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II.

Diff culties

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, in Hesse. 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 reestablishment of the Diet. The other States accepted 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.

Re-establishment of old Diet.

CHAP.

II.

1851.

without fruit. The equality of all before the law, 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.

CHAPTER lII.

Results of the Revolution of 1848–Three Great Questions - The

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

CHAP.

IJI.

Extension

Union.

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Results of 1848 Revolution.

THE Customs Union of Prussia rade progress, and
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

CHAP.

III.

1851.

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

CHAP.

III.

coalition.

Grand Duke of Mecklenburg and his Chambers, as

also in those between the King of Hanover and his 1852-59.

Assemblies; but in neither case was the interven

tion of much avail. Wurzburg

The formation of a coalition of the Middle States which received the name of the Wurzburg Coalition, in which Bavaria and Saxony took the most active part, should be mentioned. The object of this coalition was to secure to the Middle States a more independent position, and so form a bulwark against the pretensions of the two great Powers on the one hand, and the demands of the people on the other. The interests were too diverse, and the jealousy too great, however, to allow of this coalition exercising the influence which its promoters anticipated.

The defeat of Austria in 1859, the want of cohesion among the German States, and the success of the French arms caused alarm in many minds in Germany. This alarm produced the formation of a society whose aim was to render Germany united and free, and consequently strong and independent with regard to foreign nations. The chief promoters of it desired to thoroughly reform the Constitution of Germany, and to restore, as far as possible, that settled by the Frankfort Parliament, of which many of them had been members. The first meeting was held at Eisenach in July 1859, and it was resolved that the society should receive the title of the National Union. It was also resolved that Prussia

National
Union.

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