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Introduction—The Federal Act of 1815–The Diet—The Plenum
Court of Austrăgal Instanz—Representative Assemblies—Article
XI. of Federal Act—Meeting of the Diet—Congress of Carlsbad—
Final Act of Vienna—Revolt in Brunswick—Sympathy with the
Polish Revolution—Conferences at Vienna—Camp at Kalisch.
ON the establishment of the Rhine Confederation
under the protection of Napoleon I. in 1806, the
Emperor Francis II. resigned the Imperial crown,
and declared the German Empire to exist no longer.
The Confederation of the Rhine, which increased in
numbers till it embraced the whole of Germany,
with the exception of Austria, Prussia, Swedish
Pomerania, and Holstein, gradually melted away
*- - - -
when the tide began to turn against the French
arms. ‘Germany was now utterly disintegrated.
The Holy Roman Empire had ceased to exist; the
Confederation of the Rhine had followed it; and
from the Black Forest to the Russian frontier there
was nothing but angry ambitions, vengeances, and
fears. If there ever was to be peace again in all
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these wide regions, it was clearly necessary to create something new.” The reorganisation of Germany formed then one of the principal subjects of negotiation at the Congress of Vienna, and the result of the labours of the statesmen and diplomatists engaged on this work was the Federal Act, bearing date June 8, 1815, and which was placed under the guarantee of eight great European Powers. Without examining the negotiations which led to the formulation of the Federal Act (Bundes-Akte), on which was based the German Confederation, we will turn to the Act itself, and sketch some of its principal features. The object of the Confederation was stated to be the maintenance of the external and internal security of Germany, and the independence and inviolability of the several German States. The affairs of the Confederation were entrusted to an assembly, of which Austria was president, and which is best known under the name of the Diet. The Diet consisted of seventeen members, the larger States having each one vote, and the smaller ones voting in groups. The votes were divided in the following ratio : Austria 1; Prussia 1 ; Bavaria 1; Kingdom of Saxony 1; Hanover 1; Wurtemburg 1; Grand Duchy of Baden 1; Electorate of Hesse 1; GrandDucal Hesse 1 ; Denmark, for the Duchies of Holstein and Lauenburg, 1 ; the Netherlands, for Limburg and Luxemburg, 1 ; the Duchies of Saxe-Mein

char. — —

The Federal
Act, 1815.

The Diet.

1 Sketches in European Politics, by Grant Duff, p. 257.

ingen, Saxe-Coburg Gotha, and Saxe Altenburg 1;

CHAP.

Brunswick and Nassau 1 ; Mecklenburg Schwerin ---

and Mecklenburg Strelitz 1 ; Oldenburg, Anhalt,
and the two Schwarzburgs (Rudolstadt and Sonder-
hausen) 1 ; Lichtenstein, Reuss, Schaumburg-Lippe,
Lippe Detmold, Waldeck, and Hesse Homburg 1;
the free cities Lubeck, Frankfort, Bremen, and
Hamburg 1.
When any change was proposed in the funda-
mental laws of the Confederation, or when any de-
termination had to be arrived at on important
questions affecting the general national interests, the
Diet was formed into a Plenum consisting of sixty-
nine members, in which the larger Powers had
several votes, according to their size, and the smaller
States one vote each. The majority of voices in the
smaller assembly decided what questions should be
submitted to the Plenum. In the smaller assembly

1815.

The
Plenum.

an absolute majority was sufficient to decide a ques

tion, while in the Plenum a two-thirds majority was always necessary. The seat of the Diet was to be at Frankfort-on-the-Main. The right to form alliances with foreign powers and with each other was reserved to members of the Confederation, with the proviso that such alliances were not detrimental to the general interests. Provision was made for a court which could settle differences between members of the Confederation, but the proposal to create a real court of arbitration failed, owing to the opposition of Wurtemburg,

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CHAP. Bavaria, and Hesse Darmstadt. This court was -- termed Austrăgal Instanz.

1815. When two confederate States had disputes between each other, they chose the highest court of Justice of some third State, which was then called Austrägal Gericht, to which was entrusted the settlement of the dispute. The execution of its decrees was in the hands of the Diet.

* Each State was to establish representative pro

assemblies.

vincial diets. The attempts made by Austria, Prussia, and Hanover, that the constitution and functions of these representative assemblies should be submitted to the approval of the Diet, were defeated by Bavaria, Wurtemburg, and others, who considered it a question which each State should settle for itself, and they would only permit of an article being inserted in the Federal Act stating that these assemblies were to be established throughout Germany. This article (Article 13) gave considerable trouble to the several States. In most States these assemblies were not instituted; at any rate, not on the intended basis; some old representative bodies were revived, and in certain instances some feeble uncertain steps were made towards the formation of a representative system, but nothing more. In Prussia a deputation was sent by the Government into the provinces to sound the feelings and opinions of the people in this matter. Other articles in the Federal Act related to the establishment of tribunals of justice, to the position

and privileges of the several princely houses, of the
members of the cathedral chapters, and of the
German orders, and to the mutual intercourse be-
tween the inhabitants of the different States. The
rights of the mediatized princes, and of the former
nobles of the empire (Reichs-adel) were settled by
Article 14 in a manner not quite satisfactory to
them, but which placed them in a better position
than they held in the time of the Rhine Confedera-
tion. The laws which should govern the commerce,
the postal arrangements, the means of communica-
tion, the military system, &c. of the States were left
to future deliberation, while the civil rights of Ger-
mans were almost uncared for.
Perhaps the most important article of the Federal
Act is Article XI. ; and as it was frequently appealed
to in 1864 and in 1866, it may be as well to give
its full text.
“Every member of the Confederation promises
to protect all Germany as well as each individual
confederate State against every attack, and to
guarantee mutually to each other all their posses-
sions comprised in the Confederation. When war
has once been declared by the Confederation, no
member can enter on individual negotiations, or
conclude a truce or peace individually. The mem-
bers of the Confederation retain the right of forming
any alliance, but bind themselves not to make any
engagement directed against the safety of the Con-
federation, or any of its members. The members of

CHAP.

1815.

Article XI.

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