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These were the resolutions which the Diet im- - CHAP.
21. mediately commenced to put in force, but, as might
1819. be expected, they were too severe to have any
other effect than that of strengthening the spirit of resistance.
The arrests which proceeded by the orders of the Mainz Commission with exemplary frequency and impartiality, proved how groundless were the revolutionary fears which the Governments had endeavoured to spread throughout Germany; and the Commission, to avoid becoming ridiculous, gradually ceased its labours.
It was, however, quite evident that the Constitu- Final Act tion, as laid down in the Federal Act, must be thoroughly revised. Late events had shown too clearly how utterly inadequate it was to the times. On November 25, 1819, representatives from the various German Governments met at Vienna, and the conferences continued until May 24, 1820. The result of their labours was the Final Act of Vienna (Wiener Schluss Akte), and which was ratified in the Plenum, June 8, 1820, and the same power and validity given to it as was possessed by the Federal Act. The character, functions, and position of the Confederation were more closely defined, and an endeavour was made, in many instances with considerable success, to clear up some doubtful points which the Federal Act had left in uncertainty. The definition of the Confederation was most careful : · The German Confederation is an international society of the German sovereign princes, and of the
free towns, for the preservation of the independence and inviolability of the States which compose the Confederation, and for the maintenance of the internal and external security of Germany. This union, with regard to its internal affairs, is a corporation of self-dependent, and with regard to each other, independent States, with mutual treaty rights and obligations; and is, with regard to external affairs, a politically united Power.'1
I will now proceed to examine the Final Act a little in detail. This elaborate Act consisted of sixty-five articles, which we may group under the following headings. Articles 1 to 34 relate to the constitution and sphere of action of the Confederation, and to the rights and duties of the Diet. Articles 35 to 52 concern the foreign relations and military system of the Confederation. The remaining articles have reference to various matters governing the internal relations of the members of the Confederation.
The smaller assembly and the Plenum were still maintained, though the action of the latter was a little more limited. In the latter assembly no consultation or debate was to take place: a vote alone was to be taken as to whether a resolution arrived at in the smaller council was to be accepted or not. A simple majority decided in the smaller council, but in the Plenum a majority of two thirds was necessary.
1 Articles 1 and 2, Wiener Schluss Act.
The right of the Diet to interfere in disputes CHAP. between the head of a State and his subjects was put
1820. very decidedly and clearly, and it may not be thought out of place to quote the whole article :
If the internal order of a State of the Confederation is disturbed by the opposition of the subjects against their head, and a spread of revolutionary movements is to be feared, or if an actual revolt has broken out, and if the Government, after having exhausted all constitutional and legal means, appeals to the Confederation for assistance, the Diet is to take steps for immediately aiding in the restoration of order. If in the last case the Government is notoriously incapable of subduing the revolt with its own forces, and if it should be prevented by circumstances from calling in the help of the Diet, the latter, even though not appealed to, is equally bound to intervene for the restoration of order and safety.'
The differences between States were to be referred, as before, to a third member of the Confederation, or to a committee of that body. War between two States was therefore considered impossible; and it is well to bear this in mind when we come to the events in 1866. Any attack by a foreign Power on one member of the Confederation was considered as affecting all the States, and measures were to be taken for the common defence ; though if a State which had territories outside the Confederation waged war in its character as a European Power, the Confederation was to remain
a stranger to such a war. The negotiations for a treaty of peace were entrusted to a committee, and ratification by the Plenum was of course necessary.
Sir A. Malet, in his work on the Overthrow of the Germanic Confederation' remarks, that no treaty was ever made by the Diet, but various conventions contracted by the several members of the Confederation with each other and foreign States, such
treaties of extradition, postal and copyright conventions, after they had been ratified were laid before the Diet, not wholly as a matter of form, for when recognised by the assembly they thereby became binding on all members of the Confederation.
The Confederation could receive from, and send representatives to, foreign States, though the latter right, according to the protocol of the Vienna conferences, was to be exercised only in exceptional
A strenuous attempt was made to breathe some Assemblies life into the representative assemblies, and to establish
them on a firm basis; but the Governments were unwilling to give way in any sensible degree on this point. The president of the Diet, indeed, in his opening speech pointed out the groundlessness of the fears of those who thought that these assemblies would prove a danger to the Confederation, and to monarchical institutions, and declared it to be one of the first and most pressing duties of the Diet to establish them on a solid and durable basis. But
the middle States especially, probably supported by CHAP. Russia, were strongly opposed to any curb on the
1820. power of the princes. These assemblies cannot be said ever to have exercised
influence. An attempt was made to improve the military Military system, but without much success. The Federal army, as is well known, existed chiefly on paper, and its organisation was so clumsy and defective that when called into action, it hampered rather than aided the execution of the designs for which it was summoned. Each State paid a sum into the Federal state in proportion to its population. There were two chests : a Federal war chest and a Federal
prorata chest (Matrikular-Casse). From the latter the expenses of the army during peace time were paid. The army was to be divided into army corps, of which the Austrian army formed the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd corps, and that of Prussia the 4th, 5th, and 6th. Those States which were not large enough to form an army corps were to furnish contingents to some other corps; the number of men of which these contingents were to consist being calculated on the population. The commander-in-chief during war time was to be selected by the Diet, and he was to relinquish his command immediately on cessation of hostilities. The want of one sole head to the
army was alone sufficient to render impossible the fulfilment of any scheme of organisation.
1 Some of these contingents were not very large. Lichtenstein furnished 55 men,