Page images
PDF
EPUB

the cause of the people, whenever it would be in not been heard for centuries; but it had been lytheir power, or of withholding their consent to ing in man’s bosom ready to germinate again, and what the Assembly might decide—a fruitful whilst the princes looked aghast and a shudder source of difficulties and impediments in the way crept over them, the lofty hall shook with the of the Diet.

applause that followed these words, and they few It was on the eighteenth of May that the first over the broad plains of Germany until the Slave German Parliament ever assembled, met in St. and the Frank, the Norman and the Roman were Paul's, with all the solemnity due to such an im- startled by the cry of the “One united Germany." portant event in the history of a great nation. Nor did they forget him who had sent the magic Heinrich von Gagern, one of the noblest sons of word abroad. They inquired who is he? HisGermany, was elected President, and at once tory answered from the pages of Napoleon's resigned his office as Prime Minister of Hesse- wars, and spoke of him as a brave soldier and a Darmstadt to devote himself exclusively to the wise captain. His friends praised his vast knowregeneration of his country. Soon after the first ledge and his moderation, his manly indepenorganization of the Diet, Dahlmann arose and dence, his modest tastes and his liberal opinions. laid before them his project of a constitution. Tyrol, all Tyrol, rose and said-he is our father! One point only seemed at once and unanimously And at the word 'father,' old memories awoke. to be agreed upon, that it would be necessary to Men whispered to each other, and old papers have a provisional Central Power to regulate the were searched, and it was heard over all Germa-' relations of the Constituent Assembly to the va- ny-he is the prince who dared defy the Emperious State-governments of the confederation, ror and his ministers; he is the prince who preand to execute the decrees of the new Parlia- ferred doing right and living a poor, but a free ment. The archduke John of Austria was elect- man, to yielding to prejudices and dwelling in ed the Provisional Executive officer under the palaces. He it was who, travelling through his name of Vicar of the Empire ; seven Delegates future home, was struck by the strange appearwere sent to offer him that high but difficult po-ance of his postillion. He spoke to him and resition, which he accepted with the consent of the ceived no answer. He spoke again and impaAustrian government, and in the month of July tiently : the postillion was silent. He commandthe Archduke was solemnly installed at Frank-ed, he threatened—and beheld a face blushing, furth, vowing obedience to the authority of the suffused with tears. It was the farmer's fair law under which he had been appointed. daughter, who, distressed at the postillion's ab

He came from the distant province of the great sence, had quickly put on his dress, and rather Austrian Empire, where he had led for many years than disappoint the beloved prince, performed a retired, but most happy life. A good father, an the servant's task herself. He spoke with her exemplary master, a skilful farmer and a pleas- and thought he had found a precious pearl : it ant neighbor was the Archduke, and the people was not a romantic love-affair, nor the headlong around him loved him. But beyond the moun- enthusiasm of a youth ; it was the sincere contains of Tyrol few only knew him. The Gotha viction that with her was the happiness of his calendar, it is true, stated his titles and his years, heart and the peace of his soul. When she had but as he had no hope of succession and sought been educated as he wished her to be, he applied no influence at court—what cared the world for to the Emperor for leave to marry her, for he a quiet, sober prince ? But years passed, times had been a dutiful son and a loyal subject all his changed, and the world changed too. And they life. But the courtiers were amazed and the Imdid at last care for a quiet, sober, virtuous prince, perial family full of indignation. He insisted in for they wanted one. There was a festival held spite of all reasoning, prayers and threats, and at the city of Cologne on the Rhine ; a cathe- finally gave up his appanage, his place at court, dral begun by a people, the people of Europe, his right of succession, all, and married her whom was to be finished by a king, the king of Prus- he loved better than all the world. That was sia! They laid a new corner-stone and drank the secret of his residence in Tyrol; where he toasts, and a dozen monarchs were there. But lived, not in imperial splendor, but in unalloyed Austria could not send her real monarch, for Met- happiness ; his beloved wife by his side and his ternich was old and loved not large crowds, and beautiful child on his knee. the so-called Emperor was as weak in mind as And when Germany looked around for a prince the other in body; so they thought of the old in whose hands they might lay the fate of the prince John and he went. And when they drain- great Empire, whom they might safely trust with ed their cups and drank each other's health, the the liberty of a great nation, they bethought good old Archduke rose, and from his heart's themselves of him who had shown such true core he drank to the health of a “One, United courage and such independence—of him whom Germany!" It was a new word that, and had the people, in whose midst he lived a private

citizen, loved as their father--of him who had |ing, both in form and size, seemed to be adspoken those great, sacred words.

mirably adapted to its present use : it was There he stood now before those who had round and the amphitheatrically-disposed benchcalled him to the highest dignity a people can es allowed each member to see the orator, who bestow, in plain citizen's dress ; simple in man- spoke from a tribune immediately under the Presners and yet full of dignity; goodness of heart ident's chair. Two aisles, diverging from the latlegibly written in every feature of his true Aus- ter towards the right and left, divided the whole trian face, from the peculiar eye to the thick, space into three divisions, which, from their pohanging under lip; but showing no trace of weak- sition to the chair, have given their names to the ness, no want of decision, nothing but strong three parties into which the Diet soon after its good sense and manly firmness of character. He organization divided : the Right representing the pleased everybody, more by his great simplicity Conservative party and advocating the principle and the utter absence of all pretension, than by a of Legitimacy; the Left, where the Republicans striking superiority of mind or other brilliant qual- are seated, including the admirer of American ities. He showed himself from the first as a man institutions and him who wishes for a Republic animated by the warmest zeal to do what he con- even through blood and anarchy, and the Centre, sidered right; of sufficient energy to overcome or- where the Moderate party unites those who are dinary difficulties, and with a tendency towards in favor of a Constitutional Monarchy and those liberal institutions. His undoubted sincerity and who would be willing, at least as a pis aller, to conthe firmness he has shown in more than one try- sent to the establishment of a republic. Around ing emergency, have gained him the respect of the lower part of the church, separated by pileven those who hate him as a prince, or look lars from the main body, were seats for some upon him as an inferior man. That he is not a of the members and tribunes assigned to the man capable to govern circumstances and to lead diplomatic corps, the ladies, stenographers and a movement, to give a decided direction to the strangers. The upper gallery was filled with popular mind, or to create and carry out new " the people,” the strangest motley of gentleideas, is as true as that Germany has, during that men, jews, boys, old hucksters, red republicans, whole eventful year, not produced one such man. foreign emissaries and half-starved mechanics

At his side stood Gagern; who would have that ever graced the halls of a National Assembeen Vicar himself, had he not wanted one qual- bly. It is true these two thousand spectators ity to be Germany's first man--ambition. He infused a certain life into the august body, but looked very much the American, especially in their whistles were anything but harmonious, and profile and when silent. The dignified calmness the signs of contempt with which they regularly of his large, but regular features, the high fore- received any allusion to kings or monarchical inhead, the closed lip, the well-rounded chin, full stitutions, were such as would not be tolerated in of energy and indomitable will

, give him a lofty, any other public place. They drowned in their imposing appearance ; there is the rare breadth yells the orator's voice and the President's bell, of the brow, the German thinker's indelible stamp; whose last resource, the armed foree, had more there also the clear blue eye, full of faith and deep than once to protect the Assembly. That the feeling; nor is the good, hearty smile wanting members of the Left but too frequently provoked and the confiding frankness in all features that the participation of the galleries in the debates characterise the German among all other nations and occasionally joined them in their signs of disof Saxon blood. By birth an aristocrat, he had approbation, had done mueh harm to the cause still, from his first entrance into public life, been of Republicanism, frightening the timid and disa zealous advocate of liberal views, a warm gusting the well-meaning. friend of reform and progress; serving his na- But a strange motley also was the Diet itself, tive country with untiring perseverance, he had and strange neighbors found themselves side by always been true to Germany, and when the side in the church of St. Paul. Princes sat by simpeople called him from his post, he willingly for- ple mechanics, Jews by Catholic priests, Slaves sook all, honors, riches and even his sweet home by Germans. Some few only were generally to serve his beloved fatherland. Refusing all com- known and attracted much attention. There in the pensation as long as the country was yet suffer- front rank, right under the tribune, a spare, stooping, he lived a true republican in the most retired ing old man listened with difficulty to the words and modest manner, and in the silent, shrinking of the Speaker. His white hair hang carelessman at the Vicar's side, few would have sought ly around the strangely formed head, the haggard him whom all hearts called the first man of Ger- features were deeply furrowed by years and cares many.

and were frequently buried in those trerabling Before them in the spacious church of St. hands that had written immortal works. It was Paul sat the Delegates of the nation. The build-' the greatJacob Grimm. When he board the great news that came from Heidelberg, he lifted his stroying seemed to be very easy and wonderfully hands to heaven and thanked God that he had attractive-and he told them plain words, that been allowed to see that day break when Ger- they might abolish as much as they chose, and many would be free. But then he looked round call him Master Lichnowsky as long as they chose, for his brother William, who had been all in all but that a hundred years hence his sons would yet to him, and he found him not; he could not tell be princes again. It was a bold speech, though him the joyous news-he could not rejoice with not a prudent one, and they liked his boldness. him. And his heart was heavy, for his brother Poor prince! he did not know that in a few had gone before him, and the poor old man was months a mother would throw herself upon his sinking fast under the weight of his years and mutilated corpse and a father weep bitterly over the burden of his grief. For they loved each the last of his race! other with more than brotherly love, and beauti- By his side sat another prominent member of ful was their reciprocal devotion. Once peo- the Right, Baron Vincke, who gloried in being a ple came and told the two brothers how wrong Prussian and abhorred Republicans. A short, it was and how selfish it looked, thus to live for stout man with a broad German face, spectacles themselves alone, and advised them to marry and covering his very sharp, prominent eyes, and be happy. Jacob listened and nodded assent; curly gray hair falling over his low, but broad 80 did his brother. And Jacob turned round and forehead, he spoke most eloquently with every said. “ Yes, William, I really think you had bet- feature and accompanied his words with most ter marry.” “Ah, Jacob,” replied the other, extraordinary gestures. He was bitter and sar** you know that all my life, I have had to do castic, not without brilliant wit, but possessing everything for you!” And he went and married. neither dignity nor calmness enough to make But he could not live for his brother; God called deep impressions. When he rose he seldom him home and there sat Jacob, now quite alone, failed to show an astonishing memory and most and mourned over his lost William.

acute criticism in reviewing the speeches of his Far on the extreme Right sat a man whom few adversaries and literally cutting them to pieces. liked and fewer still loved, for he was a strange He cared not if he offended others, and the Presman in his manners, and a prince. In his youthful ident constantly called him to order; more fredays already, when he lived with his father and an quently yet the Left, whom he spared not, would austere tutor in bis ancient castle in the Bohemian interrupt him by whistling and hissing, when he mountains, he had felt the bitterness of the curse would passionately turn towards them and with of poverty. And bitterer yet was his disappoint- a most unmelodious voice cry out—"Why don't ment when he became sensible in later years that you let me speak? what good does it do you to his ambition, the ambition of a prince, was not interrupt me? I shan't stop for all that; it only supported by princely talents. He wished to be delays us. Hold your tongue !" Baron Vincke an author like his fellow-sufferer, Puckler-Mus- was the champion of a party, not large, but inkan, but few read his book and little renown it fluential, who were supposed to be in favor of a brought him. He tried to become a second Tal- monarchical reaction, although not opposed to leyrand, but these odious Prussians required real reform. They were, however, thorough Prusknowledge and three examinations before they sians and only waiting for the favorable moment would make him an unpaid attaché in some prin- when the house of Hohenzollern was once moreeipality of four square miles. So he bought a as a hundred years before-to humble the house coloneley in Don Carlos' army and rose to be a of Habsburg and rise on its ruins. general and a grandee of Spain, but Don Carlos The members of the Cabinet were of course could not pay his salary, and when peace was little seen; their uncommonly difficult and resmade he was a poor prince again. Ever on the ponsible duties left them little leisure, even if qui vive for some means to rise to eminence, he they had not been mostly inexperienced in afhad thrown himself into political life, and there fairs of State, and however excellent as bankers, he was, of course, on the extreme Right—where judges and barristers, but little prepared for such a else could a prince be, except on the extreme task. The members of the Diet were more freLeft?–a member of all committees, and alas! the quently to be met with ; some at the tables friend and admirer of all the fair ladies of Frank- d'hote of the various hotels where they dined; furth! For a fine-looking man Prince Lich-some at the country-house near the Promenade, nowsky certainly was, and such a title and such where they assembled every evening until the a moustache, who could resist them in good old different parties chose their own places of meetGermany? He spoke too and spoke well, for ing; and others, apparently anxious to display he bad courage, and that was a rare virtue in their new and ill-fitting dignity, everywhere. those days on the Continent. They spoke of This gratification was, however. not without its abolishing titles—the work of abolishing and de- thorns ; if they belonged to the Left and wore

[ocr errors]

Vol. XV-18

the usual costume of their party, of which a long western Germany were easily suppressed; Heckuncombed beard covering three-fourths of the er, who raised first of all the standard of Red face, and a robber-hat with tall feathers formed Republicanism at Constance, failed at the very an indispensable part, they were apt to be careful- outset, losing all and his honor at Kaudern; ly avoided by the well-dressed and rather laughed Struve beginning with better success, was totally at by the people. If well-dressed themselves defeated at Eberlingen, and the poet Herwegh and bearing the aristocratic air of the Right, they altogether despaired, after waiting for months in were in constant danger of being hooted at and Alsace for allies and subsidies from abroad. pelted by the amiable Frankfurth mob. Even The moderate Republicans, although eagerly those who had always been on the people's side bent upop bringing about a thorough change, were did not escape ill-treatment if they attracted pub- apprehensive of a failure from too hasty mealic curiosity by any singularity of dress. For this sures. Forming a very numerous and important none had more to suffer than old father Jahn, as party, they counted among their number men of all Germany styles him, the father of German undoubted honesty and sincerity, but men also gymnastics, a brave soldier in the liberty-wars, who knew no higher view than to choose what and an ardent, long persecuted friend of liberty. was most likely to succeed and to prevent a criIn vain had he lingered many years in cruel im- sis. From their side of the House came words like prisonment for the cause of freedom ; in vain had those of Vogt, who asked the member that had he been brought before one court of justice after spoken before him, why he talked of a God who another for having first proclaimed that most did not exist, of a religion that nobody cared for, dangerous doctrine of the Urity of Germany, and of a church that was the greatest enemy of his beard was too long, his costume too fantastic, public liberty! his speeches too wild, and thus his influence di- Thus there was nothing done by the Left, and minished under the relentless scourge of ridicule. the Centre was, by its very principle, to be a meHe was finally abandoned even by his own party, diator between the two extremes, bound to oba party of republicans, because, with more good serve that most equivocal and in this case most sense than they even showed, he would not fol- pernicious policy of masterly inactivity. Its low them in their absurd schemes to proclaim members were in favor of all temporising laws, and establish a republic made by pattern, as he carrying the election of a Provisional Vicar and said, and equally well or ill adapted for Hesse- a Provisional Calvinet, and pleading that the peoDarmstadt and Texas, Germany and the United ple would be more willing to yield to provisional States. He insisted upon it that neither German than to definitive measures. All that the true men history nor the peculiar defects or merits of the of Germany, under the protective influence of a character of the nation ought to be disregarded long peace, had secretly thought and planned, in such a work.

all that had been published in disguise or in open He was, however, left alone in his creed. For defiance, in monthlies and weeklies, folios and it is a remarkable fact, that the more rudely op- pamphlets, lectures and protocols, was by them pressed a people have been, the greater has been now slowly brought into the great workshop of their tendency to abuse their freedom when they German Unity, carefully taken up piece by piece, at last obtain it. Man must be prepared by edu- examined, explained, commented upon and annocation for freedom, and constitutions are not tated, and finally either quietly laid to sleep for made, they grow with a nation. The republican another generation, or generously and courageparty of Germany, from the beginning, rejected ously preached as the future evangelium of Gerall organic development of more liberal institu- many! They were the most zealous in fostering tions. They set the Past entirely aside, utterly and encouraging the hesitation of the sovereigns regardless of what old wise Grimm repeatedly who could not decide whether it was better to told them, that the people who did not look to a sacrifice at once a part of their power in favor of Past did not deserve a Future. Some proposed one Central Power, and thus to secure at least at once to avail themselves of the heat of ex- their independence, or to risk all by a passive recitement, and republican enthusiasm prevailing sistance, waiting for a favorable moment to deat the moment, to form a Parliamentary army and clare themselves openly. Thus the Diet was with this powerful argument demonstrate the ne- found to be engaged in everything that was least cessity of a new order of things. Quoting Cæ necessary; the question of a flag for the navy was sar's famous omnium opinione celerius cum exerci- discussed at great length before a single German tu adfuit, they considered this the basis of all ship of war existed; whilst Vienna was bomrevolution and the language most easily and read-barded and a member of the Parliament ignoily understood by princes and nations. Their ininiously bung, a minister was almost impeached efforts, however, were unsuccessful; the only for having dared to use his official seal on a priarmod movements set on foot by thom in South-Ivate letter, and months were spent in discussing minute details before any of the most important|larity, and the nation has no longer that enthuquestions were decided; until the people knew no siastic trust in it which the “men of confilonger who governed, and the Reaction had qui- dence" enjoyed. A dissolution and new elecetly collected all its forces, standing ready for the tions have been proposed, but they would avail great crisis that is to decide on the future of little, for all that Germany has of talent, intelliGermany.

gence and patriotism is now assembled in St. For the Reaction, represented by the Right, is Paul's and the dullness of the debates, the slowthe only party in Germany that has shown real, ness of action, the want of parliamentary routine useful activity. Whilst the party of Progress and of statesmanship are not defects of the prelost one opportune moment after another, when sent members, but the sad consequences of the Austria and Prussia were so busy at home that political history of the people. Germany has no the new Diet might have obtained almost any beiter men. The Parliament as an active united coucession from them, when all the various gov- body is a vision, because Germany, as a strong eraments vied with each other in acknowledging united power is a vision. But even if it were a the Central Power and the thirty-four sovereigns -One united Germany" for the moment, as it unall sought refuge under the Imperial Mantle, the doubtedly was during the crisis of 1813, it is utterRéactionnaires alone quietly but steadily heldly wanting in that system of centralization which together, giving way for the moment, but, nothing has made France so powerful. There is, on the daunted, prepared for the final battle. Well and contrary, a priuciple of particularization, a spirit ably represented in the Parliament by old generals, of locality prevailing in Germany which has exexperienced statesmen and able financiers, they ercised a most fatal effect even on the Diet. failed not to gain a certain respect which the These long cherished habits of provincial or mumass always grants, at least on second sober nicipal existence have proved insuperable impedithought, to real worth and discreet energy. Here ments in the way of a strict union, and the difalso were found, either belonging to the Right or ferent governments were of course not willing, at at least closely connected with it, some of the the mere intimation of a few men, to abdicate or members who had gained experience and earned to give up any part of their privileges. And can distinction in the new world. There was one of we fairly expect that a State, like Prussia, with the Secretaries, Moering, who, when quite young, its own traditions, patronage, clientele and nahad risen high in the Austrian army, and then on tional genius, should wish to give up at once the a mission from his government, had spent several command of its armies, the right of representayears in the United States, where he imbibed a tion abroad, the possession of its fortresses, its revwarm admiration for republican institutions and enues, its jurisdiction-in fact its very existence ? received seeds on a fertile soil that had since pro- What equivalent is there offered for such sacrifiduced most valuable fruit. There he stood, a ces or what benefit for the common country to representative of Germany, chosen by the free be obtained by it? Do the Germans know themwill of the people in the very heart of absolut- selves whether the majority prefer a republic or ism and under the very eye of a Metternich, and a monarchy ? They know it not, if we may judge eloquent were his words and impressive, like a from their representatives ; for even among them circlet of precious pearls, well rounded and well that spirit of particularization is stronger than strung together. He referred often to the laws and their patriotism. The Russian looks with envy history of America, counselling his fellow-citi- upon the Austrian, and the Bavarian receives zens not merely to imitate that free country, but with distrust all propositions of men from the to profit by her dearly bought experience. There North. Thus every party is again subdivided was also Tellkampf, for years a professor in the into the most minute fractions; thus there is city of New York, afterwards in the Prussian ser- never a real majority to be obtained, however vice and highly distinguished as a writer on small the minority may be, held together only by prisons, but less successful in teaching the pe- the natural instinct of all minorities. Hence the culiar doctrines which he had brought home repeated threat of the republicans to leave the from the United States. Not a member of the Diet; hence the actual withdrawal of all the Parliament, but perhaps more useful than he Austrian delegates. could have been as such, was Professor Lieber The situation of the German Parliament must of South Carolina, whose early sufferings for the then be considered as an extremely precarious one. saered cause of Liberty and well-known works Its very nature as a provisional Diet, elected as on Ethics and Political Economy, together with a constituent body and acting as a legislative ashis long experince of American public life, made sembly, places it, to a certain extent, beyond all bim high authority for the statesmen of the day. protection of law or right. It exposes it, not to

This inactivity of the Parliament has, it can-speak of more serious questions, to the inconvenot be denied, deprived it of its former popu- nience of being suddenly left without support.

« PreviousContinue »