Графични страници
PDF файл



called the Interim,' was signed at Vienna. In this CHAP. treaty the two Powers agreed that till May 1, 1850,

1849. the functions of the central power should be exercised by them conjointly, assisted by a Federal Commission (Bundes Commission). This Commission met at Frankfort in the middle of December, and Resignathe Archduke resigned his power into their hands.

Archduke Prussia now made endeavours to obtain the Meeting of

1 new Parliasummoning together of the new Parliament, and ment. notwithstanding the opposition of Austria and the Middle States it met at Erfurt on March 20, 1850. But though Austria had been unable to prevent its meeting, it procured its dissolution; and on April Dissolution 29 it was suddenly prorogued, never to meet again. ment. The time for the expiration of the Interim 'Treaty was now approaching, and at the end of April Prince Austria Schwarzenberg, the Austrian Prime Minister, made old Diet to a bold stroke, and summoned the old Plenum to Frankfort. meet at Frankfort. The Middle States and seven other Governments? responded to the appeal, but Prussia and her allies protested. The Plenum met on May 10, and on September 2, Austria opened the smaller Council, and consequently re-established the old Diet. Owing to the state of tension in the relations between Prussia and the resuscitated Diet, it was evident that a severance must soon take place which would result either in submission or war. The eternally recurring differences between the

of Parlia

summons old Diet to meet at

1 Electoral Hesse took a middle course, and sent representatives to Frankfort and to Berlin.


in Hesse.

Bronzell skirmish.

(CHAP. Elector of Hesse and his subjects settled the question.

The Assembly of Hesse refused to pay the taxes 1850.

which had been imposed by the Elector's minister, Difficulties

Hasenpflug, without their sanction. The Elector appealed to the Diet, who promised to aid him. Hesse, however, still formed part of the Three Kings' Union, and Prussia had either to oppose the intervention of the Diet or submit. She had already put her troops in motion, when Russia declared that she would view the opposition of Prussia to the decrees of the Diet as a casus belli. Russia had secretly worked for the re-establishment of the Diet, and was determined to support it now that it was recalled to life. Prussia hesitated; there was a slight skirmish at Bronzell between her troops and the Bavarians;

she lost heart, recalled her troops, and entered into Treaty of negotiations at Olmutz, in which she promised to

dissolve the Union and recognise the restored Diet. Conferences were then held at Dresden respecting what form of constitution should be accepted. The proposals were many, but they were all rejected. Russia, through the Middle States, worked hard for the return to the Final Act of Vienna, and she was successful. Weary with negotiation and anxious for rest, Prussia, on March 27, proposed the re

establishment of the Diet. The other States accepted old Diet. “ the proposal, and on May 30, 1851, the German

Confederation was once more in existence.

But although a return was made to the old order of things, the past two years had not been


Dresden conferences.



without fruit. The equality of all before the law, CHAP. the increased freedom of the press, trial by jury, universal suffrage, vote by ballot were substantial gains which the people would never allow to be wrung from them again. They had also obtained a less tangible but far greater benefit, one which no human hand could wrest from them, and which no constitution, no code of laws can of themselves give -the consciousness of a political existence. In Germany the Revolution of 1848, commenced from political motives, was carried on for political aims, but its greatest results were chiefly shown in the social life of the country.


Results of the Revolution of 1848— Three Great Questions—The

Slesvig-Holstein Question—Reform of the Constitution-Congress of Sovereigns at Frankfort.




Results of 1848 Revolution.

THE Customs Union of Prussia rnade progress, and CHAP. in September of this year she consolidated this union

by amalgamating it with that of Central Germany, 1851.

of which Hanover was the head. Austria having of Customs in vain endeavoured to form another Customs Union,

and knowing the objection Prussia would make to her entering her own, concluded a commercial treaty for twenty years with that Power in February 1853.

The gulf between Austria and Prussia had been widened by the events in, and subsequent to, 1848; and this rivalry between the two great Powers hindered the Diet from exercising that influence to which its position entitled it. The Middle States were, however, more closely united; but as they oscillated to and fro between Austria and Prussia, according to the promptings of their own interests, and never pursued a truly national line of policy, it is at their door that the delay in achieving the great work of national unity must be laid. If

[blocks in formation]

their Governments had possessed loftier and nobler aims; if a statesman had arisen amongst them of some breadth of mind and depth of insight, a statesman who could have seen clearly that Austria was a weak reed to lean on, and that the real strength lay in Prussia, many of the events which followed might have been avoided. The re-establishment of the Diet was accepted as a last alternative, as the only possible solution of difficulties arising from conflicting views and interests; a solution admittedly of a temporary character. That it was satisfactory to Germany no one would venture to declare. It was hoped, however, that the Diet would occupy itself with endeavours to meet these conflicting interests, and with the preparation of a constitution likely to satisfy the desires of Germany. The past failures had in no way discouraged men; they had, on the contrary, shown where the real difficulties lay. But it was as clear as noonday that Austria and Prussia could not work side by side, and that the time must shortly come when one of these Powers must give way to the other.

I must pass over several years, and hurry on to the great events which next occurred in Germany.

From the meeting of the Diet in 1851, to the outbreak of the Italian War in 1859, Germany busied herself with her internal affairs, and in recovering herself from the shock of 1848. The activity of the Diet had no great scope; its intervention was invoked in the differences between the

« ПредишнаНапред »