Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

ambition of a nation which has been forced the craft or despotism of their respective up to a precocious altitude by such a pro- sovereigns. On the contrary, the work of cess as that employed by Prussia. Neither separation in Germany seems to have prodo we take upon ourselves to scrutinize the ceeded as naturally as the work of consolicandor or the consistency of the policy dation in other countries; nor did any sucreally entertained by the king. But this cess attend the efforts of Charles V. directwe say, without fear of contradiction, that ed towards some such a consummation as if Frederick William IV. should step for- that now projected. The union of Germaward in sober earnestness, at the sugges- ny cannot, in our view of the circumstances, tions of his own reason, and in the con- be represented as the revival of any scarcesciousness of his own power, to take the ly extinct traditions, or as implying the relead of the German people at a momentous covery of any position unhappily lost and crisis of their destinies, and if the German regretted. The people are to be led not people should elect him as the fittest foun- to something old, but to something new. der of a new imperial house to restore the If the empire to be established were nothing tranquillity, and establish the renown of but the empire of 1805, the revolution the empire, such proceedings, both of people would be as natural as any revolution in and prince, would be most precisely true to the Place de la Concorde; but if our dethe spirit of the old Germanic constitution, ductions are correct, nothing can be farther and would be well warranted (if the will of from the truth than such an assumption as a free people needs such warrant) by abun- this. In 1805 the states were sovereign, dant precedents from old German history. and the emperor a nullity; but by the proIndeed, we hardly see how the revival of posed constitution the states will become the Germanic Empire, if such is the design counties, and the emperor will wield a really entertained, could be more signally power greater than that of the American characterized, or presented with more his- president. We are at a loss to discover the torical fidelity, than by the election of an model period of history by which Germany emperor from some new house to retrieve is to be now regenerated. In one dissertathe credit of the state. tion, reference is specially made to the But the most important question of all union of Colmar, as indicating a time when remains behind-the practicability of this Germany, under the dominion of a powgigantic scheme? We have hitherto ar- erful king,' was the dispensing power of gued the case without any consideration of Europe. But this Scandinavian union was this very material point, both because such solemnized in 1397, and if a year were to a plan enabled us to speak with greater be selected for exhibiting the imperial conconnectedness and perspicuity, and because stitution in its full nullity for the purposes the intelligence which daily reaches us in question, it might well be this. One shows that the scheme will at least not fall half, of Germany was then arrayed against to the ground without a most resolute ex- the other half without even the pretence of periment. But looking at facts, how is any intervention by a supreme power. The Germany to become now what she never" powerful king" Wenceslaus was absent in succeeded in becoming yet? If the impe- his hereditary patrimony of Bohemia, a diments to national unity which formerly residence which he refused to leave even existed now exist no longer, or if some pre- for the most urgent business of the empire, viously unknown power has been developed alleging, and not without some reason, that which can enable them to be surmounted, an emperor had no duties to perform after then of course the enterprise may be looked accepting the crown. As to any personal upon as possible. But are either of these or official capacity for making the Germanic conditions really fulfilled? It appears one name respected in Europe, he was utterly of the strongest arguments against the without a shadow of either, and within a practicability of German unity, that no de- few months was dragged disgracefully from struction of any such unity can be traced to a public stew and deposed. What an emconvulsions or violence, but that the divi-peror was fifty years afterwards we have sions of the nation, almost as they exist at already seen in the example of Frederick IV. present, were formed gradually and insen- It must be remembered, too, that in presibly as if by the natural operation of poli- portion as national traditions have become tical causes. There is no proof that the obscure, provincial traditions have become people of the several states were detained palpable and vivid. Even if a Prussian in isolation against their natural bias, by can be taught that he is a German, he will VOL. XV. No. I.


surely not readily forget that he is a Prus- that this whole movement has been based sian too. The states, if not as old as the upon commercial speculations; and that empire in their several sovereignties, are the clamor for unity may be translated into old enough to have each a history of its a compulsory demand for the accession of own; and they are now confirmed in titular certain outstanding parties to the terms of dignities and independence universally re- the Zollverein. Without, however, acceptcognized. The old subordinate titles, per- ing such allegations as these, we can already petuating a traditional subjection, have dis- discover that the pretensions of the impeappeared. It was thought an anomalous rial and central power to a superintendence and incomprehensible circumstance in for- over all the customs are exciting great opmer times that the Elector of Bohemia position in the maritime states; and one of should be a king; but now those of Sax- the most eminent statesmen of Germany, ony, Bavaria, Hanover, and Wirtemberg are not unfavorable to the imperial scheme, has equally supreme, and other princely houses declared for his own country, Hanover, that of the empire are proportionately advanced. he does not see how this particular interEach step in this direction was a stop lead- ference can well be carried out. Neither ing straight away from unity. What too is will it be said, we think, that the peculiar to be done with that imperium in imperio, element of ancient discord, religious disthe Austrian empire? Is there any exam- sent, is less palpably present in Germany ple on record of such a territorial and dy- at this moment than in the days of the nastic fusion as this whole project must in- Thirty Years' War. How is the intense volve, excepting as the result of a conquest Catholicism of Munich or Vienna to be reAdmitting, moreover, that something in conciled with the something far below Prosuch times as the present is likely to be de- testantism which is supplied by the didactic ducted from the weight hitherto allowed to schools of the north? We must not linger the individual inclinations of royalty, and upon this point, but we leave those best that no Bavaria or Wirtemberg will be now conversant with German neology to conjecpermitted, as in 1815, to plead the prepos- ture what may be the state church or creed, sessions of a court against the voice of a or what the duties of a minister of public people, yet is not the "nationality" of Ger- worship, in an empire which will include many clearly divisible still by popular classi- the cities of Vienna, Prague, Heidelberg, fications? How are such countries as Aus- Leipsic, and Berlin. tria and Prussia, which have played each, It will be as well to recollect that such no inglorious or inconsiderable part in the considerations as these may have hitherto annals of the world, to surrender that indi- been without their due weight, not only viduality which they must surely feel as from being, as yet, indistinctly contemstrongly as England or France ? Are the plated, but also from the paramount imstates of Germany, in the present century, portance which was attached to the project capable of any more ready amalgamation or of unity as being the only measure which fusion than the nations of Christendom? or would infallibly secure the long-promised is a Germanic Empire a much less Utopian boon of free local institutions. But now design than that attractive vision of a per- that the successful course of private revomanent European congress? They have, it lution has placed not only the desired is true, a common language, a common de- constitutions, but something considerably scent, and similar institutions; but they have beyond, within reach of the respective different traditions, different recollections, populations, it may, perhaps, be questioned different names, different colors, and heredi- whether the independent states will be so tary enmities. Has the rivalry of France eager to forego their individuality. Omitand Spain been more historically conspicu- ting the refractory dispositions of certain ous than that of Prussia and Austria? The second-rate powers, and taking the case reception given by southern Germany to the only of the two largest, Austria and Prusfirst proposition of Prussian supremacy, im-sia, it hardly seems possible that terms of plied as much jealousy and suspicion as union can be devised which should be acwould be excited by the coronation of a new Bourbon at Madrid.

Again; a spirit unknown, at least in any such strength, in past ages, is now in full operation, that of commercial ambition. It is even asserted by some austere censors,

ceptable to both. Austria has already made a very natural declaration, that she will hold herself bound by no such decision of the German parliament as shall interfere with her sovereign rights in her own peculiar empire; and it is presumed that the

accession of Prussia depends entirely upon propagandists of this imperial fraternity a condition to which Bavaria and the have met with no welcome there whatever. southern states are resolutely opposed-her A great meeting of antiquarians and hisown promotion to the supremacy. And torians the arbiters, in these days of yet, if these two states, or if Austria alone national destinies-was held at Christiana should stand aloof, the new empire will be last month, when it was decided that every little more than another Confederation of German north of the Eyder was an intruder the Rhine, with less purpose or prospect. and a foe-that the nationality of NorThat the centralization of the imperial way, as well as of Sweden, was grossly resources in a single chief, and the heredi- insulted by the overtures made to Schlestary descent of this dignity, are conditions wig,-and that it was incumbent upon all indispensable even to the plausibility of the Scandinavia to share the dangers and sascheme, we readily allow; but a moment's crifices of the struggle. Since that time, reflection will show how enormously such deeds have shown how seriously these words conditions augment even the complications were spoken, and the Germans are either and difficulties which were found scarcely recrossing the Eyder, or are at war with a surmountable in 1815. coalition of the north.

Another question of incalculable im- We have now said enough, we trust, to portance is involved in the disposition or place our readers in possession, of some distribution of the non-Germanic countries materials for comprehending the extraappertaining to certain states of the present ordinary cause now at issue on the ContiConfederation. While we write, a procla- nent, in which agitur pars tertia mundi. mation has been issued by the German Of our prophecies we must be sparing, not parliament, penned by Dahlmann, the pro- only because our limits are already reached, fessor of history, who has been so instru- but because we cannot prejudge the acts of mental & personage in the whole movement, a parliament which is but just assembled. which appears to conclude that all non- Unfortunately, this supreme deliberative German people inhabiting German federal body appears liable to the same interrupterritory, will form part and parcel of the tions of popular violence which have been new imperial population; and it especially directed against the states-assemblies, and and solemnly guarantees them all due Frankfort is scarcely more secure or tranfacilities for developing their own nation- quil than Paris or Berlin. But as regards ality.' Nay, some advocates of the pro- the character and bearing of the vast projected empire have gone even further, and ject itself, considered, as its originators have thrown out a lure to Denmark, and would have it considered, by the light of even to Scandinavia entire, by way of ex- history, we cannot think their case is tending the imperial territory to the pole, proved. We know of no such Germanic. and making a German lake of the Baltic. Empire as that which they would now creHitherto, however, this fusion of nationali- ate. We can discover no such German ties appears to be altogether impracticable unity as that to which they are now aspirand premature, whatever success may ing. They take nothing from history but attend the experiment as applied to Teu- names. However grand, or reasonable, or tonic states. The Sclavonic countries have laudable the project may be, the constituperemptorily repelled the overtures made tion which it would form is as clearly new to them; and in Posen, as our readers are and untried as that which is presently to aware, the two divisions of the population rise under the constructive hands of a have come to blows with no other apparent French committee. And, in addition to instigation than the antipathies of race. the disadvantages of novelty which must be Bohemia has refused to take act or part in thus entailed, it is impossible to deny that the German parliament; and on the 31st the course of events has rendered the Gerof May a grand festival of fraternity was manic states even less susceptible of any to be held by all Sclavonians, with no ob- such effectual fusion than they might posscure reference to the old proposition of sibly have been at some period of the consolidating a great Sclavonic empire, ancient Empire.

which, under the lead of Austria, detached

from her German provinces, or even, perhaps, under that of Russia, might soon eclipse, and possibly overwhelm its Teutonic prototype. As to Scandinavia, the

From Fraser's Magazine.


THE question at issue between Germany duchy, extending from the Slie (or Schlei) and Denmark, in regard to the proper na- to the river Eider, was ceded to Canute the tionality of the duchy of Schleswig, how- Great, king of Denmark, by the German ever interesting it might be to the parties emperor, Conrad II.; and the ancient limits more immediately concerned, excited for of the German empire, such as they were awhile very little curiosity in this conntry. under Charlemagne, were thus restored. All that was known about it, except among The ceded territory, incorporated with the diplomatists by profession, seems to be this, rest of South Jutland, was thenceforward that the German nation being taken with included under that denomination, and was a strong desire to erect itself into a single as much in immediate dependence upon the state, had devised plans for calling in its crown of Denmark as any other province of lost tribes; and finding that of these a con- the realm with which it had language, laws, siderable portion were living under the im- and customs in common. This state of mediate sway of the Danish crown, that it things lasted until the year 1241, when, at cast about to discover good and sufficient the death of Valdemar II., his son Abel, reasons for absorbing, not the people only, who had been invested with the fief of South but the districts which they inhabited, Jutland, laid claim to the province as a free within its own bosom. By and by, how- and independent patrimonial inheritance. ever, Germany, instead of consummating After a severe struggle, Abel was obliged to the unity of which its philosophers had receive the investiture of South Jutland as a spoken, fell in all its parts into confusion. personal, not a hereditary fief. But from Thrones reeled, monarchs were threatened, that period down to 1326 an almost conthe will of the populace set aside the re-stant war was kept up between the kings of straints of law; and violence became the Denmark and their powerful vassals, who only recognized arbiter of all disputes, contended either for independent dominion whether internal or external. The Schles- or for hereditary tenure, but who never wig question, heretofore the subject of lite- succeeded in accomplishing their object. rary and political discussion at Copenhagen During these contests the Dukes of South and Berlin, assumed forthwith the character Jutland, as they were called, received aid of a ground of war. The Germans sent out troops to achieve by force of arms points which the Danes had refused to concede to argument; and hostilities began of which we have not yet seen the end, however anxiously we have guarded ourselves from being mixed up with them.

from their neighbors and kinsmen, the counts of Holstein, vassals of the German empire, and occupants of the territory which forms the present duchy of Holstein. One of these counts, by name Gerhard the Great, assumed, at the death of Duke Erik of South Jutland, the guardianship of his As soon as matters took this form,-per- young son Valdemar, in opposition to the haps we ought to say, as soon as the crisis wishes of Christopher II., king of Denmark, became imminent, writers, both here and who laid claim to that right. In the war elsewhere, began to tell the world each his that ensued, Gerhard, who was assisted by own story about the merits of the case. the rebellious nobles of Denmark, succeedThe Prussian minister has spoken for Prussia; The Times and others of our own journals have given each its version of the tale. We propose in the present paper to deal in our way with the subject, and if we lead our readers somewhat back into past history, they must bear with the infliction as well as they can, for it is inevitable.

ed in expelling the king from the country, and Valdemar was elected to fill the throne in his stead (1326). In return for these good offices, Valdemar, who was then only twelve years of age, bestowed the whole of South Jutland upon Gerhard as a hereditary fief; and, according to German historians, signed an act, by which he bound The present duchy of Schleswig, as far himself never to reunite South Jutland with as the Slie, formed from the earliest period Denmark. This act, known as the Constiof Danish history a province of the kingdom tutio Valdemariana, though its very existof Denmark, under the name of South Jut-ence is apocryphal, plays a great part in land. In 1027 the southernmost part of the 'the present dispute between the King of

Denmark and his German subjects, inas- | wig, and to promise that the duchy and much as it forms the basis of the preten- the kingdom of Denmark should never be sions of the latter to the inseparability of united under one ruler. This renunciation the two duchies. But in 1330, Christopher and this promise might have been conII. regained his crown, and Valdemar, who sidered null and void; for Christian being is not included in the line of the Danish merely akin to Adolph on the female side, kings, resigned his short-lived greatness and had no lawful hereditary claims upon the returned to his fief of South Jutland. The fief; and though his promise ought to have latter had been restored to him by Ger- been binding on him as an individual, he hard, who, however, obtained from the could not dispose in advance of the rights King of Denmark a promise of the succes- of the crown. Instead, however, of acting sion to the fief, should Valdemar die with- as the king of Denmark ought to have out lawful heirs. Accordingly, when, in done, Christian endeavored by underhand1375, the male line of Abel's descendants ed means to bring about that which he had in South Jutland became extinct, the counts promised should never take place. At the of Holstein preferred their claim, took forci- death of his uncle, he did not draw Schlesble possession of the duchy, and by and by wig in as an escheated fief, but commenced one of them, Gerhard VI., received, in negotiations with the estates of the duchy, 1386, the investiture from the hands of Queen Margaretha, who bestowed it upon him as a hereditary but indivisible fief. As such it remained in the hands of Gerhard VI. (the first who assumed the title of Duke of Schleswig) and his descendants, until the year 1460, though not without repeated endeavors on the part of the kings of Denmark to recover direct possession of the province which they had most unwillingly ceded.

promising them all that they demanded if they would but elect him for their duke. This was done with a view to induce the estates of Holstein, to which country he had no kind of pretension, likewise to elect him. He gained his object, but not without great sacrifices, and at the expense of his newlyacquired kingdom. In 1460, moreover, on his actual election to the two duchies, Christian I. of Denmark declared, by a On the sudden death of the Danish king deed which the Germans denominate a rein 1448, the crown of Denmark was offered newal of the Constitutio Valdemariana, to Duke Adolph of Schleswig. Being con- that the estates of Holstein and Schleswig, tent with his position as Duke of Schles- which were to remain for ever inseparable, wig and Count of Holstein, he declined the had, of their own free will and without any proffered honor; but directed the attention regard to his being King of Denmark, of the Danes to his sister's son, Count chosen him for their duke and count ;* that Christian of Oldenburg, who was connected after his death the estates were entitled to on the female side with the race of Danish elect his successor from among his children, kings. Christian, the founder of the still or in case he had no issue, from among his reigning dynasty in Denmark, was accord-lawful heirs; and that if he should leave ingly crowned King of Denmark in 1449. Eight years after this great event (1457), Duke Adolph died, and with him the male line of the Counts of Holstein became extinct. The great question as to whether Schleswig, this old and important province of Denmark, should be reincorporated with the kingdom, or again be dissevered from it, was now to be determined. In fact, the point at issue admitted of no doubt; for though the duchy had been declared a free and hereditary fief, the right of inheritance was, by the feudal laws of Denmark as well as of Germany, vested in the male line only, and, this failing, the fief ought to have been drawn in as escheated to the crown. But a difficulty was created by the fact of Duke Adolph having induced his nephew, Christian, when the crown of Denmark was offered to him, to renounce his right to Schles

but one son to succeed him on the Danish throne, the estates should be free to choose some other chief, provided only he were of the kin and lineage of the deceased.

Although the crown of Denmark continued to be elective upwards of two hundred years after the accession of Christian I., it descended, nevertheless, as regularly from father to son, as if it had been hereditary; and the kings of Denmark as regularly succeeded to the duchies of Schleswig and Holstein, with this difference only, that the rule of feudal tenure in these duchies being that of simultaneous investiture according to the Saxon law, the lands became divisible and sub-divisible among the descendants of the house of Oldenburg. Immediately on the death of Christian I., two distinct lines, • Holstein was not erected into a duchy until so me years later.

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »