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by the different German governments. The material welfare of the nation was the mezzo termine on which princes and people could meet ; political economy became the favorite study of Germany, and, we may say, of the rest of Europe.
The Prussian Tariff-League was at first but an experiment ; but it proved so completely successful, that none of the parties thought of separation, after the term of probation had expired. The liberals of Germany perceived, that it was leading much more directly and quickly towards the muchdesired union of the country than any political movement they could plan, and the wiser and graver portion of them became its ablest defenders, because it gave them the hope of effecting that union peaceably, without either a foreign war, or an internal revolution. The princes, on the other hand, saw that the Tariff-League became the lightning-rod, that conducted the political electricity, with which the atmosphere of Germany had been charged for nearly, half a century, harmless to the ground. For once, there was effected a union of all classes of society for a common end, union, the blessings of which were so direct and palpable, that they were not only felt in the country, but also attracted the attention of the neighbouring States. Belgium, Holland, France, and England commenced, in turn, negotiations with the League ; the United States alone contented themselves with sending “a tobacco agent,” to ascertain whether the different States of the League could not be prevailed on to admit that American staple, and that alone, on better terms.
In the mean while, the Tariff-League has increased so far as to comprise nearly twenty-six millions of people (for we take it for granted, that Prussia, now that her negotiations with Russia have completely failed, will join the League also in behalf of her eastern provinces, bordering on the Baltic) ; and, although now appearing stationary, it is preparing for a still farther expansion toward the shores of the German Ocean. The name of “ Prussian” has been changed to that of the “ German” Tariff-League (Deutscher Zoll-Verein), and it is now clearly ascertained, that its power and influence are such as to enable it, whenever it shall become necessary, to force the remaining German States, who have thus far stood aloof, into the union. Brunswick, Nassau, and the free city of Frankfort on the
Main were in this manner obliged to enter it; and the States bordering on the ocean, Oldenburg, Hanover, and the Hanse Towns, became seriously concerned for their commercial independence.
Hanover concluded a separate treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States in 1839. The Hanse Towns, as early as 1827, had, collectively and separately, concluded a reciprocity treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States, which expired in 1839, and has not been renewed, but merely suffered to continue; the terms of the treaty specifying, that a year's notice must be given by either party to the other, in case of a disposition to alter or abolish it. The Hanoverian treaty is of no use whatever to this country, except that American vessels, sailing up the Elbe and Weser to Hamburg and Bremen respectively, might come into collision with the authorities of that kingdom, which claims the sovereignty over those rivers, so far as they are within the body of the State. Hanover has no trade with the United States, and the Hanoverian flag is never displayed in our ports ; but it is by far the greatest smuggling place of Germany; and the inost important dépôt of English manufactures. British goods are imported into Hanover for the express purpose of being smuggled into all the States of the League. It is an agricultural country, and its connexion with Great Britain, since the accession of the Elector to the throne of England, has kept it so ; but its produce, being of the same kind as that of our Middle and Western States, furnishes no medium of trade or exchange with America. Of the treaty of the United States with the Hanse Towns we shall speak presently ; but to understand and appreciate it, it is necessary first to comprehend the position of the Hanse Towns in regard to Germany.
Since the Peace of Westphalia, Germany has been divided into a number of petty States, which, unprotected by a great central power, and equally unable to maintain their independence, were successively obliged to throw themselves into the arms of England, France, or Russia. The Seven Years' War between the Houses of Hapsburg and Brandenburg weakened the influence of Austria as a European power, while the felonious success of Frederic the Great only served to create an im ium in imperio, and almost forced the German States to seek alliances with foreign powers. During the wars of the French Revolution, the left bank of the Rhine was added to France, and the Rhenish Confederation, with Bonaparte at its head, completed the ruin of the Empire. During all that time, the northern provinces of Germany suffered less from the invasion than the south, where the princes themselves seemed at first to favor the design of the French conqueror, and which abounds in strategical positions and commands the road to Italy. The people on the seacoast were naturally desirous of free trade, and, having no important manufactures of their own, saw in the “ Continental System,” as established by Napoleon, nothing but the destruction of their commerce. They were, therefore, the natural allies of England, and the Hanse Towns made no scruple, on several occasions, to acknowledge England formally as their patron and protector.
The war of 1812 and 1813 revived the nationality of the Germans. It taught them to fight, side by side, for a common cause ; but the Congress of Vienna rather opposed than favored this revival. The Act of Confederation, which was hurried through (not before Napoleon had landed from Elba), established Prussia and Austria as European powers, and destroyed, in the same ratio, the political influence of the minor States. It was an act which provided tant soit peu for a German confederate army, a compact for the defence of their common country, which, however, left the regulation of internal affairs to the management of thirtyfour princes and four “ free towns," Hamburg, Bremen, Lubeck, and Frankfort on the Main, to which the Congress left their liberty, as Prince Metternich is said to have expressed it, “merely to show, by a practical example, how entirely unfit the Germans were for a free government.
The second peace of Paris was concluded without the mediation of these princes, or these free cities. The minor States of Germany, the Hanse Towns, and the city of Frankfort on the Main were, by this act, ruled out of the list of political powers, and served, from that moment, only to increase the strength and influence of Prussia and Austria. At the German Diet, the minor States were, indeed, represented (the three Hanse Towns and the free city of Frankfort having together one vote), but the restored Bourbons did not conclude peace with the German Confederation; they negotiated for that purpose with the Plenipotentiaries of Aus
tria and Prussia. Neither had the German Confederation, by the very act which gave it existence, acquired the power to declare war or conclude peace. The confederation, therefore, was a mere family compact ; because Austria and Prussia, united, had the power of enforcing the obedience of the other less considerable members, by the influence which they exerted as European states.
As long as the elder line of Bourbons governed in France, the Austrian-French alliance, which had been forced upon Talleyrand at the Congress of Vienna as a pis aller, was sufficient to secure to Germany that repose which acted so beneficially on her industry, and was so entirely consonant with the general characteristics of her people. “Germany is sleeping,” said Heine, the expatriated German author ; and Menzel, the historian, answered, “ A very healthy and refreshing sleep." But the year 1830 ushered a new order of things into existence. The increased dangers of war called for a stronger organization, and made the consolidation of the different German States not only desirable, but absolutely necessary. The eyes of the people naturally turned toward Prussia. The possession of the Rhenish provinces makes Prussia the vanguard of Germany ; while Austria, from her eastern position, and the necessity of defending Italy, was less calculated, at that moment, to inspire the Germans with confidence.
During the excitement which continued from 1830 to 1840, the Prussian Tariff-League gained so much popularity and strength, that the States composing it, who, according to the original stipulation had reserved for themselves the right to withdraw from it, at the termination of a certain period, gave up all thoughts of separation, and the people themselves became accustomed to consider it as the legitimate and ruling power in the country. The League became the third power of Germany, and, in spite of the opposition of orthodox writers, not only a commercial, but a political one. In it, the minor States of Germany, who had been neglected in the political confederation, were truly represented, and, what is still more worthy of note, two of the most important factors of civilized life, industry and commerce, entered into that representation. The Tariff-League represented the tiers état of the Germans in its mildest and most loyal form, which a natural instinct taught the people to cultivate as the surest means of advancing their most precious interests.
A great accession of strength, through the force of public opinion, was gained by the League in 1840, from the bravado of M. Thiers. The warlike demonstration made by the French premier, on the occasion of the British fleet sailing for Saint Jean d'Acre, raised a storm of indignation in Germany, and especially in the States of the League, bordering on France ; where, in addition to the large levy of troops by the government, the peasantry seemed to be ready to take up arms to repel the invaders. The attitude of the Rhenish provinces convinced the French radicals, that they had nothing to hope from the democratic sympathies of the Germans ; while, at the same time, it convinced Prussia and Austria, that they had found the true talisman for securing the affection of the people. The fear of war subsided with the accession of the Guizot ministry ; but the political impulse Germany had received awakened too many latent sympathies not to be felt in its remotest consequences.
From that time, Prussia, which had heretofore been the soul of the League, lost her controlling influence ; the union, as we remarked above, was baptized “the German League,” and as such, was advocated by nearly all the available talent of the country. The press, with the Augsburg Gazette for its leader, urged the union of all the German States into one great commercial and manufacturing league, and denounced, in no equivocal terms, those who, from selfish motives, or from taking a narrow, circumscribed view of their immediate interests, still refused to join the already powerful confederacy From reproaches, they proceeded to threats of coercion, and from the advocacy of a mere union of customs, to that of an independent national policy. Germany was to have a national commerce, a national industry, a national flag, and a national navy. Even colonies were thought of ; and, for this purpose, negotiations were set on foot with the English South-Sea Company for the acquisition of the Chatham Islands. This project failed, however, in consequence of Sir Robert Peel's refusing to cede the sovereignty of the Islands ; but the others, to use a well known American phrase, “are still in a successful course of experiment.”
What the States of the League wanted, and still want, is the sea coast, not so much that of the Baltic, as of the German Ocean. On this ocean lie the two greater German commercial cities, Hamburg and Bremen. An at