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Condition of the Con
the Confederation engage not to make war on each
other on any pretext whatsoever, nor to settle their 1815,
differences by force, but to lay them before the Diet. It then becomes the duty of the latter to attempt a reconciliation through a commission, and in case this attempt should fail and a judicial decision become necessary, to bring this about by a properly instituted Austrägal Tribunal, to whose sentence the contending parties are bound instantly to submit.'
The Federal Act was drawn up hastily, and left federation. much unfinished. Prussia-more, indeed, than the
other Governments—desired that a greater extension
certain degree of unity, and round which Germans could rally, although the true attributes of govern
1815. ment were wanting. It was better to have an imperfect and incomplete Confederation for a time than to have none at all. The avowedly temporary nature of the constitution of the Confederation has induced me merely to glance at its principal features. In examining the Final Act of Vienna, which came into force five years later, we shall see that all that was worthy of being retained from the Federal Act was renewed in the former.
The Diet, which should have been opened on Meeting of September 1, 1815, did not meet till October 1, 1816. It was at first determined to publish the protocols of the meetings with certain exceptions; but the exceptions gradually became more numerous, and the publication was more strictly limited by the Decree of July 1, 1824. The Diet was en permanence ; but during the annual vacation of two months a commission of three members sat who disposed of the current business.
The three years following the opening of the Diet offer nothing of very great interest, with the exception of the peace of Aix-la-Chapelle (1818), the importance of which was to some extent diminished by the Congress at Carlsbad of the next year. This Congress must not be passed over in silence. The
year 1819 opened gloomily in Germany. Congress of Considerable agitation and distress prevailed everywhere. Men hoped that after their trials and suffer
CHAP. ings in the war of liberation they would enter upon a
freer political life. Great things had been expected 1816-19.
from the Congress of Vienna. A united Germany,
The resolutions of this Congress, which were at
points ; in these lay the chief danger, to guard CHAP. against which, some active measures must be at once
The points were as follows :
1. The uncertainty respecting the meaning and scope of Art. 131 of the Federal Act, and the misapprehension which arose therefrom.
2. The misconceptions concerning the authority of the Diet, and the insufficiency of the means by which this authority could be enforced.
3. The imperfections in the School and University system.
4. The misuse of the Press; and especially the mischief produced by newspapers, periodicals, and pamphlets.
The 13th Article had given rise to considerable misapprehensions and difficulties, which at one time threatened to become dangerous to the existence even of the Confederation. The desire to establish representative assemblies in the several confederate States, based upon
the same system of election, proved almost impossible of realisation. The amalgamation of several of the smaller States into one electoral body presented great difficulties; as in some States assemblies had already been in existence, whilst in others they were almost entirely unknown. The door which these assemblies opened to democracy, the encroachments they would be able to make on
1 The Article which established representative assemblies in each State.
the privileges and rights of the Confederation itself, terrified the monarchical supporters in the Diet. But the Governments, and especially those of the Middle States, were unwilling to lose any little popularity they might possess amongst the people by entirely withdrawing the privilege of representative assemblies; they therefore preferred to take a middle course. The Diet renewed the declaration that these Assemblies were to be instituted, but this declaration does not appear to have had much effect.
The right of the Diet to order executions in recalcitrant States, and to step in between a ruler and his subjects, if there was danger of the public order being disturbed, was re-affirmed. Almost unlimited power was placed in the hands of the Diet in this respect. A central enquiry commission was established at Mainz to detect conspiracies and to punish offenders.
To watch over the Universities a Government delegate was appointed whose duty it was to supervise the conduct, mode of teaching, moral and political principles of the professors and students. This tyrannical act was probably justified in the eyes of the Government and their supporters by the Circular Note of Count Bernstorff, in which he terms the Universities poisonous wells.' The
powers of the censor were to be increased, and the press supervised in the severest manner.
1 The middle States were Saxony, Bavaria, Wurtemburg, Ilanover and Baden, Electoral Ilesse and Hesse Darmstadt.