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

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Barrister-at-Law; Fellow of University College, Oxford;
Vice-President of the Royal Historical Society


With Maps


In acceding to the Publishers' request for a re-issue of the "History of
Modern Europe," in the form of a popular edition, I feel that I am only
fulfilling what would have been the wish of the Author himself. A few
manuscript corrections and additions found in his own copy of the work have
been adopted in the present edition; in general, however, my attention in
revising each sheet for the press has been devoted to securing an accurate
reproduction of the text and notes as they appeared in the previous
editions in three volumes. I trust that in this cheaper and more portable
form the work will prove, both to the student and the general reader, even
more widely acceptable than heretofore.


London, November, 1895.


The object of this work is to show how the States of Europe have gained the
form and character which they possess at the present moment. The outbreak
of the Revolutionary War in 1792, terminating a period which now appears
far removed from us, and setting in motion forces which have in our own day
produced a united Germany and a united Italy, forms the natural
starting-point of a history of the present century. I have endeavoured to
tell a simple story, believing that a narrative in which facts are chosen
for their significance, and exhibited in their real connection, may be made
to convey as true an impression as a fuller history in which the writer is
not forced by the necessity of concentration to exercise the same rigour
towards himself and his materials. The second volume of the work will bring
the reader down to the year 1848: the third, down to the present time.

London, 1880.


In revising this volume for the second edition I have occupied myself
mainly with two sources of information--the unpublished Records of the
English Foreign Office, and the published works which have during recent
years resulted from the investigation of the Archives of Vienna. The
English Records from 1792 to 1814, for access to which I have to express my
thanks to Lord Granville, form a body of firsthand authority of
extraordinary richness, compass, and interest. They include the whole
correspondence between the representatives of Great Britain at Foreign
Courts and the English Foreign Office; a certain number of private
communications between Ministers and these representatives; a quantity of
reports from consuls, agents, and "informants" of every description; and in
addition to these the military reports, often admirably vivid and full of
matter, sent by the British officers attached to the head-quarters of our
Allies in most of the campaigns from 1792 to 1814. It is impossible that
any one person should go through the whole of this material, which it took
the Diplomatic Service a quarter of a century to write. I have endeavoured
to master the correspondence from each quarter of Europe which, for the
time being, had a preponderance in political or military interest, leaving
it when its importance became obviously subordinate to that of others; and
although I have no doubt left untouched much that would repay
investigation, I trust that the narrative has gained in accuracy from a
labour which was not a light one, and that the few short extracts which
space has permitted me to throw into the notes may serve to bring the
reader nearer to events. At some future time I hope to publish a selection
from the most important documents of this period. It is strange that our
learned Societies, so appreciative of every distant and trivial chronicle
of the Middle Ages, should ignore the records of a time of such surpassing
interest, and one in which England played so great a part. No just
conception can be formed of the difference between English statesmanship
and that of the Continental Courts in integrity, truthfulness, and public
spirit, until the mass of diplomatic correspondence preserved at London has
been studied; nor, until this has been done, can anything like an adequate
biography of Pitt be written.

The second and less important group of authorities with which I have busied
myself during the work of revision comprises the works of Hüffer, Vivenot,
Beer, Helfert, and others, based on Austrian documents, along with the
Austrian documents and letters that have been published by Vivenot. The
last-named writer is himself a partizan, but the material which he has
given to the world is most valuable. The mystery in which the Austrian
Government until lately enveloped all its actions caused some of these to
be described as worse than they really were; and I believe that in the
First Edition I under-estimated the bias of Prussian and North-German
writers. Where I have seen reasons to alter any statements, I have done so
without reserve, as it appears to me childish for any one who attempts to
write history to cling to an opinion after the balance of evidence seems to
be against it. The publication of the second volume of this work has been
delayed by the revision of the first; but I hope that it will appear before
many months more. I must express my obligations to Mr. Oscar Browning, a
fellow-labourer in the same field, who not only furnished me with various
corrections, but placed his own lectures at my disposal; and to Mr. Alfred
Kingston, whose unfailing kindness and courtesy make so great a difference
to those whose work lies in the department of the Record Office which is
under his care.

London, 1883.


In writing this volume I have not had the advantage of consulting the
English Foreign Office Records for a later period than the end of 1815. A
rule not found necessary at Berlin and some other foreign capitals still
closes to historical inquirers the English documents of the last seventy
years. Restrictions are no doubt necessary in the case of transactions of
recent date, but the period of seventy years is surely unnecessarily long.
Public interests could not be prejudiced, nor could individuals be even
remotely affected, by the freest examination of the papers of 1820 or 1830.

The London documents of 1814-1815 are of various degrees of interest and
importance. Those relating to the Congress of Vienna are somewhat
disappointing. Taken all together, they add less to our knowledge on the
one or two points still requiring elucidation than the recently-published
correspondence of Talleyrand with Louis XVIII. The despatches from Italy
are on the other hand of great value, proving, what I believe was not
established before, that the Secret Treaty of 1815, whereby Austria gained
a legal right to prevent any departure from absolute Government at Naples,
was communicated to the British Ministry and received its sanction. This
sanction explains the obscure and embarrassed language of Castlereagh in
1820, which in its turn gave rise to the belief in Italy that England was
more deeply committed to Austria than it actually was, and probably
occasioned the forgery of the pretended Treaty of July 27, 1813, exposed in
vol. i. of this work, p. 538, 2nd edit. [3] The papers from France and
Spain are also interesting, though not establishing any new conclusions.

While regretting that I have not been able to use the London archives later
than 1815, I believe that it is nevertheless possible, without recourse to
unpublished papers, to write the history of the succeeding thirty years
with substantial correctness. There exist in a published form, apart from
documents printed officially, masses of first-hand material of undoubtedly
authentic character, such as the great English collection known by the
somewhat misleading name of Wellington Despatches, New Series; or again,
the collection printed as an appendix to Prokesch von Osten's History of
the Greek Rebellion, or the many volumes of Gentz' Correspondence belonging
to the period about 1820, when Gentz was really at the centre of affairs.
The Metternich papers, interesting as far as they go, are a mere selection.
The omissions are glaring, and scarcely accidental. Many minor collections
bearing on particular events might be named, such as those in Guizot's
Mémoires. Frequent references will show my obligation to the German series
of historical works constituting the Leipzig Staatengeschichte, as well as
to French authors who, like Viel-Castel, have worked with original sources
of information before them. There exist in English literature singularly
few works on this period of Continental history.

A greater publicity was introduced into political affairs on the Continent
by the establishment of Parliamentary Government in France in 1815, and
even by the attempts made to introduce it in other States. In England we
have always had freedom of discussion, but the amount of information made
public by the executive in recent times has been enormously greater than it
was at the end of the last century. The only documents published at the
outbreak of the war of 1793 were, so far as I can ascertain, the well-known
letters of Chauvelin and Lord Grenville. During the twenty years' struggle
with France next to nothing was known of the diplomatic transactions
between England and the Continental Powers. But from the time of the Reform
Bill onwards the amount of information given to the public has been
constantly increasing, and the reader of Parliamentary Papers in our own
day is likely to complain of diffusiveness rather than of reticence.
Nevertheless the perusal of published papers can never be quite the same
thing as an examination of the originals; and the writer who first has
access to the English archives after 1815 will have an advantage over those
who have gone before him.

The completion of this volume has been delayed by almost every circumstance
adverse to historical study and production, including a severe
Parliamentary contest. I trust, however, that no trace of partisanship or
unrest appears in the work, which I have valued for the sake of the mental
discipline which it demanded. With quieter times the third volume will, I
trust, advance more rapidly.

LONDON, October, 1886.

NOTE.--The third volume was published in 1889.




Outbreak of the Revolutionary War in 1792--Its immediate causes--
Declaration of Pillnitz made and withdrawn--Agitation of the Priests and
Emigrants--War Policy of the Gironde--Provocations offered to France by the
Powers--State of Central Europe in 1792--The Holy Roman Empire--Austria--
Rule of the Hapsburgs--The Reforms of Maria Theresa and Joseph II.--Policy
of Leopold II.--Government and Foreign Policy of Francis II.--Prussia--
Government of Frederick William II.--Social Condition of Prussia--Secondary
States of Germany--Ecclesiastical States--Free Cities--Knights--Weakness of



French and Austrian Armies on the Flemish Frontier--Prussia enters the
War--Brunswick invades France--His Proclamation--Insurrection of Aug. 10 at
Paris--Massacres of September--Character of the War--Brunswick, checked at
Valmy, retreats--The War becomes a Crusade of France--Neighbours of
France--Custine enters Mainz--Dumouriez conquers the Austrian Netherlands--
Nice and Savoy annexed--Decree of the Convention against all Governments--
Execution of Louis XVI.--War with England, followed by war with the
Mediterranean States--Condition of England--English Parties, how affected
by the Revolution--The Gironde and the Mountain--Austria recovers the
Netherlands--The Allies invade France--La Vendée--Revolutionary System of
1793--Errors of the Allies--New French Commanders and Democratic
Army--Victories of Jourdan, Hoche, and Pichegru--Prussia withdrawing from
the War--Polish Affairs--Austria abandons the Netherlands--Treaties of
Basle--France in 1795--Insurrection of 13 Vendémiaire--Constitution of
1795--The Directory--Effect of the Revolution on the Spirit of Europe up to



Triple attack on Austria--Moreau, Jourdan--Bonaparte in Italy--Condition
of the Italian States--Professions and real intentions of Bonaparte and the
Directory--Battle of Montenotte--Armistice with Sardinia--Campaign in
Lombardy--Treatment of the Pope, Naples, Tuscany--Siege of Mantua--
Castiglione--Moreau and Jourdan in Germany--Their retreat--Secret Treaty
with Prussia--Negotiations with England--Cispadane Republic--Rise of the
idea of Italian Independence--Battles of Arcola and Rivoli--Peace with the
Pope at Tolentino--Venice--Preliminaries of Leoben--The French in
Venice--The French take the Ionian Islands and give Venice to
Austria--Genoa--Coup d'état of 17 Fructidor in Paris--Treaty of Campo
Formio--Victories of England at Sea--Bonaparte's project against Egypt



Congress of Rastadt--The Rhenish Provinces ceded--Ecclesiastical States of
Germany suppressed--French Intervention in Switzerland--Helvetic
Republic--The French invade the Papal States--Roman Republic--Expedition to
Egypt--Battle of the Nile--Coalition of 1798--Ferdinand of Naples enters
Rome--Mack's defeats--French enter Naples--Parthenopean Republic--War with
Austria and Russia--Battle of Stockach--Murder of the French Envoys at
Rastadt--Campaign in Lombardy--Reign of Terror at Naples--Austrian designs
upon Italy--Suvaroff and the Austrians--Campaign in Switzerland--Campaign
in Holland--Bonaparte returns from Egypt--Coup d'état of 18 Brumaire--
Constitution of 1799--System of Bonaparte in France--Its effect on the
influence of France abroad



Overtures of Bonaparte to Austria and England--The War continues--Massena
besieged in Genoa--Moreau invades Southern Germany--Bonaparte crosses the
St. Bernard, and descends in the rear of the Austrians--Battle of
Marengo--Austrians retire behind the Mincio--Treaty between England and
Austria--Austria continues the War--Battle of Hohenlinden--Peace of
Lunéville--War between England and the Northern Maritime League--Battle
of Copenhagen--Murder of Paul--End of the Maritime War--English Army
enters Egypt--French defeated at Alexandria--They capitulate at Cairo and
Alexandria--Preliminaries of Peace between England and France signed at
London, followed by Peace of Amiens--Pitt's Irish Policy and his
retirement--Debates on the Peace--Aggressions of Bonaparte during the
Continental Peace--Holland, Italy, Switzerland--Settlement of Germany
under French and Russian influence--Suppression of Ecclesiastical States
and Free Cities--Its effects--Stein--France under the Consulate--The
Civil Code--The Concordat



England claims Malta--War renewed--Bonaparte occupies Hanover, and
blockades the Elbe--Remonstrances of Prussia--Cadoudal's Plot--Murder
of the Duke of Enghien--Napoleon Emperor--Coalition of 1805--Prussia
holds aloof--State of Austria--Failure of Napoleon's Attempt to gain
Naval Superiority in the Channel--Campaign in Western Germany--
Capitulation of Ulm--Trafalgar--Treaty of Potsdam between Prussia and
the Allies--The French enter Vienna--Haugwitz sent to Napoleon with
Prussian Ultimatum--Battle of Austerlitz--Haugwitz signs a Treaty of
Alliance with Napoleon--Peace--Treaty of Presburg--End of the Holy
Roman Empire--Naples given to Joseph Bonaparte--Battle of Maida--The
Napoleonic Empire and Dynasty--Federation of the Rhine--State of
Germany--Possibility of maintaining the Empire of 1806



Death of Pitt--Ministry of Fox and Grenville--Napoleon forces Prussia into
war with England, and then offers Hanover to England--Prussia resolves on
war with Napoleon--State of Prussia--Decline of the Army--Southern Germany
with Napoleon--Austria neutral--England and Russia about to help Prussia,
but not immediately--Campaign of 1806--Battles of Jena and Auerstädt--Ruin
of the Prussian Army--Capitulation of Fortresses--Demands of Napoleon--The
War continues--Berlin Decree--Exclusion of English goods from the
Continent--Russia enters the war--Campaign in Poland and East
Prussia--Eylau--Treaty of Bartenstein--Friedland--Interview at
Tilsit--Alliance of Napoleon and Alexander--Secret Articles--English
expedition to Denmark--The French enter Portugal--Prussia after the Peace
of Tilsit--Stein's Edict of Emancipation--The Prussian Peasant--Reform of
the Prussian Army, and creation of Municipalities--Stein's other projects
of Reform, which are not carried out



Spain in 1806--Napoleon uses the quarrel between Ferdinand and Godoy--He
affects to be Ferdinand's Protector--Dupont's Army enters Spain--Murat in
Spain--Charles abdicates--Ferdinand King--Savary brings Ferdinand to
Bayonne--Napoleon makes both Charles and Ferdinand resign--Spirit of the
Spanish Nation--Contrast with Germany--Rising of all Spain--The Notables
at Bayonne--Campaign of 1808--Capitulation of Baylen--Wellesley lands in
Portugal--Vimieiro--Convention of Cintra--Effect of the Spanish Rising on
Europe--War Party in Prussia--Napoleon and Alexander at Erfurt--Stein
resigns, and is proscribed--Napoleon in Spain--Spanish Misgovernment--
Campaign on the Ebro--Campaign of Sir John Moore--Corunna--Napoleon
leaves Spain--Siege of Saragossa--Successes of the French



Austria preparing for war--The war to be one on behalf of the German
Nation--Patriotic movement in Prussia--Expected Insurrection in North
Germany--Plans of Campaign--Austrian Manifesto to the Germans--Rising of
the Tyrolese--Defeats of the Archduke Charles in Bavaria--French in
Vienna--Attempts of Dörnberg and Schill--Battle of Aspern--Second passage
of the Danube--Battle of Wagram--Armistice of Znaim--Austria waiting for
Events--Wellesley in Spain--He gains the Battle of Talavera, but
retreats--Expedition against Antwerp fails--Austria makes Peace--Treaty of
Vienna--Real Effects of the War of 1809--Austria after 1809--Metternich--
Marriage of Napoleon with Marie Louise--Severance of Napoleon and
Alexander--Napoleon annexes the Papal States, Holland, Le Valais, and the
North German Coast--The Napoleonic Empire: its benefits and wrongs--The
Czar withdraws from Napoleon's Commercial System--War with Russia
imminent--Wellington in Portugal; Lines of Torres Vedras; Massena's
Campaign of 1810, and retreat--Soult in Andalusia--Wellington's Campaign
of 1811--Capture of Ciudad Rodrigo and Badajoz--Salamanca



War approaching between France and Russia--Policy of Prussia--Hardenberg's
Ministry--Prussia forced into Alliance with Napoleon--Austrian Alliance--
Napoleon's Preparations--He enters Russia--Alexander and Bernadotte--Plan
of Russians to fight a battle at Drissa frustrated--They retreat on
Witepsk--Sufferings of the French--French enter Smolensko--Battle of
Borodino--Evacuation of Moscow--Moscow fired--The Retreat from Moscow--
French at Smolensko--Advance of Russian Armies from North and South--Battle
of Krasnoi--Passage of the Beresina--The French reach the Niemen--York's
Convention with the Russians--The Czar and Stein--Russian Army enters
Prussia--Stein raises East Prussia--Treaty of Kalisch--Prussia declares
War--Enthusiasm of the Nation--Idea of German Unity--The Landwehr



The War of Liberation--Blücher crosses the Elbe--Battle of Lützen--The
Allies retreat to Silesia--Battle of Bautzen--Armistice--Napoleon intends
to intimidate Austria--Mistaken as to the Forces of Austria--Metternich's
Policy--Treaty of Reichenbach--Austria offers its Mediation--Congress of
Prague--Austria enters the War--Armies and Plans of Napoleon and the
Allies--Campaign of August--Battles of Dresden, Grosbeeren, the Katzbach,
and Kulm--Effect of these Actions--Battle of Dennewitz--German Policy of
Austria favourable to the Princes of the Rhenish Confederacy--Frustrated
hopes of German Unity--Battle of Leipzig--The Allies reach the Rhine--
Offers of Peace at Frankfort--Plan of Invasion of France--Backwardness of
Austria--The Allies enter France--Campaign of 1814--Congress of
Châtillon--Napoleon moves to the rear of the Allies--The Allies advance
on Paris--Capitulation of Paris--Entry of the Allies--Dethronement of
Napoleon--Restoration of the Bourbons--The Charta--Treaty of Paris--
Territorial effects of the War, 1792-1814--Every Power except France had
gained--France relatively weaker in Europe--Summary of the permanent
effects of this period on Europe




The Restoration of 1814--Norway--Naples--Westphalia--Spain--The Spanish
Constitution overthrown: victory of the clergy--Restoration in France--The
Charta--Encroachments of the nobles and clergy--Growing hostility to the
Bourbons--Congress of Vienna--Talleyrand and the Four Powers--The Polish
question--The Saxon question--Theory of Legitimacy--Secret alliance
against Russia and Prussia--Compromise--The Rhenish Provinces--Napoleon
leaves Elba and lands in France--His declarations--Napoleon at Grenoble,
at Lyons, at Paris--The Congress of Vienna unites Europe against
France--Murat's action in Italy--The Acte Additionnel--The Champ de
Mai--Napoleon takes up the offensive--Battles of Ligny, Quatre Bras,
Waterloo--Affairs at Paris--Napoleon sent to St. Helena--Wellington and
Fouché--Arguments on the proposed cession of French territory--Treaty of
Holy Alliance--Second Treaty of Paris--Conclusion of the work of the
Congress of Vienna--Federation of Germany--Estimate of the Congress of
Vienna and of the Treaties of 1815--The Slave Trade



Concert of Europe after 1815--Spirit of the Foreign Policy of Alexander, of
Metternich, and of the English Ministry--Metternich's action in Italy,
England's in Sicily and Spain--The Reaction in France--Richelieu and the
New Chamber--Execution of Ney--Imprisonments and persecutions--Conduct of
the Ultra-Royalists in Parliament--Contests on the Electoral Bill and the
Budget--The Chamber prorogued--Affair of Grenoble--Dissolution of the
Chamber--Electoral Law and Financial Settlement of 1817--Character of the
first years of peace in Europe generally--Promise of a Constitution in
Prussia--Hardenberg opposed by the partisans of autocracy and
privilege--Schmalz' Pamphlet--Delay of Constitutional Reform in Germany at
large--The Wartburg Festival--Progress of Reaction--The Czar now inclines
to repression--Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle--Evacuation of France--Growing
influence of Metternich in Europe--His action on Prussia--Murder of
Kotzebue--The Carlsbad Conference and measures of repression in
Germany--Richelieu and Decazes--Murder of the Duke of Berry--Progress of
the reaction in France--General causes of the victory of reaction in Europe



Movements in the Mediterranean States beginning in 1820--Spain from
1814 to 1820--The South American Colonies--The Army at Cadiz: Action
of Quiroga and Riego--Movement at Corunna--Ferdinand accepts the
Constitution of 1812--Naples from 1815 to 1820--The Court-party, the
Muratists, the Carbonari--The Spanish Constitution proclaimed at
Naples--Constitutional movement in Portugal--Alexander's proposal with
regard to Spain--The Conference and Declaration of Troppau--Protest of
England--Conference of Laibach--The Austrians invade Naples and restore
absolute Monarchy--Insurrection in Piedmont, which fails--Spain from
1820 to 1822--Death of Castlereagh--The Congress of Verona--Policy of
England--The French invade Spain--Restoration of absolute Monarchy, and
violence of the reaction--England prohibits the conquest of the Spanish
Colonies by France, and subsequently recognises their independence--
Affairs in Portugal--Canning sends troops to Lisbon--The Policy of
Canning--Estimate of his place in the history of Europe



Condition of Greece: its Races and Institutions--The Greek Church
--Communal System--The Ægæan Islands--The Phanariots--Greek intellectual
revival: Koraes--Beginning of Greek National Movement; Contact of Greece
with the French Revolution and Napoleon--The Hetæria Philike--Hypsilanti's
Attempt in the Danubian Provinces: its failure--Revolt of the Morea:
Massacres: Execution of Gregorius, and Terrorism at Constantinople
--Attitude of Russia, Austria, and England--Extension of the Revolt:
Affairs at Hydra--The Greek Leaders--Fall of Tripolitza--The Massacre of
Chios--Failure of the Turks in the Campaign of 1822--Dissensions of the
Greeks--Mahmud calls upon Mehemet Ali for Aid--Ibrahim conquers Crete and
invades the Murea--Siege of Missolonghi--Philhellenism in Europe--Russian
proposal for Intervention--Conspiracies in Russia: Death of Alexander:
Accession of Nicholas--Military Insurrection at St. Petersburg--
Anglo-Russian Protocol--Treaty between England, Russia, and France--Death
of Canning--Navarino--War between Russia and Turkey--Campaigns of 1828 and
1829--Treaty of Adrianople--Capodistrias President of Greece--Leopold
accepts and then declines the Greek Crown--Murder of Capodistrias--Otho,
King of Greece



France before 1830--Reign of Charles X.--Ministry of Martignac--Ministry
of Polignac--The Duke of Orleans--War in Algiers--The July Ordinances--
Revolution of July--Louis Philippe King--Nature and effects of the July
Revolution--Affairs in Belgium--The Belgian Revolution--The Great
Powers--Intervention, and establishment of the Kingdom of Belgium--Affairs
of Poland--Insurrection at Warsaw--War between Russia and Poland--Overthrow
of the Poles: End of the Polish Constitution--Affairs of Italy--
Insurrection in the Papal States--France and Austria--Austrian
Intervention--Ancona occupied by the French--Affairs of Germany--Prussia;
the Zollverein--Brunswick, Hanover, Saxony--The Palatinate--Reaction in
Germany--The exiles in Switzerland: Incursion into Savoy--Dispersion of the
Exiles--France under Louis Philippe: Successive risings--Period of
Parliamentary activity--England after 1830: The Reform Bill



France and England after 1830--Affairs of Portugal--Don Miguel--Don Pedro
invades Portugal--Ferdinand of Spain--The Pragmatic Sanction--Death of
Ferdinand: Regency of Christina--The Constitution--Quadruple
Alliance--Miguel and Carlos expelled from Portugal--Carlos enters
Spain--The Basque Provinces--Carlist War: Zumalacarregui--The Spanish
Government seeks French assistance, which is refused--Constitution of
1837--End of the War--Regency of Espartero--Isabella Queen--Affairs of
the Ottoman Empire--Ibrahim invades Syria; his victories--Rivalry of
France and Russia at Constantinople--Peace of Kutaya and Treaty of Unkiar
Skelessi--Effect of this Treaty--France and Mehemet Ali--Commerce of the
Levant--Second War between Mehemet and the Porte--Ottoman disasters--The
Policy of the Great Powers--Quadruple Treaty without France--Ibrahim
expelled from Syria--Final Settlement--Turkey after 1840--Attempted
reforms of Reschid Pasha



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 reforms 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




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



Austria and Italy--Vienna from March to May--Flight of the Emperor
--Bohemian National Movement--Windischgrätz subdues Prague--Campaign around
Verona--Papal Allocution--Naples in May--Negotiations as to Lombardy--
Reconquest of Venetia--Battle of Custozza--The Austrians enter
Milan--Austrian Court and Hungary--The Serbs in Southern Hungary--Serb
Congress at Carlowitz--Jellacic--Affairs of Croatia--Jellacic, the Court
and the Hungarian Movement--Murder of Lamberg--Manifesto of October 3--
Vienna on October 6--The Emperor at Olmütz--Windischgrätz conquers
Vienna--The Parliament at Kremsier--Schwarzenberg Minister--Ferdinand
abdicates--Dissolution of the Kremsier Parliament--Unitary Edict--Hungary
--The Roumanians in Transylvania--The Austrian Army occupies Pesth--
Hungarian Government at Debreczin--The Austrians driven out of
Hungary--Declaration of Hungarian Independence--Russian Intervention--The
Hungarian Summer Campaign--Capitulation of Vilagos--Italy--Murder of
Rossi--Tuscany--The March Campaign in Lombardy--Novara--Abdication of
Charles Albert--Victor Emmanuel--Restoration in Tuscany--French
Intervention in Rome--Defeat of Oudinot--Oudinot and Lesseps--The French
enter Rome--The Restored Pontifical Government--Fall of Venice--Ferdinand
reconquers Sicily--Germany--The National Assembly at Frankfort--The
Armistice of Malmö--Berlin from April to September--The Prussian Army--Last
Days of the Prussian Parliament--Prussian Constitution granted by
Edict--The German National Assembly and Austria--Frederick William IV.
elected Emperor--He refuses the Crown--End of the National Assembly--
Prussia attempts to form a separate Union--The Union Parliament at
Erfurt--Action of Austria--Hesse-Cassel--The Diet of Frankfort
restored--Olmütz--Schleswig-Holstein--Germany after 1849--Austria after
1851--France after 1848--Louis Napoleon--The October Message--Law Limiting
the Franchise--Louis Napoleon and the Army--Proposed Revision of the
Constitution--The Coup d'Etat--Napoleon III. Emperor



England and France in 1851--Russia under Nicholas--The Hungarian
Refugees--Dispute between France and Russia on the Holy Places--Nicholas
and the British Ambassador--Lord Stratford de Redcliffe--Menschikoff's
Mission--Russian troops enter the Danubian Principalities--Lord Aberdeen's
Cabinet--Movements of the Fleets--The Vienna Note--The Fleets pass the
Dardanelles--Turkish Squadron destroyed at Sinope--Declaration of
War--Policy of Austria--Policy of Prussia--The Western Powers and the
European Concert--Siege of Silistria--The Principalities evacuated--
Further objects of the Western Powers--Invasion of the Crimea--Battle of
the Alma--The Flank March--Balaclava--Inkermann--Winter in the
Crimea--Death of Nicholas--Conference of Vienna--Austria--Progress of the
Siege--Plans of Napoleon III.--Canrobert and Pélissier--Unsuccessful
Assault--Battle of the Tchernaya--Capture of the Malakoff--Fall of
Sebastopol--Fall of Kars--Negotiations for Peace--The Conference of
Paris--Treaty of Paris--The Danubian Principalities--Continued discord in
the Ottoman Empire--Revision of the Treaty of Paris in 1871



Piedmont after 1849--Ministry of Azeglio--Cavour Prime Minister--Designs
of Cavour--His Crimean Policy--Cavour at the Conference of Paris--Cavour
and Napoleon III.--The Meeting at Plombières--Preparations in Italy--Treaty
of January, 1859--Attempts at Mediation--Austrian Ultimatum--Campaign of
1859--Magenta--Movement in Central Italy--Solferino--Napoleon and
Prussia--Interview of Villafranca--Cavour resigns--Peace of Zürich--Central
Italy after Villafranca--The Proposed Congress--"The Pope and the
Congress"--Cavour resumes office--Cavour and Napoleon--Union of the Duchies
and the Romagna with Piedmont--Savoy and Nice added to France--Cavour on
this cession--European opinion--Naples--Sicily--Garibaldi lands at
Marsala--Capture of Palermo--The Neapolitans evacuate Sicily--Cavour and
the Party of Action--Cavour's Policy as to Naples--Garibaldi on the
mainland--Persano and Villamarina at Naples--Garibaldi at Naples--The
Piedmontese Army enters Umbria and the Marches--Fall of Ancona--Garibaldi
and Cavour--The Armies on the Volturno--Fall of Gaeta--Cavour's Policy
with regard to Rome and Venice--Death of Cavour--The Free Church in the
Free State



Germany after 1858--The Regency in Prussia--Army-reorganisation--King
William I.--Conflict between the Crown and the Parliament--Bismarck--The
struggle continued--Austria from 1859--The October Diploma--Resistance of
Hungary--The Reichsrath--Russia under Alexander II.--Liberation of the
Serfs--Poland--The Insurrection of 1863--Agrarian measures in Poland--
Schleswig-Holstein--Death of Frederick VII.--Plans of Bismarck--Campaign
in Schleswig--Conference of London--Treaty of Vienna--England and Napoleon
III.--Prussia and Austria--Convention of Gastein--Italy--Alliance of
Prussia with Italy--Proposals for a Congress fail--War between Austria and
Prussia--Napoleon III.--Königgrätz--Custozza--Mediation of Napoleon
--Treaty of Prague--South Germany--Projects for compensation to
France--Austria and Hungary--Deák--Establishment of the Dual System in



Napoleon III.--The Mexican Expedition--Withdrawal of the French and death
of Maximilian--The Luxemburg Question--Exasperation in France against
Prussia--Austria--Italy--Mentana--Germany after 1866--The Spanish
Candidature of Leopold of Hohenzollern--French declaration--Benedetti and
King William--Withdrawal of Leopold and demand for guarantees--The telegram
from Ems--War--Expected Alliances of France--Austria--Italy--Prussian
plans--The French army--Causes of French inferiority--Weissenburg--Wörth--
Spicheren--Borny--Mars-la-Tour--Gravelotte--Sedan--The Republic proclaimed
at Paris--Favre and Bismarck--Siege of Paris--Gambetta at Tours--The Army
of the Loire--Fall of Metz--Fighting at Orleans--Sortie of Champigny--The
Armies of the North, of the Loire, of the East--Bourbaki's ruin--
Capitulation of Paris and Armistice--Preliminaries of Peace--Germany--
Establishment of the German Empire--The Commune of Paris--Second Siege--
Effects of the war as to Russia and Italy--Rome



France after 1871--Alliance of the Three Emperors--Revolt of Herzegovina--
The Andrássy Note--Murder of the Consuls at Salonika--The Berlin
Memorandum--Rejected by England--Abdul Aziz deposed--Massacres in
Bulgaria--Servia and Montenegro declare War--Opinion in England--Disraeli--
Meeting of Emperors at Reichstadt--Servian Campaign--Declaration of the
Czar--Conference at Constantinople--Its Failure--The London Protocol--
Russia declares War--Advance on the Balkans--Osman at Plevna--Second Attack
on Plevna--The Shipka Pass--Roumania--Third Attack on Plevna--Todleben--
Fall of Plevna--Passage of the Balkans--Armistice--England--The Fleet
passes the Dardanelles--Treaty of San Stefano--England and Russia--Secret
Agreement--Convention with Turkey--Congress of Berlin--Treaty of






Outbreak of the Revolutionary War in 1792--Its immediate causes--
Declaration of Pillnitz made and withdrawn--Agitation of the Priests and
Emigrants--War Policy of the Gironde--Provocations offered to France by
the Powers--State of Central Europe in 1792--The Holy Roman Empire--
Austria--Rule of the Hapsburgs--The Reforms of Maria Theresa and Joseph
II.--Policy of Leopold II.--Government and Foreign Policy of Francis
II.--Prussia--Government of Frederick William II.--Social condition or
Prussia--Secondary States of Germany--Ecclesiastical States--Free
Cities--Knights--Weakness of Germany

On the morning of the 19th of April, 1792, after weeks of stormy agitation
in Paris, the Ministers of Louis XVI. brought down a letter from the King
to the Legislative Assembly of France. The letter was brief but
significant. It announced that the King intended to appear in the Hall of
Assembly at noon on the following day. Though the letter did not disclose
the object of the King's visit, it was known that Louis had given way to
the pressure of his Ministry and the national cry for war, and that a
declaration of war against Austria was the measure which the King was about
to propose in person to the Assembly. On the morrow the public thronged the
hall; the Assembly broke off its debate at midday in order to be in
readiness for the King. Louis entered the hall in the midst of deep
silence, and seated himself beside the President in the chair which was now
substituted for the throne of France. At the King's bidding General
Dumouriez, Minister of Foreign Affairs, read a report to the Assembly upon
the relations of France to foreign Powers. The report contained a long
series of charges against Austria, and concluded with the recommendation of
war. When Dumouriez ceased reading Louis rose, and in a low voice declared
that he himself and the whole of the Ministry accepted the report read to
the Assembly; that he had used every effort to maintain peace, and in vain;
and that he was now come, in accordance with the terms of the Constitution,
to propose that the Assembly declare war against the Austrian Sovereign. It
was not three months since Louis himself had supplicated the Courts of
Europe for armed aid against his own subjects. The words which he now
uttered were put in his mouth by men whom he hated, but could not resist:
the very outburst of applause that followed them only proved the fatal
antagonism that existed between the nation and the King. After the
President of the Assembly had made a short answer, Louis retired from the
hall. The Assembly itself broke up, to commence its debate on the King's
proposal after an interval of some hours. When the House re-assembled in
the evening, those few courageous men who argued on grounds of national
interest and justice against the passion of the moment could scarcely
obtain a hearing. An appeal for a second day's discussion was rejected; the
debate abruptly closed; and the declaration of war was carried against
seven dissentient votes. It was a decision big with consequences for France
and for the world. From that day began the struggle between Revolutionary
France and the established order of Europe. A period opened in which almost
every State on the Continent gained some new character from the aggressions
of France, from the laws and political changes introduced by the conqueror,
or from the awakening of new forces of national life in the crisis of
successful resistance or of humiliation. It is my intention to trace the
great lines of European history from that time to the present, briefly
sketching the condition of some of the principal States at the outbreak of
the Revolutionary War, and endeavouring to distinguish, amid scenes of
ever-shifting incident, the steps by which the Europe of 1792 has become
the Europe of today.

[First threats of foreign Courts against France, 1791.]

The first two years of the Revolution had ended without bringing France
into collision with foreign Powers. This was not due to any goodwill that
the Courts of Europe bore to the French people, or to want of effort on the
part of the French aristocracy to raise the armies of Europe against their
own country. The National Assembly, which met in 1789, had cut at the roots
of the power of the Crown; it had deprived the nobility of their privilees,
and laid its hand upon the revenues of the Church. The brothers of King
Louis XVI., with a host of nobles too impatient to pursue a course of
steady political opposition at home, quitted France, and wearied foreign
Courts with their appeals for armed assistance. The absolute monarchs of
the Continent gave them a warm and even ostentatious welcome; but they
confined their support to words and tokens of distinction, and until the
summer of 1791 the Revolution was not seriously threatened with the
interference of the stranger. The flight of King Louis from Paris in June,
1791, followed by his capture and his strict confinement within the
Tuileries, gave rise to the first definite project of foreign intervention.
[4] Louis had fled from his capital and from the National Assembly; he
returned, the hostage of a populace already familiar with outrage and
bloodshed. For a moment the exasperation of Paris brought the Royal Family
into real jeopardy. The Emperor Leopold, brother of Marie Antoinette,
trembled for the safety of his unhappy sister, and addressed a letter to
the European Courts from Padua, on the 6th of July, proposing that the
Powers should unite to preserve the Royal Family of France from popular
violence. Six weeks later the Emperor and King Frederick William II. of
Prussia met at Pillnitz, in Saxony. A declaration was published by the two
Sovereigns, stating that they considered the position of the King of France
to be matter of European concern, and that, in the event of all the other
great Powers consenting to a joint action, they were prepared to supply an
armed force to operate on the French frontier.

[Declaration of Pillnitz withdrawn.]

Had the National Assembly instantly declared war on Leopold and Frederick
William, its action would have been justified by every rule of
international law. The Assembly did not, however, declare war, and for a
good reason. It was known at Paris that the manifesto was no more than a
device of the Emperor's to intimidate the enemies of the Royal Family.
Leopold, when he pledged himself to join a coalition of all the Powers, was
in fact aware that England would be no party to any such coalition. He was
determined to do nothing that would force him into war; and it did not
occur to him that French politicians would understand the emptiness of his
threats as well as he did himself. Yet this turned out to be the case; and
whatever indignation the manifesto of Pillnitz excited in the mass of the
French people, it was received with more derision than alarm by the men who
were cognisant of the affairs of Europe. All the politicians of the
National Assembly knew that Prussia and Austria had lately been on the
verge of war with one another upon the Eastern question; they even
underrated the effect of the French revolution in appeasing the existing
enmities of the great Powers. No important party in France regarded the
Declaration of Pillnitz as a possible reason for hostilities; and the
challenge given to France was soon publicly withdrawn. It was withdrawn
when Louis XVI., by accepting the Constitution made by the National
Assembly, placed himself, in the sight of Europe, in the position of a free
agent. On the 14th September, 1791, the King, by a solemn public oath,
identified his will with that of the nation. It was known in Paris that he
had been urged by the emigrants to refuse his assent, and to plunge the
nation into civil war by an open breach with the Assembly. The frankness
with which Louis pledged himself to the Constitution, the seeming sincerity
of his patriotism, again turned the tide of public opinion in his favour.
His flight was forgiven; the restrictions placed upon his personal liberty
were relaxed. Louis seemed to be once more reconciled with France, and
France was relieved from the ban of Europe. The Emperor announced that the
circumstances which had provoked the Declaration of Pillnitz no longer
existed, and that the Powers, though prepared to revive the League if
future occasion should arise, suspended all joint action in reference to
the internal affairs of France.

[Priests and emigrants keep France in agitation.]

The National Assembly, which, in two years, had carried France so far
towards the goal of political and social freedom, now declared its work
ended. In the mass of the nation there was little desire for further
change. The grievances which pressed most heavily upon the common course of
men's lives--unfair taxation, exclusion from public employment, monopolies
among the townspeople, and the feudal dues which consumed the produce of
the peasant--had been swept away. It was less by any general demand for
further reform than by the antagonisms already kindled in the Revolution
that France was forced into a new series of violent changes. The King
himself was not sincerely at one with the nation; in everything that most
keenly touched his conscience he had unwillingly accepted the work of the
Assembly. The Church and the noblesse were bent on undoing what had already
been done. Without interfering with doctrine or ritual, the National
Assembly had re-organised the ecclesiastical system of France, and had
enforced that supremacy of the State over the priesthood to which,
throughout the eighteenth century, the Governments of Catholic Europe had
been steadily tending. The Civil Constitution of the Clergy, which was
created by the National Assembly in 1790, transformed the priesthood from a
society of landowners into a body of salaried officers of the State, and
gave to the laity the election of their bishops and ministers. The change,
carried out in this extreme form, threw the whole body of bishops and a
great part of the lower clergy into revolt. Their interests were hurt by
the sale of the Church lands; their consciences were wounded by the system
of popular election, which was condemned by the Pope. In half the pulpits
of France the principles of the Revolution were anathematised, and the
vengeance of heaven denounced against the purchasers of the secularised
Church lands. Beyond the frontier the emigrant nobles, who might have
tempered the Revolution by combining with the many liberal men of their
order who remained at home, gathered in arms, and sought the help of
foreigners against a nation in which they could see nothing but rebellious
dependents of their own. The head-quarters of the emigrants were at
Coblentz in the dominions of the Elector of Trèves. They formed themselves
into regiments, numbering in all some few thousands, and occupied
themselves with extravagant schemes of vengeance against all Frenchmen who
had taken part in the destruction of the privileges of their caste.

[Legislative Assembly. Oct. 1791.]

[War policy of the Gironde.]

Had the elections which followed the dissolution of the National Assembly
sent to the Legislature a body of men bent only on maintaining the
advantages already won, it would have been no easy task to preserve the
peace of France in the presence of the secret or open hostility of the
Court, the Church, and the emigrants. But the trial was not made. The
leading spirits among the new representatives were not men of compromise.
In the Legislative Body which met in 1791 there were all the passions of
the Assembly of 1789, without any of the experience which that Assembly had
gained. A decree, memorable among the achievements of political folly, had
prohibited members of the late Chamber from seeking re-election. The new
Legislature was composed of men whose political creed had been drawn almost
wholly from literary sources; the most dangerous theorists of the former
Assembly were released from Parliamentary restraints, and installed, like
Robespierre, as the orators of the clubs. Within the Chamber itself the
defenders of the Monarchy and of the Constitution which had just been given
to France were far outmatched by the party of advance. The most conspicuous
of the new deputies formed the group named after the district of the
Gironde, where several of their leaders had been elected. The orator
Vergniaud, pre-eminent among companions of singular eloquence, the
philosopher Condorcet, the veteran journalist Brissot, gave to this party
an ascendancy in the Chamber and an influence in the country the more
dangerous because it appeared to belong to men elevated above the ordinary
regions of political strife. Without the fixed design of turning the
monarchy into a republic, the orators of the Gironde sought to carry the
revolutionary movement over the barrier erected against it in the
Constitution of 1791. From the moment of the opening of the Assembly it was
clear that the Girondins intended to precipitate the conflict between the
Court and the nation by devoting all the wealth of their eloquence to the
subjects which divided France the most. To Brissot and the men who
furnished the ideas of the party, it would have seemed a calamity that the
Constitution of 1791, with its respect for the prerogative of the Crown and
its tolerance of mediæval superstition, should fairly get underway. In
spite of Robespierre's prediction that war would give France a strong
sovereign in the place of a weak one, the Girondins persuaded themselves
that the best means of diminishing or overthrowing monarchical power in
France was a war with the sovereigns of Europe; and henceforward they
laboured for war with scarcely any disguise. [5]

[Notes of Kaunitz, Dec. 21, Feb. 17.]

Nor were occasions wanting, if war was needful for France. The protection
which the Elector of Trèves gave to the emigrant army at Coblentz was so
flagrant a violation of international law that the Gironde had the support
of the whole nation when they called upon the King to demand the dispersal
of the emigrants in the most peremptory form. National feeling was keenly
excited by debates in which the military preparations of the emigrants and
the encouragement given to them by foreign princes were denounced with all
the energy of southern eloquence. On the 13th of December Louis declared to
the Electors of Trèves and Mainz that he would treat them as enemies unless
the armaments within their territories were dispersed by January 15th; and
at the same time he called upon the Emperor Leopold, as head of the
Germanic body, to use his influence in bringing the Electors to reason. The
demands of France were not resisted. On the 16th January, 1792, Louis
informed the Assembly that the emigrants had been expelled from the
electorates, and acknowledged the good offices of Leopold in effecting this
result. The substantial cause of war seemed to have disappeared; but
another had arisen in its place. In a note of December 21st the Austrian
Minister Kaunitz used expressions which implied that a league of the Powers
was still in existence against France. Nothing could have come more
opportunely for the war-party in the Assembly. Brissot cried for an
immediate declaration of war, and appealed to the French nation to
vindicate its honour by an attack both upon the emigrants and upon their
imperial protector. The issue depended upon the relative power of the Crown
and the Opposition. Leopold saw that war was inevitable unless the
Constitutional party, which was still in office, rallied for one last
effort, and gained a decisive victory over its antagonists. In the hope of
turning public opinion against the Gironde, he permitted Kaunitz to send a
despatch to Paris which loaded the leaders of the war-party with abuse, and
exhorted the French nation to deliver itself from men who would bring upon
it the hostility of Europe. (Feb. 17.) [6] The despatch gave singular proof
of the inability of the cleverest sovereign and the most experienced
minister of the age to distinguish between the fears of a timid cabinet and
the impulses of an excited nation. Leopold's vituperations might have had
the intended effect if they had been addressed to the Margrave of Baden or
the Doge of Venice; addressed to the French nation and its popular Assembly
in the height of civil conflict, they were as oil poured upon the flames.
Leopold ruined the party which he meant to reinforce; he threw the nation
into the arms of those whom he attacked. His despatch was received in the
Assembly with alternate murmurs and bursts of laughter; in the clubs it
excited a wild outburst of rage. The exchange of diplomatic notes continued
for a few weeks more; but the real answer of France to Austria was the
"Marseillaise," composed at Strasburg almost simultaneously with Kaunitz'
attack upon the Jacobins. The sudden death of the Emperor on March 1st
produced no pause in the controversy. Delessart, the Foreign Minister of
Louis, was thrust from office, and replaced by Dumouriez, the
representative of the war-party.

[War declared, April 20th, 1792.]

Expostulation took a sharper tone; old subjects of complaint were revived;
and the armies on each side were already pressing towards the frontier when
the unhappy Louis was brought down to the Assembly by his Ministers, and
compelled to propose the declaration of war.

[Pretended grounds of war.]

[Expectation of foreign attack real among the French people; not real among
the French politicians.]

It is seldom that the professed grounds correspond with the real motives of
a war; nor was this the case in 1792. The ultimatum of the Austrian
Government demanded that compensation should be made to certain German
nobles whose feudal rights over their peasantry had been abolished in
Alsace; that the Pope should be indemnified for Avignon and the Venaissin,
which had been taken from him by France; and that a Government should be
established at Paris capable of affording the Powers of Europe security
against the spread of democratic agitation. No one supposed the first two
grievances to be a serious ground for hostilities. The rights of the German
nobles in Alsace over their villagers were no doubt protected by the
treaties which ceded those districts to France; but every politician in
Europe would have laughed at a Government which allowed the feudal system
to survive in a corner of its dominions out of respect for a settlement a
century and a half old: nor had the Assembly refused to these foreign
seigneurs a compensation claimed in vain by King Louis for the nobles of
France. As to the annexation of Avignon and the Venaissin, a power which,
like Austria, had joined in dismembering Poland, and had just made an
unsuccessful attempt to dismember Turkey, could not gravely reproach France
for incorporating a district which lay actually within it, and whose
inhabitants, or a great portion of them, were anxious to become citizens of
France. The third demand, the establishment of such a government as Austria
should deem satisfactory, was one which no high-spirited people could be
expected to entertain. Nor was this, in fact, expected by Austria. Leopold
had no desire to attack France, but he had used threats, and would not
submit to the humiliation of renouncing them. He would not have begun a war
for the purpose of delivering the French Crown; but, when he found that he
was himself certain to be attacked, he accepted a war with the Revolution
without regret. On the other side, when the Gironde denounced the league of
the Kings, they exaggerated a far-off danger for the ends of their domestic
policy. The Sovereigns of the Continent had indeed made no secret of their
hatred to the Revolution. Catherine of Russia had exhorted every Court in
Europe to make war; Gustavus of Sweden was surprised by a violent death in
the midst of preparations against France; Spain, Naples, and Sardinia were
ready to follow leaders stronger than themselves. But the statesmen of the
French Assembly well understood the interval that separates hostile feeling
from actual attack; and the unsubstantial nature of the danger to France,
whether from the northern or the southern Powers, was proved by the very
fact that Austria, the hereditary enemy of France, and the country of the
hated Marie Antoinette, was treated as the main enemy. Nevertheless, the
Courts had done enough to excite the anger of millions of French people who
knew of their menaces, and not of their hesitations and reserves. The man
who composed the "Marseillaise" was no maker of cunningly-devised fables;
the crowds who first sang it never doubted the reality of the dangers which
the orators of the Assembly denounced. The Courts of Europe had heaped up
the fuel; the Girondins applied the torch. The mass of the French nation
had little means of appreciating what passed in Europe; they took their
facts from their leaders, who considered it no very serious thing to plunge
a nation into war for the furtherance of internal liberty. Events were soon
to pass their own stern and mocking sentence upon the wisdom of the
Girondin statesmanship.

[Germany follows Austria into the war.]

[State of Germany.]

After voting the Declaration of War the French Assembly accepted a
manifesto, drawn up by Condorcet, renouncing in the name of the French
people all intention of conquest. The manifesto expressed what was
sincerely felt by men like Condorcet, to whom the Revolution was still too
sacred a cause to be stained with the vulgar lust of aggrandisement. But
the actual course of the war was determined less by the intentions with
which the French began it than by the political condition of the States
which bordered upon the French frontier. The war was primarily a war with
Austria, but the Sovereign of Austria was also the head of Germany. The
German Ecclesiastical Princes who ruled in the Rhenish provinces had been
the most zealous protectors of the emigrants; it was impossible that they
should now find shelter in neutrality. Prussia had made an alliance with
the Emperor against France; other German States followed in the wake of one
or other of the great Powers. If France proved stronger than its enemy,
there were governments besides that of Austria which would have to take
their account with the Revolution. Nor indeed was Austria the power most
exposed to violent change. The mass of its territory lay far from France;
at the most, it risked the loss of Lombardy and the Netherlands. Germany at
large was the real area threatened by the war, and never was a political
community less fitted to resist attack than Germany at the end of the
eighteenth century. It was in the divisions of the German people, and in
the rivalries of the two leading German governments, that France found its
surest support throughout the Revolutionary war, and its keenest stimulus
to conquest. It will throw light upon the sudden changes that now began to
break over Europe if we pause to make a brief survey of the state of
Germany at the outbreak of the war, to note the character and policy of its
reigning sovereigns, and to cast a glance over the circumstances which had
brought the central district of Europe into its actual condition.

[Since 1648, all the German States independent of the Emperor.]

[Holy Roman Empire.]

Germany at large still preserved the mediæval name and forms of the Holy
Roman Empire. The members of this so-called Empire were, however, a
multitude of independent States; and the chief of these States, Austria,
combined with its German provinces a large territory which did not even in
name form part of the Germanic body. The motley of the Empire was made up
by governments of every degree of strength and weakness. Austria and
Prussia possessed both political traditions and resources raising them to
the rank of great European Powers; but the sovereignties of the second
order, such as Saxony and Bavaria, had neither the security of strength nor
the free energy often seen in small political communities; whilst in the
remaining petty States of Germany, some hundreds in number, all public life
had long passed out of mind in a drowsy routine of official benevolence or
oppression. In theory there still existed a united Germanic body; in
reality Germany was composed of two great monarchies in embittered rivalry
with one another, and of a multitude of independent principalities and
cities whose membership in the Empire involved little beyond a liability to
be dragged into the quarrels of their more powerful neighbours. A German
national feeling did not exist, because no combination existed uniting the
interests of all Germany. The names and forms of political union had come
down from a remote past, and formed a grotesque anachronism amid the
realities of the eighteenth century. The head of the Germanic body held
office not by hereditary right, but as the elected successor of Charlemagne
and the Roman Cæsars. Since the fifteenth century the imperial dignity had
rested with the Austrian House of Hapsburg; but, with the exception of
Charles V., no sovereign of that House had commanded forces adequate to the
creation of a united German state, and the opportunity which then offered
itself was allowed to pass away. The Reformation severed Northern Germany
from the Catholic monarchy of the south. The Thirty Years' War, terminating
in the middle of the seventeenth century, secured the existence of
Protestantism on the Continent of Europe, but it secured it at the cost of
Germany, which was left exhausted and disintegrated. By the Treaty of
Westphalia, A.D. 1648, the independence of every member of the Empire was
recognised, and the central authority was henceforth a mere shadow. The
Diet of the Empire, where the representatives of the Electors, of the
Princes, and of the Free Cities, met in the order of the Middle Ages, sank
into a Heralds' College, occupied with questions of title and precedence;
affairs of real importance were transacted by envoys from Court to Court.
For purposes of war the Empire was divided into Circles, each Circle
supplying in theory a contingent of troops; but this military organisation
existed only in letter. The greater and the intermediate States regulated
their armaments, as they did their policy, without regard to the Diet of
Ratisbon; the contingents of the smaller sovereignties and free cities were
in every degree of inefficiency, corruption, and disorder; and in spite of
the courage of the German soldier, it could make little difference in a
European war whether a regiment which had its captain appointed by the city
of Gmünd, its lieutenant by the Abbess of Rotenmünster, and its ensign by
the Abbot of Gegenbach, did or did not take the field with numbers fifty
per cent. below its statutory contingent. [7] How loose was the connection
subsisting between the members of the Empire, how slow and cumbrous its
constitutional machinery, was strikingly proved after the first inroads of
the French into Germany in 1792, when the Diet deliberated for four weeks
before calling out the forces of the Empire, and for five months before
declaring war.


[Catholic policy of the Hapsburgs.]

The defence of Germany rested in fact with the armies of Austria and
Prussia. The Austrian House of Hapsburg held the imperial title, and
gathered around it the sovereigns of the less progressive German States.
While the Protestant communities of Northern Germany identified their
interests with those of the rising Prussian Monarchy, religious sympathy
and the tradition of ages attached the minor Catholic Courts to the
political system of Vienna. Austria gained something by its patronage; it
was, however, no real member of the German family. Its interests were not
the interests of Germany; its power, great and enduring as it proved, was
not based mainly upon German elements, nor used mainly for German ends. The
title of the Austrian monarch gave the best idea of the singular variety of
races and nationalities which owed their political union only to their
submission to a common head. In the shorter form of state the reigning
Hapsburg was described as King of Hungary, Bohemia, Croatia, Slavonia, and
Galicia; Archduke of Austria; Grand Duke of Transylvania; Duke of Styria,
Carinthia, and Carniola; and Princely Count of Hapsburg and Tyrol. At the
outbreak of the war of 1792 the dominions of the House of Austria included
the Southern Netherlands and the Duchy of Milan, in addition to the great
bulk of the territory which it still governs. Eleven distinct languages
were spoken in the Austrian monarchy, with countless varieties of dialects.
Of the elements of the population the Slavic was far the largest, numbering
about ten millions, against five million Germans and three million Magyars;
but neither numerical strength nor national objects of desire coloured the
policy of a family which looked indifferently upon all its subject races as
instruments for its own aggrandisement. Milan and the Netherlands had come
into the possession of Austria since the beginning of the eighteenth
century, but the destiny of the old dominions of the Hapsburg House had
been fixed for many generations in the course of the Thirty Years' War. In
that struggle, as it affected Austria, the conflict of the ancient and the
reformed faith had become a conflict between the Monarchy, allied with the
Church, and every element of national life and independence, allied with
the Reformation. Protestantism, then dominant in almost all the Hapsburg
territories, was not put down without extinguishing the political liberties
of Austrian Germany, the national life of Bohemia, the spirit and ambition
of the Hungarian nobles. The detestable desire of the Emperor Ferdinand,
"Rather a desert than a country full of heretics," was only too well
fulfilled in the subsequent history of his dominions. In the German
provinces, except the Tyrol, the old Parliaments, and with them all trace
of liberty, disappeared; in Bohemia the national Protestant nobility lost
their estates, or retained them only at the price of abandoning the
religion, the language, and the feelings of their race, until the country
of Huss passed out of the sight of civilised Europe, and Bohemia
represented no more than a blank, unnoticed mass of tillers of the soil. In
Hungary, where the nation was not so completely crushed in the Thirty
Years' War, and Protestantism survived, the wholesale executions in 1686,
ordered by the Tribunal known as the "Slaughter-house of Eperies,"
illustrated the traditional policy of the Monarchy towards the spirit of
national independence. Two powers alone were allowed to subsist in the
Austrian dominions, the power of the Crown and the power of the Priesthood;
and, inasmuch as no real national unity could exist among the subject
races, the unity of a blind devotion to the Catholic Church was enforced
over the greater part of the Monarchy by all the authority of the State.

[Reforms of Maria Theresa, 1740-1780.]

Under the pressure of this soulless despotism the mind of man seemed to
lose all its finer powers. The seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, in
which no decade passed in England and France without the production of some
literary masterpiece, some scientific discovery, or some advance in
political reasoning, are marked by no single illustrious Austrian name,
except that of Haydn the musician. When, after three generations of torpor
succeeding the Thirty Years' War, the mind of North Germany awoke again in
Winckelmann and Lessing, and a widely-diffused education gave to the middle
class some compensation for the absence of all political freedom, no trace
of this revival appeared in Austria. The noble hunted and slept; the serf
toiled heavily on; where a school existed, the Jesuit taught his schoolboys
ecclesiastical Latin, and sent them away unable to read their
mother-tongue. To this dull and impenetrable society the beginnings of
improvement could only be brought by military disaster. The loss of Silesia
in the first years of Maria Theresa disturbed the slumbers of the
Government, and reform began. Although the old provincial Assemblies,
except in Hungary and the Netherlands, had long lost all real power, the
Crown had never attempted to create a uniform system of administration: the
collection of taxes, the enlistment of recruits, was still the business of
the feudal landowners of each district. How such an antiquated order was
likely to fare in the presence of an energetic enemy was clearly enough
shown in the first attack made upon Austria by Frederick the Great. As the
basis of a better military organisation, and in the hope of arousing a
stronger national interest among her subjects, Theresa introduced some of
the offices of a centralised monarchy, at the same time that she improved
the condition of the serf, and substituted a German education and German
schoolmasters for those of the Jesuits. The peasant, hitherto in many parts
of the monarchy attached to the soil, was now made free to quit his lord's
land, and was secured from ejectment so long as he fulfilled his duty of
labouring for the lord on a fixed number of days in the year. Beyond this
Theresa's reform did not extend. She had no desire to abolish the feudal
character of country life; she neither wished to temper the sway of
Catholicism, nor to extinguish those provincial forms which gave to the
nobles within their own districts a shadow of political independence.
Herself conservative in feeling, attached to aristocracy, and personally
devout, Theresa consented only to such change as was recommended by her
trusted counsellors, and asked no more than she was able to obtain by the
charm of her own queenly character.

[Joseph II., 1780-1790.]

With the accession of her son Joseph II. in 1780 a new era began for
Austria. The work deferred by Theresa was then taken up by a monarch whose
conceptions of social and religious reform left little for the boldest
innovators of France ten years later to add. There is no doubt that the
creation of a great military force for enterprises of foreign conquest was
an end always present in Joseph's mind, and that the thirst for
uncontrolled despotic power never left him; but by the side of these
coarser elements there was in Joseph's nature something of the true fire of
the man who lives for ideas. Passionately desirous of elevating every class
of his subjects at the same time that he ignored all their habits and
wishes, Joseph attempted to transform the motley and priest-ridden
collection of nations over whom he ruled into a single homogeneous body,
organised after the model of France and Prussia, worshipping in the spirit
of a tolerant and enlightened Christianity, animated in its relations of
class to class by the humane philosophy of the eighteenth century. In the
first year of his reign Joseph abolished every jurisdiction that did not
directly emanate from the Crown, and scattered an army of officials from
Ostend to the Dniester to conduct the entire public business of his
dominions under the immediate direction of the central authority at Vienna.
In succeeding years edict followed edict, dissolving monasteries,
forbidding Church festivals and pilgrimages, securing the protection of the
State to every form of Christian worship, abolishing the exemption from
land-tax and the monopoly of public offices enjoyed by the nobility,
transforming the Universities from dens of monkish ignorance into schools
of secular learning, converting the peasant's personal service into a
rent-charge, and giving him in the officer of the Crown a protector and an
arbiter in all his dealings with his lord. Noble and enlightened in his
aims, Joseph, like every other reformer of the eighteenth century,
underrated the force which the past exerts over the present; he could see
nothing but prejudice and unreason in the attachment to provincial custom
or time-honoured opinion; he knew nothing of that moral law which limits
the success of revolutions by the conditions which precede them. What was
worst united with what was best in resistance to his reforms. The bigots of
the University of Louvain, who still held out against the discoveries of
Newton, excited the mob to insurrection against Joseph, as the enemy of
religion; the Magyar landowners in Hungary resisted a system which
extinguished the last vestiges of their national independence at the same
time that it destroyed the harsh dominion which they themselves exercised
over their peasantry. Joseph alternated between concession and the extreme
of autocratic violence. At one moment he resolved to sweep away every local
right that fettered the exercise of his power; then, after throwing the
Netherlands into successful revolt, and forcing Hungary to the verge of
armed resistance, he revoked his unconstitutional ordinances (January 28,
1790), and restored all the institutions of the Hungarian monarchy which
existed at the date of his accession.

[Leopold II., 1790-1792.]

A month later, death removed Joseph from his struggle and his sorrows. His
successor, Leopold II., found the monarchy involved as Russia's ally in an
attack upon Turkey; threatened by the Northern League of Prussia, England,
and Holland; exhausted in finance; weakened by the revolt of the
Netherlands; and distracted in every province by the conflict of the
ancient and the modern system of government, and the assertion of new
social rights that seemed to have been created only in order to be
extinguished. The recovery of Belgium and the conclusion of peace with
Turkey were effected under circumstances that brought the adroit and
guarded statesmanship of Leopold into just credit. His settlement of the
conflict between the Crown and the Provinces, between the Church and
education, between the noble and the serf, marked the line in which, for
better or for worse, Austrian policy was to run for sixty years. Provincial
rights, the privileges of orders and corporate bodies, Leopold restored;
the personal sovereignty of his house he maintained unimpaired. In the more
liberal part of Joseph's legislation, the emancipation of learning from
clerical control, the suppression of unjust privilege in taxation, the
abolition of the feudal services of the peasant, Leopold was willing to
make concessions to the Church and the aristocracy; to the spirit of
national independence which his predecessor's aggression had excited in
Bohemia as well as in Hungary, he made no concession beyond the restoration
of certain cherished forms. An attempt of the Magyar nobles to affix
conditions to their acknowledgment of Leopold as King of Hungary was
defeated; and, by creating new offices at Vienna for the affairs of Illyria
and Transylvania, and making them independent of the Hungarian Diet,
Leopold showed that the Crown possessed an instrument against the dominant
Magyar race in the Slavic and Romanic elements of the Hungarian Kingdom.
[8] On the other hand, Leopold consented to restore to the Church its
control over the higher education, and to throw back the burden of taxation
upon land not occupied by noble owners. He gave new rigour to the
censorship of the press; but the gain was not to the Church, to which the
censorship had formerly belonged, but to the Government, which now employed
it as an instrument of State. In the great question of the emancipation of
the serf Leopold was confronted by a more resolute and powerful body of
nobility in Hungary than existed in any other province. The right of the
lord to fetter the peasant to the soil and to control his marriage Leopold
refused to restore in any part of his dominions; but, while in parts of
Bohemia he succeeded in maintaining the right given by Joseph to the
peasant to commute his personal service for a money payment, in Hungary he
was compelled to fall back upon the system of Theresa, and to leave the
final settlement of the question to the Diet. Twenty years later the
statesman who emancipated the peasants of Prussia observed that Hungary was
the only part of the Austrian dominions in which the peasant was not in a
better condition than his fellows in North Germany; [9] and so torpid was
the humanity of the Diet that until the year 1835 the prison and the
flogging-board continued to form a part of every Hungarian manor.

[Death of Leopold, March 1, 1792.]

[Francis II., 1792.]

Of the self-sacrificing ardour of Joseph there was no trace in Leopold's
character; yet his political aims were not low. During twenty-four years'
government of Tuscany he had proved himself almost an ideal ruler in the
pursuit of peace, of religious enlightenment, and of the material
improvement of his little sovereignty. Raised to the Austrian throne, the
compromise which he effected with the Church and the aristocracy resulted
more from a supposed political necessity than from his own inclination. So
long as Leopold lived, Austria would not have wanted an intelligence
capable of surveying the entire field of public business, nor a will
capable of imposing unity of action upon the servants of State. To the
misfortune of Europe no less than of his own dominions, Leopold was carried
off by sickness at the moment when the Revolutionary War broke out. An
uneasy reaction against Joseph's reforms and a well-grounded dread of the
national movements in Hungary and the Netherlands were already the
principal forces in the official world at Vienna; in addition to these came
the new terror of the armed proselytism of the Revolution. The successor of
Leopold, Francis II., was a sickly prince, in whose homely and
unimaginative mind the great enterprises of Joseph, amidst which he had
been brought up, excited only aversion. Amongst the men who surrounded him,
routine and the dread of change made an end of the higher forms of public
life. The Government openly declared that all change should cease so long
as the war lasted; even the pressing question of the peasant's relation to
his lord was allowed to remain unsettled by the Hungarian Diet, lest the
spirit of national independence should find expression in its debates. Over
the whole internal administration of Austria the torpor of the days before
Theresa seemed to be returning. Its foreign policy, however, bore no trace
of this timorous, conservative spirit. Joseph, as restless abroad as at
home, had shared the ambition of the Russian Empress Catherine, and
troubled Europe with his designs upon Turkey, Venice, and Bavaria. These
and similar schemes of territorial extension continued to fill the minds of
Austrian courtiers and ambassadors. Shortly after the outbreak of war with
France the aged minister Kaunitz, who had been at the head of the Foreign
Office during three reigns, retired from power. In spite of the first
partition of Poland, made in combination with Russia and Prussia in 1772,
and in spite of subsequent attempts of Joseph against Turkey and Bavaria,
the policy of Kaunitz had not been one of mere adventure and shifting
attack. He had on the whole remained true to the principle of alliance with
France and antagonism to Prussia; and when the revolution brought war
within sight, he desired to limit the object of the war to the restoration
of monarchical government in France. The conditions under which the young
Emperor and the King of Prussia agreed to turn the war to purposes of
territorial aggrandisement caused Kaunitz, with a true sense of the fatal
import of this policy, to surrender the power which he had held for forty
years. It was secretly agreed between the two courts that Prussia should
recoup itself for its expenses against France by seizing part of Poland. On
behalf of Austria it was demanded that the Emperor should annex Bavaria,
giving Belgium to the Elector as compensation. Both these schemes violated
what Kaunitz held to be sound policy. He believed that the interests of
Austria required the consolidation rather than the destruction of Poland;
and he declared the exchange of the Netherlands for Bavaria to be, in the
actual state of affairs, impracticable. [10] Had the coalition of 1792 been
framed on the principles advocated by Kaunitz, though Austria might not
have effected the restoration of monarchial power in France, the alliance
would not have disgracefully shattered on the crimes and infamies attending
the second partition of Poland.

From the moment when Kaunitz retired from office, territorial extension
became the great object of the Austrian Court. To prudent statesmen the
scattered provinces and varied population of the Austrian State would have
suggested that Austria had more to lose than any European Power; to the men
of 1792 it appeared that she had more to gain. The Netherlands might be
increased with a strip of French Flanders; Bavaria, Poland, and Italy were
all weak neighbours, who might be made to enrich Austria in their turn. A
sort of magical virtue was attached to the acquisition of territory. If so
many square miles and so many head of population were gained, whether of
alien or kindred race, mutinous or friendly, the end of all statesmanship
was realised, and the heaviest sacrifice of life and industry repaid.
Austria affected to act as the centre of a defensive alliance, and to fight
for the common purpose of giving a Government to France which would respect
the rights of its neighbours. In reality, its own military operations were
too often controlled, and an effective common warfare frustrated, at one
moment by a design upon French Flanders, at another by the course of Polish
or Bavarian intrigue, at another by the hope of conquests in Italy. Of all
the interests which centred in the head of the House of Hapsburg, the least
befriended at Vienna was the interest of the Empire and of Germany.


Nor, if Austria was found wanting, had Germany any permanent safeguard in
the rival Protestant State. Prussia, the second great German Power and the
ancient enemy of Austria, had been raised to an influence in Europe quite
out of proportion to its scanty resources by the genius of Frederick the
Great and the earlier Princes of the House of Hohenzollern. Its population
was not one-third of that of France or Austria; its wealth was perhaps not
superior to that of the Republic of Venice. That a State so poor in men and
money should play the part of one of the great Powers of Europe was
possible only so long as an energetic ruler watched every movement of that
complicated machinery which formed both army and nation after the prince's
own type. Frederick gave his subjects a just administration of the law; he
taught them productive industries; he sought to bring education to their
doors [11]; but he required that the citizen should account himself before
all the servant of the State. Every Prussian either worked in the great
official hierarchy or looked up to it as the providence which was to direct
all his actions and supply all his judgments. The burden of taxation
imposed by the support of an army relatively three times as great as that
of any other Power was wonderfully lightened by Frederick's economy: far
more serious than the tobacco-monopoly and the forage-requisitions, at
which Frederick's subjects grumbled during his life-time, was the danger
that a nation which had only attained political greatness by its obedience
to a rigorous administration should fall into political helplessness, when
the clear purpose and all-controlling care of its ruler no longer animated
a system which, without him, was only a pedantic routine. What in England
we are accustomed to consider as the very substance of national life,--the
mass of political interest and opinion, diffused in some degree amongst all
classes, at once the support and the judge of the servants of the
State,--had in Prussia no existence. Frederick's subjects obeyed and
trusted their Monarch; there were probably not five hundred persons outside
the public service who had any political opinions of their own. Prussia did
not possess even the form of a national representation; and, although
certain provincial assemblies continued to meet, they met only to receive
the instructions of the Crown-officers of their district. In the absence of
all public criticism, the old age of Frederick must in itself have
endangered the efficiency of the military system which had raised Prussia
to its sudden eminence. [12] The impulse of Frederick's successor was
sufficient to reverse the whole system of Prussian foreign policy, and to
plunge the country in alliance with Austria into a speculative and
unnecessary war.

[Frederick William II., 1786.]

[Alliance with Austria against France, Feb., 1792.]

On the death of Frederick in 1786, the crown passed to Frederick William
II., his nephew. Frederick William was a man of common type, showy and
pleasure-loving, interested in public affairs, but incapable of acting on
any fixed principle. His mistresses gave the tone to political society. A
knot of courtiers intrigued against one another for the management of the
King; and the policy of Prussia veered from point to point as one unsteady
impulse gave place to another. In countries less dependent than Prussia
upon the personal activity of the monarch, Frederick William's faults might
have been neutralised by able Ministers; in Prussia the weakness of the
King was the decline of the State. The whole fabric of national greatness
had been built up by the royal power; the quality of the public service,
apart from which the nation was politically non-existent, was the quality
of its head. When in the palace profusion and intrigue took the place of
Frederick the Great's unflagging labour, the old uprightness, industry, and
precision which had been the pride of Prussian administration fell out of
fashion everywhere. Yet the frivolity of the Court was a less active cause
of military decline than the abandonment of the first principles of
Prussian policy. [13] If any political sentiment existed in the nation, it
was the sentiment of antagonism to Austria. The patriotism of the army,
with all the traditions of the great King, turned wholly in this direction.
When, out of sympathy with the Bourbon family and the emigrant French
nobles, Frederick William allied himself with Austria (Feb. 1792), and
threw himself into the arms of his ancient enemy in order to attack a
nation which had not wronged him, he made an end of all zealous obedience
amongst his servants. Brunswick, the Prussian Commander-in-Chief, hated the
French emigrants as much as he did the Revolution; and even the generals
who did not originally share Brunswick's dislike to the war recovered their
old jealousy of Austria after the first defeat, and exerted themselves only
to get quit of the war at the first moment that Prussia could retire from
it without disgrace. The very enterprise in which Austria had consented
that the Court of Berlin should seek its reward--the seizure of a part of
Poland--proved fatal to the coalition. The Empress Catherine was already
laying her hand for the second time upon this unfortunate country. It was
easy for the opponents of the Austrian alliance who surrounded King
Frederick William to contrast the barren effort of a war against France
with the cheap and certain advantages to be won by annexation, in concert
with Russia, of Polish territory. To pursue one of these objects with
vigour it was necessary to relinquish the other. Prussia was not rich
enough to maintain armies both on the Vistula and the Rhine. Nor, in the
opinion of its rulers, was it rich enough to be very tender of its honour
or very loyal towards its allies. [14]

[Social system of Prussia.]

In the institutions of Prussia two opposite systems existed side by side,
exhibiting in the strongest form a contrast which in a less degree was
present in most Continental States. The political independence of the
nobility had long been crushed; the King's Government busied itself with
every detail of town and village administration; yet along with this
rigorous development of the modern doctrine of the unity and the authority
of the State there existed a social order more truly archaic than that of
the Middle Ages at their better epochs. The inhabitants of Prussia were
divided into the three classes of nobles, burghers, and peasants, each
confined to its own stated occupations, and not marrying outside its own
order. The soil of the country bore the same distinction; peasant's land
could not be owned by a burgher; burgher's land could not be owned by a
noble. No occupation was lawful for the noble, who was usually no more than
a poor gentleman, but the service of the Crown; the peasant, even where
free, might not practise the handicraft of a burgher. But the mass of the
peasantry in the country east of the Elbe were serfs attached to the soil;
and the noble, who was not permitted to exercise the slightest influence
upon the government of his country, inherited along with his manor a
jurisdiction and police-control over all who were settled within it.
Frederick had allowed serfage to continue because it gave him in each
manorial lord a task-master whom he could employ in his own service. System
and obedience were the sources of his power; and if there existed among his
subjects one class trained to command and another trained to obey, it was
so much the easier for him to force the country into the habits of industry
which he required of it. In the same spirit, Frederick officered his army
only with men of the noble caste. They brought with them the habit of
command ready-formed; the peasants who ploughed and threshed at their
orders were not likely to disobey them in the presence of the enemy. It was
possible that such a system should produce great results so long as
Frederick was there to guard against its abuses; Frederick gone, the
degradation of servitude, the insolence of caste, was what remained. When
the army of France, led by men who had worked with their fathers in the
fields, hunted a King of Prussia amidst his capitulating grandees from the
centre to the verge of his dominions, it was seen what was the permanent
value of a system which recognised in the nature of the poor no capacity
but one for hereditary subjection. The French peasant, plundered as he was
by the State, and vexed as he was with feudal services, knew no such
bondage as that of the Prussian serf, who might not leave the spot where he
was born; only in scattered districts in the border-provinces had serfage
survived in France. It is significant of the difference in self-respect
existing in the peasantry of the two countries that the custom of striking
the common soldier, universal in Germany, was in France no more than an
abuse, practised by the admirers of Frederick, and condemned by the better
officers themselves.

[Minor States of Germany.]

[Ecclesiastical States.]

In all the secondary States of Germany the government was an absolute
monarchy; though, here and there, as in Würtemberg, the shadow of the old
Assembly of the Estates survived; and in Hanover the absence of the
Elector, King George III., placed power in the hands of a group of nobles
who ruled in his name. Society everywhere rested on a sharp division of
classes similar in kind to that of Prussia; the condition of the peasant
ranging from one of serfage, as it existed in Mecklenburg, [15] to one of
comparative freedom and comfort in parts of the southern and western
States. The sovereigns differed widely in the enlightenment or selfishness
of their rule; but, on the whole, the character of government had changed
for the better of late years; and, especially in the Protestant States,
efforts to improve the condition of the people were not wanting. Frederick
the Great had in fact created a new standard of monarchy in Germany. Forty
years earlier, Versailles, with its unfeeling splendours, its glorification
of the personal indulgence of the monarch, had been the ideal which, with a
due sense of their own inferiority, the German princes had done their best
to imitate. To be a sovereign was to cover acres of ground with state
apartments, to lavish the revenues of the country upon a troop of
mistresses and adventurers, to patronise the arts, to collect with the same
complacency the masterpieces of ancient painting that adorn the Dresden
Gallery, or an array of valuables scarcely more interesting than the chests
of treasure that were paid for them. In the ecclesiastical States, headed
by the Electorates of Mainz, Trèves, and Cologne, the affectations of a
distinctive Christian or spiritual character had long been abandoned. The
prince-bishop and canons, who were nobles appointed from some other
province, lived after the gay fashion of the time, at the expense of a land
in which they had no interest extending beyond their own lifetime. The only
feature distinguishing the ecclesiastical residence from that of one of the
minor secular princes was that the parade of state was performed by monks
in the cathedral instead of by soldiers on the drill-ground, and that even
the pretence of married life was wanting among the flaunting harpies who
frequented a celibate Court. Yet even on the Rhine and on the Moselle the
influence of the great King of Prussia had begun to make itself felt. The
intense and penetrating industry of Frederick was not within the reach of
every petty sovereign who might envy its results; but the better spirit of
the time was seen under some of the ecclesiastical princes in the
encouragement of schools, the improvement of the roads, and a retrenchment
in courtly expenditure. That deeply-seated moral disease which resulted
from centuries of priestly rule was not to be so lightly shaken off. In a
district where Nature most bountifully rewards the industry of man,
twenty-four out of every hundred of the population were monks, nuns, or
beggars. [16]

[Petty States. Free Cities. Knights.]

Two hundred petty principalities, amongst which Weimar, the home of Goethe,
stood out in the brightest relief from the level of princely routine and
self-indulgence; fifty imperial cities, in most of which the once vigorous
organism of civic life had shrivelled to the type of the English rotten
borough, did not exhaust the divisions of Germany. Several hundred Knights
of the Empire, owing no allegiance except to the Emperor, exercised, each
over a domain averaging from three to four hundred inhabitants, all the
rights of sovereignty, with the exception of the right to make war and
treaties. The districts in which this order survived were scattered over
the Catholic States of the south-west of Germany, where the knights
maintained their prerogatives by federations among themselves and by the
support of the Emperor, to whom they granted sums of money. There were
instances in which this union of the rights of the sovereign and the
landlord was turned to good account; but the knight's land was usually the
scene of such poverty and degradation that the traveller needed no guide to
inform him when he entered it. Its wretched tracks interrupted the great
lines of communication between the Rhine and further Germany; its hovels
were the refuge of all the criminals and vagabonds of the surrounding
country; for no police existed but the bailiffs of the knight, and the only
jurisdiction was that of the lawyer whom the knight brought over from the
nearest town. Nor was the disadvantage only on the side of those who were
thus governed. The knight himself, even if he cherished some traditional
reverence for the shadow of the Empire, was in the position of a man who
belongs to no real country. If his sons desired any more active career than
that of annuitants upon the family domains, they could obtain it only by
seeking employment at one or other of the greater Courts, and by
identifying themselves with the interests of a land which they entered as

Such was in outline the condition of Germany at the moment when it was
brought into collision with the new and unknown forces of the French
Revolution. A system of small States, which in the past of Greece and Italy
had produced the finest types of energy and genius, had in Germany resulted
in the extinction of all vigorous life, and in the ascendancy of all that
was stagnant, little, and corrupt. If political disorganisation, the decay
of public spirit, and the absence of a national idea, are the signs of
impending downfall, Germany was ripe for foreign conquest. The obsolete and
dilapidated fabric of the Empire had for a century past been sustained only
by the European tradition of the Balance of Power, or by the absence of
serious attack from without. Austria once overpowered, the Empire was ready
to fall to pieces by itself: and where, among the princes or the people of
Germany, were the elements that gave hope of its renovation in any better
form of national life?


French and Austrian armies on the Flemish frontier--Prussia enters the
war--Brunswick invades France--His Proclamation--Insurrection of Aug. 10
at Paris--Massacres of September--Character of the war--Brunswick, checked
at Valmy, retreats--The War becomes a Crusade of France--Neighbours of
France--Custine enters Mainz--Dumouriez conquers the Austrian Netherlands
--Nice and Savoy annexed--Decree of the Convention against all Governments
--Execution of Louis XVI.--War with England, followed by war with the
Mediterranean States--Condition of England--English Parties, how affected
by the Revolution--The Gironde and the Mountain--Austria recovers the
Netherlands--The Allies invade France--La Vendée--Revolutionary System of
1793--Errors of the Allies--New French Commanders and Democratic Army--
Victories of Jourdan, Hoche, and Pichegru--Prussia withdrawing from the War
--Polish Affairs--Austria abandons the Netherlands--Treaties of
Basle--France in 1795--Insurrection of 13 Vendémiaire--Constitution of
1795--The Directory--Effect of the Revolution on the spirit of Europe up
to 1795.

[Fighting on Flemish frontier, April, 1792.]

[Prussian army invades France, July, 1792. Proclamation.]

The war between France and Austria opened in April, 1792, on the Flemish
frontier. The first encounters were discreditable to the French soldiery,
who took to flight and murdered one of their generals. The discouragement
with which the nation heard of these reverses deepened into sullen
indignation against the Court, as weeks and months passed by, and the
forces lay idle on the frontier or met the enemy only in trifling
skirmishes which left both sides where they were before. If at this crisis
of the Revolution, with all the patriotism, all the bravery, all the
military genius of France burning for service, the Government conducted the
war with results scarcely distinguishable from those of a parade, the
suggestion of treason on the part of the Court was only too likely to be
entertained. The internal difficulties of the country were increasing. The
Assembly had determined to banish from France the priests who rejected the
new ecclesiastical system, and the King had placed his veto upon their
decree. He had refused to permit the formation of a camp of volunteers in
the neighbourhood of Paris. He had dismissed the popular Ministry forced
upon him by the Gironde. A tumult on the 20th of June, in which the mob
forced their way into the Tuileries, showed the nature of the attack
impending upon the monarchy if Louis continued to oppose himself to the
demands of the nation; but the lesson was lost upon the King. Louis was as
little able to nerve himself for an armed conflict with the populace as to
reconcile his conscience to the Ecclesiastical Decrees, and he surrendered
himself to a pious inertia at a moment when the alarm of foreign invasion
doubled revolutionary passion all over France. Prussia, in pursuance of a
treaty made in February, united its forces to those of Austria. Forty
thousand Prussian troops, under the Duke of Brunswick, the best of
Frederick's surviving generals, advanced along the Moselle. From Belgium
and the upper Rhine two Austrian armies converged upon the line of
invasion; and the emigrant nobles were given their place among the forces
of the Allies.

On the 25th of July the Duke of Brunswick, in the name of the Emperor and
the King of Prussia, issued a proclamation to the French people, which, but
for the difference between violent words and violent deeds, would have left
little to be complained of in the cruelties that henceforward stained the
popular cause. In this manifesto, after declaring that the Allies entered
France in order to deliver Louis from captivity, and that members of the
National Guard fighting against the invaders would be punished as rebels
against their king, the Sovereigns addressed themselves to the city of
Paris and to the representatives of the French nation:--"The city of Paris
and its inhabitants are warned to submit without delay to their King; to
set that Prince at entire liberty, and to show to him and to all the Royal
Family the inviolability and respect which the law of nature and of nations
imposes on subjects towards their Sovereigns. Their Imperial and Royal
Majesties will hold all the members of the National Assembly, of the
Municipality, and of the National Guard of Paris responsible for all events
with their heads, before military tribunals, without hope of pardon. They
further declare that, if the Tuileries be forced or insulted, or the least
violence offered to the King, the Queen, or the Royal Family, and if
provision be not at once made for their safety and liberty, they will
inflict a memorable vengeance, by delivering up the city of Paris to
military execution and total overthrow, and the rebels guilty of such
crimes to the punishment they have merited." [17]

[Insurrection August 10, 1972.]

This challenge was not necessary to determine the fate of Louis. Since the
capture of the Bastille in the first days of the Revolution the National
Government had with difficulty supported itself against the populace of the
capital; and, even before the foreigner threatened Paris with fire and
sword, Paris had learnt to look for the will of France within itself. As
the columns of Brunswick advanced across the north-eastern frontier, Danton
and the leaders of the city-democracy marshalled their army of the poor and
the desperate to overthrow that monarchy whose cause the invader had made
his own. The Republic which had floated so long in the thoughts of the
Girondins was won in a single day by the populace of Paris, amid the roar
of cannons and the flash of bayonets. On the 10th of August Danton let
loose the armed mob upon the Tuileries. Louis quitted the Palace without
giving orders to the guard either to fight or to retire; but the guard were
ignorant that their master desired them to offer no resistance, and one
hundred and sixty of the mob were shot down before an order reached the
troops to abandon the Palace. The cruelties which followed the victory of
the people indicated the fate in store for those whom the invader came to
protect. It is doubtful whether the foreign Courts would have made any
serious attempt to undo the social changes effected by the Revolution in
France; but no one supposed that those thousands of self-exiled nobles who
now returned behind the guns of Brunswick had returned in order to take
their places peacefully in the new social order. In their own imagination,
as much as in that of the people, they returned with fire and sword to
repossess themselves of rights of which they had been despoiled, and to
take vengeance upon the men who were responsible for the changes made in
France since 1789. [18] In the midst of a panic little justified by the
real military situation, Danton inflamed the nation with his own passionate
courage and resolution; he unhappily also thought it necessary to a
successful national defence that the reactionary party at Paris should be
paralysed by a terrible example. The prisons were filled with persons
suspected of hostility to the national cause, and in the first days of
September many hundreds of these unfortunate persons were massacred by
gangs of assassins paid by a committee of the Municipality. Danton did not
disguise his approval of the act. He had made up his mind that the work of
the Revolution could only be saved by striking terror into its enemies, and
by preventing the Royalists from co-operating with the invader. But the
multitudes who flocked to the standards of 1792 carried with them the
patriotism of Danton unstained by his guilt. Right or wrong in its origin,
the war was now unquestionably a just one on the part of France, a war
against a privileged class attempting to recover by force the unjust
advantages that they had not been able to maintain, a war against the
foreigner in defence of the right of the nation to deal with its own
government. Since the great religious wars there had been no cause so
rooted in the hearts, so close to the lives of those who fought for it.
Every soldier who joined the armies of France in 1792 joined of his own
free will. No conscription dragged the peasant to the frontier. Men left
their homes in order that the fruit of the poor man's labour should be his
own, in order that the children of France should inherit some better
birthright than exaction and want, in order that the late-won sense of
human right should not be swept from the earth by the arms of privilege and
caste. It was a time of high-wrought hope, of generous and pathetic
self-sacrifice; a time that left a deep and indelible impression upon those
who judged it as eye-witnesses. Years afterwards the poet Wordsworth, then
alienated from France and cold in the cause of liberty, could not recall
without tears the memories of 1792. [19]

[Brunswick checked at Valmy, Sept. 20.]

[Retreat of Brunswick.]

The defence of France rested on General Dumouriez. The fortresses of Longwy
and Verdun, covering the passage of the Meuse, had fallen after the
briefest resistance; the troops that could be collected before Brunswick's
approach were too few to meet the enemy in the open field. Happily for
France the slow advance of the Prussian general permitted Dumouriez to
occupy the difficult country of the Argonne, where, while waiting for his
reinforcements, he was able for some time to hold the invaders in check. At
length Brunswick made his way past the defile which Dumouriez had chosen
for his first line of defence; but it was only to find the French posted in
such strength on his flank that any further advance would imperil his own
army. If the advance was to be continued, Dumouriez must be dislodged.
Accordingly, on the 20th of September, Brunswick directed his artillery
against the hills of Valmy, where the French left was encamped. The
cannonade continued for some hours, but it was followed by no general
attack. The firmness of the French under Brunswick's fire made it clear
that they would not be displaced without an obstinate battle; and,
disappointed of victory, the King of Prussia began to listen to proposals
of peace sent to him by Dumouriez. [20] A week spent in negotiation served
only to strengthen the French and to aggravate the scarcity and sickness
within the German camp. Dissensions broke out between the Prussian and
Austrian commanders; a retreat was ordered; and to the astonishment of
Europe the veteran forces of Brunswick fell back before the mutinous
soldiery and unknown generals of the Revolution, powerless to delay for a
single month the evacuation of France and the restoration of the fortresses
which they had captured.

[The Convention meets. Proclaims Republic, Sept. 21.]

[The war becomes a crusade of democracy.]

In the meantime the Legislative Assembly had decreed its own dissolution in
consequence of the overthrow of the monarchy on August both, and had
ordered the election of representatives to frame a constitution for France.
The elections were held in the crisis of invasion, in the height of
national indignation against the alliance of the aristocracy with the
foreigner, and, in some districts, under the influence of men who had not
shrunk from ordering the massacres in the prisons. At such a moment a
Constitutional Royalist had scarcely more chance of election than a
detected spy from the enemy's camp. The Girondins, who had been the party
of extremes in the Legislative Assembly, were the party of moderation and
order in the Convention. By their side there were returned men whose whole
being seemed to be compounded out of the forces of conflict, men who,
sometimes without conscious depravity, carried into political and social
struggles that direct, unquestioning employment of force which has
ordinarily been reserved for war or for the diffusion of religious
doctrines. The moral differences that separated this party from the Gironde
were at once conspicuous: the political creed of the two parties appeared
at first to be much the same. Monarchy was abolished, and France declared a
Republic (Sept. 21). Office continued in the hands of the Gironde; but the
vehement, uncompromising spirit of their rivals, the so-called party of the
Mountain, quickly made itself felt in all the relations of France to
foreign Powers. The intention of conquest might still be disavowed, as it
had been five months before; but were the converts to liberty to be denied
the right of uniting themselves to the French people by their own free
will? When the armies of the Republic had swept its assailants from the
border-provinces that gave them entrance into France, were those provinces
to be handed back to a government of priests and nobles? The scruples which
had condemned all annexation of territory vanished in that orgy of
patriotism which followed the expulsion of the invader and the discovery
that the Revolution was already a power in other lands than France. The
nation that had to fight the battle of European freedom must appeal to the
spirit of freedom wherever it would answer the call: the conflict with
sovereigns must be maintained by arming their subjects against them in
every land. In this conception of the universal alliance of the nations,
the Governments with which France was not yet at war were scarcely
distinguished from those which had pronounced against her. The
frontier-lines traced by an obsolete diplomacy, the artificial guarantees
of treaties, were of little account against the living and inalienable
sovereignty of the people. To men inflamed with the passions of 1792 an
argument of international law scarcely conveyed more meaning than to Peter
the Hermit. Among the statesmen of other lands, who had no intention of
abandoning all the principles recognised as the public right of Europe, the
language now used by France could only be understood as the avowal of
indiscriminate aggression.

[The neighbors of France.]

The Revolution had displayed itself in France as a force of union as well
as of division. It had driven the nobles across the frontier; it had torn
the clergy from their altars; but it had reconciled sullen Corsica; and by
abolishing feudal rights it had made France the real fatherland of the
Teutonic peasant in Alsace and Lorraine. It was now about to prove its
attractive power in foreign lands. At the close of the last century the
nationalities of Europe were far less consolidated than they are at
present; only on the Spanish and the Swiss frontier had France a neighbour
that could be called a nation. On the north, what is now the kingdom of
Belgium was in 1792 a collection of provinces subject to the House of
Austria. The German population both of the districts west of the Rhine and
of those opposite to Alsace was parcelled out among a number of petty
principalities. Savoy, though west of the chain of the Alps and French in
speech, formed part of the kingdom of Piedmont, which was itself severed by
history and by national character from the other States of Northern Italy.
Along the entire frontier, from Dunkirk to the Maritime Alps, France
nowhere touched a strong, united, and independent people; and along this
entire frontier, except in the country opposite Alsace, the armed
proselytism of the French Revolution proved a greater force than the
influences on which the existing order of things depended. In the Low
Countries, in the Principalities of the Rhine, in Switzerland, in Savoy, in
Piedmont itself, the doctrines of the Revolution were welcomed by a more or
less numerous class, and the armies of France appeared, though but for a
moment, as the missionaries of liberty and right rather than as an invading

[Custine enters Mainz, Oct. 20.]

No sooner had Brunswick been brought to a stand by Dumouriez at Valmy than
a French division under Custine crossed the Alsatian frontier and advanced
upon Spires, where Brunswick had left large stores of war. The garrison was
defeated in an encounter outside the town; Spires and Worms surrendered to
Custine. In the neighbouring fortress of Mainz, the key to Western Germany,
Custine's advance was watched by a republican party among the inhabitants,
from whom the French general learnt that he had only to appear before the
city to become its master. Brunswick had indeed apprehended the failure of
his invasion of France, but he had never given a thought to the defence of
Germany; and, although the King of Prussia had been warned of the
defenceless state of Mainz, no steps had been taken beyond the payment of a
sum of money for the repair of the fortifications, which money the
Archbishop expended in the purchase of a wood belonging to himself and the
erection of a timber patchwork. On news arriving of the capture of Spires,
the Archbishop fled, leaving the administration to the Dean, the
Chancellor, and the Commandant. The Chancellor made a speech, calling upon
his "beloved brethren" the citizens to defend themselves to the last
extremity, and daily announced the overthrow of Dumouriez and the
approaching entry of the Allies into Paris, until Custine's soldiers
actually came into sight. [21] Then a council of war declared the city to
be untenable; and before Custine had brought up a single siege-gun the
garrison capitulated, and the French were welcomed into Mainz by the
partisans of the Republic (Oct. 20). With the French arms came the French
organisation of liberty. A club was formed on the model of the Jacobin Club
of Paris; existing officers and distinctions of rank were abolished; and
although the mass of the inhabitants held aloof, a Republic was finally
proclaimed, and incorporated with the Republic of France.

[Dumouriez invades the Netherlands.]

[Battle of Jemappes, Nov. 6.]

The success of Custine's raid into Germany did not divert the Convention
from the design of attacking Austria in the Netherlands, which Dumouriez
had from the first pressed upon the Government. It was not three years
since the Netherlands had been in revolt against the Emperor Joseph. In its
origin the revolt was a reactionary movement of the clerical party against
Joseph's reforms; but there soon sprang up ambitions and hopes at variance
with the first impulses of the insurrection; and by the side of monks and
monopolists a national party came into existence, proclaiming the
sovereignty of the people, and imitating all the movements of the French
Revolution. During the brief suspension of Austrian rule the popular and
the reactionary parties attacked one another; and on the restoration of
Leopold's authority in 1791 the democratic leaders, with a large body of
their followers, took refuge beyond the frontier, looking forward to the
outbreak of war between Austria and France. Their partisans formed a French
connection in the interior of the country; and by some strange illusion,
the priests themselves and the close corporations which had been attacked
by Joseph supposed that their interests would be respected by Revolutionary
France. [22] Thus the ground was everywhere prepared for a French invasion.
Dumouriez crossed the frontier. The border fortresses no longer existed;
and after a single battle won by the French at Jemappes on the 6th of
November, [23] the Austrians, finding the population universally hostile,
abandoned the Netherlands without a struggle.

[Nice and Savoy annexed.]

[Decree of Dec. 15.]

The victory of Jemappes, the first pitched battle won by the Republic,
excited an outburst of revolutionary fervour in the Convention which deeply
affected the relations of France to Great Britain, hitherto a neutral
spectator of the war. A manifesto was published declaring that the French
nation offered its alliance to all peoples who wished to recover their
freedom, and charging the generals of the Republic to give their protection
to all persons who might suffer in the cause of liberty (Nov. 19). A week
later Savoy and Nice were annexed to France, the population of Savoy having
declared in favour of France and Sardinia. On the 15th of December the
Convention proclaimed that social and political revolution was henceforth
to accompany every movement of its armies on foreign soil. "In every
country that shall be occupied by the armies of the French Republic"--such
was the substance of the Decree of December 15th--"the generals shall
announce the abolition of all existing authorities; of nobility, of
serfage, of every feudal right and every monopoly; they shall proclaim the
sovereignty of the people, and convoke the inhabitants in assemblies to
form a provisional Government, to which no officer of a former Government,
no noble, nor any member of the former privileged corporations shall be
eligible. They shall place under the charge of the French Republic all
property belonging to the Sovereign or his adherents, and the property of
every civil or religious corporation. The French nation will treat as
enemies any people which, refusing liberty and equality, desires to
preserve its prince and privileged castes, or to make any accommodation
with them."

[England arms.]

[The Schelde.]

[Execution of Louis XVI., Jan. 21, 1793.]

This singular announcement of a new crusade caused the Government of Great
Britain to arm. Although the decree of the Convention related only to
States with which France was at war, the Convention had in fact formed
connections with the English revolutionary societies; and the French
Minister of Marine informed his sailors that they were about to carry fifty
thousand caps of liberty to their English brethren. No prudent statesman
would treat a mere series of threats against all existing authorities as
ground for war; but the acts of the French Government showed that it
intended to carry into effect the violent interference in the affairs of
other nations announced in its manifestoes. Its agents were stirring up
dissatisfaction in every State; and although the annexation of Savoy and
the occupation of the Netherlands might be treated as incidental to the
conflict with Austria and Sardinia, in which Great Britain had pledged

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