the Magyars saw a struggle not unlike their own,
enlisting their warmest sympathies for the Polish armies so long as they
kept the field, and for the exiles who came among them when the conflict
was over. By the side of the old defenders of class-privilege there arose
men imbued with the spirit of modern Liberalism. The laws governing the
relation of the peasant to his lord, which remained nearly as they had been
left by Maria Theresa, were dealt with by the Diet of 1832 in so liberal a
spirit that the Austrian Government, formerly far in advance of Hungarian
opinion on this subject, refused its assent to many of the measures passed.
Great schemes of social and material improvement also aroused the public
hopes in these years. The better minds became conscious of the real aspect
of Hungarian life in comparison with that of civilised Europe--of its
poverty, its inertia, its boorishness. Extraordinary energy was thrown into
the work of advance by Count Széchenyi, a nobleman whose imagination had
been fired by the contrast which the busy industry of Great Britain and the
practical interests of its higher classes presented to the torpor of his
own country. It is to him that Hungary owes the bridge uniting its double
capital at Pesth, and that Europe owes the unimpeded navigation of the
Danube, which he first rendered possible by the destruction of the rocks
known as the Iron Gates at Orsova. Sanguine, lavishly generous, an ardent
patriot, Széchenyi endeavoured to arouse men of his own rank, the great and
the powerful in Hungary, to the sense of what was due from them to their
country as leaders in its industrial development. He was no revolutionist,
nor was he an enemy to Austria. A peaceful political future would best have
accorded with his own designs for raising Hungary to its due place among


That the Hungarian movement of this time was converted from one of fruitful
progress into an embittered political conflict ending in civil war was due,
among other causes, to the action of the Austrian Cabinet itself. Wherever
constitutional right existed, there Austria saw a natural enemy. The
province of Transylvania, containing a mixed population of Magyars,
Germans, and Roumanians, had, like Hungary, a Diet of its own, which Diet
ought to have been summoned every year. It was, however, not once assembled
between 1811 and 1834. In the agitation at length provoked in Transylvania
by this disregard of constitutional right, the Magyar element naturally
took the lead, and so gained complete ascendancy in the province. When the
Diet met in 1834, its language and conduct were defiant in the highest
degree. It was speedily dissolved, and the scandal occasioned by its
proceedings disturbed the last days of the Emperor Francis, who died in
1835, leaving the throne to his son Ferdinand, an invalid incapable of any
serious exertion. It soon appeared that nothing was changed in the
principles of the Imperial Government, and that whatever hopes had been
formed of the establishment of a freer system under the new reign were
delusive. The leader of the Transylvanian Opposition was Count Wesselényi,
himself a Magnate in Hungary, who, after the dissolution of the Diet,
betook himself to the Sessions of the Hungarian counties, and there
delivered speeches against the Court which led to his being arrested and
brought to trial for high treason. His cause was taken up by the Hungarian
Diet, as one in which the rights of the local assemblies were involved. The
plea of privilege was, however, urged in vain, and the sentence of exile
which was passed upon Count Wesselényi became a new source of contention
between the Crown and the Magyar Estates. [407]

[Parties among the Magyars.]

[The Diet of 1843.]

The enmity of Government was now a sufficient passport to popular favour.
On emerging from his prison under a general amnesty in 1840, Kossuth
undertook the direction of a Magyar journal at Pesth, which at once gained
an immense influence throughout the country. The spokesman of a new
generation, Kossuth represented an entirely different order of ideas from
those of the orthodox defenders of the Hungarian Constitution. They had
been conservative and aristocratic; he was revolutionary: their weapons had
been drawn from the storehouse of Hungarian positive law; his inspiration
was from the Liberalism of western Europe. Thus within the national party
itself there grew up sections in more or less pronounced antagonism to one
another, though all were united by a passionate devotion to Hungary and by
an unbounded faith in its future. Széchenyi, and those who with him
subordinated political to material ends, regarded Kossuth as a dangerous
theorist. Between the more impetuous and the more cautious reformers stood
the recognised Parliamentary leaders of the Liberals, among whom Deák had
already given proof of political capacity of no common order. In Kossuth's
journal the national problems of the time were discussed both by his
opponents and by his friends. Publicity gave greater range as well as
greater animation to the conflict of ideas; and the rapid development of
opinion during these years was seen in the large and ambitious measures
which occupied the Diet of 1843. Electoral and municipal reform, the
creation of a code of criminal law, the introduction of trial by jury, the
abolition of the immunity of the nobles from taxation; all these, and
similar legislative projects, displayed at once the energy of the time and
the influence of western Europe in transforming the political conceptions
of the Hungarian nation. Hitherto the forty-three Free Cities had possessed
but a single vote in the Diet, as against the sixty-three votes possessed
by the Counties. It was now generally admitted that this anomaly could not
continue; but inasmuch as civic rights were themselves monopolised by small
privileged orders among the townsmen, the problem of constitutional reform
carried with it that of a reform of the municipalities. Hungary in short
was now face to face with the task of converting its ancient system of the
representation of the privileged orders into the modern system of a
representation of the nation at large. Arduous at every epoch and in every
country, this work was one of almost insuperable difficulty in Hungary,
through the close connection with the absolute monarchy of Austria; through
the existence of a body of poor noblesse, numbered at two hundred thousand,
who, though strong in patriotic sentiment, bitterly resented any attack
upon their own freedom from taxation; and above all through the variety of
races in Hungary, and the attitude assumed by the Magyars, as the dominant
nationality, towards the Slavs around them. In proportion as the energy of
the Magyars and their confidence in the victory of the national cause
mounted high, so rose their disdain of all claims beside their own within
the Hungarian kingdom. It was resolved by the Lower Chamber of the Diet of
1843 that no language but Magyar should be permitted in debate, and that at
the end of ten years every person not capable of speaking the Magyar
language should be excluded from all public employment. The Magnates
softened the latter provision by excepting from it the holders of merely
local offices in Slavic districts; against the prohibition of Latin in the
Diet the Croatians appealed to the Emperor. A rescript arrived from Vienna
placing a veto upon the resolution. So violent was the storm excited in the
Diet itself by this rescript, and so threatening the language of the
national leaders outside, that the Cabinet, after a short interval, revoked
its decision, and accepted a compromise which, while establishing Magyar as
the official language of the kingdom, and requiring that it should be
taught even in Croatian schools, permitted the use of Latin in the Diet for
the next six years. In the meantime the Diet had shouted down every speaker
who began with the usual Latin formula, and fighting had taken place in
Agram, the Croatian capital, between the national and the Magyar factions.

[The Slavic national movements.]

It was in vain that the effort was made at Presburg to resist all claims
but those of one race. The same quickening breath which had stirred the
Magyar nation to new life had also passed over the branches of the Slavic
family within the Austrian dominions far and near. In Bohemia a revival of
interest in the Czech language and literature, which began about 1820, had
in the following decade gained a distinctly political character. Societies
originally or professedly founded for literary objects had become the
centres of a popular movement directed towards the emancipation of the
Czech elements in Bohemia from German ascendancy, and the restoration of
something of a national character to the institutions of the kingdom. Among
the southern Slavs, with whom Hungary was more directly concerned, the
national movement first became visible rather later. Its earliest
manifestations took, just as in Bohemia, a literary or linguistic form.
Projects for the formation of a common language which, under the name of
Illyrian, should draw together all the Slavic populations between the
Adriatic and the Black Sea, occupied for a while the fancy of the learned;
but the more ambitious part of this design, which had given some umbrage to
the Turkish Government, was abandoned in obedience to instructions from
Vienna; and the movement first gained political importance when its scope
was limited to the Croatian and Slavonic districts of Hungary, and it was
endowed with the distinct task of resisting the imposition of Magyar as an
official language. In addition to their representation in the Diet of the
Kingdom at Presburg, the Croatian landowners had their own Provincial Diet
at Agram. In this they possessed not only a common centre of action, but an
organ of communication with the Imperial Government at Vienna, which
rendered them some support in their resistance to Magyar pretensions. Later
events gave currency to the belief that a conflict of races in Hungary was
deliberately stimulated by the Austrian Court in its own interest. But the
whole temper and principle of Metternich's rule was opposed to the
development of national spirit, whether in one race or another; and the
patronage which the Croats appeared at this time to receive at Vienna was
probably no more than an instinctive act of conservatism, intended to
maintain the balance of interests, and to reduce within the narrowest
possible limits such changes as might prove inevitable.

[Agitation after 1843.]

Of all the important measures of reform which were brought before the
Hungarian Diet of 1843, one alone had become law. The rest were either
rejected by the Chamber of Magnates after passing the Lower House, or were
thrown out in the Lower House in spite of the approval of the majority, in
consequence of peremptory instructions sent to Presburg by the county
assemblies. The representative of a Hungarian constituency was not free to
vote at his discretion; he was the delegate of the body of nobles which
sent him, and was legally bound to give his vote in accordance with the
instructions which he might from time to time receive. However zealous the
Legislature itself, it was therefore liable to be paralysed by external
pressure as soon as any question was raised which touched the privileges of
the noble caste. This was especially the case with all projects involving
the expenditure of public revenue. Until the nobles bore their share of
taxation it was impossible that Hungary should emerge from a condition of
beggarly need; yet, be the inclination of the Diet what it might, it was
controlled by bodies of stubborn squires or yeomen in each county, who
fully understood their own power, and stoutly forbade the passing of any
measure which imposed a share of the public burdens upon themselves. The
impossibility of carrying out reforms tinder existing conditions had been
demonstrated by the failures of 1843. In order to overcome the obstruction
as well of the Magnates as of the county assemblies, it was necessary that
an appeal should be made to the country at large, and that a force of
public sentiment should be aroused which should both overmaster the
existing array of special interests, and give birth to legislation merging
them for the future in a comprehensive system of really national
institutions. To this task the Liberal Opposition addressed itself; and
although large differences existed within the party, and the action of
Kossuth, who now exchanged the career of the journalist for that of the
orator, was little fettered by the opinions of his colleagues, the general
result did not disappoint the hopes that had been formed. Political
associations and clubs took vigorous root in the country. The magic of
Kossuth's oratory left every hearer a more patriotic, if not a wiser man;
and an awakening passion for the public good seemed for a while to throw
all private interests into the shade.

[Government Policy of Reform.]

[Programme of the Opposition.]

It now became plain to all but the blindest that great changes were
inevitable; and at the instance of the more intelligent among the
Conservative party in Hungary the Imperial Government resolved to enter the
lists with a policy of reform, and, if possible, to wrest the helm from the
men who were becoming masters of the nation. In order to secure a majority
in the Diet, it was deemed requisite by the Government first to gain a
predominant influence in the county-assemblies. As a preliminary step, most
of the Lieutenants of counties, to whose high dignity no practical
functions attached, were removed from their posts, and superseded by paid
administrators, appointed from Vienna. Count Apponyi, one of the most
vigorous of the conservative and aristocratic reformers, was placed at the
head of the Ministry. In due time the proposals of the Government were made
public. They comprised the taxation of the nobles, a reform of the
municipalities, modifications in the land-system, and a variety of economic
measures intended directly to promote the material development of the
country. The latter were framed to some extent on the lines laid down by
Szechenyi, who now, in bitter antagonism to Kossuth, accepted office under
the Government, and gave to it the prestige of his great name. It remained
for the Opposition to place their own counter-proposals before the country.
Differences within the party were smoothed over, and a manifesto, drawn up
by Deák, gave statesmanlike expression to the aims of the national leaders.
Embracing every reform included in the policy of the Government, it added
to them others which the Government had not ventured to face, and gave to
the whole the character of a vindication of its own rights by the nation,
in contrast to a scheme of administrative reform worked out by the officers
of the Crown. Thus while it enforced the taxation of the nobles, it claimed
for the Diet the right of control over every branch of the national
expenditure. It demanded increased liberty for the Press, and an unfettered
right of political association; and finally, while doing homage to the
unity of the Crown, it required that the Government of Hungary should be
one in direct accord with the national representation in the Diet, and that
the habitual effort of the Court of Vienna to place this kingdom on the
same footing as the Emperor's non-constitutional provinces should be
abandoned. With the rival programmes of the Government and the Opposition
before it, the country proceeded to the elections of 1847. Hopefulness and
enthusiasm abounded on every side; and at the close of the year the Diet
assembled from which so great a work was expected, and which was destined
within so short a time to witness, in storm and revolution, the passing
away of the ancient order of Hungarian life.

[The Rural System of Hungary.]

The directly constitutional problems with which the Diet of Presburg had to
deal were peculiar to Hungary itself, and did not exist in the other parts
of the Austrian Empire. There were, however, social problems which were not
less urgently forcing themselves upon public attention alike in Hungary and
in those provinces which enjoyed no constitutional rights. The chief of
these was the condition of the peasant-population. In the greater part of
the Austrian dominions, though serfage had long been abolished, society was
still based upon the manorial system. The peasant held his land subject to
the obligation of labouring on his lord's domain for a certain number of
days in the year, and of rendering him other customary services: the
manor-court, though checked by the neighbourhood of crown-officers,
retained its jurisdiction, and its agents frequently performed duties of
police. Hence the proposed extinction of the so-called feudal tie, and the
conversion of the semi-dependent cultivator into a freeholder bound only to
the payment of a fixed money-charge, or rendered free of all obligation by
the surrender of a part of his holding, involved in many districts the
institution of new public authorities and a general reorganisation of the
minor local powers. From this task the Austrian Government had shrunk in
mere lethargy, even when, as in 1835, proposals for change had come from
the landowners themselves. The work begun by Maria Theresa and Joseph
remained untouched, though thirty years of peace had given abundant
opportunity for its completion, and the legislation of Hardenberg in 1810
afforded precedents covering at least part of the field.

[Insurrection in Galicia, Feb., 1846.]

[Rural Edict, Dec., 1845.]

At length events occurred which roused the drowsiest heads in Vienna from
their slumbers. The party of action among the Polish refugees at Paris had
determined to strike another blow for the independence of their country.
Instead, however, of repeating the insurrection of Warsaw, it was arranged
that the revolt should commence in Prussian and Austrian Poland, and the
beginning of the year 1846 was fixed for the uprising. In Prussia the
Government crushed the conspirators before a blow could be struck. In
Austria, though ample warning was given, the precautions taken were
insufficient. General Collin occupied the Free City of Cracow, where the
revolutionary committee had its headquarters; but the troops under his
command were so weak that he was soon compelled to retreat, and to await
the arrival of reinforcements. Meanwhile the landowners in the district of
Tarnow in northern Galicia raised the standard of insurrection, and sought
to arm the country. The Ruthenian peasantry, however, among whom they
lived, owed all that was tolerable in their condition to the protection of
the Austrian crown-officers, and detested the memory of an independent
Poland. Instead of following their lords into the field, they gave
information of their movements, and asked instructions from the nearest
Austrian authorities. They were bidden to seize upon any persons who
instigated them to rebellion, and to bring them into the towns. A war of
the peasants against the nobles forthwith broke out. Murder, pillage, and
incendiary fires brought both the Polish insurrection and its leaders to a
miserable end. The Polish nobles, unwilling to acknowledge the humiliating
truth that their own peasants were their bitterest enemies, charged the
Austrian Government with having set a price on their heads, and with having
instigated the peasants to a communistic revolt. Metternich, disgraced by
the spectacle of a Jacquerie raging apparently under his own auspices,
insisted, in a circular to the European Courts, that the attack of the
peasantry upon the nobles had been purely spontaneous, and occasioned by
attempts to press certain villagers into the ranks of the rebellion by
brute force. But whatever may have been the measure of responsibility
incurred by the agents of the Government, an agrarian revolution was
undoubtedly in full course in Galicia, and its effects were soon felt in
the rest of the Austrian monarchy. The Arcadian contentment of the rural
population, which had been the boast, and in some degree the real strength,
of Austria, was at an end. Conscious that the problem which it had so long
evaded must at length be faced, the Government of Vienna prepared to deal
with the conditions of land-tenure by legislation extending over the whole
of the Empire. But the courage which was necessary for an adequate solution
of the difficulty nowhere existed within the official world, and the Edict
which conveyed the last words of the Imperial Government on this vital
question contained nothing more than a series of provisions for
facilitating voluntary settlements between the peasants and their lords. In
the quality of this enactment the Court of Vienna gave the measure of its
own weakness. The opportunity of breaking with traditions of impotence had
presented itself and had been lost. Revolution was at the gates; and in the
unsatisfied claim of the rural population the Government had handed over to
its adversaries a weapon of the greatest power. [408]


In the purely German provinces of Austria there lingered whatever of the
spirit of tranquillity was still to be found within the Empire. This,
however, was not the case in the districts into which the influence of the
capital extended. Vienna had of late grown out of its old careless spirit.
The home in past years of a population notoriously pleasure-loving,
good-humoured, and indifferent to public affairs, it had now taken
something of a more serious character. The death of the Emperor Francis,
who to the last generation of Viennese had been as fixed a part of the
order of things as the river Danube, was not unconnected with this change
in the public tone. So long as the old Emperor lived, all thought that was
given to political affairs was energy thrown away. By his death not only
had the State lost an ultimate controlling power, if dull, yet practised
and tenacious, but this loss was palpable to all the world. The void stood
bare and unrelieved before the public eye. The notorious imbecility of the
Emperor Ferdinand, the barren and antiquated formalism of Metternich and of
that entire system which seemed to be incorporated in him, made Government
an object of general satire, and in some quarters of rankling contempt. In
proportion as the culture and intelligence of the capital exceeded that of
other towns, so much the more galling was the pressure of that part of the
general system of tutelage which was especially directed against the
independence of the mind. The censorship was exercised with grotesque
stupidity. It was still the aim of Government to isolate Austria from the
ideas and the speculation of other lands, and to shape the intellectual
world of the Emperor's subjects into that precise form which tradition
prescribed as suitable for the members of a well-regulated State. In
poetry, the works of Lord Byron were excluded from circulation, where
custom-house officers and market-inspectors chose to enforce the law; in
history and political literature, the leading writers of modern times lay
under the same ban. Native production was much more effectively controlled.
Whoever wrote in a newspaper, or lectured at a University, or published a
work of imagination, was expected to deliver himself of something agreeable
to the constituted authorities, or was reduced to silence. Far as Vienna
fell short of Northern Germany in intellectual activity, the humiliation
inflicted on its best elements by this life-destroying surveillance was
keenly felt and bitterly resented. More perhaps by its senile warfare
against mental freedom than by any acts of direct political repression, the
Government ranged against itself the almost unanimous opinion of the
educated classes. Its hold on the affection of the capital was gone. Still
quiescent, but ready to unite against the Government when opportunity
should arrive, there stood, in addition to the unorganised mass of the
middle ranks, certain political associations and students' societies, a
vigorous Jewish element, and the usual contingent furnished by poverty and
discontent in every great city from among the labouring population.
Military force sufficient to keep the capital in subjection was not
wanting; but the foresight and the vigour necessary to cope with the first
onset of revolution were nowhere to be found among the holders of power.


[Frederick William IV., 1840.]

At Berlin the solid order of Prussian absolutism already shook to its
foundation. With King Frederick William III., whose long reign ended in
1840, there departed the half-filial, half-spiritless acquiescence of the
nation in the denial of the liberties which had been so solemnly promised
to it at the epoch of Napoleon's fall. The new Sovereign, Frederick William
IV., ascended the throne amid high national hopes. The very contrast which
his warm, exuberant nature offered to the silent, reserved disposition of
his father impressed the public for awhile in his favour. In the more
shining personal qualities he far excelled all his immediate kindred. His
artistic and literary sympathies, his aptitude of mind and readiness of
speech, appeared to mark the man of a new age, and encouraged the belief
that, in spite of the medićval dreams and reactionary theories to which,
as prince, he had surrendered himself, he would, as King, appreciate the
needs of the time, and give to Prussia the free institutions which the
nation demanded. The first acts of the new reign were generously conceived.
Political offenders were freely pardoned. Men who had suffered for their
opinions were restored to their posts in the Universities and the public
service, or selected for promotion. But when the King approached the
constitutional question, his utterances were unsatisfactory. Though
undoubtedly in favour of some reform, he gave no sanction to the idea of a
really national representation, but seemed rather to seek occasions to
condemn it. Other omens of ill import were not wanting. Allying his
Government with a narrow school of theologians, the King offended men of
independent mind, and transgressed against the best traditions of Prussian
administration. The prestige of the new reign was soon exhausted. Those who
had believed Frederick William to be a man of genius now denounced him as a
vaporous, inflated dilettante; his enthusiasm was seen to indicate nothing
in particular; his sonorous commonplaces fell flat on second delivery. Not
only in his own kingdom, but in the minor German States, which looked to
Prussia as the future leader of a free Germany, the opinion rapidly gained
ground that Frederick William IV. was to be numbered among the enemies
rather than the friends of the good cause.

[United Diet convoked at Berlin, Feb. 3, 1847.]

In the Edicts by which the last King of Prussia had promised his people a
Constitution, it had been laid down that the representative body was to
spring from the Provincial Estates, and that it was to possess, in addition
to its purely consultative functions in legislation, a real power of
control over all State loans and over all proposed additions to taxation.
The interdependence of the promised Parliament and the Provincial Estates
had been seen at the time to endanger the success of Hardenberg's scheme;
nevertheless, it was this conception which King Frederick William IV. made
the very centre of his Constitutional policy. A devotee to the distant
past, he spoke of the Provincial Estates, which in their present form had
existed only since 1823, as if they were a great national and historic
institution which had come down unchanged through centuries. His first
experiment was the summoning of a Committee from these bodies to consider
certain financial projects with which the Government was occupied (1842).
The labours of the Committee were insignificant, nor was its treatment at
the hands of the Crown Ministers of a serious character. Frederick William,
however, continued to meditate over his plans, and appointed a Commission
to examine the project drawn up at his desire by the Cabinet. The agitation
in favour of Parliamentary Government became more and more pressing among
the educated classes; and at length, in spite of some opposition from his
brother, the Prince of Prussia, afterwards Emperor of Germany, the King
determined to fulfil his father's promise and to convoke a General Assembly
at Berlin. On the 3rd of February, 1847, there appeared a Royal Patent,
which summoned all the Provincial Estates to the capital to meet as a
United Diet of the Kingdom. The Diet was to be divided into two Chambers,
the Upper Chamber including the Royal Princes and highest nobles, the Lower
the representatives of the knights, towns, and peasants. The right of
legislation was not granted to the Diet; it had, however, the right of
presenting petitions on internal affairs. State-loans and new taxes were
not, in time of peace, to be raised without its consent. No regular
interval was fixed for the future meetings of the Diet, and its financial
rights were moreover reduced by other provisions, which enacted that a
United Committee from the Provincial Estates was to meet every four years
for certain definite objects, and that a special Delegation was to sit each
year for the transaction of business relating to the National Debt. [409]

[King Frederick William and the Diet.]

The nature of the General Assembly convoked by this Edict, the functions
conferred upon it, and the guarantees offered for Representative Government
in the future, so little corresponded with the requirements of the nation,
that the question was at once raised in Liberal circles whether the
concessions thus tendered by the King ought to be accepted or rejected. The
doubt which existed as to the disposition of the monarch himself was
increased by the speech from the throne at the opening of the Diet (April
11). In a vigorous harangue extending over half an hour, King Frederick
William, while he said much that was appropriate to the occasion, denounced
the spirit of revolution that was working in the Prussian Press, warned the
Deputies that they had been summoned not to advocate political theories,
but to protect each the rights of his own order, and declared that no power
on earth should induce him to change his natural relation to his people
into a constitutional one, or to permit a written sheet of paper to
intervene like a second Providence between Prussia and the Almighty. So
vehement was the language of the King, and so uncompromising his tone, that
the proposal was forthwith made at a private conference that the Deputies
should quit Berlin in a body. This extreme course was not adopted; it was
determined instead to present an address to the King, laying before him in
respectful language the shortcomings in the Patent of February 3rd. In the
debate on this address began the Parliamentary history of Prussia. The
Liberal majority in the Lower Chamber, anxious to base their cause on some
foundation of positive law, treated the Edicts of Frederick William III.
defining the rights of the future Representative Body as actual statutes of
the realm, although the late King had never called a Representative Body
into existence. From this point of view the functions now given to
Committees and Delegations were so much illegally withdrawn from the rights
of the Diet. The Government, on the other hand, denied that the Diet
possessed any rights or claims whatever beyond those assigned to it by the
Patent of February 3rd, to which it owed its origin. In receiving the
address of the Chambers, the King, while expressing a desire to see the
Constitution further developed, repeated the principle already laid down
by his Ministers, and refused to acknowledge any obligation outside those
which he had himself created.

[Proceedings and Dissolution of the Diet.]

When, after a series of debates on the political questions at issue, the
actual business of the Session began, the relations between the Government
and the Assembly grew worse rather than better. The principal measures
submitted were the grant of a State-guarantee to certain land-banks
established for the purpose of extinguishing the rent-charges on peasants'
holdings, and the issue of a public loan for the construction of railways
by the State. Alleging that the former measure was not directly one of
taxation, the Government, in laying it before the Diet, declared that they
asked only for an opinion, and denied that the Diet possessed any right of
decision. Thus challenged, as it were, to make good its claims, the Diet
not only declined to assent to this guarantee, but set its veto on the
proposed railway-loan. Both projects were in themselves admitted to be to
the advantage of the State; their rejection by the Diet was an emphatic
vindication of constitutional rights which the Government seemed indisposed
to acknowledge. Opposition grew more and more embittered; and when, as a
preliminary to the dissolution of the Diet, the King ordered its members to
proceed to the election of the Committees and Delegation named in the Edict
of February 3rd, an important group declined to take part in the elections,
or consented to do so only under reservations, on the ground that the Diet,
and that alone, possessed the constitutional control over finance which the
King was about to commit to other bodies. Indignant at this protest, the
King absented himself from the ceremony which brought the Diet to a close
(June 26th). Amid general irritation and resentment the Assembly broke up.
Nothing had resulted from its convocation but a direct exhibition of the
antagonism of purpose existing between the Sovereign and the national
representatives. Moderate men were alienated by the doctrines promulgated
from the Throne; and an experiment which, if more wisely conducted, might
possibly at the eleventh hour have saved all Germany from revolution, left
the Monarchy discredited and exposed to the attack of the most violent of
its foes.

[Louis Philippe.]

The train was now laid throughout central Europe; it needed but a flash
from Paris to kindle the fire far and wide. That the Crown which Louis
Philippe owed to one popular outbreak might be wrested from him by another,
had been a thought constantly present not only to the King himself but to
foreign observers during the earlier years of his reign. The period of
comparative peace by which the first Republican movements after 1830 had
been succeeded, the busy working of the Parliamentary system, the keen and
successful pursuit of wealth which seemed to have mastered all other
impulses in France, had made these fears a thing of the past. The Orleanist
Monarchy had taken its place among the accredited institutions of Europe;
its chief, aged, but vigorous in mind, looked forward to the future of his
dynasty, and occupied himself with plans for extending its influence or its
sway beyond the limits of France itself. At one time Louis Philippe had
hoped to connect his family by marriage with the Courts of Vienna or
Berlin; this project had not met with encouragement; so much the more
eagerly did the King watch for opportunities in another direction, and
devise plans for restoring the family-union between France and Spain which
had been established by Louis XIV. and which had so largely influenced the
history of Europe down to the overthrow of the Bourbon Monarchy. The Crown
of Spain was now held by a young girl; her sister was the next in
succession; to make the House of Orleans as powerful at Madrid as it was at
Paris seemed under these circumstances no impossible task to a King and a
Minister who, in the interests of the dynasty, were prepared to make some
sacrifice of honour and good faith.

[The Spanish Marriage, October, 1846.]

While the Carlist War was still continuing, Lord Palmerston had convinced
himself that Louis Philippe intended to marry the young Queen Isabella, if
possible, to one of his sons. Some years later this project was
unofficially mentioned by Guizot to the English statesman, who at once
caused it to be understood that England would not permit the union.
Abandoning this scheme, Louis Philippe then demanded, by a misconstruction
of the Treaty of Utrecht, that the Queen's choice of a husband should be
limited to the Bourbons of the Spanish or Neapolitan line. To this claim
Lord Aberdeen, who had become Foreign Secretary in 1841, declined to give
his assent; he stated, however, that no step would be taken by England in
antagonism to such marriage, if it should be deemed desirable at Madrid.
Louis Philippe now suggested that his youngest son, the Duke of
Montpensier, should wed the Infanta Fernanda, sister of the Queen of Spain.
On the express understanding that this marriage should not take place until
the Queen should herself have been married and have had children, the
English Cabinet assented to the proposal. That the marriages should not be
simultaneous was treated by both Governments as the very heart and
substance of the arrangement, inasmuch as the failure of children by the
Queen's marriage would make her sister, or her sister's heir, inheritor of
the Throne. This was repeatedly acknowledged by Louis Philippe and his
Minister, Guizot, in the course of communications with the British Court
which extended over some years. Nevertheless, in 1846, the French
Ambassador at Madrid, in conjunction with the Queen's mother, Maria
Christina, succeeded in carrying out a plan by which the conditions laid
down at London and accepted at Paris were utterly frustrated. Of the
Queen's Spanish cousins, there was one, Don Francisco, who was known to be
physically unfit for marriage. To this person it was determined by Maria
Christina and the French Ambassador that the young Isabella should be
united, her sister being simultaneously married to the Duke of Montpensier.
So flagrantly was this arrangement in contradiction to the promises made at
the Tuileries, that, when intelligence of it arrived at Paris, Louis
Philippe declared for a moment that the Ambassador must be disavowed and
disgraced. Guizot, however, was of better heart than his master, and asked
for delay. In the very crisis of the King's perplexity the return of Lord
Palmerston to office, and the mention by him of a Prince of Saxe-Coburg as
one of the candidates for the Spanish Queen's hand, afforded Guizot a
pretext for declaring that Great Britain had violated its engagements
towards the House of Bourbon by promoting the candidature of a Coburg. In
reality the British Government had not only taken no part in assisting the
candidature of the Coburg Prince, but had directly opposed it. This,
however, was urged in vain at the Tuileries. Whatever may have been the
original intentions of Louis Philippe or of Guizot, the temptation of
securing the probable succession to the Spanish Crown was too strong to be
resisted. Preliminaries were pushed forward with the utmost haste, and on
the 10th of October, 1846, the marriages of Queen Isabella and her sister,
as arranged by the French Ambassador and the Queen-Mother, were
simultaneously solemnised at Madrid. [410]

[Louis Philippe and Guizot, 1847.]

Few intrigues have been more disgraceful than that of the Spanish
Marriages; none more futile. The course of history mocked its ulterior
purposes; its immediate results were wholly to the injury of the House of
Orleans. The cordial understanding between France and Great Britain, which
had been revived after the differences of 1840, was now finally shattered,
Louis Philippe stood convicted before his people of sacrificing a valuable
alliance to purely dynastic ends; his Minister, the austere and
sanctimonious Guizot, had to defend himself against charges which would
have covered with shame the most hardened man of the world. Thus stripped
of its garb of moral superiority, condemned as at once unscrupulous and
unpatriotic, the Orleanist Monarchy had to meet the storm of popular
discontent which was gathering over France as well as over neighbouring
lands. For the lost friendship of England it was necessary to seek a
substitute in the support of some Continental Power. Throwing himself into
the reactionary policy of the Court of Vienna, Guizot endeavoured to
establish a diplomatic concert from which England should be excluded, as
France had been in 1840. There were circumstances which gave some
countenance to the design. The uncompromising vigour with which Lord
Palmerston supported the Liberal movement now becoming so formidable in
Italy made every absolute Government in Europe his enemy; and had time been
granted, the despotic Courts would possibly have united with France in some
more or less open combination against the English Minister. But the moments
were now numbered; and ere the projected league could take substance, the
whirlwind descended before which Louis Philippe and his Minister were the
first to fall.

[Demand for Parliamentary Reform.]

A demand for the reform of the French Parliamentary system had been made
when Guizot was entering upon office in the midst of the Oriental crisis of
1840. It had then been silenced and repressed by all the means at the
disposal of the Executive; King Louis Philippe being convinced that with a
more democratic Chamber the maintenance of his own policy of peace would be
impossible. The demand was now raised again with far greater energy.
Although the franchise had been lowered after the Revolution of July, it
was still so high that not one person in a hundred and fifty possessed a
vote, while the property-qualification which was imposed upon the Deputies
themselves excluded from the Chamber all but men of substantial wealth.
Moreover, there existed no law prohibiting the holders of administrative
posts under the Government from sitting in the Assembly. The consequence
was that more than one-third of the Deputies were either officials who had
secured election, or representatives who since their election had accepted
from Government appointments of greater or less value. Though Parliamentary
talent abounded, it was impossible that a Chamber so composed could be the
representative of the nation at large. The narrowness of the franchise, the
wealth of the Deputies themselves, made them, in all questions affecting
the social condition of the people, a mere club of capitalists; the
influence which the Crown exercised through the bestowal of offices
converted those who ought to have been its controllers into its dependents,
the more so as its patronage was lavished on nominal opponents even more
freely than on avowed friends. Against King Louis Philippe the majority in
the Chamber had in fact ceased to possess a will of its own. It represented
wealth; it represented to some extent the common-sense of France; but on
all current matters of dispute it only represented the executive government
in another form. So thoroughly had the nation lost all hope in the Assembly
during the last years of Louis Philippe, that even the elections had ceased
to excite interest. On the other hand, the belief in the general prevalence
of corruption was every day receiving new warrant. A series of State-trials
disclosed the grossest frauds in every branch of the administration, and
proved that political influence was habitually used for purposes of
pecuniary gain. Taxed with his tolerance of a system scarcely
distinguishable from its abuses, the Minister could only turn to his own
nominees in the Chamber and ask them whether they felt themselves
corrupted; invited to consider some measure of Parliamentary reform, he
scornfully asserted his policy of resistance. Thus, hopeless of obtaining
satisfaction either from the Government or from the Chamber itself, the
leaders of the Opposition resolved in 1847 to appeal to the country at
large; and an agitation for Parliamentary reform, based on the methods
employed by O'Connell in Ireland, soon spread through the principal towns
of France.


But there were other ideas and other forces active among the labouring
population of Paris than those familiar to the politicians of the Assembly.
Theories of Socialism, the property of a few thinkers and readers during
the earlier years of Louis Philippe's reign, had now sunk deep among the
masses, and become, in a rough and easily apprehended form, the creed of
the poor. From the time when Napoleon's fall had restored to France its
faculty of thought, and, as it were, turned the soldier's eyes again upon
his home, those questionings as to the basis of the social union which had
occupied men's minds at an earlier epoch were once more felt and uttered.
The problem was still what it had been in the eighteenth century; the
answer was that of a later age. Kings, priests, and nobles had been
overthrown, but misery still covered the world. In the teaching of
Saint-Simon, under the Restoration, religious conceptions blended with a
great industrial scheme; in the Utopia of Fourier, produced at the same
fruitful period, whatever was valuable belonged to its suggestions in
co-operative production. But whether the doctrine propounded was that of
philosopher, or sage, or charlatan, in every case the same leading ideas
were visible;--the insufficiency of the individual in isolation, the
industrial basis of all social life, the concern of the community, or of
its supreme authority, in the organisation of labour. It was naturally in
no remote or complex form that the idea of a new social order took
possession of the mind of the workman in the faubourgs of Paris. He read in
Louis Blanc, the latest and most intelligible of his teachers of the right
to labour, of the duty of the State to provide work for its citizens. This
was something actual and tangible. For this he was ready upon occasion to
take up arms; not for the purpose of extending the franchise to another
handful of the Bourgeoisie, or of shifting the profits of government from
one set of place-hunters to another. In antagonism to the ruling Minister
the Reformers in the Chamber and the Socialists in the streets might for a
moment unite their forces: but their ends were irreconcilable, and the
allies of to-day were necessarily the foes of to-morrow.

[The February Revolution, 1848.]

[Feb. 22nd.]

At the close of the year 1847 the last Parliament of the Orleanist Monarchy
assembled. The speech from the Throne, delivered by Louis Philippe himself,
denounced in strong terms the agitation for Reform which had been carried
on during the preceding months, though this agitation had, on the whole,
been the work of the so-called Dynastic Opposition, which, while demanding
electoral reform, was sincerely loyal to the Monarchy. The King's words
were a challenge; and in the debate on the Address, the challenge was taken
up by all ranks of Monarchical Liberals as well as by the small Republican
section in the Assembly. The Government, however, was still secure of its
majority. Defeated in the votes on the Address, the Opposition determined,
by way of protest, to attend a banquet to be held in the Champs Elysées on
the 22nd of February by the Reform-party in Western Paris. It was at first
desired that by some friendly arrangement with the Government, which had
declared the banquet illegal, the possibility of recourse to violence
should be avoided. Misunderstandings, however, arose, and the Government
finally prohibited the banquet, and made preparations for meeting any
disturbance with force of arms. The Deputies, anxious to employ none but
legal means of resistance, now resolved not to attend the banquet; on the
other hand, the Democratic and Socialist leaders welcomed a possible
opportunity for revolt. On the morning of the 22nd masses of men poured
westwards from the workmen's quarter. The city was in confusion all day,
and the erection of barricades began. Troops were posted in the streets; no
serious attack, however, was made by either side, and at nightfall quiet

[Feb. 23rd.]

On the next morning the National Guard of Paris was called to arms.
Throughout the struggle between Louis Philippe and the populace of Paris in
the earlier years of his reign, the National Guard, which was drawn
principally from the trading classes, had fought steadily for the King.
Now, however, it was at one with the Liberal Opposition in the Assembly,
and loudly demanded the dismissal of the Ministers. While some of the
battalions interposed between the regular troops and the populace and
averted a conflict, others proceeded to the Chamber with petitions for
Reform. Obstinately as Louis Philippe had hitherto refused all concession,
the announcement of the threatened defection of the National Guard at
length convinced him that resistance was impossible. He accepted Guizot's
resignation, and the Chamber heard from the fallen Minister himself that he
had ceased to hold office. Although the King declined for awhile to commit
the formation of a Ministry to Thiers, the recognised chief of the
Opposition, and endeavoured to place a politician more acceptable to
himself in office, it was felt that with the fall of Guizot all real
resistance to Reform was broken. Nothing more was asked by the
Parliamentary Opposition or by the middle-class of Paris. The victory
seemed to be won, the crisis at an end. In the western part of the capital
congratulation and good-humour succeeded to the fear of conflict. The
troops fraternised with the citizens and the National Guard; and when
darkness came on, the boulevards were illuminated as if for a national

[Feb. 24th.]

In the midst, however, of this rejoicing, and while the chiefs of the
revolutionary societies, fearing that the opportunity had been lost for
striking a blow at the Monarchy, exhorted the defenders of the barricades
to maintain their positions, a band of workmen came into conflict,
accidentally or of set purpose, with the troops in front of the Foreign
Office. A volley was fired, which killed or wounded eighty persons. Placing
the dead bodies on a waggon, and carrying them by torchlight through the
streets in the workmen's quarter, the insurrectionary leaders called the
people to arms. The tocsin sounded throughout the night; on the next
morning the populace marched against the Tuileries. In consequence of the
fall of the Ministry and the supposed reconciliation of the King with the
People, whatever military dispositions had been begun had since been
abandoned. At isolated points the troops fought bravely; but there was no
systematic defence. Shattered by the strain of the previous days, and
dismayed by the indifference of the National Guard when he rode out among
them, the King, who at every epoch of his long life had shown such
conspicuous courage in the presence of danger, now lost all nerve and all
faculty of action. He signed an act of abdication in favour of his
grandson, the Count of Paris, and fled. Behind him the victorious mob burst
into the Tuileries and devastated it from cellar to roof. The Legislative
Chamber, where an attempt was made to proclaim the Count of Paris King, was
in its turn invaded. In uproar and tumult a Provisional Government was
installed at the Hôtel de Ville; and ere the day closed the news went out
to Europe that the House of Orleans had ceased to reign, and that the
Republic had been proclaimed. It was not over France alone, it was over the
Continent at large, that the tide of revolution was breaking.




Europe in 1789 and in 1848--Agitation in Western Germany before and
after the Revolution at Paris--Austria and Hungary--The March
Revolution at Vienna--Flight of Metternich--The Hungarian Diet--Hungary
wins its independence--Bohemian movement--Autonomy promised to Bohemia--
Insurrection of Lombardy--Of Venice--Piedmont makes war on Austria--A
general Italian war against Austria imminent--The March Days at
Berlin--Frederick William IV.--A National Assembly promised--
Schleswig-Holstein--Insurrection in Holstein--War between Germany and
Denmark--The German Ante-Parliament--Republican rising in Baden--Meeting
of the German National Assembly at Frankfort--Europe generally in March,
1848--The French Provisional Government--The National Workshops--The
Government and the Red Republicans--French National Assembly--Riot of May
15--Measures against the National Workshops--The Four Days of June--
Cavaignac--Louis Napoleon--He is elected to the Assembly--Elected

[Europe in 1789 and 1848.]

There were few statesmen living in 1848 who, like Metternich and like Louis
Philippe, could remember the outbreak of the French Revolution. To those
who could so look back across the space of sixty years, a comparison of the
European movements that followed the successive onslaughts upon authority
in France afforded some measure of the change that had passed over the
political atmosphere of the Continent within a single lifetime. The
Revolution of 1789, deeply as it stirred men's minds in neighbouring
countries, had occasioned no popular outbreak on a large scale outside
France. The expulsion of Charles X. in 1830 had been followed by national
uprisings in Italy, Poland, and Belgium, and by a struggle for
constitutional government in the smaller States of Northern Germany. The
downfall of Louis Philippe in 1848 at once convulsed the whole of central
Europe. From the Rhenish Provinces to the Ottoman frontier there was no
government but the Swiss Republic that was not menaced; there was no race
which did not assert its claim to a more or less complete independence.
Communities whose long slumber had been undisturbed by the shocks of the
Napoleonic period now vibrated with those same impulses which, since 1815,
no pressure of absolute power had been able wholly to extinguish in Italy
and Germany. The borders of the region of political discontent had been
enlarged; where apathy, or immemorial loyalty to some distant crown, had
long closed the ear to the voices of the new age, now all was restlessness,
all eager expectation of the dawning epoch of national life. This was
especially the case with the Slavic races included in the Austrian Empire,
races which during the earlier years of this century had been wholly mute.
These in their turn now felt the breath of patriotism, and claimed the
right of self-government. Distinct as the ideas of national independence
and of constitutional liberty are in themselves, they were not distinct in
their operation over a great part of Europe in 1848; and this epoch will be
wrongly conceived if it is viewed as no more than a repetition on a large
scale of the democratic outbreak of Paris with which it opened. More was
sought in Europe in 1848 than the substitution of popular for monarchical
or aristocratic rule. The effort to make the State one with the nation
excited wider interests than the effort to enlarge and equalise citizen
rights; and it is in the action of this principle of nationality that we
find the explanation of tendencies of the epoch which appear at first view
to be in direct conflict with one another. In Germany a single race was
divided under many Governments: here the national instinct impelled to
unity. In Austria a variety of races was held together by one crown: here
the national instinct impelled to separation. In both these States, as in
Italy, where the predominance of the foreigner and the continuance of
despotic government were in a peculiar manner connected with one another,
the efforts of 1848 failed; but the problems which then agitated Europe
could not long be set aside, and the solution of them complete, in the case
of Germany and Italy, partial and tentative in the case of Austria, renders
the succeeding twenty-five years a memorable period in European history.

[Agitation in Western Germany.]

The sudden disappearance of the Orleanist monarchy and the proclamation of
the Republic at Paris struck with dismay the Governments beyond the Rhine.
Difficulties were already gathering round them, opposition among their own
subjects was daily becoming more formidable and more outspoken. In Western
Germany a meeting of Liberal deputies had been held in the autumn of 1847,
in which the reform of the Federal Constitution and the establishment of a
German Parliament had been demanded: a Republican or revolutionary party,
small but virulent, had also its own avowed policy and its recognised
organs in the press. No sooner had the news of the Revolution at Paris
passed the frontier than in all the minor German States the cry for reform
became irresistible. Ministers everywhere resigned; the popular demands
were granted; and men were called to office whose names were identified
with the struggle for the freedom of the Press, for trial by jury, and for
the reform of the Federal Constitution. The Federal Diet itself, so long
the instrument of absolutism, bowed beneath the stress of the time,
abolished the laws of censorship, and invited the Governments to send
Commissioners to Frankfort to discuss the reorganisation of Germany. It was
not, however, at Frankfort or at the minor capitals that the conflict
between authority and its antagonists was to be decided. Vienna, the
stronghold of absolutism, the sanctuary from which so many interdicts had
gone forth against freedom in every part of Europe, was itself invaded by
the revolutionary spirit. The clear sky darkened, and Metternich found
himself powerless before the storm.


There had been until 1848 so complete an absence of political life in the
Austrian capital, that, when the conviction suddenly burst upon all minds
that the ancient order was doomed, there were neither party-leaders to
confront the Government, nor plans of reform upon which any considerable
body of men were agreed. The first utterances of public discontent were
petitions drawn up by the Chamber of Commerce and by literary associations.
These were vague in purport and far from aggressive in their tone. A
sterner note sounded when intelligence reached the capital of the
resolutions that had been passed by the Hungarian Lower House on the 3rd of
March, and of the language in which these had been enforced by Kossuth.
Casting aside all reserve, the Magyar leader had declared that the reigning
dynasty could only be saved by granting to Hungary a responsible Ministry
drawn from the Diet itself, and by establishing constitutional government
throughout the Austrian dominions. "From the charnel-house of the Viennese
system," he cried, "a poison-laden atmosphere steals over us, which
paralyses our nerves and bows us when we would soar. The future of Hungary
can never be secure while in the other provinces there exists a system of
government in direct antagonism to every constitutional principle. Our task
it is to found a happier future on the brotherhood of all the Austrian
races, and to substitute for the union enforced by bayonets and police the
enduring bond of a free constitution." When the Hungarian Assembly had thus
taken into its own hands the cause of the rest of the monarchy, it was not
for the citizens of Vienna to fall short in the extent of their demands.
The idea of a Constitution for the Empire at large was generally accepted
and it was proposed that an address embodying this demand should be sent in
to the Emperor by the Provincial Estates of Lower Austria, whose meeting
happened to be fixed for the 13th of March. In the meantime the students
made themselves the heroes of the hour. The agitation of the city
increased; rumours of State bankruptcy and of the impending repudiation of
the paper currency filled all classes with the belief that some catastrophe
was near at hand. [411]

[The March Revolution at Vienna.]

The Provincial Estates of Lower Austria had long fallen into such
insignificance that in ordinary times their proceedings were hardly noticed
by the capital. The accident that they were now to assemble in the midst of
a great crisis elevated them to a sudden importance. It was believed that
the decisive word would be spoken in the course of their debates; and on
the morning of the 13th of March masses of the populace, led by a
procession of students, assembled round the Hall of the Diet. While the
debate proceeded within, street-orators inflamed the passions of the crowd
outside. The tumult deepened; and when at length a note was let down from
one of the windows of the Hall stating that the Diet were inclining to
half-measures, the mob broke into uproar, and an attack was made upon the
Diet Hall itself. The leading members of the Estates were compelled to
place themselves at the head of a deputation, which proceeded to the
Emperor's palace in order to enforce the demands of the people. The Emperor
himself, who at no time was capable of paying serious attention to
business, remained invisible during this and the two following days; the
deputation was received by Metternich and the principal officers of State,
who were assembled in council. Meanwhile the crowds in the streets became
denser and more excited; soldiers approached, to protect the Diet Hall and
to guard the environs of the palace; there was an interval of confusion;
and on the advance of a new regiment, which was mistaken for an attack, the
mob who had stormed the Diet Hall hurled the shattered furniture from the
windows upon the soldiers' heads. A volley was now fired, which cost
several lives. At the sound of the firing still deeper agitation seized the
city. Barricades were erected, and the people and soldiers fought hand to
hand. As evening came on, deputation after deputation pressed into the
palace to urge concession upon the Government. Metternich, who, almost
alone in the Council, had made light of the popular uprising, now at length
consented to certain definite measures of reform. He retired into an
adjoining room to draft an order abolishing the censorship of the Press.
During his absence the cry was raised among the deputations that thronged
the Council-chamber, "Down with Metternich!" The old man returned, and
found himself abandoned by his colleagues. There were some among them,
members of the Imperial family, who had long been his opponents; others who
had in vain urged him to make concessions before it was too late.
Metternich saw that the end of his career was come; he spoke a few words,
marked by all the dignity and self-possession of his greatest days, and
withdrew, to place his resignation in the Emperor's hands.

[Flight of Metternich.]

For thirty-nine years Metternich had been so completely identified with the
Austrian system of government that in his fall that entire system seemed to
have vanished away. The tumult of the capital subsided on the mere
announcement of his resignation, though the hatred which he had excited
rendered it unsafe for him to remain within reach of hostile hands. He was
conveyed from Vienna by a faithful secretary on the night of the 14th of
March, and, after remaining for a few days in concealment, crossed the
Saxon frontier. His exile was destined to be of some duration, but no exile
was ever more cheerfully borne, or sweetened by a profounder satisfaction
at the evils which a mad world had brought upon itself by driving from it
its one thoroughly wise and just statesman. Betaking himself in the general
crash of the Continental Courts to Great Britain, which was still as safe
as when he had visited it fifty-five years before, Metternich received a
kindly welcome from the Duke of Wellington and the leaders of English
society; and when the London season was over he sought and found at
Brighton something of the liveliness and the sunshine of his own southern
home. [412]

[The Hungarian Diet.]

The action of the Hungarian Diet under Kossuth's leadership had powerfully
influenced the course of events at Vienna. The Viennese outbreak in its
turn gave irresistible force to the Hungarian national movement. Up to the
13th of March the Chamber of Magnates had withheld their assent from the
resolution passed by the Lower House in favour of a national executive;
they now accepted it without a single hostile vote; and on the 15th a
deputation was sent to Vienna to lay before the Emperor an address
demanding not only the establishment of a responsible Ministry but the
freedom of the Press, trial by jury, equality of religion, and a system of
national education. At the moment when this deputation reached Vienna the
Government was formally announcing its compliance with the popular demand
for a Constitution for the whole of the Empire. The Hungarians were
escorted in triumph through the streets, and were received on the following
day by the Emperor himself, who expressed a general concurrence with the
terms of the address. The deputation returned to Presburg, and the
Palatine, or representative of the sovereign in Hungary, the Archduke
Stephen, forthwith charged Count Batthyány, one of the most popular of the
Magyar nobles, with the formation of a national Ministry. Thus far the Diet
had been in the van of the Hungarian movement; it now sank almost into
insignificance by the side of the revolutionary organisation at Pesth,
where all the ardour and all the patriotism of the Magyar race glowed in
their native force untempered by the political experience of the statesmen
who were collected at Presburg, and unchecked by any of those influences
which belong to the neighbourhood of an Imperial Court. At Pesth there
broke out an agitation at once so democratic and so intensely national that
all considerations of policy and of regard for the Austrian Government
which might have affected the action of the Diet were swept away before it.
Kossuth, himself the genuine representative of the capital, became supreme.
At his bidding the Diet passed a law abolishing the departments of the
Central Government by which the control of the Court over the Hungarian
body politic had been exercised. A list of Ministers was submitted and
approved, including not only those who were needed for the transaction of
domestic business, but Ministers of War, Finance, and Foreign Affairs; and
in order that the entire nation might rally round its Government, the
peasantry were at one stroke emancipated from all services attaching to the
land, and converted into free proprietors. Of the compensation to be paid
to the lords for the loss of these services, no more was said than that it
was a debt of honour to be discharged by the nation.

[Hungary wins independence.]

Within the next few days the measures thus carried through the Diet by
Kossuth were presented for the Emperor's ratification at Vienna. The fall
of Metternich, important as it was, had not in reality produced that effect
upon the Austrian Government which was expected from it by popular opinion.
The new Cabinet at Vienna was drawn from the ranks of the official
hierarchy; and although some of its members were more liberally disposed
than their late chief, they had all alike passed their lives in the
traditions of the ancient system, and were far from intending to make
themselves the willing agents of revolution. These men saw clearly enough
that the action of the Diet at Presburg amounted to nothing less than the
separation of Hungary from the Austrian Empire. With the Ministries of War,
Finance, and Foreign Affairs established in independence of the central
government, there would remain no link between Hungary and the Hereditary
States but the person of a titular, and, for the present time, an imbecile
sovereign. Powerless and distracted, Metternich's successors looked in all
directions for counsel. The Palatine argued that three courses were open to
the Austrian Government. It might endeavour to crush the Hungarian movement
by force of arms; for this purpose, however, the troops available were
insufficient: or it might withdraw from the country altogether, leaving the
peasants to attack the nobles, as they had done in Galicia; this was a
dishonourable policy, and the action of the Diet had, moreover, secured to
the peasant everything that he could gain by a social insurrection: or
finally, the Government might yield for the moment to the inevitable, make
terms with Batthyány's Ministry, and quietly prepare for vigorous
resistance when opportunity should arrive. The last method was that which
the Palatine recommended; the Court inclined in the same direction, but it
was unwilling to submit without making some further trial of the temper of
its antagonists. A rescript was accordingly sent to Presburg, announcing
that the Ministry formed by Count Batthyány was accepted by the Emperor,
but that the central offices which the Diet had abolished must be
preserved, and the functions of the Ministers of War and Finance be reduced
to those of chiefs of departments, dependent on the orders of a higher
authority at Vienna. From the delay that had taken place in the despatch of
this answer the nationalist leaders at Pesth and at Presburg had augured no
good result. Its publication brought the country to the verge of armed
revolt. Batthyány refused to accept office under the conditions named; the
Palatine himself declared that he could remain in Hungary no longer.
Terrified at the result of its own challenge, the Court now withdrew from
the position that it had taken up, and accepted the scheme of the Diet in
its integrity, stipulating only that the disposal of the army outside
Hungary in time of war, and the appointment to the higher commands, should
remain with the Imperial Government. [413]

[Bohemian movement.]

[Autonomy promised.]

Hungary had thus made good its position as an independent State connected
with Austria only through the person of its monarch. Vast and momentous as
was the change, fatal as it might well appear to those who could conceive
of no unity but the unity of a central government, the victory of the
Magyars appears to have excited no feeling among the German Liberals at
Vienna but one of satisfaction. So odious, so detested, was the fallen
system of despotism, that every victory won by its adversaries was hailed
as a triumph of the good cause, be the remoter issues what they might. Even
where a powerful German element, such as did not exist in Hungary itself,
was threatened by the assertion of provincial claims, the Government could
not hope for the support of the capital if it should offer resistance. The
example of the Magyars was speedily followed by the Czechs in Bohemia.
Forgotten and obliterated among the nationalities of Europe, the Czechs had
preserved in their language, and in that almost alone, the emblem of their
national independence. Within the borders of Bohemia there was so large a
German population that the ultimate absorption of the Slavic element by
this wealthier and privileged body had at an earlier time seemed not
unlikely. Since 1830, however, the Czech national movement had been
gradually gaining ground. In the first days of the agitation of 1848 an
effort had been made to impress a purely constitutional form upon the
demands made in the name of the people of Prague, and so to render the
union of all classes possible. This policy, however, received its deathblow
from the Revolution in Vienna and from the victory of the Magyars. The
leadership at Prague passed from men of position and experience,
representing rather the intelligence of the German element in Bohemia than
the patriotism of the Czechs, to the nationalist orators who commanded the
streets. An attempt made by the Cabinet at Vienna to evade the demands
drawn up under the influence of the more moderate politicians resulted only
in the downfall of this party, and in the tender of a new series of demands
of far more revolutionary character. The population of Prague were
beginning to organise a national guard; arms were being distributed;
authority had collapsed. The Government was now forced to consent to
everything that was asked of it, and a legislative Assembly with an
independent local administration was promised to Bohemia. To this Assembly,
as soon as it should meet, the new institutions of the kingdom were to be

[Insurrection of Lombardy, March 18.]

Thus far, if the authority of the Court of Vienna, had been virtually
shaken off by a great part of its subjects, the Emperor had at least not
seen these subjects in avowed rebellion against the House of Hapsburg, nor
supported in their resistance by the arms of a foreign Power. South of the
Alps the dynastic connection was openly severed, and the rule of Austria
declared for ever at an end. Lombardy had since the beginning of the year
1848 been held in check only by the display of great military force. The
Revolution at Paris had excited both hopes and fears; the Revolution at
Vienna was instantly followed by revolt in Milan. Radetzky, the Austrian
commander, a veteran who had served with honour in every campaign since
that against the Turks in 1788, had long foreseen the approach of an armed
conflict; yet when the actual crisis arrived his dispositions had not been
made for meeting it. The troops in Milan were ill placed; the offices of
Government were moreover separated by half the breadth of the city from the
military head-quarters. Thus when on the 18th of March the insurrection
broke out, it carried everything before it. The Vice-Governor, O'Donell,
was captured, and compelled to sign his name to decrees handing over the
government of the city to the Municipal Council. Radetzky now threw his
soldiers upon the barricades, and penetrated to the centre of the city; but
he was unable to maintain himself there under the ceaseless fire from the
windows and the housetops, and withdrew on the night of the 19th to the
line of fortifications. Fighting continued during the next two days in the
outskirts and at the gates of the city. The garrisons of all the
neighbouring towns were summoned to the assistance of their general, but
the Italians broke up the bridges and roads, and one detachment alone out
of all the troops in Lombardy succeeded in reaching Milan. A report now
arrived at Radetzky's camp that the King of Piedmont was on the march
against him. Preferring the loss of Milan to the possible capture of his
army, he determined to evacuate the city. On the night of the 22nd of March
the retreat was begun, and Radetzky fell back upon the Mincio and Verona,
which he himself had made the centre of the Austrian system of defence in
Upper Italy. [414]

[Insurrection of Venice.]

[Piedmont makes war.]

Venice had already followed the example of the Lombard capital. The tidings
received from Vienna after the 13th of March appear to have completely
bewildered both the military and the civil authorities on the Adriatic
coast. They released their political prisoners, among whom was Daniel
Manin, an able and determined foe of Austria; they entered into
constitutional discussions with the popular leaders; they permitted the
formation of a national guard, and finally handed over to this guard the
arsenals and the dockyards with all their stores. From this time all was
over. Manin proclaimed the Republic of St. Mark, and became the chief of a
Provisional Government. The Italian regiments in garrison joined the
national cause; the ships of war at Pola, manned chiefly by Italian
sailors, were only prevented from sailing to the assistance of the rebels
by batteries that were levelled against them from the shore. Thus without a
blow being struck Venice was lost to Austria. The insurrection spread
westwards and northwards through city and village in the interior, till
there remained to Austria nothing but the fortresses on the Adige and the
Mincio, where Radetzky, deaf to the counsels of timidity, held his ground
unshaken. The national rising carried Piedmont with it. It was in vain that
the British envoy at Turin urged the King to enter into no conflict with
Austria. On the 24th of March Charles Albert published a proclamation
promising his help to the Lombards. Two days later his troops entered
Milan. [415]

[General war against Austria, beginning in Italy.]

Austria had for thirty years consistently laid down the principle that its
own sovereignty in Upper Italy vested it with the right to control the
political system of every other State in the peninsula. It had twice
enforced this principle by arms: first in its intervention in Naples in
1820, afterwards in its occupation of the Roman States in 1831. The
Government of Vienna had, as it were with fixed intention, made it
impossible that its presence in any part of Italy should be regarded as the
presence of an ordinary neighbour, entitled to quiet possession until some
new provocation should be given. The Italians would have proved themselves
the simplest of mankind if, having any reasonable hope of military success,
they had listened to the counsels of Palmerston and other statesmen who
urged them not to take advantage of the difficulties in which Austria was
now placed. The paralysis of the Austrian State was indeed the one
unanswerable argument for immediate war. So long as the Emperor retained
his ascendency in any part of Italy, his interests could not permanently
suffer the independence of the rest. If the Italians should chivalrously
wait until the Cabinet of Vienna had recovered its strength, it was quite
certain that their next efforts in the cause of internal liberty would be
as ruthlessly crushed as their last. Every clearsighted patriot understood
that the time for a great national effort had arrived. In some respects the
political condition of Italy seemed favourable to such united action. Since
the insurrection of Palermo in January, 1848, absolutism had everywhere
fallen. Ministries had come into existence containing at least a fair
proportion of men who were in real sympathy with the national feeling.
Above all, the Pope seemed disposed to place himself at the head of a
patriotic union against the foreigner. Thus, whatever might be the secret
inclinations of the reigning Houses, they were unable for the moment to
resist the call to arms. Without an actual declaration of war troops were
sent northwards from Naples, from Florence, and from Rome, to take part, as
it was supposed, in the national struggle by the side of the King of
Piedmont. Volunteers thronged to the standards. The Papal benediction
seemed for once to rest on the cause of manhood and independence. On the
other hand, the very impetus which had brought Liberal Ministries into
power threatened to pass into a phase of violence and disorder. The
concessions already made were mocked by men who expected to win all the
victories of democracy in an hour. It remained to be seen whether there
existed in Italy the political sagacity which, triumphing over all local
jealousies, could bend to one great aim the passions of the multitude and
the fears of the Courts, or whether the cause of the whole nation would be
wrecked in an ignoble strife between demagogues and reactionists, between
the rabble of the street and the camarilla round the throne. [416]

[The March Days at Berlin.]

Austria had with one hand held down Italy, with the other it had weighed on
Germany. Though the Revolutionary movement was in full course on the east
of the Rhine before Metternich's fall, it received, especially at Berlin, a
great impetus from this event. Since the beginning of March the Prussian
capital had worn an unwonted aspect. In this city of military discipline
public meetings had been held day after day, and the streets had been
blocked by excited crowds. Deputations which laid before the King demands
similar to those now made in every German town received halting and evasive
answers. Excitement increased, and on the 13th of March encounters began
between the citizens and the troops, which, though insignificant, served to
exasperate the people and its leaders. The King appeared to be wavering
between resistance and concession until the Revolution at Vienna, which
became known at Berlin on the 15th of March, brought affairs to their
crisis. On the 17th the tumult in the streets suddenly ceased; it was
understood that the following day would see the Government either
reconciled with the people or forced to deal with an insurrection on a
great scale. Accordingly on the morning of the 18th crowds made their way
towards the palace, which was surrounded by troops. About midday there
appeared a Royal edict summoning the Prussian United Diet for the 2nd of
April, and announcing that the King had determined to promote the creation
of a Parliament for all Germany and the establishment of Constitutional
Government in every German State. This manifesto drew fresh masses towards
the palace, desirous, it would seem, to express their satisfaction; its
contents, however, were imperfectly understood by the assembly already in
front of the palace, which the King vainly attempted to address. When
called upon to disperse, the multitude refused to do so, and answered by
cries for the withdrawal of the soldiery. In the midst of the confusion two
shots were fired from the ranks without orders; a panic followed, in which,
for no known reason, the cavalry and infantry threw themselves upon the
people. The crowd was immediately put to flight, but the combat was taken
up by the population of Berlin. Barricades appeared in the streets;
fighting continued during the evening and night. Meanwhile the King, who
was shocked and distressed at the course that events had taken, received
deputations begging that the troops might be withdrawn from the city.
Frederick William endeavoured for awhile to make the surrender of the
barricades the condition for an armistice; but as night went on the troops
became exhausted, and although they had gained ground, the resistance of
the people was not overcome. Whether doubtful of the ultimate issue of the
conflict or unwilling to permit further bloodshed, the King gave way, and
at daybreak on the 19th ordered the troops to be withdrawn. His intention
was that they should continue to garrison the palace, but the order was
misunderstood, and the troops were removed to the outside of Berlin. The
palace was thus left unprotected, and, although no injury was inflicted
upon its inmates, the King was made to feel that the people could now
command his homage. The bodies of the dead were brought into the court of
the palace; their wounds were laid bare, and the King, who appeared in a
balcony, was compelled to descend into the court, and to stand before them
with uncovered head. Definite political expression was given to the changed
state of affairs by the appointment of a new Ministry. [417]

The conflict between the troops and the people at Berlin was described, and
with truth, as the result of a misunderstanding. Frederick William had
already determined to yield to the principal demands of his subjects; nor
on the part of the inhabitants of Berlin had there existed any general
hostility towards the sovereign, although a small group of agitators, in
part foreign, had probably sought to bring about an armed attack on the
throne. Accordingly, when once the combat was broken off, there seemed to
be no important obstacle to a reconciliation between the King and the
people. Frederick William chose a course which spared and even gratified
his own self-love. In the political faith of all German Liberals the
establishment of German unity was now an even more important article than
the introduction of free institutions into each particular State. The
Revolution at Berlin had indeed been occasioned by the King's delay in
granting internal reform; but these domestic disputes might well be
forgotten if in the great cause of German unity the Prussians saw their
King rising to the needs of the hour. Accordingly the first resolution of
Frederick William, after quiet had returned to the capital, was to appear
in public state as the champion of the Fatherland. A proclamation announced
on the morning of the 21st of March that the King had placed himself at the
head of the German nation, and that he would on that day appear on
horseback wearing the old German colours. In due time Frederick William
came forth at the head of a procession, wearing the tricolor of gold,
white, and black, which since 1815 had been so dear to the patriots and so
odious to the Governments of Germany. As he passed through the streets he
was saluted as Emperor, but he repudiated the title, asserting with oaths
and imprecations that he intended to rob no German prince of his
sovereignty. At each stage of his theatrical progress he repeated to
appropriate auditors his sounding but ambiguous allusions to the duties
imposed upon him by the common danger. A manifesto, published at the close
of the day, summed up the utterances of the monarch in a somewhat less
rhetorical form. "Germany is in ferment within, and exposed from without to
danger from more than one side. Deliverance from this danger can come only
from the most intimate union of the German princes and people under a
single leadership. I take this leadership upon me for the hour of peril. I
have to-day assumed the old German colours, and placed myself and my people
under the venerable banner of the German Empire. Prussia henceforth is
merged in Germany." [418]

[National Assembly promised.]

The ride of the King through Berlin, and his assumption of the character of
German leader, however little it pleased the minor sovereigns, or gratified
the Liberals of the smaller States, who considered that such National
authority ought to be conferred by the nation, not assumed by a prince, was
successful for the moment in restoring to the King some popularity among
his own subjects. He could now without humiliation proceed with the
concessions which had been interrupted by the tragical events of the 18th
of March. In answer to a deputation from Breslau, which urged that the
Chamber formed by the union of the Provincial Diets should be replaced by a
Constituent Assembly, the King promised that a national Representative
Assembly should be convoked as soon as the United Diet had passed the
necessary electoral law. To this National Assembly the Government would
submit measures securing the liberty of the individual, the right of public
meeting and of associations, trial by jury, the responsibility of
Ministers, and the independence of the judicature. A civic militia was to
be formed, with the right of choosing its own officers, and the standing
army was to take the oath of allegiance to the Constitution. Hereditary
jurisdictions and manorial rights of police were to be abolished; equality
before the law was to be universally enforced; in short, the entire scheme
of reforms demanded by the Constitutional Liberals of Prussia was to be
carried into effect. In Berlin, as in every other capital in Germany, the
victory of the party of progress now seemed to be assured. The Government
no longer represented a power hostile to popular rights; and when, on the
22nd of March, the King spontaneously paid the last honours to those who
had fallen in combat with his troops, as the long funeral procession passed
his palace, it was generally believed that his expression of feeling was


In the passage of his address in which King Frederick William spoke of the
external dangers threatening Germany, he referred to apprehensions which
had for a while been current that the second French Republic would revive
the aggressive energy of the first. This fear proved baseless;
nevertheless, for a sovereign who really intended to act as the champion of
the German nation at large, the probability of war with a neighbouring
Power was far from remote. The cause of the Duchies of Schleswig-Holstein,
which were in rebellion against the Danish Crown, excited the utmost
interest and sympathy in Germany. The population of these provinces, with
the exception of certain districts in Schleswig, was German; Holstein was
actually a member of the German Federation. The legal relation of the
Duchies to Denmark was, according to the popular view, very nearly that of
Hanover to England before 1837. The King of Denmark was also Duke of
Schleswig and of Holstein, but these were no more an integral portion of
the Danish State than Hanover was of the British Empire; and the laws of
succession were moreover different in Schleswig-Holstein, the Crown being
transmitted by males, while in Denmark females were capable of succession.
On the part of the Danes it was admitted that in certain districts in
Holstein the Salic law held good; it was, however, maintained that in the
remainder of Holstein and in all Schleswig the rules of succession were the
same as in Denmark. The Danish Government denied that Schleswig-Holstein
formed a unity in itself, as alleged by the Germans, and that it possessed
separate national rights as against the authority of the King's Government
at Copenhagen. The real heart of the difficulty lay in the fact that the
population of the Duchies was German. So long as the Germans as a race
possessed no national feeling, the union of the Duchies with the Danish
Monarchy had not been felt as a grievance. It happened, however, that the
great revival of German patriotism resulting from the War of Liberation in
1813 was almost simultaneous with the severance of Norway from the Danish
Crown, which compelled the Government of Copenhagen to increase very
heavily the burdens imposed on its German subjects in the Duchies. From
this time discontent gained ground, especially in Altona and Kiel, where
society was as thoroughly German as in the neighbouring city of Hamburg.
After 1830, when Provincial Estates were established in Schleswig and
Holstein, the German movement became formidable. The reaction, however,
which marked the succeeding period generally in Europe prevailed in Denmark
too, and it was not until 1844, when a posthumous work of Lornsen, the
exiled leader of the German party, vindicated the historical rights of the
Duchies, that the claims of German nationality in these provinces were
again vigorously urged. From this time the separation of Schleswig-Holstein
from Denmark became a question of practical politics. The King of Denmark,
Christain VIII., had but one son, who, though long married, was childless,
and with whom the male line of the reigning House would expire. In answer
to an address of the Danish Provincial Estates calling upon the King to
declare the unity of the Monarchy and the validity of the Danish law of
succession for all its parts, the Holstein Estates passed a resolution in
November, 1844, that the Duchies were an independent body, governed by the
rule of male descent, and indivisible. After an interval of two years,
during which a Commission examined the succession-laws, King Christian
published a declaration that the succession was the same in Schleswig as in
Denmark proper, and that, as regarded those parts of Holstein where a
different rule of succession existed, he would spare no effort to maintain
the unity of the Monarchy. On this the Provincial Estates both of Schleswig
and of Holstein addressed protests to the King, who refused to accept them.
The deputies now resigned in a mass, whilst on behalf of Holstein an appeal
was made to the German Federal Diet. The Diet merely replied by a
declaration of rights; but in Germany at large the keenest interest was
aroused on behalf of these severed members of the race who were so
resolutely struggling against incorporation with a foreign Power. The
deputies themselves, passing from village to village, excited a strenuous
spirit of resistance throughout the Duchies, which was met by the Danish
Government with measures of repression more severe than any which it had
hitherto employed. [419]

[Insurrection in Holstein, March 24.]

[War between Germany and Denmark.]

Such was the situation of affairs when, on the 20th of January, 1848, King
Christian VIII. died, leaving the throne to Frederick VII., the last of the
male line of his House. Frederick's first act was to publish the draft of a
Constitution, in which all parts of the Monarchy were treated as on the
same footing. Before the delegates could assemble to whom the completion of
this work was referred, the shock of the Paris Revolution reached the North
Sea ports. A public meeting at Altona demanded the establishment of a
separate constitution for Schleswig-Holstein, and the admission of
Schleswig into the German Federation. The Provincial Estates accepted this
resolution, and sent a deputation to Copenhagen to present this and other
demands to the King. But in the course of the next few days a popular
movement at Copenhagen brought into power a thoroughly Danish Ministry,
pledged to the incorporation of Schleswig with Denmark as an integral part
of the Kingdom. Without waiting to learn the answer made by the King to the
deputation, the Holsteiners now took affairs into their own hands. A
Provisional Government was formed at Kiel (March 24), the troops joined the
people, and the insurrection instantly spread over the whole province. As
the proposal to change the law of succession to the throne had originated
with the King of Denmark, the cause of the Holsteiners was from one point
of view that of established right. The King of Prussia, accepting the
positions laid down by the Holstein Estates in 1844, declared that he would
defend the claims of the legitimate heir by force of arms, and ordered his
troops to enter Holstein. The Diet of Frankfort, now forced to express the
universal will of Germany, demanded that Schleswig, as the sister State of
Holstein, should enter the Federation. On the passing of this resolution,
the envoy who represented the Denmark. King of Denmark at the Diet, as Duke
of Holstein, quitted Frankfort, and a state of war ensued between Denmark
on the one side and Prussia with the German Federation on the other.

[The German Ante-Parliament, March 30-April 4.]

[Republican rising in Baden.]

The passionate impulse of the German people towards unity had already
called into being an organ for the expression of national sentiment, which,
if without any legal or constitutional authority, was yet strong enough to
impose its will upon the old and discredited Federal Diet and upon most of
the surviving Governments. At the invitation of a Committee, about five
hundred Liberals who had in one form or another taken part in public
affairs assembled at Frankfort on the 30th of March to make the necessary
preparations for the meeting of a German national Parliament. This
Assembly, which is known as the Ante-Parliament, sat but for five days. Its
resolutions, so far as regarded the method of electing the new Parliament,
and the inclusion of new districts in the German Federation, were accepted
by the Diet, and in the main carried into effect. Its denunciation of
persons concerned in the repressive measures of 1819 and subsequent
reactionary epochs was followed by the immediate retirement of all members
of the Diet whose careers dated back to those detested days. But in the
most important work that was expected from the Ante-Parliament, the
settlement of a draft-Constitution to be laid before the future National
Assembly as a basis for its deliberations, nothing whatever was
accomplished. The debates that took place from the 31st of March to the 4th
of April were little more than a trial of strength between the Monarchical
and Republican parties. The Republicans, far outnumbered when they
submitted a constitutional scheme of their own, proposed, after this
repulse, that the existing Assembly should continue in session until the
National Parliament met; in other words, that it should take upon itself
the functions and character of a National Convention. Defeated also on this
proposal, the leaders of the extreme section of the Republican party,
strangely miscalculating their real strength, determined on armed
insurrection. Uniting with a body of German refugees beyond the Rhine, who
were themselves assisted by French and Polish soldiers of revolution, they
raised the Republican standard in Baden, and for a few days maintained a
hopeless and inglorious struggle against the troops which were sent to
suppress them. Even in Baden, which had long been in advance of all other
German States in democratic sentiment, and which was peculiarly open to
Republican influences from France and Switzerland, the movement was not
seriously supported by the population, and in the remainder of Germany it
received no countenance whatever. The leaders found themselves ruined men.
The best of them fled to the United States, where, in the great struggle
against slavery thirteen years later, they rendered better service to their
adopted than they had ever rendered to their natural Fatherland.

[Meeting of the German National Assembly, May 18.]

On breaking up on the 4th of April, the Ante-Parliament left behind it a
Committee of Fifty, whose task it was to continue the work of preparation
for the National Assembly to which it had itself contributed so little. One
thing alone had been clearly established, that the future Constitution of
Germany was not to be Republican. That the existing Governments could not
be safely ignored by the National Assembly in its work of founding the new
Federal Constitution for Germany was clear to those who were not blinded by
the enthusiasm of the moment. In the Committee of Fifty and elsewhere plans
were suggested for giving to the Governments a representation within the
Constituent Assembly, or for uniting their representatives in a Chamber
co-ordinate with this, so that each step in the construction of the new
Federal order should be at once the work of the nation and of the
Governments. Such plans were suggested and discussed; but in the haste and
inexperience of the time they were brought to no conclusion. The opening of
the National Assembly had been fixed for the 18th of May, and this brief
interval had expired before the few sagacious men who understood the
necessity of co-operation between the Governments and the Parliament had
decided upon any common course of action. To the mass of patriots it was
enough that Germany, after thirty years of disappointment, had at last won
its national representation. Before this imposing image of the united race,
Kings, Courts, and armies, it was fondly thought, must bow. Thus, in the
midst of universal hope, the elections were held throughout Germany in its
utmost federal extent, from the Baltic to the Italian border; Bohemia
alone, where the Czech majority resisted any closer union with Germany,
declining to send representatives to Frankfort. In the body of deputies
elected there were to be found almost all the foremost Liberal politicians
of every German community; a few still vigorous champions of the time of
the War of Liberation, chief among them the poet Arndt; patriots who in the
evil days that followed had suffered imprisonment and exile; historians,
professors, critics, who in the sacred cause of liberty have, like
Gervinus, inflicted upon their readers worse miseries than ever they
themselves endured at the hands of unregenerate kings; theologians,
journalists; in short, the whole group of leaders under whom Germany
expected to enter into the promised land of national unity and freedom. No
Imperial coronation ever brought to Frankfort so many honoured guests, or
attracted to the same degree the sympathy of the German race. Greeted with
the cheers of the citizens of Frankfort, whose civic militia lined the
streets, the members of the Assembly marched in procession on the afternoon
of the 18th of May from the ancient banqueting-hall of the Kaisers, where
they had gathered, to the Church of St. Paul, which had been chosen as
their Senate House. Their President and officers were elected on the
following day. Arndt, who in the frantic confusion of the first meeting had

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