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III.

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their soreness of feeling to propose, at first secretly, CHAP. to the Middle States, a congress of Sovereigns to

1861-64. discuss a plan of reform; and it was only a few days before the proposed meeting at Frankfort that the Meeting of invitation was sent to Prussia. The congress of at FrankSovereigns met at Frankfort August 16, 1863; but one seat, and that the most important one, was vacant. The King of Prussia had declined an invitation on the ground that he could not meet his colleagues to discuss so important a question as the plan of reform, without having had it first submitted to him for his consideration. The project when brought to light proved to be, in its attempts to meet all the conflicting views, so complicated in its provisions and so unsatisfactory to those who aimed at national unity, that, even without Prussia's opposition and the difficulties which arose in the North, it could never have been accepted. The most important provisions were the following. The Government was to be distributed amongst five bodies : 1. A Directory; 2. A Federal Council ; 3. An Assembly of Delegates ; 4. An Assembly of Sovereigns; 5. A Federal Court of Justice.

The Directory, in which all power was in reality vested, was to consist of five members Austria, Prussia, Bavaria, and two more to be elected by the States whose contingents composed the 8th, 9th, and 10th Army Corps. The Federal Council was to be

1 These were nearly all the other States, including the free towns, with the exception of Anhalt, Lichtenstein, Hesse Homburg, and some other duodecimal principalities.

CHAP.

III.

1861-64.

similar to the smaller Council of the Diet, except that Austria and Prussia were to have three votes each, so that the number was increased from seventeen to twenty-one. The Assembly of Delegates was to consist of 300 members, of which 150 were returned by the Middle States, and was to meet every third year, in the month of May, at Frankfort. The Federal Court was to be composed of fourteen members, to be increased to twenty-six when acted as a Court of Arbitration between the Sovereign of a Federal State and his Assemblies. The Assembly of Delegates entirely depended on the Directory. The Assembly of Sovereigns was to play merely an ornamental part, while the Council was merely the Directory in pleno.

Prussia declined to accept this project of reform, and the Middle States feared to push matters to extremities by ignoring the refusal. The results, therefore, of the Congress were nil; and one more stillborn Constitution was added to the many which had met with the same fate.

There was also the plan of a Triad Government put forward by Herr von der Pfordten, the Bavarian Minister, which proposed that a third State should be raised to a position to counterbalance Austria and Prussia. Mr. Grant Duff in his Studies on European Politics,' in an article on the Germanic Diet, mentions two proposals: 1. The proposals of the Duke of Saxe-Meiningen in 1860, for a personal interview of the Sovereigns with the view to arrange

CHAP.

III.

the establishment of a directory of three, in which one member, elected by the smaller States, should

. sit by the side of the representatives of Austria 1861–64. and Prussia ; 2. The declaration of Saxe-Coburg Gotha in 1861, made formally in the Diet, that if the monarchical principle was not to be sacrificed, German Unity could only be brought about by individual will, resting on a general representation of the German people.

LIBRARY

UNIVERSITY OF

ILIFORLI

CHAPTER IV

1864–66. Austria' position.

Austria's Position-Differences between Austria and Prussia-Gas

tein Convention-Difficulties in the Duchies—European Powers endeavour to preserve peace-Entry of Prussian troops into Holstein-Dissolution of the Diet-Commencement of hostilities

Treaty of Prague. CHAP. The powerless condition of the Middle States; the

new spirit and confidence infused into the Prussian mind by the successes of the Prussian Army; the earnest desire of Prussia for a United Germany (a Bundes Staat), which seemed to have received a new impulse ; the rather secondary part which Austria had played during the late events; were signs of the provisional nature of the present condition of things. Austria well knew that every plan of reform of the German Constitution which Prussia had proposed entailed her exclusion from Germany; she had aided Prussia in proving how necessary this reform was.

It was impossible to believe that the Bavarian Triad or her own project would be accepted by Prussia. It was her policy, then, to give some semblance of power to that body by which alone she could hope to maintain her position in Germany. She, on

She, on the other hand, apparently seized every opportunity of weakening the authority of the Diet. The failure of the attempt which the

CHAP.

IV.

The Middle

Middle States had made to form a Union, which was to hold the balance between the two great Powers,

1864–66. proved that nothing could be expected of them. Particularist ideas were dominant with them; and it States. was impossible to hope that they would willingly surrender any portion of their sovereign rights for the sake of a United Germany. The unity of action which subsisted between Austria and Prussia during the war which had just ended, was no sign that they were being drawn closer together. In one question, and that the most important, they would always remain sharply antagonistic. The ingenuity of no statesman could devise means for bringing them to an understanding on the Constitution of Germany. Two powerful nations with totally irreconcilable ideas on a question the solution of which was postponed from day to day, but which was daily being brought forward, must sooner or later settle their differences by the sword. There could not be two kings in Brentford. Their union on the SlesvigHolstein question deceived no one.

It was this very union that hastened the catastrophe. The danger of a common administration of a Autria,

Prussia, country by two nations, whose views are distinct, and is apparent to a child. The danger is increased when the governed country itself is eager to strike out 'a third line of policy. In undertaking with Austria the government of the Duchies, Prussia had but one object in view, the incorporation of these countries into her territory. Towards this end

Duchies.

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