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PREFACE, . . . xiii 












REPLY . . . . . ..'.'. I 























































THRICE DEFEATED . . . . . . . 15! 



















DUC D'ORLEANS . . . . . . . . 177 






















































IT has often been complained in earlier times, that in 
one of the most important branches of literature, of 
which English and Frenchmen were complete masters 
in historical-political memoirs much less has 
been done by us Germans. In these days the most 
varied subjects are comprised under the name of 
Memoirs : sometimes collections of events in private 
life and letters, sometimes publications of public cor- 
respondence and diplomatic documents. Also political 
dogmas, philosophical observations, confessions of 
beautiful minds, are not seldom clothed in this form. 
Everywhere, where revelations of a like kind are made 
during the course of a single human life, or presented 
in a certain chronological order, it is thought necessary 
to dub them Memoirs. Goethe thought otherwise of 
his Memoirs, which he wished to have recognised in 
the character of a well-written work of art, all the 
more, as, in spite of the truth of the contents, he did 
not give it a title which might prevent one from 
believing it to be of a poetical nature. 

It should be easier to find this ideal form for the 
VOL. i. c 


representation of personal reminiscences, where the 
inner life of a human being is more artistically por- 
trayed by its means, than when one attempts to 
reproduce the political events of a man's life and the 
relations of the former to the latter. I had at first 
intended to clothe my recollections also in a purely 
personal form ; but I perceived during the course of 
the work that the rate of political events since the 
time of my assuming the reins of government had 
gained so overpowering an influence over the whole 
history of my life, that it was hardly possible at any 
point to abstain from continually considering the 
coherent modern state development, more particularly 
that of Germany. 

In consequence of my continual participation in 
German politics, my recollections have quite uninten- 
tionally assumed the character of an uninterrupted 
representation of the events of the past decades ; I have 
even been often a chance witness of great and decisive 
affairs. When I looked back to all I had gone through 
I involuntarily formed a mental picture of the whole 
epoch. And thus this work, which I am now publish- 
ing, has assumed the character of a description which 
at times does not touch upon my individual life. 

I openly express my conviction, that, in our busy 
times, when the success of a thing is only judged by 
outward appearances, the man of action must now, 
more than ever, feel the necessity of preventing his 
views of political life and his part therein from being 
entirely lost sight of. 


In their results, politics are always the product of 
great strength. Just as great Generals retain in their 
memory the clear consciousness of the co-operation of 
thousands, so do the strongest and most farseeing 
statesmen best know, how little it was a single will 
alone which expressed itself in the great development. 
In the history read by our descendants, only the man 
who has taken care that written information of his 
struggles exist, can hope with any certainty to have a 

This conviction has helped me to overcome the 
reflection that it always seemed undesirable to my 
German State contemporaries apart from a great, 
incomparable exception in the past to encroach 
personally upon this kind of historical literature. 
And yet such a step is particularly justified now-a- 
days, when one casts a glance over many books of 
contemporary history. 

When reading memoirs and descriptions of the 
past ten years, I was sometimes surprised to find 
personages of whom I had a distinct recollection as 
being men whom we had to thank as the initiators of 
certain events, either very insufficiently mentioned, or 
not at all. Here and there it may have been owing 
to the desire not to expose the actions of reigning 
persons to unavoidable criticism at such an early date. 
Nevertheless, such a manner of observation and 
handling must needs give rise to considerable re- 

The constitutional principle is silent concerning the 


actions of the crown from reverence, and history some- 
times passes over the wearers of crowns in silence 
from principle. Thus it cannot fail that one is not 
seldom reminded of the great importance of Mr Nemo 
in the narratives and traditions of the present ; and 
this nobody appears chiefly in the epos of most recent 
history, when Princes and Regents have had a 
personal part to play. 

The cause, as well as the effect, of such historical- 
political representations are fresh in my memory. 
The impulsive forces of development remain unmen- 
tioned and unknown ; and because, in the circles in 
which they are found, there rules a great and universal 
shrinking from making public use of written words, a 
fable convenue can spread itself indefatigably over im- 
portant moments in our time also. 

On the other hand, few of the dissuasions which 
are usually tried, are tried at the right time, with re- 
gard to their own pre-eminence through the testimony 
of the Press. I cannot make up my mind to let my 
right perish, to describe things as I myself have 
seen, felt and helped to bring them about. The 
opportunity has been continually offered me during 
the past half century, to take my place in the van- 
guard ; I have had much experience, I have closely 
observed events, and no one really acquainted with 
the times can wish to cast a doubt on my modest 
share in the shaping of our Fatherland. 

This work, which is now to be made public, I 
have written with an amount of care, reflection, and I 


may say, critical nicety, of which not many of the 
large number of like publications can boast. 

I was continually occupied for nearly ten years 
in making my description of things as consistent as 
possible with the truth, without giving anyone reason 
to feel injured. I have often made up my mind 
rather to neglect the form of my narrative in order to 
make the important contents more certain. Nor have 
I been willing, like many other narrators, to rely upon 
my good memory alone ; I have, on the contrary, 
most carefully compared my recollections with all the 
documents at my disposal. 

Neither will I speak of the fruit of most personal, 
I might say most private, reminiscences, which have 
helped me in this work. My Memoirs are based upon 
a comprehensive investigation and use of rich mines 
of material. My collection of documents for the 
history of the times is greatly increased by the 
uncommonly voluminous correspondence which flowed 
into my house. The public archives have also contri- 
buted valuable help ; and for the history of my 
personal adventures, I have the diaries which have 
been kept since my earliest youth, as a leading line. 
I was aided by friends and officials with copies of 
original deeds. 

Armed with such a fund of material, I may say 
that I was in a better position to settle and hand 
down facts than many others of my contemporaries. 
Under these circumstances I could set down, according 
to rule, what I thought of things and how I judged 

xviii PREFACE 

them. I have everywhere striven to place the reader 
in the very midst of the movements of former times. 

I have lived through the mighty period of the 
struggle for the national possessions ; I have never 
co-operated otherwise than with pleasure and devotion, 
always keeping in sight the great results of which 
the generation to which I belong may now thankfully 
boast. Of course, no single man, and perhaps still 
less any single party, will claim the credit of having 
always striven in the right direction to reach the goal 
of our present development. 

Nevertheless, the purely neutral interest which is 
certain to gain friends for my portrayal, will allow no 
room for mere malevolence ; I think I may be certain 
that my work will serve, even after the lapse of many 
years, as a source of information concerning our 
remarkable epoch. 

As regards the description of the early years of 
my life somewhere near the time of the Oriental 
development I must not omit to refer the reader 
generally to the books written by the Queen of 
England about my brother. The affectionate relations 
which existed between me and my brother would have 
rendered it impossible for me to refer to a single 
passage in those well-known works. For not only 
brotherly love, but a uniformity of political convictions 
and work bound us inseparably together. 

May this work, therefore, written by an eye- 
witness and fellow-worker to the best of his knowledge, 
furnish the minds of contemporary and future friends 


of the history of a great epoch of our national develop- 
ment with a closer understanding of the same ; but 
for the narrator himself may it win and keep warm 
hearty appreciation. 

E. D. OP S. 

JEUmoirs ot 
litke tm0t of Saxe-Ccrburg-tictha 












THERE is perhaps no second event in the history of the Saxon 
Land and Royal Family, which has been so often and so 
willingly related in my Thuringian home, rich as it is in 
traditions, as the legendary abduction of the Princes and the 
romantic crime of the Chevalier Kunz von Kaufungen. 

Both political and non-political moralists discovered in 
this national tradition a rich supply of matter for good pre- 
cepts, and countless picture books have from the earliest times 
depicted the hard fate of the two young Princes Ernest and 
Albert, who have become the ancestors of two families which 
have taken a prominent position in German history. As late 

VOL. i. A 


as the year 1822, a fine monument was unveiled on the Saxon 
Fiirstenberg, by which the memory of the two founders of 
the Houses of Ernest and Albert was once more made green. 

That I and my younger brother bore the names of the 
stolen sons of Frederick the Gentle, in exactly the same order 
and with almost exactly the same difference in age, seemed to 
our narrow family circle a circumstance fitted to furnish grand- 
mothers and relations with material for reflection and with 
many pleasant hopes for our future. 

The charcoal-burner Georg Schmidt, the Abbe Ciborius, the 
capture of the Chevalier Kunz and the servant Schweinitz, 
the mortal danger of Prince Ernest in the devil's cleft, the 
good-natured woodmen in the forest, the worthy upper- 
bailiff Frederick von Schonburg, and, finally, the punish- 
ment and death of the criminal, in fact the whole story, often 
repeated, afforded us children, as well as the relaters, an 
inexhaustible source of interest. In this way a picture of 
their own desires and struggles was perhaps presented to 
future leaders of the nation in the children's rooms of old 
Germany, moved by fancy and energy, through the similarity 
of names and places and the unchangeability of the natural 
features of their country. 

The first years of my childhood, when the mighty Emperor 
of the French was known to be banished to the solitude of a 
rocky island, were an epoch in the intellectual life of the 
German nation, in which numberless circles, turning from the 
present, buried themselves with passionate ardour in the 
bygone times of monks and cavaliers. Thus it happened that 
the youngest branches of the Ernest Coburg family grew up 
with the names and amidst the memories of a past and gone 
age of romance which they considered exceedingly fascinating, 
and that hardly anyone wrote or spoke of me and my brother 
without recalling the words of my grandmother, that her 
boys bore exactly the same names as the sons of the Elector 
Frederick, who were stolen by Kunz von Kaufungen. 

The real history of the Saxon House was not, however, as 
is known, so pleasant as the historical myths of the ancient 
Wettins, and the great schism in our House became for it a 


source of numerous recollections of misfortunes. Would not 
the great Elector, to whom the German nation owe their 
freedom of creed, have been the fittest man to lead the 
Empire into new ways and solidify his house, when the whole 
Wettins land lay in his hand ? His divided possession did 
not give him the courage to accept the offered crown which 
fell to Charles V. Then followed the downfall of the Ernestine 
branch, and ever widening divisions amongst the rest. 

A still greater fall, in relation to Coburg-Saalfeld, was 
obviated by my great-grandfather Franz Josias in 1822, by 
means of a family law, which firmly established the absolute 
right of primogeniture. The numberless princes of the house 
were thus thrown on their own resources and made dependent 
on their gains. My great-grandfather's brothers were all 
forced to enter foreign service, and have made our name 
known throughout all Europe. The youngest of them outlived 
the Romish German Empire for ten years as Field-Marshal. 
He was still living when my father began to reign, and helped 
him with faithful adherence to the family to bear the hard 
times of the Rhine Confederacy and the Napoleonic dominion. 
Characteristic of his cares is a letter, which the good old 
Marshal addressed to the Ministry on the death of my grand- 
father, and which reveals the disturbed state of the affairs of 
even my small home in the year 1806 : 


pleased God to call His Grace my nephew, the reigning Lord 
Duke, out of this world, and I cannot believe that the Patent 
issued by His Majesty the French Emperor excludes every 
reigning Lord of the country from assuming the reins of 
power, the Lord Hereditary Prince as little as His Highness 
the present Prince Ferdinand, and as Prince Leopold has not 
yet attained his majority, I therefore wish to inquire of Your 
Excellency if full permission has been given the Lord 
Hereditary Prince to take into his hands the reins of Govern- 
ment ? If this is not the case, I should indisputably have to 
undertake the control of affairs myself until the attainment 


of majority of either one or the other of my Lord nephews ! 
I remain, with the highest respect, your Excellency's 
obedient servant 

'Coburg,9th Dec. 1806.' 

It was not found necessary to accept the proffered 
services, as my father himself came forward and assumed the 

Old Frederick Josias, to whose warlike deeds my uncle, 
King Leopold of Belgium, through von Witzleben, raised a 
beautiful literary monument, wrote down in his diary with 
painful elaborateness, every occurrence of moment which took 
place up to the time of his death. The book, with its simple 
details, is not important enough to be used here, but many 
pages as well as other daily notes, show how hard and oppres- 
sive it was to a German to be forced to bear the French 
dominion. The old conqueror of the Turks had, however, the 
satisfaction of outliving the tyrant's fall. He died on the 
5th of February 1815, almost at the moment when Napoleon, 
flying from Elba, reached the coast of France. My father had 
just returned home from the Congress of Vienna, the assembly 
which had been looked to with so little hope of success as a 
healer of the many ills of former years The later King 
Leopold affirmed in his notes, that my father had equally 
embittered the Prussian King and his statesmen by his par- 
tizanship in the Saxon question, and had nearly been com- 
pelled to forego every advantage. The slight enlargement of 
territory on the Rhine with the chief town of St Wendel, 
which Prussia did not like as a limit and even at last would not 
acknowledge as accepted in the agreement, was obtained by 
Prince Leopold only with the greatest effort. 

In order, however, to appreciate all the difficulties which 
beset my father at this date, it is necessary to recall the state 
of the House of Coburg at that time. The complete union of 
Coburg-Saalfeld first took place through a treaty signed on 
the 4th of May 1805. Up to that time the Coburgers only 
participated in the Saalfeld part of the country, the other 


part of which belonged to Saxe-Altenburg, that is, to the Duke 
of Gotha, who at the same time enjo} r ed the right of sovereignty 
over the Saalfeld territory. Through a treaty in 1805 Saal- 
feld, with the Gotha portion of the domain of Themar, was 
given over to Coburg, and Coburg surrendered Roemhild to 
Gotha, thus equalising the two domains to a great extent. 
Thus my father's possessions included the domains of Coburg 
and Themar, and, of the Saalfeld territory, the domains of 
Saalfeld and Graefenthal-Probstzella, making altogether 17f 
square miles with 57,266 inhabitants, according to a census of 
the year 1812. As King Leopold has already related in his 
Memorial,* the fortune of my ancestors was greatly lessened 
by mishandling of every description. The national want had 
reached its crisis through the French war. The year 1806 
found my father with the army of the allied Prussians and 
Russians, and on the death of my grandfather, Franz Friedrich 
Anton, on the 9th of December 1806, the French treated 
Coburg as a rich booty. Coburg was by no means unknown 
to the French, and had earned their hatred in the years of the 
Revolution, because French emigrants had settled there after 
the 1st of November 1792. Coburg had in consequence, and 
perhaps more than it deserved, gained the reputation of a 
reactionary and legitimate nest, where the French governor 
and intendant might with particular satisfaction give free vent 
to his enmity. 

Only with great trouble was my father able to get his 
rights admitted and recover his dukedom under the conditions 
made on his entrance into the Rhine Confederacy. But he 
naturally had no part in the favours and elevation of rank 
attained by the other Princes belonging to the Rhine Con- 
federacy, a deprivation which his sons and grandsons may set 
down to his credit. 

Six long years were spent in quiet retirement, devoted to 
the zealous restoration of the little dominion's pecuniary pro- 

* Mention is made here once for all of this Memorial, which may be found in 
Grey's Early Years, as a reference book for the older history and personal matters. 
German edition : The Youthful Years of Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, pp. 
309-335. For the supplement to these Memoirs see : Deutsche Revue, for June 
1884 : ' King Leopold as a critic.' 


sperity ; general politics had to be considered a sealed book, 
not to be touched by a Prince of the Rhine Confederacy with- 
out stirring the Emperor's anger. My father was forced to be 
all the more careful, as the relations of his two brothers with 
Austria and Russia were well known to Napoleon, and, as King 
Leopold relates, he was even made responsible for the latter's 
not having entered the French service. Not until on the first 
of January 1813 to quote King Leopold's own words, 
was Germany happier than she had been for a long time. 

How quickly and decidedly my father and his brothers 
took their place in military and political affairs, will be but 
briefly mentioned here, as my uncle has already told the 
whole story so clearly with all the modesty of his rare 
character. It was only natural that the occurrence during 
the war of liberation and the part taken by the father and 
uncle, should furnish an inexhaustible supply of food for con- 
versation in ours as in every family, in the days of my child- 
hood and youth. Nowadays, when the world is no less 
inclined to romance and fables than it was formerly, one must 
call up a vivid mental picture of the soldier comrades in 1813, 
in order to realise what an enormous influence these recollec- 
tions of hot fighting and hard days had over the thoughts and 
feelings of youth, and how every nerve quivered when father 
or uncle, both excellent relaters, told the eagerly listening 
boys of what they had seen and gone through. I might 
repeat an abundance of anecdotes word for word, which King 
Leopold, in particularly cheerful moments, was always ready 
to relate of the year 1813. 

Some of them were so characteristic of many of the chief 
persons who took part in the great drama, that it would be a 
pity if they were entirely forgotten, for it is undeniable that 
history, which has a leaning towards completely personifying 
great deeds, does not always offer up sacrifice on the altars of 
rightly chosen gods. 

Immediately after the battle of Kulm, King Leopold, then 
commander of a Russian brigade of Horse Guards, retired into 
Teplitz. He found the town overflowing with troops, and, in 
order to furnish quarters for himself and his staff, nothing 


remained to him except to go to the Clary Palace, where the 
Emperor Francis had already taken up his quarters. As the 
Prince entered the house to ask the Emperor if a portion 
of the apartments could be vacated for the tired officers, he 
found him taking part in a trio, in the most comfortable 
frame of mind, but not more cheerful than he had been during 
the thundering of the cannon of Kulm, when he had given 
himself up to the gratification of his passion for music. The 
Emperor at once expressed himself willing to grant the 
desired request, adding with immovable calm, ' Oh, yes, will- 
ingly, we can fiddle below just as well.' So he continued to 
fiddle gaily on the first floor. 

The King was fond of relating another amusing intermezzo 
of the battle of Leipzig. He had been sent to King Frederick 
William III, in order to inform him of some arrangement or 

Notwithstanding the importance of his commission, Prince 
Leopold was not admitted, and he found, besides, Gneisenau 
was in the same painful position, awaiting the signature of a 
royal order. But the King did not appear, and sent no com- 
mands. They became more pressing, and sent a request 
through the officer on service that something might be decided 
upon. At length Frederick William himself appears, in an 
angry frame of mind, and explains that hours ago he had sent 
to the Emperor Alexander to inquire if he should appear in 
Russian or Prussian uniform on the day of battle, and he was 
astonished that Prince Leopold had brought no decisive mes- 
sage on the subject. The latter now venturing upon a modest 
remonstrance, the King broke out wrathfully, ' First of all, I 
must know what uniform I am to wear, for I certainly shall 
not be able to go on the march without trousers ! ' 

Happily the longed-for news at length arrived, and 
Frederick William in his turn, signed the orders. Graver and 
more thrilling were the uncle's tales when he spoke of Kulm, 
Brienne and Paris, which he entered on the 31st of March with 
the Russian cavalry, being present at that never to be for- 
gotten moment, which has since then been often enough 
depicted, and the remembrance of which fell like a fruitful 


seed on the minds of the rising generation. The letters 
written during these years of Europe's regeneration to the old 
Prince Frederick Josias are of some historical interest. They 
reveal my uncle's character and mode of thought, which the 
youth of to-day, even by paying the greatest attention to 
those parts of history which have rightly been consecrated to 
him, have not really learned to know. 

' Carlsbad, 12 th July 1813. 

' I have all this while deprived myself of the pleasure of 
writing to you, because both opportunity and matter were 
often awanting, and most of all the leisure to do so, as you 
yourself will remember is so often the case in time of war. 
Up to the present I have had the good luck to escape all 
dangers, and can be thankful to God for it, for they have been 
plentiful enough. The present quiet after so many fatigues 
has been of great benefit. It would have given me great 
pleasure to see Ferdinand and Mensdorf here, besides my dear 
Ernest, and their letters lead us to hope that they will come. 
It would seem, however, as if their presence here were almost 
unnecessary, for according to all appearances an unsatisfactory 
peace seems to be preferred by the country to war, although if 
all would hold together, proposals would be most favourable. 
I leave Ernest to tell you the political news, as well as the 
little which concerns myself, as it might be too voluminous in 
writing, and put you to inconvenience. When I say good-bye 
to Ernest, which I shall soon do, I shall go to Prague, where I 
shall perhaps remain two days during the Congress, in order 
to furnish information concerning the peace, and give a few 
new impressions. 

'Then I shall return to Peterswaldau near Reich enbach in 
Silesia, where the Emperor has his headquarters, and after 
that to the heavy cavalry at Ossig, a village near Liegnitz.' 

' Paris, 2nd June 1814. 

' It is impossible for me to leave Paris without recommend- 
ing myself to your gracious thoughts. To have spent two 
months in garrison in a city which during the past twenty 


years has posed as the capital of the world, and to enter it as 
victors after such brilliant engagements as those of Fere 
Champenoise and Paris itself, is an event which cannot be 
forgotten. Our stay here has been very pleasant, particularly 
the latter part. My brothers have contributed much to our 
pleasure. Ferdinand lived with me, and Ernest farther off ; 
also good Mensdorf, who is still very sad at the loss of his son, 
has visited me very often. Our occupation gives us a great 
deal to do, and I hope that things will take a happier turn 
than at first appeared. As the Emperor has had the kindness 
to allow me to follow him to England, I shall seize this 
favourable opportunity of seeing that interesting country, 
which must at this moment present a very brilliant appear- 
ance, owing to the many celebrations which are to take place. 

' The Emperor of Austria left early this morning for 
Vienna, and the Russian Emperor for London, but he will stop 
for several days at Boulogne, in order to inspect the public 
institutions, I shall join him there. 

' Heaven grant that a lasting peace may be the result 
of so many sacrifices. 

' I greatly fear that there will be a civil war in France. 
The masses are too heterogeneous for it to do them any good, 
and I pity the poor Bourbons, who will have to bear many a 
hard thrust in order to keep their seat on the throne ; I advise 
them to be severe, a few heads falling will help a great 

' I do not think that the stay in England will be lengthy. 
I hope to be expected in Coburg by my gracious uncle by the 
end of July or the beginning of August, and look forward with 
pleasure to that happy moment. 

' P.S. His Majesty the Emperor Franz has had the 
graciousness to present me with the Theresa Cross, for 
services rendered on the fields of Kulm and Fere Champe- 

' Vienna, 8th November 1814. 

' As General Tettenborn is very wisely passing through 
Coburg on his journey, I seize with great eagerness this 


opportunity of assuring my most gracious uncle of my respect. 
I wished to do it earlier, but had so much writing and busi- 
ness to see to, that I was obliged to postpone it from day to 

' Things have not gone so quickly with the good Congress 
as one might have expected, and I risked having to lengthen 
my stay in Coburg to a considerable extent. The supposed 
preparative business was not, as I have already said, transacted 
at all, as everything had first to be gone over and settled. 
Things went here just as they do with private persons who 
hesitate long before they can decide upon looking up an 
unpleasant affair. 

' None of the great Powers would handle the unpleasant 
questions with prompt earnestness, they tried to temporize, 
hoping that the condition of things would assume a better 
aspect, which, however, was not the case to my knowledge. 
This is the reason why the Congress had to be delayed until 
the 1st of November, and even now they are trying to gain 
more time, with this object in view. The Congress, as such, 
is embarrassing to the Great Powers, and principally to 
Russia, Austria and Prussia, because such an assembly of the 
whole of the European Powers naturally must result in con- 
sideration being given not only to the interests of these 
Great Powers, but to the well-being and equilibrium of all 
Europe as well, which makes an important difference. France 
makes the most noise, as was to be expected all along, and 
demands to remain in possession of Saxony, whilst Russia on 
the other hand, is to give up a large piece of Poland to 
Prussia, in order to supply the population formerly guaranteed 
to her. England also upholds this claim more or less, which 
is, indeed, very important for the proper maintenance of 

'The whole matter is really confined to this one point. 
Russia will not give up the dukedom of Warsaw, and Prussia 
wants Saxony in consequence; whereas the other Powers 
insist upon Russia giving Prussia the greater portion of 
Warsaw, and saving Saxony. If they all continue thus to 
insist upon having their own way, the Congress will have 


been useless, and an early, if not an immediate, war is to be 
feared, which would be the most unhappy of all things, as the 
confusion which would thus arise is not to be conceived of. 

' Providence which heretofore has ordered all for the best, 
will not, it is to be hoped, leave its beautiful work unfinished 
and allow war and destruction to spread once more over poor, 
sorely plagued Europe. 

1 Until these great questions are settled, there is desperately 
little to be said about our own hopes and views for the 
future, yet I hope for something, even if it be but a little, but 
the Congress must not break up, otherwise our fate is decided, 
and we shall obtain nothing. 

'The sovereigns are very gay, dancing, hunting, and so 
forth, their journey to Ofen has amused them right well. 
Entertainments of all sorts were given them there, and the 
Hungarian nationality appeared remarkable to them. A 
journey to some other spot will soon be taken ; I hear that 
the chief sovereigns are going to Graz, and that they seem to 
have some desire to visit Trieste and perhaps even Venice ; 
the gracious lords seem to have taken such a fancy to travel- 
ling in their old age as to be quite unable to stop. They say, 
too, that the Austrian Emperor has promised to go to Peters- 
burg in May, when there will naturally be a great deal 
going on. 

' The noble guests cost the Court here an unheard of sum 
of money. It is affirmed that it amounts to no less than 
60,000 florins daily, and this does not strike me as being too 
much when one remembers the immense number of people 
who make up the royal suites ; several hundred persons sit 
down daily at the Marshal's table alone, moreover, all the 
servants are liberally fed. 

' The Court is more splendid than I had ever thought it 
could be, and the former French one cannot be compared 
with it. I have had the pleasure of having the Grand-Duke 
here, but, unfortunately, he was obliged to leave on Tuesday 
the 8th, and return to Warsaw ; he charged me to present 
his compliments to my gracious uncle, and remembers with 
great pleasure the few days he passed with us in Coburg last 


year. He has exercised his regiment, which is stationed 
here, several times, and invariably to his entire satisfaction. 
His intention was to take me to Warsaw with him, but I 
preferred remaining here. 

' As I am forced to close this letter, which must go at once, 
I beg my gracious uncle to remember me to aunt Caroline, 
and to keep in mind the unchangeable love and veneration 
with which I shall always remain, etc.' 

' Vienna^ 20th December 1814. 

' As the happy day is almost at hand on which you were 
presented to the world, I hasten to lay my heartfelt and 
respectful congratulations at your feet ; may just Providence 
protect for long years to come the life of an uncle so beloved, 
and so universally esteemed. 

' I had greatly hoped and wished to be able to say all this 
verbally on my beloved and gracious uncle's birthday, but 
Heaven has ordered it otherwise, and prolonged this Congress 
even longer than I had at first expected. Although I sus- 
pected it would last rather long, yet I had thought that more 
good-will and rectitude would be shown than has as yet 
been the case. 

' Affairs are in a cruel state of stagnation, and I fear war, 
if things continue thus, although every visible advantage 
demands peace. In this important moment one must lean 
upon Providence even more than ever, the Providence which, 
although it does not appear so, will certainly direct everything 
for the best ; for the human mind is at times unable to under- 
stand, in its misery and despair, why matters, which are so 
easy to smooth over, are deliberately complicated by higher 
hands. The past Advent has drawn a line through the list of 
entertainments and amusements here, and there were none at 
all in the Catholic families ; on the other hand, many were 
given by Russians, Razumoffsky, for instance, and by English 

' The Russian Emperor's birthday will take place in a few 
days, and will be celebrated in many ways, amongst others 
by a Court show from which I shall unfortunately be absent. 


It is thought that some of the smaller kings will then be able 
to leave, such as those of Wiirtemberg and Bavaria. 

' We have had several weeks of the most beautiful weather 
that one can imagine, and it often seems as if the spring had 
arrived, the sun shines so warmly. For some time past one 
has been unable to wear an overcoat, as it is much too warm, 
and on the Bastion, where the fashionable world promenades, 
there is a daily concourse as if it were a masquerade. If the 
weather is equally favourable at home, ray gracious uncle will 
have been able to have several good days' hunting. 

' Nothing is said of the departure of the great sovereigns, 
and this is deemed a proof that the business is not yet near 
its end. 

But I will no longer weary my most gracious uncle with 
my writing, especially as news is scarce. If God will, I shall 
soon have the happiness of talking with my gracious uncle, 
and wish to return my most respectful thanks for the two 

From these letters it will be seen that the princely races 
of Germany did not look upon the war of liberation exactly in 
the light of a national regeneration, as was done later. Even 
in the principal persons of the allied armies it was only a 
strongly developed longing for the peace of nations, and a 
love for the old legitimate order, and even the most intellectual 
and important amongst them, such as King Leopold, looked 
upon the great campaign of Paris, as hardly more than a 
mighty international undertaking against the predominance 
of France. This great epoch of our national history appeared 
first to the sons of those brave fighters in the light of a 
national opinion, and the following generation first coined 
the historical medal of the so-called war of liberation in their 
inner consciousness. 

Neither in Prussian nor in other German families existed a 
thought which could have had the slightest resemblance to 

O O 

that which, during my life, has been adopted as the fruit of 
reflection on the national possibilities and Germany's form of 
constitution under Prussia's leadership. Yes, I think I may 


with full right lay claim to a reward for my contemporaries 
and the existing generation, which, through pragmatic hasti- 
ness on the part of history, has been designated as a barren 

Many great and good men as there were amongst the 
princes, commanders and statesmen, in the war of liberation 
everyone who had any social intercourse with them in youth- 
ful days must admit that their national and political views 
embraced an entirely, incomparably different point of view. 
What Germany now is, that is, according to the fundamental 
notion abstractly from all special questions on which one 
might have different opinions, she has undoubtedly become 
through work done in the present period ; I have no hesita- 
tion in the beginning of this resume of my life, in inserting a 
speech made by the Emperor William, which will bear 
decisively upon the question. It was in Versailles, where the 
then assembled princes had congregated around the Emperor 
just before the beginning of the world-renowned ceremony. 
As he greeted me, he distinctly spoke the following words : 
' I do not forget that you are also deserving of thanks for 
your efforts on behalf of the chief object for which we are 
here to-day.' 

In this way he proved in the most personal manner, as 
may easily happen in moments of overpowering feelings, the 
fact that the work of unity would never have been completed 
if a number of true-minded men had not been piling up the 
stones for the masonry during half their lives. In the year 
1815, on the other hand, it would certainly have been looked 
upon in most of the families of Germany as something very 
astounding if anyone had prophesied that fifty years later, 
the sons of those princes would vote the German Empire to 
Prussia's King with the most heartfelt singlemindedness. 
Even my father would hardly have realised the divergence in 
the stream of time if he could have heard the words which 
William I uttered to me in that decisive moment, and at no 
point of German development can one better see the great 
change in the spirit of politics than in relation to Prussia's 
position in the Germany of to-day. 


In 1815, only after long negotiations and solely through 
the help of the Emperor Alexander, my father obtained 
possession of Lichtenberg on the Rhine. The raising of the 
little twelve mile square territory to a dukedom met with 
Prussia's opposition, so that it seemed as if my father had 
staked every advantage of his ducal possession when, one of 
the first princes to join the Rhine Confederacy, he deserted 
Napoleon.* In the war of 1814, he had command of the 
Fifth German Army Corps, which took Mainz. When war 
broke out again in 1815, he commanded the Observation 
Corps of Alsace, and in every campaign he furnished a not 
inconsiderable contingent of troops, although the little land 
of Coburg had been almost exhausted by the extensive 
recruiting during the period of the Rhine Confederacy. 

Under these circumstances, the advantages now gained by 
my father's house were very modest,-f* and its future depended 
more than ever on the activity and thoroughness of its 
members. My father devoted all his care to the prosperity of 
his land and his small capital. He skilfully directed not only 
his own finances, but those of his country, placed experienced 
men at the head of the administration, and in the year 1821 
gave a liberal constitution to the dukedom of Coburg-Saalfeld, 
founded on the well-known articles of the Act of Confederacy, 
which demanded certain lawful regulations for every con- 
federate land. 

He dared, even after the acceptance of the Carlsbad 
resolutions, to oppose the steps taken by the presiding Powers 
which according to Gentzen's memorial wished to deprive the 
state's constitution of all the elements of popular repre- 

Soon after the conclusion of peace in Paris, the three 
brothers, on whom rested the hopes of the House of Coburg, 
married almost at the same time. 

Prince Ferdinand, who was a little more than a year 

* My father's entrance into the Alliance was occasioned by an agreement with 
Russia, 12th and 24th November, with Prussia 23, and with Austria on the 24th of 

t An enlargement of Coburg's frontier touching Bavaria had been considered, 
to which Metternich as may have been seen in his document concerning the same, 
in Secret Archives, IA, 13x had signified his consent. 


younger than my father, was highly thought of in the 
Austrian army. He had distinguished himself during the 
past wars on many occasions, particularly at Eckheim, where 
he won the Cross of Theresa, and immediately enlisted in the 
war of freedom of 1813, under a foreign name, as Napoleon 
had raised objections to seeing a Prince of Coburg in active 
service in Austria.* 

In the year 1816, Prince Ferdinand married the young 
Princess Kohary and obtained possession of the large estates 
in Hungary, on which the Emperor Francis settled the 
Coburg entail. Meanwhile Prince Leopold had also married 
in the same year, his wife being the Princess Charlotte, 
daughter of George IV, which union, as is known, was dis- 
turbed only too soon by the death of the excellent Princess, 
heiress to the throne of England. 

On the 13th of July, 1817, my father married Louise, the 
only child of Duke August of Saxe-Gotha and Altenburg, of 
the now extinct family of Gotha- Altenburg. My mother was 
born on the 31st December, 1800. At the time of her marriage 
with my father, her stepmother Caroline was still living, a 
Princess of Hesse Cassel, whom Duke August of Gotha- 
Altenburg had married as early as the year 1802, after the 
death of his first wife. 

It appeared as if my parents' marriage must turn out most 
happily, and the universal joy reached the highest possible 
pitch, when, in the course of two years, two sons appeared as 
securities for the future of the House. 

I was born on the 21st of June, 1818 and my brother 
Albert on the 26th August, 1819, the latter at the Castle of 
Rosenau, and I in the Ehrenburg at Gotha. They named me : 
Ernest August Charles John Leopold Alexander Edward. 
I was to be called Ernest. The christening took place, with 
all pomp, on the 24th June in the principal church of St 

When the ceremony was over my grandmother Augusta, 

* Mention is made of the part taken by Prince Ferdinand in the French wars 
when belonging to the Austrian army in the lately published 'History of the 
Imperial Austrian 8th Hussar Regiment.' 


a Princess of Reusz Ebersdorf, whose second husband my 
grandfather was, embraced her son, my father, and said aloud, 
so that the large assembly might hear, ' I hope that little 
Ernest will become as good a son to you as you have been to 

I heard these words on another occasion, when I was con- 
firmed, for the same clergyman who baptised me, reminded 
my father on my confirmation of what my grandmother had 
said to him sixteen years before. 

I must not omit to mention as worthy of attention, that 
the land of Coburg-Saalfeld made me a present of 12,455 
florins as a baptismal present, the voluntary contributions of 
offices and towns, which was to be put out at compound 
interest, until my majority. I cannot think without emotion 
of this sacrifice on the part of the faithful burghers, a sacrifice 
which was considerable, after so many years of war. 

It is known from the publications of the Queen of England 
respecting my brother's life, how short a time we enjoyed the 
advantage of growing up under our mother's eyes, and how 
quickly our family happiness was clouded over, after promis- 
ing to be imperishable. 

But I will not here deal with these matters again. That 
world which is designated under the widely significant name 
of historical does not look upon these more personal feelings 
of private life as of great worth, and they sink into the ocean 
of forgetfulness, with all the tears which they called forth. 

After my mother's death my father took as his second wife 
the Wiirtemberg Princess Marie, his niece, who remained child- 
less, but also formed a friendly gathering point for our widely 
scattered family until her death which occurred in 1860 only. 
Just as my father and his brothers furnished a rare example 
of unity in work, they remained in the closest relations with 
their sisters and their posterity so that my brother and I 
were accustomed from our earliest youth to look upon our 
beloved father as the head of an unusually large circle of 

From this strong family bond must have arisen the so 
commonly imagined Coburg family politics, which were really 

VOL. I. B 


nothing more than the friendly feeling of each separate mem- 
ber, a feeling which is so often wanting in princely families. 
Of my father's four sisters the Princess Julia was married to 
the Grand-Duke Constantine, and Antoinette to Duke Alex- 
ander of Wiirtemberg, then in the Russian service. The eldest 
and youngest need not be especially mentioned, and nearly 
every page will contain some remembrance of the fate of their 

In 1804 Sophia married Count Mensdorff-Pouilly, whose 
four sons, of whom Alexander was best known, were in constant 
intercourse with us. My father's youngest sister, Victoria, 
was at first married to Prince Leinigeii, and after his early 
death, became the wife of the Duke of Kent, of which 
marriage, as is known, Queen Victoria was the issue. 

But my aunt Kent's eldest children, Charles and Feodora, 
Leinigen were also the founders of nearly allied families, who 
belonged altogether to our circle. Both were possessed of 
great mental gifts, and immensely beloved by their half-sister 
Queen Victoria. The letter which appeared in pi'int of 
Feodora, who married Prince Hohenlohe, gives the best 
insight into the affectionate footing on which all these relations 

But loving as the friendship was which knit them together, 
nothing can be compared with the close intimacy in which my 
brother and I grew up. From our earliest years we shared 
every joy and sorrow together, as they came. And as, even 
after our separation, we continued to confide our thoughts 
and plans fully to each other, I may say that even amongst 
the people so close a bond between brothers is not often to be 
met with. 

So undivided an influence did life, the world and our whole 
surroundings exert on us, that it would afford me the greatest 
pleasure, if, through these recollections of my growth and 
experiences I could impart something more particular con- 
cerning the habits and character of my dear brother, than 
can be done in any other way. By nature we were neither 
bodily nor mentally much alike. From earliest childhood my 
brother was the best loved, and enjoyed the good-will of 


mankind as much as his greater bodily weakness seemed to 
require. His physical development did not keep pace with 
the quick unfolding of his remarkable mental powers ; he 
needed protection, and had the physical leaning of the weaker 
towards the stronger. 

As long as we remained together he willingly accepted the 
part of the one who needed help, which, however, did not pre- 
vent his following his own very decided will. 

Our faithful governor Florschuetz has related so much 
concerning these things in the Queen's book that I in turn 
need only supply deficiencies. Florschuetz wrote a small 
essay on me, as well as on my brother, which has been a help 
to me in setting down the following reminiscences of my 
youthful days. 

I must first of all lay the greatest weight upon my father's 
influence. After the separation from our mother, especially, 
he took the keenest interest and most unflagging in anything 
and everything which concerned our bringing-up, and even in 
our lessons. 

With us were his pleasantest and almost his only daily 
conversations, and a more beautiful bond between a father 
and his sons it would be difficult to find. And he was one of 
those rare persons who, devoid of all pedagogic maxims, knew 
how to make an impression on young people through their 
very manner. 

My father joined to his rare personal beauty a mind evenly 
balanced in every way and a deep inward calm. Had he not 
been born at a time when the education of young princes was 
carried out according to set rules, which are insufficient for the 
wants of the present day, he would have been a much greater 
man than was possible under existing circumstances. It 
would not be right to say that he would have devoted himself 
to science, though in those times princes were seldom allowed 
to visit the universities, and in the smaller Duchies the tutors 
were often not more than of mediocre education. Notwith- 
standing this, my father was at home in many branches of 
science, and had, as was necessary in his duties as Regent, 
become a far-seeing and sharp witted man of business. 


What won all hearts was the earnest mildness with which 
he interested himself in everything, the delicacy of feeling 
and the undesigned attention to custom of every kind. I 
never heard a harsh or ugly word from his lips, never saw an 
action of his which would not have satisfied every idea of 
good-breeding ; we children looked upon him and with right 
as the ideal of perfection, and although he never spoke a 
stern word to us, we felt for him, not only love and adherence, 
but a degree of respect which bordered on fear. 

He never instructed, he seldom blamed, praised unwill- 
ingly, and nevertheless, his personal influence was so powerful 
that we exerted ourselves more than if we had been either 
blamed or praised. Once, when he was asked by a relation 
if we studied diligently and behaved well, he answered : ' My 
children cannot misbehave, and they know of themselves 
that they must learn something in order to become able men, 
so I do not trouble myself further about them.' He under- 
stood how to awaken ambition and self-respect in the most 
skilful manner. His greatest enjoyment consisted in having 
us always with him as far as was possible. 

The love of nature, the meaning of art and aesthetics were 
taught us by him almost involuntarily, as if in play ; on the 
other hand, his demands on our attention, appreciation and 
quick grasp of the subject, were often too great. He never 
allowed a negligence in dress or carelessness of demeanour, 
any transgression was punished by a look alone, but a look 
which was so grave that it said more than a long lecture. 
As he assumed that we worked with diligence and persever- 
ance to complete our education, he tried, in order to keep us 
fresh and courageous, to give us every pleasure on which he 
knew we had set our hearts. Hunting, fishing, riding, driving, 
were allowed us from our ninth year. On the other hand, he 
would never suffer the least complaint of bodily incon- 
venience, even of pain ; we were hardened in every way. I 
remember that we once rode in the depth of winter over the 
mountain road from Coburg to Gotha, and suffered fearfully 
from the intense cold. On such an occasion my father 
expected us to show the self-command of grown men, and we 


had to behave in a manly way in every such uncomfortable 

It will therefore be understood that we took part in every- 
thing which more actively occupied iny father; under this 
head I will particularly mention building, the beautifying of 
the neighbourhood and the theatre. And even as boys, we 
obtained an insight into many government measures and 
affairs of state ; as, in a fatherly way, my father had no 
secrets from us in such matters. 

Although he leaned towards Conservatism, and, since the 
peace, looked upon ideas of freedom rather unfavourably than 
otherwise, yet, when but small boys, we were enthusiastic 
over everything which concerned the nation. The uncertain 
political longing for freedom, with which almost all young 
minds in Germany were at that time filled, stirred us too, and 
influenced our whole lives. 

When our education began to assume a definite form, our 
governor, Florschuetz, became also our tutor in many branches, 
and bestowed particular attention on our Latin and mathe- 
matics. I think it will be not uninteresting to mention a few 
particulars concerning our studies, which in many respects 
differed from the usual course followed in the city schools. 

The Gymnasium illustre Casimirianum in Coburg had 
enjoyed great consideration for a long time, but we were 
influenced on both sides to follow a different course from that 
which was set forth in the prospectus of this Institute. He 
left Greek out altogether, whereas natural history, chemistry 
and physics were imparted to us with a thoroughness then 
quite uncommon in Germany. I cannot say to how great an 
extent all were indebted to the influence and example of these 
useful changes from the Gymnasium course. 

Florschuetz chose as his colleague in instruction in these 
departments of natural science a very distinguished man, 
Professor Hassenstein, whose son was afterwards my family 
physician for many years. The well-known gifted Griesz 
taught us mathematics. 

The interest in and understanding of everything concerning 
nature and our progress in learning were not the only things 


which we owed to these fruitful studies of realistic branches. 
The knowledge of natural science has something very satisfy- 
ing about it, and I may say that my brother and I did not 
remain uninfluenced by the workings of this mental enfran- 

We were more advantageously brought up than many 
other princes, no form of obscurantism had the slightest 
power over us. The want of Greek was made up for by wide 
reading of translations or imitations of classical literature 
and the copious study of modern languages. 

We spoke but one language at home. German was really 
our mother tongue, and reigned alone in our childish ideas, a 
state of things which cannot fail to be of influence over the 
later unfolding and course of thought of everyone. 

During the last century the French were carrying the cult 
of their language to the highest point in the education of 
their aristocracy ; the German nobility, with a view to their 
material interests as well as their mental development, were 
growing up amidst a number of foreign languages. My 
brother and I, though not to our disadvantage, only began the 
study of French and English later on, and we made up 
by thoroughness and practice for any loss which we might 
have suffered through the want of acquaintance with the 
modern languages in childhood. Our Latin studies were also 
carried so far that they afforded us not only a rich source of 
formular cultivation, but a ready mastering of the Latin 
modes of expression. 

W T e were also so competent in the conversational use of 
Latin that I was fond of debating in that tongue at the 
University, and therein excelled many of my college com- 
panions fresh from the Gymnasium. Of my brother it may 
particularly be said that he showed at an early date an original 
doctrinary way of handling all subjects. He was particularly 
skilled in the logical ordering of the most difficult themes of 
debate ; and his views, even if not always the most correct, 
were invariably successfully brought to bear on the question 
by means of the keenest dialectics. 

It was that mental talent and practice which, later, so 


often gave him a superiority over others, and concerning 
which the Emperor Napoleon once characteristically said to 
me : ' His mind is so accurate that one is always afraid of 
entering into discussion with him, he is always right.' 

The success attendant on such an education was also shown 
by the fact that we afterwards showed our ability as fluent 
speakers on many public occasions. The strong point of our 
tutor Florschuetz, was his wide and thorough grasp of historical 

He did not, as was then the case elsewhere, limit his 
lessons to antiquity, but extended them, by means of every 
help at hand, to the Middle Ages and the present epoch. 
German antiquity, which had but just been scientifically dug 
out of the accumulated rubbish of years, was made familiar 
to us to a certain degree by Florschuetz. At least we boys 
already knew that there was a great epoch of German life 
and culture, which may have been but too little prized by our 
half French forefathers of past centuries. So that, from the 
first, without being insensible to the charms of the German 
Middle Ages, by observing moderation, we were prevented 
from feeling the enthusiastic leaning which at that time 
influenced so many celebrated and clever men. The remark- 
able passion for going back to the childish prepossession for 
a long forgotten age and the romantic distortion of the 
century remained unknown to us, with all our vividly 
awakened interest in the poetry of the ancient German 
Christian era. This partiality was all the more obviated by 
the working of our religious and dogmatic studies. As is 
known, in Thuringian provinces rationalism was clung to 
with all tenacity, and when Frederick Perthes departed for 
Gotha, as is related in the description of his life, he felt 
himself very lonely with his sharply defined historical - 
Christian tendencies. It was but natural, for St Paul's 
doctrine was kept here as in an impregnable fortress. People 
took an interest in the often unspeakably prosaic and some- 
times absurd explanations of the Biblical wonders, just as 
others warmed more and more over the subject of mysticism. 
It is a real piece of good fortune that in those passionate days 


of religious disputes such earnest and excellent men were 
forming our minds, like Bretschneider. He was like a friend 
of the family. His extraordinary learning and rare activity, 
his important scientific services, as well as his easy, com- 
panionable ways, shielded both him and us from the reproach 
of taking too light a view of religious things and the historical 
puzzles of dogmatics ; but our Christianity lay in Bret- 
schneider's hand, and his fellow-thinkers in a pleasant unan- 
imity with the ideas of modern men and, one might almost 
say, with a comfortable security concerning the union of 

/ ' , O 

reason and faith. 

Although we looked upon it neither as our task nor as 
particularly necessary to solve the many difficulties attendant 
on these ticklish matters, yet we were able to look forward 
cheerfully to our confirmation, being neither too alarmed by 
the indiscoverable or already discovered, nor too much 
hemmed in by the ideas of a bigoted church. Lessons in 
religion itself had been given us brothers by a clergyman of 
the name of Jakoby, formerly Gymnasium director in Rinteln, 
and the Court preacher at Coburg, the pattern of a sensible 
as well as intelligent teacher. He was possessed of good 
knowledge in church history. The preparation which he 
caused us to make for confirmation was encyclopaedic, so that 
we were able at our examination to display a surprising 
amount of familiarity with church questions. 

If the official statement extols the fact that no single 
question put by the examiner was so worded as to be 
answered simply by the word Yes or No, we for our part can 
be glad that no formula was thus forced upon us through the 
strict and simple confession of faith in which we might have 
felt wounded in the conscientiousness of our young minds. 

As I was then very near my eighteenth birthday it is not 
to be wondered at that I thought it necessary to begin to 
consider what public confession I should make, for the time of 
na'tce consent to what was desired of me was almost past. 

My brother also took up the question in all its difficulty, 
for what Florschuetz .says of him is quite true, that, ' he was 
unusually earnest and full of reflection.' But when Martin in 


his Biography of Prince Albert also speaks of his ' natural 
piety,' it was probably on account of the English public, for 
this description suited him certainly even less than it did me. 

At length the question whether we intended to remain true 
to the Evangelical Church had to be answered. My answer 
has been made known through the official report. 

'I and my brother,' said I, 'are determined to remain faith- 
ful to the acknowledged truth.' One of my uncle's letters 
addressed to me on the occasion of my confirmation has 
always remained highly interesting to me on account of the 
man and the occasion, and with it I shall close this chapter. 
The reader will allow me to acquaint him with the reply of 
the youthful candidate, as he must have the intention of 
bestowing some interest in the following leaves on my person 
as well as on the history of the times. My uncle wrote with 
the peculiar, humorous, worldly wisdom which, as will be seen, 
characterised all his correspondence, on the llth of August, 
1835, from Ostend : 

' MY DEAR ERNEST, It has not been possible for me to 
answer your friendly letter sooner, but as the young gentlemen 
did not write to me any too soon after their confirmation, I 
shall not allow my conscience to prick me too much on the 

'I heard with great sympathy and pleasure that the 
important ceremony which closes your childhood was so well 
gone through, and that you took part so well in a matter 
wliich must greatly move the heart of every good young man. 
Although I have seen so little of you during the past years, I 
have a fatherly affection for you, and wish, as far as in me 
lies to contribute in every way to your happiness. 

' It is gratifying to me that you have had a home educa- 
tion ; even if it is less practical in many things, it makes both 
heart and mind kinder and more full of feeling, which I con- 
sider a great blessing. You are now old enough to prepare 
for the affairs of life in addition to your studios ; your future 
field of labour is a fine one, and contains fewer thorns and 
vexations than many others ; it is always wide enough for 


you to be able to sow a great deal of good seed. Life, which, 
as you stand half inside half outside of its portals, may seem 
uncommonly long to you, is nevertheless not so ; time flies by 
quickly, and neglected work cannot always be made up for. 

'The most beautiful aim in life is to do good, as much as 
possible. The real spirit of Christianity demands that man 
shall work every moment during life, and without ostentation 
benevolently and humbly towards Gcd and mankind to in- 
fluence the lives of others. 

' He only is a real Christian who steadily and really 
follows through life the teaching of his beautiful and gentle 

' It is very hard to carry this out fully, by reason of the 
many failings of human nature, but much can and must be 
done. Let this, my son, be your aim. Before all things, be 
strictly just to everyone, be he who he may ; the Christian 
himself must be more, he must be indulgent, must reflect be- 
fore he exclaim against others, and judge if they do not merit 
indulgence. Two things are also extraordinarily important 
in a public man, he must be strictly honest and truthful. 

' By considering these points with intelligence, one will be 
able to prevent much unhappiness and vexation, and assure 
for one's self a very important possession, the esteem of others. 
Education is universal in these days, and it is therefore an 
easy task to distinguish one's self amongst other men of 
intelligence and education ; just, true characters, which re- 
main always the same, which can be depended upon, are very 
seldom to be found on severe trial, so that the man who is 
good, honest and true, assures to himself through these straits 
a position whose security will give him a high place amongst 
his fellow creatures, and at the same time more than all, the 
peace of soul so necessary in the many storms of life, a peace 
without which one cannot but feel miserable even when 
the greatest success has been attained. 

' Beware, as eldest son, of selfishness ; it is to the interest 
of many to encourage this most unlovely of traits in a young- 
Prince, and afterwards to exploit it as a fertile mine. 

' The 1 easily becomes overmastering in a man, do not lose 


sight of this, and do not allow it to get the upper hand ; the 
egotist serves no one with love, and prepares much trouble 
for himself besides, for many things are continually happening 
to wound the feelings, and the 7, when spoiled, is incredibly 

'I will not administer too strong a dose of maxims at one 
time, and I beg you to confide to me your views on what I have 
written. I should like to know them, I hope to see you con- 
tinue a thorough course of study ; at your age learning is 
more usefully digested because better understood. The 
languages should also be carefully kept up, for their own 
sake, for they have the advantage of enlarging the point of 

'Write to me often, it will be useful to you, and affords me 
the opportunity of giving you much good advice ; few men 
have earned so painful and varied an experience as I ; and 
I will gladly give you the benefit of it. 

1 My letter is so long that it is time to say farewell to you. 
Greet your Counsellor Florschuetz for me, and believe me, my 
dear Ernest, ever your faithful Uncle and Friend, 


' Rosenau, 6th September 1835. 

' MOST GRACIOUS UNCLE, Accept my most heartfelt thanks 
for your letter, which was as instructive as it was friendly ; 
and which caused me all the more pleasure, as it was the first 
which I have received from you. You gave me therein such 
useful and excellent advice, for life in general and for my own 
particular calling, that my becoming a good and practical man 
depends only on my following the same. 

' What could be more salutary to me, most gracious uncle, 
than to attend to your instruction, with the most heartfelt 
earnestness, for no one has learned to know life in its 
pleasantest and saddest aspects as you have. 

' Be sure, dear uncle, that your words are a mighty incite- 
ment to me to keep a-guard on my actions during life, and so 
to shape them as to earn your esteem and increase the pleasure 
of my parents. 


' I feel plainly, that, as you say, I have reached the turning- 
point. My boyhood is past, and although golden chains still 
hold me back, I do not forget for a single moment that the 
earnest period of life is near at hand. 

' The time of trial is before me, when I shall have to fur- 
nish tangible proofs that the instruction and warnings which 
were given me as a boy, have struck root, and to show whether 
I have strength enough to follow them. 

' My parents' great love, my governor's friendly advice, 
and now the certainty in your dear letter that you take no 
less an interest in our happiness, will make me even more 
stable in this time of trial and give me strength as youth and 
man always to preserve clearness of mind, and the love of 
truth and justice. 

' I think of the past only with the greatest pleasure. It 
contains for the most part pleasant memories, and although 
life was easier and joined to more pleasures, than that of 
others of my age, yet I realise to what that is owing, and 
know that we cannot excel by means of appearances alone, 
but by inner worth, by the superior performances through 
which we raise ourselves above the level of others. 

'I am on this account very grateful to everyone who 
reminds me of it, and thank you particularly, most gracious 
uncle, for having shown me the way with such wise obser- 

'That /, which, as you say, must not have its own way, 
unfortunately asserts itself only too often in mankind, and, 
to be quite honest with you, in me also. How many faults do 
I not find in me, when I thoroughly consider your admoni- 
tions, and how shall I not have to work in order to become 
such as to win your whole love. 

' How little I have learned, when I compare it with what 
I still have to learn, and when I think how much is expected 
of a Prince in these days ! But the more exacting the era 
is the more firmly must a man stand, and you will certainly 
not refuse me your wise counsel respecting my further 

' Oh ! how I should like it if rny brother and I could stay 


with you for a while, to learn in your school and strengthen 
ourselves by your superior example. We would do every- 
thing which lay in our power to please you, and you should 
certainly not be dissatisfied with us. 

' Yet I fear it may be wearisome to you, with your many 
occupations, if I write to you at greater length. May I 
venture to hope soon to have another letter from you ? 

' You do not know how much pleasure you thus afford me. 

' Again thanking you for your hearty letter, I recommend 
myself to your further favour, and remain with the deepest 
respect, Your faithful nephew, 





















GERMANY'S development was, so to speak, interrupted in the 
first half of the century, and the wheel of time stuck fast in 
its course, through the encroachment of mightier reactionary 
powers of state. The creations of the Vienna Congress will 
therefore be looked upon simply as hindrances to the national 
spirit, and the German Confederacy and its conditions as a 
preparation for immortalizing the calm and the political lazi- 
ness of the burghers, and the exclusive dominion of a chosen 
few over the widely-extending mass of the German nation. 

On the other hand, the course of events, even in this appa- 
rently quiet decade, strikes the man who culls and sets together 
his recollections, chosen from amongst the copious particulars, 
and the large number of exciting occurrences of daily life, 


and who, with the consciousness of mighty detail, to this day 
feels the effects of the disturbance of times when everything 
was in ferment, the efforts and striving of a restless national 
war of minds. 

Only in the most private notes of statesmen, in the docu- 
mentary intercourse of prominent men, in diaries and fine 
works of literature is shown the political excitement, which 
was less loud, though perhaps of greater inner force than is 
the case to-day. 

It is true that that which is known as public opinion, 
found little occasion, since the time of the Vienna Congress 
up to the year which was often known in reactionary circles 
as the ' mad year ' to show itself conveniently and fearlessly 
on the surface of political life. 

Anyone who wished to become intimately acquainted with 
the ideas of that time, with the wants of the century, could 
not let himself be deceived by its contingencies and many 
falsehoods, nor the momentary political aspect; but in these 
ideas, which were more reserved and kept under, more sought 
for than self-asserting, lay a hidden charm which had the 
power to harden both character and belief. The rising 
generation enjoyed a political schooling which was more 
intrinsic and aimed more at spontaneity. 

The means of obtaining, and aids to, scientific learning being 
far poorer, far less convenient and less advantageous, political 
education in Germany was not to be so easily gained by the 
pleasant reading of newspapers and stereographed parliamen- 
tary speeches, nor from freely offered state documents and 
rich diplomatic sources, such as now render it possible for the 
lowest subject to gain a certain insight into state life. 

To acquire knowledge of mankind, statesmen, princes and 
monarchs, was, even in the highest positions, a task which 
could not be completed without strong effort and the deepest 
study. But the generation to whom the gain of widely- 
embracing and political worldly experience was made more 
difficult, often guarded the acquired possession, the conviction 
gained, the mode of thought, even with greater care and 
enthusiasm. The signs of the time were on the whole, if 
not founded upon, yet to a certain degree more fitted for the 


development of political character and its establishment on 
a firmer footing. 

Germany's universal condition was looked upon by out- 
siders as very desperate, and was by preference and with 
great satisfaction represented as being in this state. The 
rising generation had a feeling of opposition against the men 
of former times and their systems, and they gave way to it 
with angry negation and sometimes violent action ; but there 
was not a total want of positive elements and efforts in the 
reigning circles of the European world, with which to work 
a change in Europe's condition by means of progressive 
development. My father's whole house took a well-known 
prominent part in this great alteration and transformation of 
European forms of state, so obstinately opposed by the ideas 
of the century. The greatest and most important of the 
questions which occupied the European Powers and the 
public mind of the entire educated world at the end of the 
twentieth year, was the Greek question, the restoration of 
Hellenism in the states and ideas of Europe. 

In the centre of this great movement stood a Prince of 
Coburg. The interest of the diplomatic world was for a time 
concentrated on this prince and his position with reference to 
the newly-erected throne, as they reached to a personal 
solution of the important matter. No one has known how to 
tell of the older relations and family bonds of our House as a 
whole, and the single members of the same, so well and so 
characteristically as King Leopold. 

Whether his own life is depicted in an entirely satisfactory 
way is doubtful. Concerning his attitude in the Greek question 
particularly, no universal criticism has been brought to light, 
and the extraordinary wisdom in affairs of state and deep 
foresight of the man who unwillingly renounced his ambition 
for an inspiring idea which tilled his whole soul, has by no 
means been recognised to a sufficient degree. If character and 
clearness of will were ever shown in their full renunciation, 
they were shown here. It is true that personal inclination 
was not in this case entirely without influence on my uncle. 
I can still perfectly remember my grandmother's angry com- 


plaints and outbursts of grief, over the fact that her beloved 
son Leopold was forced to look forward to an uncertain fate. 
She tried as well as she could to warn him against it, and to 
oppose it. I myself have copied many of her letters which 
were intended to remain strictly secret, and which she tried 
so to word as to shake my uncle's determination. But he 
really felt the deepest interest in the Greek question ; and has 
done so all his life. That the throne of the wavering de- 
cendants of the ancient Hellenes, was denied the House of 
Coburg, he considered up to the last years of his life as a piece 
of ill-luck, which he felt himself bound to make up for. 

Two opinions, so to speak, might be held of the Phil- 
hellenists of those days in England and on the Continent, 
opinions which could only be put into words, the one by 
Byron, and the other -by Canning. Louis of Bavaria stands 
before us as one of the princely friends of the Greeks in 
Germany, in analogous relation to his youthful friend of 
many years, Leopold of Coburg. They say that the latter's 
sympathy for the Greeks also arose solely from personal 
influence. His relations to the Greeks do not however extend 
further back than the year 1825. 

Meanwhile, how little question there was of a future Greek 
throne remains undecided. But Prince Leopold never allowed 
himself to be so completely mastered by his kindly and 
intellectual interest in the freedom of the Greeks, as to 
misunderstand the political conditions of the state which was 
to be founded anew, as has been done both before and since. 
The explanation with which, on the 21st of May, 1830, he 
definitely withdrew as candidate for the Greek throne, was, 
and still remains one of the most brilliant state documents of 
modern times, by which the actually established relations 
were justified in a rarely able manner. 

One remark in this explanation deserves more attention 
than has been accorded it in historiography. My uncle 
positively denied having given the President reason to believe 
that he was willing to adopt the Greek religion. Though his 
candidature was supported mainly by the Czar of Russia and 
the King of France, yet the Prince's views were too deeply 

VOL. I. c 


rooted in the English system of politics for him to accept the 
part chosen by them of a ' diplomate of the allied Powers, to 
keep Greece in subjection by force of arms.' 

The momentary situation was spoiled for the Prince through 
the reigning English Cabinet, which opposed the candidature 
of a son-in-law of King George IV. As early as in December 
1829, Lord Wellington expressed his views on the question of 
the Greek throne in a letter to Lord Aberdeen, they being 
that he considered the choice of the Greeks of great import- 
ance indeed, but that he wished first of all to see English 
interests vouched for by the new king. When Prince Leopold 
was plainly declared not to be the candidate chosen by the 
British Cabinet, it may be supposed that he would have been 
even less ready to play the part of a tool in the interests of 
any foreign state whatever. 

His endeavours in November, 1829, to bring King Charles 
X, and at the same time the English Government, by means of 
personal influence, to decide more in the interests of the 
Greek throne had, as is known, but little success ; the change 
of candidates for the throne made by the Great Powers 
showed how little decisive was the neuter point of view which 
Prince Leopold so clearly brought forward in the already 
mentioned declaration of May 21, 1830. 

The latter severed the binding link of the negotiations 
which were to bring about the transplantation of the House 
of Coburg into the new kingdom of Greece. But two years 
later the attention of the political world was again fastened 
on our House, as a definite settlement in the condition of 
things could no longer be neglected. 

I will later on relate something concerning the remarkable 
transactions which were carried on with my father himself 
concerning the adoption of the Greek throne; and which 
have hitherto remained entirely unknown to his biographers. 
I will merely remark here how strangely it moved me when, 
a quarter of a century later, the same question arose concern- 
ing me, the nephew of the man who had with rare keenness 
of insight refused the throne because he recognised that the 
state, which had yet to be formed, would be too small and weak. 


A few months later the interest of the entire world was 
suddenly, one might almost say for ever, turned aside from 
the little Greek nation. 

The July revolution and its effect on the whole of Europe 
caused all further-lying political interest to disappear as 
through a stage trap -door. People had a feeling of having 
assisted with lively sympathy, loud applause and classical 
delight at a mighty representation of deliverance given far 
away in Turkey, and then suddenly returning home to find 
so many things badly looked after and in the deepest disorder. 
They thought of themselves, of their neighbours, their 
country, the condition of their own state, of the untenable- 
ness and perishableness of old and the uncertainty of new 

News of the occurrences in Paris reached the German 
capitals slowly and uncertainly enough, yet always too soon 
to find the reigning powers in even a tolerable state of 
readiness. From the course of events in Paris, one need 
hardly have been astonished at the fall of the legitimate 
king, once the shock of the people's bloody victory during 
the three days' fighting was over ; still everyone lived in a 
state of continual excitement. The king's abdication, the 
installation of the Regency, the flight of Charles X, Louis 
Philippe's kingship, each separate crisis of events had en- 
gendered its particular retroaction and singular anxiety. 
Were we drifting into another war with revolutionary 
France, or should the old powers recognise the new state of 
things ? 

People hardly had time to think over these questions 
before the revolutionary brand had been thrown across the 
frontiers of France. 

The Belgian provinces rebelled in September ; on the 4th 
of October followed the declaration of independence of the 
provisory Brussels government ; November brought the 
Polish Revolution as a frightful sequel to the Parisian July 
days. Such shocks had not been remembered by our fathers 
since the end of the last century, whereas the sons had bright 
hopes of an entirely new age. 


Was not the youthful world right in letting these events 
convince it, that they had a great future before it, and that 
its fathers had omitted to do much which ought to have 
been done ? 

The Belgian question next unfolded itself in a decisive 
way for the House of Coburg. on the 12th of January, 1831, 
M. Paul Devaux brought forward in the National Congress in 
Brussels the candidature of the Prince of Saxe-Coburg, in 
opposition to that of the Due de Nemours, of the Duke of 
Leuchtenberg and the still boyish Prince Otto of Bavaria : 
' I know,' said he, ' how great is the prepossession in this 
assembly against an English Prince, but you forget that the 
Prince of Saxe-Coburg, by accepting the Belgian crown.annexes 
himself to France, and will therefore be more French than 

Devaux spoke in an equally clever and decisive way of 
the Prince's evangelical confession of faith, which could be 
no hindrance to his election, as the future constitution of the 
kingdom must remain in the power of the majority. 

' As the majority here is Catholic,' said he, 'it will perhaps 
be desirable that the Head of the executive Power is not also 
a Catholic.' 

On the 3rd of June 1831, Prince Leopold of Coburg was 
chosen king, by 152 out of 196 votes, on condition he accepted 
the constitution. 

After my uncle had made his state entrance into Brussels 
on the 21st of July, he took the oath of the constitution 
and then made a tour through the country, when on the 1st of 
August, at Liittich, the news arrived that the Dutch intended 
to open hostilities on the 4th. 

Then followed the negotiations with the guaranteeing 
Powers concerning the French intervention, which King 
Leopold demanded without delay or hypocritical lingering, 
for he well knew that the more bindingly the western Powers 
were engaged to carry out the London Protocol, the more 
secure his throne would be. 

The short war with the Dutch could only serve to settle 
the new state more firmly on its basis. The loyal way in 


which he kept all constitutional promises, even those for 
which the king had no special liking, soon aroused almost 
universal enthusiasm for his person, and only a short space 
of time was necessary to establish Belgium as the constitu- 
tional pattern state of the Continent. Henceforth, the new 
king was looked upon as a living example of the union of 
monarchy with the political freedom of the people, and in the 
bond between the Houses of Coburg and Orleans, the world 
contemplated the most certain foundation for the final victory 
of liberal principles in Europe. 

My father desired his sons to receive a fixed impression of 
the country whose fate had just been so intimately linked 
with that of our throne. He therefore allowed my brother 
and myself to accompany him on a journey which he made to 
Belgium to see my uncle at the end of July, 1832. It forms 
one of my first recollections of a personal share in the great 
political events of that time. 

In Brussels, where every public square and every street 
told of the mighty struggle which had taken place two years 
before, I first conceived an idea of what the modern European 
world with its startling events is striving to gain. We 
accompanied our father and uncle to see the first review held 
by the King of a newly organised portion of the Belgian army, 
near Alost, and obtained permission to visit the Belgium out- 
posts near Antwerp, where the citadel was still in the hands 
of the Dutch under General Chasse'. As my uncle and my 
father had so very little opposition to the revolutionary gait 
of things in Belgium, it was only natural that I and my 
brother developed no excessive conservative views. In the 
Princely Houses, on the other hand, and particularly at the 
German Court, a certain hatred had arisen in consequence of 
this very reaction against the state regulations of other 
countries. They could not and would not understand how a 
German Prince belonging to one of the oldest families, could 
allow himself to be chosen King on pretext of an open re- 
volution. This was carried so far that in many circles the 
name of our House was for a time uttered only with a 
certain aversion. 


It was so much talked about that in a large club, Prince 
Edward of Altenburg was much applauded by the older men 
for having remarked that it was a great pity that the Coburg 
Court could no longer be visited, because one would always 
expect to hear the word Belgium spoken there. I must 
mention this particularly, as this attempt, made for thirty 
years, to exclude our House, deeply influenced me and my 
brother's whole development. We were often put aside, and. 
as it were, forced into a pqsition opposed to the popular views 
of our circles in Germany. 

Can anyone think that the powerful victory of modern 
ideas of State, left no trace behind them on the German 
nation ? 

The German Confederacy had been undermined since the 
year 1819. There was no way of leading the Germany, 
created by the Vienna Congress, into a quiet and healthy line 
of development. The deep corruption must not be sought 
only in the unwieldy, severe and aimless use of means of pre- 
vention against all opposing measures as done by the govern- 
ment of police. The greatest injury to national development 
lay much more in the secret political wars, in which the 
members of the Confederacy were set against one another by 
the Carlsbad resolutions ! 

A design to strengthen the smaller Powers by the help of 
the greater, as it appeared during the conference of Ministers 
at Carlsbad and Vienna, must have called forth an opposition 
through which the most important national fundamental 
principles would have to be sacrificed. An interminable 
gradation of power amongst the members of the Confederacy, 
without the real state membership, and healthy friction of 
the natural difference in the various classes and divisions of 
the nation, undermined confidence in every familiar govern- 
ment measure, and, in fact, severed every bond of feeling in 
the Confederacy. 

In reigning circles the feeling for Germany was null ; the 
consideration for the Confederacy, shown by the single states 
was regarded only as a sad necessity. Amongst governments 
of such unequal strength, the experiences of twenty years 

disturbed all thought of state bonds to the same degree in 

O O 

which they began to grow in the nation. Whilst the separa- 
tion between the reigning heads and those over whom they 
reigned was growing ever wider, the desire to bring about a 
complete downfall was gradually gaining the upper hand. 
Public opinion was everywhere more republican than national. 

The July revolution found Germany in this condition. 

The movements which followed were next to the form of 
state and the constitutional questions regarded by the middle 
and smaller states as that which was known as liberalism, in 
imitation of the French struggles. The ancient mode was 
looked upon by conservative statesmen for the most part as 
untenable by virtue of the financial condition of the states, as 
for that reason success had hardly anywhere been obtained in 
putting straight the pecuniary affairs disturbed by years of 
war. The upper classes were obstinate about giving their 
consent to extra taxes and least of all inclined towards com- 
plying with the quickly increasing wants of the modern state 
particularly, as well as those of the army/ 

People therefore expected from the introduction of as like 
constitutions as possible, for instance, the French in its cor- 
rected form of 1830, or that which had just been adopted in 
Belgium, the healing of all the morbid diseases of the nation. 
The important experience to which Guizot once gives expres- 
sion, that political liberty is by no means inherent in an 
exclusive form of Government, was then only too greatly 
misapprehended in Germany, and it was believed that an 
only too sporadic political freedom might be conjured up in 
the smaller and middle states by bringing as quickly as pos- 
sible, the form of Government into force, which was regarded 
in the exclusive sense of the word as the only constitutional one. 

At the present day one can hardly imagine what an 
obstinate and stiff notion the fourth and fifth decade had of 
political freedom, and in half a lifetime more it will perhaps 
not be understood at all. Guizot's bent was looked upon in 
France as doctrinaire, but the constitutional doctrines of 
Germany accepted the peculiarities of a dogmatic form of 


Meanwhile, powerful upheavals had taken place in Southern 
and Western Germany. As early as the year 1830, noticeable 
tumults had broken out in the Prussian Rhine provinces. 
The movement in Cassel began on the 6th of September and 
was not stopped by the acceptance of the new constitution by 
the Grand-Duke on the 5th of January 1831. The September 
seditions in Leipzig and Dresden were followed by disturb- 
ances in almost all the large towns, and particularly 'in the 
manufacturing ones of Saxony. Prince Frederick's nomina- 
tion as co-regent and the appeal of the orders which were 
occupied with the working out of a new constitution, were of 
little use in reducing things to order. The deliberations and 
debates over the new constitutions had partly revealed a 
character of unfruitfulness, which gave continual rise to new 
and more excessive demands and disturbances. In Hanover, 
where the reign of King William IV opposed no difficulties 
to a constitutional revision, the new state's fundamental law 
was first published on the 26th of September 1833. 

The monarchical principle in Germany received its worst 
blow through the banishment of the Duke of Brunswick, 
whose attempts to regain possession of his power by main 
force threw Gotha for some time into a state of disquiet. I 
can still clearly remember the excitement when Prince Charles 
was making his preparations here, and improvising has 
attempted coup de main. 

A certain degree of uncertainty was felt in reigning circles 
as to what it would be best to do in the case. 

When the Confederacy expressed itself against the Duke, 
and Metternich negatived Bellinghausen's question whether 
the exiled Duke would receive help from the Confederacy, it 
seemed as if everything had all at once been changed. 

The German Great Powers and many smaller states had no 
clear perception of the fact that a forced compliance, un- 
attended by a real change of system, must become more 
hurtful and dangerous than the inflexibility which the Czar 
Nicholas manifested towards the Poles. 

Now, when I cast a special glance over the Thuringian 
Dukedoms, it is to be first remembered that a far-reaching 


change in the state of possession had taken place here but a 
few years before. It was therefore somewhat to be feared 
that the revolutionary movements in the west might also 
react on these small states. But it may be said that my 
father, in Coburg, as well as in the newly acquired Gotha, 
understood so well, through his great forbearance with and 
keen foresight into new wants, how to arrange matters, that, 
in the midst of the greatest commotion, everything remained 
quiet and tranquil. 

The time has now come to give a somewhat more exact 
account of the history of the Gotha succession, which fell to 
my father after manifold and, to some extent, very interesting 

It was, so to speak, the first matter of state which happened 
during my life, and which, through its immediate effect made 
a deep impression on me. But there were special moments in 
these small quarrels over the Gotha succession, which must 
have been of some worth as regarded the relation between 
the State and Confederacy, as well as the personal and 
dynastic condition of things. 

At the death of my grandfather Duke Augustus of Saxe- 
Gotha and Altenburg on the 17th of May 1822, the only 
living representative of his house, besides my mother, was 
Duke Frederick IV, who became a Catholic in 1807. It is 
certainly characteristic of the deeply-rooted dynastic tenacity 
which filled the particular states of even the single branches 
of a House, that in Gotha, at the death of Duke Augustus, no 
livelier wish was formed than that Duke Frederick, whose 
faculties were notoriously weak, should marry, because they 
did not want to come under a ' strange Government.' 

My grandfather had meantime, as early as the year 1821, 
made preparations in case his branch should die out, and pro- 
posed through Privy Counsellor von Lindenau to a conference 
of the Suxon Houses at Arnstadt in October, certain measures 
as the basis of a future negotiation concerning the succession. 
1. Saxe-Meiningen was to abandon the expected 
gradual-heirship, and on the other hand Saxe-Coburg 
and Saxe-Hildburghausen would not demand the fulfil- 


ment of the portion to be expected by them from the 
inheritance of Ernest the Pious. 

2. The strict segregation of the allodiums of the fief 
would be entirely abandoned, whereas Saxe-Meiningen and 
Saxe-Hildburghausen would pay the Duchess of Saxe- 
Coburg a fixed sum of money as allodial heiress-pre- 

3. Three Dukedoms w 7 ere to be formed out of the 
assembled possessions of the entire ducal Houses. 

(a) For Saxe-Meiningen from the present Meiningen 
lowlands and the Dukedom of Gotha. 

(?>) For Saxe-Coburg from the Meiningen high- 
lands, the Dukedom of Hildburghausen and the present 
possessions of Saxe-Coburg. 

(c) For Saxe-Hildburghausen from the Dukedom of 

Although these propositions made by Duke August were 
only generally accepted ad 'referendum, still it was at least 
agreed that in the case of Duke Augustus' unexpected death, 
the Government, in case Frederick IV's ability to succeed 
became doubtful, would be carried out in Gotha-Altenburg, 
in the name of the three related Saxon Courts, until the 
matter of succession was decided. 

Meanwhile Freiherr von Konitz. came forward immediately 
after the Arnstadt meeting of the Meiningen Ministers, with 
a written explanation that the lineal-gradual succession in 
the Ducal House of Saxonv still held, and that the Meinino-en 

*J O 

line would therefore have the next rio'ht to succeed. But 


this was on no account to occur, in case of dissatisfaction on 
the part of the other Houses concerned, particularly through 
a supplement to the inheritance of the house of Ernest 
perhaps expected by them. 

Whilst Meiningen was taking this standpoint more and 
more decisively, and interceding for the lineal-gradual succes- 
sion by means of various historically correct transactions, 
both of the other Saxon Houses appealed to the Roemhilder 
agreement of 1791, which established the strict inheritance of 
heirs of the line, and on the strength of this, tried particularly 


to place my father in opposition to Duke Bernhard Erich 
Freund. At my father's suggestion it was first decided, 
several months later in Meiningen, to entrust the affair of 
intervention between the related Courts to the Privy Coun- 
sellor von Lindenau of Gotha. 

As Duke Bernhard Erich agreed to take possession of the 
territory in the name of all three Courts should Duke Frederick 
die, the proposed future division of the land was so completely 
negatived that in the beginning of the year 1824, the feeling 
between the Courts was highly hostile. On the 16th of 
January 1 824, Duke Bernhard Erich wrote as follows to my 
father : 

' To your .... esteemed letter of the 5th of this month I 
have, after ripe reflection, the following humble reply to 
make : 

'I am fully convinced that I do not desire anything to 
which I have no right. But I cannot conceal from your, etc., 
that my confidence in my rights has been much strengthened 
of late. Regard for the interest of my House and the territory 
of Gotha and Altenburg does not allow me to return to the 
offers of July in the last year, nor to your, etc., negotiations ; I 
therefore invite your, etc., again openly expressing my humble 
views, to examine our several rights in the coinpromisory 
manner agreed upon, with the help of the Ducal Lord Agnates, 
named in the communication of the Lord Privy Councillor, 
and to have them rightly recognised. 

' Nothing which may occur between us in consequence of 
this matter, can lessen the great respect and friendly and 
cousinly, etc.' 

As the divisional transactions appeared in the main to be 
completely shipwrecked, my father no longer neglected making 
sure of the allodial inheritance of the Gotha-Altenburg land 
for his consort and sons. Already, on the 12th of May 1823, 
the Duchess Louise, my mother, as daughter to Duke August 
and sole heiress of the Gotha line, gave full powers to 
Counsellor of the Regency, Lotz, in accordance with the condi- 


tions of the established rules of the assembled lines of the 
Ducal House of Saxe-Gotha, on the 28th of July 1791, at 
Roemhild, to examine and settle the above-mentioned allodium, 
that it might be delivered up in case of the decease of 
Frederick IV. 

This settlement of the matter, which might be considered 
as an allodial inheritance, could not self-evidently be very 
well refused by the government of Gotha, and the more 
thoroughly and trustworthily this work was completed, the 
greater was the impression produced by the results themselves 
on the Duke Bernhard Erich. 

He might indeed have raised objections against the claims 
to a number of possessions as allodial inheritances, but this 
could only entangle the matter in a still greater degree. 

In consequence of my parents' separation, the rights of 
possession over the allodium of Gotha naturally descended to 
me and my brother Albert, on the 2nd of September 1824. 

When Duke Frederick IV died on the llth of February 
1825, Counsellor of the Regency, Lotz, had by particular 
command taken possession in my name and my brother's, of 
all offices and lands which appeared to belong to the allodial 
inheritance. This caused no inconsiderable excitement in 
Meiningen as well as in Hildburghausen. As both Courts 
protested against the allodial nature of the claimed property 
on the 25th of February and the llth of March, my father 
expressed himself on the 25th of April as ready to accept 
any reasonable accommodation on condition that his rights 
should not be too roughly handled. But the principal thing 
was that the case of the extinction of the line of Gotha had 
really occurred, and that even the basis of an understanding 
such as my grandfather had tried to establish in the year 
1822 had been completely destroyed. 

What was one to do, where could we find a solution 
according to state rights of the Thuringian inheritance 
question ? 

It is of interest that the arbitration gained the full con- 
sent of all statesmen, as well those of the smaller states as those 
of Austria and Prussia, on one point only. They were all 


decided on preferring every tribunal to that of the German 
Confederacy. If the absolute emptiness, according to law, of 
the regulations of the Confederacy was ever shown, it was 
shown in the affair of the Thuringian inheritance. 

If it had been in any way possible, the Thuringian Courts 
would have preferred to raise the matter to an international 
question. Duke Frederick's death and the state of things at 
that moment were known to every Court, and from both 
German and foreign Governments came expressions of sym- 
pathy and the heart-felt wish that the matter might be 
reduced to arbitration amongst the Saxon Houses alone. 
Here and there only was a notion that ' the co-operation of 
the assembled Confederacy might be necessary ' thought of 
as possible. 

The King of Wiirtemberg declared that in this case, he 
would be influenced in the view he took of this case, only by 
what was right, as was his custom. 

Frederick William II, on the contrary, limited himself to 
assuring the Saxon Houses of his honest sympathy in this 
painful affair. King Max Joseph of Bavaria alone spoke at 
some length of the whole case, and was the first to suggest an 
idea which was afterwards to lead to the untying of the knot. 
' This situation fills me with an honest desire to see such 
pitiable misunderstandings cleared away as soon as possible 
by an amicable agreement. As a just decision is connected 
through arbitration, partly with a process of mediation as 
fruitless as it is far-fetched, partly as tiresome in itself, it 
would, in my estimation, be more advantageous for both sides, 
if, failing to come to an agreement concerning this purely 
family matter, they would submit to some compromise, the 
rules of which might perhaps be requested of His Royal 
Majesty of Saxony, as the Head of the whole House, or the 
Grand Duke of Weimar, as the Head of the Ernestine line.' 

The whole question of succession assumed, through the 
introduction of foreign Powers, an aspect all the more grave, 
that, with few exceptions, everyone was convinced that in 
Germany's new rule of Alliance, Germany by no means 
possessed inward strength enough to make a just decision. 


The Emperor Alexander was also tempted to raise himself 
up in private German affairs, and it may further be said that 
it was a great piece of good luck that the matter occurred 
before the Emperor Nicholas ascended the throne, for he 
would have taken advantage of such an opportunity to make 
Germany feel the supremacy which he would fain have had 
over her. 

The Emperor Alexander, on the contrary, showed himself 
unwilling to accede to the request for intervention, made to 
him in the hurry of affairs. On the 14th of March, 1825, he 
wrote with acknowledged unselfishness : 

' I hear with real pain from Your Most Serene Highness's 
letter of the 19th February that divers opinions have arisen 
amono\st the different branches of the House of Saxe-Gotha, 

t> * 

owing to the extinction of the line of Gotha-Altenburg. 
The questions which have been brought forward by this 
unfortunate event too nearly touch the quiet and well-being 
of an interesting portion of Germany for me not to feel a 
sincere wish to see them settled as soon as possible, according 
to principles of strict justice and political reasoning. 

' But, faithful to the line of conduct which I have invari- 
ably set down for myself, with regard to the affairs of Germany, 
I could not take part in any intervention like that which at 
this moment fills their Ducal Highnesses of Saxony with 
solicitude. Doubtless Your Most Serene Highness will not 
fail to appreciate the motives which lead me to act in this 
way. I beg you to accept the assurance of my distinguished 
consideration. ALEXANDER. 

'St Petersburg, the 1-ith March, 1825.' 

Austria's attitude, which must doubtless have made a 
steady impression upon Duke Bernhard Erich also, was all 
the more important under these circumstances. 

The state of affairs in the Thuringian Dukedom was too 
well known to Prince Metternich for him to have been able 
to decide the lineal-gradual succession represented by Mein- 


A very good understanding had already existed between 
Metternich and my father, born of the campaigns of 1813 and 
1814, as well as the time of Congress. In his journeys to 
Johannisberg, Metternich seldom failed to make an excursion 
to Coburg, of which he was very fond. My father had thus 
learned the most important events of the Congress of 1820- 
22 from Metternich, and therefrom sprung a lively and most 
friendly interchange of letters between the two men, of which 
I shall however make no use, as they date farther back than 
ray remembrance ; I may, however, be allowed to fully repro- 
duce Metternich's energetic letter of the 27th February 1 825, 
on the Gotha succession affair, as it was not without import- 
ance on account of its juridical contents, and at the same 
time showed in what moral and political preponderance the 
Austrian Chancellor stood with regard to German matters. 

' MOST SERENE DUCAL HIGHNESS, The information so 
kindly conveyed to me by your Serene Highness, through the 
honoured letter of the 14th inst., concerning the sudden 
decease of your Serene Highness's Lord Uncle his late 
reigning Serene Highness, the Duke of Saxe-Gotha, I allow 

n o c* 

myself the honour hereby to express my most hearty con- 
dolence, as well as my honest desire that kind Providence 
may be inclined to compensate for this sad occurrence by 
pleasant and cheering events for your Serene Highness's self 
and your Serene Highness's House. 

' As your Serene Highness was at the same time pleased to 
generally express yourself on this occasion concerning the 
succession to the land of the now extinguished House of Saxe- 
Gotha and Altenburg, and to acquaint me particularly with 
the steps already taken in this affair by your Serene Highness 
and the two Agnatic Houses of Saxe-Hildburghausen and 
Meiningen, I look upon it as a pleasant duty, in return for the 
valuable confidence reposed in me by your Serene Highness, 
to lay bare to you, through a confidential communication, the 
views which his Majesty the Emperor, my Most Gracious Lord, 
has, after ripe judgment and consideration, taken of this 


' His Majesty, the Emperor, is considering the claims of the 
three courts to the Gotha succession, in every way befitting 
the existing state of things, under the commonly published 
patent of the llth of this month, as this document and its 
firmly established provisions sufficiently warrant not only 
the continuance of peace and order, and a settled condi- 
tion of things in the interior of the suddenly orphaned land 
but at the same time vouched for an agreeable proof of the 
careful consideration of those beneficent rules which, according 
to its spirit, form the basis of the confederate German states. 

' It is with real regret that His Majesty the Emperor owns 
his ability to see but one substantial anomalous rule of 
measure in the entirely correct line of conduct marked out by 
His Serene Highness the Duke of Saxe-Meiningen, in his 
recently issued proclamation, which was followed on the 13th 
inst. by the partly extorted declarations of your Serene 
Highness and that of my Lord Duke of Saxe-Hildburghausen, 
and through which the matter has assumed a contentious 
character which should only be permissible in case it helped 
towards the settlement of the existing controversy in the form 
of a resort legitimately referred to, and then only in case of 
the unexpected non-success of the heartfelt wishes and atten- 
dant efforts of the Imperial Court to unite the three Princes 
concerned in a definite regulation and equalisation of this 
family matter. 

' Concerning the grounds on which His Majesty the Emperor 
thinks it necessary to regard the latter as such only, and the 
manner in which it is therefore to be handled, in order to 
bring about a settlement, I allow myself with all possible 
curtness to give Your Serene Highness the following informa- 
tion : As the indivisibility of a hitherto independent territory 
belonging to the German Confederacy is by no means required 
and decided by any clause in the act of Confederacy and 
settlement, particularly when it is a question, as here, of 
the revival of the rights of succession of several parties and 
as, consequently, the matter of succession in question is, as 
regards its settlement, in no way hindered from outside by 
any principle disturbing to the development and consideration 


of the sources and stopping point which present themselves, it 
will therefore come to pass that the present family compact 
of the Saxe-Gotha line and their stipulations will receive a 
proper application. 

' Now, the task of bringing this about should first of all 
be the object of negotiations, begun without delay by the 
three Courts interested, the success of which, notwithstanding 
the preliminaries which have already pointed to the contrary, 
may still be hoped for as, in such cases of modality, there are 
so many according to whom the single demands can be reci- 
procally equalised, but particularly when the latter adhere to 
the essential point of view, that an amicable alliance between 
near relations and members of one and the same ancient and 
venerable race would, in the eyes of the world, furnish a 
pleasing and honourable proof of the moderation of German 
Princes, and, in the real interest of those concerned, will 
therefore avoid all those accidents which invariably occur, 
and often contrary to all probability, when the influence of 
justice is brought to bear on a matter, a negotiation thus 
fitted for the free expression of the will of the different parties 
will also show itself to be necessary and useful, if all attempts 
to bring about an amicable equalisation between the three 
Courts remain fruitless, for it would then be necessary to 
investigate the matter, and bring about an understanding at 
least, by which means the much talked of question of succes- 
sion would be settled, and a decision arrived at, as to what 
judicial influence should be brought to bear according to the 
measures named in Art. 24, of the Settlements Act. 

4 If, however, such an alliance is not to be arrived at, the 
principal question in dispute would have to be brought before 
the Confederate Assembly and left to them, and the proceed- 
ings observed which the Confederate and Settlements Act have 
indicated for quarrels between members of the Confederacy. 

' That, in any case, the proviso made by a free alliance of 
the three Courts must be strictly kept up, as regards the 
temporal stewardship of the object to be inherited, the con- 
formability of which I have already had the honour of showing, 
and that the proclamation issued in common by the three 



Courts on the llth of February in the present year has 
furnished a basis for their provisory possession, to which the 
decisions of Arts. 19 and 20 of the Settlements Act must be 
applied, His Majesty the Emperor is so convinced, that be 
himself by virtue of the duties which you have undertaken to 
fulfil towards the Confederacy, would take an interest in 
providing the necessary opening for these principles. 

' Whilst flattering myself that Your Serene Highness may 
find in this explanation of the views of my most high Court 
a clue to the correct path, I have the honour to be, with 
the greatest reverence, Your Serene Highness's obedient 


' Vienna, Feb 27, 1825.' 

After this letter it was impossible to believe that nearty 
two years would pass before this affair had been brought to 
a close. 

At length my father united with the Duke of Hildburg- 
hausen, in asking for the intervention of the King of Saxony. 
The Hildburghausen Privy Councillor von Braun travelled to 
Dresden, to win the King over to act as intervener. In a 
very amiable letter to the kindred Courts, Frederick Augustus 
declared his readiness, and after a careful choice of the fitting 
persons the negotiations proper began in the spring of 1826. 

Privy Councillor von Braun, for Coburg and Hildburg- 
hausen, was instructed from the beginning that only such 
mterveners could be accepted as were decidedly against the 
lineal gradual-succession principle. In this way the affair 
had fallen to Privy Councillor of Justice Schaarschmidt and 
General von Minckwitz. 

When these latter made their first visit to the Court of 
Meiningen in May 1826, things still appeared in a bad light 
to them. Three of the proposed plans for the division of the 
land of Gotha-Altenburg were altogether rejected, and when 
the Grand-Duke of Weimar came to Meiningen, Freiherr von 
Kautz informed my father that they had made up their minds 
there to lay the whole matter before the Confederacy. How- 


ever, in July, Duke Bernhard Erich, travelling to Teplitz had 
met King Frederick William III, and tried, it seems, to win 
Prussia over to getting the Confederacy to look after the 
matter. But, as could hardly be doubted, he made a great 
mistake in expecting Prussia to take any side in a German 
affair after the outspoken opinion of the Austrian Cabinet. 

After Duke Bernhard Erich's return from Teplitz, he 
showed himself less opposed to the plans of division, and the 
conferences held in the beginning of August 1826, at Lieben- 
stein, by Councillors Minckwitz, Schaarschmidt, Braun, Car- 
lowitz, Konitz, Wiistemann, Lotz and Fischer, at length ren- 
dered possible the forming of a preliminary agreement, which 
fully contains every principal trait on which rests the present 
rights of possession of the three Thuringian Dukedoms. 

Whilst on the 17th of July 1826, the plans of division still 
rested on the principle of the surrender of Gotha to Meiningen, 
Altenburg to Hildburghausen and the extension of Coburg, 
in the sense of the territory being rounded off through Hild- 
burghausen as far as Saalfeld, a basis of union was suddenly 
erected, through which the Dukedom of Coburg as such would 
certainly gain the least. 

Its power of endurance was placed in question by its 
cessions and isolation. My father was indeed Duke of Gotha, 
and if it had lain more in the German character to give up 
the more weighty particularistic tendencies sooner and more 
quickly than was the case, the extension of territory for the 
new family possession might have made up for the loss of a 
number of Coburg offices ; but as things were, the common 
administration of Coburg and Gotha did not seem far off. 
The tangled matter looked as if it would last until my 
accession, even outlive the great storms of the year 1848, and 
give rise to endless labour, discord and waste of time. 

Although under these circumstances the decision of the 
question of succession was allied to many inconveniences for 
my father, and the satisfaction in Coburg itself was not very 
great, yet he may be said to have been the man who conquered 
the little territory's opposition ; he therefore did not hesitate 
a moment before ratifying the Liebenstein preliminaries. In 


his own way he was already completely filled with the thought 
of taking possession of Gotha, and receiving the homage of 
his new subjects with all ceremony. I still well remember 
the two cold November days on which we journeyed from 
Coburg to Gotha, my father in front with the Prince of 
Leiningen, and my brother, myself and Florschuetz in the 
second carriage. The entire household was also on the move, 
some preceding, others following us. 

We assembled together on the 25th of November, at 
Siebleben, to form the grand procession which was to enter 
the new capital. 

My father was on horseback, my brother and I drove in 
an open carriage, drawn by six horses, with the Chamberlain 
Erffa and Counsellor Florschuetz, whilst a second empty six- 
horse conveyance followed behind, and the gentlemen of the 
bed-chamber and courtiers followed in the third and fourth 
only. Mounted gendarmes preceded the procession, together 
with all the Post-Office officials and postillions, the young men 
in office, the volunteers, and the ducal huntsmen. Soldiers 
and mounted Gendarmes closed the procession, which moved 
solemnly through the gates of the town towards the castle. 
It will be easy to imagine the entertainment and festivities, 
which lasted a whole week in Gotha, and concerning which 
the foreign newspapers published manifold bits of news. 
There is a characteristic remark of Perthes', whose words must 
nowhere fail to be repeated, when my poor father and his 
entrance into power are in question. 

' My monarchical principles,' wrote Frederick Perthes in 
the year 1826, have gained new followers, for everything 
suddenly devolves to the new Prince ; he is indeed, like King 
Saul, a head taller than everybody else, is full of princely 
worth, very well-informed and consequently very popular ; 
he knows everything and takes an interest in everything; 
everyone is enchanted, and the Napoleonic reasoners, the 
men of Wartburg and the Republicans of the Greek and 
Romish authors have acquired a ducally-inclined heart over- 

My father produced the same effect in the year 1830, when 


as Perthes said, ' everything round showed Gotha cracked and 

The Duke at once took the initiative, so as to remedy real 
injuries and took in hand the necessary changes in state 
affairs. Thus he could point out how, in 1821, he gave a 
constitutional government to the Dukedom of Coburg-Saal- 
feld of his own accord. 

The complaints of the Coburgers were not of an intrinsi- 
cally political nature ; their griefs sprung from local causes, 
which allowed of momentary help with regard to forestry and 
venery, but which, if further looked into, were connected 
with questions of right of demesne, which were first regulated 
and fully carried out much later by me. At any rate, the 
movement of the year 1830 passed over the Dukedoms without 
any inner disturbance, and both at home and abroad the 
Duke increased greatly in popular consideration. 

He at least furnished proof that through good and well- 
regulated administration, a great deal could be done in 
countries where the population recognise good-will in these 
matters on the part of the Government, and in this way the 
most dangerous weapons were wrested from the passionately 
followed political doctrines and experiments. 

In the year 1833 my father associated himself, after long 
negotiations, which had been going on since the Gotha succes- 
sion question, with the Dukes of Meiningen and Altenburg, 
with a view to reviving the ancient order of German probity. 
Its new foundation was based upon the common rights of all 
three founders. The Dukes assembled in Gotha on the 2oth 
of December, where the new statutes of the Order were 
ratified by a solemn act. On the other hand, the possession 
of Lichtenberg on the Rhine proved itself to be a heavy 
burden in these disturbed years. My father had continued 
the negotiations concerning the definite cession of the terri- 
tory to Prussia in most earnest and honest manner. But it 
will yet be shown how many difficulties he found and how 
little he was met half-way in this matter in Berlin. 

A lasting settlement of the economical relations of the 
small states could, of course, be made only after the proposed 


endeavours of the years 1815 and 1820, to unite in the 
departments of commerce and industry had become an actual 

The German Confederacy could do nothing in this matter 
at their Assembly. 

The reorganisation of German political economy was 
accomplished by toll-unions, apart from the States' institutions, 
on which the Confederacy was based, and the necessities of 
material intercourse brought the small States into new relations 
with Prussia. 

It must not be supposed that the political bearing of the 
development of the toll-union apart from the Confederacy, 
and with the exemption of Austria, was not appreciated, or 
that the dangers to the States' union arising from it were 
underrated. But the desire for a total change in the econo- 
mical relations made it so exceedingly important, that no 
political consideration could have prevailed against it. Even 
the Austrian States' Chancellor, who with just eye immediately 
recognised in the toll-unions the beginning of the end of the 
German Confederacy, as is seen in his published Memoirs, was 
entirely incapable of doing anything against this pressure of 
material unavoidabilities. 

My father was by no means inclined to adopt the Prussian 
toll politics, but he might expect that the union of single 
territories would be of some use. 

The Prussian bureaurocracy, however, treated these 
matters solely from the point of view of the lion's share. 
Therefore, it was natural that misunderstandings arose, which 
I am unable to describe, but concerning which I must not be 
silent, as they have hitherto found but partial judgment, 
It was characteristic of the might of Prussian politics in those 
days, that they did not even want to ask for a road to be 
made through the forest, without which the Prussian toll- 
union must become the total ruin of the small Thuringian 

Prussia had meanwhile begun to domineer over both 
intellectual and material interests. As she did not like to 
rival Austria and the Confederacy politically, and was far 


from making concessions to Liberalism itself, she saw with 
pleasure how the Diet exhausted and wore itself out in police 
regulations against the invading party undertakings of a 
national and republican tendency. 

The history of the secret societies of Germany, in 1830- 
1848 has not yet been written, and is certainly to be formed 
of material which has the worst historical source. The police 
reports of the revolutionary societies and assemblies which 
are to be found in sufficient abundance, cannot be entirely 
believed, and the partly examined papers of the central 
commission of inquiry newly appointed on the 20th of June, 
1833, have been of but little use. 

The secrecy with which trials were carried on, throughout 
the greater part of Germany, and the fact that in the public 
courts the accused were generally acquitted, gave birth to a 
suspicious spirit, to banish which the Government showed 
themselves absolutely unable. Secrectly distributed books 
and pamphlets, full of the maddest radicalism, were placed in 
masses in the hands of the people and the young men at the 
Universities. The decisions of the German Confederacy 
began therefore to be turned by preference against the Press 
from the year 1832. 

Through the ever deepening effort to stop the baleful 
influence of these writings by means of preventive measures, 
the Confederacy saw itself drawn into juridical monstrosities 
on account of the dissimilarity in the handling of licences, 
that writings which had been already passed by the censor 
should be afterwards criminally prosecuted. 

As the deliberations of the Confederacy were carried on 
in a slow and dragging manner, as was natural to it, a new 
conference of Ministers was called in the summer of 1834 in 
Vienna, from which proceeded a treatise which embraced sixty 
articles, and which in any case marked the highest point of 
the repressive rules, under which Germany suffered for more 
than ten years. 

That the pretended dangers to the state were now to be 
discovered not only in the revolutionary risings, but in the 
meetings and representations of the classes was shown in the 


prohibition to publish the speeches and business of the House 
of Representatives. 

My and my brother's acquaintance with the official world 
of Europe happened during this reactionary time. We went 
away after Easter 1835, immediately after our confirmation, 
to attend the fifty years' Jubilee of the Grand-Duke of 
Mecklenburg-Schwerin, who was our grandfather on the 
mother's side. 

On our way thither we spent the first night at Gottingen, 
in order to visit our countryman Blumenbach, the celebrated 
naturalist. Arrived in Schwerin, we found a rare crowd of 
important persons belonging to all the allied German Houses. 
More than fifty near relations of the old Duke were counted, 
who had assembled here in beautiful harmony ; many amongst 
them looked not without wonder on that German State, over 
which the revolutionary storms of the century had passed 
without leaving a trace behind them, and whose firm, patri- 
archical condition, as in the Middle Ages, might well fill other 
princes with envy. 

Amongst these assembled princes there were many who 
promised a glorious future, and some who afterwards really 
played great parts. My attention was particularly attracted 
to the Crown Prince of Prussia, who had long had the name 
amongst the rising generation of being the most extraordinary 
and intellectual Prince of our times. Everyone spoke of the 
man who was destined to rule the largest German State. 

This clever Crown Prince of Prussia, the learned scientist, 
the deep thinker and free -minded politician, as he was 
universally considered, was looked upon by some with uneasy 
fear on account of the uncertainties of these times of innova- 
tion, while his appearance caused others to wonder what the 
results would be if, after the lapse of a hundred years, another 
important man at length mounted the throne of Prussia. 
Thus, and not without the greatest attention, my brother and 
I too saw the Prince who played a great part in my life, I 
may even say, with regard to the course of German politics, 
the greatest part, and whose strange, enigmatical ways, whicli 
up to the present day have never been rightly delineated, 


were destined to heap so much pain on men singly, as well 
as on the whole nation. 

Frederick William IV was at that time in his forty-first 
year, and was remarkably corpulent for his age. His fine, 
intellectual expression, the freshness of his conversation, his 
ever ready sarcastic remarks could not fail to produce, in 
young men, like my brother and myself, a degree of en- 
thusiasm for the much courted successor to the throne of 
Prussia. Added to that, the Crown Prince bestowed unusual 
attention upon us. 

He asked with the greatest amiability about our studies 
and plans, and appeared well pleased at the happy, confident 
way in which we young people viewed life. Under the pre- 
supposition that we as German Princes would one day make 
up our minds to help in the improvement of the world and 
the condition of the Fatherland, he promised us his friendly 

He seemed persuaded that it was time to lay the axe to 
the evils of the time ; he could speak fine words about 
Germany's wants, and showed himself entirely different from 
all the other Princes in his whole original views on every- 

When the festive days of Schwerin had come to an end, 
my father thought it proper that we should be introduced at 
the Court of Berlin. Therefore, whilst we were still staying 
behind in Schwerin, my father drove first to the Prussian 
capital, and waited there for us. We received the heartiest 
reception from Frederick William III, lived at the Castle, 
and wore the uniform of our officers. 

King Frederick still looked very vigorous, and had some- 
thing winning and fatherly about him. The young people 
were met on all sides by kindness and friendliness, and our 
near acquaintance with the Princes of the Prussian House 
dated from this moment. We then travelled to Dresden, and 
stayed awhile at the old Court. King Anton and Prince Max 
still lived entirely in the reminiscences of the preceding 
century ; the latter caused us great astonishment by never 
wearing any covering on his head. 


Our journey then led us to Vienna, where we stopped 
for several weeks with our uncle Prince Ferdinand. The 
Emperor Francis had died shortly before, and the moment at 
which we happened to be there thus appeared all the more 
important. For, added to the Emperor Ferdinand's ascension 
of the throne, was the expectation that the Emperor Francis' 
fixed, absolute system would in some degree be modified. 
People spoke of the ruler's good nature, and said that the all- 
powerful Minister would now gain more freedom with which to 
make good many a plan of action, by means of which, during 
the past years, Austria's politics had burdened Germany like 
a mighty mountain. 

It was then that I, for the first time, saw Prince Metternich, 
who had so long been a friend of my father's, and remained 
in correspondence with him. He was very talkative, and 
showed a great deal of interest in all the members of our 
House. He always felt the greatest admiration for our 

As further regarded the Austrian Court, we were as frostily 
received in Vienna as we had been warmly welcomed in 
Berlin. It is true that of the older Princes, the Archduke 
Charles had been my guardian since the year 1826, but this 
relation was no inducement to him to be a little freer. His 
sons Albert and Frederick stood nearer to us, two princes who 
passed for the most gifted and promising of all the young 

The close unity of the whole system of the Court was 
remarkable. The different lines of the House were almost 
like different dynasties, and next came the family of the Arch- 
duke Francis Charles, whose clever Bavarian consort brought a 
fermenting element into the barren Lothringian world, which 
little by little threw religiously and politically old-fashioned 
Austria out of order. Before we left Vienna to return to our 
Austrian hosts we made many an excursion with our cousins 
to Hungary and Mahren. 

Instructive and remarkable as was everything which we 
saw on this journey, it nevertheless inspired us with less 
interest than the Congress of Teplitz the same year, at which 


we were also present with our father. An event which was 
to bring guarantees for the principles of stability and alliance 
of the Eastern Powers to the European States, which had 
been so deeply shaken since the year 1830. 

The great military celebration of fraternisation between 
Prussia and Russia had just been brought to a close in Kalisch. 
The Emperor Nicholas wished the new Emperor of Austria 
to be received into the brotherhood which had just been 
completed before the whole world, and thus arose the 
Assembly of Monarchs in Teplitz, where, without being 
directly invited, almost all the reigning German Princes were 
present with their sons, to offer their homage to the new 
Austrian Emperor, and really more principally to the Russian 

One point was clear to the Princes present at Teplitz, that 
with regard to old Frederick William III and the new 
Emperor of Austria, the Emperor of Russia held the power 
completely in his own hands. Some time previously he had 
conceived the idea of contesting the succession of sickly 
Ferdinand of Austria, and now that Austrian politics were 
entirely subordinate, he was remarkably attentive to the new 
monarch in person, and together with all the other Princes, 
followed the Emperor of Austria to renewed festivities in the 
Bohemian capital. From that time forth began the Russian 
ascendency in Germany. 

As regards anything personal which occurred to us during 
the Congress of Teplitz, my first meeting here with the Arch- 
duke John may be cited as an interesting reminiscence. This 
Prince's simple mode of thought, his great learning, his warm 
sympathy in German affairs singled him out from the other 
personages whose acquaintance we had made a few months 
before in Vienna. 

How greatly the pressure of the Alliance of the Eastern 
Powers, or rather Russia's domineering influence reacted on 
German affairs, was soon shown in Hanover, where the legal 
consistency of a constitution was cancelled and went un- 
punished by Confederate jurisdiction. 

After the death of King William IV of England and 


Hanover, the personal bond between the two lands was 
loosened, after having lasted 123 years. The peculiar re- 
actions which this bond had produced in the entire political 
history of Germany ceased. King Ernest Augustus made his 
entry into Hanover on the 30th of June 1837, and began his 
reign with an unequalled revolution. The adjournment of 
the States Assembly on the 3rd of July was followed on the 
1st of November by a political stratagem, which, on account 
of its complete uselessness raised astonishment and horror 
even in Conservative circles. Only where there was total 
ignorance of the relations and state of things, particularly in 
the small German States, could approval of the Hanoverian 
King's actions be found. 

Austria's and Russia's influence in the German Diet might 
denote a momentary triumph by adoption of the principles 
of non-intervention; only the more foreseeing amongst the 
existing generation at once recognised the seed sown in the 
Hanoverian conflict, and very open speeches were made as to 
the consequences of the affair. 

When the expulsion of the Gottingen seven from the 
university followed and a personal martyrdom was coupled 
with the abstract breach of law, the excitement was all the 
deeper, as these events almost went beyond the pale of politics 
and touched upon the tender subject of private rights and 

If ever the universally wrong and at the same time worn 
out phrase that a mistake in politics is worse than a crime, 
ever turned out to be correct, it was in connection with the 
English Prince's appearance in Germany. The younger genera- 
tion had no doubt that a mistake as well as a crime lay in 
the shattering of the constitution of Hanover. In later times 
this matter has been more quietly and soberly judged, and 
there have not even failed to be some who grudged the seven 
poor men of Gottingen, the faded laurels of their former 
popularity. The Hanoverian breach of constitution was 
approved of by the German Confederacy, but the impression 
which this deed made caused the fall of this kingdom, thirty 
years later, to appear as a just punishment. I myself ex- 


pressed my indignation to my uncle, in Brussels, who was of 
my opinion, in a letter written on the 18th of July, 1837, and 
running as follows : 

' Everyone is full of Hanover and her misfortune, as people 
freely express it. Every step which has already been taken 
seems to point to the fact that the new king wishes to over- 
throw the constitution. 

' Popular feeling in Hanover is said to be very much roused. 
It would really be dreadful if Germany's peace were to be 
disturbed by such wilful, revolting measures, and if it should 
be allowed to go so far unpunished that the people would be 
forced to regain their rights by fighting.' 

In Hanover, as in most of the German States, these events 
were followed by a kind of apathy, to which only the southern 
territories, particularly Baden, made an exception. Liberalism 
had been able to develop unhindered in the transactions of 
the Court there, and found the greatest consideration through 
the attacks made from Baden on the Confederacy and its 
decisions. However, whilst in internecine matters monarchical 
principles particularly met with uneasiness or secret opposi- 
tion, the Great Powers were almost entirely taken up by the 
universal European question. 

Spain, Portugal and the Orient were the battlefield on 
which they fought their diplomatic engagements. 

Since 1832, Belgium formed the real connecting link in 
the relation between France and England. If the still 
unsettled disputes with Holland, and their refusal to recognise 
the articles of peace drawn up by the London Conference, were 
to be taken as expressions of the opposition of the Western 
Powers to those of East Europe, King Leopold's personal and 
pleasant relations with the Courts of England and France 
formed an unusual kind of cement. 

The alliance between France and England was still re- 
garded at that time as something new and unheard of. Not 
yet settled and partly in contradiction to the economical and 
national interests of both lands, this connection therefore 
needed ever new impulse, new food and new support from 
th'-ii Governments. 


The condition of things on the Iberian Peninsula, partially 
forced Louis Philippe into the system which England had 
uninterruptedly followed since Canning ; but on the other 
hand, this also gave him many grounds for jealousy. 
Palmerston could now regard as a splendid prize his success 
in obtaining the conclusion of the Quadruple Alliance on the 
22nd of April 1834. But all after effects of the same 
depended on whether Spain and Portugal would find the right 
men to guarantee to the allied States, a firm support against 
the pretenders and their despotism in the unhappy countries 

England was in this respect luckier in the adoption of 
measures in Portugal, than Louis Philippe with his protegees 
in Spain. No wonder, then, that the English Cabinet suc- 
ceeded with difficulty only in keeping the King of France 
bound fast to the stakes of the Quadruple Alliance. Palmer- 
ston warned and blamed, he prophesied mischief and punish- 
ment, if France did not keep closer to the spirit of the 
agreement, which had not been otherwise looked upon except 
as a means of driving Don Carlos from Spain. 

Meanwhile the Portuguese question had been brought to a 
happier close, in which King Leopold's hand was also to be 
recognised. The return of the Emperor Don Pedro to 
Europe had quickly put an end to Don Miguel's dominion. 

After the defeats which his partisans suffered at Santa 
Maria through General Saldanha, and at Affeiceira through 
Yillaflor on the 18th of February and the 15th of May 1834, 
Don Miguel was forced to surrender, to resign and to leave 
the country. He went first to Italy where he denied all his 
former statements. In after years he settled in Germany, 
where, by means of intrigues and granting orders he caused 
himself to be much talked about. The Chronique Scandaleuse 
told the most various stories concerning his relations with the 

Although the Miguelists had tried by every means in their 
power to make the victory of Liberalism in Portugal retro- 
gressive, still Donna Maria succeeded, after Don Pedro's 
death on the 24th of September 1834, in tightly grasping the 


reins of power in her hand, and her first marriage with the 
Duke of Leuchtenberg promised a happy solution of all 
difficulties. Unluckily, however, the Prince died three months 
after his marriage. 

In later years I learned to know Donna Maria personally, 
and looked upon her as the most prominent woman of our 
times. But in 1835 I still felt very little interest in the 
dangerous struggles of a far-off land, whence an Embassy 
Extraordinary, with Count Lavradio, afterwards Minister and 
Leader of the Liberal party, came to Coburg, to marry my 
cousin Ferdinand to the young Queen of Portugal, who seemed 
unfortunate in more than one respect. My uncle Ferdinand's 
whole family had already come to Coburg in the autumn, 
with the object of settling the business matters under my 
father's directions. On the 6th of December 1835 Stockmar 
and Minister von Carlowitz drew up the contract of marriage 
with the Portuguese Plenipotentiaries, and the marriage took 
place by proxy in January. 

We young people parted from our loved and talented kins- 
man and comrade not without anxiety, when we prepared in 
the spring for the journey to the land which then appeared so 
extraordinarily far off, and where, on the 9th of April, the 
marriage with Donna Maria was to be celebrated at Lisbon. 
This matter had doubtless been brought to pass by Lord 
Palmerston, whilst Louis Philippe had tried to make the Due 
de Nemours the successful candidate. 

My uncle Ferdinand himself had not been easily won over 
to the project. But his son was more fitted for the difficult 
position through his many gifts and great knowledge than 
any other of the German Princes. 

His father accompanied him to Lisbon by way of Brussels 
and London, at which Courts the Prince was shown royal 
honours much to the displeasure of many German diplomates. 
He was followed to Portugal by his former governor, an 
excellent German, a Coburger of the name of Dietz, who after- 
wards earned the highest merit by his part in- the settling of 
affairs in Lisbon, and who was especially clever in bringing 
about the best terms between Donna Maria and her consort. 


Whoever visited Portugal in after years received most of 
all the impression that our House has become at home in the 
proper sense of the word. According to the constitutional 
custom of Portugal the Prince Consort assumed the title of 
King, after the edge of all intrigues against my cousin had 
been dulled by the birth of a royal Prince on the 16th of 
September 1837. 

If the fortification of Donna Maria's throne was not 
decidedly attained during the next few years, the cause lay 
to a great degree in the condition of the neighbouring kingdom 
of Spain, where the principles of the Quadruple Alliance had, 
as already remarked above, been much less deeply implanted 
through France's uncertain attitude, than might have been 
desired. As the question of Spain's peace likewise depended 
later upon the bringing about of a marriage in which the 
House of Coburg was involved, I shall refer very frequently 
to the state of things in the Iberian peninsula. 

Meanwhile the Oriental question of the Allies of 1834, 
whose union, as has been seen, never stood on a very firm 
foundation, became more and more divided. As I must here 
touch upon Oriental affairs, even if only superficially, in order 
to explain the differences between the Western Powers, it will 
be allowable to go back to the events which had meantime 
occurred in Greece, as my recollections, and the documents 
which now lie before me call up a list of circumstances which 
have hitherto been completely ignored. They show how much 
trouble my uncle still gave himself, even after his resignation 
of the Greek kingdom, to help in these matters, and bring 
about the well-being of Greece. 

After the murder of President Capodistrias on the 9th of 
October 1831, the greatest anarchy reigned in Greece, and it 
appeared as if the state laboriously erected by European 
statesmen must fall again. 

The friends of Greece, in Germany, England and France, 
feared they would be driven to despair over their work, as it 
was quite impossible to succeed in satisfying the strong 
monarchical tendencies of the nation by raising a throne. A 
.sort of continual complaint appeared to be made against my 


uncle by the course taken by Greek affairs, through his having 
refused a position for which he seemed more fitted than any 
other Prince. The enduring interest which he fostered for 
Greek concerns caused him fits of remorse, and he was con- 
tinually busied in trying to find a substitute. At the same 
time, with rare conviction, he held fast to the principles which 
he looked upon as absolutely necessary to the existence of the 
new state, and on the acceptance of which he looked upon the 
whole matter as dependent. It was thus that the thought 
occurred to him of bringing forward his own brother, my 
father, as a candidate for the Greek throne, and for this 
purpose he opened negotiations with the English and French 

As Capodistria's brother Count Augustin could not succeed 
in being fully recognised as his successor in the Presidency, 
and could utter nothing but complaints to Eynard and 
Palmerston of his burdensome task, seeking, on the other 
hand, with ill judged haste, the most partial dependence on 
Russia, the choice of a king was very important to the two 
Western Powers, as it had become a life and death question of 
their political position in the Orient. 

King Leopold seized this moment with the right perception, 
that under this condition of affairs it might more easily be 
possible to induce the Western Powers to grant him con- 
cessions for a fresh candidate, which had been refused to him- 
self two years before. 

It is certainly very worthy of notice, that on the 21st of 
January, 1832, he expressed his sorrow to my father, that an 
improvement in the boundary lines of Greece had not been 
granted him, otherwise he would have been there. My father 
also had from the first moment of the negotiations exacted the 
boundary lines for the new state which King Leopold had 
demanded. Besides this, it was at that time hoped that the 
Ionian Islands would be given up to Greece, a present due to 
England's generosity, which would have uncommonly lightened 
the King's position. 

It is not to be doubted that the Western Powers may have 
been frightened back by the slow progress of the negotiations 

VOL. I. E 


with my father ; for when the latter sent his final conditions 
to King Leopold, King Louis of Bavaria had already completed 
an agreement for his son Otto. But the London Protocol of the 
13th of February, 1832, offering the Greek throne to Prince Otto 
of Bavaria, vouched for none of all the things which my uncle 
and my father had looked upon as necessary, and therefore it 
would not perhaps be quite just to say that the King of Bavaria 
had shown great foresight in the carrying out of this matter. 

If one now reads the documentary reports of the trans- 
actions between King Leopold and my father, and notices that 
they conducted themselves quite strictly at the time towards 
Bavaria, one will be forced to acknowledge that King Louis 
was in a great hurry with the matter. It is true that, as is 
to be seen from the published letters of Thiersch, he \vould 
not acknowledge it to his friends. However, when one reads 
in his biography that the expulsion of his son from Greece 
had wounded him more than any other stroke of fortune, it 
may be inferred without question that the royal old man 
must to a certain degree have stood his own accuser. Yet 
he had depreciated the great care which my father and my 
uncle took in this matter, at the founding of the new king- 
dom, and exhausted his own fortune as well as that of his 
country in order to bring about the election of his son, even 
under less favourable conditions. 

Only a few months after Otto and his Bavarian officers 
and advisers had arrived in Greece, it was complained that 
the just claims to the natural bounding of Hellenic territory 
had been left unfulfilled, and had even robbed the future 
Greek state of its islands. Everyone tried to point to an 
endeavour to bind the efficacy of Hellenism within the circle 
of Bavarian guardianship. With all this England found as 
great difficulty in pushing her modest claims with the Porte, 
as if the latter had taken equally grave and decisive steps 
towards the welfare of Greece. 

The head boundary of the ne\v state was only recognised 
by Turkey on the 22nd of November, 1834, and then only 
because of the most immediate threats. 

Meanwhile Russian influence had been successful against 


the Western Powers, and there ensued the diplomatic play of 
an endless struggle between England and Russia for the 
protectorate of the fallen Porte. 

A growing strangeness also came between France and 
England, as Mehemed Ali's Egyptian Kingdom began through 
the Treaty of Kutahin (6th May, 1837) to extend its dominion 
over Syria, if only in the form of a feudal tenure. 

The English Cabinet were now supported by Louis 
Philippe in their opposition to the Russian arrangements of 
Hunkiar Skelessi, although it would affect the conflicting 
interests of France if turned against the Egyptian ideas of 
the Great Powers. 

In these contradictions lay the difficulty which made the 
Oriental question appear to the diplomates of the fourth 
decade in the light of an inextricable tangle. 

The old traditions of France pointed to Egypt as the 
point at which all French influences must work, if she was to 
keep any place at all in the Orient, and every English interest 
hindered the rising of a powerful state which would rule the 
road to India. The foregoing events and occurrences which 
took place with reference to these matters for half a century, 
incessantly demanded such careful preludes, and consequently 
went at so slow a pace, that the contemporaries were some- 
times convinced that the great question was stagnating. 

The fact is, however, that in the whole history of the 
politics of the European states during the past and present 
generations, no event had occurred through which the Powers 
have worked upon the whole mass of party questions of each 
nation in such an equal and conclusive manner. 

When in 1840 it looked as if the die were being cast by 
the Rhine and the Bosphorus to decide Syria's fate, the 
connection between these political matters remained almost 
incomprehensible to our nation. 

The lightly slumbering feeling of opposition between the 
German and French peoples now awoke with renewed strength 
and gave rise to a rumour of war which was happily only a 
rumour, but which, however, exercised an influence on the 
national consciousness which will be spoken of later on. 

















IN May 1836, began the years of apprenticeship and travelling 
of my brother's life and mine. 

Our being thrown together during this period of freer 
development, depending upon each other, following the same 
studies, and dividing the joys and sorrows of youth, became 
for both of us a source of mental and moral riches and assured 
us a mutual understanding which \vas to last during our 
whole lives. We had seen and experienced much concerning 
the political and scientific world, which served to awaken in 
us a desire for more solid education. Yet in what way this 
want was to be supplied at a time when the sons of reigning 
heads were rarely sent to a university, it was difficult to say. 
We therefore decided to adopt my uncle's view of the matter, 


as he had proposed a stay in Brussels, where we would have 
the best tutors and all the advantages of a life in the great 
world. I venture to tell the reader something more par- 
ticularly of these reminiscences in respect of this epoch of my 
life, as I wish at the same time to furnish a better under- 
standing of my brother and his education than has up to the 
present been possible in any published work. 

The moment seemed no unimportant one to us in which we 
left our home for a long time, to go out into the world, more 
independent than we had hitherto been. Accompanied by 
our father, we went at once to Holland, where we visited 
Amsterdam, Ley den, and the Hague, and embarked at Rotter- 
dam for England. My father and my uncle may on their side 
have had another object in view of which I must speak here, 
as by most of the works of history which treat of my brother's 
subsequent marriage with Queen Victoria, a too immediate 
reason for our stay in England at that time has been attributed. 

It is possible that my uncle may have clung to his 
favourite idea, that the heiress to the English throne should 
marry one of his nephews. Meanwhile, in the year 1836, 
these plans met with decided opposition on the part of King 
William IV, who was not favourably impressed with the 
Coburg proposition, and had rather turned his thoughts to the 
Netherlands Prince Alexander, as a husband for his niece. 

When he heard of our journey he arranged for Prince 
Alexander to come to Windsor with his brother, then Prince 
of Orange and now King of the Netherlands. 

Thus our stay in London was without any significance 
whatever as far as concerned the question which later became 
so important, and the first meeting between the two cousins 
who afterwards made the most admired marriage of the whole 
world, was hardly marked by any deeper feeling. We had 
fixed our attention solely upon everything which London 
offered us, and which makes old England appear so peculiar 
to the inhabitants of the Continent. We went everywhere 
unaccompanied and lived in Kensington with our aunt, in 
whose house German was not usually spoken. We thus felt 
the wish as well as the necessity of making the English 


language our own. We had been commanded to Windsor for 
one day only, by King William IV, and could boast of no 
particular attention on his part. On the other hand, Queen 
Adelaide, born a Princess of Meiningen, showed us the utmost 
friendliness, which was of great use to us in later years. 

The King was already sickly at that time, and I remember 
that he fell fast asleep during dinner. He impressed one as 
being a thorough sailor, unimportant in all other respects. 
As we received many invitations from the Ministers and 
other prominent persons, our visit may be looked upon as a 
preparation for our later relationship with England. 

On this occasion I met Disraeli, whose rising fame as 
author, speaker and Minister at that time filled the world 
with ever increasing wonder. At this period he produced the 
impression of a vain young Jew, of remarkably radical 
tendencies. The time came later when he understood how to 
make calculated use of the Conservative Tories. He carried 
his left arm in a black sling, which peculiarity was sneered at 
by his enemies, who said that he only did it in order to make 
himself interesting, as he had never suffered any accident 
which rendered it necessary. He seemed to belong to the 
class of men who have made up their minds to play a great 
part, and who are certain to gain the end in view. 

We came into contact with Lords Grosvenor, Claude 
Hamilton, and Westminster, of whom the latter had been 
acquainted with my father at the time of the great wars ; 
neither did we seek in vain for an opportunity of seeing and 
knowing the Iron Marshal Lord Wellington. Amongst other 
military men in London society, we found Captain Marryat 
at the height of his popularity as a novelist ; his works were 
then in everybody's hands. 

We had ourselves to thank for all these acquaintances, for 
our aunt the Duchess of Kent lived a very retired life, and 
went little into society ; our cousin Victoria had not yet been 
introduced into the great world, whereas we were allowed to 
accept all the invitations of the season. 

If English society with all its great formality had an al- 
most depressing effect on our youthful minds, Paris and the 


House of Orleans, on the other hand, made almost too fascina- 
ting an impression upon us. Although we were not guests at 
the Court, the old King treated us with the most perfect 
kindness and amiability. I may say that a kind of sympathy 
arose between him and me, such as may be imagined between 
a youth and a man standing on the threshold of old age. 

He was a perfect master of the German language, and 
could even speak the dialects of the different countries. I 
particularly remember the zeal and pleasure with which he 
showed us the plans for his great Versailles museum. His incli- 
nation to relate, to explain and to instruct had something 
uncommonly pleasant about it, something simple and stimu- 
lating, and many years later I recognised the debt I owed this 
experienced man for many a bit of knowledge concerning 
matters which I should otherwise have had no means of 

We also learned to know Louis Philippe's sons, Joinville, 
who was just my age, and the younger Aumale. The Duke 
of Orleans, who soon afterwards married my cousin, Helena 
of Mecklenburg, was at that time in Africa. 

The family life of the whole Court had something so 
homelike and attractive, that it made the most beneficial 
impression upon my brother and myself. 

I was not at that time aware, however, that the idea had 
occurred to marry me to the Princess Clementina. A few 
months after this my first stay in Paris, my uncle Leopold 
asked me if the Princess Clementina did not please me, and 
whoever knew her will understand that I could only answer 
in the affirmative. The thought of entering into such 
relationship with the Family of Orleans would have had 
something especially attractive to me. But one consideration 
availed at the French Court, which might well have been 
unexpected on account of the King's well-known liberality of 
sentiments as regarded religious and confessional matters, and 
must on that account be mentioned. 

It was looked upon as inadmissible for a member of the 
French House to adopt the evangelical belief. Now, this 
ought not to have raised any barrier to a union between 


myself and the Princess Clementina, as, with regard to 
religious questions, I possessed a far-reaching idea of the 
right of individual feeling. It was hinted, that in case of a 
mixed marriage, the King would have to demand for his 
daughter that the female offspring, at least, should be brought 
up in the faith of the French Court. The matter thus fell 
through. The Princess Clementina, to whom I shall again 
refer later on, married my cousin Augustus, in the year 1843, 
and I remained single many years, without any other cares 
than those imposed upon me by the pursuit of my own ideals 
in life. 

In June 1836, we arrived in Brussels and proceeded to 
make ourselves at home. No more charming and fitting life 
can be imagined as a means of reaching the goal of a develop- 
ment as free as it was intense. Nothing disturbed us, every- 
thing seemed formed to help us to gain the end in view. We 
kept house on our own account, and occupied a cosy little 
villa, with a garden, situated in the Boulevard de L'Observa- 
tion. Here it was possible for us to enjoy comprehensive 
intercourse with home and foreign scientists and politicians, 
and by special desire of the King the society of a select circle 
which deserves a more particular description. As regarded 
our studies, King Leopold had set us the task of preparing 
for life, and of obtaining at the same time an introduction to 
the graver studies at the University. Our old tutor Counsellor 
Florschuetz was ever by our side, like a true mentor. Baron 
Wichmann was specially assigned to us for all outside matters, 
a worthy and experienced man, the choice of whom for the 
position had been happily made. He had belonged to the 
German English Legion, and had taken part under Wellington 
in the Spanish campaigns and the battle of Waterloo, was a 
thoroughly unprejudiced man and much loved in Brussels 

The most prominent of our tutors was Qudtelet, with 
whom we remained in communication during our whole lives. 
If it were not otherwise well-known, my uncle's great know- 
ledge of mankind would have been impressed upon me by the 
fact that he chose this man as our leader, a man of whom 


mathematicians, astronomers, philosophers, and statisticians 
had an equally high opinion, and who, a king in the way of 
theoretical learning, was at the same time possessor of great 
experience in the practical questions of states administration. 

Que'telet's wonderfully extensive knowledge made it appear 
possible to our uncle to give us an encyclopaedic course of 
instruction in the most varied branches. This, however, 
would have far overstepped the boundary line of what was 
attainable by young men in so short a space of time. Que'telet 
therefore fixed our attention more on mathematics and 
statistics, in order to lay a preparatory foundation for further 
study of political science. The application of the rule of pro- 
babilities concerning the questions of political economy, then 
just adopted, was one of the things which particularly made 
so great an impression on us, as on all the world, and it may 
be added that Que'telet's influence over my brother in this 
respect was one which formed his whole manner of viewing 
the world. During his entire lifetime he preserved the 
statistically mechanical grasp of social and political questions, 
and in more than one of his speeches and works of later years 
I was reminded of the deep observations and lectures which 
we had heard from Que'telet in Brussels. 

Thus Que'telet had full right to address himself to my 
brother in the dedication of his celebrated book : ' Du Systeme 
Social et des Lois qui le Re'gissent,' for it would have been 
impossible to place a more enthusiastic adherent to this 
doctrine at the beginning of the work. 

What I, for my part, intensely admired in Que'telet was 
his wide comprehension, his really free mode of thought and 
his amiable manner of imparting learning. He introduced us 
to every man of importance then living in Brussels ; a number 
of Belgian and foreign scholars and statesmen assembled in 
our drawing-rooms. Here we learned to know President 
Gerlache, who had stood at the head of the deputations when 
the crown was offered to my uncle. Although this excellent 
man was a strict ultramontane as befitted his position in his 
party, he enjoyed the most unlimited esteem. His scientific 
prominence and the consideration which his nomination as 


President of the Academy and the Belgian Commission for 
the Monuments Historiques gave him, lifted him beyond the 
reach of all personal attacks. 

Our intercourse with the two Brouckeres was also of the 
greatest interest, and exceedingly instructive. The elder, 
Charles, was, as is known, Minister for a time, and was much 
thought of by my uncle. As he was theoretically as well as 
practically versed in finance affairs, and a master of national 
economy, when he left the Ministry he held lectures at the 
University. His younger brother Henry was more deeply 
involved in the party strife of the day, and when we were in 
Brussels, he was already considered one of the most capable 
Liberal leaders. King Leopold made a great deal of him, but it 
was against his principles to take any immediate part in parlia- 
mentary disputes. He often said jestingly : ' that he was 
married to neither of the two ever strengthening national 
parties.' It would be too much for me to recall all the 
interesting persons whom we knew in Brussels. I will only 
mention de Weyrs, de Vaux, and Van Praet, the last of whom 
was the King's Cabinet Secretary. Amongst foreigners I will 
point out Sir Henry Lytton Bulwer, who, then just beginning 
his career as a Diplomate, was in Brussels as Secretary to the 
Legation, and who was sent thence immediately to Constanti- 
nople, where he found more room to exercise his great talents. 

According to my uncle's plans, our knowledge of languages 
was to be perfected by these chosen surroundings ; we received 
besides special lessons in French and English from Professor 
Bergerou and Lord Byron's former playmate, the English 
clergyman Mr Drury, who was himself a poet, and gave most 
stimulating lectures on English Literature. 

Brussels had, through King Leopold, received an impulse 
in every way favourable to painting. De Keyser and Gallait 
made their appearance. We diligently visited the studios of 
the most celebrated painters, and Wappers and Madou allowed 
us to paint and draw under their direction. My brother, who 
was known to have much talent for this art, imbibed here 
the impressions which fitted him later for so fruitfully 
influencing art life in England. 


Besides this, King Leopold did not forget to give us a 
military education befitting our position. We worked at 
gunnery with Colonel Borman, the well-known improver of 
the Shrapnel gun, and clever military writer, who had 
belonged to the Saxon army. We visited the camp twice ; 
for as the King of Holland had not decided to sign the treaty 
of London, the Dutch and Belgian armies still stood on a war 
footing. The Dutch army lay near Maestricht, the Belgian in 
barracks on the heath of Beverloo. Although neither side 
thought of renewing the war, yet the unusual situation had 
the effect of making military matters more seriously looked 
after, than in an ordinary exercising camp. 

I was acting as General Staff Officer to Magnan, afterwards 
a French Marshal, and my brother fulfilled the same duties 
for General Kutalsk. A man was, however, assigned to 
instruct me specially who filled one with unusual interest. 
He was the well known Polish General Prodzinsky, then a 
colonel on the general staff, one of the most well informed 
men whom I ever met. Of course he told me all sorts of 
things about his Polish experiences, and an immediate view 
was opened to me of relations and conditions which I should 
never have come to know without him, who grew to be a 
true friend to me. 

As will be already concluded, we were in no way guarded 
from the current of public events and affairs by the wise 
and careful King. We had intercourse with men of all 
colours and aims, even the entrance to the remarkable house 
near Brussels was not forbidden us, where the fugitives from 
Italy and the Carbonari discharged from prison formerly led 
a quiet life of waiting. I have a lively remembrance of those 
fugitive oath-takers, who were mentioned at many Courts 
only with a kind of horror, yet who were so humane and so 
perfectly modest in their conversation, or looked ill, like the 
much pitied poet, whose verses, as they said, did more harm 
to the Austrian Government than a whole army. Next to the 
Marchese Arconati, the learned Count Arrivabene and Berger, 
Silvio Pellico naturally excited our interest the most. He 
had not come to Brussels to make a long stay, but was visiting 


Arrivabene at the same time we were there, Arrivabene being 
the central rallying point of the Carbonari. 

It can no longer be understood how much this unlimited 
intercourse meant to two German sons of a prince in those 
days, and what an effect was produced in Germany by an 
education and bringing up such as King Leopold gave us in 
his residence. 

The diplomatic corps in Brussels must surely have had a 
great deal of news to write concerning the royal nephews ! 
But we ourselves, as may be imagined, had not at that time 
the slightest idea that there might be anything questionable in 
our management ; nevertheless, it was not very long before 
we began to perceive more and more clearly that our entire 
stay in Brussels had made a highly doubtful, even a most bad 
impression on the different families in Germany. 

I know of no other particulars to relate, yet I distinctly 
remember that at more than one meeting with other German 
princes, we noticed a certain coldness in their manner, as if 
they wished to keep away from us or thrust us off. My 
brother's indignation at this often reached a very high point. 
He could be irritated to the utmost pitch by such stiffness on 
the part of German princes, and would give reins to his talent 
for making the weaknesses of others ludicrous. 

Through this unjust judgment we saw ourselves only all 
the more surely forced into opposition against them, and were 
convinced that we should not go far if we depended upon 
these antiquated and decayed principles. One was, so to 
speak, pushed into the ranks of reform, hardly being given 
any choice, and, if one had thought over matters in English, 
the well-known words would exactly have described the 
situation : ' I did not go over from the Tories to the Whigs, 
but when I awoke and looked about me I found myself a 

How good and lucky it is that the beliefs of youth are 
disturbed by no presentiment that in both one and the other of 
life's paths, but few disappointments are spared us. 

Meanwhile our stay in Brussels was drawing to a close t 
and we counted up, not without satisfaction and some self- 


consciousness, the sum of intellectual winnings, which so much 
social, political, and scientific stimulation had given us. We 
were of the conviction that a course of study such as is 
peculiar to the German universities, is to be replaced in no 
other way. Thus we had soon planned to induce our uncle to 
gain permission from our father for us to make such a stay. 
Meantime there were very many difficulties attendant on this, 
as the Head of no reigning House would be too willing to see his 
sons allowed to follow a public course of study at a university. 

At length it was settled that we should go to Bonn for 
three semestres, as Jena and Gottingen, upon which we had 
also reflected, appeared less advantageous. So we left Brussels 
in April 1837, made first a visit to the Court in Berlin, and 
then hastened with the ecstacy of novices in the way of a 
university, to Alma Mater of Bonn, that creation of Frederick 
William III, which was then in its full bloom. 

Like the flag at the head of the tall staff, shone to us the 
name of the old singer of the war of freedom, and one of our 
first visits was made to Ernest Moritz Arndt, who, though he 
no longer worked as a teacher, still formed a central point for 
all freethinking and patriotic men. 

The old gentleman always treated us with much tenderness, 
and dedicated some verses to me and my brother. 

On the 3rd of May 1837 we were July matriculated under 
the Rectorate of Wilhelm Wutzer, and then began a never-to- 
be-forgotten time, which our friend and comrade in study, 
Prince William Lowenstein has charmingly described, parti- 
cularly from a humorous point of view, in his history of Prince 
Albert. And, indeed, there was no lack of jovial events in the 
youthful circle to which, besides Prince Lowenstein, belonged 
the three cousins Henckel-Donnersmark, Count Erbach, the 
later Minister of Baden, von Sternberg, the future head of the 
Imperial Cabinet in Berlin, von Wilmovsky, the poet Jager, and 
many others. In the summer we made many excursions, in 
the winter we rode and fenced diligently, and on the 17th of 
March 1838, after a great trial of fencing I carried away a 
sword as an honorary distinction and a diploma for proven 
expertness with the foils, which I have to this day. 


With all our conviviality we were all nevertheless very 
diligent and possessed of a kind of reading rage, which caused 
us to devour a huge quantity of books, thereby satisfying a 
kind of rival ambition. The numerous lectures, most of 
which we attended quite privately, were taken down in our 
beloved notebooks and gone over with the greatest conscienti- 
ousness. Some of the professors, particularly Fichte, usually- 
had conversaziones, in which there was a great deal of ardent 
discussion. We attended nearly the entire cycle of lectures of 
the law faculty, which prepared students for state service, 
Bethmann-Hollweg, Nissen, Gartner, Perthes and Walter ; 
besides this, we attended Kaufmann for the science of financ- 
ing, Fichte for philosophy, Lobell for history, Schlegel for 
literature, Alten for the history of art, and Lasson for French 

We also dipped into anatomy with Wurzer and natural 
sciences with Noggerath and Rehfuss. We took lessons in 
music with Professor Breitenstein, and occupied ourselves 
not only with the historical branches of this art but also with 
thorough bass. 

I do not wish, by this long account of our stay at college, 
to give the impression that it was our intention to attempt to 
obtain a professional education. The habits of our German 
universities are well enough known for the reader to be able 
to judge of their best influence in the way of producing a 
general fund of knowledge and mental stimulation. The 
having moved for a few semestres in the peculiar atmosphere 
of this ideal world without constraint and, as far as was 
possible, without having to think of practical matters, was 
without doubt the time which we more rightly prized than all 

The easy intercourse with men of all shades of opinion and 
tendencies, the esteem in which mental capability alone is 
held, the unsparing strife of opinion in this imaginary 
republic, all worked upon us with an unequalled power of 
attraction. We entered into real bonds of friendship with 
some of the professors, which was rendered all the more 
hearty by the many ludicrous peculiarities attendant on the 


learned world of Germany. This reminds me first of all of the 
excellent Fichte, with whom we zealously philosophised. 

He was at that time a man between thirty and forty years 
of age, and suffered in many circles from the fact that he was 
looked upon only as the son of his father. His outward 
appearance and manner of lecturing gave the students oppor- 
tunities for many jokes. He was incredibly awkward in the 
society of others, but when once he began to talk, his mental 
powers had the most attractive effect, and silenced all the 
derision of his youthful revilers. But we adhered all the 
more closely to him, and as his lectures were so planned for 
us that we might sometimes talk with him, state a thesis or 
enter into discussion, we looked forward to the next lesson as 
soon as the last one was over. 

Our position with regard to Perthes was a peculiar one. 
As is known, he was the son of our friend in Gotha, and it 
was only natural that we should allow ourselves to treat him 
rather as a countryman. Now he was the representation of 
a doctrine which differed intrinsically from the honestly 
natural mode of thought of former times, and which smacked 
strongly of a kind of piousness which was quite new to us. 

As concerns the latter point of view, I will not deny, that 
the lectures of many of the professors, amongst whom I will 
particularly mention Walter, produced an astonishingly con- 
servative, even reactionary impression on us. It seemed to 
us as if we, the descendants of an ancient race, whose fore- 
fathers had so carefully protected their God-given rights, were 
at bottom much more liberal than the completely forefatherless 
professors, who at that period were very zealous against 
radicalism. This gave rise to many laughable scenes. 

Perthes had during his lectures on states rights, dwelt with 
a comprehensive chapter on God's grace, during which we 
frequently interrupted him with half-loud exclamations. 
But when he expressed a fine conviction of the God-sent ex- 
traction of certain state institutions, we intimated to his great 
vexation that it was quite impossible for us to take this 
home, set down in black and white in our note-book. 

The pattern of dialectically brilliant eloquence who shone 


brighter than all the star professors was old A. W. Schlegel, 
whom we also learned to know, and in whose house we shared 
in the seldom attained pleasure of hearing him read Shake- 
speare. His clever and brilliant delivery made one forget his 
incredibly senile manner and problematical character. His 
delineation in his ' History of Literature ' of modern German 
poetry since Schiller, in which he enlarged particularly on the 
romantic style, forms one of the most unfading impressions 
which I ever received. These lectures were public, and im- 
mensely sought after. My brother and I attended them like 
other students, and were looked upon as such by everyone. On 
the other hand, during the later half-years of our stay at Bonn, 
other princes belonging to reigning thrones came there, who 
exacted the ceremony due to their rank, and had thus to deal 
with many difficulties attendant on their taking part in the 
public lectures. This was the case at the University with the 
later Grand-Duke of Mecklenburg, and the then Hereditary 
Prince of Lippe Biickeburg. When he first intimated that 
he would be present at Schlegel's lecture, a chair was set apart, 
and looked after by the beadle. When the unconscious Prince 
entered the room, a soft murmur arose. When the Professor 
opened his address by solemnly welcoming the Hereditary 
Grand-Duke, and then turned to the rest of the audience, an 
unexampled uproar ensued, so that Schlegel had trouble in 
making himself heard. 

The three half-years at Bonn passed by thus quickly. 
During the vacation we made many excursions. In the 
autumn of 1837, we went by way of Strasbourg to Switzerland, 
over which we wandered in every direction, and mostly on 
foot. We climbed the Alps for the first time through the 
Simplon pass, visited Milan and the upper Italian lakes, and 
on the 12th of December we entered Venice. At the end of 
the following year at the University, I was to separate from 
my brother, and the earnest duties of life pointed out to each 
of us his particular path. 

When we parted with much grief we promised each other 
to remain true friends as we had always been, and kept this 
promise until relentless death came between us. 


In the preceding March, during a visit to Brussels, a re- 
markable conversation had taken place between King Leopold 
and my brother, which was decisive for Albert's future. For 
the first time the English marriage was seriously spoken of. 
Nevertheless it was decided that my brother should spend the 
next winter in Italy, whereas I was to enter the Saxon 
military service in Dresden. 

Although I had had the intention of spending one or two 
half-years more, at one of the large universities, yet it was 
hardly pleasant to me when my father insisted this time upon 
my going to Jena, it being the cradle of our home knowledge. 
As this brought about the entire defeat of all my plans of 
studies, the question arose which army I was to enter. I 
urgently desired to be received into Prussian service, but my 
father, on the contrary, was more inclined by family tradition 
for the Austrian army. His objections to Berlin were not so 
much political as economical, as he imagined that my stay 
there would be very expensive on account of my relations 
with the Prussian Princes. 

As regarded my entering the Austrian service, my father 
hoped that I would be given the rank of a cavalry captain, 
and I was much pleased when a negative and almost cold 
answer came, for the prospect of thinking over what I had 
seen during several years in Europe's most blooming countries, 
whilst I sat in some Bohemian or Hungarian village, was 
remarkably unattractive, quite apart from the fact that 
opinions I had formed through contact with the world, were 
little in harmony with the Austria of those days. Under 
these circumstances I was forced to seek my military career 
in the Saxon army, where I was received with the utmost 
willingness as a captain in the King's regiment of Mounted 
Guards. I was especially lucky in being stationed in Dresden, 
where everything made me think that I should find a welcome 
continuation to my visit in Brussels. My personal relations 
alone were of the most pleasant description. King Frederick 
Augustus received me in the most affectionate manner, like a 
fatherly friend. I was at once drawn into the immediate 

VOL. I. F 


circle of this noble and highly educated family, and treated 
like a son and companion of long date. 

Life at the Posen Court made an unlimited and beneficial 
impression upon me. There ruled in everything a higher tone 
of manner, the keynote to which was given by the excellent 
King. His beautiful interest for botany, his travels and his 
talent as a landscape painter lent a peculiar charm to his 

Monosyllabic as he was in ordinary intercourse, when there 
were affairs to be settled, he could relate his wanderings 
heartily and gaily in private company. He had just spent 
the past spring in the Saxon Alps, a locality seldom visited 
by tourists, and was full of the impressions made upon him 
by the Dalmatian towns and the Montenegrin mountains. 
He was unequalled as a describer of nature, and one never 
left him without having learned something from him. 

Prince John was not behind the King in mental acquire- 
ments. But his studies were known to lie in another direc- 
tion, and had at an early date led him into a special form of 
learning, which gave the so far elder man a double superiority 
over me. If one had been desirous to show one's self entirely 
and openly to him, with his nature, more than with other 
men, it would have been necessary to possess a fund of greater 
and more positive knowledge of his school and tendencies. 

Even if the Prince's thoroughly noble mind prevented his 
ever bringing his want of church tendencies and religious 
opinions into prominence when with those who were not of 
the same mind as he, yet a certain religious feeling was in- 
separably mingled with his historical studies. He expected 
an affectionate understanding of this turn of mind, which 
belonged rather to the middle ages, and shrank from the con- 
tact of freethought, which formerly often assumed a character 
of frivolous superficiality. 

As he wished to see all human education stamped with 
solid positivism, he was particular to procure the most careful 
teaching for his young sons, on whom rested many hopes. 
Besides this, they were brought up in a manner which was 
simple and unassuming, in the best sense of the words. 


Although he often gained real triumphs as a speaker in the 
House, and was an excellent lawyer, sometimes in the political 
and legislative questions of the time, sometimes in opposition 
to the Government propositions, he still found it necessary to 
apply himself incessantly to his scientific studies. At the 
time of my stay he was occupied in completing for publication 
his translation of a commentary on the Divina Commedia. 
He often read aloud parts of the poem, and interpreted to a 
chosen crowd of listeners difficult passages, and the whole 
plan of Dante's work, of the general scope of which he was 
indeed the most fitting exponent. 

The intimate family harmony was particularly added to 
by its amiable feminine members. Queen Marie and Princess 
Johanna exercised a kind of witchcraft over the whole Court, 
which revered their intense refinement of customs. I need 
only mention the King's sister, the Princess Amalia. Many 
of her literary productions belong to the best and most 
pleasing efforts of literature of the day, and it was but right 
that her daily notes should have been lately gathered together, 
and care taken that the German lady, who, with so disadvan- 
tageous an exterior, knew how to place herself on a level 
with the most eagerly read authoresses of France, should not 
sink too quickly into oblivion. One cannot help being sur- 
prised that the everyday life at the Saxon Court, which, in 
its then learned state reminded one of the times of the 
Renaissance, has never yet found a mention in history. 

The political relations of Saxony had undergone an agree- 
able change since the revolutionary events of the thirtieth 
year, a state of things which was owing to the unequalled 
activity of Frederick Augustus. Many improvements were 
made during the first years of the co-regency, in judicature 
and scholarship. When old King Anton died, in the year 
1836, Frederick Augustus was free to choose his advisers, and 
tried to work for the lasting material growth of his kingdom. 

During these years was formed the trustworthy adminis- 
tration which worked long after the close of the King's life- 
time. I was personally acquainted with most of those states- 
men, who, like von Wietersheim, Zeschau and Carlowitz, 


deserved many thanks from Saxony for their help in estab- 
lishing a firm administration, and I gained many an insight 
into the arrangements made by them, a which were afterwards 
of use in my Government. 

In spite of the well-ordered state of the country, there 
was no good feeling amongst the great mass of people. In 
Dresden I particularly noticed a roughness of mind which one 
might have called democratic in the bad sense of the word, 
and which gave me an idea of a state of things which ten 
years later filled many with astonishment, for the very reason 
that few would have thought Saxons capable of it. 

A spirit all the better in comparison ruled the Saxon 
army in the year 1840. The body of officers in my regiment 
were of unequalled honour; the closest comradeship bound 
them together, and the refined tone which made social inter- 
course pleasant with each member, was probably also owing 
to the fact that many officers had married highly-educated 

I had my own house in Dresden, and was free to receive 
the officers of my regiment as well as many other persons in 
the most varied positions and circles. Chamberlain von 
Loewenfels was my Court Marshal, and accompanied me on the 
journeys of which I shall speak later on. 

My love of art, towards which Dresden contributed so 
much, was furthered by a particular circumstance. My 
former Chief of the Squadron, Baron von Mangold, was a 
painter and very fond of amateur occupation with palette and 
brush. Many an hour of service time was spent in art work 
or in some gallery. The Dresden art exhibitions also offered 
a great stimulant. 

I saw a great deal of Haufstangel, the publisher of the 
Dresden gallery, and of Bendemann, who was painting the 
frescoes in the Castle. 

If I had to depict the intellectual life of which Dresden 
was then the central point, I would prefer to stop at the circle 
which assembled around Tieck ; here I came into relationship 
with Tiedge and Baudissin here I came into contact for the 
first time with the theatrical world. Besides Edward and 


Emil Devrient, I knew Sophie Schroder, who spread a noble 
brightness and that idealistic glamour over theatrical matters 
which is remembered to this day. 

A whole world of clever and celebrated men used to 
assemble at Major Serr's house, belonging to science, art or 
the theatre. Music was represented by preference by music 
director Reisziger; nevertheless we had many opportunities 
of coming in contact with Mendelssohn and Schumann in 

Thus a year's stay in Dresden, during which I attained 
the ranks of major and colonel, really gave me what I had 
wished for and expected I lived amidst a stream of art 
and literature. 

Although until the year 1842, 1 had my own residence and 
profession in Dresden, my stay there was broken by long and 
eventful journeys and undertakings, which all the more 
demand a description, the more universal their influence was 
on things in which I had to take part during those years. 
The memorable year which began for me on the 21st of June, 
1839, forms, to a certain degree an independent episode of my 
life in Dresden. 

I had reached my twenty-first year, and was, according 
to the rules of our house, of age, The declaration was made 
in Coburg with much solemnity ; and in order to join my 
brother's fate with mine, in this important point, it was made 
possible by the legislation of a special decree that the celebra- 
tion of his coming of age was to follow immediately and be 
publicly announced. 

In the document which was drawn up concerning my 
brother, my father emphasized his expression of acknowledge- 
ment, 'of the heartfelt and affectionate relations existing 
between our two beloved sons, which makes it desirable that 
they may enjoy so important and significant an event 

Both town and country in Coburg took the liveliest part 
in the ceremonies of our coming of age. 

It is not uninteresting to notice in the documents con- 
cerning me, now lying before me, that my and my brother's 


public studies in Bonn were mentioned with particular 
pleasure, a proof of how unusual this manner of education for 
Princes of reigning Houses was looked upon as being. 

I can still remember a humorous episode which occurred 
whilst the official addresses were being made. The President 
of the State Assembly suddenly began to flounder hopelessly 
in the middle of a stream of deeply affecting words, and only 
through the lucky and well-meaning striking in of the answer- 
ing speaker was a most unpleasant mishap prevented and the 
painful situation thus brought to an end. 
















IN the beginning of July 1839 I returned from Dresden to 
Coburg, whilst my father, accompanied by my brother, went 
to Carlsbad. The stay there did not please Albert very much, 
and he wrote me despairing letters about the wearisomeness 
of the days. We had hardly a thought of how much tli; 
further course of the year 1839 promised both of us, and 
Albert in particular. In the autumn we once more found 
ourselves with my father in Reinhardsbrunn, united in tlie 


closest bonds, and were enjoying a visit from the King of 
Saxony, after whose departure we all set out to spend a while 
in England, during which the engagement between Albert and 
Queen Victoria was brought to a settlement wished for by 
everyone. On leaving London in October we went to Brussels 
where we stayed with our uncle. 

The event which took place here is an eminently historical 
one, often related by the person who took the greatest part 
in it. For me it had the twofold significance that on the one 
side it formed the greatest turning-point in the life of my 
only brother, and on the other gave our whole House a 
political position never thought of until then. Through Prince 
Albert's marriage with the Queen of England a new dynasty 
was founded for the mightiest kingdom of Europe, but the 
personal position which the founder was to assume hid 
difficulties and dangers which might fill a brotherly heart 
with heavy cares. Even to this day, fifty years later, when I 
write down these recollections, I have such a strong and 
distinct impression of what I have gone through, that it gives 
me much real trouble to furnish posterity with the objective 
matter of many a purely personal view. 

The desire to forget any mistakes which may have been 
made, will in any event cause the matter to appear in the 
best and mildest light. 

The Queen herself would not have been so completely and 
passionately filled by the principal event, if the remembrance 
of her inward happiness had not guided her pen every time 
she herself described that day, or caused it to be described by 

Queen Victoria not seldom appears to historians as the 
Queen Elizabeth of the nineteenth century, She has a 
number of personal and political traits of character identical 
with those of the great and admired monarch of the sixteenth 
century. She stands on the same intimate footing with all 
European culture, thanks to her extensive knowledge of 
languages, as the friend and patroness of Protestantism stood 
with reference to the culture of the world in her time. 

Full of interest for and attention to the work and the 


welfare of her people, like Elizabeth, she seized the reins of 
government with a strong personal energy which appeared as 
if it would estrange her from the ancient ruling nobility, as it 
had her great predecessor. If parallels of the kind did not 
offer something of a scholastic character, the comparison 
between the two queens might be carried still further, but as 
regards the personal impression which is mentioned by 
persons habitually near the presence, such attempts appear 
not only inadequate, but even childish. 

But the eminent skill with which Victoria uses her pen, 
the way in which she combines the cool reflection of a man 
with the womanly need of an affectionate heart for a diary, 
her possession in a high degree of that trait in great monarchs, 
a faithful remembrance of old friends and servants, of valuable 
relations and men, and, lastly, the manner in which she has 
fulfilled her difficult duties in life, with the utmost queenly 
understanding, all these points may lend some justice to the 
attempted comparison. 

Regarding them from a point of view of feeling only, a 
difference shows itself between the two Queens of England, 
to the great advantage of the latter. For the extraordinary 
affection for her family, which existed in Queen Victoria, the 
full and free abandonment of herself to the circle of her 
relations, children and grandchildren, one might almost say, 
the yearly increasing wish to provide and care for that family 
even in the smallest particular, is what makes our Queen 
appear as far removed as possible from the lonely daughter 
of Henry VIII. This prominent family feeling was not so 
much an inheritance from her forefathers, as the result of a 
happy life, the consequence of her marriage with my brother. 
The warm capacity for happiness, as she afterwards found 
it, was a splendid present given her by nature, but fifty years 
ago the appreciation of such feelings was naturally not yet 
developed and in full force. 

In her youth, Victoria stood alone, isolated, without 
proper guidance. 

My aunt, the Duchess of Kent, was a woman of very ex- 
cellent traits of character, but she had no great influence over 


her daughter, thus, given the loveliness and gifts of the 
quickly developed and early grown heiress to the Crown of 
England, it could not fail that the seventeen year old ruler 
showed an indomitable will. 

In the book about Prince Albert a small traitor has 
sneaked into one of the notes, which speaks of a state of 
things which gave rise to much more suffering than is 
generally imagined. 

As is known, Victoria's governess was afterwards the 
Baroness Lehzen. The wise woman confesses in a letter to 
having played a little trick, which may have been attractive 
enough to a governess, as she desired in some degree to play 
the part of providence towards the twelve-year-old Princess. 
She therefore laid a genealogical tree, behind the tutor's 
back, in the history book, from which the Princess was to 
learn that she was the real heiress to the throne of England. 
To this discovery she joined a speech in which one might 
humorously say she plainly indicated the undoubted talent 
for reigning possessed by a governess. 

The time came for the acquisition of Victoria's hand. 
That all the combinations with regard to my brother's 
marriage with the Queen which had been made since their 
childhood were nothing more than idle ideas, or good wishes, 
is well known. 

Since Stockmar, as well as the Queen herself, had written 
concerning these matters, there is no need for further contra- 
diction of a mistake which I have already pointed out above. 
But as late as to-day, the assertion that the bridegroom's 
journey in October, 1839, was only the formal close of an 
already decided matter, deserves a grave denial. Although 
several of the six suitors whom the Queen mentions in her 
life of Prince Albert, were not regarded after the death of 
King William IV, yet very powerful rivals still remained : 
for instance, at Louis Philippe's Court the hope of Victoria's 
marriage with Nemours was still so great that only Leopold's 
wife, Queen Louise, was told anything about Prince Albert's 
settled engagement. 

The plan of having the marriage take place in three years' 


time only was a really depressing thought, particularly to my 
brother ; the Queen herself was sorry afterwards that it could 
ever have been supposed that Prince Albert would be willing 
to wait so long. But things of this, kind no doubt sprang from 
the brain of the Baroness Lehzen, who wished to keep up her 
dominion still longer. 

Without wishing to lay too great stress upon the 
governess's small campaigns, I must nevertheless say that her 
influence with regard to the Queen's entrance into rule was 
not without political danger. When we arrived in England 
the Queen's relations to the Government parties were of a 
highly unpleasant if not delicate nature. The regiment of 
Whigs was in every way unconstrainable ; and the Tories had 
been made impossible through a Court lady affair which had 
given rise to the greatest vexations in the preceding May. 
The publication of Stockmar's Memoirs has earned the merit 
of having first thrown some light upon these matters. But 
even here the account is by no means complete, nor fully 

The surroundings in which the Queen was placed made 
the Prince's allotted task a difficult one indeed. My brother 
never expressed himself definitely concerning the value it 
would have been to him not to have to walk this path alone. 
But it would be mere prudery of friendship if to-day, nearly 
fifty years later, I were to consider before saying openly that 
he really needed my brotherly sympathy on the journey to 
England before his marriage. As is known, the engagement 
was settled on the 15th of October. There is no finer proof 
of the Queen's really great and open mind than the fact that 
she freely recognised in a letter to King Leopold, how much 
my brother was sacrificing in order to obtain a position which 
was made bitter to him in every conceivable way. 

Even if Grey's assertion in his history of the Prince's 
youth be true, that the Queen spoke a great deal about the 
Prince's desirable title and position, yet in this important 
respect only too little was obtained. I know that the most 
decided declarations had to be made at the time, signifying 
that the Prince would never be satisfied with the dignity of 


an English Peer. When, therefore, it was settled that he 
should take precedence of everyone in England after the 
Queen, this did not prevent most angry conflicts on the 
subject from arising for long years afterwards. But, at best, 
the difficulties of his rank were set aside by the English 
Court rather theoretically than practically ; in international 
relations, on the other hand, the Prince remained in the 
unpleasant position of having first to dispute for the place 
due to him. If the Queen, to whom the many cases of pre- 
cedence in English history would look, furnished ample 
grounds for the intention, had offered the Prince the title of 
King, the weak Ministry would not have had the courage to 
lay such a decree before Parliament. 

After the Queen had made the settlement of her betrothal 
known to the Privy Councillors, began the most uncomfortable 
debates over my brother's dotation and position, disputes on 
which I need not enlarge, as they are known through Parlia- 
mentary documents, with all the attendant chicanery. That 
even his Protestant faith was made an object of discussion 
and doubt, appeared even at that time inexplicable to the 
German reader, and will never be understood by him, except 
when he recalls the fact that the Opposition wished to use 
that excuse as a lever for overthrowing the Melbourne Cabinet. 

Many things attendant on this matter would have been 
otherwise, if, from the first the Prince had been willing to 
assume a more friendly position with regard to the old 
English aristocracy. 

Long after we had again left England, the marriage was 
finally settled to take place on the 10th of February 1840, for 
the idea of a three years' postponement had, in consequence 
of a public declaration, which I had encouraged my brother 
to make, to be abandoned. So the moment came when my 
brother was to take leave of his Fatherland for ever. We 
travelled first to Brussels with our father, where a solemn 
reception of the Royal Consort of England took place, after 
which we set out for Calais ; an English fleet squadron awaited 
the Prince and his wedding guests. We had a stormy passage,, 
and it exercised a depressing influence on even those who 


were not personally inclined to have superstitious misgiv- 

At length arrived at Dover, our passage through the 
different towns and cities of the kingdom was like a triumphal 
procession. In London, however, an accident spoiled the 
ceremonial and joyful welcome prepared by the people, the 
bridegroom happening, in the most incomprehensible manner, 
to be driven through side streets, whilst the vainly waiting 
masses of the people had assembled in another part of the 

I shall not go into a minute description of the festivities 
which accompanied my brother's marriage. 

But I looked upon it as a real happiness that I was to 
remain nearly three months with my brother after his 
marriage, whereas my father left immediately after the 
rejoicings were over. Thus I was a witness of the daily in- 
creasing understanding between the young married pair, to 
both of whom their strongly defined characters made it by no 
means an easy task to understand the art of yielding one to 
the other. Nevertheless I could see the beginning of the 
heartfelt relations which afterwards bound them so closely 
together. In the correspondence which I carried on with my 
uncle during my stay in London, I often so vividly and 
drastically described the pleasures and pains of this process of 
heart training, that even Baron Stockmar once allowed him- 
self to write the words ' all good and true,' beneath a humor- 
ous letter of this kind. 

Yet I was essentially convinced that ' what my brother 
had succeeded in as a betrothed lover he would certainly not 
fail to attain as a husband.' ' Victoria,' I was able to 
write on the 2nd of March, ' remains consistent, she is invari- 
ably a loving, attentive, and even tender wife to Albert, and 
tries to find out his small preferences.' 

For my part, my stay at the English Court gained me 
much experience in a certain way, which was that I thus had 
an opportunity of immediately learning English customs and 
modes of living. Many of the peculiarities of English society 
were more agreeable to me than they ever became to my 


brother in after years. The passion for every kind of sport 
inherent in the nobility found more approbation and compre- 
hension with me than it did with him, and in this way I 
obtained access into the otherwise reserved English nature. 

I cannot say whether Prince Albert adopted from the first 
the right tone in his relations with this people. I have often 
affectionately disputed with my brother on this point, and 
always felt that his lot was hard, having to bring about an 
understanding with the Island nation. 

When, during the last days we spent together, we rode 
out side by side and Albert was making his invariably 
apposite and clever remarks about everything which we saw, 
he would add with a sigh, ' When you are gone, I shall have 
no one with whom I can speak openly about these things. 
An Englishman cannot grasp or understand such matters, and 
only sees in words like those I have just uttered an arrogant 
desire to blame on the part of the foreigner. 

The softening influence of a friend and never failing 

o o 

cheerfulness would have been of great advantage to the 
Prince in this awkward position with reference to English 
ways, and to a large portion of the aristocracy. People ought 
to have tried to make him more friendly. The Prince was 
now given an English secretary, as it were by virtue of office, 
and without having his wishes consulted in the matter, and 
this was not calculated to help the case as it then stood. He 
was an intellectual and gifted young man, Mr Anson, but 
filled with violent animosity towards large numbers of 

He had been secretary to the Prime Minister, and had a 
very poor opinion of all Germans, so that Prince Albert fell 
into the danger of becoming little by little isolated from all 
his former friends. The only man with whom Mr Anson 
wisely tried to keep on a good footing was Stockmar, because 
he looked upon the Queen as not to be shaken in her affection 
for this old friend. As regards the remainder, besides several 
servants in the Prince's immediate service, the only German 
there was a private secretary, who took charge of the German 
correspondence. This place was then filled by a certain 



Professor Schenk, who had once given us brothers lessons in 
English, and was formerly secretary to the Duchess of 
Kent, a good man, but beset by all the faults of a German 
Philistine. After he left, another mistake was made in the 
choice of his successor. Thus my brother's position in 
England was in every way difficult, and I may say quite 
objectively that he had to be the fashioner of his own 
happiness, in the strictest sense of the word. Nothing could 
be more unjust than the impression made by envy in Germany, 
that he owed his later distinguished position to good luck 

During my stay in England, the continual intercourse 
between the Island Kingdom and Portugal, gave me an 
opportunity of visiting my relations in the far -South. So I 
made up my mind to take a journey southwards, which en- 
abled me to recover from the manifold fatigues of the past 
months, as well as to obtain a great deal of the most interest- 
ing instruction. 

A journey to Spain and Portugal then ranked amongst 
the great rarities of the Continent. I do not know that any 
German Prince travelled through the Peninsula as a simple 
tourist previous to the year 1840. My two chamberlains von 
Loewenfels and Gruben, and Doctor Florschuetz, my tutor's 
nephew, accompanied me. 

At Lisbon, we found King Ferdinand and Queen Maria in 
an apparently firm, unshakeable political position ; the affairs 
of the country were in order, and peace was assured; the 
internecine war appeared to be as entirely forgotten, as if 
more than one generation had sprung up since then. The 
Pretender was hardly ever mentioned. 

My first impressions of Portugal and the Court, I described 
so completely and entirely in a letter, written at the time to my 
brother and sister-in-law in England, that I may be per- 
mitted, instead of giving my recollections here again, to copy 
a portion of it, since it may perhaps be of interest to the 
historians of Portugal, as coming from an eye-witness of the 
year 1840. 


'DEAR ALBERT, I am taking advantage of the next 
steamer again, in order to give you and Victoria my opinion 
on what I have seen and experienced. In order to do this 
with some method, I shall divide my letter into six principal 

' I. Ferdinand, as I have already said in my last letter, 
has grown to be a very agreeable young man, both physically 
and mentally. His figure is slender and well-formed, of the 
same height as papa, and his face, although it is on the whole 
unchanged, has assumed a much milder expression. 

' His movements are very graceful, and his demeanour 
quite that of a king. His character, too, has developed in 
proportion ; the sharpness, f retf ulness and want of feeling 
which he sometimes showed have entirely disappeared, and he 
has gained a certain amount of good nature and cordiality. As 
I have talked about this a good deal with him, and openly told 
him what I had noticed, he in turn has told me with pleasure 
how great a difference he feels within himself, compared with 
the state of mind in which he came here, and how ashamed 
he is of his former faults and want of education and know- 
ledge of the world. Now he takes pleasure in and looks 
forward to a great many things, concerning which he used to 
be perfectly indifferent. He can bring together a most 
charming circle, too, and chats with each member, sometimes 
in French, sometimes, as most of the gentlemen assure me, in 
fluent Portuguese. 

' We have talked a great deal about our old life together in 
Coburg and Gotha; I have noticed with pleasure how dear these 
memories still are to him, and how he has preserved every- 
thing which reminds him in the least of those beautiful days. 

'II. Donna Maria is at the first glance a psychological 
conundrum, if I may be allowed to use the word. I have set 
myself the special task of studying her. 

' She is stout, yet by no means as ill formed as people 
pretend ; her head is fine, and her eyes remind me very much 
of Aunt Louise. None of the pictures which exist of her do 
her justice. 

' She never speaks to strangers ; wastes but few words 



on the courtiers, but to us and our acquaintance she talks a 
great deal. What is taken for embarrassment is really design, 
and what so many have called want of education is simply 

' I take her for a thoroughly clever woman, for, as long as 
I have been here, I have never heard a mistaken or illogical 
opinion from her lips, nor any flat or hasty remark, and that 
means a great deal, for I am more with Ferdinand and Maria 
than I was with you. Everything which Donna Maria says 
is apposite, and generally accompanied by a keen display of 
wit. She hears and notices everything, and, as Ferdinand 
often assures me, can comprehend the most difficult matter at 
a glance. 

' You may imagine that we have talked on the most varied 
subjects, and naturally often touched upon matters which lie 
further removed from a woman's range of ideas, yet I have 
often noticed with pleasure how much interest she takes in 
everything, and how little she is inclined to be prejudiced. 

' She is an exemplary wife and mother ; both my gentle- 
men are perfectly delighted with the domestic qualities of 
their consorts. Such an affectionate surrender is rarely to be 
seen, she knows nothing of obstinacy, moodiness, etc., she 
lives only for and in her family. 

1 Both the children are most lovely, and will certainly 
bring their parents an increase of happiness year by year. 

' III. I could say much concerning Dietz and his relations 
with the Royal Family and the country, as I now know them 
thoroughly, but as, for many reasons, I think it better to pass 
them over, I will only remark that one must never judge a 
matter at a distance, when one knows nothing about it ; that 
is, that we have all been mistaken, and his position is by no 
means so monstrous as we have thought ; and I shall certainly 
take the man himself under my protection, which will pro- 
bably astonish you. 

IV. As regards the present internal state of Portugal, all 
seems to be going on very well ; everything is quiet and con- 
tented in the provinces, and a few days ago the last Guerilla- 
leaders in the north gave themselves up to the Government. 

VOL. I. G 


In Lisbon alone there are still several Republican societies and 
many Liberal ones. 

' However, one notices nothing of all this ; on the contrary, 
the excessive politeness of the lower, as well as the higher 
classes, when they meet the King in the streets, fills one with 

' During the past three years, roughly speaking, Ferdinand 
has been steadily increasing in popularity, and I have noticed, 
not without great wonder, how willingh 7 , with what zeal and 
circumspection he engages in the work of governing, which 
the Queen, who thus shows her wisdom, has given into his 

' Lisbon may thank Ferdinand for two things of the 
greatest importance. Firstly, the cleaning of the city and the 
improvement of the police. I can assure you, that I have 
seen no city in Italy which could compare with Lisbon 
for cleanliness, and the suburbs of Brussels would create 
astonishment here by their dirt. Secondly, the improvement 
and support of agriculture. 

' Here too we can reap golden fruit. For centuries past 
quantities of corn of all sorts had been brought here from 
France and Germany, and Portugal has now been exporting a 
not unimportant amount of grain since the past two years. 
As regards the inner political events, even the very Liberal 
Ministers themselves must own that it is an impossibility to 
govern with the new Constitution. Unfortunately, however, 
it cannot be altered, and it appears to me that it would be a 
very good thing if it were left to rot alone, until it falls to 
pieces, and the Ultra-Liberals are at length disposed of. 

' The Ministers are, as I have discerned partly for myself, 
partly from Ferdinand's description, very mediocre creatures. 
But few amongst them are possessed of any knowledge and 
understanding, and those of whom this may be said, are 
mostly false, dishonourable and very untrustworthy, besides 
being invariably poor. The Diplomatic corps, whom Ferdi- 
nand himself introduced to me, have, with few exceptions, made 
no favourable impression on me. The English Minister, Lord 
H , particularly struck me as being a highly narrow-minded 


man. Ferdinand complains greatly of his stubbornness and 
want of insight. 

'V. The Court state is about the same as that of every 
German sovereign Prince, and the gentlemen are neither 
better nor worse than they are everywhere at Court. 
Ferdinand's adjutants are four tried and experienced officers, 
who all pleased me well. After Lavradio's description, I 
expected the Necessidades palace to be a magnificent castle, 
and was therefore not a little surprised to find myself in a 
house which, as regards fitting up, might both inside and 
outside be placed on a footing with Rodach. Indeed I con- 
sidered the latter almost too good to be compared with it. 
The arrangements in the castle itself, such as table, cellar, 
service, are in good order, and are on exactly the same scale 
as at the Saxon Court. The cooking is particularly good, as 
it bears a great resemblance to our beloved household fare ; I 
have already been surprised to see dumplings. The order of 
the day, since I have been here, is about as follows : 

' At ten o'clock we sit down to breakfast ; those who are 
present are, the Grand Almoner, the Chief Ministers of Cere- 
monies with the Court ladies, the Chamberlain, the Adjutant 
on service, and the Officers of the Watch. It is a kind of 
luncheon, at which rice constitutes the principal dish. 

' I generally spend the morning with Ferdinand and 
Donna Maria; the Ministers often come to hand in some 
document, as do the Chamberlains and Generals. The Queen 
receives no one alone, but everyone comes to Ferdinand, who 
listens to them, arranges their affairs for them, and then only 
admits them to kiss the Queen's hand. When the person 
enters the drawing-room, Ferdinand always precedes him, 
and usually kisses her hand first. This struck me particularly. 
At two o'clock we generally ride out with the Queen, to 
examine anything worthy of notice in the city, or beautiful 
views and landscapes ; we rarely return home before half-past 
five o'clock. Dinner is at seven, at which meal it is the 
exception for more persons to be present, than are at break- 
fast. After dinner, people come to pay their respects, as they 
do at Grandmamma's in Gotha. In the evening one is quite 


free to go or stay as one likes, which I look upon as a very 
pleasant arrangement, for those who live at Court. I play 
billiards almost daily with Ferdinand and several gentlemen. 

' VI. If I were to attempt to describe to you only half of 
the beauties of the city, the neighbourhood, the climate, in a 
word everything which one can enjoy with the senses here, I 
would need a year's time and a library full of blank sheets. I 
have never been able to feel enthusiastic about the South, but 
I realise now what the southern zone is. Even Gruben who 
lived some time in Italy, cannot get over his delight. Heaven 
really seems to have particularly blessed this land. The trees 
are greener, the sky is bluer, the earth is more fruitful, the 
mountains are higher and better formed, and the streams are 
more beautiful. One thinks one's self in Paradise. The 
charms of Lake Maggiore, which I had until now considered 
greater than any others, appeared to me like a daisy beside a 
full-blown rose, when I compare them with those of this 

' The city is very remarkable ; it lies like an amphitheatre 
on a row of hills, surrounded by the Tagus, and the streets 
follow without plan the hollows and elevations of the soil. I 
know of none like it. As regards the architectural style, it 
bears not the slightest resemblance to any Italian city, and 
the houses remind one of the old German towns. I might 
compare Lisbon to a Northerner, who is not willing to give up 
his native dress, yet through the influence of the climate is 
forced to make certain alterations in it. 

' The vegetation is particularly pleasing, even if one can- 
not quite admit its beauty as a whole. We were hunting the 
day before yesterday in a wood lying near Lisbon, in the 
celebrated Depada. I imagined myself in India, or in the 
forests of Brazil. The tall trees were olives and orange-trees, 
and the undergrowth and thickets were a wonderful tangle of 
dwarf-oaks, aloes, cacti and wild asparagus, which grows 
nearly to the height of a man. 


' Lisbon, Qth June.' 

CINTRA 10 1 

As will be seen from the foregoing sketches, I had grown 
quite at home in Lisbon. Life, nature and climate, all suited 
ine uncommonly well. On the other hand, I was not very 
much delighted with the works of art, with but few exceptions. 
The Palace of Ajuta, built of white marble, but unfortunately 
only half-completed, and the convent in Belem, where the 
Queen had her country-seat, were buildings of great richness 
and thorough originality ; the mixture of Gothic, Moorish and 
northern Italian styles, in spite of its variety of forms, strikes 
the eye not unpleasantly. 

On the 3rd of June we left for the magnificent Cintra, 
where we occupied the old, indescribably beautifully situated 
castle, and made daily excursions which lasted for hours. 
We generally dined on the way in the open air, and returned 
home only when night was coming on. 

The beauty of the view from the castle is so overpowering 
that one can find no words with which to reproduce its 
effect. The place is built high upon the Sierra de Cintra, and 
these mountains are covered partly with orange and citron 
forests, partly with fantastically spired masses of rock. The 
picturesquely scattered country houses peep forth from the 
orreen of the forests, and in the distance lies the ocean. 


From Cintra we took a three days' trip to Maffra, the 
favourite resort of John VI. This castle and convent, built 
with indescribable magnificence, of white marble, is un- 
doubtedly in the worst taste of any building I have ever seen. 

Added to that, it lies in u dreary and uninteresting neigh- 
bourhood. An idea may be gained of its dimensions when 
one hears that 8000 men were comfortably quartered there 
during the Peninsular war, and even then it was not found 
necessary to use the principal rooms. 

On the 27th of June I took passage for Cadiz, and found, 
as I had done during my whole travels through Spain, that it 
far exceeded my expectations. We were enabled to see a 
-i vat deal to which strangers are not admitted, and I looked 
upon it as a particular piece of good luck that I was able to 
endure the heat it was often 27 Reaumur in the shade 
proportionally well. 


At Seville we owed the English Consul, who helped us to 
many an enjoyment, a debt of thanks. When we left he 
gave us his son as a travelling guide. The Queen had com- 
manded through a Cabinet order, that I and my suite were to 
be received in every Spanish town with Royal honours. We 
had many advantages from this command, although on the other 
hand, we could not escape from much ceremony and formality. 

As the Gibraltar steamer had already left, we went in the 
English man-of-war Magician to Tangiers, paid a visit to the 
Pasha, cruised for several days along the coast of Africa, and 
returned to Gibraltar as soon as the wind became contraiy. 
We spent six days here as guests of the governor, Sir Charles 
Wilson. Parades, picnics, and balls made our stay most 
pleasant. After that we turned towards Malaga. 

The journey from Malaga to Granada, through the moun- 
tains, deserves a short description on account of its adven- 
turous character. 

As the burdensome overland day passage under the July 
sun would have been unbearable, a fantastic train set out from 
Malaga towards one o'clock in the morning. 

Loewenfels, the British Consul, and I, on horseback, all in 
the Spanish national costume, then a couple of two-horse 
carriages, calesas, only to be seen in Spain, and to be com- 
pared rather to a rack than a carriage, bearing Gruben, 
Florschuetz. and the luggage. Besides this, two merchants 
had joined us. The gentleman who owned the horses and his 
groom followed. The rear was brought up by six ragged 
Uhlans, whom the Governor of Malaga had given us ' as a 

The next morning, after a tedious passage over the 
mountains, we reached a charming spot, where a solitary inn 
provided us with but poor shelter. In the evening we set 
out again, although our body guard of Uhlans had returned 
home in the morning. The innkeeper, whose sons were 
known throughout the district as dangerous robbers, assured 
me with the sincerest face that we might go on our way 
without anxiety. We made up our minds to keep our 
weapons ready and started at six o'clock in the evening. 


The road lay between high rocks and steep declivities. 
The peculiar yellow appearance of the Spanish mountains 
showed in charming outlines when the moon rose behind the 
mighty masses of rocks and flooded the whole surroundings 
with soft light. 

We went on in silence until the grey dawn appeared, when 
suddenly, from behind a bend in the road, ten or twelve 
adventurous riders, whose business was not to be mistaken, 
sprang in front of us. One of the band, in a most picturesque 
costume, and with the most courteous manners, introduced 
himself to us as the leader of the Garda ca/mina, that is, in 
other words, we had immediately to pay a certain sum in 
order to secure the protection of these gentlemen. 

A few of them understood and spoke a little English, and 
we had quite a long conversation, during which we had an 
opportunity of recognizing the innkeeper himself, who had 
inspired us with such courage for the continuation of our 
journey on the preceding evening. 

When everything was settled, the leader made himself 
known as Santa Maria, who, we afterwards learned, was one 
of the most notorious robbers, and we exchanged pistols in 
the most friendly manner. Loewenfels received his girdle. 
The band stayed with us for two days, during the ascent of 
the pathless Sierra. They rode with vanguard and rearguard, 
and until we arrived before the gate of Granada, we were 
their more or less willing captives. 

Half starved, and tired to death, we reached the old 
Moorish capital, whence we returned to Malaga by another 
route, and, after a sea passage which lasted six days, reached 
Barcelona on a Spanish packet steamer. 

During our voyage we dropped anchor almost daily at 
the different Spanish ports, and thus it happened that I 
landed for a few hours at Taragona. Fate decreed that I 
was to meet an old man in an uninviting coffee-house, who 
revealed himself as a countryman of mine from Gotha. 
Being wounded, he had remained behind at Taragona, where 
the Gotha regiment had been stationed, and never returned 
home. Loaded with presents and shedding tears of joy, he 


accompanied me on board ship. In Barcelona I was an 
accidental witness of the most remarkable political occurrences 
which characterise the recent history of Spain. 

Queen Christina's regency appeared to have escaped the 
dangers prepared for her by Don Carlos, after he had taken up 
his abode on French soil, only to be all the more driven by the 
progressive party from that time forth. 

During a journey made by the Queen Regent, the insurrec- 
tion of June 1840, under the leadership of Espartero, broke 
out, finding its repressal in Barcelona. 

I will now introduce my letter of the 2nd of August, 
addressed to my brother. 

'DEAR BROTHER AND SISTER, Our return journey from 
Malaga was happily accomplished; we stayed there several 
days, in order to see the incomparably beautiful neighbour- 
hood, and at length on the 26th of July, we steamed out of 
the port in the little Mercurio. Yesterday, we arrived here 
at Barcelona, after a tedious, fatiguing and exceedingly 
unbearable passage of six days. 

'We generally travelled only at night, and during a 
portion of the morning, and stopped during the day, going on 
again in the evening. In this way we became acquainted 
with the towns of Almeria, Carthagena, Alicante, Valencia 
and Taragona; we were everywhere received with the most 
unbearable formalities. 

' Valencia is indisputably the most interesting of all the 
towns, as the surroundings are also green and cultivated. 
The greatest excitement reigned everywhere, on account 
of the triumph which the ultra-liberals have so easily 
obtained by force of arms; no man considered himself safe, 
and the lives of several hundreds of unprotected officials hang 
by a hair. As I conceive that a detailed account of the 
present state of Spain will be of interest to you, I will give 
you a sketch of what is but indistinctly related in the news- 
papers, and not to be really imagined unless one is in Spain, 
and what I have heard from the lips of several highly 


enlightened men belonging to the moderate Liberal party, as 
well as what I have seen with my own eyes. 

' Yesterday, that is, on the 31st of July, we landed towards 
one o'clock in the magnificent port of Barcelona, and were not 
a little surprised, as well as somewhat pleased, to see that not 
the slightest tokens of honour were offered us, but had trouble 
on the contrary, to prevent our luggage being searched after 
we had been kept waiting for three hours. 

' The reason was that Espartero had declared the town to 
be in a state of siege, in order to have greater freedom to do 
as he liked. 

' We wandered on foot to a hotel, where we were about to 
ask for rooms, when a deputation appeared, sent by the town 
and English Consul, to lead us to a palace especially prepared 
for us. A few hours later, the Queen's chief master of 
ceremonies made his appearance, for the purpose of compli- 
menting me and begging my pardon in the Queen's name for 
my unheard of reception. 

' We were now really ushered to a large, roomy palace 
which had belonged to some exiled or escaped Grandee, but 
which barely contained chairs and tables. Nevertheless, a 
good dinner made up for everything, and the night unex- 
pectedly brought millions of jumping creatures which 
languished for our blood, the end of all our fatigues, as we 
had been obliged for the last six nights to lie on hard benches 
on the deck for want of any better place. 

'The English Consul and officers, who are with the 
army, had given us a short description of the following 

' The Queen is held a prisoner in the castle by Espartero, 
the army has blindly given itself up to him; as well as the mob 
and the ultra-liberals, but the Guards are less enthusiastic. 
4000 men are stationed in the town, 16,000 in the immediate 
neighbourhood, and with them 3000 men more belonging to 
the disaffected National Guards. A mass of troops surround 
the castle day and night, the former Ministers have fled. The 
town authorities, as well as the Ministers, are low, stupid men 
and entirely the creatures of the Radical party, just like 


General Espartero himself, who has so shamefully turned the 

' Early in the morning the chief master of the ceremonies 
appeared again, and informed me of the Queen's wish to see 
me at five o'clock. Meanwhile, the great Duke of Vittoria 
(Espartero) made his appearance, covered from head to foot 
with gold embroidery, accompanied by his entire general 
staff, consisting of over thirty men, and the whole body of 
generals, as well as all the civil authorities in immense 

' At length, at three o'clock, we climbed into a frightful 
carriage, to drive to Court. The Court itself consists of the 
unfortunate master of ceremonies alone, who led me with fear 
and trembling to the Queen, who received me in person at the 
door, surrounded by the little minor Queen and her sisters. 
I saw neither ladies nor gentlemen, not even a servant. The 
dwelling struck me as being even worse than mine, and the 
mighty ruler herself but very poorly clad. She is a very 
handsome and attractive lady, and at the same time exceed- 
ingly amiable and condescending, and I may boast that she 
talked to rne as if I were an old friend. The events of the day 
were naturally the only subject of conversation, and she 
described her present position in a heart-broken way, ending 
with tears in her eyes, and the words: " Je suis la plus 
malheureuse femme du monde." 

' I could not conceal the real state of the provinces from 
her, -and noticed with pleasure that she was informed of 
everything, but deeply depressed at not having the means to 

'After a conversation which lasted nearly an hour, she 
left me and we then returned Espartero's visit. 

' He is an uncomely little man, without any figure what- 
ever, awkward and bashful, and speaks very broken French. 

' Nevertheless, I conversed a long time with him, and ob- 
tained a pretty clear insight into the army and the present 
position of affairs. The war may be said to have been con- 
cluded four days since, and one sees detachments of soldiers, 
wounded, and prisoners pass by daily. All the troops I saw 


had a fine military appearance, and seem to be under good 
discipline. The town itself swarms with soldiers. 

' The English Consul has just written me, that I can de- 
spatch you a letter this afternoon, so I will close. If it is 
possible, I will let "you" hear from me again from Marseilles, 
where I shall arrive on the 6th. Farewell, dear ones ; I have 
heard nothing from you for three weeks ; it is to be hoped 
that you are well. With heartfelt affection, your faithful 


' P.S. Whilst I was writing I received news from an 
adjutant of Espartero's that he had ordered a parade to be 
held in my honour, and would send for me this afternoon. 
6000 men are to be present.' 

What I announced in the postscript of the above letter 
really took place on the afternoon of the 2nd of August. 
Espartero held as imposing a review as possible in my honour. 
The troops had, however, for want of a proper exercising 
ground, to be drawn up along the Boulevards of the town. 
When we had ridden along the line, Espartero turned to me 
with a request, that I should go to the Queen and persuade 
her to see the troops pass by from the balcony of her prison. 
The influence, added Espartero, which I was more in a position 
to exercise over the Queen than anyone else at this moment, 
would make it easy for me to accomplish a task so important 
to the peace of the country. 

And indeed, in the present position of affairs, it seemed as 
if the best thing would be for the Queen to make up her mind 
to save the appearances of authority, as she was no longer 
able to hold the reins of real power. 

So I rode to the castle and laid my request before the Queen. 
I tried to talk her into acceding to the wishes of the man in 
power. But she was hard to persuade. A scene followed which 
was still more moving, than that which I had gone through 
with her earlier in the day, and which is described in my 
letter. At length the Queen yielded, really appeared on the 


castle balcony, and insisted upon my remaining by her 

People saw in this suddenly improvised event, a kind 
of reconciliation between the Queen and Espartero, and 
whereas much had been said up to that moment of the unruly 
spirit which had begun to show itself amongst the Guards 
against Espartero, an understanding was now regarded as 

Espartero led the troops past with the customary marks of 
honour, and the Queen showed by her presence on the balcony 
that she retained her rights with regard to the Duke and the 
army. The victorious army and its insurgent General had 
paid a kind of homage to the monarchical principle. That, 
however, the relations which appeared to be thus established 
would be of much worth or of long duration I did not hope, 
and therefore the further course of events could not surprise 

The Regency of the radical General assumed at least a law- 
ful form. But when I revisited Spain five years later, Narvaez 
had assumed the control, and the Western and European 
Powers were seriously beginning to try to set affairs in Spain 
on a firmer footing, by bringing about the marriage of the 
minor Queen. It will be necessary for me to resume the 
thread of this narrative later on. 

I then set out after an absence of more than six months 
for Coburg, going by way of Marseilles and Switzerland, the 
Duchess of Kent being on a visit there. As the leave which 
had been granted me by the King of Saxony had meantime 
come to an end, I went back to Dresden. I found Germany 
in one of those exciting moments which I still remembered to 
have shared in during my youth. Just at that time the 
world looked upon a general conflict of the European Powers 
as unavoidable, that they were on the brink of a new war of 
coalition against the predominance of France. 

Twenty days after Queen Victoria's wedding the Thiers 
Ministry entered into office in Paris, and this Ministry was 
destined to raise a storm in European affairs such as no one 
had witnessed for a quarter of a century. 


Louis Philippe had unwillingly accommodated himself to 
the loss of the personal rule which he had exercised by virtue 
of his domineering influence in the Cabinet of the 12th of May 

If the Opposition headed by Thiers and Guizot showed 
itself inimical to the King in either large or small matters, 
neither could Marshal Soult boast of very great success in 
foreign politics. 

The Oriental question had lapsed into the alarming stage 
of a struggle between Egypt and the Porte, which latter was 
protected by both England and Russia. The battle of Nisib 
on the 24th of June dispelled all the illusions concerning 
moral support, and the avoidance of immediate warlike 
measures on the part of Russia and England in the fight 
against the Egyptian Pacha. The death of Sultan Mahmoud, 
the betrayal of the Turkish fleet, and the occupation of the 
throne by the six year old Abdul Medjid looked as if the 
Porte had ceased to be a Power. 

The conqueror of Nisib prepared to seize the inheritance 
himself, and with much gnashing of teeth acceded to Francis' 
request that he would extend his conquests no further. But 
this demand, which was brought to Major Cullier, Soult's Ad- 
jutant, contained the promise that King Louis Philippe would 
become security for Mehemet Ali's possession of Syria. In 
this manner France and the Eastern Powers assumed a 
mutually unfriendly aspect. 

Louis Philippe must have doubted his success in retaining 
England on the side of the French, at least as long as Lord 
Palmerston stood at the helm of foreign politics, for the latter, 
as he himself openly said, had made up his mind to humble 
France. The Opposition played Soult's wavering Ministry 
the usual trick of making Parliament refuse the Duke of 
Nemours the dotation on the occasion of his marriage with 
my cousin. 

Regarding this latter, the King considered that the 
Ministry had not done enough in the matter. Thus Thiers' 
position was in no way enviable, when he placed himself at 
the head of the Government. That the King, even in the 


smallest questions and matters, was forced to capitulate to 
the Ministerial rule, is well-known, and the victorious Opposi- 
tion did not spare Louis Philippe the humiliation of seeing 
them show in the most public manner that the personal 
influence of the Crown had given way before the strict con- 
stitutional system. 

Whilst the opinions in France against England and Russia 
were being expressed in a more and more irritated manner, 
the question of peace or war was laid before the Government 
by the four great Powers, France being excluded, on the 15th 
of July. Rumours of war in Germany and France were 
raised. No one liked to draw back from the popular cry on 
either side. Just as the literary men yonder, such as Edgar 
Quinet, who had for years striven for and preached the 
scientific and mental equalisation of Germany and France, 
were seized by an irresistible longing for German soil, even 
so the remembrance of the great war of freedom quickly dis- 
turbed in Germany the liberalising sympathies for the free- 
minded France of the July dynasty. 

Those are good words with which one of the Germans who 
knew France best, described the situation of affairs, and 
which I would now like to cite as the development of my own 
German feelings arising from this period. 

Those were the days of Germany's conception. The 
thought of union, which it had fostered for thirty years, and 
grumbled at too, first took root when the French deliverer of 
nations, and they who made them prosperous, so carelessly 
betrayed themselves as conquerors greedy of land ; the heart 
of the nation was done with French ideals, the Imperialism 
of Heine, the Jacobinism of Borne, the Constitutionalism of 
Rotteck-Welcker the hitherto dammed-up stream of national 
historical love of freedom won the upper hand for ever, during 
those hours of excitement. 

Louis Philippe's attitude in the struggle between the Powers 
was in many respects very contradictory, and men were not 
wanting to assert that it had never been the King's intention 
to let himself be drawn into a war which would place his 
crown in danger. 


At that very time the Napoleonic reminiscences took a 
firmer hold in France than they had ever had before. Thiers 
unfettered the political ideas of the Empire, and Louis Philippe 
tried to soften the Emperor's shade by means of the honours 
and homage which were offered to his ashes in virtue of the 
office he had once held. 

Whilst the living heir to the Empire, Louis Napoleon, was 
waiting for his doom after the Boulogne attempt, the passions 
of the nation had again been roused against the coalition 
which his uncle had overthrown. 

Did Louis Philippe really feel himself strong enough to 
play with those mighty questions ? Was it only, as others say, 
that he might raise fortifications around Paris which were at 
length to hold the city in check, which only a year before saw 
the fearful ghost of the socialistic revolution appear in the 
form of the insurrection headed by Barbes and Blanquis ? 

There are no thoughtful historians who, with the materials 
hitherto furnished them, would like to give a certain answer 
to these questions. The man who probably held the best- 
grounded opinions concerning these highly personal and inti- 
mate courses of important events was King Leopold. During 
the most decisive days, after the close of the Convention of 
the 12th of July, he himself was the only person in Paris of 
the rank of a King who had an opportunity of at once talking 
to and observing the ruler of France and his father-in-law. 
He had thus been able to form an opinion without the help of 
Ministers, all of whom Louis Philippe hated. 

The King's opinions on all the rumours of war will perhaps 
be best understood from a few words in a letter from my 
brother written on the 22nd of August. 

' Louis Philippe is said to be beside himself about it, 
there is some talk of Lord Palmerston's politics, which are 
favourable to the Spanish Espartero, and this turns him 
more against England than even the Oriental affairs. Uncle 
Leopold has been here about a fortnight, and has tormented 
himself with all the Ambassadors and Ministers in order to 
keep the peace, which is placed in danger by the want of 
sense of a great many people. 


' Yesterday he said to me, with half-closed eyes and that 
smile of his : " Oxenstierna has said that it is astonishing 
with how little wisdom the world is governed." ' 

In the following September King Leopold was at 
Wiesbaden, and wrote from there a very impressive letter to 
Metternich, who, there can be no doubt, contributed not a 
little to the present war : 

' Wiesbaden, Sept. 15th 1840. 

' It would be difficult for me to express to your Serene 
Highness how much pleasure your long and confidential letter 
gave me, and how deep an impression your practical and mild 
comprehension of these tangled and unpleasant complications 
has made on me. It is more necessary than ever to bring 
these complications to a practical and comprehensive solution. 

' I received from Lord Palmerston the announcement con- 
tained in the despatch, which at length arrived, accompanied 
by a letter dated the 4th of September, in which he was very 
much excited over the speeches made by M. de Pontois at 

'I have no objection 'to much that is contained in the 
despatch ; it was natural for him to defend himself, in the 
same way, it was our opinion at Windsor that it would not 
be necessary to mention that the attitude of the Porte with 
reference to the principal point had always been understood ; 
also, that the Powers had no other aim in view, than to seek 
their own advantage in the matter. 

' One might have wished the despatch to be more propi- 
tiating, also that it had said decidedly that the five Powers 
must now come to an understanding about the joint questions. 
This, on the contrary, seems to have been put off again, and 
only to be admitted as the consequences of the complete 
execution of the Convention. 

' Palmerston explained to me on the 23rd of August, that 
the despatch can only be looked upon as a trifle, against 
which our declaration, through a communication from the 
Convention, after the successful ratification of France, would 
be able to assert more positively the necessity of further 
immediate negotiations with France. 


'Yesterday, the 14th, as I had wished first to wait for 
several pieces of information, I declared to the Queen, 
Melbourne and Palmerston my honest opinion of the dangers 
of the present condition of affairs. 

' These notices will reach their destination on the 17th, in 
consequence of the increased ease of communication. 

' I now consider it my duty not to hesitate an instant before 
informing your Serene Highness also of my conscientious 
and, heaven knows, my [entirely unbiassed opinion. You 
alone, my dearest Prince, can work healing here, for whose 
counsel, whose opinion ought to make a deeper impression in 
England, than yours ! 

' The view of the case is this : 

' If all further negotiations with France are put off until 
after the execution of the Convention, I think that France 
will not then enter into any, and particularly that war and 
confusion are unavoidable. 

'As one must demand nothing of others which they 
cannot admit without delay, I have examined the attitude of 
the English Ministry with regard to a propitiatory and yield- 
ing line of conduct, and it appears to me as follows : The 
Convention has set aside the, to Englishmen, very unpleasant 
treaty of Unkiar Skelessy. Further, the Convention, if 
handled with moderation, will most probably be the means of 
settling the Turkish-Egyptian question. Thus the English 
Cabinet has evidently had a real success. 

' Nothing is wanting now, for all this to be settled with the 
European Powers without a quarrel. There is only one way 
in which to accomplish this, even after your Serene Highness's 
valuable verdict, and that is : to negotiate with France con- 
cerning the joint questions, which transactions the Convention 
might then absorb, as the treaty of the 19th of April 1839, in a 
certain measure, puts an end to the treaty of the loth of 
November 1837, .as well as the Convention of the 27th of 
May 1833. 

' Your Serene Highness's clear, discerning practical eye will 
at once see that negotiations of this kind are the only shield 
with which both King and Ministers can defend themselves 

VOL. I. H 


from parties and the extravagant Press. Yes, the sole means, 
in case anything of the kind should occur, of admitting a 
change of Ministry in France. 

' Without existing negotiations for a joint contract, it is 
impossible now to make Thiers discontinue his war prepara- 
tions, nor would it be possible for a new Ministry to step into 
oiiice. We must be able to tell the country that " Negotiations 
are now on foot which allow of the Oriental Question being 
arranged, without our having to sacrifice honour; only let 
the Government vouch for this and quiet yourselves." 

1 If, however, this is refused, to begin negotiations at once, 
which will continually cause some delay or other, I'amour 
propre Fran$ais will be exasperated, so that, with the exces- 
sive want of patience of this people, an open war cannot be 
avoided. Palmerston also naturally does not wish for war, 
yet he thinks that it is sufficient to demonstrate the logical 
reason of this to the French as much as possible. 

' But I have not withheld my views on this subject : if 
France remains perfectly free and unconfined, through the 
negotiations now in hand,themeans of compulsion which render 
the execution of the Convention necessary, might contain 
either an insulte in specie for France, or bring about occur- 
ences of which France might say that they were dangerous to 
the balance of power in Europe or to French interests. If 
met half-way, this would either lead to war or to the giving 
of some pledge, Canclia, for instance. 

'In conclusion, I must entreat your Serene Highness to 
remember that the entire youth of France longs for nothing 
so passionately as for war, that the present state of un- 
certainty is reviving all sorts of bad passions which until now 
did not waste time on impossibilities, and that I know that 
German liberals have announced that we can get rid of the 
present state of things by means of war alone. 

'Palmerston really thinks as I do about all this, but, since 
he was opposed on a sensitive point by Louis Philippe in the 
Spanish Question four years ago, he is not yet pacified, and is 
inclined through a desire for revenge to treat France in a by 
no means forbearing manner. I write you this under the seal 


of confidence only, yet I know from Melbourne himself that it 
is so. 

' Even at the present moment the English Cabinet is eagerly 
partial to the Anarchists in Spain. I had a great battle to 
fight on account of Espartero, but bravely defended my views 
concerning his shameful conduct. When one knows all about 
this, one cannot fail to wonder at the strange complication 
which will perhaps be the cause of an Austrian and Prussian 
war, the reason being that Palmerston is discontented because 
of his unsuccessful intervention in Spain against Don Carlos. 

' The present moment is in my opinion the most dangerous 
which we have lived through for a long time, far more so than 
1830. and the thing is to help France out of her false position. 

' It gave me a great deal of pleasure to make the acquaint- 
ance of the President of the Confederate meeting : his manner 
pleases me immensely, and conversation with him is easy and 
useful. It is time to end my long letter, and I will only add 
the expression of my hearty and earnest respect, I was able 
to do this by word of mouth last year, and would it were 
only possible now. ' LEOPOLD.' 

As may be seen, King Leopold was convinced that Louis 
Philippe did not seriously desire war, and he acted accordingly. 
The counsels which he gave Metternich for the correct dip- 
lomatic balance were in fact strictly followed. How rightly 
King Leopold had judged King Louis Philippe and his French 
nation was shown by the events which followed, amongst 
which the fall of Thiers meant in any case the preservation 
of peace. 

On the 29th of October, Guizot placed himself at the head 
of the Government. He began by making peace with 
England and a friendly system of politics which quieted 
matters, but the new Ministry was soon nicknamed the 
' English Ministry.' The cannon of the now allied Western 
Powers worked with such effect in the East that Syria was 
freed from Egypt's yoke and Mehemet AH was humbled. 
Russia, however, took care that the Porte's useful rival should 
not be entirely destroyed. 


Guizot also established an understanding with Prussia 
and Austria, so that the universal breaking up of the armies 
of the Continent might continue peacefully. It is true that 
King Louis Philippe was forced to declare to the German 
Powers, that everything should be done to reduce his army as 
much as possible, and that he only kept it up in order to pro- 
tect France from revolution. For as the army was the only 
real supporter on which France could rely, therefore, he added 
pleadingly, he hoped his safety-valve would not be cut, if he 
was to keep his ground at all. This was indeed more than 
the national pride could bear. Slowly, but in ever widening 
circles, it was felt that the kingdom of July was retro- 

The diplomatic triumph over warlike France had at first 
a good effect on the German Powers. But when one observed 
the helplessness with which Germany had looked forward to 
the French attack, one saw that it contained a warning, from 
which the nation might expect that it would spur the two 
great Powers on to recognise the relations of the Confederacy. 

Immediately after the great war scare of the year 1840, 
Frederick William III died on the 7th of June, and, with a 
superstitious belief in numbers, people based the greatest 
hopes on the fact that the name and person of the successor 
are connected with the notice of the secular celebration of 
the beginning of the reign of Frederick II. 

Old Europe still found pleasure in the patriarchal habit 
of publishing wills, in which deceased monarchs were wont 
to address their people and successor for the last time, with 
political and moral advice. 

Everyone in Prussian Conservative circles was deeply 
moved on reading the last will of Frederick William III, ' to 
his dear Fritz,' whom he warned against the spreading desire 
for innovation, as well as all exaggerated preference for the 
old systems. 

Even more noticeable than this well-meant phrase was the 
fact that the old gentleman had no better advice to give his 
son concerning high politics than that he should remain in the 
most perfect harmony and unshakeable union with Russia and 

Austria. And this at a time when, in the great strife between 
nations, Germany was most of all threatened, and looked to 
Prussia, which made no motion to enroll the flags of 1813. 

Frederick William IV explained to the French Ambassador 
Bresson that he had ratified the agreement of the 16th July, 
only on condition that he would not be forced to take up the 
sword. For an instant he assumed the position of an inde- 
pendent man, only to bow before Russia's predominance the 
next moment. 

The Prussian generals came to Dresden and Vienna to 
settle the eventual rules of measure in case of war, but were 
recalled as quickly and demonstratively, when peace was 
barely hinted at. The hopes raised by the new King brought 
him many heavy cares, on account of the fulfilment of the 
promises which had been already made by his father for the 
introduction of a constitutional state of things, but never 

When the new King went through the ceremony of corona- 
tion, on the 7th of September, in Konigsberg he let fall for 
the first time some mysterious words which shut out the 
system of a representative constitution in Prussia. His speech 
was only half understood ; the Liberals persuaded themselves 
that the most intellectual of all Princes could not possibly be 
a Reactionist. 

The peculiar garnishing, amalgamation and distortion of 
progress and freedom, with the beliefs of the Middle Ages and 
authorities, had not yet assumed a tangible political form, 
and could not easily be understood. The future was to furnish 
instruction enough. 

There was rejoicing at Eichhorn's nomination as Minister 
of Public Worship, as Altenstein had soon followed his King 
to the grave, and it could not be imagined that a trusted friend 
of Schleiermacher would soon begin to follow an exactly 
contrary course. 

The time came for Schelling's official philosophy and 
romanticism on the throne. It would be fascinating to me to 
describe here, in all its aspects, the remarkably intellectual 
and yet to a certain degree so unfortunate personality of 


Frederick William IV ; the King rises before my eyes with 
much greater distinctness than most of my living con- 
temporaries, but it will be allowed me to impart in these my 
life reminiscences, as in a good drama, the full knowledge of 
persons only at such moments when they are necessary to the 
course of events. And as it was granted me to be one of the 
persons who took part in the most important moments of 
Frederick William's history, there will be plenty of oppor- 
tunity to depict the King fully and minutely. 

I soon had a little meeting with Frederick William IV, a 
meeting which nearly concerned my personal affairs and those 
of Coburg, and which was so characteristic that it may be 
described more in detail. 

The change of government in Prussia had inspired my 
father with the hope that a settlement might be effected of a 
particular matter between Coburg and that kingdom. As it 
was known that Frederick William IV, when Crown Prince, 
had given me certain tokens of his inclination for me, I was 
chosen, not only to greet the King personally, but to act as an 
intermediate in the complicated question of the rights of our 
House. The matter concerned was the accomplishment of an 
exchange of the little territory on the Rhine which Prussia so 
unwillingly saw given into my father's hands as a boundary 
at the Vienna Congress. The storms of the July revolution 
had, as I said above, more plainly betrayed the untenableness 
of the little possession. 

In the year 1833, an agreement between the Governments 
on both sides had at length been come to, and now needed the 
ratification of the King of Prussia only. The matter appeared 
to be as good as settled, however, and Coburg was to receive 
domains in the province of Saxony as a compensation for the 
loss of the principality of Lichtenberg. We were so certain 
that everything was in order, that my father informed Prince 
Metternich of it, and received the following letter in reply 
after reading which, no one can doubt that the matter was 
really looked upon as settled. On the 31st of July, Metternich 
wrote to my father : 


' YOUR SERENE HIGHNESS, I received your honoured 
letter of the 24th inst. yesterday. I understand the feelings 
which your Serene Highness fostered with regard to the 
settlement of the affair. Even if it must have given pain to 
exchange a sovereign territory for domains, yet the business 
matter is, on the other hand, based on such considerations 
that its results must nevertheless be reckoned on the good side. 

' The German Government has trouble enough, in these 
unquiet times, to keep order in the different territories, which 
stand under the control of the central government. How it 
is with far removed territories, especially when they lie in a 
bad tract of land as on the left bank of the Rhine, is shown 
by daily experience. 

'I therefore honestly wish your Serene Highness good 
luck with the successful measures, it is one of quiet for your- 
self and the country. 

'Your Serene Highness will be pleased to accept the 
assurance of the profound attachment and reverence with 
which I remain, Your Serene Highness's obedient and devoted 


' Konigswarth, July Zlst, 1833.' 

The thought alone that we had reached our goal soon 
showed itself to be a mistaken one. My father made the 
mistake of inspecting the domains in the province of Saxony 
which he thought would be his, and thus arousing the attention 
of the public. The then Chief President and late Minister 
Rochow called the Crown Prince's attention to this settled 
agreement which was highly unprofitable to the Prussian 
Crown, on the occasion of an inspection of troops in the 
province of Saxony, and, as we heard later, it was the Crown 
Prince himself who hindered the ratification of the agreement 
by his royal father. 

When Frederick William IV mounted the throne, my 
father considered it the proper moment to carry the matter 
into execution with the new King. 

I left Dresden for Berlin and tried at once to gain informa- 


tion from the Ministers concerning the reason of the refusal 
to ratify the agreement. I received little more than shrugs 
of the shoulders as a reply from these officials, and mysterious 
hints about the difficulties in the way, which are now no 
longer neutral, but of a very personal nature. 

As I had tried the usual means with so little success, I 
decided to take a more direct road, and seized an occasion 
when at the King's table to remark that I would never succeed 
in this matter unless an opportunity were offered me of laying 
it before the King himself. With the greatest amiability his 
Majesty invited me to a conference the following morning. 

I set out at the right time, and, well armed with documents 
and papers, entered the King's presence, not having failed to 
sketch out a well-considered lawful expose. 

The King listened almost as if in consent, but when I had 
said all I had to say, and reminded him last of all of the 
royal promise which his father had made, he flew into a 
most incredible temper. 

' Do you think that I am going to continue all the stu- 
pidities which my father began ? ' he cried, his face red with 
anger. ' Those counsellors who spoiled and used everything, 
were blockheads ! ' and continuing to thunder out his ill- 
feeling against the past Government, he broke the inkstand 
in two, so that the ink flew out in all directions, and the 
painful moment was brought to a close through the accident. 
Upon this he excused himself, grew perfectly mild again, and 
went on in the most friendly and polite manner to say that 
he really could not agree to the exchange of the territory 
for domains. 

Thus ended the conference. 

I think it hardly necessary to add, that I was astounded, 
and I no longer recollect all the thoughts which agitated me 
concerning this enigmatical man. I well remember the 
historical affair of the costly cup broken by Napoleon in the 
Castle of Leoben, but I did not find the occurrence of equal 
importance nor sufficiently historical to play the Napoleon 
on its account. It was the King's real nature to go out of 
himself in this way. The King, who still held me bound 


by the magic of his former friendliness as Crown Prince, was 
at that time a man of forty -four years of age, and exactly 
twice as old as I was. This difference in age occurs only once 
during the lives of two human beings ; it disappears with 
every advancing year, and only too often the illusions which 
one has concerning the importance of others, disappear with 

With King Frederick William IV, I gained this experience 
after the lapse of ten years only. 



























IT is said that princely marriages in the present century have 
long since ceased to have any political meaning. The world, 
people intimate, has grown enlightened enough no longer to 
allow itself, as formerly, to be influenced by the way in 
which chance marriages may turn out, and the path of events 
in the Europe of to-day lies far above the personal relations 


and affairs of a number of historical families. I consider this 
view of state life fundamentally mistaken, and think, rather, 
that the right understanding of a large number of historical 
events is thus deliberately prevented. 

Meanwhile, it is not my intention to express myself 
generally on the subject of the political importance of 
marriages in reigning families ; looking back upon my own 
experiences, I can only say, that amongst the countless 
marriages which I have seen take place in the houses of my 
relations and friends, or at which I have assisted, I could 
mention but few which, in the course of events, have in no 
way influenced general affairs. 

But I could say of many, that they have immediately and 
decisively, even in our day, affected the politics of both 
foreign and home states. More than one marriage story can 
be said to be little behind those of the Bourbons, Hapsburgs, 
Tudors, and Stuarts in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, 
in this respect. 

When will the time come when royal ladies will not have 
a direct and, what is more, an indirect influence over affairs ! 

In going over the past, I need only mention the four 
sisters belonging to the House of Bavaria. How could one 
think of European, and particularly German, politics, without 
at the same time thinking of those intellectual and energetic 
women ? Talleyrand's ' && est la femme ' nowadays applies to 
the other sex only where politics are concerned. 

If, following the course of the events which have filled my 
life, I now speak of my own marriage, I by no means intend, 
by virtue of my own position, to imply that these views 
might be applied to the same ; but when, after nearly fifty 
years of married life, two people who harmonise completely, 
feel as great friendship for one another as they felt on the 
first day, I may be allowed to say that the recollections which 
I shall relate here, are almost as equally those of the good and 
noble woman whom I brought home in the year 1842, as they 
are mine. 

As I have already mentioned, an attempt to marry me to 
a daughter of Louis Philippe was frustrated by our belonging to 


different faiths. The intention to unite me to the House of 
Bavaria was likewise impracticable, because at Catholic 
Courts a prejudicial view had gained the upper hand which 
in previous times of religious indifference would have seemed 
almost incomprehensible. 

Amongst the children of King Louis, with whom my 
father, and particularly my uncle, King Leopold, had been on 
the best terms since the time of the French dominion, Princess 
Adelgunde, who afterwards married Duke Francis of Modena, 
was destined for me. 

Queen Marie of Saxony would have been very much 
inclined to favour this union if the demands for the education 
of Catholic children, which were already beginning to be made 
in Germany in mixed marriages, had had any prospect of 
being granted. Under these circumstances, the Bavarian 
project of marriage had already been abandoned, when, on my 
return from Spain in the summer of 1840, I visited the camp 
of Nuremberg with a number of Saxon officers. 

During this visit, which lasted from the 1st to the loth of 
September, I had daily opportunities of seeing King Louis 
and his family, and learning to know them better. His 
peculiar nature, which showed itself in many a joke and comic 
idea, made an indelible impression on all who had any inter- 
course with him, and during the stay in Nuremberg also he 
furnished much food for lasting anecdotes. 

At that time the camp of Nuremberg and the drill of the 
Bavarian army were of but little interest. The hours during 
which we were neither attending manoeuvres nor sitting at 
tables were difficult enough to fill up, and there was a per- 
ceptible want of amusements for the many strangers and 
native officers. 

One warm afternoon, after a rather mediocre royal dinner 
at the Castle, as I was about to take leave, the King asked 
me the following critical question : ' Where in the world are 
you going to kill time this evening ? ' I was forced to 
acknowledge the truth, and said with some embarrassment 
that, for want of anything better to do, I had had the inten- 
tion of going to a monkey show. The King seized upon the 


idea with childish delight, ' Then I'll go with you,' he ex- 
claimed, and although I attempted to protest, he would have 
his own way, and in a short time I and the crowned head 
had taken our places in the booth near the town gates, 
amongst sutlers, non-commissioned officers and a crowd of 
common people. 

The monkeys went through their parts amidst ringing 
applause, and at the end, when they were being rewarded by 
the audience with apples and bread, a certain commotion 
arose from the fact that the Burgomaster had suddenly 
appeared in the booth, arrayed in full official uniform, and 
began making a speech, in which he expressed his patriotic 
joy at the presence of his King. His words were interrupted 
by applause from all sides. Upon this the King leaped upon a 
bench and asked in his well-known loud voice: 'Now, for whom 
is this intended, for me or for the monkeys ? ' This put an 
end to everything. Years afterwards, when we met again, 
the King often asked me if I wouldn't take him to another 
monkey show. 

My friendly intercourse with the Bavarian family was 
never broken off on account of the non-fulfilment of my wish 
to become one of them. Concerning other Princesses whose 
hand I might obtain, my brother wrote to me on the 4th of 
September, expressing the most earnest desire to see me soon 

' As we are in the same position as England and France. 
Belgium and Portugal, we must act honourably in this matter. 
Meanwhile, I look upon your marriage as necessary, and the 
choice very limited. . . . The only desirable match would 
be with the daughter of the Grand-Duke of Baden. I cer- 
tainly recommend this, after all that I have learned concern- 
ing her ; Victoria also and uncle Leopold willingly consent to 
it. She is, moreover, the easiest of access and the least 
dangerous to sound. I would visit Karl Leiningen in the 
autumn, and take this opportunity of seeing her, without 
drawing attention to it, and then think the matter over. She 
is said to be very amiable.' 

Meanwhile, I had an opportunity of coming into contact 


with the House of Baden even sooner and more unrestrainedly 
than my brother thought. 

In the autumn of 1840 there was an assembly of the 
Eighth Army Corps at Schwetzingen, at which I was com- 
manded by the King of Saxony to be present with the same 
officers who were with me at Nuremberg. The Grand-Duke 
of Baden had naturally established his Court at Schwetzingen, 
and was there with his whole family. Here I saw the 
Princess Alexandra, his eldest daughter, who had not then 
completed her twentieth year, simple and natural, that is, 
adorned with what remained most precious in her during her 
whole life, and which was most admired in her by both high 
and low. But it would not be quite true if I were to say that 
this meeting was the cause of the marriage which took place 
afterwards, as it was to be brought about by a peculiar chain 
of events more quickly than I had expected. 

My father's greatest wish was to see me settle in Coburg, 
and my early marriage appeared to him as the principal 
means of bringing this about. During a short stay made by 
Prince William of Prussia and his family at Reinhardsbrunn, 
my father conceived a very strong desire for me to take the 
Princess Marie for my wife. 

This gave rise to an agreement that, although it should 
not be looked upon as a binding engagement, both sides 
should remain disengaged for some time. 

Whilst I was living the life of a soldier in Dresden, in the 
winter of 1841-42, I accompanied the King once to a hunt, to 
which the town of Leipzig had invited him. On my way 
thither, as I was thinking of the disagreeable winter's day, 
and the probably equally disagreeable hunt, and gazing 
through the window at the tiresome plain, one of my comrades, 
who had lately been appointed aide-de-camp to the King, 
asked me if I had heard of the latest engagement in Berlin. 

He then told me that the Crown Prince of Bavaria was 
betrothed to the Princess Marie, and that the marriage would 
take place during the coming year. 

The man had no idea how nearly his story concerned me, 
but I could perceive from the King's having kept it from me, 


that there must be truth in the matter, and that I, the only 
sufferer, was probably the only one from whom the matter 
had been concealed ; no pleasant situation, but what could I 
do except remain silent ! 

That evening we spent the night in Leipzig. Chance 
willed it that at the hotel I should meet the Prince of 
Fiirstenberg, who was married to the Princess Amalia, the 
sister of the Grand-Duke of Baden, and was consequently the 
uncle of the Princess who afterwards became my wife. 

Still full of what I had heard that morning, I was but 
little inclined to fix my attention as closely as was necessary 
on a game of cards to which the Prince had invited me late 
in the evening. 

I soon turned the conversation to the subject which 
secretly occupied me most, and remembering that I had seen 
the family of Baden and the Princess Alexandra at Schwetz- 
ingen, I explained to the uncle that I would like to marry, and 
asked him with sudden frankness if he thought I could win 
the hand of his niece. He expressed his opinion that I would 
be gladly welcomed at the Court of Baden, and that I could 
not possibly make a happier choice. 

This helped me to make up my mind decidedly, and 
when I returned to Dresden, I told the Queen everything, as 
I knew that she took the greatest interest in what befell me. 
I begged her, as the conduct of the Prussian Court could not 
leave me indifferent, to do something for me in this other 
matter, upon which she promised to make inquiries at the 
Court of Baden. But the answer was painfulty slow in 
corning, and although I repeatedly met the Queen, she never 
recurred to the affair. 

I had intended to leave Dresden on New Year's day, in 
order to celebrate my father's birthday, which took place on 
the 2nd of January, in Gotha. On the 28th of December, the 
Qeeen sent for me and informed me that I could rest assured 
that I should be heartily received at Karlsruhe, if I were to 
make a visit there. 

I hastened to Gotha, having decided to go straight to 
Karlsruhe from there. The only question now was how to 


obtain my father's consent. He said that the matter had been 
neither sufficiently prepared, nor rightly begun. But I 
remained steadfast, and without allowing the reason for my 
journey to be known, I started for Karlsruhe, in accordance 
with the invitation of the Court there. 

When I presented myself to the Grand-Duke, I received 
the pleasantest and most friendly reception at his hands, but 
when our conversation was over I became less and less able 
to banish the thought that the excellent Prince had either 
been left ignorant of my own intentions, or that he had 
intentionally avoided the subject. My position was a very 
odd one, and I thought in my heart of my father and his dis- 
agreeable prophecies. 

But when the same farce was played by the Grand- 
Duchess, and she appeared anxious to hear about everything 
except the reason for my journey thither, my embarrassment 
reached an exceedingly high point, and I saw that something 
unusual must be going on. 

However, the favourable news given me by Queen Marie 
could not possibly be the result of a misunderstanding, and it 
could not be doubted that I had been expected at Karlsruhe. 
Therefore, I no longer hesitated, but spoke to the Grand- 
Duchess of the wish which, as she was aware, had brought 
me thither. She then told me that they were heartily glad 
of it, but that the principal thing now was to obtain the 
Princess's decision. 

I need not say how suddenly the whole situation grew all 
at once clear to me, and cannot deny that my journey in 
search of a bride was by no means lessened in interest by this 
little intermezzo. 

The Princess came, and we were left alone. There was a 
moment of silence. Could my father have been right when 
he said that the affair had not been managed right from the 
first. As I looked at the Princess, I was overcome by the 
conviction that hers was a nature to whom nothing but the 
most open character and the completest truth could be 

So I said frankly that I had come to Karlsruhe for the 


purpose of asking her hand in marriage. 'Either,' I con- 
tinued, ' tell me that you consent, and then I shall stay and 
we will learn to know one another better, or simply say the 
one word which your parents perhaps kept back out of 
anxiety and consideration for me. I shall in that case leave 
this house with the firm conviction that no one else will ever 
know anything of what has taken place to-day/ 

It will not be wondered at, that after the lapse of so many 
years, I am unable to repeat word for word the conversation 
which followed. Still, I can remember that the Duchess said 
that nothing could please her more, than to have a husband 
who spoke so openly, freely and honourably, adding, with the 
most amiable knowledge of human nature, that a near 
acquaintance often led to great disappointment, and that the 
best things of all were belief and trust. In these words she 
gave her consent, and said that we might at once declare 
ourselves betrothed. 

My father was right so far, my marriage was indeed 
diplomatically unprepared. But it was to be all the happier, 
humanly speaking. 

I myself will only add what I said to my uncle Leopold in 
a letter dated the 7th of April 1842 : 

' Heaven has let me find in Alexandra all that I ever 
wished for.' 

Our time of betrothal lasted an uncommonly short time. 
The affairs of the House of Baden had much to do with this. 
Quite unintentionally, and only because of the confiding trust 
with which I was met by the greater part of the relations 
living at Karlsruhe, I had conceived an ardent wish to have 
my bride safe at home as soon as possible. 

Our wedding, therefore, took place as early as the 3rd of 
May 1842, and the quick result of my wooing was the reason 
why my father and Prince Leiningen were the only members 
of my family who were present in Karlsruhe. 

My brother and the Queen of England wished us to spend 
the honeymoon with them, as any other arrangement was 
rendered quite impossible by the political situation of England 
at that time, as may also be seen in Prince Albert's book. 

VOL. I. I 


However, I took my young wife at once to her new home, 
where my father gave us Kallenberg Castle as a residence. 
We entered Coburg triumphantly amidst signs of the greatest 
enthusiasm on the part of the people. 

A few days later we stood together on the well-known 
balconies of Kallenberg Castle, and gazed over the wide 
stretch of country which lay before us, and the sunny land- 
scape seemed to promise us the happiest future. My father 
was no less pleased than myself with my wife's winning 
person, and the most affectionate and sincere family relations 
soon developed between him and her. 

In July we at length started on the way to visit our 
relations in Brussels and London. So beautiful a bond of 
friendship has seldom been seen as that which grew between 
the Queen of England and my young wife, and it outlived all 
the storms of later years. 

In her book about Prince Albert the Queen herself men- 
tions the pleasant days of our stay, which were unfortunately 
clouded by the startling news of the death of the Duke of 
Orleans in Paris. 

We spent most of our time at Claremont during our visit 
to England, returning to Kallenberg on the 21st of August, 
and only leaving for a short time in the autumn to go to 
Dresden, where I introduced my wife at Court. Besides, the 
time was approaching when I should seriously begin to study 
the affairs of Government. My father himself showed me the 

I became a real member of the Ministry, in the meetings 
and work of which I took an active part. It was only natural 
that I did not always agree with my father's views on ques- 
tions of administration, but it was pleasant to me that no 
difference of any important nature arose. I turned my ener- 
gies principally to gaining information, and had not the 
slightest foreboding that the moment was so near when I would 
have to put my new studies and experience to Government 
uses ; but the sad day was to come very soon. 

Meantime I carefully kept up my relations with the Saxon 
army in Coburg also. 


Shortly before my marriage I had been promoted to the 
rank of Major-General, and although not on immediately 
active service, I was summoned by the King's desire to attend 
the exercises in the autumn of 1843, on which occasion I took 
command of a mixed brigade, in order to become proficient in 
the handling of large bodies of troops. 

In the year 1843, on the 20th of April, took place the 
marriage of my cousin Augustus with the Princess Clementine, 
the daughter of Louis Philippe, in Paris. I was sent thither 
by my father as representative of the House of Coburg, and 
made use of this opportunity to introduce my wife at the 
French Court. We spent the first part of our stay with the 
Royal Court at St Cloud, the latter part at the Elyse'e 
Bourbon Castle, where a household was placed at our disposal. 
I had ample time in the two months during which our stay 
lasted to become acquainted with the state of things as well 
as the important personages, and could not but be convinced 
that matters there were becoming more and more disquieting. 

The secret societies, whose fermenting activity could be 
seen everywhere, appeared to have succeeded in awakening 
the greatest anxiety even in the minds of most of the 
members of the Royal Family. They felt as if they were 
standing on the edge of a volcano. 

Those amongst the Princes who, like the Due de Nemours, 
had already by reason of their age, received important com- 
mands in the army, gave their whole minds up to military 
matters. The Due d'Aumale sometime afterwards organised 
the Zouaves, wrote a very able pamphlet on the subject, and 
became more or less the discoverer of a new order of battle 
for the French army, particularly as regards the use of light 

I renewed my acquaintance with Thiers, begun in the 
year 1837. After he was banished to England I saw him 
frequently, and at length at Versailles again in 1870, where 
we had rooms next to one another, and often reminded one 
another of the time when he was leader of the Opposition 
against Louis Philippe. 

Amongst the commanding officers with whom I grew 


acquainted at that time were Marshals Oudinot and Ge'rard, 
and I found both of them to be interesting relaters of the 
Napoleonic campaigns. Both were well acquainted with the 
land of my birth, for Oudinot commanded our Saxon con- 
tingent in 1812, and Gerard was for a long time a commander 
in Gotha. In the middle of June I returned home, and 
was not to see Paris again under the government of the 

Fate had decreed that I was to be called only too soon 
from my contemplative life to perform the duties of my own 
reign, for my good father died unexpectedly on the morning 
of the 29th of January, 1844, having just completed his 
sixtieth year. 

When it is said in the Queen's book that my brother had 
been prepared by Stockmar for the possibility of such an 
event, it is only an hypothesis, founded upon the fact that 
the latter had foreseen this in his quality of physician. My 
brother was as much staggered by this severe and unexpected 
blow, as I myself was, and the country, which deeply deplored 
the loss of the vigorous Prince who had enjoyed the greatest 
popularity until the end. 

It proves but little, when one collects the papers which 
tell of one's state of mind during days of enduring pain. 
Even the very words which have been wrung from a suffer- 
ing heart, give the reader but a very incomplete idea of how 
and what one has suffered. 

I will therefore avoid everything in these notes which 
relates to purely personal feeling, or which can have no claims 
on the memory of the world. The place where the departed 
stood is empty, and another comes and fills it. Fate has this 
hard rule for great and little, high and low. After the lapse 
of years and centuries history sometimes joins this change of 
men to periods and epochs of state, but in the real course of 
life even kings and mighty princes die, without making the 
slightest change in the immediate present. 

But within the family the gap remained unclosed for years, 
as my father, being the senior of the whole House, formed the 
central point of all intercourse. Now I stood alone ; of the 


older generation only ray stepmother and grandmother lived 
at home in the strictest retirement. 

The latter, with whom the reader has become intimately 
acquainted through the life history of my brother, had hardly 
one enemy during her whole long life, and was looked upon 
until her death in the year 1848, with really rare veneration 
throughout the land. 


Meanwhile I had neither the wish nor the necessity, in 
my new field of work, to make the change of government 
immediately felt. 

I was perfectly convinced that the world, and particularly 
Germany, stood on the brink of an epoch of the most power- 
ful political changes, and that not one of the Princes of 
Germany, who had become rulers, could look forward to a 
quiet existence such as had been the lot of my father's genera- 
tion for the last thirty years ; but I was far from thinking, 
modestly situated as I was, of setting the stone rolling. The 
task which seemed to me to have been set for me, placed at 
the head of two of the smallest German states, was not to 
forget to reef the sails before the storm. 

I had addressed to my uncle a tolerably comprehensive 
letter, a kind of memorial, which now lies before me, and in 
which I furnished him with accurate information concerning 
the condition of Germany both far and near. The defects of 
former Governments, and the improvements of those to come, 
were enlarged upon, and attention called to them. I tried to 
make clear to myself what position I was to take with rela- 
tion to the greater Powers of Germany ; I tried in every way 
to place myself on the real level of political affairs, and, most 
of all, to finish everything that my father had begun. 

' More than a fortnight has gone by since that dreadful 
morning,' I wrote on the 14th of February to my uncle in 
Brussels, ' the wounds are still bleeding, but I have turned to 
my difficult calling, and try to account to myself for the way 
I am to go, the principles which I must cherish.' 

I found the inner state of things better in Gotha than in 
Coburg. In Gotha order reigned in most branches of adminis- 
tration. One of the results of this was the quiet and 


prosperity which increased every day throughout the entire 
principality. An excellently planned network of streets 
facilitated business, and the condition of the city of Gotha 
could not be said to be other than prosperous. Amongst the old 
Gotha nobility there were many noble and competent men, and 
great progress had therefore been made in legislation during the 
past years. I did not consider it necessary to make any great 
change at once in the constitution of local affairs ; but it was 
clear to me that what both duchies needed first of all was similar 
constitutional laws, and to a certain degree, like institutions. 

I will not conceal the fact that after the lapse of a year 
things did not look so bright to me, and I had a feeling of not 

o o ' o 

being upheld sufficiently literally and without prejudice by 
the men in office. But I will only say at present how dis- 
inclined I felt from the first to pull down what I considered 
as in any way useful. 

Things were different in Coburg to what they were in 
Gotha, for the former had not increased in prosperity, and the 
relations of the different orders had grown very uncomfortable 
through misapprehension of constitutional principles. But 
where it appeared impossible any longer to neglect making a 
change, with relation to internal government I could keep to 
the path already trodden by my father, for only a few hours 
before his end I had spoken with him of a plan of general 
reform, with the principles of which he had expressed himself 
as being entirely satisfied. 

The most important moment of my discussion with King 
Leopold, was without any doubt that concerning the position 
of my House in relation to other German Princes. Even at 
this day, I can hardly make the document public, yet it will 
be permitted me to say, that I could see no satisfaction in the 
relations in which the whole House of Coburg stood at that 
time as regarded most of the German Courts. 

I imagined that the enmity which was shown our House 
by some, was owing to our want of activity with regard to 
German questions, and may now say plainly that it was 
surely an honourable German thought, when I wrote to King 
Leopold in dry terms : 


'We have brought things to such a point that we can 
never again act as German Confederate Princes belonging to 
one of the oldest German Houses, but rather as related to the 
Great Western Powers, that Coburg is looked upon as the 
seat of all anti-German intrigues against the Confederacy, as 
the seat of the ultra-liberalism which has spread throughout 
the West, and is cried down as an infamous spot. . . . We 
must become honourably German again, . . . and bury all 
questions of strife. . . . 

' I must, as a young German Confederate Prince, be able 
to recommend myself freely and with a good conscience to 
the discretion and indulgence of thirty-six colleagues. 

' This is the point which I must enforce upon the Con- 
federate Princes, but not upon the high kindred in the west, 
for I am not to blame that you are the King of Belgium, 
Albert, Consort to the Queen of England, and Ferdinand 
King of Portugal. It is a pleasure to me that you are all my 
relations, and, God willing, friendly disposed towards me, that 
you are in the eyes of the world great and splendid as men 
and rulers, but I must certainly not clothe myself in your 
fame before my Confederate colleagues.' 

It is true that I could have written thus to none but as 
great and noble minded a man as my uncle was, without 
being misunderstood ; but my uncle did not for a moment 
mistake my meaning. He understood that I must strive ' to 
bind myself to the principal Courts, particularly to those of 
Vienna and Berlin by virtue of my position as a German 

But I did not hide from myself how difficult this was at 
the time. It was unfortunately, hardly possible for me to 
keep up relations with the Imperial House, as pains appeared 
to be taken to prevent a warm return of my advances. In 
spite of the personally friendly relations with the King, it 
was no less difficult a matter for the politician to obtain sup- 
port from Berlin. 

' The seat of everything which is not clear, of everything 
which is contradicting, is at this moment in Berlin,' I wrote 
at the end of my expose ; ' the principles most dangerous to 


the endurance of the Prussian Monarchy are hatched by the 
King himself, and yet real liberalism is not honoured.' 

The good intentions which I had in remaining true to the 
German Confederacy were soon to be severely tried by the 
progress of an unexpected event which had begun long before 
I had entered into power. Concerning this I can only repeat 
what I wrote to King Leopold on the 10th of May, 

'You will laugh a great deal over all this, one might 
imagine one's self back in the days of the peace of West- 

The Saxon Dukes, strange to say, had passed from the 
times of the Rhine Confederacy with new titles, of which all 
other princely houses had known how to possess themselves 
in the most grasping manner, to the days of German Confede- 
racy, and had retained the rank which could not be contested 
by those who had been mediatised. 

The question of titles had therefore arisen more than 
once in the Saxon Ducal Courts, and negotiations were set 
on foot concerning the adoption of the title 'Highness/ 
which, however, dragged on for an unconscionable length of 

It was not to be denied that, in our intercourse with 
foreign Courts particularly, we suffered many a disadvantage 
on account of our title, which was at that time by no means 
suitable, as though reigning Princes we ranked after all the 
Princes in the western kingdom who bore the title ' Royal 

That something must be done under these circumstances 
was clear, and the fact was recognised on all sides, even by 
German Governments. But as, on my entering into power, I 
had undertaken this matter, it must be acknowledged that I 
had been too hasty. 

After the decisions of Aix-la-Chapelle, there could be no 
doubt that the whole matter was not one for the German 
Confederacy ; and, on the other hand, the title ' Highness ' 
could not warrant an independent recognition in Vienna and 


Beflin, but, at the best, promised protection for the German 
Diet, whose competence was again questionable. 

I was thus certain that an accomplished fact only could 
rescue us from this dilemma, and as I feared nothing more 
than the diplomatically juridical examination of a matter like 
this, as was usual with the German Diet, I joined in a House 
and Family resolution with the Dukes of Altenburg and 
Meiningen, the contents of which were as follows : 

By the Grace of God, 


Do, in consideration of the change made in the titles and 
relations of rank during the course of time, particularly 
because of the extension made in the predicate ' Serene 
Highness,' and the increasing injury arising therefrom to the 
rights of honour conceded to the Dukes of Saxony, consider it 
fit and necessary to raise the rank and worth of our Ducal 
Houses by means of an alteration in the above-mentioned 
predicate, and are therefore bound by the following House 
and Family resolutions : 

ART. I. The reigning Dukes of Saxony, their heirs pre- 
sumptive and direct descendants of the first generation, will 
henceforth assume the predicate ' Highness,' instead of that 
of 'Ducal Serene Highness,' which they have hitherto 

ART. II. The brothers of the reigning Duke of Saxe- 
Altenburg, as well as Prince Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha 
will also receive the same predicate. 

ART. III. This raising of predicate is to be promulgated 
at the same time in the Duchies of Saxe-Meiningen, Saxe- 
Altenburg and Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, also all foreign Courts will 
be notified thereof, and it will be announced to the German 
Confederate Assembly by all the envoys of the German 

In witness whereof we have had the present House and 


Family resolution drawn up in the copies of the same tenour, 
and completed it with our own hand, by prefixing thereto our 
Ducal seal. 

Altenburg, April \bth, 1844. 

Meiningen, April 2nd, 1844. 

Coburg, April 10th, 1844. 




We looked for a storm of some kind, but we did not 
expect that the affair would give rise to such lasting and 
persevering excitement as it did amongst the German Powers. 
In these days the matter no doubt appears too unimportant 
for it to be followed throughout all its stages. I expressed 
my opinion at the time in a letter to King Leopold, which 
ran as follows: 'Of course you have not remained ignorant 
of the intense excitement caused by the adoption of the title 
" Highness," and how people are trying on all sides either not 
to acknowledge this step at all, or at any rate to speak very 
unfavourably of it, and make things very unpleasant. Let 
them do as they will. The business is an accomplished fact, 
and must be considered as such, and whoever says a, must 
say b also.' 

We knew very well beforehand that, as we had had the 
boldness to leave out the little word 'Ducal' before 'Highness,' 
contrary to the express wish of both great Cabinets, we should 
hear from them in not exactly a friendly manner. But that 
the remaining German Confederate States, to whom we sent 
our notification, would also make no answer, was not exactly 
what we had expected. 

Under these circumstances, I could build hopes only on the 
recognition of the title by the Courts of Paris, London and 
Brussels, but the very fact that this was the case, gave rise 
to fresh difficulties concerning the translation of the word 
' Highness,' and the circumstance that no corresponding 
expression could be found in diplomatic language for the 
usual and strictly distinct Highnesses, was still seriously 


occupying the Cabinet of Germany as well as at length the 
German Diet also, as late as the following August. 

When one thinks of these things nowadays, one has the 
feeling that the year 1848 cut a deep notch in the constitu- 
tion as well as in the handling of State affairs, and one can 
hardly understand the excitement occasioned by this pure 
matter of form. 

It went so far in Berlin, that the army was forbidden by 
a special order, to give the Saxon Dukes, even in private, 
any other title than ' Serene Highness.' The diplomatic world 
calmed itself only by degrees about this affair, and my wise 
uncle in Brussels had prophesied rightly when, as early as 
the 3rd of June, he wrote : 

' The proverb " All's well that ends well " may be applied 
to this case.' 

In a few years the Saxon Dukes' much quarrelled about 
title had become as much naturalised as if they had never 
borne any other, and many who do not give themselves up 
with equal zeal to historical minutiae, will wonder to-day 
how the German Diet could grow angry over them at a time 
when signs were being given of far more serious conflicts 
than the petty storms in a glass of water which antiquated 
policy raised at that time. 

Before I enter, at this point, into an objective representa- 
tion of the universal condition of Europe and Germany, which 
preceded and heralded the revolutionary movement, it will be 
permitted me to furnish some information concerning my 
personal affairs, and to mention a few events which occurred 
in my own territories during the first years of my reign. 

On the 31st of March I met my brother, who had come 
from England to Gotha. 

This first painful meeting after the death of my father 
gave us an opportunity to confer seriously about the wants of 
both countries, the political relations of Germany, and the 
ground which I was to break during my government. 

I must not conceal the fact that we differed on many 
points, and that my brother was by no means inclined to 
consent to an energetic rule, such as I adopted immediately 


afterwards for the perfection of the constitutional system. 
Then, and in later years, he opposed the separation of state and 
family matters, which I had from the first looked upon as 
unavoidable, and still clung to the thought that the 
patriarchal rule, which in German States was still most 
decidedly shown in income and questions of domain, could 
be kept up. 

Whoever judges and describes Prince Albert from his 
letters and official speeches and documents only, when all 
are dead who knew him, can give but a one-sided picture of 
his prominent but singularly formed character. 

What almost wonderful antitheses slumbered in his 
nature, what contradictions warred in his honourable mind, 
will never be imagined from the descriptions which even at 
the present day appear to be most thought of. 

His mild amiability really went hand in hand with a 
critical severity, which seemed like a psychological enigma. 
The greatest warmth and self-sacrificing love would sometimes 
change to painful coldness, and he often stood on the brink of 
what is so alluring to the high and mighty, that of allowing 
himself opinions and views which are wont to arise from con- 
tempt of mankind in the abstract. 

Yet, I never met with anyone, during my whole life, who 
had more feeling for mankind. 

Everything beautiful and noble which has ever been 
understood under the words 'a philanthropic soul,' lived in 
him. His constant thought was how to make people happy, 
and he could be as hard as possible to those same people. It 
was then that all his sharp, logical reasoning came into 
powerful play; he dissected the intentions and actions of 
others with unmerciful dialectics, it seemed as if the rich 
register of feeling in his heart could be silenced with a touch, 
like the swell of an organ. 

But if he was in the habit of mercilessly criticising 
political, as well as artistic and scientific things, yet the friend 
who knew him intimately could never mistake the good 
roots which had grown in a wrong direction through too deep 


His nature was inimical to all dimidiation, he despised 
untruth and phrasemaking. Just because he thus saw 
through the weakness of men and their works more quickly 
and felt them more strongly, the battle of life made him 
rougher and more positive in his judgments. 

The very fact that he wound himself up more and more 
in his own doctrines made him only too often lose the natural 
pleasure and satisfaction with which he might otherwise have 
regarded his own creations. 

I am far from saying that my brother's magnificently 
endowed character was so altered by English life and manners; 
but one portion of a letter of King Leopold's, written with an 
entirely different meaning and in entirely different relations, 
recurs to me : 

' The English have no idea of what the words "to be glad" 
mean ; if they laugh, it is over the laceration of a fellow- 
citizen ; if a festival, which is always looked upon as work, is 
successful, they say " it went off very well," as if they were 
speaking of an accomplished task. In America it is said to be 
still worse, and a joyous person a rarity.' 

It gives rise to the reflection that they nevertheless- 
adhere to the aim of life, as this gift of heaven must not be 
used in an exaggerated manner. But if it may seem probable 
at first sight, that the hard surroundings of English ways 
could bring about so great a change in a kindly German Prince, 
yet I cannot doubt that it was caused by an entirely different 
influence, which brought the hardness in my brother's disposi- 
tion to the surface. 

Historical literature during the past years has placed 
Stockmar's name in a light which can, on the whole, be no 
other than a pleasing one. It is seldom that posterity does 
justice to the works of men who have not played a great 
part in the public positions of State or on the parliamentary 
benches. Only too often, the quiet influence which sometimes 
faithful servants, sometimes honest friends, or secret coun- 
sellors immediately exercise over great events, is forgotten 
amidst the tumult of public opinion. 

If, therefore, the far-reaching activity of a man like 


Stockmar, were, so to speak, firmly established by the most 
celebrated writers, it could be regarded only with real 
pleasure, as an addition to the knowledge of the history of 
the timea But for the very reason that Stockmar ranks in 
the list of indisputably historical personages, it seems as if 
one is justified in giving a more correct picture of everything 
concerning this excellent man. On obtaining a nearer view of 
things, one cannot deny that Stockmar's hand often appeared 
to give more than it ever really offered. I am not aware 
whether anyone has ever written in history about the political 
dilettantism of medical scientists. But it is certain that, both 
in former and present times, there have been many physi- 
cians who, through their practice amongst princely personages 
and statesmen, have made more or less energetic researches in 
the department of politics. Stockmar also belongs to this 
list of almost invariably remarkable and historically most 
interesting persons and characters. 

The part played by Stockmar, entirely apart from his 
personal relations to our House, at Frankfort in the year 
1848, lifts him for ever above the generality of the men of 
his time, and many of his treatises and newspaper articles 
were distinguished by a clearness rare in Germany at that 

He was penetrating, rich in attainments and gifted with a 
certain personal power of presentiment. But his aptitude, 
close observation and knowledge of the affairs and events of 
State were borrowed from a small circle of refined, highly 
educated and enlightened persons, who were, however, not 
always looked upon by the world as being decisive forces. 

As a council of physicians regards laymen of both high 
and low rank with contempt, and at the most, smilingly looks 
upon anyone outside of their charmed circle who pretends to 
any knowledge of their science, so Stockmar handled political 
business matters, and judged mankind. 

This mode of thought gave the greatest stimulus to the 
doctrinaire vein which my brother already possessed in our 
student years. Both of them grew more and more disapprov- 
ing in their judgment of the aristocratic, as well as the meaner 


political sphere, which boldly invaded life and practised 

As such vocations, in which the learned man is easily dis- 
tinguished from the layman, easily develop a certain haughti- 
ness, so a certain spirit of caste appeared in Stockmar's circle, 
which almost pretended to infallibility. 

Stockmar's peculiar position in our house allowed him 
continually to appear as a counsellor, but he was never held 
responsible for anything which might happen; he was a 
faithful companion, like the chorus in a Greek tragedy, but 
he could never have been a responsible servant who would 
have answered for his master's deeds, or made open war for 
his own ideas. 

If, during the first years of my rule, I complained to King 
Leopold about everything which surrounded me, how I had 
found many a public institution decaying from neglect, I may 
add that in no way were things made easier for me. A proof 
of this is furnished by a letter which I wrote on the 12th of 
April 1845. 

' We are, that is, I am, for one thing, busy trying by means 
of organic improvements, to pull much out of the mire which 
seems to have been intentionally allowed to get stuck fast in it. 

' Unfortunately it is we who must often taste the fruit of 
old sins, and so much of the public body lies ill. I have 
carried out a great deal during the past few years, and have 
at least succeeded in re-establishing the trust which had been 
entirely withdrawn from us, and my good-will and firm 
intention to continue in this path have been recognised. 

' A great deal more ought to have been done, but, with few 
exceptions, I am badly supported, and my good old Lepel 
cannot forget either, that he once wore a queue. We have to 
fight against the want of the most necessary means as well as 
of intelligence.' 

The organic improvements, which I mentioned in this 
letter, referred to the administration and the constitution. Very 
soon after my brother had left home again, in the beginning 
of April, 1844, weighty difficulties arose in both Coburg and 
Gotha concerning the different classes of both Duchies. In 


Coburg, where the constitution was liberal, the arrangement 
of the domain question gave rise to disputes. In Gotha, on 
the other hand, a positive war was waged against the ranks of 
lord and knight, which, with the narrow-mindedness usual to 
these, opposed every change in the constitution. 

As regards the administration, on the 24th of July and 
the 1st of August, I had, by means of an ordinance, brought 
about a complete separation between private ducal and state 
affairs. The Ministry received the appellation of a 'Ducal 
States Ministry,' and was released from the guidance of the 
personal and private matters which concerned the reigning 
Prince. In consequence of [this, an almost entirely new 
appointment amongst the higher officials was found to be 
necessary, and I may add that the choice of persons was by 
no means easy. 

Up to that time, Freiherr von Lepel had stood at the head 
of the Ministry, a man who, although of large experience in 
state matters, was as little suited as he was inclined to retain 
the leadership of affairs. He was not only opposed to every 
innovation in the administration, and every change in govern- 
ment organisation, but knew how to impede the proposals of 
representative arrangements which I had in view. This led 
to a positive stoppage in the transactions of the States 
Assembly, in the year 1845, and when I wished to insist upon 
the carrying out of my intentions, Lepel requested leave to 

I am still in possession of the documents in which this con- 
servative man gives the motives for his withdrawal, and 
although the amount of matter is too considerable for me to 
give it all here, yet, what he wrote in December 1845, is too 
significant of the time immediately preceding the year 1845, 
for me not to give at least a part of it : he said he ' looked 
upon it as a great evil, that in most of the German States 
representative constitution after the English and French 
pattern had been adopted. The smaller the States are, the 
greater is the hindrance of such a constitution for their 


government. Meanwhile, in those where such is already in 
existence, as in the Duchy of Coburg, they must indeed be 


maintained, but every extension of States' rights, every further 
contraction of government power, is dangerous ; for conces- 
sions such as these cannot be repealed. 

' The attempt is made on the part of the Commons, or. what 
is as a rule the same thing, on that of the Liberals, to call it 
by the fine name of continued cultivation of the constitutional 
principle, but in reality it is nothing more than to govern 
co-operatively, or to procure the decision of contested questions 
of administration through the civil courts, where one may be 
certain that out of ten cases, nine will be decided to the 
disadvantage of the Government. 

' It is this which gives rise to the ceaseless attempts to 
intimidate and bind the servants of the State, and particularly 
the higher members of the administration, by means of laws 
of responsibility, whereas the different classes will be answer- 
able only to their God and to their consciences. 

' Well knowing what the late most high lord wished to give 
us by means of the constitution of 1827, and what he did give 
us, I have not only justified myself in opposing the claims of 
the different classes, but have held it as my duty so to act ; 
the measure of what I can make up my mind to grant by 
those to whom I have yielded in this respect is full. 

' If your Highness has the intention of granting still more, 
I do not wish, as I have several times plainly declared, to 
have any part in it, and for this reason alone would be obliged 
most humbly to beg to be allowed to ask for my pension.' 

Lepel's other grounds for retiring from the service of the 
State arose principally from the innovations with regard to 
affairs of administration. He closed his document with an 
attestation which I willingly accepted, as it ran thus : ' Your 
Highness has a strong leaning towards the Liberal side, and I 
am Conservative through and through. 

' Your Highness is hasty in forming decisions, and would 
like to see them carried out with equal promptitude ; I honour 
the maxim "hasten slowly"; I like to consider a matter 
deliberately, and unwillingly make up my mind to a change 
before I feel convinced of its usefulness. 

'Your Highness allows yourself to be easily led to make 

VOL. I. K 


exceptions through the impression of the moment ; I am con- 
sistent to the verge of obstinacy. Your Highness would like 
to see all hindrances and considerations put aside, but I dis- 
cover them everywhere, and therefore hesitate to dispose of 
them. Moreover, I am too old to change.' 

The person who reads these lines to-day will not doubt 
that the success of my plans taught the lesson that it would 
have been no misfortune for Germany if, before the stormy 
years, our Princes had been ' more strongly inclined to the 
Liberal side.' But in the year 1845 it was made so difficult 
to lead matters into a channel suited to the times, that even 
my brother was very unhappy about my conflict with 

' Lepel's withdrawal,' he wrote, on the 17th of December 
1846, ' I regret intensely ; he had the inestimable qualities of 
honour, experience, economy, and great consistency, which 
are difficult to find united in one man.' 

My chief care was now to the domain question in a consti- 
tutional manner with the assistance of the Diet. 

I therefore laid before the Assembly a bill according to 
which ' the income arising from the patrimonial nature of the 
possession of crown-lands was, without injury to itself, to 
contribute to the defrayment of the cost of the States' admini- 
stration according to a regulated assessment.' 

The conditions which the carrying out of this principle 
individually illustrated, gave rise in August 1846 to very 
excited debates. The Commons strove to prove as circum- 
stantially as possible that the land had rights to our demesnes 
to such an extent, that the yearly demand could not be met by 
the combined incomes of these possessions. The Commons also 
wished, as it were only out of a sense of justice, to make an 
equal division of the net profits of the crown-lands between 
the land and the Prince, and I could not assent to having my 
voluntary proposition amended in this way. 

' We think rather,' so ran the rescript of the Government 
to the Commons, ' that it is Our duty in the position of Lord of 
the Land, as well as that of the land itself, in consideration of 
the equitableness to us, as has been hinted by the Commission 


of the classes, to renounce voluntarily, and would, accordingly, 
in case the Assembly of our faithful Commons were to approve 
of the above mentioned views entertained by their chosen 
Commission, honestly regret to see Ourselves forced to the 
necessity of withdrawing Our proposition on account of the 
resignation of a quota of the net profits of Our crown-lands to 
the State Treasury ; but if, on the other hand, Our faithful 
Commons will renounce the pretended claims of the country to 
the income of the crown-lands, we will again make and carry 
out Our proposal in a constitutional manner. For the more 
inclined we were to make the sacrifice, willingly imposed 
upon Ourselves, to grant Our faithful subjects here a consider- 
able alleviation, the less would it agree with our maxims of 
government to admit a pretension on the part of Our faithful 
Commons, which, according to its meaning, would impose upon 
the land the duty of withdrawing all just demands on Our 

Meantime the Diet broke up without having attained any 
result, and at its reopening on the 12th of November 1846, 
there was no unanimity on the subject. Only at its dismissal, 
on the 5th of July 1847, was I able to express my pleasure at 
the fact that the proposal with regard to the crown-lands had 
been thoroughly settled, and the law concerning the contribu- 
tions of the same towards the expenses of Government 

As, during the same session, a law touching the responsi- 
bility of State officials with regard to violations of the consti- 
tution, and a new order of election had been established, one 
might well say that in the little Duchy of Coburg all constitu- 
tional guarantees, which were stormily disputed over in the 
large States during the following years, had been most amply 

The constitutional question in the Duchy of Gotha was 
meantime developing far less favourably. When, in the 
winter of 1846, I had summoned the Diet, I opened with a 
speech which plainly expressed my wish to revise the entire 
constitutional form of Government. Both in and out of 
Germany, my words were taken as a promise in the matter, 


and my brother wrote to me somewhat anxiously and 
timorously about it : 

' I read your speech on the opening of the Gotha Assembly 
with much interest. I only hope that the passage: "If it 
should come to pass that we should wish for universal changes 
in the honourable forms inherited from our forefathers, and 
by which our land is now represented," may not lead to any 
misunderstanding; the newspapers have at once perceived 
in this the promise of a new Constitution, and it has also been 
thus accepted by the English Press.' 

Even at the State Assembly, the feudal body of the Counts 
and the Knighthood sharply opposed my proposition, and, 
besides this, the smallest possible amount of interest was 
shown in certain circles of the citizens of Gotha. I should 
have been driven to the necessity of bluntly overthrowing 
the existing Constitution, if I had persisted in my intention. 

But this old States' Constitution was of ' recognised lawful 
efficiency,' and had a complaint been laid before the German 
Diet by the Commons, as happened ten years later, this lan- 
guishing body would not have hesitated a moment to proscribe 
the views and reforms of a Prince who was penetrated by the 
conviction that only in quiet times can one really and bene- 
ficially alter an unenduring and antiquated condition of 
things and remains of the Middle Ages, and that one must go 
to meet the coming storm, whose signs are not to be mistaken. 

As things were, the obstinacy shown in all German regula- 
tions, and particularly the State matters in Gotha, drove us 
without any hope of salvage into the Revolution. 

For my part, after my intended path had been blocked up 
by one hindrance after the other, which could not be set 
aside, and as I had a good political conscience, I had no need 
to feel any fear whatever concerning the unknown dangers of 
a clearly foreseen movement. I still knew that I had some 
ideas which were ahead of the times, and I only wished that 
everyone in Germany, where the greatest excitement and bad 
feeling increased day by day could say the same. 

From my point of view I also needed, as far as was 
possible to the government of a small country, according to 


the laws of the Confederacy and the constitution, to shrink 
from no popular impulse, or to hinder it. The Press enjoyed 
the greatest possible freedom, and as early as July 1844 the 
Thuringian Sdngerbund could give undisturbed expression to 
every German song of freedom or unity in Gotha. 

As politics would not make any immediate progress, I at 
once attempted to work in the interest of the land in some 
other way, All intellectual elements in Gotha were supported 
by me in every way ; the material advancement of the 
country gained a powerful impulse through the formation of 
the Thuringian railway. The completion and opening of this 
railroad in the year 1847 was all the more gladly welcomed 
in our lands as, even amongst the lowest grades of the people, 
the great worth of the railway in this year of scarcity and 
dearth was at once recognised and understood. The greatest 
exertions were also made by my Government in the year 1845 
to bring about the construction of the Werra railroad ; to my 
great vexation the matter was long delayed by the useless 
and partly shortsighted preliminaries of the Bavarian and 
Meiningen Governments. 

It was clear on the whole that in the smallest States of 
Germany also, no great step could be taken as long as Prussia 
and Austria were working in entirely opposite directions. 

As things in Prussia seemed to banish all hope of a better 
future, the opinion that we were on the eve of a revolution 
grew stronger and stronger. How this developed and was 
transplanted to Germany will be told in another chapter. At 
the close of this one, a letter written by me to King Leopold 
on the 6th of March 1847 shall be inserted, as it perhaps 
characterises the situation rather well, and at the same time 
gives vent to the discouragement daily arising from the 
political proceedings of Prussia. 

' Your letter convinces me again of an old observation, that 
Prussia's King and her statesmen still fancy themselves in the 
last century. They cannot grasp a really constitutional idea, 
and still think that one can be monarchist to-day, and 
liberal democrat to-morrow, just as one pleases, in a word, 
that they can act despotically. 


' Everything which occurs in Prussia bears this character 
and this is why the present state of things is dangerous. The 
German race emancipates itself slowly, but it progresses surely. 
The universal ideas of popular representation, noise and 
publicity are continually gaining more ground, and are no 
longer to be repressed. A constitutional administration is 
being sought for as much as a protection against despotism, 
as inversely as a victory of the monarchy over the latter. 
Most German Princes are foolish despots either openly, or 
under the cloak of Liberalism. 

' But few can understand the real meaning of a monarch 
according to our modern States' law, and amongst these the 
King of Prussia will not be found, any more than the King of 
Bavaria. Constitutional life will assume a different develop- 
ment in Germany, from that of France or England, and her 
internal politics will therefore have a different character. 

' We shall not need to live much longer in order to realise 
that many a secret plot which has been hatched in German 
Cabinets can no longer be carried out, as no means can be 
found with which to do so. 

' According to experience, when fire breaks out, it will do 
so during the coming years in Austria. The fuel is being 
heaped up, and the people in the States belonging to the old 
Houses will want to take the leap suddenly, which the rest of 
Germany is taking by degrees. 

' Apart from the frightful dearth, we live here in happy 

' The Thuringian is obstinate, it is true, but he is also a 
very reflecting, steady man. The good traits of the German 
are really shown in him. 

' We are about to open the railroad here.' 








THE events of the year 1848 were foreseen by many skilled 
politicians, and plainly prophesied by more than one of 
them. During the first year of my rule I had, apart from 
my extensive correspondence, the opportunity of becoming 
thoroughly acquainted with the condition of almost all 
European countries by means of immediate observation. 

My opinion of the public relations of most of the States 
was a very hopeless one, and I expressed it in more than one 
of my letters. Meanwhile, I admit having a conviction that 
it would not have developed into an enduring and successful 
movement in most places, as was shown in the year 1848, if 
the Orleans in France had not so completely worn themselves 

Paris was without doubt to be regarded as the real battle- 
field of the revolution. One can hardly form any idea 


nowadays of the measure in which France dominated over 
and influenced political thoughts and actions immediately 
before the year 1848. The masses of the people were much 
more roused by radical and socialistic teaching than is gener- 
ally admitted. 

Louis Blanc had, during the past decade, found an enormous 
and perhaps as extensive a circle in Germany for his doctrines 
as in France, and the translations of radical French writings 
had been diffused amongst even the lower classes of citizens, 
in spite of all censure and measures of prevention. I can 
well remember that even during the very earliest years of my 
reign, I often found occasion to wonder how, under such 
relatively smally developed means of intercourse, it was 
possible, even in the smallest and most hidden spots, to print 
books and pamphlets, whose existence was a continual subject 
of care to both secret and public police. 

A second important matter was added to this, which was 
still more difficult to remedy. Many German workmen had 
been occupied in Paris during the past twenty years. They 
were received into the secret societies, and had now and then 
won high grades in them, returning to Germany as they 
grew older and propagating the radical doctrines with all the 
more success, as advanced France had been everywhere 
recommended by the educated classes of Germany as a pattern 
of State administration. 

Many of these workmen had taken part in the July 
Kevolution, and had appeared in after days in their birth- 
places, surrounded with the halo of soldiers who had fought 
for liberation. I remember a shoemaker named Ludwig, and 
a master- locksmith named Menzel in Gotha, with whom I 
came into personal contact in the days of the disturbance. 
They were members of the Marianne Society in Paris, and 
always found a grateful and admiring audience to listen to 
their radical and sometimes revolutionary speeches. 

In manufacturing towns and districts on the Rhine and in 
Saxony, so it was asserted, the secret societies of France 
played a still greater part. 

I was by no means so horrified by these things, as was 


the paralysing case in many other seats of government, but I 
was of the opinion that something must be done in order to 
lead the oppressed political existence into other paths. 

But how could this be possible ? As regarded the landed 
and educated classes, the promises made in the year 1815 had 
in no case been fulfilled, and had excited a great feeling of 
distrust, to which the mistaken way in which youth was 
restricted by means of demagogical stratagems added a great 
deal of bitterness. Moreover the lawfully founded constitu- 
tions of the Governments were looked upon by most of the 
reigning heads not only as a continual source of vexation, but 
as a danger to the State as well. They had neither the quiet 
nor the strong will to allow political life, which was still in 
its childhood and wished to go through the list of childish 
ailments, to develop naturally. 

In the parliaments there was much misunderstood consti- 
tutionalism and liberalism. The Opposition rarely rose against 
the world of Government officials, but concealed a sting 
which at times wounded the Princes in their good intentions. 
Instead of the sovereigns seeing in the Opposition a controlling 
power over the official world, they felt themselves threatened, 
and there were not wanting some who discovered a Republican 
spirit and pictured the dangers as increasing. Whilst it was 
growing plainer and plainer, that great rules of measure could 
proceed from the preponderating Powers alone, in order to 
place German political relations in a more favourable position, 
we began to grow accustomed to the entire impossibility of a 
regeneration for Germany in connection with polyglot Austria, 
and to turn our gaze more and more on Prussia. 

Thus since 1840, everyone had been anxiously and impetu- 
ously waiting for the rescuing deed of Frederick William IV. 
Finally, however, the King, hastening from one extreme to the 
other, only succeeded in preventing anyone from having the 
slightest idea what his aim and opinion really might be. 
Only later was the physiological enigma solved which this 
Prince had presented in his person by the continually begun 
and never ended actions of his reign. 

No one nowadays thinks of reproaching the King for not 


showing himself in the first years of his reign, by his consti- 
tutional atonements, to be an admirer of that constitutional 
model which had often been passed upon Germany in blind 
imitation of the Western administrations of Europe. Cer- 
tainly no one blames the King for having had historical 
panegyrists who valued his disinclination to represent a vulgar 
constitutionalism as being a kind of farseeing clearsighted- 
ness, and who moreover inform us that he was far ahead of 
his contemporaries in recognising the wants of this system. 

On the other hand, one may oppose to this idea the fact 
that if the King wished to infuse something new or essentially 
different into political life, an uncommon degree of energy and 
strong will would have been necessary to enable him to do so. 

When, however, a ruler is in such great need of these 
qualities as was Frederick William IV, his merit diminishes 
greatly for having wished to possess something which was 
not exactly according to the pattern of State laws, and will 
easily make the impression on the nation that he is obstinate 
about having his own way. Nor must we mistake the fact 
that there is always something doubtful about wishing to 
decide from the throne which is the best form of state. Even 
in the past century, when monarchs still had so much more 
power, and were met by so much more confidence than 
nowadays, as many rulers were ruined by trying to con- 
struct forms of state. How much more must a Prussian 
King, surrounded by existing constitutional regulations, and 
who had only to redeem his word, which had been given 
ten years before, be wrecked by innovations of principle in 
the department of regulations relating to the public law. At 
the best, one may say that he could not be understood. 

I will touch but slightly upon the events of the consti- 
tutional war, when the King, after the stormy demands of the 
Provincial Assembly of Konigsberg and Stettin in the year 
1842, first brought forward his unlucky idea of the union of 
class committees. 

'This union/ said the King on August 19th 1842, ' is a 
development of the class institutions, such as those given by 
His Majesty my late father after ripe reflection concerning 


the wants of his people, as it supplies the element of unity 
to the class advice of single provinces. 

' The independent preservation of the separate divisions 
of the country is fully insured by the provincial, communal 
and county class constitutions, but a point of union had 
hitherto been wanting in order to bring about a balance in 
the anomalous interests everywhere where such a balance was 
shown to be necessary for the common weal of the State, and 
to produce the co-operation of class organs where the sovereign 
esteemed it necessary to do so by the speediest means possible. 
This point of union has now been laid before the committees.' 

It is now universally known from Bunsen's published 
papers, that the King's principal point of view was to allow 
no State of the Empire to be decided by class committees. 
He had formed the extraordinary plan in May 1845, of sum- 
moning the entire provincial classes to a universal assembly in 
Brandenburg, and to declare to them that this would also be 
summoned in future during any great events of the monarchy. 

Among the circle of politicians who surrounded the King, 
there was formerly an idea of the particular predestination 
of the nature and the state of the Germanic nations. The 
representative system which began in 1789, was attacked as 
a growth of Romanism, and although even Bunsen had to 
admit, that this form stands like a ghost which cannot be 
banished behind every Germanic Government, which the 
historical class constitution had not skill and courage enough 
to restore unreservedly once and for all, at the right time that 
is, before being forced to do so, the King still lacked full power 
to give his pet plan the realisation of a historical-Germanic 
original constitution. Fear of Austria and Russia were the 
chief reasons for the paralysing of his will. 

Finding little belief accorded by the two allied Powers to 
his promises earnestly to oppose every attempt to naturalise 
the principles of 1789 in Germany, he allowed himself to be 
completely led by Metternich's dilatory counsels, and intimi- 
dated by the Emperor Nicholas. How entirely this was the 
case, was shown by the King's conference with Lord Aberdeen 
on the 10th of August 1845, of which Bunsen has given us a 


description. Characteristically enough, Frederick William 
IV expected Austria to allow him the benefit of ' his co-opera- 
tion ' in the constitutional question. Aberdeen assured him, 
however, that he had not understood the King, and when he 
spoke to Prince Metternich a few days afterwards, he was in 
doubt whether the latter had repulsed the King's ideas con- 
cerning the Empire, or if he himself did not know what was 
to be done. Metternich expressed himself more plainly in 
Frankfort, where Lord Aberdeen found him in much better 
spirits than he had been before having a fresh conference 
with the King. ' It seems that the plan for the constitution 
has been challenged, I even hope that he has entirely given 
it up.' 

As Metternich is reported to have said : ' There is no 
longer any question of the constitution in Prussia, I have done 
away with that project,' at the same date in Johannisberg, one 
cannot doubt that it was the King's want of decision which 
brought about the deluge attendant on the constitutional 
question, which caused the matter to be resisted in Prussia, 
and not internal difficulties, as has been maintained by a 
senile historical work. 

It was part of Frederick William IVs character to be 
intentionally mysterious, in order to retain freedom of action 
in every direction. Added to this, it was his secret opinion 
that his own cleverness exceeded that of everyone else. 

Only on the 3rd of February 1S47 ; appeared the Royal 
Ordinances, treating of the arrangements of State and solving 

' O ' } O 

the question of the state of the Empire by means of the con- 
struction of a united assembly from all the jurisdictions of the 
provinces. Thus the King's most remarkable projection of 
constitution, which he had been cherishing for years, as is 
known in modern history, was brought into existence in a 
manner entirely unexpected by the masses, and was in no 
way satisfactory. My prognostic concerning all this delay, 
all these half-measures, I expressed to my uncle Leopold in the 
following words : 


' The political horizon of Germany is steadily growing 
darker ; the Liberals arc victorious, and the Princes for the 


most part blind. In Austria, Prince Metternich is dying 
politically as well as bodily. Storms are already brewing in 
Prussia, the air is so heavy, that the sovereign himself can no 
longer breathe as freely as formerly. Everything is prepar- 
ing for an immediate struggle. Prospects are really very 

King Leopold it must be admitted, adopted a somewhat 
more conservative point of view concerning these events and 
relations, than we younger men, and he consequently looked 
upon things differently, yet much more darkly and doubtfully. 

He never was a man, as has sometimes been assumed, to 
habitually wrap himself in the learned and lawful mantle of 
constitutional doctrine. He was accustomed to look at 
political relations from a practical point of view, estimating 
the value of their results and judging them with regard to 
their consequences. 

' The Prussian Constitution, after all, looks quite innocent, 
will it remain so ?' he writes on the 27th of February, and 
in a letter of the 6th April, he says : ' What will be preferred 
in Germany cannot yet be decided; if the Prussian orders 
content themselves with what is offered them, and if no 
regularly fixed period is established for their reassembly, it 
will do good for a time only. Yet Assemblies are not so easy 
to manage after a time as they are in the beginning. The 
National Assembly of 1790 was gentle and good, and in 
January 1793 King Louis XVI was quite decently guillotined : 
it is not very encouraging. 

'As, however, the King talks to the people so much about 
progressing, it must lead to something. As, however, the 
earth is round, one is bound some day to begin to go back- 
wards. That does not matter, it only proves that humility is 
most natural to the children of the earth.' 

Meanwhile, in spite of all preventive measures and contra- 
dictions on the part of the Liberals of the country, the Diet 
had assembled on the 10th of April 1847, and offered the 
German people, for at least the first time, the sight of a great 
parliamentary body. Many speeches were made, and much 
work done by the corporations and commissions, and a list of 


splendid personages first made their appearance here, who 
have formed epochs in the destiny of Germany. 

In the year 1846 as well as in 1847 I stayed some 
time in Berlin, and stood by the cradle of the political 
operations of most of the men who founded the later consti- 
tutional life of Germany. Besides, I had already known 
many of the members of the nobility for a long time. 

As I looked on for a while in May 1847 at the political 
performances, I was not able to doubt for a moment that my 
uncle in Brussels was perfectly right in what he foretold 
concerning the Assemblies. 

I had relations with Prince Lichnovsky, of whom I 
thought a great deal, in spite of many warnings which had 
reached me from all sides, and also from my relatives. He 
was of an energetic nature such as had never been too 
frequent in Germany. He was plainly and certainly intended 
for a greater political range. If, in spite of all these favour- 
able traits, there was anything to his disadvantage it was his 
defective education and his love of adventure. 

In the circles of the noble members of the Diet, where 
Lichnovsky was looked upon as the leader of an advanced 
mode of thought, there was little hope that the King would 
make any further concessions. Even a binding promise 
concerning the periodical resuming of the transaction of the 
Diet was not expected of him. 

I must not, by the bye, omit to make mention of a man 
whose name was uttered by the whole world with love and 
esteem. I mean Alexander von Humboldt, whom I had 
learned to know well years before, and whose sympathy and 
liking I had now, to my great delight. He gave me many 
interesting hints with regard to politics also, and in after 
years called my attention to many matters. 

Meanwhile the wits of Berlin had everywhere made 
themselves masters of the King's speeches and supposed 
utterances, and in the Chambers one proposal after the other 
was made, with a view to helping the doubtful embryo to a 
fine constitutional birth, over which Frederick William IV 
gave vent to the bitterest irony. The Jews caused him the 


most anxiety thereby ; for the beautiful ideas of the Christian 
character of his creation filled him with the greatest pleasure 
and with equally great, though unfortunately transitory, pride. 
It is not my intention to follow the progress of the debates 
and decisions one by one. When the Diet of the Assemblies 
was closed on the 26th of June, after the King, irritated and 
showing signs of the deepest anxiety for the possible conse- 
quences of his undertaking, had gone to Silesia, one saw that 
the whole project was wrecked ; a revolutionary tendency 
began to show itself everywhere, one could trace the reaction 
in the smaller States. 

In Hesse the Elector made preparations to put the consti- 
tution aside. I myself had not advanced a step with the 
Commons in the Gotha constitutional question. 

Prussia's influence also showed itself in the fact that 
people like Blittersdorf, Hassenpflug, etc., were everywhere 
supported. Thus it came to pass that, after the fall of the 
former in Baden, Frederick William IV showed no faint 
desire to intimidate the movements of Parliament by trans- 
ferring the troops. He wanted to place a Prussian brigade 
privately at the disposal of the Grand-Duke. All this 
happened in consequence of Welcker's appearance on the 

Perhaps this is now the time to insert a hitherto un- 
published letter written by my brother to the King, and which 
refers in the first part to the events of all Germany, but the 
principal aim of which is to attempt to lead the King into a 
better path with regard to the constitutional question. 

My brother reposed great confidence in King Frederick 
William, and clung to the thought that the regeneration of 
the single States and of all Germany must go out from him. 
He wrote thus, one might say, in the last hour before the 

'Osb&rne, 12th Dec. 1847. 

' YOUR MAJESTY, I am only too eager on the receipt of your 
most gracious and confidential letter of the 6th of last month, 
immediately to return my warmest thanks for this fresh 
proof of your friendship. Nothing could recompense me 


better and, at the same time, encourage me more than the 
assurance that " my memorial to me is with the exception of 
two portions the written expression of my own thoughts." 

' If I unintentionally omitted to satisfy this desire, it was 
because, feeling the necessity of coming to an understanding 
on all points with your Majesty, and of knowing that we 
both agreed, I had had the intention of sending you a larger 
answer, in which my brother-in-law's, von Leiningen's views, 
which have been misunderstood by your Majesty, would have 
been more completely developed. And even now, before I see 
through this matter clearly, a fresh and, for Germany at 
least, a still more dangerous event has happened, which drives 
me to beg you first of all to take immediate steps against this 
danger, yes, to implore you to do so. 

' I mean the threatened overthrow of the Hessian constitu- 

' Indeed, 1 share with your Majesty the cares concerning 
the radical social ferment in Europe, and particularly in 
Germany, as well as concerning the impulse which this move- 
ment must receive from the victory of the Radicals in 

' Here, too, they have shown wherein their power consists, 
namely in their numbers and the strangely firm link between 
political, social and religious that is, anti-religious principles, 
by which they are driven to oppose the State and the Church, 
both of which are in a remarkable state of indecision and 
want of unanimity concerning their own calling and their 
mutual relations. 

' But it is my firm conviction the only way in which this 
threatening pressure may be met, is to bind the moneyed and 
* itelligent portion of the people (that is, the real people) to 
the Government by means of confidential admittance to a part 
of the administration of its own land, whereas this people, as 
long as it is kept divided from the Government, has neither 
the interest nor the capability to stand by it in its unequal 
struggle ; yet, it cannot forbear, even over the possible defeat 
of a bureaucracy which it hates, (hates because it sees itself 
shut out by it from its proper activity and all immediate 


intercourse with its Prince) it cannot forbear, being secretly 
pleased to offer itself on account of this very restraint as a 
fulcrum for radicalism, in spite of the latter's plans of demoli- 

' But if it is unwise of a government to refuse this certain 
means of safety which stands ready at hand, how much more 
insane does it seem to wish to keep this means under where 
it has already existed, and I may say to force the people 
itself, not the radical party through an attack on its already 
political right of activity, to lawful insurrection. Could the 
bad spirit of revolution, and at the same time the bitterest 
enemy of Germany, wish for a better ally than a Prince who 
let himself be led to make such attacks ? 

' Would this not be a foolhardy provocation of the radi- 
calism which is yet drunk with the victory of its success in 
Switzerland, to a fight with the principle of monarchy, par- 
ticularly when the representative of the same is most decidedly 
in the wrong and who would have the public opinion of all 
Europe against him ? The moment is certainly badly chosen 
in which, after so many former accidents, to remind the 
German people again that in Germany it was not the peoples, 
but the princes, who began to overthrow what already stood, 
and that the source of the present monarchical principle, which 
represents itself as being legitimate and historical, is, never- 
theless, in fact, no other than an imitation of French absolutism, 
as it was devolved by Richelieu and Mazarin, and by Louis 
XIV, and placed on exhibition, above the ruins of the rights of 
the classes and the people of ancient history. 

' In Germany, as your Majesty knows even better than I, 
these rights remained almost everywhere untouched until the 
treaty of Westphalia, and I cannot look upon a demand for the 
same on the part of the German peoples, and where they have 
been restored, a courageous clinging to them, as French and 
radical, but as truly German and conservative. 

' In the present case of Hesse, your Majesty knows from 
the documents, that a lessening or annulling of the class con- 
stitution bestowed by the late Elector, and documentarily 
ratified by his successor, would be a manifest breach of your 
VOL. I. L 


Princely word. For if one supposes that a sovereign is not 
bound by the promises and actions of his predecessor, a 
principle would be destroyed which I look upon as the chief 
basis of monarchy, the principle, namely, that ' the king never 
dies,' or ' le roi est mort, vive le roi.' 

' A State, whose constitution would be at the mercy of every 
change of mind and the arbitrariness of the sovereign, would 
not prosper any more than the unfortunate Polish optional 
monarchy, As for the Elector, there is the additional fact 
that he was Regent with and under the constitution for seven- 
teen years, that same constitution which he now wishes to 
overthrow, and his own antecedents, as well as those of his 
father and grandfather are not of a kind to awaken the con- 
fidence of a nation in an absolute rule. 

' Your Majesty can hardly fail to know, concerning this, 
that the people of Germany are universal in saying that the 
Elector's intended overthrow of the constitution is the fulfil- 
ment of a condition imposed on him by Prince Metternich, in 
order to obtain the recognition of the children born of his 
marriage with Madame Lehmann ; for such an object he 
would pay the price of his people's written Rights and 
Freedom ! Whether this rumour be true or not, the step 
proposed by him is still a matter which, if anything might 
ever be described as wrong and godless and ' subversive ' in 
the worst sense of the word, might be thus described. 

' On whom, if not on your Majesty, is the gaze of Germany, 
even of Europe, fixed in this new danger ? From whom can 
Germany expect protection and help except from your 
Majesty ? 

' Of you, Most Gracious King, as of the recognised real 
protector of existing rights, it is hoped that you will oppose with 
all your might an attempt upon these rights ; from you, as the 
rock of Germany's union and strength, we confidently expect 
the hindrance of a plan which in Germany, as well between 
princes and nations, as between the single States themselves, 
must scatter new seeds of discord ; concerning you, as the 
clearest mirror of German princely honour, we feel convinced 
that you will try to hold back the hand with which a German 


Prince is in the act of spotting and at the same time again 
endangering the dearest possession of his State, the confidence 
between prince and people. 

' Your Majesty must allow me, for these reasons, as German 
Prince and politician, to entreat you to take advantage of 
every means within your power, to prevent an affair which 
would hinder lawful development of Germany, stain our 
princely honour, and at this moment fling the firebrand into 
an already monstrous heap of explosive material. 

' Begging your Majesty kindly to excuse the perhaps too 
violent entreaties of the letter, on account of the necessities 
of the case, I remain, my Most Gracious King, with grateful 
submission and sincere attachment, etc., etc., 


I will add, that the entreaties in this letter were chiefly 
intended to make an impression on the King himself with 
regard to his own position and constitutional affairs. 

It will be shown later on how the idea had occurred to our 
circles to bring the great German question into play by means 
of Prussia's influence over the Confederacy ; but when Prussia 
allowed the most absurd measures in the Electorate of Hesse, 
the reactionary classes in all the small States were protected 
and encouraged by the authority of the Prussian Great Power, 
it was nevertheless clear that the combined political operation 
was devoid of any sound basis. 

What with the rebel spirit which had ruled the larger 
towns of Saxony since 1845, and the half wars in the tolls- 
union negotiations which had been carried on between 
Hanover, Brunswick and Prussia since 1843, the Prussian 
Government, and, before all else, the Prussian King himself, 
would have had ample grounds for listening to the voices of 
his friends. 

The most earnest warnings to think of Germany's fate, 
came at that time with ever increasing plainness from the 
South. -Bavaria and Baden made even greater claims on the 
attention of the German statesmen. Baden was then going 
through the personal political change of her monarch, and we 


had long since grown accustomed to see the agitation for the 
national questions brought into the immediate consequences 
of the constitutional strife. 

The preponderance of the German-Baden opposition party 
may be said to date from the retirement of Blittersdorf from 
the Ministry in 1843. If the wars of the Liberals against 
Blittersdorf were carried on with great violence, yet he was 
the man out of whose hands the superior power of the State 
could never be snatched. But his successors were all weak 

Nebenius and Rettig had unsuccessfully wasted their last 
means of becoming masters of the rising movement in the 
breaking up of the Diets in the year 1846. The Grand-Duke 
was completely filled by the most loyal wish to reign in peace 
with the different classes of his Duchy. 

Beck's entrance into the Ministry and the opening of the 
Diets by the Grand-Duke on the 9th of December 1847, gave 
the Liberals here the superiority, and this fact was of influence 
far beyond the bounds of the little State. 

From the 1st of July 1847, the German newspapers became 
a common organ for the patriotic Liberals of both north and 
south, and since the Assembly of Members of the Diets of 
almost all German States had taken place in Heppenheim in 
October, people became accustomed to see the first move for-a 
reform of the national mode by the Liberal party. 

The German question had already been as it were taken 
from the hands of the Conservative circles, and above all, of 
the reigning Powers of Germany. This alliance was of most 
decisive purport for the further settlement of matters, and a 
difficulty, if one will, which had not unexpectedly and un- 
deservedly beset the Governments. 

As the alliance of the princes had always been hindered in 
its progress, the world became accustomed to the belief that 
the restoration of the unity of the States in Germany could 
only be brought about in spite of the leaders of the Govern- 
ments, and finally only by democratic means. 

And now, ultra-catholic Bavaria had suddenly become a 
convert to the Liberal side. I have no slight recollection of a 


still more surprising political piece of^news, the informa- 
tion of Abel's fall in Bavaria. In later time emphasis was 
placed, and I think rightly, upon the fact that King Louis 
had already become distrustful of Abel during rthe Diet of 
1846, and the crisis of this Ministry doubtless began with the 
nomination of Schenk to the post of Minister of Instruction. 
The peculiar manner, however, in which the liberalism of 
Munich drove Jesuitical Bavaria out of the field, furnished 
much food for thought. In any case, a hot war against 
church tendencies had been brought about by States Councillor 
Maurer and Prince Wallerstein, who, however, was not really 
a Liberal, in one part of Germany, where such a thing had 
least been expected. 

In Wiirtemberg the Liberal Opposition had grown still 
more inflexible and distrustful through the marriage of the 
Crown Prince with the daughter of the Emperor Nicholas, 
and bureaucratic measures against Bischer and Robert Mohl 
had given rise to bitterness in far-reaching circles. 

In the Bread Riots which took place in Stuttgart during 
the course of the year 1847, a very bad spirit was shown by 
the people on the interposition of the King. The preceding 
occurrences in Switzerland were the cause of so great a 
reaction on the kindred populations of Wiirtemberg, that in 
the speech from the throne of the 22nd of January, 1848, it 
was thought fit to make mention of the same and to attempt 
some words of appeasal. 

Swabian Liberalism might be depicted in still darker 
colours than that of neighbouring lands ; it did not, for the 
time being, assert itself so noisily as in Baden, but it was 
more democratic in substance and meaning, and more dangerous 
in case of a progressive movement. Bureaucracy had been 
better taught there in former times, and at that moment it 
held the reins of government even tighter in hand ; but 
amongst the educated classes, the line of connection between 
nation and dynasty was overstepped far more than anywhere 

When in these circles one spoke of Germany and her 
unity, one thought perhaps of more distant days and remoter 


times, only the words uttered later, that the King must be 
rubbed with democratic oil, were quietly but universally 

In the year 1847 I considered North and South Germany 
to be extraordinarily similarly developed on this point. 
Particularism, which had certainly not grown weaker other- 
wise, equalised the opposition between North and South more 
and more in the decrease of piety and the peculiar attachment 
of the peoples to their sovereigns. In South Germany particu- 
larly there was an unquestionable current of strong republi- 
canism, which presently substantially excelled the desire for 
German unity. 

Meanwhile, the best and most cautious forces were in fact 
at work, shaping anew the common relations of the States 
and Confederacy of Germany. A list of proposals for the 
improvement of the Confederate concerns, especially promoted 
by Radowitz, have already been mentioned above. 

It was undoubtedly of great importance that, on the 22nd 
of July 1846, Prussia made the proposal to dissolve the pro- 
visory determinations over the Press in Frankfort, and 
brought forward a plan for a new Press legislature. From 
Wiirtemberg the proposal to publish the Confederate protocol 
had been brought forward, but the half heartedness and 
weakness with which all such matters were negotiated, allowed 
every decision to be delayed. 

I am following the declarations of Radowitz himself, who 
asserts in his document that King Frederick William IV had 
made it his first and highest duty, ' to bring Austria to the 
final knowledge that it is high time to make an end of the 
deathlike sleep of the Confederacy, and to awaken it to new 
life ' ; but that he had the intention, when this goal was 
attained, to retire from the leadership and to 'leave the 
direction of further steps to Austria. 

There can hardly ever have been a more annihilating 
judgment passed on any political action, than that which 
Radowitz here utters in a few words about Prussia's whole 
attitude with regard to the German question. However, I 
am sorry to say that I must admit the fitness of this judg- 


ment. Only the most extreme political optimism could have 
suggested to Frederick William IV the idea that Austria 
would undertake ' the leadership ' of the Confederate reforms. 

General Radowitz's merit in the development of Germany 
is, moreover, undisputed and, as it were, prophetic. I after- 
wards learned to know this clever and rare man better and 
better ; he seemed to have been intended by fate to shape 
the thoughts of Germany's present form, at a time when the 
personal relations showed no possibility whatever of its being 

Radowitz was like a figure out of the Middle Ages, a 
soldier who talked politics, as in the days of Friindsberg and 
Schartlin, and at the same time equipped like a bishop, of 
great knowledge and wide reading. He came of a Hungarian 
family, but was born at Blankenburg in the Harz. He had 
received his education at a Lyceum in Altenburg, if I am not 
mistaken, and had belonged to the Westphalian-French army, 
where he had acquired most thorough military knowledge. 
During the battle of Leipzig he commanded a French battery. 
Then he became a Prussian general staff officer, and as 
military plenipotentiary at the Frankfort Alliance, he turned 
the deliberations to German politics and reform. 

He possessed a phenomenal memory which far exceeded 
that of most other men. He could read a book of ordinary 
size in an afternoon, and would afterwards be able to repeat 
almost every sentence by heart, even giving the number of 
the page on which it could be found. He could find a place 
again in an instant. By means of this peculiarity, he had 
gained his extensive knowledge one might almost say in play, 
as is but poorly shown by his books. 

The best proof of the readiness of memory of this remark- 
able collective mind is to be found in his iconography of the 
saints and his mottoes and devices, nearly all of which he had 
arranged from his memory. 

He quoted books in such a manner that people said it 
could not be correct ; but I have often taken him at his word, 
and made the experiment of writing down the quotation and 
looking it up. I nearly always found it to be correct. 


The only disagreeable arising from this mass of learning, 
was that he had grown accustomed to adopt a lecturing tone, 
which could be stopped by no one, besides his sovereign and 
King, with whom besides, he had many traits of character in 

The result was that he took possession of every matter, 
and proceeded to prevent all discussions concerning all. He 
had a species of poetical conception of most things, and this 
inclined him to take view of religious questions of which one 
might be doubtful whether it allowed him freedom in every 
way, or whether he was not bound in many questions of 
volition by the set impulses or rules of his catholic circle. 
But this in no way hampered his personal judgment. Clear- 
sighted and farseeing in all things which related to politics, 
he was an excellent teacher for every painstaking politican. 
But he was not a man of negotiations. He might be rather 
dangerous than useful to any prince or statesman, who did 
not himself possess strength of will and initiative power ; he 
belonged to the class of invaluable counsellors, always ready 
and intelligent ; he was a critic, but he certainly did not be- 
long to those who acted according to rules of measure. 

His position and importance in politics, and especially as 
regarded the development of Prussian affairs, was therefore 
greater in 1848 than afterwards, when it was not a question 
of counsels and possibilities, but of strong will and ability. 
No one had known how to explain the wants of the Con- 
federacy to King Frederick William so plainly and well as 
he ; as long as it was only a question of doing so theoretically 
and academically. But if he thought afterwards that what 
the King had done, or had wanted to do, for Germany when 
he mounted the throne would be appraised as having been 
caused principally through his influence, it certainly displayed 
the weakness of a nature not intended for negotiations. 

On the 20th of November 1847 he handed the King a 
memorial of the measures to be adopted by the German Con- 
federacy. It was a bill of indictment against the Confederacy 
since it had first been founded. It proved clearly and 
decisively the unmistakeable necessity for a legislature for 


the Press with relaxation of censorship, the publishing of the 
proposals of the German Diet, the institutions for the defence 
of Germany, for the protection of rights, and for material 

The memorandum expressed in plain words to the King 
everything which he ought to do, but the path which he was 
to adopt in order to succeed in the fulfilment of his intentions 
was by no means to be pointed out so surely. 

Finally, and this should be particularly noticed, Radowitz 
had even at that time a presentiment ' that one should also 
consider the results in case the influence of Vienna and the 
selfish notions of men singly should render it impossible to 
accomplish anything useful with the German Diet.' 

When, however, he went on to say in the memorandum 
that Prussia must then adopt other measures, one is curious 
to know what Radowitz advised his King to do in this case, 
but is, to tell the truth, very much disappointed to learn 
nothing better than that he must ' unite with the better spirit 
of the nation.' 

Meanwhile, however, much had taken place in an official 
way to prepare for the adoption of a new form for the 
German Confederacy. Bunsen had already been asked by his 
Foreign Minister, Baron Kanitz, during the course of the 
summer of 1847, to consider whether it would not be possible 
to come to a more practical understanding with England con- 
cerning the leading articles of the present time. This was an 
inducement for him also to discuss the German question in a 
manner which was intended to lead the King to the opinion 
that ' the scale of Prussia's political influence in England was 
greater than her power in Germany, that is, her ability to 
lead German progress.' 

Bunsen tried in every way to make it clear to the 
Prussian Government that the ground of understanding of a 
new form for Germany had been levelled in England. One 
may leave undecided the question whether Bunsen really 
derived this optimist view from the interest which the English 
nation and the English Government was supposed to have 
taken in the German question, or whether this was only a 


way of boasting of his influence, in order to propel his King 
forward in the direction aimed at by himself. 

If anyone in England really cherished this warm feeling 
for Germany and her desired elevation, it was my brother, 
and, influenced by him, the Queen. Whether, on the other 
hand, Bunsen's remarks in his memorial of the 25th of 
September 1847 were in any degree significant and expressive 
of Palmerston's views, and those of the existing Government 
is really to be doubted. 

Only in my brother's immediate circle had ideas respecting 
the duties and calling of the King of Prussia been expressed 
for and against Germany, and here these questions were a 
continual subject of discussion and sometimes of strange 

The first incitements for the consideration of the German 
question dated with my brother from his stay with the 
Queen in Coburg and Gotha in August and September 1845. 
At that time the plan was originated of attempting to attain 
an immediate influence over King Frederick William. 

My brother found a numerous princely circle in Coburg. 
The Grand-Duke of Baden was present with the Hereditary 
Prince, my brother-in-law ; all the Saxon Dukes had come 
there on a visit, and German affairs were thoroughly discussed. 
In the following summer I again spent some time in England, 
and my observations concerning Berlin in May 1847, which I 
have already mentioned above, had been made thoroughly 
known to my brother, and induced him to persuade the 
Queen as earnestly as possible. 

In this way Albert had since the year 1846 engaged in a 
correspondence with the King of Prussia, of the contents and 
aim of which, besides King Leopold, myself, and our cousin 
Karl of Leiningen, Stockmar, and Bunsen were also informed. 

It will naturally be understood that the degree of hope 
with which this experiment was regarded, varied with 
different people. Ensuing events had unfortunately proved 
me to be only too right, when, in 1846, I expressed my con- 
viction that King Frederick William would never become a 
German Emperor. 


As is seen from the Queen's book even, although it is 
modestly mentioned, and then only because necessary, Prince 
Albert also often could not forbear thinking that ' no great 
advance could be made with the subjective Brandenburg, 
Hohenzohlern, Frederick William views.' 

Already in the year 1846, on the occasion of the Polish 
affair, and in consequence of the Cracow spoliation, Albert 
urged the King at length to abandon the pursuit of the sacred 
alliance, and to make room for modern State ideas. 

Little by little he went more particularly into the German 
constitutional question, and at length he sent the King the 
deeply energetic memorandum of adverikie of the llth of 
September 1847, which, according to the times, had somewhat 
the start of the above mentioned memorial of General von 
Radowitz, and therefore stands alone in importance. It was 
very fortunate that our cousin Prince Leiningen, furnished as 
he was with the necessary personal energy, was the elegant 
interpreter of the views declared in the memorandum. 
Stockmar, on the other hand, behaved very wrongly, holding 
Prince Albert back in every way, and, as was his habit, getting 
out of the way when matters grew serious. 

In opposition to Stockmar, the rest of us were convinced 
that no one could be more fitted than my brother to speak 
perfectly clearly and openly with the King of Prussia, on 
account of his independent and firmly established position 
with regard to the latter. People might have been of very 
different opinions concerning the success of this step, but to 
have declared with equal severity his opinion of the epoch- 
forming principles of the German politics of the future re- 
mains Prince Albert's indisputable merit in the history of our 

It was precisely my brother's talent and peculiarly diligent 
way of bringing to a decided shape, and working into a kind 
of system, thoughts which had been universally recognised 
and stated. 

Thus, at the beginning of the memorial of the llth of 
September, stand two bluntly expressed theses which had 
been stated with much circumlocution by public men and 


statesmen, but which my brother alone might without any 
reserve whatever utter to the King of Prussia : 

1. Improvement of popular forms of Government. 

2. Restoration of a united Germany. 

The proposals contained in the memorial with reference to 
the accomplishments of these aims were very moderate and 
thoroughly practical. It is true that no exact understanding 
could be arrived at concerning Austria's relation to the Con- 
stitution of the Confederacy, at the head of which Prussia 
would have to stand, as a radical separation of the Austrian 
confederate territories still appeared dangerous and impractic- 
able ; but the fundamental idea of the memorandum, that 
there were affairs concerning the Confederacy which demanded 
a stricter uniformity of institutions, was at bottom the same 
at which all politicians were working during the following 
years, and which really became proportionate to the develop- 
ment of Germany 

When Stockmar persuaded Prince Albert that Germany's 
condition of affairs, especially in the year 1847, had been of 
an anti-dynastic character, his declarations were in this case 
always significant for the present state of things, but they 
were negative and discomposing. He succeeded far less in 
advising something positive than my brother, who, in his 
intercourse with Prince Karl and myself, had come much 
nearer the truth and the necessity in this case than anyone 

As regards the answer of Frederick William IV, it may 
already be seen from Prince Albert's letter of the 12th 
of December 1847, as introduced above, that the King acted 
as if he agreed to everything except two points ; but deliberat- 
ing and acting are two very distinct things. Most of all, the 
relations with Austria still offered to Frederick William IV 
unconquerable difficulties. He thought that he must go so 
far as to carry out the reform of the German Confederacy as 
a commission, so to speak, and as if he were the Austrian 
Emperor's attorney. Yes, he even went so far as to say, ' I 
am only here to hold the Emperor of Austria's stirrup.' But 
anyone who knew Austrian affairs was forced to reflect that 


in that state not only the will, but the possibility as well was 
wanting for any readiness and compliance with regard to the 
reform of the German Confederacy. 

I had a closer knowledge of these things than the so-called 
best informed diplomates and reporters. For I was probably 
better informed concerning the extensive kingdom of Haps- 
burg-Lothringia, through my considerable possessions in the 
heart of Austria and the branch of our family residing in 
Vienna and Hungary, than anyone else in Germany. 

In the summer of 1847, I had moreover thoroughly gone 
over the Austrian and Hungarian lands with the Duchess. 
In July, we not only stayed some time in Austria and Vienna, 
but in August we came into contact in Pressburg and Pesth 
with many Hungarian gentlemen, and recognised the entire 
impossibility of any determination being come to here. 

I undertook a special journey through .Hungary, Sieben- 
biirgen and Buckowina, partly in order to examine the studs 
and husbandry, partly to stay sometime with several noble- 
men there. Amongst others, I made a visit of some duration 
to an estate belonging to Prince Paul Esterhazy. A crowd of 
the most influential Hungarians of all colours of opinion had 
assembled here, and from their conversations it became clear 
to me that, in this remarkable country also, everything would 
be ripe for revolution in the shortest possible time ; the Arch- 
duke Stephen, who had just placed himself at the head of 
the Government, could not succeed in uniting the chief 

A kingdom which, so to speak, was bereft of all monarchic 
government, which was in the bitterest financial need, and 
pressed and threatened on every side, could be prevented 
from falling only by the maintenance of existing relations. 
When one reflected that, in addition to this, the only states- 
man whom it possessed was Prince Metternich, who in his 
youth had looked upon this principle of preservation as his 
highest maxim, and now in his advancing years regarded all 
innovations as the beginning of the end of the combined 
States' systems of Europe, it was a highly doubtful expecta- 
tion that Prussia could he called upon by the Austrian side to 


undertake the transformation of Germany. Above all, the 
large kingdom afforded no prospect internal!}*- of consolidating 
itself according to the constitution. The illusive idea con- 
cerning the Austrian Empire, which made the foreign 
politician imagine that he had to do with a united State, dis- 
appeared before the traveller, when he stepped over the 
Hungarian boundary-line ; a boundary line which was marked 
by strict toll duties, and presented itself far more plainly to 
our eyes than the limits which the German had known in his 
land in the times before the tolls-union. Added to this was 
the openly expressed endeavour to separate themselves more 
and more from the so-called monarchy, and the fact that the 
first nobility of the land stood at the head of a movement 
which made the founding of a special Hungarian state appear 
a question of time only. 

That, under these circumstances, the expectations of the 
Prussian King and his statesmen concerning the agreement 
of the Austrian Government with regard to the national 
reform could not be fulfilled, could not but be clear to me, as 
will be admitted, when I returned in September with the 
Duchess to Coburg, going by way of Prague, Karlsbad and 

Characteristic of the conception which Metternich had 
of the Prussian constitutional experiment, were his conversa- 
tions and correspondences with King Leopold, through which 
I was always seasonably informed of the entirely unchanged 
attitude of the Austrian Cabinet. Even my uncle allowed 
himself to be towed by the Austrian States Chancellor's cable 
in this question, and it is characteristic by what a continual 
state of revolutionary fever such prominent persons as 
Metternich and King Leopold were attacked. 

Thus the latter wrote to Prince Metternich amongst others 
on the 9th of May 1847 : 

' Since O'Sullivan's departure for Vienna, we have had no 
dearth of important events. One of them has interested ine 
intensely, I speak of the opening of the Assembly in Berlin. 
On this occasion I recalled what your Serene Highness said 
to me concerning it in the Castle at Coblenz, 1845. 


' It is a dangerous game which is being played there, and 
the pleasure of making speeches seemed to be dearly bought. 
Practical wisdom demands here that everything must go 
slowly, and that the next reunion of the Assembly should not 
be appointed for too early a date. The interruption delays 
the climax, which is otherwise unavoidable in tolerably well- 
made-up assemblies. 

' The Spanish question has grown quieter, but it is unfor- 
tunatety a chronic evil ; if the Queen bears no children it will 
certainly give rise to great jealousy. 

'Your Serene Highness will be sorry to hear of a part 
change in the French Ministry ; it cannot work favourably, 
and yet a Conservative Ministry is particularly important for 
France. The danger would be great if revolutions were recom- 
mended from that quarter as the normal condition of nations. 

' Count W . . ., with whom I am very well satisfied, and 
who is very much liked here, will be able to give your 
Serene Highness information concerning all this. 

'The Catholics, through their original hatred of the 
Government, have burdened us here with the mad constitution 
of which the perpetual elections is the most dissolving ele- 
ments ; as I had told them from the beginning, it is they who 
are the greatest sufferers by it. 

' They are already driven from the cities, and I fear that 
the approaching elections will again weaken them. Since 
Belgium existed, and even since 1815, there has been no 

o * 

more able Ministry here than the present one ; nevertheless 
everything is done to make its existence difficult. One is 
inclined, on contemplating the remarkable events which are 
now going on in Europe, to think of a large madhouse. 

' May the approaching beautiful time of the year work 
favourably on your Serene Highness ; illness is driving me in 
a few days to Wiesbaden. 

' But I will not be too prolix, and close with the assurance 
of my most heartfelt respect. 


Nothing is more significant of the unshaken hopes which 


Conservative Europe set on Austria, than the fact that my 
uncle was not to be weaned from the unfortunate idea that 
we should have in the decaying Imperial state on the Danube 
a suitable reserve against the Revolutions, which were ad- 
mitted to be threatening us everywhere. 

Yet already at that time, the Austrian policy had three 
defeats to note down, from which the Metternich system would 
never recover. Cracow had been annexed in order to choke 
the Polish movement, and the Western Powers' most bitterly 
blamed violation of the contract, so carefully adhered to by 
the Austrian Government, had no other consequences than to 
force a state, which already stood on the brink of financial 
destruction, to make enormous war preparations, which were 
nevertheless not fitted to bring the Polish movement to a 

Metternich had, at the same time, at the election of Pope 
Pius IX, experienced a shameful repulse in the circles of his 
good friends, and in Upper Italy the possession of the 
monarchy began to waver seriously. And to these internal 
difficulties was joined that of the Sonderbundskrieg in 
Switzerland, where the old Metternich policy had, as it were, 
been lamentably shipwrecked before the eyes of all Europe. 
Thus old Austria found herself in a situation through which, 
if Prussia had only had an energetic will, Germany's inde- 
pendence might have been secured. Meanwhile, it would 
have been idle to start the question what should be done, if 
Frederick William IV had really been worthy of the hopes 
which were set on him. In the actual course of things, the 
birth of a new epoch of European political relations was, 
however, to come from France, and be introduced by a 
revolution in Paris. 

What the causes were which from the year 1846 led to 
the overthrow of Louis Philippe, it will not be difficult for 
me to show, by relating a few personal experiences in the 
next chapter. 








THE history of the so-called Spanish marriage became decisive 
for Louis Philippe's position in France, and his relations with 
England during the last years of his reign. Few people can 
have any idea, in these days, what a wide importance the 
question as to whom the two daughters of the widowed Queen 
Maria Christina should marry exercised in European politics. 

Since Thiers' overthrow all the efforts of the French 
Ministry were directed towards the support of the laboriously 
gained intimacy between the two neighbouring kingdoms, but 
the circumstances of the Pyrenean peninsula were a continual 
subject of jealousy and irritation in the relations of the 
Cabinets of St James' and Versailles. In England France's 

VOL. I. M 


demeanour in the Spanish marriage affair was regarded as 
the real touch-stone of Louis Philippe's loyalty and that of 
his House, and in France they would not renounce the influ- 
ence gained over Spanish affairs. It is therefore compre- 
hensible that, durino- the latter years of his life. Guizot felt 

O */ 

the need of particularly justifying in his Memoirs the attitude 
which he had observed with regard to these events. Everyone 
was convinced that the breaking-up of the Anglo-French 
alliance was of such consequence to all Europe, that each 
party strove to throw the blame on the other. 

Just at that time, when the politicians of all the Powers 
were watching with anxious expectation the occurrences in 
Spain, I was about to undertake a journey with my wife 
through this country, which in those days was still considered 
as lying entirely out of the way, and was but rarely visited 
by tourists. 

One prepared for a jaunt through the beautiful peninsula 
as one undertakes an expedition to the interior of Africa 
nowadays, and the attempt to travel with women through the 
unsafe provinces of the ancient kingdom was looked upon as 
an adventurous and difficult enterprise. I had the intention 
of taking a trip to Africa from Spain, and going thence to 
Portugal, where I wished to introduce my young consort to 
the dear relations at the Royal Court. Such an undertaking 
was almost impossible without the support of the French and 
English Governments, and as we had this amply my appear- 
ance in Spain was looked upon as an event of political import- 
ance. It was nothing more than a strange accident which 

Cj O 

involved me in the great question of the day, and which 
appeared to have selected me to play a certain part in the 
history and development of the celebrated Spanish marriage. 

Without the slightest intention to connect myself with the 
politics of the Peninsula, I left Germany on the 23rd of March 
1840, accompanied by my wife and my cousins, Alexander and 
Arthur Mensdorff, with two gentlemen and a lady. We went 
to Marseilles by way of Strasburg, Besancon, Lyons and 
Avignon. We had manifold skirmishes with impudent post- 
masters and untrustworthy postillions, and only the voyage 
down the Rhone, which we made in the steamboat Syrius 
restored our good spirits and power to enjoy nature in the South. 


Although I was travelling under an assumed name, official 
ceremonial receptions could not be entirely avoided. Louis 
Philippe's government was not to be prevented from making 
my undertaking a public affair, ostensibly on account 
of the diplomatic disputes which were then going on. We 
tried in every way to escape from the tiresome official recep- 
tions, but it was in vain, and gave rise to many a laughable 

After a short examination of the sights of Toulon, the 
fortifications, arsenals and prisons, we left for Marseilles and 
took passage for Barcelona on the 2nd of April, on board the 
Amsterdam, a French ship, which I had chartered. Here, 
where I had six years before witnessed the overthrow of 
Queen Christina and the rise of Espartero, we landed on the 
Spanish peninsula. 

What had not happened since those days in the pattern 
land of military revolution ! The Queen, who had then had 
to give way to the fortunate General, was back again, and had 
once more seized the reins of government. Whilst Espartero 
was going to encounter General Prim in the battle-field, on 
the 21st of June 1843, with 8000 men, General Prim being 
engaged in uniting the Dictator's opposers in Catalonia with 
the Queen's money, Narvaez landed in Valencia and hoisted 
the flag of the Moderados. He brought an army of 30,000 
men, before which Espartero's faction dispersed, and the 
Dictator was forced to flee to the South. On the 30th July 
he left Spain on an English ship sailing from Cadiz, without 
having had justice done him as to his endeavours to bring 
about the peace and security of Spain. 

But the Progressionists had engaged in too deep a conflict 
with the Church of Spain to endure their rule any longer in 
the fourth decade. When Queen Isabella was declared a 
major on the 10th of November 1843 in the Cortes, Narvaez, 
it is true, made a short truce with the Progressionists, by 
taking Olozoga into the Cabinet ; but in three weeks the 
latter was again dismissed, and a moderate Camarilla 
assembled round the French Ambassador General Bresson, 
who had trouble in restraining his party from perpetrating the 
most extreme follies against the Progressive party. This was 
the moment at which Maria Christina thought she might 


emerge from her exile in Paris, and appeared in Spain to 
demand the full rights of a Queen Mother. 

On the 4th of February 1844 she entered Barcelona, on 
the 23rd Madrid. Shortly before that occurred the death of 
her sister-in-law Louisa Charlotta, the wife of Franz de 
Paulas, who had zealously tried to bring about the marriage 
of one of her sons with Queen Isabella, in order to obtain in 
this way a greater degree of influence over the Govern- 

But Maria Christina was now once more mistress of the 
situation, and the whole world thought that this Government 
would establish the preponderance of the French Cabinet in 

That the Queen nevertheless went her own way in many 
things was shown in the affair of her daughter's marriage, 
which had begun in those years to be the turning point of 
European politics. 

Meanwhile the good understanding between Maria Chris- 
tina and Narvaez did not last long. The all-powerful General's 
position had been shaken by the Minister of Finances, Sala- 
manca. When a portion'of the Moderados began to dispute 
Narvaez's excessive reactionary measures in the Cortes, Mira- 
flores undertook in the year 1846 to form a new, and, it must 
be admitted, very transitory Ministry. The recall of the still 
apparently indispensable General in March, ended on the 4th 
of April with his sudden downfall, through which he was 
forced to leave Spain. 

On the same day I received at Barcelona, through the 
French Consul-General Lesseps, with whom I have always 
remained on friendly terms since then, and whose name 
became celebrated by the Suez Canal, the first news of the 
great events in Madrid. 

The Duchess recorded with astonishment in her diary the 
impression produced by the contrast between the splendours 
of the scenery and the hopeless political condition of the 
country. Nothing could be a greater proof of the transmuta- 
bility of things than the fact that in 1840, almost on the 
same day I had left Spain, after seeing this Queen Maria 
Christina forced to humble herself to a Progressionist officer, 
and that I returned to find her treading in the dust a loyal 


and moderate General, who was thoroughly devoted to the 

Concerning this strange coincidence of events my brother 
sent me a long letter at Gibraltar on the 20th of April. 

' You seem to exercise an unfavourable kind of magnetic 


influence on the fate of Spain, for every time you show your- 
self there, the Regent is driven away, and risings, murder and 
death occur in every portion of the land. You will at length 
come to be looked upon as a kind of banshee whose apparition 
forebodes evil for the House.' 

In reality, however, the turn of events in Spain was 
received much more earnestly in England than appears from 
these words, for people still saw in Maria Christina only a 
tool of Louis Philippe, led by General Bresson, the French 
envoy ; they even grew more and more bitter in rivalry and 
jealousy of France. 

Meanwhile, we travellers in Spain had found but little 
time in which to occupy ourselves with high politics. We 
avoided the capital ; the goals of our journey were Malaga 
and Granada, the Mecca of our pilgrimage hither the Alham- 
bra. Since those days this tour has been described often 
enough, but then it has grown much more convenient. 
Whereas the Duchess was taking down with delight several 
daguerreotypes of splendid buildings, with which one had 
formerly to content one's self, the most excellent copies of 
Spain's former greatness are now in everybody's hands. 

On the way from Valencia to Malaga we were overtaken 
by the heaviest storm which I ever experienced on the sea. 
Already at our departure on the 7th we had a bad wind, and 
during the following night threatening clouds gathered on the 
horizon. The moon, described by poets as the peaceful, still 
moon, had, to our astonishment and to the small satisfaction 
of the crew, gathered around her a tricoloured halo. During 
the night the weather was so stormy as to drive me from my 
place on deck into the saloon which I had long hated, and 
where I battled for hours amidst frightful heat with sea- 
sickness. At length, certain of defeat, I rushed up on deck 
and, followed by the waves as if by furies, staggered to a 
cooler retreat which the captain's care had arranged for me. 
The sea had meanwhile grown furious, and the waves swept 


high over the deck. The ship flew from side to side, and 
often lay so that the water rushed into the funnel and 
threatened to extinguish the fire in the engine-room. The 
storm grew worse every hour, the sea howled frightfully, and 
the morning went by in the fruitless struggle of our ship 
against the contrary wind ; in the afternoon the captain 
appeared with the request to be allowed to put the ship about 
in order to seek shelter in a bay on the coast. I gladly gave 
my consent, and slowly as we had previously progressed, only 
making a mile in five hours, so quickly did we fly to the 
shore, driven by the gale. We anchored towards evening in 
the small bay of La Roquetas, where more than twenty large 
and small crafts had taken refuge. 

We reached Malaga only on the morning of the 10th of 
April. The journey to Granada was continued hence over 
the mountains from Colmenar on horseback and in carriages. 


The beautiful days which we devoted to seeing the wonderful 
remains of Arabian culture, made up to us for the heavy 
fatigues which it was then necessary to undergo in order to 
obtain the enjoyment of those beautiful sights. 

We drove to Seville by way of Cordova and Bailen. A 
great bull-fight was held in our honour, the excitements of 
which were endured by the ladies only through the summoning 
of all their courage. We continued our journey to Cadiz on 
the Guadalquivir, whence we could make an interesting trip 
to Africa, as Queen Victoria had placed at our disposal the 
man-of-war Phoenix, Captain Dennis. 

We anchored before Tangiers, and after spending several 
days there, our company separated, as I wished to undertake 
a trip by land to Tetuan, whereas the Duchess was to remain 
on the Phoenix and go thither by sea. 

Tangiers was the capital of one of the most important 
provinces of the Moroccan Empire, and stood under the 
charge of the Pacha Russelham ben Ali Astod. As no German 
sovereign had probably ever entered the Moroccan territory, 
the Pacha had resolved, after thoroughly communicating with 
the English Consul, to show us extraordinary honour. 

As, however, Mahommedan customs were still strictly 
adhered to in Morocco, and these customs forbade a Mussul- 
man to enter a house occupied by a Christian, the governor 


of the Sultan paid his visit in the open square facing the 

A portion of the Pacha's body-guard appeared, bringing a 
charger and most richly ornamented saddle, which I had to 
mount, whilst the Pacha himself rode up with a large train of 
followers, to greet me solemnly. He was a very stately man 
of about sixty, of upright carriage and energetic features. 
After a few compliments, which we paid each other through 
the medium of the English Consul, we set ourselves in motion 
in order to pay the Pacha a visit at his Alcazor, which was 
by a special favour to be shown to us entirely. 

The castle stands on a considerable height at the upper 
end of the city. We alighted at the gates, the Pacha offered 
me his hand and led me alone into the inner hall of the serail. 
The order that all the women and slaves were to be gone at 
the proper time had probably not been punctually carried out, 
for when I entered the Pacha's apartments all kinds of charm- 
ing figures started up like frightened deer ; the way was 
only gradually cleared, so that the Pacha could lead me further 
with more composed countenance. 

In one of the halls a Moorish luncheon consisting of tea 
and a peculiarly prepared dish of maize was served. After I 
had taken my departure, I rode to the heights which overlook 
the city, and which afford a most charming view. 

On the following morning, which was the 1st of May, we 
began our wanderings over the smaller Atlas Mountains 
towards Tetuan. We rode with an escort given us by the 
Pacha, with vanguard and rearguard, going inland by heavy 
paths, towards the most mountainous part of the country, and 
only halted at noon on the peak of a woody mountain. 

From this point our way led over steep, thickly-grown 
slopes, and grew more and more romantic. When we had 
climbed the heights it descended over masses of rock into 
deep defiles, whence the stony way opened through narrow 
passes into a luxuriantly grown valley, shut in on every side 
by the wooded mountains and reminding one of many parts 
of the Welsh Alps. 

Tetuan emerged from an almost precipitous ridge in the 
full light of the afternoon sun, and when we were within a 
short hour's distance of the city, a troop of horsemen appeared 


at whose head, an old, grey-haired soldier and the younger 
Mr Butler, the son of the English Consul, came to meet us. 
When we entered the old Moorish city the entire population 
seemed to be on their feet, so that we could hardly press 
through the crowd. 

Quartered in old Mr Butler's house, I enjoyed at sunset, 
from the roof of the Consul's comfortable villa, built in the 
Moorish style, the charming view of the dazzlingly white city 
with its many cupolas and turrets, built regularly in a longish 
square. In the background rose the mountains, which we 
had descended that afternoon. Towards the north stretched 
a wide plain, covered with gardens and fertile fields, bounded 
by pine woods, and in the distant horizon one could catch a 
glimpse of a shining blue band of water, which betrayed the 
vicinity of the Mediterranean sea. 

The Phoenix was to anchor there the same evening, bring- 
ing, as has already been said, the ladies of the party. But a 
frightful storm had driven the voyagers as far as the heights 
of Algiers, and only after a twelve hours' battle with the 
waves had the Phcenix succeeded in approaching the shores 
of Tetuan. When, on the morning of the 2nd of May, I rode 
down to the seashore, it was no small surprise to behold the 
Phoenix in a situation which rendered landing impossible. 

Whilst I stood on the coast watching the fearful rolling of 
the ship on the angry sea, the Duchess had in vain entreated 
the Captain to let her land in a boat. The despair of the poor 
ladies was boundless, yet the Phoenix had for that day to be 
left to her fate. 

I rode back alone and disappointed to the city, where I 
repaired to Pacha Hadschi Abdullah Aschach, who was await- 
ing me at the gate of his Alcazar. He had had everything 
prepared not only for my arrival, but for that of my wife as 
well, but fate had willed it otherwise, and he was forced to 
content himself with giving expression to his gallantry 
through the sending of a rose which he handed me with an 
Arabic poem, and numerous other presents. 

I had some trouble getting on board the Phcenix with my 
attendants next day, on account of the continually agitated 
sea, for when we appeared on shore the state of things was but 
little changed, and Captain Dennis even now refused to land his 


passengers. When, towards mid-day, he himself was at length 
rowed to shore in his gig, we had already made up our minds 
to turn our face towards Gibraltar, and trusted ourselves to 
the rocking boat, which took over half-an-hour to bear us to 
the Phoenix. We weighed anchor and shaped our course for 
Ceuta, where we had a magnificent view of the African coast 
and of Hercules' Pillars, then the torrid zone disappeared 
behind us and we were confronted by the rocks of Gibraltar 
rising majestically from the sea. Here we were for several 
days overwhelmed with kindness from the English commander 
and the officers of the army and marine, and parted unwill- 
ingly from this memorable bulwark of English power, as the 
time had been marked out for us at which we were expected 
in Portugal. 

It was precisely during the days of my interesting stay in 
Morocco that I was much more deeply involved in matters of 
high politics by the ruler of the Spanish monarchy, Queen Maria 
Christina, than I had ever expected or had reason to desire. 

For over four years the Cabinets of the Western Powers had 
occupied themselves with the question who the lucky chosen 
one was to be, who was destined to help young Queen Isabella 
to rule beautiful Spain. 

' Queen Isabella,' as Guizot remarked in his Memoirs, ' was 
only twelve years old, but her marriage had become the 
object of the reflections of all even tolerably foresighted 
politicians in Spain, France, and all Europe. On this occasion 
the leading French statesman forgot even to mention that it 
was he himself who had started the matter unnecessarily 
early. In his apology he laid much weight on the fact that 
Queen Christina and the moderate party in Spain particularly 
wished to have the Due d'Aumale as King Consort of Spain, 
and could not boast enough of Louis Philippe's extraordinary 
moderation and loyalty, through which this project, so advan- 
tageous for France, had been cut short from the first. 

One of the consequences of this would have been the 
assembling of the most different candidates, the choice of whom 
could not be indifferent to France. One can admit, yet with- 
out recognising the fact, that much too great weight was laid 
upon Queen Maria Christina's leaning towards an Orleans 
marriage for her daughter. She was always ready to flatter 


Louis Philippe when she needed his help ; on the other hand, 
when she felt herself free, she did not hesitate to take steps 
which could by no means be reconciled with her entire devo- 
tion and submission to her uncle in Paris. During my stay 
there in 1843 I had the opportunity of often seeing and speak- 
ing intimately with Maria Christina in the Royal House. 

Whilst she was living here in banishment, she could find 
no more pleasant assurance for the King than that she and 
the Moderados would try to bring about an Orleans marriage 
for Queen Isabella. This was naturally on condition that she 
should regain the rule in Spain, towards which end she was 
endeavouring to obtain Louis Philippe's support. 

But when Maria Christina reached the wished-for goal in 
1844, she in no way fulfilled the hopes of the Orleans with 
regard to the Spanish throne, but was in reality endeavouring 
to gain her daughter's hand for her brother, the Duke of 
Trapani. The confusion of diplomatic negotiations, which 
had grown endless since the year 1844, brought more disap- 
pointments than explanations, for it is incredible how much 
dust was raised by the less diplomatic Bulwer and Bresson in 
order to make their own importance in the affair appear in 
the most dazzling light possible. 

This diplomatic opposition, which received the strongest 
impression in Guizot's Memoirs, through the communication 
of every trifling episode and every small dissension, led the 
most modern historian of these events to form the opinion 
that the Spanish marriage had from the first been taken up 
with a view to the interests of the Houses of Coburg and 
Orleans. But if Hillebrandt also was right in saying in his 
History of France, that the ' hearty understanding ' between 
England and France had been shipwrecked in Spain on the 
same rock on which, ten years before, it had been piloted by 
Thiers and Palmerston, yet, from the first, there had not been 
the slightest trace of rivalry between the Courts on the 
subject of the Spanish marriage. 

It must not be forgotten that the Coburg relationship 
had just formed a link which also bound the English and 
French Courts, and that nothing was less thought of than the 
possibility that a separation between the related Houses could 
be caused by a new family alliance. , 


If Palmerston cherished the opinion that the candidature 
of a Coburg as the Spanish Queen's Consort was much more 
of a French than an English interest, this really corresponded 
to the state of affairs, and one must not think that Palmerston 
wished by this remark to say something favourable for the 
Coburg prospects in Spain ; he only wished to offer every 
possible opposition to Aberdeen's attitude. 

His candidate was Don Enrique, the second son of Franz 
de Paulas, who also appeared the most dangerous to Queen 
Christina, because he had the greatest connexion with the 
Progressionists, who were her worst and most unreconcilable 

If, on the other hand, his elder brother, the Duke of 
Cadiz, appeared just as repulsive to the Queen Mother from 
a moral point of view, as he did from a political one, yet one 
must hardly blame her for it. The fact alone that there was 
ever any talk in diplomatic circles of the marriage of this 
totally unfit man, is without question the most obscure part 
of the whole matter, which did no honour to any of these 
concerned in it. 

It is no secret that the man, who was afterwards forced 
upon Queen Isabella as her husband, was no man, rather it 
was everywhere spoken about and jested over, yet the diplo- 
macy of those days did not hesitate to deliberate over the 
eventuality of such a marriage for Queen Isabella. This 
union was all the more insisted upon on some sides, so that 
the Queen, as they foolishly flattered themselves, should 
remain childless. 

Matters stood thus at the time when the visits of the two 
Courts of France and England in the year 1843-45 seemed all 
the more to be assuring the friendship known throughout 
Europe. In 1843, Queen Victoria appeared at Eu with my 
brother, Louis Philippe thereupon came to Windsor with 
Guizot, and in the following year the second visit of the 
English sovereigns took place at Eu. 

During the latter, certain agreements were made concer- 
ning the Spanish marriage affair. Many particulars of the 
meeting of the monarchs have become generally known from 
the Queen's book of my brother's life. 

The real matter of the mutual promises has, until now, 


never been told otherwise than conjecturally. What has 
been said about them has been more or less correctly guessed, 
but they will have been first authenticated only by a letter 
which my brother wrote to me, and which I will communicate 
further on. 

I will only mark here, that in Stockmar's Memorabilities 
my brother's position with regard to the matter seems not to 
be quite rightly defined, and the points which were looked 
upon at Eu as settled by no means coincided. The entire 
representation of the latter question in this often quoted work 
is also not of much more worth than that of a historical 

The English sovereigns doubtless had, during the pleasant 
days at Eu, bound themselves rather too firmly by their 
promise to take all pains to bring about a Bourbon marriage. 
Lord Aberdeen, who was trying at this price to make himself 
agreeable to King Louis Philippe, entirely neglected to find a 
suitable formula for the reciprocal obligations, so that each 
party could afterwards refer to the arrangements of Eu, and 
all the later well known recriminations were on account of 
these highly unfortunate punktations. 

Queen Victoria and my brother had, through their promise 
to support the Bourbon candidature, deprived themselves of 
all freedom of action, whereas Guizot had, according to the 
extensive ideas of the House of Bourbon, to turn and twist 
everything, until no one was left for Queen Isabella except 
the Duke of Cadiz, which meant as much as not getting 
married at all. 

In that case Guizot thought he might secure the throne of 
Spain to the House of Orleans, through the marriage of the 
Due de Montpensier with Christina's second daughter. 

When my uncle Ferdinand undertook a journey to 
Portugal in the year 1846, with his youngest son, the French 
Government at once ascribed to it a motive which seemed to 
be opposed to the agreement of Eu, and the English sovereigns 
felt this to be all the more unpleasant, as they were hardly in 
a position to react upon Guizot's undertaking. 

It was the weak point in their position, that their hands 
had been more tightly bound by Aberdeen's unhappy conduct 
than they were willing to admit to themselves. 


When I in turn undertook the Spanish journey already 
described, they tried in France, as has been said above, to give 
it as official a character as possible, so that it might be insinu- 
ated to the English sovereigns that the House of Coburg had 
by no means given up its Spanish ambition. To tell the 
truth, we were all equally far from wishing to bring about an 
event which might make a rift in the carefully fostered 
relations of the House of Orleans. Added to this, the princi- 
pal person in this drama, Prince Leopold himself, in no way 
took a powerful initiative. His travels through Spain and 
Portugal had never assumed the form of an attempt to gain 
the sympathies of the Spaniards or their Court. 

He avoided going to Madrid, and his father, who had 
already given his consent with the greatest reluctance to the 
marriage of his eldest son in Portugal, and had just found the 
latter in a no very pleasant position, was still less inclined to 
grow enthusiastic over the prospects of his youngest son. 
They had therefore the greatest trouble to prevent the 
possibilities which presented themselves from being counter- 
acted on the spot through the members of the House 

As for me, personally, I was convinced that the marriage 
of Prince Leopold would have been a great piece of good luck 
for Spain. He had developed well during the past few years, 
and King Leopold, who verily was not wanting in knowledge 
of mankind, praised him, and said that he gave promise of 
good things. 

It would certainly have been more to Spain's interests to 
bind the young, lively, and single-minded Queen of the country 
to such a man, who could be her support and who would have 
brought her into the way of leading a proper family life. I 
may therefore say openly, and without prepossession for my 
family, that I was of the opinion that the marriage should 
have been brought about. 

This may have become known at the Spanish Court, and 
especially to Queen Christina, without my having wished or 
been able to make myself in any way officially noticeable. 
But the difference between iny brother's position and mine 
was, that the Queen knew me personally, and that I came 
into contact with a great many people, who had either a 


direct or an indirect influence over the government in 

That Queen Christina should now turn to me under these 
difficult circumstances, was a step concerning which diplomacy 
made the most remarkable conjectures in their despatches. 
How she came to do it, and what decided her, made Guizot 
rack his brains for months together. He put the blame of 
the whole matter on Bulwer, as is seen in his despatch, as he 
pretended that the latter had inspired the Queen with the 
extraordinary idea of cutting the knot by a direct demand for 
Prince Leopold's hand. I am convinced that Bulwer really 
meant as little to take any step in favour of the House of 
Coburg as Palmerston afterwards did. When Lord Aberdeen 
said to St Aulaire : ' Do not accuse Bulwer, he has done and 
will do nothing to favour this marriage,' he was certainly 
right, and I do not understand how the latter could add with 
such certainty : 'With regard to the latter Lord Aberdeen 
was mistaken.' 

The only thing which is certain is, that people in England 
at length began to believe that Bulwer had acted too arbitrarily 
in the affair, as that shortly before his fall Lord Aberdeen 
made a last sacrifice to the connivance against France, by 
recalling the pretended author of Queen Christina's exciting 
epistle from his post. 

In the much talked about letter, however, which will be 
made known here for the first time, the plain alternative, 
towards which the Queen wavered in her choice between 
Prince Leopold and the Duke of Trapani, does not exactly 
point to the fact that the English diplomates of Bulwer's 
school, with their openly declared tendency for Progressionist 
Don Enrique, had stood behind the chair of the letter- writer. 
She wrote on the 2nd of May 1846 : 


'YouR ROYAL HIGHNESS. The contents of this letter 
will explain why I address myself to Your Royal High- 
ness, as the friend and the head of the family of Saxe- 

' Queen Isabella's happiness and the tranquillity of Spain 


demand the prompt solution of the question of my daughter's 
marriage with a properly chosen man. 

' Now, the views which have been formed with regard to 
this appear more difficult of realisation every day, as the 
Princes of the House of Spain are away on account of the 
greater or less part which they took in the parties which 
agitate the country, and the Prince, my brother, does not 
seem to have gained the liking of the people. 

' The King of Belgium is aware that, under these circum- 
stances, I have always thought of Prince Leopold ; I still 
think of him, and should like this alliance, as I consider that 
it would be the one fitted to reconcile my daughter's happiness 
with that of the Spanish nation. 

' I therefore beg Your Royal Highness, who, through His 
Royal Highness Prince Albert are sufficiently identified with 
the Court of England, to inform Her Majesty Queen Victoria, 
who as Queen and mother will understand the interest which 
I have in the establishing of my daughter and in the peace 
and welfare of this kingdom. 

'A just appreciation of Spain's position, the family 
relations which bind me .to the Court of France, and the 
gratitude which I feel for the friendship of His Majesty the 
King of the French, will alwaj^s make me desire to see 
Queen Isabella keep up the most intimate relations with 
France and King Louis Philippe, and that the politics of 
Spain may never give so powerful a neighbour just causes of 

' With this end in view, I should feel disposed to unite the 
two families of France and Spain by the marriage of my 
second daughter with the Due de Montpensier. 

' With this end in view I have tried until now to favour 
the marriage of Queen Isabella with Count Trapani, still I 
must not forget that my daughter is the sovereign of a 
country which I myself have governed, and which is justly 
jealous of an independence which no one has either the right 
to take away, nor any reason to dispute. 

' I have always heard that Her Majesty the Queen of 
England is animated like myself by feelings of sincere friend- 
ship towards France, and that His Majesty has been prepared 
to consent to and even to support a combination which, with- 


out being fatal to English interests, was preferred by His 
Majesty the King of France ; but I have always heard also, 
that Her Majesty the Queen of England upheld, as I do, the 
independence of Spain in this matter, which is first of all a 
Spanish matter, and I should like to be told as frankly as 
I have expressed myself in this letter, if, in case my daughter 
were to choose Prince Leopold of Saxe-Coburg, this choice 
would be agreeable to his family, and if the Queen of England 
would then uphold, as I have been assured she has hitherto 
upheld, the principles of independence of which I have spoken, 
and would then help us to mitigate any unjust resentment, if 
such should arise, which I can hardly believe. 

' In the actual position of this affair, I think that this step 
will better be taken in the form of a particular question 
between the two Courts and the two families, than between 
two Cabinets, as in the latter case, the matter would perhaps 
be prematurely made public. 

'Your Royal Highness will therefore take this strictly 
private and confidential communication in good part. 

' I profit by this occasion to assure Your Royal Highness 
of the sentiments entertained for. you and all your family, 
and the constant desire for your happiness felt by Your 
Highness's devoted 


As may easily be seen, the text of this letter in no way 
shows a very great understanding of the ways of English 

If one wished to find out the secret meaning of Queen 
Christina's letter, one would perhaps have to assume that she 
wished to force the English Court, to make a final declaration 
and decision one way or the other, in order at length to obtain 
freedom of action for herself. 

The inactive reserve which the English Government had 
found it necessary to assume since the unfortunate meeting of 
Eu, made it easy to understand that Isabella's mother was at 
length forced to act for herself, and this all the more, the less 
she appeared able to come to an understanding with King 
Louis Philippe during those weeks. For a memorial which 
appeared at that time in the Madrid newspaper, signed by 


the secretary to the Duke of Rianzares, which was in favour 
of the candidature of the Duke of Trapani, aroused great 
indignation in Louis Philippe, and he expressed himself 
plainly on the subject to Queen Christina. 

Without prejudice against or prepossession for either the 
one or the other of those concerned in this matter, I might look 
upon the letter as the natural expression of a mother's wish 
to assure the real happiness of a daughter, and the advantage 
of Spain, after so many fruitless negotiations. 

I considered it right to inform my relations of this my 
free comprehension of the matter, without wishing to take 
any important part in an affair which was of a nature 
principally to occupy the Courts and politics of Western 
Europe. I wrote to this effect, on the 16th of May, 1846, from 
Lisbon, where I had received the letter, to King Leopold : 

' I send you herewith the copy of a letter from the Queen 
Mother of Spain, which she addressed to me here, and which 
Ferdinand handed to me. Although I can conjecture that 
you will already have been informed in an indirect manner 
of the contents of this remarkable document, yet the manner 
and method in which it is composed, as well as the matter 
itself of which it treats, remain a very important event for 
us all. 

' A question concerning our family has been brought up 
with much adroitness, the settlement of which may be of 
unbounded consequence. This is neither the place, nor is it 
my task, to throw a light on the matter itself and to give 
advice to either the one or the other. I must leave all this 
to you alone ; nevertheless I think it right, as the Queen has 
addressed herself in so peculiar a manner to me, to remain 
the mediator in the transactions until she officially relieves 
me of this duty. 

' I think I have acted rightly in announcing to the Queen 
the receipt of her letter in the most obliging manner, and 
offering her my thanks as well as my services. The copy of 
this letter lies near me. I have written to Albert also, to the 
same effect as to you, and thus performed my commission. 

The above mentioned preliminary answer to the Queen's 
letter ran as follows : 

'MADAM, It was only on my quite recent arrival in 

VOL. I. N 


Lisbon that I received the letter with which Your Majesty 
has seen fit to honour me, and I hasten to express my pro- 
found gratitude for this proof of confidence, and fresh evidence 
of the good-will with which Your Majesty has never ceased 
to overwhelm me, and which has always given me such 

' It will therefore be a pleasant duty to me to inform Queen 
Victoria, my sister, of the sentiments which Your Majesty 
was good enough to communicate to me with all frankness, 
and I venture to express a most sincere desire that the future 
may bring the fulfilment of all the wishes which Your 
Majesty has formed for the happiness of Her Majesty Queen 
Isabella, your august daughter, as well as for the peace and 
welfare of Spain. 

' If, meanwhile, Your Majesty judges me worthy of your 
confidence, you will always find me discreet and ready to 
place myself at your orders. 

' I profit by this happy occasion, madam, again to express 
to Your Majesty my sincerest wishes for the constitution 
of your happiness, as well as that of your august family, and 
to renew the expression of the profound respect with which I 
remain Your Majesty's very humble and very devoted 

1 Lisbon, 12th May 1846.' 

It will be seen in this letter, that any hint concerning the 
true object of the question, and therefore a positive answer, 
was most carefully avoided. Indeed I had guessed that the 
decision of the matter would afterwards be delayed, but I 
could form no idea, from the awkward position of English 
politics, how the affair would be received. 

In order to give a correct description of the real impres- 
sion which had been made in England by the careful 
' consideration ' which was at 'that moment the predominant 
feeling with regard to the French Court, I must again 
mention that at that time, I had the intention of returning by 
way of England. But many hindrances to this plan had 
arisen, and my brother, as he remarks in the following letter, 
had to regret that the Spanish letter would prevent this 


journey from taking place. But if anyone thinks that Queen 
Victoria and my brother were entirely delighted with this 
affair of pretended Coburg House politics, this would, on the 
other hand, be no less a mistake. Everyone was afterwards 
very much pleased, as our return journey was nevertheless 
made by way of England, and the first feeling of embarrass- 
ment, which was expressed in the following letter from my 
brother, was not a very enduring one. 

As the really most important portion of the following 
letter will meantime, as I have already said, relate what my 
brother had to tell me about the arrangements made in Eu, 
and which, to tell the truth, do not represent Lord Aberdeen's 
policy as being particularly neutral. 

' Buckingham Palace, May 2Qth 1846. 

'DEAR ERNEST, Under these circumstances you will 
understand how sorry we are not to be able to answer your 
wish to come over here. Another point is now added, the 
offer which Queen Christina has made. It has thrown us into 
the greatest embarrassment. 

'We had bound ourselves towards France, in case the 
King kept his word, and did not push forward any of his 
sons, to use all our influence towards bringing about a Bourbon 
marriage, which would be desired by the King and by Queen 
Christina, and popular in Spain also. 

' We have also explained at the same time, that we do not 
admit France's right to lay down any rules whatever, to the 
Spaniards, for the marriage of Queen Isabella, or to dictate to 
them, that we would honourably uphold Spain's independence, 
and her right to order her own affairs, that, therefore, in case 
a Bourbon marriage would not be acceptable to Spain, in spite 
of our effort to accomplish it, any other marriage, from the 
moment it was desired by Spain, would be perfectly right in 
our eyes. 

'This was on the point of being fulfilled, the Bourbons 
have become impossible, and a declaration of Spain's, that 
this is the case, would have unloosed the knot. 

' Bulwer then made up his mind to take part in a step of 
Queen Christina's which, on account of King Louis Philippe, 
she did not venture upon alone. 


' This gives us the appearance of faithlessness, intrigue, 
perfidiousness, etc., etc., and affords France just reason to 

' We have seen ourselves forced to wash our hands of the 
matter, and to explain to France that we are no parties to 
this step. This is naturally not believed, and your entirely 
inexplicable journey to Spain during Uncle Ferdinand's 
presence there, is a fact which makes appearances seem very 
much against us. 

' Should the marriage with Leopold succeed, there is only 
one thing to be done, and that is for France to enter into it 
heartily, otherwise, even if the matter is carried through, 

*/ ' O 

Spain and Portugal will be endangered for the future. For 
this it is necessary that France should not appear to the world 
to be overreached by us, and thus wounded in her patriotic 
feelings ; that is, that the marriage must not appear to be an 
English work, but, as far as possible, a French one. There- 
fore, to come here now, after what has happened, would for 
ever destroy Leopold's prospects. 

' There is no question that the choice of Leopold is by far 
the best for Spain, and France would have to understand this. 
If it could be connected with the marriage of Montpensier 
with the Infanta, and represented to the world as being 
brought about by France, it is assured, and we must work to 
that end. Whether it is to be desired for Leopold himself I 
dare not decide ; the question now is, whether he has the will 
and the courage for it. In that case, the position, being a 
high, honourable and powerful one, is also a good one for 
him, if it should not be the case, the small charms of the 
Queen, and the many political worries which will beset him, 
will become an unbearable burden. Ferdinand knows the 
most concerning this, and has, I think, been made Leopold's 
confidant on the subject. 

' I close with the request that you will give Uncle 
Ferdinand and Ferdinand (cousin) this letter to read, as my 
time does not allow me to repeat it. Always }'our faithful 


The idea with which my brother showed himself to be 


completely filled was, therefore, to win King Louis Philippe 
over to the Coburg marriage. 

King Leopold also approved of this idea, and it was there- 
fore natural that the answer which I owed Queen Christina 
was very long in coming. When I left Lisbon with my 
Spanish travelling companions in June, and went to England, 
no one had the slightest notion what was to be done in the 
matter. The fact that during this time Louis Philippe and 
Maria Christina had hopelessly fallen out over the choice of 
the Bourbon Princes might perhaps have been no unfavour- 
able circumstance, and the Coburg candidature might there- 
fore have more chance of winning. But one could hardly 
expect that the French Government should lead Prince 
Leopold into Madrid with ringing of bells. This idea of the 
English Government reminded one, if one may be allowed to 
compare a peaceable diplomatic transaction with a great war, 
of the demand which was laid before King Louis XIV in the 
Spanish War of Succession, 130 years before, that he should 
himself drive his grandson out of Spain. 

Besides, nothing could be done during my presence in 
England. After the birth of her third daughter the Queen 
needed greater care and longer rest, and moreover, the fall of 
Palmerston's Ministry and the transfer of foreign affairs from 
Aberdeen to Lord Palmerston were not calculated to sub- 
stantially aid the Coburg marriage matter. 

There was never any talk of a family council, as has been 
pretended by later authors. It was painful that Maria 
Christina must remain without an answer, and King Leopold 
was forced to make up his mind to excuse himself to her for 
it. He therefore wrote to me from : 

1 Buckingham Palace, August 5th, 1846. 

' I am taking advantage of the Courier's departure to write 
to you. I have already sent your excuses by word of mouth 
to Queen Christina, and the letter which Albert has forwarded 
to you does so clearly and concisely, and really deserves your 

' As matters now stand, it was necessary to come to an 
explanation. First of all, it must be made clear that the 
Spanish candidates are inadmissible. In this case it is 


desirable for France to accept it. Without these two things 
the position of the candidates would be wretched. . . . 

' If political difficulties were to arise in addition to this, the 
situation would be very painful. The affair will either come 
to nothing at all, or it will be accepted on tolerably good 
chances, and gives promise of being tenable.' Now when one 
remembers that Maria Christina had meantime learned that 
her letter had caused great vexation in London, so that Lord 
Aberdeen wished for that reason to recall his envoys, as has 
already been mentioned, it may be understood that, in her 
correspondence of June and July with King Louis Philippe, 
the Coburg candidature was no longer thought of, and that 
she regarded our final answer only as a matter of form. I 
sent the letter word for word, as appeared to be desired by my 
brother and uncle. Albert had given his motives for it in a 
long epistle, and I, for my part, could not see the slightest 
reason for crossing the wishes of the English sovereigns, but 
I must confess just here, that I could not understand why 
they afterwards opposed King Louis Philippe so eagerly. 

On the 2nd of June my brother very calmly replied to my 
communication of the preliminary answer which I had given 
Queen Christina., 

'Your reply to Queen Christina was cautious and wise, 
and cannot further compromise the matter. We have, as yet, 
had no reply to Lord Aberdeen's exposition to Comte St 
Aulaire. Further steps in opposition to France would pro- 
bably cost Guizot his elections and his Ministry. I have 
therefore nothing to add at present to my last letter concerning 
this matter.' 

And now followed, under the same date on which King 
Leopold despatched me the above quoted letter, my brother's 
decisive one, which was equally pregnant with fates for 
Spain and for the Anglo-French Alliance : 

' Buckingham Palace, August 5th 1846. 

' DEAR ERNEST, I send you Benda as courier, who will 

carry this letter to you. The object of it is the Spanish 

affair, which is daily becoming more involved, not being made 

easier by the substitution of Lord Palmerston for Lord 


Aberdeen, and which may bring universal danger through 
the really insane persistency of Louis Philippe and Guizot in 
obtaining what they have demanded. It is clear to us, that 
even if Leopold can be placed on the throne by the desire of 
Queen Christina, it will give him no chance of success, if he has 
all France as a personal enemy, and Don Enrique at the head 
of the Spanish Democrats, supported by Lord Palmerston and 
the Morning Chronicle, as a political rival in Spain. The 
Bourbons and Don Enrique are impossibles, but this must first 
be recognised by Spain herself and by France, before another 
can have any chances. Poor Queen Christina is meantime 
being shamefully treated on account of the step she took with 
you, and in France people go so far as to burden poor 
Ferdinand with all possible difficulties, in order to be able to 
use his inability as a reason against Leopold. 

' The Queen is still expecting a definite answer from you, 
to her letter written three months ago, and which cannot, for 
the sake of decency, remain any longer neglected. I send 
you herewith the substance of the letter which Victoria, 
King Leopold and I should like you to write. It has been 
composed after long reflection, accurate inquiry into the state 
of affairs, and in complete unison with the position which we 
have taken in the matter, and I beg that you will adopt it 
word for word, and send us the letter sealed and addressed 
to the Queen through Benda as soon as possible ; we will 
then see that the further necessary steps are taken with 

' P.S. You should send Uncle Ferdinand a copy of your 
letter to the Queen of Spain by a sure messenger. He must 
be made acquainted with the matter, and it is best it should 
be done through you.' 

As a supplement to the foregoing, a notice may here be 
added, taken from a later letter of my brother's, written on 
the 31st of August, concerning the attitude of the English 

o o o 

Government. For before the letter desired by my relations 
had reached Queen Christina, the new Ministry had already 
taken powerful measures to embitter her to the utmost 
against everything which might be advised or expected of her 


in England, through their support of Don Enrique's candi- 

Concerning this, my brother wrote to me at the above- 
mentioned date, with a calmness which, when I compared it 
with the excitement of the English Court afterwards, filled 
me with astonishment : 

' I have sent your letter to Madrid ; Lord Palmerston is 
exerting himself to secure Don Enrique's success. As he lies 
within the French candidature, and Lord Palmerston has the 
task of not falling out with Louis Philippe, nothing can be 
done to oppose it.' 

That, however, under these circumstances, my letter to 
Queen Christina was indeed to be regarded only as a matter 
of politeness, seems clear, and I may add, that the further 
course of affairs therefore surprised me far less, not to say 
that I was riot inclined after that to judge Louis Philippe's 
conduct too strictly. 

The above-mentioned draft of the letter to the Queen 
ran as follows : 



' MADAM, Your Majesty has too thorough a knowledge 
of the affairs and the political situation of Europe, not to have 
already explained to yourself the reasons for the delay which 
I have made in sending a more positive answer to the letter 
with which Your Majesty has honoured me. Nevertheless, I 
have been anxious to enter into details with regard to this 
matter, that my silence might not be attributed to indifference, 
with regard to the high proof of confidence which Your 
Majesty has given me. Your Majesty had hardly taken this 
step before it was known in Paris and elsewhere. 

' This kind of publicity has already given rise to a pre- 
liminary and great difficulty, the gravity of which cannot but 
be recognised by Your Majesty. Nevertheless, that alone 
would not have stopped me, if, on arrival in England, I had 
not encountered others still, which in some degree forced 
inaction upon me. I found the English Ministry disposed to 
abandon the direction of affairs, and no resolution could be 
made before knowing what political opinion the new Cabinet, 


whose advent was daily expected, would entertain with regard 
to this important affair. 

' At length my uncle, the King of the Belgians, sent me 
word that he intended to go to England, and to make the 
important news which I had received, the subject of a serious 
conversation with Her Majesty Queen Victoria, my brother 
Prince Albert, and the English Ministers. 

'This gave me a new motive for awaiting the result of 
the consultation. 

' I am happy, madam, to be able to answer Your Majesty 
to-day. You are aware that His Majesty the King of the 
French, persisting in his first declaration that the hand of 
the Queen, your august daughter, ought by right, to be 
bestowed upon a Prince of the House of Burgundy, has until 
now shown himself hostile to the combination which Your 
Majesty has with equal constancy ever preferred to any other. 

' Given this state of things, and the question having been 
examined in every light in London, it has seemed, madam, 
that, in the interest of Spain as well as that of the happiness 
of Spain's sovereign, it would be of importance not to provoke 
the enmity of a neighbour whose concurrence or opposition 
would always be of such great weight. 

' Besides this, it seems that the position of a Prince who, 
on his arrival, would have to struggle against this enmity 
and against the opinion that a Spanish Prince would better 
fulfil the wishes of the nation, that this position, I say, would 
become very difficult, even dangerous, unless it has been 
previously ascertained that there exist insurmountable objec- 
tions to the choice of a Bourbon, and that this conviction has 
entered the minds of the Powers who defended Spain by the 
treaty of the Quadruple Alliance, and particularly of the 
august head of the House of Bourbon, who seems to be far 
from entertaining any such conviction. 

' Your Majesty will understand that any other step would 
expose Spain to unpleasant complications, and would be con- 
trary to the resolution formed by Her Majesty Queen Victoria 
not to depart from the line of conduct laid down by her 
Ministry. I have reason to believe that at the present 
moment Your Majesty has learned through your ordinary 
correspondence with London the developments necessary to 


understand this thought which I look upon as being full of 
wisdom and prudence and dictated entirely by the most 
disinterested views. 

' When Your Majesty receives these ulterior explanations, 
whether written or verbal, you will, I hope, be convinced 
that I shall be as highly flattered by the continuation 
of your confidence as I was by the first mark I received of it. 

' Accept, madam, the expression of the sentiments with 
which I am Your Majesty's devoted cousin 


Matters at the Spanish Court now began to take a rapid 
course. The more Lord Palmerston tried to work for Don 
Enrique, the better became the prospects of his brother, the 
Duke of Cadiz, whom Guizot now began to declare openly 
was the only possible candidate. But Isabella's marriage 
with this pitifully weak man was to secure a particular 
triumph for French politics through the simultaneous union 
of Isabella's sister with the Due de Montpensier. 

The more the French Court saw themselves nearing the 
longed-for goal, the cleverer they grew in diplomatic tricks. 
It soon began to be said that Bresson in Madrid had abused 
his authority, and Louis Philippe's manner of dealing was 
soon justified by the Coburg candidature. Seldom has political 
material so much resembling a comedy led to such tragic 

It will be understood that I omit to multiply the anecdotes 
which this affair recalls to my mind. The Infant Franz de 
Paula, who was now to become King of Spain, was naturally 
the subject of endless tales. The fact that Queen Isabella did 
not remain ignorant of how little her married happiness was 
considered in the choice of a husband, gave rise to the bitterest 

Whilst the uncharitable world was jesting over these little 
stories, which were not exactly calculated to recommend the 
monarchical principle in Europe, hardly any one imagined 
that a fit of ill-temper had broken out amongst the con- 
federates of EU over the mad marriage affair, which did 
indeed obtain great influence over a course of historical 
events, and which so greatly and essentially helped to ship- 


wreck the foundering boat of royalty of the July monarchy 
in France. 

In these days this great difference between the monarchs 
of the West is not known in its smallest details, and the 
statesmen concerned therein, as well as the monarchs them- 
selves, have most copiously explained their policy and the 
steps they took, and attempted to give their reasons for them 
and to justify them. 

In the Queen's book about my brother much space was 
devoted to the affair, and there is probably hardly any 
thoughtful historian who would not give a testimonial of 
honour and love of truth to the plain, noble letters of Queen 
Victoria as compared with the interminable effusions of Louis 
Philippe, particularly those addressed to his daughter, King 
Leopold's consort. 

Everything which the Queen of England said and wrote 
about this affair bears the impress of deep wounding of a heart 
inclined to friendliness only, but it is not to be denied that 
the indecision and change of policy of the English Ministers 
had made it quite impossible for the noble Queen to take up 
from the first a position which would have assured our not 
being duped by France. That this painful feeling existed in 
England, and that the anger aroused by it became greater 
and greater, can be followed stage by stage, as it were, in a 
letter from my brother. 

' You also,' he wrote on the 17th of September 1846, from 
Osborne, ' will have wondered at the sudden, remarkable 
issue of the Spanish affair. 

' Nothing can be more perfidious than the policy followed 
by the French Court. They have cheated us, and are now 
triumphing ; a poor triumph to have duped a friend, and the 
only one whom one has, and at the moment when he is offer- 
ing a sacrifice to his friendship. For the poor Queens clung 
to Leopold up to the last moment, and only gave it up when 
Bulwer declared to them that we could not give our consent 
to it, and must appear for Don Enrique, who, as a Bourbon, 
had the consent of France also. 

1 Upon this, Bresson took advantage of the vexation of 
the ladies to press Don Francesco upon them . . . and 
settled with the Infanta about Montpensier. King Louis 


Philippe had given us his word of honour never to think of 
the second marriage until the Queen was married and had 
children, et cela ne serait pas une affaire politique. 

' He now explains that he is released from his promise, 
because Leopold was named as a candidate, which Aberdeen 
had promised should never happen. Quite a discovery! 
The good understanding has ceased to exist, but it will now 
no more be said " no moving, no rattling," for we are justly 
highly provoked. In Spain the populace are in the greatest 
commotion. We must follow the proverb : " Honour lasts the 
longest." ' 

A far calmer conception of the matter was King Leopold's, 
who, without hesitation, made Lord Palmerston answerable 
for the bad issue of the affair. 

'The Spanish story,' he wrote to me on the 13th of 
November, ' could not have failed had it not been for Lord 
Palmerston, for by chosing Don Enrique and wishing to bring 
the Progressionists to Spain with him, he forced Queen 
Christina to make a quick end of the matter.' 

And he watched with anxiety the ever widening gulf 
between the two Western Powers, through which the whole 
system which had ruled politics since the year 1830, threatened 
to be overthrown. 

' The great policy,' complained the King on the 25th of 
February 1847, is, unfortunately, since such a high stand has 
been taken in England with more zeal than patience, in a 
highly precarious condition.' 

If Queen Victoria again at the end of September, in her 
beautiful and dignified letter to the Queen Louisa of Belgium 
expressed the expectation that the Spanish double marriage 
must yet retrograde, this hope was quickly dispelled. 

The double wedding was celebrated as early as the 10th 
of October, in Madrid. But Queen Victoria had rightly con- 
jectured, when she said that this event would bring great 
dangers to the family of Orleans itself. 

It finally came to grief, not in Spain, but in France. But, 
also in the land where the French Cabinet thought to have 
obtained an irresistible influence by means of the double 
marriage, it had an incredibly quick defeat. 

Queen Isabella's consort, was in a few weeks driven from 


the side of his newly made bride. The Due de Montpensier 
did not succeed in gaining the slightest influence in Spain. 
If the Government was not entirely given over to a favourite, 
the reason was that he had been perhaps too much pressed 
upon the Queen. She united herself politically to the Pro- 
gressionists, and the rule of the Moderados was broken up by 
Pacheco and Salamanca. Queen Christina retired to Paris, 
and though Narvaez again succeeded in October 1847 in 
placing himself at the head of the Ministry, yet it was im- 
possible for him to imagine that he was thereby making peace 
with Espartero and the Progressionists. 

Guizot's French policy, in spite of its dazzling exterior, 
had suffered a defeat from which it never recovered. 

Spain's political relations and the complication of the 
House of Coburg in the same, have meantime led me far from 
the path in my regital, which, as the reader will remember, I 
entered upon with my travelling companions in the spring of 
1846. Just as the friendly neighbourhood of Portugal drew 
us from the coasts of Spain and Africa, so might there be 
said to exist a certain parallel and inner connection between 
the political conditions of the two Iberian kingdoms. 

This circumstance will allow me to bring the small events 
of our journey into a certain connection with the universal 
condition and political occurrences of those days, and to let 
them appear in my description as forming an inseparable 
whole in the mind of the writer. 

The reader will, therefore, merely be requested to leave 
the confusion of angry despatches and documents relating to 
the great worldly negotiations and return to the quiet diaries 
which we kept during our travels, undisturbed and without 
any thought of the political manoeuvres of the southern world. 

After a two days' voyage from Gibraltar on the Pfioenix 
we landed on the forenoon of the llth of May, in Belem near 
Lisbon, where the whole Royal Family of Portugal were 
assembled, and made our appearance at a time when the 
country, only then quieted, stood on the brink of a new and 
lasting revolution. 

Already on my first visit to Portugal, I had had oppor- 
tunities of learning and valuing Queen Maria's great superiority, 


and now the bravery with which she behaved under the most 
difficult circumstances, precisely during our presence in 
Portugal, showed a rare degree of strength of mind. 

The impression which this great woman made upon us all 
in the midst of the revolutionary struggle was indescribably 
deep. In order to describe her in this character, I will recall 
one special occurrence which is still vivid to my recollection. 

It was on the 24th of May, whilst we were taking a long 
ride with their Majesties in the neighbourhood of Lisbon. In 
the capital the opposing parties had come to open conflict. A 
portion of the troops stood by the Government, and then 
fought with the Opposition in the streets. Whilst everything 
made us feel as if the city and its surroundings were in open 
revolution, the Queen was everywhere greeted by the people 
with enthusiasm. 

Late in the evening we sat at tea on the terrace in Belem ; 
just in front of the Rhede lay a frigate ordered there to pro- 
tect the Royal Family, her band was playing the well-known 
Gabriel waltz, as if in irony. From the other side of the 
Tagus, where stood Fort Almada, on a high mountain ridge, 
one could hear the thundering of cannon, and the rattle of the 
musketry of attacking columns could be distinguished. 

The fort was manned by hardly more than a company of 
Royal troops, and the personal safety of the Queen hung 
without doubt in no small degree upon whether they would 
be able to hold their position. 

The fighting lasted for more than an hour, only the hoarse 
cries of the attacking party and the noise of firearms did not 
lessen until towards midnight. But the Queen had hardly 
paid any real attention to the exciting scene. When she 
retired, her spirits seemed to be the same as they were on any 
other evening. We others, however, thought that a catas- 
trophe might occur at any moment, to which opinion we 
were all the more inclined by the King's earnestness. We 
therefore threw on our national uniforms and remained to- 
gether until morning, when everything at length seemed to 
have grown quiet. 

When the Queen heard of it the next day, she laughed at 
the men's cautiousness, and would on no account admit that 
the revolution could become dangerous for her. She felt 


safe in the consciousness of her good intentions, and nothing 
was more just than the words written in the Duchess's diary 
concerning her and King Ferdinand : 

' I can speak of both of them only with admiration, and 
prize the courage and devotion with which they, particularly 
Donna Maria, in her advanced state, bears all the adversities, 
and boldly and steadfastly face the dangers which threaten 
them. She is a dear, strong, honourable soul, whom one 
must heartily love and respect, when one has the good for- 
tune to know her intimately.' 

The political troubles did not prevent the Court from 
going over to Cintra with us, whence we made the most inter- 
esting excursions ; the castle and magnificent park of Pe'na 
particularly occupied our attention. On the way thither we 
went through Quelus Castle, where, in the billiard saloon, an 
eye-witness, General Count St Leger, showed us the spot 
where King Don Miguel had throttled his friend Marquis 
Louie', in the presence of the Court, after a dispute which he 
had had with him between the acts of an amateur theatrical 

Our stay in Portugal had lasted nearly a month. At 
length, after a painful farewell, we sailed up the Tagus in a 
royal steamer, on the 12th of June, and joined the English 
man-of-war Polyphemus, which soon bore us out to sea. 
Several times we watched the eastern horizon to see the 
appearing and disappearing coasts of the beautiful land which 
we had left so unwillingly, in the troubled times of a threatened 
civil war. But we were soon beyond Oporto and Cape 
Finisterre, and after a stormy passage we landed in South- 
ampton Harbour. 

As has already been mentioned, our plan of travel was at 
last altered, and it was possible for us to see the Queen and 
Albert once more, which made a charming ending to our 
eventful journey. My unsought-for political experiences, 
which I had gained during my stay in the Peninsula, supplied 
much food for conversation, but no one dreamed as yet that 
all these events would afterwards have the sad ending which 
has already been related. 

We spent a few pleasant days at Osborne, after landing at 
Cowes on the 19th, and celebrated my birthday in the circle 


of the Royal Family, which had been rejoiced four weeks 
previously by the birth of the Princess Helena. 

On the 22nd of June we started for Ostend, stayed three 
days in Laeken with King Leopold, and returned home on the 
27th of June, by way of Mainz and Frankfort, happy and 

Meanwhile, after our departure, affairs had remained so 
complicated in Portugal, that great circumspection and atten- 
tion were necessary before one could venture upon giving an 
opinion concerning them. The most decisive point was, that 
the constitutional forms here, as everywhere, had not produced 
so quick and satisfying an improvement in the universal 
condition of the State as was everywhere anticipated with 
unfortunate haste in the first half of the nineteenth century. 

The character of the southerners, the deep complication of 
the army in the political relations, and the ease with which 
the different parties could enrich themselves at the cost of 
the State, continually inclined the constitutional diseases of 
Portugal to revolution. 

The change of officials was carried as far as the lowest 
grades at every change of Government, the army took part 
in every political affair through the exchanging of most of 
the officers. Added to this, England's influence as an out- 
sider made itself felt, and English politics might be called 
anything else than disinterested in Portugal. 

During the six years since I had seen the country, much 
had apparently been done. Improvements in every way 
could plainly be seen. A beginning had at last been made of 
the restoration of the streets. Many new buildings which 
General Eschwege was superintending in the Royal Castle at 
Pena, lent greater splendour to the Court. 

The outside affairs of the Royal Household, particularly, 
had been put in order by our frequently mentioned Coburg 
fellow-countryman, Dietz. In the administration of the State, 
the continual change of Ministry and the never-dying inclina- 
tion of the nobility to enrich themselves by gaining possession 
of offices of State, was still the order of the day, but here also 
one could see the beginning of better arrangements. 

The middle classes began to rise, feeling the need of peace 



and order, and gradually became a securer support for the 
monarchy. All this progress advanced slowly, but could be 
seen, even if the noise of outside events and party strife often 
over-clouded it. 

In England, however, people were inclined to regard the 
continual revolutionary movements [as the consequences of 
bad management for which the Court was universally held 
answerable. And as the English Charge's d'Aflairs desired to 
conceal their unpopularity in the country and at Court, they 
took care to represent a man who deserved the utmost from 
Portugal and the Royal Family as the real scapegoat of all 
wrong-doing. Dietz was the man in whose path the diplo- 
mates seemed to stand, and, wonderful to say, our cousin 
Alexander Mensdorff, whom Queen Victoria had repeatedly 
trusted with the examination of affairs, was not exactly 
favourably inclined towards King Ferdinand's unpretending 
German governor. 

In consequence of all these circumstances a formal circle 
of traditions was formed around the man who was really 
deserving of the greatest thanks from the Royal House, and 
had exercised the most beneficial influence over the condition 
of the country. The English papers, which took their news 
from foreign officials, did not hesitate so to represent the case 
as if the disturbances in Lisbon had been directed particularly 
against Dietz, as a stranger and a favourite. 

In some of the newspapers and books his departure from 
the Portuguese Court in the following year was hinted at as 
being a concession which had had to be made to the insurgent 
party, whereas it was just the contrary. Dietz had hardly a 
single enemy amongst the Portuguese politicians of all 
opinions, and least of all amongst the Progressionists, towards 
whom he seemed rather to be inclined through his liberal 
religious views. He knew so well how to keep within the 
limits assigned to a stranger, that he was hardly ever person- 
ally attacked by any party. His removal from Queen Maria's 
Court was solely the work of the English Cabinet, which was 
not a little surprised that, after he was gone, things in 
Portugal became not better, but worse. 


Whereas Dietz restrained King Ferdinand from mixing 
himself up in the disputes of the clubs and the personal 

VOL. I. O 


rivalries of their leaders, the Court appeared afterwards to 
identify themselves more with the party position recommended 
by the English, and a scene which we ourselves had witnessed 
in Belem, in which the Queen stood entirely above the fight- 
ing factions, would hardly have been possible later on. 

I will only shortly mention the common course of these 

The revolution of 1846 was really nothing else than an 
attempt to break through the constitutional course of affairs 
which had grown peaceful some time back, by means of a 
coalition of the most extreme parties. Miguelists and 
Septembrists would have been too weak alone to shake the 
constitutional basis of the monarchy so lately obtained ; the 
absolutists and church reactionaries tried what could be done 
by means of what has since then become known throughout 
all European countries as effective, by using Radicalism as a 
battering-ram against the constitution. Thus that fearful 
alliance was made between the two extremes, for the master- 
ing of which the excellent Queen was no longer strong enough, 
but found it necessary to call in Spanish and English aid. 

I had watched the mysterious beginning of this movement 
during our presence in Belem ; a Palmella-Saldanha Ministry 
had been created. After the latter had come to an under- 
standing with the Duke of Terceira in October, and had 
placed himself at the head of the Ministry, the Septembrists 
hoisted their insurrectionary flag at Oporto, where a pro- 
visionary government was formed under the rule of Dos Antas, 
la da Bandeira and Bomsin. The Queen was forced to sup- 
port the constitutional law of guarantee, and a regular civil 
war broke out, in which both contending parties were counter- 

Don Miguel was already preparing to make an expedition 
to Portugal, and in England the utmost was being done. 
Queen Victoria again sent Alexander Mensdorff to Lisbon, 
but the documents which are at my service concerning this 
remarkable episode of English politics, would be calculated 
not only to supplement the Blue-Book which Lord Palmerston 
at that time published concerning the Portuguese affair, but 
to refute it fully. But one would have to write a complete 
history of Portugal in order to show how entirely mistaken 


the opinion was in England, particularly through Colonel 
Wylde's despatches, as he always tried to represent the 
revolutionists as a kind of English Whigs, and thus really 
gave rise to the antipathy against a monarchy which united 
in itself the most excellent domestic and statesman- like 
politics, and which, if rightly recognised, would without any 
doubt have won the greatest respect from the English nation 

King Leopold's judgment of the English policy, which he 
expressed to me on the 13th of November 1846, will be of 
interest here : 

' The Portuguese affair appears in a bad light, I fear that 
it has been managed with great carelessness. England is 
behaving scandalously about it; she not only almost en- 
couraged the rebellion, but she also hindered Spain from 
showing herself helpful, so that, after ruining Leopold's 
Spanish prospects, she will now perhaps be able to ruin 

On the 6th of April 1847, the King expressed his opinion 
even more clearly, when he wrote : ' The times are now some- 
what confused, to which, I must own, England, that is, the 
present Cabinet, has contributed beyond all expression. They 
have acted in a silly manner throughout the Spanish affair, 
and as Lord Palmerston feels this very much, he is becoming 
angry, coarse and threatening ; all of which are leading him 
to commit fresh false steps ; thus we now have unexpected 
traps set for us, possibilities of war, etc.' 

Exactly a year after our presence in Belem, poor Donna 
Maria was forced to conclude this treaty of intervention in 
London on the 22nd of May 1847, which gave rise to great 
complaints against her on the part of the English Liberals. 
Meantime, Dos Antas had been taken prisoner with more than 
2000 men, through Admiral Parker. In June 1847, Spanish 
troops entered Portugal under command of General Mendez 
Vigo, and garrisoned Braganza. 

La da Bandeira gave himself up to the English at Setubal. 
Although the Junta at Oporta had still refused the conditions 
of peace, yet Oporto also was at length forced to capitulate to 
the Spanish troops. On the 2nd of July, Saldanha himself 


marched in. The Queen promised a general amnesty, as soon 
as peace was restored after the summoning of the Cortes and 
the new elections had been settled. 

Although in Portuguese matters the rivalry between France 
and England played a far smaller part than during similar 
events in Spain, yet in this case also the effect of the cessation 
of the entente cordiale was perceptible. 

According to the principle of the agreements of the 
Quadruple Alliance, the intervention of Spain and England in 
Portugal was hardly possible without France's consent. 
During the whole matter, however, Louis Philippe was com- 
pletely ignored. It was but a very poor consolation to the 
French Government, that the attempt was being made to 
convince the Liberals that Louis Philippe's Cabinet had pur- 
posely held themselves aloof from measures which they pre- 
tended to be so reactionary, like the suppression of the 
Portuguese revolution. In fact, the first plain answer to Louis 
Philippe's attitude in the marriage question was to be seen in 
England's independent, indiscreet conduct, in union with 
Spain. Louis Philippe was forced by the necessities of his 
position to take the last step on the steep declivity of his ever 
increasing unpopularity, and to seek support from Austria. 
Thus Metternich enjoyed the triumph of seeing the grey-haired 
favourite of revolution and his doctrinary Ministers going 
over to his camp, where all conservative forces although 
very much weakened had assembled together, in order to 
smother the encroaching fire of revolution in Italy, in Swit- 
zerland, and in Germany. 

It is true that the new Austro-French alliance was to 
some degree endangered by the Polish affairs and the incor- 
poration of Cracow. But Metternich sensibly added the 
unmeaning bombast of a French protest to his other docu- 
ments, at the same time admitting the clever way in which 
the French Cabinet thought to have appeased the public 
opinion of the country. This was why Metternich had 
positively refused to take any part in a declaration against 
Montpensier's Spanish marriage, which Palmerston would 
have liked to obtain from all the Powers, and by this refusal 
delighted King Louis Philippe. 

And now it came to pass that the King of the July 


Revolution, hand in hand with Metternich, took the Jesuits in 
Switzerland under the common Protectorate. The alliance 
had reached the point when the two Powers had to meet in 
Switzerland, and furnish Europe with the comedy of two old 
enemies uniting in beautiful harmony in a military occupation 
which was to make the new order of things in Switzerland 
retrograde. The King of Prussia also showed his full gratifi- 
cation at the reactionary tendencies of both great Cabinets 
with regard to Switzerland, by sending Radowitz to Paris. 

Louis Philippe likewise placed himself on Austria's side 
when she occupied Ferrara, in order to assure the peace of 
Italy even against the Pope's will. 

Palmerston now found an opportunity of systematically 
undermining France's authority. As Louis Philippe had also 
united with Metternich in order to hold Italy in check by 
means of common military measures, and whilst Austria was 
reinforcing her troops in Lombardy, France gathered a corps 
together at Toulon, and held the transport fleet in readiness 
to go to Civita Vecchia, Lord Palmerston was supporting 
struggling Sardinia and the reforms in the ecclesiastical state, 
amidst the applause of the French Opposition. 

With ever increasing blindness Guizot wrote to Prince 
Joinville : 

'I do not trouble myself about the sudden growth of 
popularity with which England is now flaunting about in 
Italy. It is a hollow and vain popularity. ... I know how 
to bear the fleeting unpopularity, and to wait for the lasting 

Three months later the kingdom of July was overthrown, 
and half Europe in revolution. 

A description has often been given, and sometimes most 
excellently, and with many psychological characteristics, of 
the gradual, and as it were logically regular increasing trans- 
formation of Louis Philippe, from the most liberal and popular 
monarch, to the self-willed reactionary, but what is usually 
less considered, is the particulars of the Royal Family, which 
had far more influence over the course of events than is 
usually admitted. 

Louis Philippe was a character full of personal and good- 
natured instincts. How greatly and deeply he was impressed 


and influenced by the whole existence of his intensely amiable 
family, could only be rightly gauged when one had frequently 
seen and observed him in his patriarchal relations. His good 
humour was poured out on the things which did not belong 
to his household, on the State and her servants. He must 
and would have something personal in his relations with his 

Guizot's and Thiers' position is explained by this contra- 
diction of sympathy and antipathy. 

Guizot only considered his as being lasting from the 
moment when the former coldness was swallowed up in an 
honest friendship. Thiers and the King never understood 
one another, and a chasm which could not be bridged over 
always remained between them. When I saw Thiers a few 
years later in England, he once uttered the apposite remark 
to me : 

' King Louis Philippe would never understand me.' 

In fact, Louis Philippe felt a dislike for the little man 
which bordered on superstition. I still remember, during my 
first stay at the Royal Court, the amusing episode, when, as 
we were looking at the pictures at Versailles, Thiers, being 
very short-sighted, struck his nose very hard against an easel, 
and the King called out to him, amidst the laughter of all 
present, ' See what happens when one pokes one's nose into 
everything ! ' 

Even in the last hours of his reign, when the King was 
trying to make up his mind to call Thiers to the wheel of state, 
the thought of abdication appeared to be almost more agree- 
able to him, than intercourse with the hated Minister. Louis 
Philippe was far more tired of reigning than incapable of 
doing so. 

The greatest blow for Louis Philippe was and remained, 
as has already been remarked, the death of the Duke of 
Orleans. He was the King's counsellor. After the loss of 
the Duke, there was no one in the family with whom Louis 
Philippe sought a hearty understanding, or found harmony, 
especially as the Princes Joinville and Aumale were in Africa 
at the most decisive moments. The King was thus thrown 
back upon the ladies, who, however, depended entirely upon 
the clergy. 


Of his sons, Nemours alone was not a Radical. 
There were frightful scenes and disputes with Joinville. 
When Joinville published his well-known pamphlet, Louis 
Philippe was thunderstruck. He never quite recovered from 
this 'fall of his House,' as he called it, and had serious 
thoughts of abdicating the throne. It is known to but few 
that the King had for some time entertained a wish to place 
the Government in the hands of his son-in-law, the Kinor of 

* O 

the Belgians, for his grandson, who was under age. Perhaps 
he had not yet entirely dismissed the idea of uniting with 
Belgium. I recollect that my uncle once jokingly said to me : 
'Yes, the old gentleman likes to eat his soup himself.' 

There was therefore a certain feeling of insecurity and 
weakness in the Tuileries from the year 1846, and matters 
grew more and more gloomy. 

The King's sons enjoyed unlimited consideration and the 
greatest respect in the army, but their dependence on the 
King prevented them from venturing upon taking matters in 
hand at the right time. If the dynasty had decided upon 
using force under all circumstances, there would have been no 
danger for the House of Orleans in France. But the dagger 
had fallen from the King's hand long before the reform 
banquet, and he might well shudder at the thought that his 
reign could be upheld only by means of bloodshed. 

His nature grew to a certain degree effeminate, and it is 
perhaps interesting to know that in this respect a book which 
then occupied his attention, produced rather a weakening 
effect upon him : Lamartine's ' Girondists.' The King not 
only read this work aloud to his family in the evening, but 
supplemented it with explanations from his lively recollections. 
Thus in his old age he lived again amongst the terrors of his 
youth, and pictures of misery and banishment were constantly 
flitting before the eyes of the ladies of his House. 

Behind the seemingly firm character of the King lay a 
hidden feeling of intimidation over which the priest-led women 
had the greatest influence. It thus happened that he no longer 
had the firmness to strike when the hour of danger arrived, 
although the army was thoroughly faithful and trustworthy. 
I saw him in 1849 at Richmond during his banishment ; he was 
still greatly excited when he spoke of the end of his reign. 


Pacing up and down he said with his old familiar vivacity : ' Je 
vous expliquerai tout. Mes Ministres m'ont trompe sur la 
situation ; ce riest que I' ambition de M. Thiers qui amena la 
chute du trdne.' He would have been powerful enough to resist 
every opposition of the masses, but he said : ' <Tai vu assez 
de sang.' He often repeated these last words, the same with 
which he had refused on the decisive day to order the troops 
to the attack. 









To the events of the year 1848 one might apply the maxim 
that that which we most certainly expect to happen always 
astonishes us the most. It had long been known that we 
were on the eve of great agitations and important public 
changes, and many had drawn the political horscope of 1848 
almost entirely correctly, but no one had any idea of the mad 
doings and remarkable actions which were to follow the 
March days. Everyone everywhere had long been watching 
for the expected outbreak of the volcano, but no one seemed 


to be prepared to be personally attacked by the fire which 
was to burst forth from the soil in every spot. 

Thus all Germany was outflanked by the events which 
took place, and most Governments lost their balance, and even 
their self-possession, at the first shock. 

I can certainly count myself amongst those who had 
foreseen the revolution in our own lands also, but what came 
upon me unexpectedly was the universality of its effects, and 
the synchronism of its appearance in both large and small 
States. What astonished me most was the total want of 
power of opposition in the Government authorities, and the 
helplessness with which the whole company, high and low, 
allowed themselves to fall a prey, some to the most foolish 
notions, others to the mosb paralysing terror. One witnessed 
scenes of deepest dejection on the one hand, and shameless- 
ness on the other, which would never have been possible if 
strength, insight, and quiet of conscience had not been wanting 
in the right place and at the proper time. 

In most States the power was snatched suddenly, entirely 
and hopelessly out of the hands of the reigning sovereigns. 
The organs of public power, filled with secret sympathy for 
the revolution, refused service, as often from desire as from 
cowardice. Throughout the official world a deeply penetrat- 
ing feeling of discontent had ripened. The principal reason 
of this phenomenon lay in the widely spread feeling against 
the unfounded partiality to the nobility, who, without there 
being any either physical or moral justification for it, had 
been appointed to the high positions and offices of most States. 
Besides this, there was, amongst the lower grades of the all- 
powerful bureaucracy, a kind of emulation which was to help 
to raise the flood of revolution to higher places and greater 
devastation. The oftener and more enduringly the Ministerial 
portfolios were changed in the thirty-six States of Germany 
during the endless agitation, the better was the progress made 
by the younger officials who occupied inferior positions. 

Thus the incarnate bureaucratic spirit, which Germany 
had controlled since the Peace of Westphalia, had as it were 
attested its possession of a lash with which blows were 
struck against the higher classes, and most of all against the 
reigning sovereigns. And, remarkable to relate, hardly any- 


one had noticed, amidst the wild doings, that this professional 
envoy amongst the officials steadily increased the evil, and 
that the seat of the disease, now become chronic, was therefore 
not to be radically cured because those who should have 
restored order rather secretly undermined it. 

As is known, the poet Hebbel has described a state of 
things in his ' Tragedy in Sicily,' when the guardians of the 
law themselves become criminals, and thought by the intro- 
ductory words in this antithesis to have correctly disclosed 
the nature of the tragi-comical. In a certain sense the contents 
of the piece were descriptive of the revolution in Germany, 
where the appointed representatives of order had, it is true, 
not become thieves and robbers, but by means of every kind 
of political neglect of duty gave an impulse to the movement 
and with faces full of innocence helped to increase and pro- 
mote the want of presence of mind and helplessness. 

Herein there certainly lay something tragi-comical, which 
involuntarily strikes us when we refresh our memories con- 
cerning the year 1848, with its sad and serious events and its 
comical episodes. It was only natural that people should be 
unmanned at that time by the tragic side of things, whereas 
afterwards everything seemed to be forgotten in the foolish- 
ness and laughableness of those days. Thus the descriptions 
of this intricate state of affairs is always in danger of leaning 
too much to the one side or the other, so that a ridiculous 
picture of this excited period may well be considered as one 
of the greatest rareties. In this twofold nature of the agita- 
tion lies the reason why there is hardly a single history of 
this revolution which suitably describes the real state of 
affairs. Some darken the picture through too great and often 
mistaken pathos, the others flatter it by under-estimating the 
deep seriousness and really sad moments of this strange 

At the beginning of the year the political situation had 
ripened into a serious difference between the Great Powers of 
Europe. The dangers of a new alliance, of unexpected 
changes of the political balance were added to the strong 
home disquiet felt in every State on the Continent. The 
cessation of the entente cordiale, which I have already de- 
scribed, gave rise to a certain uneasiness in England. As the 


French King was seen to be returning to the path followed 
by old reactionary Europe, the entirely unprotected state of 
their coasts, the deficiency of their military arrangements 
recurred forcibly to the English, and the Duke of Wellington 
thought it expedient to restore the courage of his countrymen 
by assuring them that their insular position by no means 
offered that guarantee which they regarded as in every case 

The thought entertained by old English politicians, that 
the mistress of the seas would not be able to entirely dispense 
with a Continental alliance, was again awakened to a lively 
degree in the circles of the English Government during the 
time of the withdrawal from the French Alliance. 

Russia and Prussia had not yet entirely committed them- 
selves to the new Austro-French Alliance, but a great deal 
was already being done to bring about a close Confederacy 
of the four great Continental Powers, in order to be able in 
future to face the serious condition of Southern Europe with 
greater success. It must have been in a great degree tempt- 
ing to Russia to try to draw nearer to France by means of 
Austria, in order to isolate England all the more. 

In this state of things, my brother naturally fixed his 
gaze with preference upon Prussia, from whom he hoped that, 
through the King's advanced views, she would now be most 
certainly driven to join with England. Already for two 
years past he had, as we have seen, been trying to get nearer 
to the King of Prussia in this respect. Through Bunsen's 
position as Prussian Ambassador to the English Court the 
idea of an understanding between the two kingdoms had as 
it were been outwardly represented and constantly kept 
awake. The so-called friendship of the King for Bunsen 
moreover allowed the latter again and again to rouse the 
deceptive hope that Frederick William IV, would soon free 
himself from his Austrian engagements as well as his equally 
conditional submission to the Emperor Nicholas. 

Amongst these general political constellations a voyage of 
observation which I undertook in the beginning of the year 
1848 to the Court of Berlin, as well as to my relations in Brussels 
and London, will be of the very greatest interest. On the 
22nd of January, I went to the Prussian capital, and had an 


opportunity of thoroughly seeing through the political situa- 
tion there. Whilst a strong sense of power began to make 
itself felt amongst the masses, in the Government there was 
vacillation and uncertainty of every kind. The whole state 
of things gave one a very uneasy impression. The Ministry 
appeared neither to be rightly informed of the danger of its 
position, nor to have reached any maturity of thought. I 
found the King himself without an idea of what the future 
had in store for him, yet full of uneasiness and irresolution. 
He would on no account realise that the Kingdom had come 
to an end in France, he insisted that Louis Philippe would 
long remain upon the throne. The Crown Prince of Prussia 
took a more pessimistic view of things, and therefore came 
to the right conclusion that something must necessarily be 
done for German affairs, and that very soon. 

The fact that the incitement in this respect was expected 
of Prussia had not passed unnoticed in the Government circles 
of Berlin, but everyone was totally ignorant concerning the 
proposals of reform which would perhaps have had to be made 
in the Diet. The so-called demands in accordance with the 
age for freedom of the Press and the constitution in the 
Confederate States remained highly distasteful to the King ; 
a transformation of the Confederacy, in the sense of a more 
united guidance by Prussia, was indeed, as we know, recog- 
nised as necessary on many sides, but the decisive word which 
hovered on every lip could not be uttered out of consideration 
for the friendly Governments. 

As far as the junction with Prussia, wished for by my 
brother and recommended by Bunsen, regarded English 
politics, Frederick William IV shuddered at it principally on 
account of the favour shown by the English Cabinet to the 
ever-increasing revolutionary action in Italy. That there 
might be a policy for Prussia which would be able in any 
way to oppose Austria's traditional power in Italy, was 
looked upon by the King as a mere nothing. When I was in 
Berlin he could not say anything bad enough against a 
Cabinet which seemed to be acting in concert with the hated 
conspirators of Italy. 

If, notwithstanding, the King established friendly relations 
with the English Court, and particularly with my brother 


through me, and to some degree in opposition to the English 
Cabinet, yet one could not help feeling convinced that a 
formal renunciation and separation of Prussia from her old 
alliances and friendships would soon be again regarded in 
London as a chimera of Bunsen's brain, for the realisation of 
which there was not the slightest grounds for hope. 

I had enough opportunities in Berlin to notice that there 
would be a want of energy should an unexpected catastrophe 
occur ; and on the 22nd of February I left the Prussian 
capital in a most uneasy state of mind concerning the immedi- 
ate future. The Duchess, who had followed me to Berlin, 
accompanied me to Brussels, whither we went by way of 
Cologne, and where I found King Leopold as full of care, and 
as much affected by the condition of French affairs as Frederick 
William had shown himself confident. My uncle uttered 
remarks full of foreboding concerning the state of things in 
Paris, and explained that Louis Philippe's position was hope- 
less. ' My father-in-law,' he told me, ' will soon be driven 
away, like Charles X. The catastrophe is coming unavoidably 
over France, and, in consequence, into Germany also.' That 
his words were to prove true, even before we had returned 
to Germany, would certainly never have been imagined. 

On the 6th of February we embarked at Ostend on the 
Guarland, bound for Dover, and reached Windsor at five 
o'clock in the afternoon. Here and in Claremont, as well as 
in London, we spent the decisive four weeks of the eventful 
year, during which the volcano had at length burst forth. 
Prince Albert and the Queen were almost hourly expecting the 
weighty event, and it was looked upon as almost self-under- 
stood that it must come, when the news arrived from Paris on 
the 24th of February. 

Louis Philippe's arrival in England, and the tragic fate of 
the whole House who were so closely allied to our family, 
kept us in as- great suspense from day to day, as if we our- 
selves had been immediately affected by the revolution. The 
exciting circumstances under which almost the entire family of 
Orleans was dispersed, and the sad experiences of many of its 
single members made a painful impression. It is sufficiently 
well-known how the poor Duchess de Montpensier arrived in 
England after manifold adventures, destitute of the most 


necessary things, so that the Queen was obliged to send her 
clothing before she could see her at Windsor.* I myself 
welcomed the Due de Nemours when he landed. The Queen 
sent a special train to Dover to bring him quickly to London. 
It would be tiresome to recall all the scenes which we were 
continually witnessing. 

The news which came to me from my own territories 
made it necessary for me to hasten my departure from 
England. A family bereavement, which furnished a bad sign 
for the beginning of the year was not spared us in these days 
of political excitement. During our stay in England my 
grandmother, the Duchess Caroline, died in Gotha, on the 
22nd of February, and from this moment, news of misfortunes 
was showered upon us from home. My Minister, von Stein, 
also, did not spare most pressing warnings for us to return. 
He wished for my personal co-operation in Thuringian affairs, 
which were daily assuming a worse appearance, and told me 
in every letter that my presence was greatly desired in both 

I may say that public opinion in these difficult times was 
rather for than against me, and that from the March days to 
the end of the hard times during the year 1848, Ministers and 
officials invariably looked to me as the man who would protect 
them against the approaching storm, whereas only too many 
sovereigns in Germany were forced to seek shelter against 
the perversity of their own subjects behind the transitory 
popularity of their hastily changed Ministries. 

Already, before my departure from Gotha in January, I 
had a fresh opportunity of showing my advanced opinions, by 
publishing on the 19th a law concerning the publicity of the 
transactions of the board of aldermen. Two days later I 
received the representatives of the States who were present 
in Gotha at the meeting of the Deputies, and expressed to 
them my conviction of the untenableness and faultiness of 
the constitutional state of our land. 

It would not therefore have been my fault if improve- 
ments in this respect had not been made. It was not long 
before I received information from Herr von Stein concerning 
loud expressions of discontent with the existing arrangements 

* Prince Albert II, 24. Hillebrand II, 786. 


for Gotha. On the 9th of February the Minister wrote to me 
in London : 

' YOUR HIGHNESS, .... The observer cannot but notice 
a slight irritability in the masses against the indolence of 
former days. The old company, thoroughly material as it 
was, is dying away by degrees, and the new one is even more 
hot about political questions. This was particularly to be 
seen, for example, in the representations of pieces of a tendency 
like " Zopf und Schwert " and " Uriel Acosta," in which certain 
portions were very quickly caught up and applauded, which 
never used to happen. The petition also, concerning which I 
asked Your Highness some time ago, and a copy of which I 
enclose, is circulating more and more widely throughout the 
land, and has, as I hear, many signatures. 

' A little while ago about twelve mayors from good places 
in the country were together on business concerning fire 
insurances, and von Buszleben, who is something of a scholar, 
as well as an uhlan and a lover of sport, brought the con- 
versation round to the constitution, and all had soon agreed 
that " we are just as good as the Coburgers, we want a share 
in the country too ! " 

' Your Highness will not believe that such speeches can 
disquiet me, but in such small signs one sees the times, and 
whoever takes no notice of them will never be able to foresee 
the political weather. Your Highness is also sufficiently 
acquainted with my opinions concerning the constitutional 
question, therefore I will be silent on that subject, but I think 
it impossible to repeat one thing too often. The later steps 
are taken for the unavoidably necessary reform of the state 
of the country here, the farther we shall have to go. The 
expectations increase every year, the demands grow more 
pressing, and what was gladly accepted last year is hardly 
sufficient this year, and will on no account be satisfactory 
next year. Conservative Triitschler even said to me yester- 
day : " It can't go on thus any longer, we must have another 
mediation here." ' 

Revolution was already in sight after the lapse of four 
weeks. ' Until to-day,' wrote Stein, ' we have succeeded in 
keeping peace and lawful order in town and country tolerably 


well, yes, in comparison with many other places, I may even 
say very well. The good people of Gotha are, however, be- 
coming more excited day by day, and I will not undertake to 
keep lawful order three days longer, if Your Highness does 
not return home meanwhile. It is not necessary for me to 
give any assurance of the real longing with which I await 
Your Highness's return.' 

I was already on my way home. We had left England on 
the 4th of March, and were hastening back by way of Ostend, 
Brussels and Cologne. A short stay with my uncle inspired 
me with the pleasant conviction that the waves of the French 
Revolution were breaking over the constitutional kingdom of 

o o 

Belgium. I also talked the Gotha constitutional question 
over with King Leopold, and was happy to see that he agreed 
with my views and plans on all points. 

I had worked out a constitutional project suited to the 
state of things in Gotha, which received the entire approba- 
tion of the King. 

On the evening of the 7th March, I met the Duchess in 
Gotha, and was received with enthusiasm by a densely 
crowded mass of people. On the same evening I signed a 
decree which abolished all censure of the Press. 

The petitions which reached me during the next few days 
were reasonable and sensible, and I did not think it necessary 
to feel any anxiety concerning the maintenance of peace in 
Gotha. The members of the committee of the deputation of 
the same representatives who had curtly refused my proposals 
a year before, had now come to beg me to give them a repre- 
sentative constitution. They asked for laws, according to the 
times and the states of the country, for all the subjects of the 
country, which would enable them to participate in the 
making of laws and the management of the income of the 
State, and I could only refer to the fact that, as was known, 
my intentions concerning the same had up to the present been 
opposed by the States' representatives alone. 

A petition of town and country parishes which stated 
their motives in a somewhat circumstantial, yet most reason- 
able and becoming form, showed both knowledge, learning 
and goodwill in the representatives of the country up to that 
time, and hardly contained more than the request of which it 

VOL. I. P 


was known how greatly it corresponded with my views and 

Thus, on the loth of March, I could send out a proclama- 
tion with good courage and without the slightest appearance 
of compulsion, in which there was a prospect given of a 
representative constitution for the Duchy of Gotha, founded 
on the same principles as that of the Duchy of Coburg. But 
my desire was, now as before, to unite the new constitutional 
law with the existing state of representation. 

The Government therefore expressed their intention of 
summoning the country according to the old form. The pro- 
clamation to the Extraordinary Diet was prepared, and I 
wished to demand the agreement of the classes to the adop- 
tion of a representative constitution in accordance with my 
declarations already made in the year 1846. However, 
before the proclamation summoning the Diet was published, 
the Government felt convinced that they might expect certain 
opposition not only from the benches of princes and counts, 
but also from the greater part of the commoners. 

Under these circumstances I had to decide upon the sum- 
moning of a constituent assembly of Deputies, for the purpose 
of consulting about a new fundamental law, and signed the 
decisive document on the 19th of March. At the same time 
my Government was able to set to work to cast off the ballast 
of reactionary measures and laws, which were still in force. 
On the 26th of March the Confederate exceptional laws of the 
20th of September 1819, 30th May, 28th June and the 8th of 
November 1834 were repealed by sovereign order. The 
limits were thus removed which had been fixed by the Con- 
federacy in the single States for a lawful development of 
constitutional state. 

The question now was, whether in this way the rebellious 
spirit of the times might be banished, which daily showed 
more threatening symptoms in the neighbouring lands. 

Since the first days in March an uneasy movement and a 
more excited state of mind were noticeable in Coburg as well 
as in Gotha. The rising had already begun in the latter place 
on the 3rd of March. On this day the then so-called Mann- 
heim address had found its way to the Coburg burghers. 
Four demands were made in this address, which, as they 


touched upon the universal German and national affairs, were 
different from the other storms of petitions from particular 
corporations. At the top of these addresses, after the Mann- 
heim model, which had spread throughout Germany, stood 
the striking words, ' A German Parliament.' 

Besides this, they demanded the freedom of the Press, the 
arming of the people, and trials by jury. Several burghers 
of Coburg presented the magistrate of the town with the 
plan of a ' Petition to the Duke,' in order to promote a council 
concerning the same in the Public Assembly of Burghers. 
The plan contained, as far as concerned me personally, the 
most universal assurances of fidelity and adherence, but were, 
on the whole, so characteristic of the state of things and the 
public mind, that one would receive but an incomplete idea, 
if one attempted to depict the year 1848 without quoting the 
remarkable bombast which at that time ruled the world. 

During the time when addresses were all the rage, a 
remarkable kind of dialogue had developed between princes 
and their peoples, of which my loyal Coburgers also sent me 
a finely modelled example on the 6th of March. 

' Concord between Prince and people, unity of all Germany, 
is now the cry which rises from all the well intentioned men 
of the Fatherland, of the German Press and the German 
Confederacy. If this cry is to find an echo in the German 
people, as find it it must, the Press must be free, the German 
Confederacy must be national. But the Confederacy is only 
national when it is an organ of the efforts of all Germany to 
bring about an intrinsic unity, when it is, in the full sense 
of the word, a representative of the German people, as well as 
of the German Princes. Only under these conditions will an 
armament of the people fulfil its aim, that of preserving peace 
in the interior and securing against anything exterior. 

' Most Gracious Duke, most honoured Prince ! if it were 
only a question of the preservation of concord, between Your 
Highness and your people, really ! everything would be well 
with us. Your Highness has, through your noble reign, 
earned the thanks of your whole country. The strongest link 
is that which binds all those belonging to the land, particularly 
the Coburg Representative Assembly, to Your Highness. But 
it is now a question of the highest and most noble possession 


of a great nation the national existence of the Fatherland, 
that the whole German people may stand facing a common foe 
together, like one man, can only be reached through the ful- 
filment of the long cherished wish and the just demands of all 
races of Germany and national institutions a fulfilment 
which also lies in the hand of Your Highness as a member of 
the Confederacy. 

' We therefore lay this most humble declaration with con- 
fidence before our Most Gracious Duke and Sovereign, that 
during the next few days we shall unite in all the petitions 
for freedom of the Press, representation of the people in the 
German Confederacy, armament of the people and trials by 
jury which come to our knowledge in all parts of Germany, 
being convinced that the Fatherland can be secured from out- 
side dangers, and rejuvenated internally by means of the 
adoption of these institutions. 

' In consideration of the present pressing state of affairs we 
think, however, that it will greatly help to reassure the 
country if the Assemblies stand by our Most Gracious 
Prince. We therefore most humbly beg Your Highness most 
graciously, to order the immediate breaking up of the Repre- 
sentative Assembly.' 

My reply to this address followed on the 10th of March 
in the form of a proclamation : 

' Burghers of my residence of Coburg ! The address of the 
6th of this month sent me by you affords me the welcome 
opportunity of expressing to you my most entire satisfaction 
at the quiet and lawful behaviour which you have shown 
during these days of universal political excitement. For the 
sentiments of true attachment which you expressed therein 
receive my warmest thanks. All this must indeed be an 
unerring good sign of the promised concord. 

' To strengthen this concord between me and my people more 
and more shall be the object of my most earnest endeavours. 
The confidence with which you have as freely and openly 
expressed your wishes, as I like you to do, does my heart 
good, as far as in me lies to justify it. I have decided to 
assemble the representatives of my Duchy of Coburg on 
the 2nd of next month, in order to deliberate with them 
as to what, in this serious moment, the interests of the 


country demand with regard to the interests of all united 

' Meanwhile I shall have prepared a law to lay before them 
respecting the adoption of complete freedom of the Press. 
The latter entirely agrees with my principles, and I will 
gladly warrant it. A plan for a law respecting the alteration 
of section 79 of Magna Charta will also be proposed to them, 
so that the right of petition and the right of the people's 
assembly may be freely carried out. I have already long 
since recognised the superiority of openness and publicity in 
the administration of justice by means of trials by jury, and 
the necessary preparatory measures for the adoption of this 
mode of administration were already ordered by me during 
the last year. My Duchy of Coburg shall also share in this 
constitution corresponding with the times. 

1 1 will very gladly lend a helping hand to the adoption 
of the armament system, which lightens the burden of the 
standing armies of the Confederate States and affords the 
necessary defence for the safety of the Confederacy. I shall 
hold a consultation with regard to this with the allied German 
Princes. Until then, wherever it would be possible to 
establish the universal arming of the people, I should gladly 
allow a guard of burghers in the towns. A proposed law for 
the taking of the oath by the military on the constitution 
will be laid before the Assembly. 

' As a man of German sentiments and tilled with the 
warmest love for the Fatherland, I most willingly joined the 
Confederate Princes, who recognise the representation of the 
German nation in the Confederacy to be the most effective 
means of strengthening Germany and furthering her common 
interests. I have already instructed my envoys to the Con- 
federate Diet to support the proposal of a universal German 
Parliament as strongly as possible. 

' Burghers of Coburg ! may these declarations furnish you 
with a proof of my great willingness to fulfil wishes which 
accord with the real wants of the times. Stand by me 
further with tried faithfulness, that we may maintain public 
quiet and order in these uneasy times. I confidingly place 
them under your protection. 



As may be seen, the movement had, as yet, in the be- 
ginning, been made entirely and universally in a German 
patriotic direction, and I can say with truth that it had my 
sympathy from the first. 

Whilst, during the first days in March this one might 
say ideal trait was still uppermost, influences of an entirely 
different kind, nevertheless, soon made themselves apparent 
in the small Thuringian States, and antimonarchic, socialistic 
and anarchic tendencies came to the surface, Numerous 
assemblies of the people were held, petitions and resolutions 
poured in from all sides ; one found one's self suddenly in the 
midst of aimless proceedings, which one might only hope 
would be but transitory, and that it would be counterbalanced 
by the association of the representatives of the country. 

Doubtful matters soon came to light : release from all 
feudal burdens as regarded all rights of pasture, the setting 
aside of all difference of classes, and the right to inherit the 
position of representative of the country, the incorporation 
of the crown-land revenues with the public property, the 
appointment of 'national men' to all State offices, the establish- 
ment of publicity throughout the administration, the assur- 
ance of a supply of wood for the wants of the people, release 
from the excise on materials for consumption, the abatement 
of toll-moneys, abolishment of rights of the chase, etc. 

The first blast of the furious hurricane of political sense- 
lessness sometimes struck me as being rather comical, and I 
was impressed by this when I wrote as follows to King 
Leopold on the 15th of March : 

' In Coburg they also quite violently demanded everything 
of the Government even health and long life all that a 
mortal can possibly ask for, amongst other things. " Freedom 
of speech." The quietly disposed are invisible as well in 
political life as in the field of the Press.' 

That the intervening events in the larger German States, 
particularly in Prussia and Saxony, as well as in Austria, 
materially increased the political disorder and the disturbing 
tendencies in the Thuringian countries also, was to be expected, 
and a few weeks later I found it necessary to characterise 
the movement as more serious and critical. What I wrote at 
that time to my uncle in Brussels concerning it I still consider 


to be for the most part an exact description, and therefore 
think it right to repeat it here : 

' We are going through a frightful period. Internal and 
external storms have destroyed the organism of all German 
states, respect for the law has disappeared, and the power of 
the masses alone makes itself felt. The Governments must 
submit to a state of things which borders on the scandalous. 
I have not the smallest hope, either, as the universal confid- 
ence in any form of Government is entirely gone, and complete 
discouragement reigns on the one hand and universal licence 
on the other. 

' We have had no universal revolution as regards general 
principles and tendencies ; such a state of things would have 
given rise to something certain ; but in every little territory, 
in every little town, in every village we have suffered from a 
peculiar disturbance which usually has divers grounds, and is 
therefore followed by different consequences. Only one result 
has been the same everywhere, that complete anarchy has 
gained the upper hand, which yet cannot be conquered every- 
where, but naturally by degrees only. Business and traffic 
are neglected, and workmen without bread are growing more 
imperious day by day. Added to this, the want of money is 
so frightful that we shall all have reached States' bankruptcy 
in a few months. Railway companies and small and large 
bankers are already discontinuing payment. All those who, 
three weeks ago, through fear of a reaction, hindered the 
Government with impertinent violence, from maintaining 
lawful order and using its power, are showing their brutality, 
and demand that we shall support anarchy, now that our 
power is void, but obedience is no longer shown.' 

If, at the close of this letter, I was still in a position to 
say, ' I am still able to do much, as implicit confidence is 
reposed in me ' I did indeed find opportunities enough during 
the next few weeks to do a great deal in my own person for 
order and law. In almost every place unpopular persons and 
officials were badly handled. 

Amongst the latter Chief Commissary of police Eberhardt 
was universally disliked, and it became unavoidably necessary 
to remove him. It was the same with States Councillor Hess 


who even during the first days of the movement fell a victim 
to the popular excitement. He was accused of being inimical 
to the constitution, and I had to release him from service for 
a time. 

The miserable system of proscribing the officials by means 
of the Press came more and more into fashion, and I was 
called upon numberless times to protect my own officials. In 
Coburg as well as in Gotha serious disturbances had occurred 
since the beginning of April. In Gotha many attempts had 
been made on the loan-offices ; the workmen demanded 
increased wages and showed intentions of obtaining their 
demands by means of force ; even the prison was stormed. I 
was forced to have cartridges dealt out to 400 men of the 
Gotha battalion, and the Citizens' Guard had to remain under 
arms during the night of the 16th April. 

One of the worst features of the revolutionary year was 
the attempts to undermine the discipline of the troops, nor 
were we in Thuringia to be spared this evil. People inter- 
fered in matters of military justice, they set the men against 
the officers. In Coburg, events of this kind had already 
become so serious in April, that I was forced to adopt stern 
measures. As the people had taken part with the soldiers 
against several officers, I summoned the members of the 
magistracy and the board of aldermen, as well as the captains 
of the militia to the Castle on the 21st of April, and declared 
my point of view to them with the greatest decision. I gave 
the court-martial alone the right to judge the accused, and 
said plainly that military matters were not to be measured 
according to the views of civilians. 

I went down into the courtyard of the castle amongst the 
assembled officials, and successfully showed them how I must 
act in order to accomplish the aim of the inquiry, whether a 
condemning or absolving judgment was passed or not. 'As 
I have always followed the rules marked out by the law/ I 
added in a louder tone, ' I shall now perform the duties 
demanded by my position. I hope that the civilians present 
are of my opinion, that law and order must prevail. I have 
no further warning or request to make.' 

One could nevertheless see that a personal grasp was not 
wanting in effect, but one would have had to be omnipresent 



to successfully oppose the attempts against social and political 
order. I remember a most amusing passage characteristic of 
the time, which happened in the month of May, when, during 
one of my many small trips between Coburg and Gotha, I 
one day met a carriage, coming down from the Thuringian to 
the Henneberg forest, whose occupants I at once recognised as 
officials belonging to the departments, Justice, Finance and 
Forest in Cella St Blasii. 

They were in a most excited state, and told me that they 
were escaping to Gotha. They had been driven from Cella 
St Blasii by the revolution, and were going to seek the pro- 
tection of the Government. The workmen belonging to the 
gum manufactory of the place had united with the rabble and 
threatened the lives of the officials. Their wishes and 
demands had been so tumultuously uttered that nothing 
remained but to hasten from the fearful place. These gentle- 
men were in so despairing a moral condition that my first 
idea of at once conducting them back personally to the spot 
could not be carried out. 

I therefore drove into the little town alone, and alighted 
at a public house which stood near the market place. Several 
hundred people had assembled in the public square and 
impromptu speeches were made. 

I made the half-drunken innkeeper, who had recognised 
me, open a kind of dancing-room, and took possession of a 
parish clerk who happened to be there, and who seemed to 
suit, in order to make out a protocol. 

Meantime, the news of my arrival had spread, and I did 
not hesitate to have it made known through the landlord and 
a forest overseer, who had made his appearance, th.-it I was 
prepared personally to hear their complaints and grievances. 
The magistrate of the town, as well as the better class 


burghers and manufacturers were nowhere to be found, and 


had either hidden themselves, or, like my officials, had 
departed. The room in which I had stationed myself soon 
filled with a motley crowd of factory hands, woodcutters and 
lower class burghers, who surrounded me with much noise. 
I demanded a regularly chosen deputation in order to obtain 
information concerning the state of affairs, and to settle the 
same. This was received with approbation, and the crowd 


left the room ; after the lapse of an hour, during which it had 
been very lively in the square, a deputation of about fifty 
persons appeared, who in most unparliamentary form laid 
before me a number of complaints against the officials. 

I now attempted to make the men understand that it was 
impossible to attain any end in these matters by using force 
with the officials, and that it would therefore be necessary to 
send a deputation to the Ministry in Gotha, in order to have 
the wishes of the people granted. But meantime it would be 
taken for granted that the officials would be allowed to return 
quietly to Cella, as I could not allow them to be hindered in 
the performance of their duty by threats and expressions of 
violence. Although this was admitted after some opposition, 
yet no one was prepared to guarantee the protection and 
safety of the officials, and I was obliged to remind them that 
in this case a company of soldiers would have to be quartered 
in the place, to remain there some time, and whose mainten- 
ance would have to be borne by the inhabitants of Cella. 
The so-called deputation now said that they would ask 
instructions of their party, and they then left the room again, 
to return only after the lapse of another half hour. 

My question whether the assembled citizens of the town 
were willing to answer for the protection of the officials was, 
it is true, answered in the affirmative ; but because of the 
great excitement and the many strangers who, it was pre- 
tended, were at that time staying there, they would give no 
guarantee. In order to put an end to the matter, I turned to 
several of the men who stood nearest to me, praised their 
good sentiments and intentions, and persuaded them to sign 
a short protocol in which they bound themselves to answer 
for the safety of the officials whenever they returned to Cella. 
Thirty persons at length signed it. 

Other citizens belonging to the better classes soon dropped 
in, and a kind of society for the protection of officials and 
maintenance of order was formed. Meanwhile I sent a 
servant to Gotha to fetch the escaped officials, and in a few 
days they resumed their posts. The grievances of the people 
of Cella once set down on paper melted down to a very small 
number, and were redressed by the Government. In the 
following year I had the satisfaction of seeing that when two 


of the officials there were to be promoted, the community sent 
a request to the Government not to tear these valued and 
beloved men from the scene of their beneficent activity.* 

The existing state of affairs had, as it were, forced me to 
try an only too personal rule amidst the most extravagant 
projects of liberty, and when I wrote to my brother from 
Gotha so early as the 20th of March : ' My house is like a 
headquarters, whence all orders must be issued personally,' I 
did not think that this uncomfortable and disquieting state of 
things would go on for weeks and months to come. Such 
were the contradictions furnished by this extraordinary time. 

Whilst the people were rising against the Princes every- 
where, the most immediate and personal activity, and often 
enough the most impossible things were expected of them. 
Whilst all power and even their possessions were being dis- 
puted and cavilled at, they were to protect the property of 
their subjects and care for their acquired rights. ' How am I 
to find words/ I wrote to my brother, ' in which to describe 
my feelings ? Were I a private citizen, I should perhaps 
rejoice with them. But in my position, with all the duties 
which my calling imposes upon me, recognising the hopeless- 
ness of the present condition of affairs, I can only see the 
precipice yawning before and behind me. It is enough to 
make one lose one's reason. 

' My decision is the same which I would follow as a soldier 
in battle : to endure until the end, true to my duty, true to 
my people through all coming storms. The beautiful days of 
the past lie like an expiring life, like an exquisite dream 
behind me, after all that we have experienced and gone 
through during the past four weeks, and I thank Providence 
for not having given me any children, for I should tremble 
for them. I will not give way to my feelings any longer, 
but which of us German Princes will think otherwise, feel 
otherwise ? ' 

It was still more significant of my opinion of the existing 
condition of things when, a few days later, I said, describing 
the state of Germany : ' We Princes are very wavering, as we 

* Concerning the occurrence in Cella, Herr von Stein wrote to me : ' The Regent's 
personal power is, thank God, still very effective amongst the people, even the most 
excited. Your Highness's clear, firm and immediate adjudication has certainly done 
more than it would have been possible to accomplish by means of a whole regiment. 
Bailiff Kegel was quite struck by the good effect produced. 


have too little intelligence, courage and understanding of the 
spirit of the times.' 

Meanwhile the Assembly of Representatives had been 
opened in Coburg as well as in Gotha. It is time now to 
remind the reader that in most German States the year 1848 
had brought a change in the titles, and that the decrees and 
proclamations of the sovereign Princes were at that time 
designated ' By the grace of God.' I had not begun this 
doubtful innovation, but had willingly adopted it, without 
expecting that this matter of form also would shortly be 
turned into an important reason for the reaction in Germany. 

Little weight as I should like to lay upon the fact that 
the ' Grace of God/ adopted by the duodecimo States without 
any pious conviction, had been rejected during the storm of 
1848, yet I have never been able to understand how I should 
have been able to make up my mind to adopt the once rejected 
formula later and repentantly, after the example of many 
middle-sized and even the smallest of the German States. 

In Coburg and Gotha the old-fashioned form of my title 
of sovereignty was therefore laid aside, not only during the 
bad times, but actually and for ever, without visibly altering 
the worth of the law of the country. 

As now regarded the Coburg Diet, it was, as I had already 
promised in my proclamation to the citizens, summoned to an 
extra session. Bills for the points already mentioned in other 
places, above all for the introduction of complete freedom of 
the Press, the free use of the right to petition, the publicity 
of trials and many other things were drawn up. But during 
the time between the 13th of March and the 3rd of April, on 
which last day the assembling of the Diet took place, a good 
deal of agitation had arisen in the country, concerning the 
forest and hunting rights. 

In Thuringia, as everywhere, they tried to force the 
population into a democratic socialistic tendency by means 
of questions of this kind. Under these circumstances I 
decided upon a step which caused no little astonishment. In 
the speech from the throne with which I opened the extra 
session of the Diet, I voluntarily expressed my views of the 
rights of chase on strange lands and grounds, and granted it 


without demand of payment to those parishes, to whose 
boundaries the ground to be hunted over belonged. I only- 
made the condition that it should not be shot over by the 
members of the parish, but by regular sportsmen or tenants, 
and the produce given to the parish funds. 

Something similar had already been done by Herr von 
Stockmar for his property, as well as that of King Leopold in 
the way of private rights. I therefore thought it right to 
mention in the speech from the throne, that all others who 
had hunting rights in my Duchy would follow this example ; 
yet this did not find much approval. A perfect war of 
destruction against all that runs on the ground, flies in the 
air and swims in the water, was at once begun in the 
Thuringian forest, and, by preference, on my own lands. 

Besides this, I had still another proposal to make in my 
opening speech to the Coburg Diet, which was attended by 
lasting discussions and many a great political action, and 
which touched upon one of the most important vital questions 
of my two Duchies : 

'Many another highly important matter,' I said at the 
close of my speech, ' will need most earnest consideration. 

' Amongst these I reckon a desire which I have long had, 
and the fulfilment of which depends upon an understanding 
between my two territories, I mean the union of my Duchies 
of Coburg and Gotha by means of a common constitution. 

' The immense advantages of this are too evident for a 
more particular summary of them to be given here, and a 
more favourable time than the present could hardly be 
found for the carrying out of this plan, when it not only 
appears necessary to institute a reform and a timely revision 
of the fundamental laws of these states, but when a repre- 
sentative constitution corresponding to the demands of the 
times is to be given to Gotha. 

' Examine this project, the execution of which would be a 
real pleasure to me in the interests of my two territories.' 

For the carrying out alone of such an energetic change, 
which was also so nearly related to the public law, the quiet 
and thoughtful co-operation of all factors concerned would 
have been necessary. Whilst the whole world was then 
considering the highest questions of national state life, and 


the greatest matters were being discussed with all the greater 
preference in every small circle, the less the influence which 
could be brought to bear upon them, most men were quite 
unfit to consider and regulate those which were the simplest 
and therefore the most practical. 

In the matter of the Coburg-Gotha Union, it was all the 
more impossible to come to a decision, as the chief councillors 
of both lands hindered each other in the most jealous manner, 
and opposed each other in provincial divisions. The efforts 
of several years were needed in order to manage the establish- 
ment of even an approach to a constitutional union between 
the two small States. The Diet which assembled in April 
had held itself aloof from every demand of the times and the 
country in this respect, and were, as it were, forced in conse- 
quence to resign in favour of a new House which was to be 
summoned on a more widely democratic basis of elective 
rights. This new extraordinary Diet was summoned by me 
on the 20th of September, during the most uneasy period in 
Germany, of which I shall speak later on in another connec- 
tion. The bills which were proposed provided for the release 
from ground taxes, the abolition of patrimonial jurisdiction, 
the nature of mortgages, the adoption of a universal income 
tax, the carrying out of the abolition of the game laws. The 
proposals of the Government were often carried unanimously. 
But when I again attempted to prepare the way for the union 
of Coburg and Gotha I had no more success than before. 

' If,' I said in the opening speech on the 22nd of September, 
' I were to mention this plan as a wish, the fulfilment of which 
would be a pleasure to me in the interests of both territories, 
it shows itself in the light of a really unavoidable necessity, 
now that the want of a code as equal and as common to the 
State arrangements of the German territories as possible is 
srrowino; more and more evident. 

O O 

' You will find this, gentlemen, more nearly confirmed and 
carried out in the proposal which will next be laid before 

' I think it necessary only to bring forward the fact that 
without this union of both lands in an organic whole, the 
pressingly necessary changes and simplification of the admini- 
stration can be attained in but an incomplete degree ; yes, 


even the independence hitherto enjoyed by the land may be 
placed in danger. 

' May you, gentlemen, as well as the representatives who 
are soon to be summoned together in the Duchy of Gotha, 
recognise the necessity of such a union, and the hindrances 
which may perhaps be opposed to it here and there cannot 
then fail to be entirely removed.' 

In order to explain the events which soon after occurred 
with regard to this question, I must here observe that neither 
my Coburg nor Gotha councillors seriously and deeply shared 
the convictions to which I had given utterance. The remark- 
able state of things in the year 184-8, also allowed me to 
deviate in a certain measure from the usual constitutional 
practice of presenting a purely Ministerial programme by 
means of the speech from the throne. What I said to the 
Coburg representatives with regard to the union question, 
were my own words in the strictest sense, and I can hardly 
doubt that States Councillor Brohmer, who managed the affairs 
of Coburg with ministerial authority, scarcely approved of 
all the consequences they would bring. He did not meet me 
quite frankly in this desired matter, and tacked from one 
point to the other, in order to make Gotha out as being in 
fault should it not succeed. 

And, in fact, the dislike for the relinquishment of the 
greatest particularism was not greater there than in Coburg. 
Whilst most senseless republican dreams, based on the abol- 
ishment of territorial and feudal institutions were ripening 
more and more, one noticed that the Church seemed to be the 
most inextirpable inheritance of the Germans, and while even 
modestly good and intelligent men had fallen victims to a 
great national madness, there was no possibility of fitly solv- 
ing the simplest matter relating to the country. 

This situation was strikingly shown in a letter from 
States' Minister von Stein, when he wrote on the 24th of 
October : 

'JEven if the majority of the National Assembly express 
their opposition to the mediatisation of the small States, they 
must nevertheless be destroyed, for what is left of it by the 
central power will be so cut up and worn away by special 
law-makino- assemblies, that the small single government will 


be unable to last out much longer. To this may be added the 
financial embarrassment, and they must therefore consume 
away. For Coburg and Gotha there is, besides, the infliction 
of the spirit of separation between Coburg and Gotha, which 
is increasing here and leading to the most unpleasant disturb- 
ances. I gained some new experiences concerning this only 
yesterday ! ' 

In the above letter the eventful word mediatisation 
appears for the first time in rny description of the year 1848, 
but it played a part in all the constitutional disputes of the 
small lands throughout the year, and also during the times 
which followed, of which I shall speak at length. The 
question laid before the Coburg Diet concerning the union of 
my two territories leads me to the Gotha constitutional affairs, 
of which I must at least mention the principal outlines. 

In the earlier relations of Gotha the nobility had known 
how to maintain a great preponderance for themselves. 
Since the old times they ruled Court and State affairs so 
greatly that no change could have been accomplished without 
immediately encroaching upon the sovereign power. If the 
revolution was to be hindered from breaking through all 
bounds of order, the Government itself would have to put its 
hand to the work of reorganisation. I therefore considered 
that the time had come to take steps to restore order. 

In the Court arrangements the old institution of noble 
gentlemen-of-the-bedchamber was abolished by a ministerial 
decision, and the division which separated people and Court 
everywhere in Germany to a serious degree, was all at once 
destroyed. The nobility of Gotha have never forgiven me 
for taking this step, but have also waited in vain for the 
time when their standing aloof would make me decide to 
follow the popular path of reaction and restoration, while 
efforts were being made elsewhere to forget what had taken 
place in 1848 as quickly as possible. The Court of Gotha 
had for a considerable space of time been able to get on 
without the ' Grace of God ' as well as without gentlemen-of- 

In the same way, the attempt of the nobility of Gotha to 
delay the settlement of the constitution was very unsuccessful, 
although the knightly representatives had expressed them- 


selves favourably concerning the town suffrage at the Diet of 
Deputies in February 1848. The Government was now forced 
to make a provisory arrangement which in some degree 
swerved from the line of the constitution. An Assembly of 
Notables was called together, which was to be decided by 
universal suffrage and which would deliberate concerning a 
new States fundamental law. The order was explained in 
the following words : 

' We, Ernest, etc., have willingly complied with the wish 
which our subjects in the Duchy of Gotha have laid before us 
regarding a change according to the times of the constitution 
of the country, and given them the assurance by means of a 
promulgation of the 7th inst. that equal political rights will 
be given them by means of a representative constitution, as 
are now lawfully established in our Duchy of Coburg. 

' Whereas, We immediately made the necessary arrange- 
ments for the preparation of the constitutional plan, it has 
appeared fit to Us to assemble around Us delegates from the 
different orders and classes of the people of Our Duchy of 
Gotha, in greater numbers than the State arrangements have 
hitherto admitted, in order to lay the bill before them, to 
take counsel with them concerning this important matter 
which so nearly concerns the future welfare of our subjects, 
and to definitely establish the conditions, one by one, with 
their consent. 

' We therefore provisorily prescribe for the composition of 
this Assembly of Delegates, the conditions of being entitled to 
vote and eligibility with participation in the Assembly, and as 
regards the form of votes in the separate classes themselves, 
with regard to the determinations concerning the same con- 
tained in the constitutional laws of Our Duchy of Coburg, etc.' 

After the order of vote proposed and expected by me, the 
relations of the town and country, delegated to those be- 
longing to the nobility, was materially improved for the former, 
yet there were many disputes, protests and discussions before 
the votes were settled. At length, apart from the votum 
virile of the Princes Hohenlohe, which was retained for them 
as lords of the Earldom of Obergleichen, one representative 
was sent by the Town Councillor of Gotha, five in all by the 
citizens of the towns of Ohrdruff, Waltershausen, and Gotha 

VOL. I. Q 


five by the nobility and twelve by the official towns of Fleckeii 
and Ddrfer, to this Extraordinary States Assembly which was 
summoned together on the 18th of June. I had the intention 
of opening the new Assembly of popular representatives with 
the same solemnity usual in the Diet. To my great amuse- 
ment I received a letter apparently sent from the representa- 
tive circles, in which I was informed that a better impression 
would be made if I avoided all military and princely pomp. 
I therefore gave the gentlemen to understand that if the 
forms hitherto observed did not please them, I would gladly 
appear in hunting costume. This little joke brought them to 
their senses, and I opened the Assembly in the usual manner 
with the following words : 

' Gentlemen ! I bid you heartily welcome ! A few years 
ago I stood in this same spot and frankly announced with 
pleasure to the members of the old provincial diet that it was 
my desire and intention to supply the wants of the times, and, 
whenever the opportunity offered itself, to thoroughly reform 
the constitution of the country. The more approbation this 
promise received, and the more the universal desire for a 
representative rule according to the times was made known 
to me, the more eager I was to fulfil this desire. 

'But internal and external hindrances imperiously opposed 
my purpose, and I soon recognised the fact that time alone 
could overcome them. My views were confirmed, and that of 
which one formerly hardly dared to think, has already become 
a reality. A renewed lease of life has come to our Fatherland: 
I joyfully join myself to it. The goal of my efforts is the 
realisation of freedom and the welfare of the one, as of the 
whole. May all my faithful subjects endeavour with decision 
and truth, yet with a perfect comprehension of the real truth, 
to reach this goal with me. 

'This goal lay pleasantly before my eyes at the drawing up 
of the States' fundamental law, the sketch of which will now be 
laid before you, and which has been founded on the basis of 
extensive participation for the citizens of the State in public 
matters and on a safe guarantee of the rights of the people. 

' I address myself confidently to you, gentlemen, asking for 
your unbiassed consideration of the following matters. When 
I summoned you together after the provisory arrangement 


for the election made by means of the order of the 19th 
of March, which formerly appeared sufficient for the con- 
venience as well as the demands of the time, it was not to be 
imagined that time would go more quickly than the election, 
in consequence of which I see you assembled here before me. 

' The judicial view of the present with regard to election 
and the share begun to be taken by the people in the legisla- 
ture, the matters relating to the community and to political 
economy, is now altered. The only right recognised as belong- 
ing to such an assembly is the right to represent the will of the 
people, for which deputies have been chosen from the people 
according to the principle of a similar right, principles which 
are contained in the bill for the constitutional law and the 
order of election. 

' I hope, gentlemen, that you have not misunderstood me, 
and that, as regards the business mentioned you will limit 
your consultations to the " order of election " and the enclosed 
paragraphs of the bill, in order to form, in co-operation with 
the States' Government, a lawful foundation by means of 
which a new election may be arranged and a more suitable 
organ of the people's will be called into life, which will 
examine and settle the remaining portions of the constitu- 
tional law in co-operation with the States' Government, con- 
cerning which I expect that a more close union of the now so 
widely divided parts of the Duchies of Coburg and Gotha 
will be recognised as being useful to the whole.' 

My speech, which was intended to be the freest possible 
expression of my convictions, and was therefore not strictly 
after the model of similar enunciations, was calculated to 
prevent the Assembly from setting to work in a wrong 
manner. The time at which the notables of the country had 
assembled had already shown such strong symptoms of the 
universal cessation of a lawful state of things, that one could 
not but fear that the chamber should be transformed into a 
kind of miniature legislature and render every peaceful and 
legal restoration of a new constitution very difficult. Mean- 
while the elements which were brought together were of the 
best kind, and I may say that my conciliatory and decisive 
attitude had disarmed even the radicals amongst them. The 
Assembly complied with my desire, and only that portion of 


the universal bill for the fundamental law was taken into 
consideration which related to election and the order of 
voting. Most of the decisions were almost entirely conform- 
able to the proposals made by the Government, and thus the 
order of election to the Diet for the Duchy of Gotha was 
accepted and established in four sittings. 

This shortest of the many preliminary parliaments, of 
the year 1848 we were able to break up as early as the 23rd 
of June. The new law was based on the system of universal 
but indirect election, with the exemption of all representative 
membership, and with the approximate calculation of five 
hundred men born in the State to one deputy. According to 
this the Diet of the Duchy consisted of twenty members. 
As early as the 28th of June the publication of the new law 
of election followed, on the basis of which a regular Diet was 
summoned on the 2nd of October. 

There were many restless and radical elements chosen for 
this chamber, and the Government possessed no very energetic 
representative in the person of States Minister von Stein. In 
Austria and Prussia they had at length succeeded in assigning 
a limit to the anarchic movement ; in the small States on the 
contrary, the revolutionary spirit appeared to think itself all 
the more sure, and now really began to spread. Under these 
circumstances the negotiations concerning the proposals for 
the constitution appeared as if they would never come to an 
end, and the Deputies were difficult to manage. 

The tasks which were set the Diet were, it is true, of a 
very comprehensive nature. At the final settlement of the 
Constitutional Bill brought forward for consideration, the 
conclusions had to be taken into consideration, which had 
meantime been come to by the National Assembly, with re- 
gard to the particular rights of the German States. Many of 
them laid greater restrictions on the constitutional rights of 
the single States than had been expected ; in other points the 
questions of the balance, between the kingdoms and the single 
States, as well as the States amongst themselves, could still be 
kept equal. 

Apart also from these difficulties, the bill for the Gotha 
fundamental law extended to over a hundred paragraphs, the 
conscientious and thorough consideration of which would 


have occupied many months, even in quieter times. Besides 
this, a law for the alteration of the charges on the proprietory 
and the seigneurial rights had to be accomplished, to which 
were added bills for the cessation of the rights of hunting and 
shooting on strange land and ground, as well as an executive 
order concerning it. The Diet also had a tax-reform bill to 
consider. The Government hoped to find a means of lessening 
the charges in the poorer division of those belonging to the 
State towards the burden of State expenses in the universal 

Finally, I had a new organisation of military duties in 
view. At that time it was hoped that a system of universal 
national defence might be instituted by means of an arrange- 
ment with the neighbouring States, and a reservation of the 
permission of the central power, whereby, by means of the 
greatest extension of service duty, the weary burdens would 
be decreased, and a strengthening of the combative force 
brought about without too great an increase of expenditure. 

Great as was the programme of work which was thus 
presented to the newly reformed Diet, the less I was able to 
conceal the fact that the principal task assigned it was to be 
found in the alteration relating to the public law of the 
relations between Coburg and Gotha. I therefore laid some 
weight on this point in my opening speech to the Gotha Diet, 
as I had when mentioning my views concerning the same 
point in Coburg. 

' The execution alone,' were my closing words ' of all 
these plans, as well as principally the thriving success of ray 
efforts so honestly made in behalf of the welfare of this 
country, is by preference conditional on a union of the 
former with the Duchy of Coburg in a common constitu- 

' Already at the opening of the last Diet I pointed out the 
usefulness of such a measure, now that the want of as equal 
a legislature and as common a state arrangement as possible 
in the different lands of Germany is becoming more and more 
evident, when the idea of a single united Fatherland is making 
practical demands, particularly in the smaller constituent 
parts of the same, now that these demands may possibly form 
one condition of the continuance of the existence of the 


latter, nor does this union indeed appear in the light of an 
unavoidable necessity. 

' It is with these feelings that I have laid before you the 
bill for the fundamental law which I also proposed to the 
Diet opened in Coburg on the 22nd of last month as the basis 
of political equality of both divisions of the country. I allow 
myself to hope that you, as well as the representatives in 
Coburg, will recognise with me the necessity of such an 
equality, and the greatest possible community in the organs of 
government, and that you will regard the attainment of this 
object adopted by me, and at the same time pointed out to 
you, as one of the nearest as well as the principal fields for 
your activity.' 

It is not my intention to weary the reader with the details 
o the transactions of the Diet, which lasted until March of 
the year 1849. That a list of determinations in the States' 
fundamental law was now laid before my Government by the 
Deputies which unmistakeably bore the signature of the year 
1848, was not to be mistaken for a moment. But the time 
was hardly suitable for a constitutional conflict in a small 
land ; the unsuitable form of many a constitutional paragraph 
was also to be laid to the account of the part compliance of 
Minister von Stein. 

According to this constitution a mere prohibitive veto on 
the decisions of the Chamber was left to the sovereign prince. 
The granting and refusal of taxes was to be the right of the 
representatives alone. The confiscation of the domain to the 
expenses of State struck the sovereign and the rights of rny 
House a still harder blow. 

I nevertheless confirmed the so often altered statute, with 
the expectation that the representatives themselves would 
find a remedy for this want in a perfectly lawful way. As 
regarded the crown-lands' question, it had been turned in a 
wrong direction more through the Minister than the Deputies 
themselves. A protest had immediately been raised by my 
brother and my two uncles, Leopold and Ferdinand, against 
the constitutional decrees which limited the rights of the 
Regent, and which preserved the domain question for me 
personally at that time, but in later years for all agnates, 
their rights with regard to the decisions of the Diet. 


On this point my brother was decided in his intention to 
appear in the defence of justice against the conditions of the 
new constitution, and grew very angry and bitter against me 
in his letters, which by no means lightened my task. 

It is almost impossible to describe the violence with which 
people at that time attempted to solve involved questions of 
property. The representatives assembled at the Diet, started 
with the conclusion that all princely income, even dwellings 
and castles were to be declared the property of the State. 
Amongst these there was much which came from the allodial 
possessions of my mother, and it would have been a very 
exhausting task to search through the different titles of 
possession by means of deeds. This was very convenient for 
the revolutionary time, as a conclusion could simply be arrived 
at. In section 14 of the new constitution the free use at least 
of a number of castles and court buildings particularly 
mentioned by name was allowed. I had great trouble in 
obtaining the right of disposal over the Court theatre, which 
was solely a princely creation. To this end I was obliged to 
sacrifice other advantages, as, for example, the right to use 
the castle at Tenneberg, etc. 

But I had, on the whole, the satisfaction of knowing that 
the States' fundamental law could be regarded as a work which 
was made to last, and which would not need to be overthrown 
in a short time, as has happened to so many other constitu- 
tions of the year 1848. This result was only attained, how- 
ever, through the fact that even in the worst months of the 
year 1848 I never ceased to exercise a certain purely personal 
authority, by means of which I was able to keep the more 
moderate elements above the surface, and to decisively repulse 
the republican and anarchic efforts which had spread only too 
universally throughout the other Thuringian lands. 

My position in Coburg and Gotha remained so unalterably 
secure during the unpleasant year, that I myself was able in 
some particulars to work for the universal welfare of the 
Saxon Duchies, with some degree of consideration and success. 
In the eastern portion of Thuringia, there had been an 
increasing movement since the beginning of July, which had 
arisen in the Saxon manufacturing districts, and which the 


governments were in no wise a match for. All business had 
been stopped in Altenburg, particularly through the dangerous 
influence of a few talented republicans, who, however, were 
not particular as to the means they employed. The poorer 
classes had been excited by means of the most impossible 
promises. In the Assembly, Minister von Planitz, had not 
attempted to put a stop to the wildest proposals for procuring 
money to support starving workmen. 

As the financial impossibility of such plans could not be 
doubted, the artfully generated excitement of the people in- 
creased more and more. The Duke and the entire Court were 
accused of hindering the friendly intentions which the radical 
entertained for the people, and it was supposed that the re- 
actionary party wished to call out the Royal Saxon troops in 
order to suppress the boasted acquisitions and freedom of the 
people. Revolutionary bands surrounded the castle in which 
the entire ducal family were, as it were, held imprisoned. 
People said everywhere that it was a certain fact that the 
Duke would in a few days be forced to abdicate, and the Re- 
public would immediately be proclaimed in Altenburg. There 
was indeed a universal ferment and blustering. The demo- 
cratic republican unions had spread all through Thuringia, and 
were closely bound together. In Jena a central union had 
been formed under the presidency of the communistically- 
minded Dr Lafaurie, which began an open agitation for the 
abolition of the Thuringian Duchies. They hoped to get 
through with the small Princes of these lands most quickly ; 
after they were driven away, they had the intention of found- 
ing a United Thuringian Republic which, secured in the very 
heart of Germany, would be a point of issue for further demo- 
cratic conquests. Disturbances had been intentionally raised 
at the same time in the bordering princedoms, in Gem and in 
Rudolstadt. In the former a very serious meeting of soldiers 
had moreover taken place on the 5th of July. The troops 
formally revolted under pretence of not wanting the Articles 
of War read to them, and the calling out of the Saxon military 
was quite unavoidable. 

All these disturbances had a double meaning ; they were 
dangerous in themselves for the Thuringian Duchies, but they 
had a deeper reason with regard to the universal political 


tendency towards mediatising of the small States. In the 
Frankfort National Assembly, the question whether a union of 
all Saxon territories was not to be striven for in the interests 
of Germany was the order of the day. The union of the 
Thuringian States under the sovereignty of Weimar was 
equally seriously considered. The more untenable the 
smaller Governments showed themselves in opposition to the 
republican measures, the more reason the central power had 
for insisting on mediatisation, and one of the most interesting 
episodes of the year, which has been almost entirely forgotten, 
and which may be seen by following the councils and negotia- 
tions, is that which now aimed at founding a Thuringian Cor- 
porative State, then at the union of the Ducal Saxon territories 
with the Kingdom of Saxony. 

Events such as had taken place in Altenburg were almost 
desired for these half and whole tendencies to mediatise. In 
order to gain information concerning the predominant feeling 
in Weimar I hastened thither and conferred with the 
Ministers there. They complained greatly of the dangerous 
condition of the Thuringian States, and for the sake of the 
safety of the Archduchy itself were by no means inclined to 
relinquish the idea of the united Thuringian House. Concern- 
ing the state of things in Altenburg most incredible things 
were related, and they asserted decisively that the Ducal 
Family were in the greatest danger. No one could vouch for 
a few days more of life for the unfortunate Prince. 

Alarmed to the utmost by the news which I had received, 
I made up my mind to go at once to Altenburg. Accompanied 
by my secretary, afterwards States Councillor Bruckner, I 
took my place like any ordinary traveller in a second-class 
railway carriage, and arrived almost unrecognised in Alten- 
burg. My companion and I then went to a hotel which stood 
near the station, where we had an opportunity during dinner 
of making inquiries of the landlord as to what had occurred, 
and how things were there. The landlord assured us, with an 
appearance of the deepest conviction, that the people of 
Altenburg were on the eve of the greatest event : it was quite 
true and correct that the Duke was imprisoned and cut 
off from everyone. To the question : By whom ? the man 
answered with the pathos of a schoolmaster, who has just 


described the terrors of the French Revolution and the suffer- 
ings of the prisoners : ' He is in the power of the Provisory 
Government, and is watched by the citizens' guard.' 

' Would it be impossible to get into the Ducal palace ? ' 

' Quite impossible,' answered the landlord without hesita- 
tion ; and I asked still more inquisitively about Court Marshal 
von Minckwitz, as I had intended to visit him, he assured 
me with great confidence that it would also be quite impossible, 
for then von Minckwitz also was being guarded in his 

I was so astonished and provoked by all this, that it made 
me all the more eager to carry out my intention at any price. 
In spite of Bruckner's dissuasions I went to the Court 
Marshal's house, where a militiaman of not too imposing a 
military appearance, and, if I am not mistaken, armed with 
an old halbard, rather good-naturedly refused me entrance, in 
the Altenburg dialect. I cannot now say how it happened, 
but with a tolerably gentle push I thrust the man aside and 
went unhindered into the house. When I appeared before 
Minckwitz he seemed to be greatly startled and anxiously 
inquired what I wanted, and how I had managed to come in. 

' I desire nothing more than that you shall at once conduct 
ine to the Duke,' was my short answer, which caused the 
Court Marshal to pour out a flood of excuses and descriptions 
from which nothing was after all to be gathered except that 
everyone in the place had lost their minds. As Herr von 
Minckwitz refused, as he expressed it, to 'go to meet 
certain death ' with me, nothing remained except for me to 
try my luck alone. 

The drive up to the high castle of Altenburg led around 
the next street corner through a closed barricade, and the 
guard had orders to let no one in or out. At the moment I 
reached it, it fortunately happened that an officer belonging 
to the militia came up to change the guard. I immediately 
addressed myself to him and told him who I was and that I 
wished to speak to the Duke. My very friendly words and the 
quite extraordinary and by no means foreseen fact that a neigh- 
bouring Prince had unexpectedly come on a visit to the Duke, 
may have greatly shaken the good Altenburger citizen in his 
revolutionary character. I thought it worth while to employ 


a little cunning which would in any case prevent the so-called 
provisory government from playing me any bad trick. Taking 
it for granted that the officer of the citizens' guard would not 
fail to inform his authorities concerning everything which 
had happened and been said, I remarked casually that an active 
column of troops were in the neighbourhood of the town and 
that they would certainly march in if I did not soon return. 

After all these negotiations I at length got into the castle, 
and thought I had conquered all the chief difficulties. But I 
was mistaken in this, for my worst experiences were to be 
made with the Duke himself. The moral state in which I 
found Joseph himself, as well as his long since ailing consort 
and the unfortunate daughters, is hardly to be described. 
Wavering between yielding and hopelessness, it appeared 
almost impossible at first to hold a quiet discussion with the 
Duke. Some time passed before the whole state of affairs at 
length became clear to me. 

Amongst the Duke's officials, Government President Herr 
von Seckendorf was particularly hated by the revolutionary 
party. He was more fitted for anything than for a business 
man. He was known as an author of polite literature, under 
the name of Isidorus Orientalis, and evidently in good favour 
with the ladies of the Court. The Duke, however, had but 
small support from him, for when the tumult began, the 
Government President crept into every corner he could find 
and left everything to a countryman, Dr Krutziger, before 
whose pompous speeches and freezing presence the entire 
Government had struck sail. After the movement which 
took place in June, the Duke was forced to decide upon 
appointing him as third Minister, and on the 21st of June he 
assumed the duties of one. 

He was, so to speak, the proxy of the popular party in 
the Cabinet, but the Duke tried to keep him as far as 
possible from his person. As he had meantime succeeded a 
few days after my visit to Altenburg in overthrowing his 
former colleagues and had taken the power into his own 
hands, he assumed the part of a statesman from amongst his 
rich repertoire, showed himself tolerably moderate, and was 
afterwards by no means a bad German Minister. 

As things stood, it became at once clear to me that the 


people's man must first of all be sent for, and that the Duke 
must establish nearer and better relations with him. At any 
rate, one would be able to learn from Herr Krutziger what 
' the people's will ' was, and what end was to be attained by 
means of the incomprehensible revolutionary measures. But 
the Duke would not hear of such a proposal ; throughout his 
whole family the thought that Herr Krutziger might enjoy 
the honours of a Minister and be brought to Court, was 
regarded as the height of conceivable misfortune. Only after 
a long argument on my part was it at length decided to 
summon Krutziger and negotiate with him. 

At first, however, he was not willing to enter into personal 
negotiations and take the consequences upon himself. At 
length he appeared, accompanied by friends and representa- 
tives of republican societies and a great debate began, in 
which the people at first made their demands in a very 
stormy manner, but soon became more modest when they 
saw that I in no way allowed myself to be intimidated. 
Sometimes I^was forced to employ drastic means in order to 
bring them to reason, and described the horrors of the Con- 
federate execution, by which they would in all probability 
very soon be overtaken. I did riot find the inclination of the 
gentlemen very great, on the whole, for a battle with firearms. 

My Minister, von Stein, to whom the affair was related a 
few days afterwards in Gotha, by States Councillor Bruckner, 
afterwards wrote to me in Coburg, on the loth of July, 
characteristically enough of the situation : ' Bruckner's relation 
interested and pleased me in the highest degree. According 
to that Your Highness must have completely conquered 
Krutziger, and basted him like a roast during the discussion.' 

The interference which I undertook to make really made 
it necessary for the Duke, even with a heavy heart, to sign 
a kind of capitulation. A few days afterwards President 
von Seckendorf obtained his dismission, on the excuse of 
' shattered health.' 

As regarded the neutral questions, in the conference which 
the Duke and I held with Ministers von Planitz and John, and 
afterwards with Krutziger also, a protocol was established in 
consequence of which the Altenburg Government denied any 
intention of abdicating in favour of the King of Saxony. If 


the disturbances in Altenburg lasted, I undertook in the 
interests of the agnates to interpellate the Confederate central 
power and demand execution. On the other hand, the 
motion for formation of a united Thuringian State was to 
be taken into consideration by the Altenburg Government, 
only in so far as it was thought right by all sides to work for 
a closer union of the Thuringian States, in respect of the un- 
prejudiced administration of the rights of the Kingdom and 
the Central Power. 

The principal thing now was that the Duke was released 
from a very frightful position, and that the continuance of 
the Princedom in Altenburg remained assured. The local 
relations became so much better during the following weeks 
that the constitutional unions were once more able to raise 
their heads. The quickly raised lion of the day himself, 
Herr Krutziger, found it also wiser to look back a little. 
When, a few days after the great interference I drove through 
the once more peaceably open gates of Altenburg Castle, the 
entire population was astir. Herr Krutziger still, it is true, 
in the costume of a people's man, made the most obliging 
speeches, and even if not in a white cravat, yet did the 
honours at my departure as well as an important Court official. 

Although the republican element in the Thuringian lands 
had but little promise of gaining the upper hand, yet wild 
proceedings, such as I had just experienced in Altenburg, 
could not fail to make a terrifying impression on outsiders. 
The Royal Government in Frankfort therefore conceived the 
plan of maintaining quiet and safety in the smaller States by 
means of Confederate troops. The War Office ordered two 
or three army corps to be put in motion, of which one was to 
be stationed in the Thuringian territories. It was difficult to 
believe that no afterthought was entertained with regard to 
this, which related to the mediatising tendencies of St Paul's 
Church. There was, in my opinion, no real danger to order 
and quiet in the Thuringian States. 

Energy was entirely wanting in the republican conventicles 
which were springing up on all sides, and a little courage on 
the part of the smaller Governments should have been plainly 
shown in order to break the neck of the mad performances. 


In reality it was only the bloodthirsty speeches of the leaders 
and the exciting articles in the radical papers which gave 
these lands the appearance of being in full revolution. It is 
indeed difficult to imagine to what a degree the entire Press in 
Germany had at that time everywhere exceeded the limits 
allowed for free discussion concerning the form of State to be 
established, and how impossible it was to expect any just 
treatment in matters of the Press. Added to this, all the 
different parties strove to excel each other as it were in 
violent and exciting assertions and phrases ; it was as if the 
political disorganisation had brought with it a complete 
alienation of refinement and good taste. 

One could hardly take up a newspaper without reading 
the most ridiculous nonsense, painted in the colours of the 
party to which it belonged. Papers of all opinions were 
almost without exception pretty equal in this respect. I once 
read in the otherwise well-edited, and really well-meaning 
Coburg paper, which had also come into existence during the 
March days, the following amusing paragraph against the 
October Revolution : ' Dishonour and shame on the enemies 
of the Fatherland, who wish to sow the seed of Princes teeth 
in the uprooted fields of time, without reflecting that this 
Cadmus seed must itself generate throttling despots.' The 
small Republican papers were all edited by an uneducated 
class of men, who, in the coarsest language and roughest 
manner, daily made the most insane demands for and incite- 
ments to a civil war. 

That the governments were unable to obtain the mastery 
over these wretched publications was a fact which was, 
however, by no means limited to the small States. In the 
latter, however, it was to be inferred that they were unable 
to maintain themselves, and as in Frankfort, the members of 
the more serious circles of my Thuringian home mooted the 
question of their suppression. It may be imagined that the 
most different opinions were entertained concerning the 
manner, in which the small States were to be ' absorbed ' by 
the larger ones. 

Historical reminiscences of the most remote centuries were 
brought forward, in order to prove by document that there 
had been a false establishment of unity. Now the community 


of race of the Thuringians was to be adopted as the basis of a 
new formation, then the idea of old Saxony under the Emperor 
Otto, again the dynastic joint suitableness of the whole 
Wettinic House. 

I thoroughly explained my view of this matter to my 
brother on the 19th of July, and kept it unchanged through 
all disorders. At that moment the Weimar project was the 
first on the list, against which my objections were directed, 
and which cannot fail to be of some general historical interest : 

' In our immediate neighbourhood also things are happen- 
ing which make me very uneasy, and against which I try to 
work with all my might. Weimar, which has long entertained 
the thought of getting out of a situation by means of a coup 
d'etat, which must by degrees become very destructive, has 
plainly shown her colours, and, upholding the monstrous state 
of affairs in Altenburg, regards the union of the united 
Thuringian States, namely that of the Grand-Duchy and the 
three Duchies of Saxony, all Reusz and the two Schwarzburgs 
in a whole, under the rule of the Weimar Regency as an 
unavoidable necessity, for the unity of Germany, then parti- 
cularly for the welfare of the lands concerned. Both reasons 
are founded on false premises and the whole plan is sophism. 

' I will not dispute the matter here, as it is evidently all the 
same to Germany if there are to be other sovereignties, 
whether they contain other States which number one or five 
hundred thousand souls ; the single small States would be 
more willingly and advantageously absorbed by Germany, as 
a great whole, than by Weimar. It is really nonsensical in a 
moment when things are being so arranged in Frankfort in 
order to undertake rapid and therefore important changes of 
the kind, and especially against the will of the subjects. I 
could give a number of reasons against it besides, but I 
consider it unnecessary, as I should look upon the whole 
matter as less important if Weimar had not already secretly 
taken steps behind our backs which now render a quick 
settlement all the more necessary. 

' Weimar first attempted to make an agreement with Alten- 
burg according to which the whole of the latter with its 
rights of sovereignty was to go over to Weimar. Greatly as 
this negotiation would have defied all laws of order of sue- 


cession, this might easily have been accomplished, as the 
Duke of Altenburg can no longer reign after all that has 
occurred and is occurring, and is inclined to retire personally 
as soon as possible. He has even opened negotiations with 
the King of Saxony, in order to unite his territory with that 

' Secondly, Weimar has also carried on similar negotiations 
with the Government of Reusz, as well as with that of Rudol- 
stadt, and found great willingness on their parts ; that is 
what the Weimar Ministers say ; as regards Altenburg I 
myself have seen the documents. 

' Thirdly, Weimar has in the delegate Wydenbrugk in 
Frankfort a zealous advocate of her plans, and the matter 
will, I am sorry to say soon come before Parliament which is 
highly favourable to it, as Weimar has made it appear by 
means of the Press as if the Duchies were inclined to adopt the 
plan of union. All this demanded speedy and energetic 
opposition, I hastened first to Weimar, and meeting with no 
frankness and favour on the part of the Ministers, I went to 
Altenburg. They gave me full information, and I even 
succeeded in being chosen as a mediator by Altenburg, as well 
in the project of union as for private affairs. I at once began 
on the latter, tried to form a new Ministry and negotiated 
personally with the republican association which rules 
Altenburg. I fought with the " Jacobins " for nine hours but 
went forth victorious. 

' Very little interference was necessary for success, and I 
think that the machinery of State will work for at least a few 
weeks longer. I had to treat the Duke like a sick man, 
.... and by this means the state of things was made clearer 
to me. 

' The poor people parted from me with bitter tears, and I 
could hardly refrain from sadness, as I saw how we were 
going to meet destruction. On the 22nd, I succeeded in pre- 
vailing upon Weimar, Altenburg, Meiningen, Reusz and 
Rudolstadt to send delegates to Gotha, to a great conference 
at which I myself would preside. The chief battle must then 
be fought. Stockmar is entirely of my opinion that the 
constituencies should not anticipate, but must submit to what 


is decided by the majority and the administrators of the 

The Conference did really begin on the 22nd of July. 
During the sitting the question of the union of all the Thur- 
ingian States was very eagerly discussed, but what the Weimar 
Minister, Herr von Watzdorf, heard on all sides must have 
been of but small consolation to him. The opposers of the 
Weimar project quite correctly founded their point of view 
on the fact that a number of reforms in the departments of 
justice and administration would be made possible by means 
of a closer co-operation of the governments, without recognising 
that an amalgamation into a united Thuringian State would 
be worth striving for from a monarchic point of view. 

As regarded a certain community of institutions a begin- 
ning had already been made. In Jena, Head Ecclesiastical 
Councillor Schwarz had already mentioned a united church 
constitution at an assembly of Thuringian clerical authorities 
which took place a fortnight earlier. On my side there was 
all the less hindrance to an organic alliance of the Church in 
Thuringia, as I was about to refuse the rights allowed me as 
Head Bishop of the country in the bill to be laid before the 
Deputies according to Magna Charta, section 43. 

In the same way it would be possible to form a number of 
common institutions in the Thuringian countries, and one 
marvelled all the more that they had not come to life much 
sooner and in less troubled times, as they were greatly needed. 
I may say of my Minister von Stein that he showed himself 
very favourably inclined towards all such practical questions 
of unity, and later also, as will be seen, worked towards their 
solution. On the other hand, he opposed the aspirations of 
the Weimar Government as decidedly as I did. 

Eight days after the above mentioned Conference of 
Ministers, the constitutional unions of Thuringia also held an 
assembly of delegates in Gotha, at which it was also seen that 
in these circles also the Weimar united States project had but 
few supporters. In spite of all argumentative efforts, the 
Weimar affair was not brought to a sufficiently favourable 

The usual resolutions concerning the constitutional mon- 
archy with a democratic basis could not but help over the 

VOL. I. R 


real difficulties, or at least seem to, but in reality the repre- 
sentatives of the constitutional union were more disposed to 
expect the constituency of Germany from Frankfort a than to 
seek the ordering of home affairs in Weimar. For as regarded 
the private affairs there they were far behind the develop- 
ment of the constitution of the other territories. At the 
assembly of the town delegates the proceedings had not once 
been made public, and in the Diet the proposals to be made 
for the reform of the jurisdiction and the administration were 
not yet to be brought forward. 

The Republican party in Thuringia might accordingly 
hope that their affairs would really be thoroughly attended 
to through the mediatisation of the small States. As, how- 
ever, these prospects were soon done away with, the so-called 
people's union began in September, on their own account, to 
prepare for revolution and to rouse the masses of the people. 

The weakness and want of courage of the governing heads 
everywhere and at all times afforded an opportunity for this. 
Thus there was a really sad occurrence in Schleiz during the 
last days of July, as a deputation from the radical unions 
presented a petition to the Prince, which so irritated the 
latter, that he went so far as to utter hard words to the 
leaders. An assembly of the people was immediately held, 
they sent a large and threatening deputation to the Prince, 
demanded satisfaction, and really succeeded not only in 
obtaining all that had before been refused, but a written 
reparation of honour from the Prince. 

The most serious danger did not, however, come from the 
princely residences, but from the fortress of Erfurt, where a 
regular revolutionary committee had built its nest in the 
midst of the Prussian troops, and systematically agitated for 
the republicanising of Thuringia. At the head of this move- 
ment was Berlepsch, who at length succeeded in bringing 
about bloody battles in Erfurt. 

The republican uprising would, it was said, be supported 
by the Thuringian forest districts, after which they were 
going to obtain possession of the fortress. The revolutionary 
committee had been particularly successful in raising propa- 
ganda in the Gotha public domain of Georgenthal. As the 
Ministry were strictly informed of the preparations which the 


republicans had made in order to strike on an appointed day, 
I confined four companies in Gotha, so that we might at once 

Whilst I was in Reinhardsbrunn, I was awakened during 
the night a few days before the outbreak of the Erfurt 
revolution. They brought me information that the meeting 
place was in the Finsterbergen, where the insurgents were to 
assemble. I sent at once to Gotha, ordered two companies to 
move out, and that the troops were to be quickly sent on in 
waggons which must be procured, in order to take up their 
position at seven o'clock in the morning in front of the place, 
which was three miles off. I myself went on horseback to 
Finsterbergen and found the troops in the place, as my orders 
had been punctually carried out. Without exciting too much 
inquiry, I had the paths to the high-standing place occupied, 
and rode to the spot accompanied by an adjutant. Many 
barricades had been raised which were filled with a large 
number of excited wood-cutters and many strangers. At my 
energetic address the nearest barricade was cleared so far 
that I managed to reach the common-hall, where the burgo- 
master and a good number of well-meaning people had 
assembled, who were delighted at my appearance, and once 
more restored to courage and presence of mind. 

I explained in a few words that I demanded the ring- 
leaders to be delivered up, and that I would otherwise have 
them taken by force. But as was to be expected, the parish 
director and officials were not in a position to fulfil my de- 
mands, and it was indeed hardly to be carried out, considering 
the mob which had collected together. I therefore sent the 
troops an order to enter, and in a few moments the tumultuous 
crowd had retired from the barricades. The two companies 
marched unhindered up to the hall, and I took from twenty to 
thirty persons prisoners. They were tied to waggons, taken 
to Gotha, and given over to justice, which sentenced most of 
them to heavy punishments. 

Popular feeling throughout the whole forest at once began 
to cool down after the failure of the rising in Finsterbergen. 
A large assembly of the people which Berlepsch had called 
together before the town of OhrdrufF, ended most pitiably. 
He appeared there armed and carrying a red flag, and it was 


said that he wished to proclaim the Republic, but a large 
number of woodcutters, who were on the side of the Govern- 
ment, had decided to put a complete stop to the affair, if the 
announced intention was carried out. As the revolutionists 
had been informed of this eddy in the river of excitement, 
they thought it more prudent to avoid all provocation, and 
left the field. 

As regarded the mediatising tendency, the events in 
Coburg and Gotha had added but little to the stock already 
in hand. Nevertheless, I never doubted for a moment that 
circumstances might intervene, which, in the interests of the 
whole German Fatherland would render a more extensive 
renunciation of rights of sovereignty fitting, I may even say, 
that I fearlessly looked forward to this eventuality. As 
regards the latter, my brother and uncle did not on all points 
agree with my views, but were rather far more conservative 
with regard to the rights of sovereignty of our family ; never- 
theless, the Prince was so patriotic in relation to the universal 
German questions, that he would not for an instant have hesi- 
tated to cast off the semblance of a power which could find no 
room in the wide German kingdom, if it had really and en- 
tirely become fitting. 

' The Thuringian kingdom,' said my brother, in reply to a 
letter from me of the 19th July, 'would make the German 
confusion still more confused, and Weimar has no claim what- 
ever to say that it belongs to her. Meanwhile, I do not think 
that this idea originated at the Court of Weimar. The Thur- 
ingian idea is an old one, raised by the burschenschaft* of 
Jena, as, indeed, most of the ideas of to-day which are not of 
French origin, are the result of the student dreams of former 
days. Meyer knew most of the heroes of the university, and 
finds all their views unchanged. He himself took part in the 
development of the Thuringian idea twenty years ago at Jena. 
This circumstance is worthy of notice, as it suggests a large 
number of supporters of this idea, of whom one knows nothing. 
Besides, a standing means of negotiating co-operatively for 
the Saxon Houses and territories would be of great value. 
The latter would be the fruitful part of the plan, and should 
therefore be cultivated. This seems to have been your feeling 

* A certain political association of students at the German university. 


also, when you summoned the Congress in Gotha. The prin- 
cipal thing will be to bring forward the practical advantages, 
and to contrast them with the poetical idea, for example, the 
meeting of a committee of Deputies of the different lands every 
three years to come to an agreement over a thousand different 
interests would be highly beneficial.' ^n this respect my 
brother also was very well satisfied with the results of the 
Conference at Gotha, and on the 9th of August he wrote con- 
cerning this : ' The points which were considered are all 
practical, and one only wonders that the Revolution of the 
year 1848 was needed to bring about so ostensibly a necessary 
explanation. The governments and the bureaucrats really 
have much to answer for.' 

If the matter of the union of the Thuringian lands was 


grasped and judged in so objective a manner by my brother, 
a letter written by my uncle on the 16th of October 1848 
about the mediatisings question of the smaller States, un- 
doubtedly belongs to the most important statesmanlike 
documents of the time, and I gladly seize the opportunity 
of preventing it from falling into oblivion : 

'Laeken, 16th October 1848. 

' . . . . Now I am coming to the principal point, which is 
the reason of my sending you my faithful Liebmann. Dr 
Meyer arrived in the evening of the 14th from Frankfort, and 
informed me of the success of the efforts there to make the 
small Princes abdicate willingly, and that Karl Leiningen 
especially is at the bottom of this business. Meyer says that 
he saw you a short time ago, and that he told you what 
opinion he entertained of the position which he looks upon as 
the fittest which could be adopted with regard to the 
constituent classes (in Gotha). What he says on this subject 
appears to me to be good. These constituent representations 
are a great danger to you, and indeed, as the National Assembly 
meets in Frankfort, I do not see what their aim is. In any 
case you must endeavour to remain on a friendly footing with 
them, and to make them understand what they would have to 
lose if they become constituent parts of a larger State. 

' Next, you must explain to them that you would do any- 
thing in order to help to establish a general union and the 


respective unity of Germany. Already before the Revolution 
of February the idea of making military affairs a matter for 
the Confederacy was put into words. Many other concessions 
can be made in this sense. But with regard to one thing, do 
not allow yourself to be shaken, do not accept a civil list for 
the House Domains! As things are, that would be the greatest 
misfortune which could befall you. I do not need to explain 
this to you. 

'Now for the second part. The real Unitarians had an 
idea that Prussia should be absorbed by Germany, that it 
should be placed at the head of the German communities and 
that the other States could only follow the example of 
Prussia allowing herself to be absorbed by Germany. This 
was Stockmar's idea. Hard as this notion may appear to me, 
yet it cannot be denied that if the idea of unity is more 
closely examined it must almost appear thus. The complica- 
tions in Prussia prevented this plan from being carried out, 
and several new plans came to light, all of which you know. 
The very newest one, of which I had already heard from 
Meyer, is, that those States are to be persuaded into giving 
up their existence themselves, which apparently do not possess 
sufficient vital power to keep up alone. 

' Among these are reckoned 1. Baden. 2. Kurhesse. 3. 
Nassau. 4. Hohenzollern. 5. Altenburg, Meningen, etc. ; 
they wish to extend this to all the small ones, and they are 
to relinquish their position of sovereignty of their own accord. 
I have heard two versions of the results which are to come of 
this. The first is, that the first immediate Imperial country 
will have to be created from this as a future kernel. Prussia, 
who still took a rather lively part in the matter in September, 
noticed, however, what it was coming to, and was very much 
opposed to it. 

'The second version is, that the small States which are 
incapable of governing themselves are to be given up to the 
larger ones. 

' If an end is put once for all to the matter according to the 
wish for the'common unity of the single States, I understand 
that the small States will resign themselves to it ; but if the 
small States are given up to the larger ones, this will of 
course hinder the unity of Germany still more, as it will 


strengthen the particularism of the kingdoms still more, and 
the union will therefore be more difficult to attain. To add 
to such a state of things by willingly abdicating, when it 
would work no good for the unity, would be to act like a bad 
patriot, and, what is more, would be a really silly manner of 
committing suicide. One must never give up one's rights 
one's self, for then they are lost beyond hope of recovery ; 
force is not right, let him insist upon it who will. Moreover, 
you cannot undertake such a self abdication without consult- 
ing the agnates, and I would advise you as regards the consti- 
tutional representatives, to entrench yourself behind the 
agnates. The agnates are collective, which is always an 
advantage; they have undoubted rights, which cannot be taken 
away from them without their being consulted, to do which, 
you in your position have no right whatever. The nearest 
agnate is in England in a very poor position, the other most 
important one is here, with the key to Germany in his hands, 
which also deserves some respect. 

' The historical position may now be taken into considera- 
tion. Almost all the larger States and several of the smaller 
ones are a mosaic of different territories. This is the case with 
Baden, Nassau, Wiirtemberg, Bavaria and Prussia. Saxony 
alone possesses nothing on both sides, which the House has 
not possessed for centuries. Both lines have even been 
deprived of a portion of their old and, in part, real family 
possessions. The losses of the elder line, which drew the 
chestnuts out of the fire for the reformation of that time, were 
large enough three hundred years ago. Of this elder line, 
the not important branches in Europe are the very ones 
which have rendered brilliant service to constitutional 
concerns ! 

' I resume : A great deal of friendliness and disposition to 
come to an understanding in representative transactions, to 
make a sacrifice, also, but to accept no civil list, which always 
makes the Prince a kind of state beggar. As regards the 
kingdom : To give up all moments of sovereignty which may 
do good to the whole kingdom. If the kingdom insists upon 
the abolishments of all separate States ; a hearty and patriotic 
consent to such a step. If, however, it is only a matter of 
separate spoliation and suicide, a polite reference to the 


common right, le droit commun, and to international right 
and in no case to abdicate of yourself ! . . . .' 

My uncle's letter, which in spite of the haste of the moment, 
betrays his whole grasp and style, was written on the supposi- 
tion that I was only too much inclined to yield to the current 
of the times, which could not be said to be very correct. But 
if one follows his description of the universal situation, one 
must give him credit for a deep political perception of the 
situation. How far I agreed with his conception will be best 
seen in a letter from me, which informed him of the Prussian 
proposals for the institution of a college of Princes of which I 
shall have more to say later on in connection with greater 
matters. I will only bring forward that here which I especially 
wished to mention as my answer to the fears of the King : 

' . . . . The way to a partial execution of the Prussian 
proposals is now clear. . . . By this means I hope that I 
have made the fatal melting down of the small States into a 
Thuringian kingdom at the head of w T hich Weimar wished to 
place himself, quite impossible. Did I not care for the uni- 
versal welfare and were I not an enemy to all revolutionary, 
efforts, it would have been an easy task for me to place myself 
at the head of a much larger union. 

' It sounds like arrogance, but unfortunately I might say 
I am at present enjoying a degree of popularity and influence 
in this part of Germany, such as I never dreamt of. Uncon- 
sciously, and without having in the least sought it, I have 
attained the doubtful honours of a " people's man," and incon- 
venient and ticklish as the position is, I have nevertheless 
the ability to push the German matter very powerfully, by 
serving the whole while neglecting my own interests. I have 
in this way already rendered many a service to different 
reigning cousins, but they are none the less envious of the 
position which I occupy.' 

Anyone, however, who knew the relations from personal 
observation and adhered to no empty theories, could not help 
noticing during this time how the spectre of the small States 
had taken a much deeper hold on the most extended masses 
of the people than would be admitted in Frankfort. The 
larger number of the Thuringians wished to know very little 
of all ideas of melting down, and the thought of mediatisation 


also, if it had assumed a form, would certainly not have 
helped on the work of unity. Remarkable to say, my own 
cousin, Leiningen, was one of the most prominent personages 
in Frankfort who wished to see the small States set aside. 
As President of the Ministry of the Kingdom he had really 
put this idea into motion, and was continually telling me 
that I ought to adopt this view. Concerning him, this may 
be the moment to bring forward an address of the Diet of 
Gotha, which treats this theme in an exhaustive manner. It 
was drawn up by men who, on the ground of the most 
extended election represented the country, and who said 
that no guarantees liberal and democratic enough could be 
demanded in relation to internal affairs. On the 10th of 
November they drew up the following readable letter to the 
Frankfort National Assembly : 

' We are appointed by the unbiassed election of the inhabi- 
tants of the Duchy of Saxe -Gotha to consider and establish a 
constitution suitable to the wants of the land, drawn up by 
our liberal-minded Duke, as well as to exercise the rights 
thereby pertaining to the whole body of our fellow-citizens. 
The land to which our calling is limited, is of but mean com- 
pass. The Duchy of Gotha numbers about 105,000 inhabi- 
tants, but the Gothaer feels a deep attachment for his small 
Fatherland for the Thuringian mountains and their nearest 
surroundings in a northern direction he honours a long list 
of noble princes, the landgraves of Thuringia and the Dukes 
of Saxony are his ; he loves the town of Gotha, as the abode of 
highly deserving German men, as the princely ancestral seat, 
whence Duke Ernest the Pious, the progenitor of the whole 
House of Gotha, reigned over the duchy, when it still embraced 
Meiningen, Hildburghausen, Coburg-Saalfeld and Altenburg. 
We have been together for six weeks, in order to ensure to 
the country freedom and order according to the demands of 
the new times, and partly to do away with, partly to lessen 
heavy burdens dating from the Middle Ages, in order to 
distribute the duties of the State in right proportion, in order 
so to shape the constitution as the consideration of that unity 
of Germany demands, which is being striven for by your 
highly honoured men in whom is reposed the confidence of 
our great universal Fatherland. Nor do we doubt that we 


shall succeed by means of a convention with our Duke, in 
soon meeting and opposing the scruples likewise raised by 
the defenders of the system of mediatisation, as well as the 
supporters of the Republic, in consideration of the excessive 
expenses of Government in a manner corresponding to the 
wishes of the inhabitants of our land. In the midst of the 
fulfilment of our duties our gaze is fixed on the resolution of 
the high National Assembly of the 30th of October in this 
year, according to which various proposals for the mediatis- 
ation or the union of the smaller German States have 
been assigned to the constitutional committee for discussion 
and report. 

' In respect of the decision of this question we may be 
allowed to repose the greatest confidence in the circumspection 
and justice of our eminent National Assembly ; hereby we 
particularly find the Duchy of Gotha most completely repre- 
sented through the description which our fellow-citizen J. G. 
Becker of Gotha elected as a fellow-member of the Assembly 
of the States of the German Empire by the Duchy of Gotha, 
delivered to the great Assembly on the 4th inst. Meanwhile 
we will in any case hereby plainly express our confident hope, 
that the Duchy of Gotha will be recognised as an ancestral 
land, most of the constituent parts of which have been torn 
from it by former distributions of provinces.' 

The address was signed by all the members of the Diet. 
Whilst their aim and intention is clearly to be seen in it, I 
need hardly remark that the whole Thuringian question 
really lay in the lap of the National Assembly, and therefore 
threatened to assume all the more acute a character from the 
fact that the military measures adopted by the States 
Ministry immediately concerned Thuringia, and numbers of 
Confederate troops transported thither, the billeting of which 
was highly burdensome to the land, gave rise to the wide- 
spread belief that it was a matter of forced mediatisation. 
In consequence of this, Deputy Becker had also received a 
large number of petitions and counter-declarations from 
country parishes also, and had added them to his above- 
mentioned representation in the address of the Diet to the 
National Assembly. An Imperial Commissioner had been 
added to the Confederate troops, who, in the person of Herr 


von Miihlent'els in every way encouraged the Thuringian 
union project. In the National Assembly itself, the Weimar 
plenipotentiary, Herr von Wydenbrugk, was working for it 
and, wonderful to say, was supported in this matter by 
Prussian Deputies of the Province of Saxony. That, however, 
Prussia had not won a single friend in Germany that would 
support her in founding of a new middle State, but only 
strengthened the opposition of Saxony and Hanover seemed 

Concerning this situation Herr von Stein sent me informa- 
tion in December from Frankfort, which will, it is true, some- 
what anticipate the events and negotiations which immediately 
followed, but which may be said to be suitably introduced 
here on account of its objective and scientific statement of the 
existing state of affairs : 

' Right as it seems to me to stand by Saxony, and to go 
with Saxony in the accomplishment of the German Empire, 
this might yet be doubtful if, on the other hand, the Royal 
Saxon Cabinet were to withdraw more from Prussia with 
Bavaria and Saxony. If the break which it is feared will 
occur in German affairs does occur, it will certainly be to the 
interest of the small German States to unite themselves as 
strongly and cordially with Prussia as possible. 

' But be German with Prussia, otherwise rather Prussian. 
This, at least, is my opinion, and I believe that of the majority 
in Central Germany. In Frankfort I laid upon myself the 
task of finding out what grounds our Royal Commissioner 
and the Ministers of the Empire as well, have for their 
dislike for and evident distrust of Saxony, and the following 
facts became evident to me. Miihlenfels is the intimate 
university friend of Wydenbrugk, and is the brother-in-law 
of Professor Duncker in Halle ; the former is known to be the 
creator of the idea of the united Thuringian State, and the 
latter the chief advocate in Frankfort of the Prussian pre- 
dominance. The Prussians and friends of Prussia in Frank- 
fort, do not trust Saxony on account of her still continued 
dislike to everything Prussian, and, although it has been 
admitted to me that the excited antipathy would be lessened 
by the alliance with a million Thuringians or eight such 
territories which were accustomed to act according to Prussia's 


example, yet people are anxious, and indeed rightly so, lest a 
republican heart might be formed by this alliance in Germany, 
for which anxiety, only too good reason was and is given by 
the elections made by Saxony of members of the Parliament, 
and latterly to the Saxon Diet. Against this the only means 
to be resorted to, is a strong show of Imperial power, and if 
this is not done, it will then certainly be better not to seek an 
alliance with Saxony.' 

In the foregoing words, Herr von Stein already took into 
consideration a phase of the transactions which only set in 
after the overthrow of the Weimar project. In order to 
describe the development of matters connectedly, I must once 
more return to the decisions of the National Assembly. 

When the General Constitutional Bill came under con- 
sideration, all the proposals made in paragraphs 5 and 6 for 
the mediatisation or union of the smaller States, were first re- 
ferred to the constitutional committee on the 30th of October 
for discussion and report. Nevertheless, the Royal Com- 
missioner von Miihlenfels was given the task in Thuringia 
of furthering the work of uniting the smaller States by means 
of conferences with the Ministers. The principal Assembly 
had been called together in Gotha on the 15th of December, 
and took place in order, as it says in the protocol, ' to debate 
and to come to an understanding concerning the future 
political position of the Thuringian States, partly for the 
whole united Fatherland, partly for each other, and the 
respective assemblies of delegates.' 

How far the Imperial Ministry had instructed the com- 
missioner concerning single questions, or whether the latter 
thought himself free to act a good deal on his own account, 
I cannot say with certainty ; and, as the conference only 
arrived almost exclusively at negative results, it did not 
strike me as necessary to follow the matter in all its devia- 
tions. During the whole negotiations, so much that was 
unpractical and arbitrary appeared side by side with so many 
necessary and desirable efforts, that, on the whole, one would 
have been glad to see matters entrusted to more skilled 
hands and more favourable times. But, concerning the 
Ministers who had assembled at Gotha, the testimony must 
not be withheld that they recognised, with the greatest 


resignation, all the evils of smaller States, picked them out, 
and published them in a protocol without, it is true, any 
possible practical proposal being made, or anything being 
said, which might lead to a new manner of development. 

Herr von Muhlenfels had proposed three points for discus- 
sion in the form of questions : (1) How far is it possible or 
necessary for the Thuringian States everywhere to maintain 
the status quo of their independence with regard to the 
Central Power ? (2) In case this status quo cannot be main- 
tained, how far, then, is the annexation of these States, singly 
or all together, to larger States, and to which ones advisable ? 
(3) Or, if this should not meet with approval, is it possible 
and advisable that the Thuringian States should unite in a 
kind of united state ? 

These questions were tolerably comprehensively answered 
in the form of a protocol by Watzdorf from Weimar, Stein 
from Gotha, Spessart from Meiningen, Gablenz from Alten- 
burg, Chop from Sondershausen, Roder from Rudolstadt, 
Brohmer from Coburg, and Otto from Greiz. Of the 
Ministers present, with the exception of Herr von Watzdorf, 
they all unanimously agreed, that the prevalent inclination of 
the people as a whole was certainly for the maintenance of 
the independence of the individual States. If one reads over 
at this day the utterances of the certainly not preponderant 
Conservative members of the conference, one cannot help 
receiving the impression that a large part of the audible 
expressions of so-called public opinion had no great founda- 
tion amongst the people, but were for the most part only those 
of a small circle of the middle classes. 

The insight into the necessity for a political unity was 
clearly stronger amongst Government circles than amongst 
the great masses, and a salutary influence on the great ideas 
of the times could therefore only arise from the honest 
co-operation of the Princes and their Ministers. But this was 
the very point, which had been the most overlooked and mis- 
apprehended by the liberal parties in the single assemblies as 
well as the German National Assembly. 

Amongst the Saxon Ministers, as regarded this affair, Herr 
von Spessart had, at any rate, chosen the simplest view 
conceivable. He openly declared to the conference in the 


name of the Meiningen Government, that no changes were 
necessary in the political relations of the small States generally 
or particularly. He did, indeed, admit that, as regarded 
German Confederate affairs, the German National Assembly 
had now been summoned to influence by their eventual 
decisions the future of the constitution as well as the state of 
individual rights and separate constitutions, but as for the 
rest, he ended his speech for the preservation of the inde- 
pendence of the small States with a declaration worthy of 
notice for its acknowledged frankness : 

' I will bring forward still another reason for our inde- 
pendence in relation to the Central Power and its wishes : 
We ourselves have a more secure position than the Central 
Power. We have for ourselves a historical foundation, 
whereas that of the Central Power is certainly a loose one.' 

In the course of the debate the Royal Commissioner had 
found an opportunity of emphasising the fact that, besides 
the representation for Meiningen, no one regarded the preser- 
vation of the status quo as possible. Nevertheless, no one was 
in a position to propose a new form for any union whatever 
of the Thuringian States, and the Royal Commissioner himself 
was forced, as it were, to acknowledge the fruitlessness of the 
discussion as far as this was concerned. 

Minister von Stein regretted that they had not agreed to 
a division on this project. Herr von Watzdorf declared him- 
self decidedly against the absorbtion of the small States by 
one of the larger ones ; in this respect he would listen to as 
little about Saxony as about Prussia. Amiably disposed as 
the Saxon people had shown themselves, he said with regard 
to the German question, they would not be better than the 
Prussian nation, and were just as particular as the latter. 

A common Thuringian Diet was proposed, which found 
much general approbation, but when a question was raised 
as to its competency, it became evident that it would be 
exceedingly difficult to employ it in a suitable way. No one 
would admit a union of finances as being possible, military 
matters were still presumptively reserved for the Central 
Power and the Parliament, general commercial matters were 
claimed by the tolls' union. 

When at length Herr von Watzdorf brought forward a 


bill, drawn up by himself for a State convention, which 
would bring the Governments into closer relations with 
Weimar, Herr von Spessart burst forth after the reading 
with the words : ' The closing paragraph of this bill should 
really run thus : " From this time forth you Thuringian States 
are no longer independent, but belong to Weimar ! " 

The result of the consultation concerning the 18th para- 
graph, containing the Thuringian States project, was, on the 
whole, purely a negative one, and an idea, which at any other 
time, and principally ten or twenty years earlier, would not 
have been without worth and merit, looked as if it would 
soon be buried. The further attempts to establish a greater 
bond between the Thuringian States, were founded on an 
entirely different basis. After the opposition which had been 
shown the first project, Weimar succeeded in inclining popular 
opinion more to the Saxon idea. 

In February 1849, Herr von Watzdorf came forward with 
a very comprehensive project for a great Saxon-Thuringian 
States Union. He sent a bill from Frankfort to the Govern- 
ments, according to which nine States, with the kingdom of 
Saxony at their head, were to form the States Union, which 
provided military matters, as well as the making of laws and 
the administration, and was to bring about the common 
representation of the United States with regard to their 
relations to the German Confederacy. 

Amongst the proposals which had hitherto been made in 
this direction, the new plan of the Government of Weimar 
distinguished itself by its great clearness and determination. 
Towards this, my Government demeaned themselves in a 
thoroughly benevolent and responsive manner, without, how- 
ever, there being any possibility of doing anything decisive, 
as long as no understanding could be come to concerning the 
settlement of the German question, which pointed ever more 
decidedly towards the Prussian Empire. The worst of the 
project was that the Royal Saxon Government did not throw 
off the discreet reserve which they had shown from the first 
in all questions of union. 

Nevertheless, Weimar, as well as Saxony, had particularly 
burdened my Government with the blame for the non-success 
of these plans. I myself not only gave the matter my 


closest attention, but made my brother fully acquainted with 
the negotiations. He enlarged on the December proposal in 
a very widely embracing memorial, which was of the greatest 
interest, both personally and objectively. 

' Windsor Castle, 9th January 1849. 

' I have carefully read the Protocol of the conference of 
the Ministers of the Thuringian States, and their agreement 
concerning the formation of a Thuringian States Union, and 
the following ideas have occurred to me thereby: 1. Desir- 
able as the foundation of this States Union certainly is, and 
necessary as it is that the Governments should now come to 
an understanding respecting the formula of this plan, yet it 
appears wise to me to delay the execution of this work until 
the definite settlement of the German Imperial constitution, 
considering that the success and endurance of this work will 
depend upon the energetic grasp of the wheelwork of the 
great German machine of State to be set up in Thuringia. 
Therefore let the plan be carried on as far as possible, but let 
the final execution be delayed until the Imperial Constitution 
has been firmly established. 

' 2. In the very small States a complete carrying out of the 
constitutional system, and particularly one which is laid on 
the widest democratic foundation, as is now universally 
demanded in Germany, may be realised only to a certain 
degree with the purely personal relations of the individual 
Thuringian States. These States have only obtained the 
possibility of a complete realisation through a united popular 
representation. It looks now, however, as I see with regret, 
as if that system with all its intricacies for the united Diet, is 
also to be continued in the individual States. I should consider 
this a political mistake. For if the consciousness of the want 
of many essential preliminary conditions for representing a 
complete constitutional State appear to have already contri- 
buted to bring the Thuringian States to a decision, to seek 
the o-uarantee of their endurance in their union, how much 


more will this want be felt if all the greater German interests 
are decided by a German Imperial Diet and the responsible 
Ministry, but the more partial interests by a Thuringian Diet, 
and the elbow-room of the individual constitutions will there- 


fore be limited solely to the smallest local interests. Certainly, 
the representation of the single States must also continue, but 
it must here be assigned to a space which, according to my 
judgment, would only suffice for the competency of provincial 
assemblies and administrative authorities, and to whom, for 
instance, a Double-House system and the responsibility of the 
Ministry would of course be denied. 

3. This Double-House system, however, without which a 
really constitutional system cannot be carried out, I demand 
for the organisation of the united Diet, and, indeed, that it be 
such, that representatives of the individual States may form 
the Upper House, after the pattern of the constitution of the 
empire and the Prussian constitution, but chosen representa- 
tives must form the Lower House for the whole States Union. 
Such an organisation would be in harmony with the principle 
according to which the constitutional system in Germany 
generally aspires to establish itself. Moreover, the States 
must take into consideration the appointing of a seat in the 
Upper House for the major Princes of their reigning Houses, 
as it is of more importance now than ever to afford these 
Princes the possibility of a public, constitutional and popular 
education, and an early, active share in promoting the welfare 
of their lands. 

' 4. If the Thuringian Regents and Princely Houses wish 
to maintain their princely position founded on the respect and 
love of their subjects in the impending transformation of their 
former patrimonial States into democratically constituted 
ones, and at the same time the change of the German State 
Confederacy into a single Constitutional Confederate State, 
they must accept no civil list, but must possess a House 
income for the support of their Court and household, which, 
if possible, needs no additions from the taxes, and over which 
no chamber can exercise any authority. The domains of the 
Saxon Duchies were until now mixed possessions, of mixed 
origin, and from their revenues, which, again, were mingled 
with taxes, provided the means to meet the expenses of the 
Regent as well as the State. As a division is to be made 
therein, it is but right and just, according to principle, that 
the domains themselves should be divided between State and 
Regent, that is, that one portion of the same shall become tha 

VOL. I. s 


sole property of the State, the other the sole possession of the 
Regent's family. But the taxes should then be given to the 
State. This is the only just solution which I can see of a 
very difficult question, as advantageous for the people as for 
the Regent, which, if not thus solved, must continually 
endanger the existence of the State as well as that of the 
Regents. The Thuringian States should make the proposed 
solution as a part of their agreement, leaving the provisional 
settlement of the divisional modalities to the individual 

As may be seen from my brother's memorial, our House 
opposed no hindrance to any of the Unions striven for in 
Germany, nor to any matters relating to the great questions 
of the individual or combined fatherland. If it obtained no 
practical success either here or there, we could say on our 
side that the Power was wanting to assure the execution of 
the best intentions on our part. But if nothing was to be 
attained in the political department, one might at least hope 
that the endeavours to bring about unity in military affairs 
would meet with better success. 

Movements for a new order of army regulations had been 
repeatedly made by the Imperial Ministry. In August 1848, 
proposals had been made to bring about a closer annexation 
of the Thuringian contingent to the Saxon army, In February 
1849, conferences were summoned to Weimar by Major 
General von Holtzendorf, to consider the formation of the 
Thuringian and princely Reusz imperial contingent into an 
independent division. 

In order to obtain information beforehand concerning the 
sentiments and intentions of the Saxon Court and Ministry, 
I went on the 18th of January to Dresden and stayed there 
some time. Unfortunately the only impression made upon 
me was that people there were at that time in a situation 
which rendered any kind of decision impossible. Herr von 
Stein had quite rightly written to me on the 26th of 
December : 

'If it will be any great comfort to Your Highness to 
speak with the King of Saxony and his Ministers before the 
Conference, I will not advise against it. The door to Saxony 
can, and must not be closed to us through the Conference, 


and Meiningen will certainly stand by us with Saxony in 
military matters at least. That, however, the relations of 
the Cabinet to Austria and Prussia will at once be truly and 
plainly disclosed in Dresden, so that one will be able to say 
what will be done, if the imperial project falls to the ground, 
I doubt all the more, because I am rather inclined to think 
that even in Dresden it is not yet known.' 

The latter remark showed the situation at the Court as 
well as in the Saxon Ministry. Remarkable to relate, the 
blame was later laid on me in Dresden, because the project of 
a Saxon military convention had failed. As I myself belonged 
to the Saxon military union, and adhered most faithfully to 
the Saxon army, this pained me greatly, and gave rise to an 
exceedingly unpleasant correspondence with the Saxon War 
Minister Rabenhorst, whose retrospective observations throw 
a light on the state of things in 1848 and 1849. 

As may be understood, the reasons for the non-success 
which has been laid to my door by the Saxon Government, 
lay rather in the political relations of the year 1850, than in 
my attitude in the question of the military convention, but in 
the feeling of complete triumph with which the Austro-Saxon 
policy came out of the affair, I was made to feel that the 
Thuringian-Saxon project had not been accomplished. I will 
only treat that portion of the correspondence here, which 
related to the question of the military convention, reserving 
the other for later use in my narrative. From this the reader 
will best be able to see my real position in relation to 

' I will only remind your Excellency,' I wrote to the war 
Minister, ' of the Conferences which occupied the winter of the 
year 1849, and which had as an object the lasting release of 
the Duchies of Saxony from their agnatic union, and the 
formation of a so-called Thuringian United State. My activity 
and my efforts alone were successful in frustrating that fatal 
project. But I did not wish to stop there ; foreseeing new 
complications, I tried to induce the Royal Saxon Government, 
by [taking advantage of the universal striving for a closer 
union of the smaller middle German States, to establish a con- 
federacy at the head of which the Kingdom of Saxony would 
have stood, and the immediate consequences of which would 


have been the union of those smaller contingents with the 
Saxon army. My efforts remained unrewarded. The Saxon 
Ministry of that time had not the earnest desire to carry out 
this plan, so important for Saxony as well as for us. 

' Springtime arrived, the campaign in Schleswig put an 
end in every sense of the word to further negotiations, the 
crisis in Dresden followed, and shortly afterwards the king- 
dom of Saxony concluded the so-called Confederacy of the 
three Kings in alliance with Prussia and Hanover. The more 
important this step was, the more I marvelled, even at that 
time, that the Duchies could be left entirely unregarded ; 
they were forsaken by their nearest agnates and individually 
forced by circumstances to take part in the alliance under 
many different conditions imposed on them. 

' How important it would have been if Saxony had closed 
this important alliance by a closer Union with the Duchies ! 
Only a few months passed before Saxony found herself forced 
to withdraw from the Union, for reasons which I am not 
called upon to criticise, until she at length succeeded in 
definitely separating herself from her allies. Has Saxony 
perhaps tried during all this time, painful to us as it was, to 
win us over to her interests and plans ? We were left un- 
noticed, and Saxony sought alliances opposed to our interests, 
yes, even inimical to them, so that a chasm was opened 
between us which might easily have led to the most deplor- 
able conflicts.' 

In Minister von Rabenhorst's reply, of which I will only 
mention the most essential portions, he said, amongst other 
things : ' The Royal House of Saxony has not failed to see 
that the realisation of the idea of a Thuringian United State 
with the dissolution of the agnatic relations to the Royal 
House has been wrecked with the distinct co-operation of 
Your Highness. Your Highness's sharp glance had seen that 
the ideas of a Herr von Muhlenfels a man, who formerly, at 
least, devoted himself to entirely different aims than the 
fortification of Thuringia's individual States, or to a Thurin- 
gian United State, that, I say, the realisation of this idea 
would have advanced the interests of neither the kingdom of 
Saxony nor those of the Thuringian States themselves, 
especially not the interests of those amongst the smaller ones, 


which would perhaps have devolved to a larger Thuringian 

' Equally little do I allow myself to doubt for a moment 
that a confederacy of the smaller States of Central Germany 
with the Kingdom of Saxony would have accorded with the 
intentions of Your Highness; and I frankly deplore with 
Your Highness the fact that Your Highness found so little 
support in these efforts amongst the other Princes of Thuringia. 
No inclination of the Thuringian Heads of the States for a 
closer alliance with the Kingdom of Saxony was to be per- 
ceived from the utterances of their Ministers. It even 
appeared to me, that, since Minister von Stein was accredited 
to the Central Power in Frankfort, shortly after the Gotha 
negotiations, that a not unsubstantial change even in the 
policy of Your Highness's Cabinet was perceptible at the same 
time as the perceptible alteration in Herr von Stein's views, 
without, as far as I know, this having been deserved by the 
Royal House of Saxony. There appeared to be almost a 
dislike of such an alliance on the part of the smaller States 
during the conferences. A universal consent appeared more 
than improbable. The prepared union of the contingents to 
Weimar's decidedly shown inclination for the interests of the 
throne of Prussia likewise failed; and the plenipotentiary 
from Meiningen seemed in this case to have been supplied 
with no instructions, or at least with but very incomplete 

'The Royal Government of Saxony nevertheless, with 
frank liking for Your Highness, hastened to meet your wishes 
on the occasion of the campaign in Schleswig, as far as they 
went, and it afforded hearty pleasure to my Royal Sovereign 
to anticipate those who felt themselves moved to thank Your 
Highness with honest warmth for your very successful efforts 
in this campaign. 

' His Majesty the King, my Sovereign, still feels the same 
towards Your Highness; His Majesty will, with undivided 
partiality, strive no less to preserve the link which unites the 
Royal House to all the other Thuringian States.' 

In the further course of the letter, Rabenhorst spoke of 
Saxony's general German policy during the years 1849 and 
1850, and I will return in due time to this part of his letter. 


It need only be said here, that the War Minister failed even 
remotely to defend the attitude and proceedings of the 
Oberland Ministry. In Dresden the Saxons were so confused, 
by the crisis of May 1849, that nothing offered itself to the 
Saxon Ministry in which on one part did not breathe the 
extremest Radicalism, and on the other was represented by 
Herr von Pfordten. 

German affairs generally assumed an aspect in which 
Prussia alone had to decide, and in Thuringian House affairs 
all projects of union, all military conventions had fallen to the 

I therefore began in the first months of the year 1849 to 
strive still more earnestly than before to bring about, at least 
in my own territories, an amelioration of affairs by means 
of the union of Coburg and Gotha, and now directed all 
my efforts towards establishing a common basis of State ad- 
ministration at least in the constitutions of both Duchies. 

But, strange to say, I now met with a degree of opposition 
from my own officials as well as in the Diets and the classes, 
which is too significant of the times for me not to speak 
somewhat more at length of it. Little importance as these 
difficulties of administration and official life, which I now 
experienced, might have for the development of historical 
affairs on the whole, yet it may be proper to close this 
chapter with the description of those misfortunes of govern- 
ment, which in the year 1848 were not even to spare us, the 
man who was so powerful and so secured as to have nothing 
to fear personally. 

The two men who, occupying the highest offices, led the 
affairs of State, were not, according to the older organism 
of administration, really subordinate to one another. As 
regarded internal affairs, States Councillor Brohmer in Coburg 
was as independent as Minister von Stein in Gotha. External 
affairs were managed by the latter. 

In order to keep the destructive condition of the divided 
administration and constitutions of the two lands continually 
before their eyes, as it were, the two high officials pursued 
one another with a passionate hate which could not be 
described. Brohmer, in Coburg, who saw himself continually 
snubbed and mortified by the Gotha Minister, was plagued 


by most painful envy, and wore himself out writing endless 
letters about his rival. 

What Brohmer could never get regarded Stein's posi- 
tion in official hierarchy, was the fact that the latter had never 
gone through any regular law course, but had been promoted 
from the service of the administration, and was originally a 
forester. He therefore looked upon him as a sort of parvenu, 
and flaunted his own superiority in jurisprudence on every 
possible occasion. 

My absence in the beginning of the year 1848 furnished 
an opportunity for the two statesmen to take one another by 
the hair, metaphorically speaking, now that the dawning 
Revolution demanded the most complete union of Government 
forces. Instead of this, the two Governments of Coburg and 
Gotha made war against one another by means of every 
conceivable artifice of bureaucracy, both openly and secretly, 
whilst I, called upon by both sides as the sovereign ruler of 
both lands, was forced to smooth matters over here, and to 
reconcile there. 

Herr von Stein was an exceedingly independent, opulent 
man, an aristocrat in the good old sense of the word, un- 
selfish, without any personal interests or pretensions, and, in 
quieter times, an excellent Government official. In the 
time of the great movement he showed himself by no means 
averse to the rising ideas, he entered into many things with 
almost youthful sympathy. On the other hand, he had not 
the talent for taking things into his own hands and com- 
manding the storm, or even to defend the views of his 
sovereign, whose representative he should have been. Neces- 
sity and political distress worked too greatly on his views, 
and the wish to escape unpopularity of any kind rendered 
him more wavering during the time of such powerful excite- 
ments than he otherwise appeared. 

I have been a witness, as I shall soon show, of the most 
remarkable scenes between him and Brohmer, and controlled 
the most obstinate fights, but Stein always remained refined, 
whereas Brohmer became noisy and excited, and exhibited a 
talent for written utterances against his sovereign ruler of 
which it would be a pity if at least a few had not been 


Nevertheless, in spite of all this, I always felt a certain 
affection for Brohmer, arid received the most impossible things 
which he allowed himself with regard to me mostly with a 
certain amount of friendly humour. This arose from the fact 
that I saw in this remarkable man, a person who was most 
uncommon both inwardly and outwardly. 

He had formerly been a member of the old burschenschaft. 
A Democrat at heart, he was not able entirely to suppress the 
expiring demagogic nature even in his prominent position. 
The more he inclined in his heart to fanciful idealism, the 
more his office and the ' unhappy princely service ' impelled 
him to juridical pettifogging. His fine and widely-embracing 
juridical education, rendered him capable of carrying out 
everything which he earnestly desired, but his convictions 
were not at all steadfast, because he had set his heart on much 
loftier political things, even when he clearly saw that they 
were unattainable. 

Thus he could, it is true, be the faithful and devoted servant 
of a master for whom he felt a personal attachment, and who 
infused into him a mental and moral interest, but this faith- 
fulness was rather for the person than the master which he 
was to serve officially. If one wished to inquire into the 
ministerial custom of retiring from service at the slightest 
difference, which has grown so prevalent in the political world 
during the past thirty years, one might without question give 
my old Brohmer the merit of being one of the chief founders 
of this constitutional method of later times. In fifteen months 
he sent in a written request for dismission no less than ten 
times, yet he always remained in office. 

In so small a State as Coburg, the imitation of the great 
constitutional island kingdom and its Ministerial crises could 
not easily be brought to a pitch so exciting and so satisfying 
to the ambition, but Brohmer formally threatened me more 
than once, that he would appear before the representatives 
and bring the latent crisis to an open break. 

I had hardly returned from England in March 1848, 
before he requested leave to retire from State service, 
although, as he himself admitted in his letter, ' the warning 
to quit the service came at a very unseasonable time.' I 
could only deplore and appease. ' That you have again been 


offended at my letter/ I answered on the 30th of March, 
amongst others, ' and have applied my remarks to yourself, 
grieves me. But with the present business pressure and the 
daily crowd of suppliants, I have no time to study my words 
when writing to my " most humble councillors " during these 
bad times.' 

But one could not expect that my Privy States Councillor 
would have received friendly utterances of that kind in a 
particularly good spirit. The rights of the chase, the crown- 
lands question, the union of Coburg and Gotha, and military 
matters, furnished ever new reasons for the continually 
recurring declaration that he now found himself forced to 
refuse office. 

When the war agitation during the last months of the 
year 1848 could not be subdued, I tried to rouse Brohmer as 
well as Minister von Stein to resort at length to more 
energetic measures. When, weary of the unlawful doings of 
the masses in Gotha, I went to Coburg, I wrote to the 
Minister that the lawless condition of affairs had driven me 
away. Herr von Stein's turn immediately came to propose 

' If that was seriously meant,' answered Herr von Stein, 
' I cannot understand how Your Highness can allow me to 
retain my place a day longer. Someone will certainly be 
found who does not manage so miserably as Your Highness 
seems to think I have done. The danger is pressing, for I 
cannot see my pretended wrong-doing, and a change cannot 
therefore be expected.' 

The chief battle with the two Ministers took place before 
that, however, when the question of the union of the Duchies 
was more seriously taken up in the beginning of 1849. I had 
conceived the idea of transferring the leadership of the com- 
bined Ministries of both Duchies to States Councillor 
Brohmer, as Stein would no longer take the matter on his own 
shoulders. Brohmer, on the contrary, was willing to lead 
a Ministry with Stein, but he demanded a formal, recognised 
one for Coburg, because, he said, the Coburgers would not 
allow themselves to appear as merely an annex to Gotha. 

When I talked the matter over with Brohmer, he was 
usually willing in principle, and at most made objections to 


its execution. But the zeal of the Coburg States Councillor 
came to light when he had to speak out before the Assembly, 
but clad in the semblance of an official who knows his duty, 
and who defended an idea objectively and with strict official 
air, concerning which he spoke in an entirely different strain 
privately or amongst friends. 

I soon obtained proof that no one was at the bottom more 
inimical to the union of the Duchies, either in Coburg or 
Gotha, than the officials themselves. In private intercourse 
what had been declared a necessity in official speech, was re- 
tracted with half words, ambiguous speeches and important 
face. Thus the whole project was finally made to appear in 
the light of a caprice of the Prince, to whom the concession 
had, indeed, been made that it was to be officially negotiated 
and defended, but they were quite pleased when people wrote 
and spoke against it. 

In February 1842, under these circumstances, I composed 
the following letter to Brohmer, in which I expressed myself 
as openly as possible, as the intimacy of our correspondence 
allowed this : 

' MY GOOD BROHMER, I had already finished a letter to 
you, when I received yours of the 6th. It now seems necessary 
to me to answer its contents otherwise than I would have before 
I received it. Allow me, openly and unrestrainedly, to tell you 
my views as a friend, as I am accustomed to do. I will not 
further discuss your whole conduct hitherto, which often 
appeared incomprehensible, I will also forget the insight which 
I was able to have into things during the past year, and which 
revealed much that was enigmatical ; but, before it is too late, 
I will call out " halt " to you, in order to lead you from a path 
which you have trodden, to the misfortune of the country as 
well as of our family. 

' I say frankly and openly, that after all which has occurred, 
and in spite of your efforts to prevent your real aim from 
being recognised, I see with pain that you were from the first 
opposed to a close union of the Duchies, and since a number 
of months, every time you had the opportunity of working in 
this important matter, have done everything in order to 
establish a formal separation. 

' Your free, independent position in Coburg, the unlimited 


confidence which I reposed in you on account of your learning 
and unusual aptitude in all matters relating to the land, yes, 
even my unceasing efforts to obtain for you the universal 
liking of the public, which often hesitated about adopting 
your views because they remembered the past, which popu- 
larity a Minister must have in these days, was taken advantage 
of by you solely in order to carry out your plans. The 
incessant quarrels and jealousies in the Ministry, often over 
matters of form, were used by you as a means of driving the 
poor deceived people to believe that, if they now withdraw 
themselves entirely from the uncertain union with Gotha and 
increase the number of Confederate States by one, they may 
expect golden times under your paternal guidance, whilst I, 
like you, know with all clear sightedness that only through 
the union of the Duchies will there be any possibility of 
retaining them both, and Coburg alone would certainly at 
once be set up as a real object of State ridicule. You suggest 
articles with this meaning, you call forth addresses in a well- 
meaning union of citizens which must show me your views 
you even seize the final means, and use my Representative 
Assembly, which is entirely led by you, and in which every 
member stands far below you in mind, knowledge and ex- 
perience, to help you to execute your plans with regard to 
the sovereign. Supposing I were blind, or weak enough to 
submit in order to found an independent Duchy of Coburg, 
what would then be gained ? 

' Up to the present, I have quietly allowed you to act, 
speak and write. I have accepted the reproaches which you 
made me with the same equanimity as your excited effusions 
and the continual prospect of your retirement. I have sought 
only good and excellent traits in you, and have overlooked 
your many peculiarities, as I knew how highly your good 
qualities were to be valued ; but do not think that I shall 
remain neutral in a matter which concerns the welfare of my 
lands, my House, my honour even. Once more, I call to you 
as an old friend " Halt." 

' Read these lines through with the same calmness with 
which they were written ; they are not meant to insult, 
they only speak the truth. Do not answer me at once, but 
reflect quietly, how you are to end this game, which is 


unworthy of you. I send you herewith a proposal, which is 
intended for a kind of justification. Be great, when others 
are small, and believe me, I had good reasons for so earnestly 
asking you to undertake the direction of the Ministry. 

' Why do you reject it, and yet wish to establish a similar 
one but for Coburg alone ? Is that wise and noble ? Let me 
close, and wait for your reply, and do not come to me again 
about dismission. You must drink the cup which you filled 
for me. Yours, etc.' 

Brohmer's reply followed immediately, in spite of my 
warning : 

'MOST GRACIOUS SOVEREIGN, Your Highness's letter of 
the 8th inst. came to hand last night. You do not wish me 
to answer it t<5-day, as I might be wanting in the necessary 
quiet and composure. Most Gracious Sovereign, the necessary 
time is wanting owing to the pressure of business which could 
not be delayed, and such manifold personal disturbances, for 
me to be able to answer your letter circumstantially, but not 
the necessary calmness of mind. Attacks against my office 
and that which is thereby confided to me, can rouse me to 
battle passionately. Your accusations are aimed at my person, 
and as they are unfounded, and I have a good conscience, they 
do not disturb my peace of mind. I may go no further 
to-day. Flowers of speech are unknown to me. Where it is 
necessary I speak with the most decided frankness, and there- 
fore do so here also. Most Gracious Sovereign ! Your accusa- 
tions are of such a remarkable kind, that the contents of your 
letter, when I read it early this morning, towards two o'clock, 
astounded me. Whoever the persons may be who place them- 
selves between Your Highness and me, and be my future fate 
what it may, I am convinced that Your Highness will regret 
having written the letter now in my hands. Your Highness 
will receive my forced reply to-morrow. As Your Highness 
desires of me, I most submissively beg Your Highness to act 
magnanimously, wisely and justly. I remain with the deepest 
reverence, Your Highness's most submissive 


' Coburg, February 9th 1849.' 


In the more circumstantial document of justification which 
followed this, BrShmer had simply juridically metamorphosed 
my friendly representations into a list of accusations which 
he pretended were, if true, simply and solely calculated to 
prove him guilty of high treason. More straightforward, and 
to the purpose, was his reference that, in the confidential 
sitting of the States Assembly 'notwithstanding the con- 
sciousness that I was hereby losing the greater part of my 
hitherto enjoyed popularity, I have attempted to represent 
the union of the two lands as possible in every way, as 
advisable, even as a necessary measure.' 

The matter was really taken more earnestly in hand 
during the following months, and negotiations were continued 
and documents exchanged by the Diets on both sides. 

It was now the turn of the Gotha Representatives and 
officials to begin to raise up opposition. ' The Assembly of 
Representatives in Gotha,' Brohmer was now able to com- 
plain on the 14th of June, ' has also the new proposals of the 
Representatives here in relation to the union affair, and the 
Ministry there has, as before, remained silent with regard to 
this refusal, as did the Government Commissioner, and has 
not made the slightest attempt to make the Representatives 
show just consideration for the hitherto flourishing sisterland 
here, which has become poor and unhappy through Gotha.' 

During these latter negotiations I was in Schleswig and 
breathing the fresh air of a national undertaking, the pre- 
liminary tragical ending of which I was to see very near. I 
shall be able to tell of this at the proper time, let it only be 
said here that in this position also I found myself to a certain 
degree in opposition to my Ministry. 

The greatest difficulties beset me from Coburg and Gotha 
with regard to the management of my command in the army 
of Schleswig. The two Ministers worried me continually 
with the remonstrance that I should not leave my lands 
during such hard times. And the confusion did indeed 
increase during my absence. The House quarrels between 
the class representatives and the officials amongst themselves 
and with one another had reached the furthest point. The 
attitude of both Governments with regard to the German 
question, their relations with the Central Power and the 


neighbouring States had completely disturbed the balance of 
the governing factions, and the reins of power had fallen 
more and more out of the hands of Herr von Stein in Gotha, 
as well as of Brohmer in Coburg. 

Under the pressure of the universal German situation 
fresh conflicts with my Ministers had become unavoidable. 
Brohmer showered intensely long epistles on me, expressing 
the wish and hope that I would return to Coburg as soon as 
possible. ' This return,' said he, ' is growing more and more 
necessary, it has now become a pressing demand. Your 
Highness must surround yourself with a new Ministry. Your 
Highness must not allow yourself to think that, as I myself 
shall retire, I wish for this reason to know that the members 
for Gotha belonging to this administration are also removed.' 

As I had, at the same time, to assume a more certain 
attitude with regard to the German question, this was also 
opposed by Brohmer, and he saw himself 'driven to the 
necessity' on the 3rd of July 1849, 'of most humbly re- 
questing most gracious permission to withdraw from the 
States Ministry, even before the return of Your Highness.' 
New fuel for the quarrels between Stein and Brohmer was at 
that time supplied by several financial questions, concerning 
which the latter had reproached the former with every con- 
ceivable misuse of official power. 

It was now time for me to return home, and to attempt 
to restore order in home affairs, to which one might apply a 
word of Metternich's, which we always used in those years 
with a certain satisfaction and preference, and with which he 
thought he exculpated his method of government. On my 
return I did indeed find ' Confusion on all sides ' in Coburg 
and Gotha. 

On the 2nd of August I entered Gotha. On account of the 
troublous times I had, both here and in Coburg, where I 
arrived later the next evening, forbidden all ceremonies of 
welcome. All that had happened during the past month 
could only leave an impression of the deepest pain and the 
complete overthrow of all rising hopes of the past year, both 
in the smaller towns as well as in the broad Fatherland. 

In order to understand the course of things, one must 
consider the events in the great centres of Germany since 


the beginning of the year 1848, particularly in Frankfort 
and Berlin. What I had first to relate of my Thuringian 
mountains and valleys, and of the storms which had spread 
since the March days into the farthest corners of the forest, 
were mostly pictures which were of local interest, yet char- 
acteristic of the whole period : they were therefore presented 
to the reader with many individual traits. But I took so 
great a share during this epoch in the great and universal 
questions, that I shall now be able to depict them in all their 
historical connection. 






























DURING the period of reaction, after the year 1850, people 
tried on all sides to prove how little the German States which 


had adopted constitutional laws had been furnished by this 
circumstance with even the smallest protection against the 
Revolution of 1848. 

In many places this observation was happily applied to 
the constitutional system ; this argument was rendered appli- 
cable particularly with regard to those who were fond of 
referring to Belgium or England, and who declared that the 
peace and quiet in those countries during the revolutionary 
years was owing to their institutions. 

It may be understood that I do not intend to enter here 
into a general political discussion, nor to investigate the 
question whether the consequences of the Paris Revolution 
might have been avoided in Germany if a constitutional 
system of Government had been honourably maintained in 
the States of Central Europe, as in England, Holland and 
Belgium. It is a fact that, during the storms of the year 
1848, there existed a kind of consolation and satisfaction for 
most liberal-minded men in the quiet deportment of the 
really constitutional countries ; and I wrote more than once 
in this sense to King Leopold and to Prince Albert (12th 
April 1848): 

' Our only moral support is Belgium, for she furnishes a 
proof that monarchy can exist with liberal institutions, and 
at the same time forms a sure guarantee against anarchy. 
We feel all this quite plainly, and this view has also 
penetrated through the people.' 

With reference to my own experiences, the decision con- 
cerning the worth of my constitutional principles was made 
difficult enough to me ; as has been shown in the preceding 
chapter, I had two lands to attend to, of which one had long 
since possessed its representative constitution, and the other 
its old-fashioned regulations, but one could not have said 
afterwards that the difference between the agitations on the 
one side and the other was very great. Nevertheless, I may 
say, that State authority was never entirely lost in my little 

When, however, the reproach is made by the reactionary 
side of the German Governments that instead of temporising 
and yielding during the unhappy March days, strength alone 
should have been seriously resorted to, they forget that this 

VOL. I. T 


strength was in the hands of men who were oppressed and 
uncertain in their own consciences, through that very neglect 
of timely constitutional demands. 

The worst thing everywhere in the large as well as the 
small States was, as I wrote to my brother on the 25th of 
March in regard to many German Princes, in a jesting tone, 
but with a correct view of the situation, ' The poor sovereigns 
boasted of their sentiments as anti-liberal ; but when it came 
to action, they simply made wry faces; under cover of this 
they are all full of reactionary ideas, as may be seen at the 
first glance.' 

The universal fright which suddenly seized the governing 
classes in Germany, really took its origin in the German Diet 
itself. It was peculiarly ghostlike, when this instrument of 
obdurate reaction all at once began to sing liberal and national 

On the first of March the Confederate Assembly had sent 
out a proclamation in which Princes and Nations were called 
upon to unite in concord ; all the Governments were conscious 
of their duties in the face of the dangers of the time. The 
German Diet intended to take the demands of the national 
interests and the national life courageously into its own 

People inquired with surprise whence came this altered 
speech, and what intentions the two great Powers had ; and, 
as they did not like to hint at the worst, the measures of the 
German Diet were regarded solely as a consequence of the 
fear of revolution. Metternich really only wished to make 
a slight evolution in the ideas popular in Germany, in order 
better to secure the help of the German Confederacy for 
himself and Austria. 

In the Paris Revolution he had seen only the beginning 
of a movement against Italy : he thought that the Milan 
demonstrations against Austria and the agitations in the Papal 
territory hung together immediately with the event in Paris, 
and he expected that the French would soon break into Italy. 

Old habit of thought and the differences with the Sardinian 
and Papal Governments necessarily fixed the gaze of the 
Austrian States Chancellor on the German States, the only 
reserve which could be looked forward to, in case it came to 


warlike complications. The old Austrian method of calling 
upon the Holy Roman Kingdom in Franco-Italian cases of 
need, was to be used once more, and it succeeded in arousing 
cheerfulness in Germany. People resigned themselves to the 
astonishing address of the German Diet to the German 
people, and hardly seemed to guess that a real fire was 
already burning here, on which oil was being poured. 

Although the old Prince always insisted that he had 
foreseen everything, yet nothing is more certain than that 
during the first week in March he had no real knowledge of 
the seething state of Germany, or underestimated it. He 
negotiated with Prussia concerning the military measures to 
be adopted against the French Revolution, he let public news- 
papers emphasize the idea of Confederate reform in the 
individual States of Germany and in that of the Austrian 
Government. Finally, he brought forward the unexpected, 
bold proposal for a Ministerial Conference in Dresden, which 
was to meet the wants of the times. 

A circular despatch which was addressed to the German 
Governments on the 7th of March 1848, may be said to have 
pretty well represented Metternich's swan song, and it was a 
strange closing commentary to all that had been neglected 
during the past thirty years. It runs thus : 

'As regards the pregnant occurrences which have just- 
transpired in France, and the dangers arising therefrom to 
Germany, the German Confederate Assembly have certainly 
adopted the first measures offered by the situation. 

' Further communications concerning the most powerful 
defence of the German Confederate territories against that 
attack from outside will shortly be made to the Confederate 
Assembly by the two Courts of Vienna and Berlin, and 
doubtless be brought to a decision there at once. By this 
means these Courts do not, however, for a moment imagine 
that they have exhausted the measure of their duties which 
they owe in this decisive moment to the universal Father- 

' The efforts of the united forces of this Fatherland, the 
deepest union of the different races of Germany, as well as 
their princes and peoples will be needed in order to preserve 
for ourselves and our successors the independence, the 


freedom and the highest possessions which are offered by 
human beings. 

In such a state of things, the fortifying of the national 
link, which surrounds all parts of Germany, the strengthening 
of the spirit of the Fatherland by means of the guaranteeing 
of property, which all Germans enjoy and are to enjoy under 
the protection of the Confederation the granting of the just 
wishes of the nation, in a word, in so far as this is compatible 
with the maintenance of the rights of the Crown and the true 
welfare of the people are matters which must be at once kept 
in sight, and concerning which Germany's princes and towns 
must at once come to a decision. 

' We propose, in company with Prussia, on behalf of such 
a consultation, the immediate assembling of a Congress of 
Ministers. This would have to take place during the next 
few weeks and in Dresden. Each one of the seventeen voices 
in the close council of the German Confederacy would be re- 
presented at the Congress by a plenipotentiary. The pro- 
gramme of the points to be brought under discussion, as well 
as that for its opening on a fixed day, will shortly be given 
to your Confederate allies by us in company with Prussia. 
The task set the Congress would be the drawing up of rules 
and leading principles, the execution of which would then be 
the affair of the Confederate Assembly. In the meantime, 
will Your . . . inform the Government by which you are 
accredited, of our views and invite them at once to agree with 
the united Governments concerning the choice of the pleni- 
potentiaries to be sent to Dresden, and to supply us with 
information concerning the same. 

' The feeling which we presuppose all our allies to entertain, 
that help as speedy as it is efficacious must at once be given 
against these dangers which beset the Fatherland, this feeling 
is guarantee to us for the joyful readiness with which all the 
Governments of Germany will meet the proposal made by 
Prussia and ourselves. Accept, etc.' 

In the eleventh hour before the outbreak of the volcano, 
the Austrian Govei'nment thought that they could once more 
succeed in supporting the German princes with the old 
fashioned means of their policy, but even if individual ones 
amono-st them had been inclined to consent to the renewed force 


of the Conference, yet from the wide masses of the people to 
the highest educated classes all confidence had been lost. The 
liberal drapery of the old German Diet no longer deceived 
them, and the empty phrases in their toothless mouths really 
worked exhilaratingly for the Revolution. 

Prussia had, it is true in all honesty, made herself a party 
to this last phase of Metternich's policy, but she nevertheless 
expected some concessions with regard to her position in 
Germany and in the affairs of the Confederacy. Accustomed 
to expect all improvements of her position from the complais- 
ance of Austria, she hoped by means of good services rendered, 
in case of a Franco-Italian complication to obtain a few slight 
advantages. But Frederick William IV was not thinking of 
anything more than perhaps the change in the Presidency of 
the German Diet. Besides, in Berlin Government circles 
many national attacks and turns of speech were made, and 
the Prussian journals soon delivered the watchword of the 
German United State instead of the States Union. 

With regard to this, however, on the 12th of March a 
circular note was issued by Bavaria, who flatly declared 
herself against the useless Ministerial Conferences and par- 
ticularly in Dresden, as being too far off. The despatch 
pretended that conferences of this kind could only serve as 
reminders of ' Carlsbad, Verona and Vienna : 

' The King has the intention of willingly co-operating in 
everything which can promote the great aim of the national 
strengthening of Germany ; but in the true, benevolent 
interests of the Governments as well as of those who govern, 
he can only consent to take part in the councils concerning 
German questions in case the consultation takes place in a 
form befitting the German Diet, and the results of the council 
are, it is to be hoped, incorporated with the Confederate 
Protocols about to be published.' 

Prince Metternich was no longer in a position to answer 
the Bavarian circular note, and in Prussia also entirely 
different hands were already busied with the further develop- 
ment of the German question. Even in the first weeks of 
March no one either in Vienna or in Berlin had expected so 
quick a fall of the machine of State. People were greatly 
inclined to attribute the events in the smaller States to local 


or special Court relations ; in the large States, on the contrary, 
it seemed as if the fidelity and surety of the armies must 
necessarily provide a certain protection against the revolution. 

Meanwhile, the example of Bavaria would have shown 
how easily, in those days, special and local relations gave rise 
to universal changes, and small causes produced great effects. 
The removal of the unfortunate Countess Landsfeld appeared 
to have wiped out the personal discord between the King and 
his people of Munich, but since the 2nd of March the agitation 
had assumed a purely revolutionary character. The removal 
of Minister Beck was demanded, and on the 4th and the 6th 
of March matters culminated in an open uproar, which was 
only quelled by the extensive concessions of the King. 

My cousin, Prince Leiningen, had already advised the 
King on the 2nd of March to anticipate the agitation, and to 
summon the Houses. This promise was now forcibly extorted 
from the King, and he had to declare that the Houses would 
be opened on the 16th of March. With regard to Prince 
Leiningen, Wrede had known how to convince the King that 
he ought to rely entirely upon the troops. But when the 
riots of the 4th and 6th of March occurred no one seriously 
thought of really striking, and the consequences were, as was 
later to be so disastrous everywhere, that the rabble imagined 
they had gained a great victory over the ' King's mercenaries.' 
In Munich, this mad idea which had sprung up during the 
March days amongst the lower classes concerning the 
military power of Princes, was as in all German towns, par- 
ticularly the larger ones, the real source of all the evils 
which followed. 

The so-called binding by oath of the military might be 
said to have been the confirmation of the supposed triumph of 
the people as regarded the Constitution which King Louis, as 
one of the first Princes in Germany, had abolished on the 6th 
of March. At the same time the Ministry of Wallerstein was 
dismissed, without there being any possibility of substituting 
even a single one of the Prince's followers. Bavaria was 
really without any Government at all for several days, until 
Count Waldkirch came to Munich, having been summoned 
from Carlsruhe to assume the control of the Ministry. 

Thus everything had begun to fluctuate during the past 


few days, and the King found himself in an almost desperate 
position, in which the thought of abdication grew ever stronger 
and more assertive. Since the Lola episode he had had to 
endure great inward struggles and the most indescribable 
anger and grief. For this unfortunate affair had undermined 
the peace of his own House and family, far more than might 
have been seen from the sanguine nature of the intellectual 
and good-hearted King. 

When, on the 16th of March the rumour of the presence 
of Countess Landsfeld in Munich gave rise to fresh disturb- 
ances, even in the most intimate Court circles people hesitated 
to tell one another that the King had had a long conversation 
with Countess Landsfeld in the police office buildings. 

All these circumstances united in making the King decide 
to relinquish the Government. The people, having heard the 
rumour that he had this intention, at once seized upon the 
idea of compulsory abdication. Quiet was only restored when 
Louis himself assured a deputation of citizens that no outside 
influence whatever had affected his decision. 

With regard to the political revolution which had just 
taken place, one might say generally that Countess Landsfeld, 
or her party, had forced the King in a direction which made 
the position of Bavaria in Germany so much to be desired by 
him appear possible of attainment. 

But the course of events had become entirely unbearable 
and disastrous to King Louis on two sides. 

The new relations which the kingly power was to assume 
towards the responsible Ministers of State appeared just as 
unacceptable to the King as the dependent position in which 
Bavaria threatened to fall with regard to the German unity, 
which was everywhere insisted upon. In both respects the 
tendencies which even such persons as the Princes Leiningen 
and Wallerstein exhibited, were deeply hated by the King. 
When Leiningen's letters to the King were published in a 
pamphlet, the King gave expression to his indignation at the 
disastrous leaning of the times towards bringing State 
matters into publicity, in the strongest words against Prince 
Wallerstein. In the King's autograph letter to the latter, 
at least such was the information given us, without my 
being able exactly to warrant it, there was even a passage 


to the effect that 'the King had, moreover, never had the 
slightest confidence in the Prince.' 

The Government of Maximilian II announced itself as 
strictly constitutional. A bill for the responsibility of the 
Ministers was made public. The Diet which King Louis had 
summoned on the 23rd was opened by his successor. 

Meantime the agitations in the smaller Western States if 
not so stormy, had been of no less consequence than in 
Bavaria. In Baden, on the 1st of March, a kind of storming 
petition was handed into the Assembly, only just opened, by a 
deputation from Mannheim, the twelve points of which were 
consented to by the Ministry. The tendency of the move- 
ment was chiefly in the direction of the universal German 
questions, which will soon be spoken of. 

In Wiirtemberg the King first showed a desire to oppose 
the demands of the masses. At length on the 9th of March he 
appointed a Ministry from amongst the hitherto chief opposi- 
tion party in the Diet. In the Grand Duchy of Hesse the 
influence of Mainz, which from the beginning had been one of 
the chief centres of revolution, made itself felt. The Grand 
Duke took his son, the successor to the throne Louis III. as a 
co-regent, on the 5th of March, and Heinrich von Gagern 
was placed at the head of the Ministry. 

In Nassau the confusion was so complete, that not only 
were all possible and impossible concessions made at the first 
scare, but all the crown-lands were at once given up also. 
The amusing anecdote was told of the then Minister Count 
von Dungern, that he himself had given the order to make 
the railroad impassable, so that no Confederate troops could 
come to his aid. 

In the Electorate of Hesse, the revolution assumed, in the 
year 1848, as in the year 1831, a peculiarly sharply defined 
personal character. Whereas political demands were much 
more moderate than in many small States, the people rose 
against the person of the Elector with expressions which had 
never until then been heard in Germany. 

In Hanau a provisory Government had been formed, 
which sent an ultimatum to the Elector, in which it was said 
that he must submit within three days, for not only his 
Government was suspected, but himself personally also. On 


the 10th of March everything was granted which the people 
of Hanau demanded ; the Elector capitulated, but with the 
firm intention of taking back his promises on the first 

In Oldenburg and Brunswick the usual concessions were 
wrung from the Princes by means of tumultuous scenes during 
the week between the 3rd and the 10th of March, and the 
same was done with the town magistrates in Hamburg, Frank- 
fort and Bremen. 

No timely concessions anywhere ; everywhere the expecta- 
tion of injurious tumults and the wild cries of the so-called 
people. Herein lay the really shameful and demoralising 
future of the German agitation, through which, even in the 
smallest places, all official authority was completely under- 
mined during the following months. The matter was still 
worse in some parts of Upper Germany, where the peasants 
followed the example of the town riots still more roughly, 
and seized the property of the nobility. The Frankish 
nobility particularly suffered in this way, and unfortunately 
no help or support whatever could be given by the Govern- 
ments against the wanton and barbarous devastation of their 

People imagined themselves to be going through the 
Peasant's War of 1525. But things of this kind had to 
happen, in order to open the eyes which did not seem to 
recognise the deep revolutionary meaning of events. My 
brother in England also appeared greatly inclined to picture 
the disturbances in Germany much more favourably, and to 
underestimate the social difficulties which had arisen so 

My brother had welcomed the beginning of the German 
agitation almost with enthusiasm, and the optimistic academic 
manner in which he at first handled the matter was shown in 
a letter of the 14th of March in the most remarkable way. 

' In Germany,' thus it ran ' it looks gloomy, yet I have 
not lost the hope that when the first outbreak is over, as some 
of the things neglected by the Governments have been set 
right, a plainer recognition of the right course will be arrived 
at. The proofs of devotion to the Princes and their Houses 
are surely not to be despised, and the striving for German 


unity is worthy of praise. It is to be deplored that the 
excitement in Germany makes it impossible for thinking 
Germans to follow the Paris experiment with undivided 

' It is one of the most remarkable plays which history has 
ever offered us, and full of useful teaching for all statesmen 
and those skilled in State affairs. One thus rightly sees how 
the bold interference of the madly confident human hand in 
the wheels of the social machine, which is propelled more by 
natural forces and according to natural laws, all through 
human wisdom, disturbs the machine and unchains all the 
natural forces against society. The circle is growing narrower 
and narrower, and the catastrophe is approaching visibly. 
An outbreak in Germany can hardly be avoided ; and God 
help the Germans, when they too have sinned against nature, 
and are not united.' 

Even the shocks which now occurred in Vienna and Berlin 
could not cloud my brother's bright hopes. He even wrote 
to my uncle on the 21st of March, as follows : 

' Since then a fresh catastrophe has occurred : in Vienna ! 
Metternich wanders about a fugitive ! Shocking as is such 
a destruction of a system which has existed so long, and much 
as one must tremble at the excesses, yet I see in these events 
the saving of Germany and of Italy also. In Germany the 
confidence of the people will again be given to the Princes, 
who are now no longer moved by secret influences to play 
false, to give much and secretly take it back again ; it will 
place the King of Prussia on his feet, and obviate the impossi- 
bility of uniting constitutional and absolute States in a 
confederacy for political universal work. 

' In Italy the pretext of Austrian aggression will fall to 
the ground, and even Lombardy will obtain that for the 
possession of which she wished to tear herself away from 

' What is now occurring in Berlin is highly important, un- 
fortunately our news is abruptly ended with a tight in the 
streets ; God grant that the King has remained victorious at 
least in the streets ! Russia's influence over Germany has 
now pretty well ceased to be, and this pressure on the 
Governments, this suspicion of the populace has, at least, been 


removed. I imagine that the new state of things will be as 
follows: Austrian provincial representative chambers in 
Bohemia, Moravia, Tyrol, Austria, Carniola, Steyermark, 
Venice, Lombardy a united Diet in Vienna, after the pattern 
of the Prussian one. An entirely modern constitution in 
Hungary. A popularly organised German Confederation 
with German Representative Parliaments, an administration 
of the Empire alternating between Austria and Prussia (with 
certain executive prerogatives), tolls-union for all Germany. 

' When this is organised and appears good, an imitation of 
the same in Italy, an Italian Confederate and tolls-union, 
into which Austria will also enter with her provinces there; 
Austria's power making her the centre of gravity in both 
State Confederations and thus the connecting link between 
the two. The whole centre of Europe reduced to a single 
conservative mass, which keeps the Asiatic barbarian within 
bounds, as well as the restless mischief-maker, the Gaul : 
Modern, constitutional, industrial realisation of the middle- 
age idea of the Holy Roman Kingdom.' 

In those days of distuibance and the unceasing necessities 
of the moment, seldom has a greater, and, if one will, clearer 
political fancy -organisation been painted by a politically 
thoughtful and influential man than the above ; for my part, 
however, I was convinced that, even if the primary idea of a 
political system, such as my brother thought of, might be 
attractive enough, there was no immediate prospect of its 

The revolution in the large States of Germany, of whose 
future my brother thought he could paint so hopeful a picture 
in the above letter, by no means justified his prophecies. As 
regarded Austria first of all, the shocks given to the old 
Hapsburg alliance were much more destructive to the country 
than Prince Albert imagined. From the first moment of the 
agitation a tendency towards complete dissolution showed 
itself in the heterogeneous masses of the formerly independent 
kingdoms and nationalities. The existence of the monarchy 
was more than doubtful, and the Austrian funds and notes 
at once suffered a depreciation such as had not been heard of 
since the Napoleonic wars in Europe. 

Even the agitation of the March days bore in the beginning, 


in Vienna, more the character of a Court and Palace Revolu- 
tion than that of a rising of the people; for the first time 
after the overthrow of the existing Government were people 
alienated from all political matters, driven to a revolutionary 
behaviour, which was kept up particularly by the Italians, 
Hungarians and Poles. Amidst the noise of the academic 
school youth, the working classes and the street rabble, which 
the most different Ministries could not succeed in mastering, 
the unfortunate source of the Vienna revolution was almost 
entirely forgotten, and is not entirely recognised, in all its 
simplicity, even at this date. 

The mysterious reason of the fall of the Metternich system 
in Austria, lay chiefly in the fact that the old Chancellor was 
striving until the end to extinguish the revolutionary brands 
all over Europe, and hardly noticed that he was immediately 
threatened with dangers in the old historical citadel itself. As 
is known, the guardian government of the Emperor Ferdinand, 
the triumvirate Metternich, Kolowrat and the Archduke 
Louis had already for years past maintained themselves 
only with the greatest trouble, against the Court party which 
gathered more around the Archduchess Sophia. 

As in the kingdom the extraordinary case occurred that 
a Regency performed the functions of a monarch incapable 
of governing, without its being authorised by any State law, 
parliamentary recognition, or any public act whatever, it was 
not very difficult to bring about the overthrow of the system. 
Amongst the general public there was hardly .any correct 
knowledge of the duration of this Regency, and, as the 
monarch was still capable of writing his name, the fiction of 
Ferdinand's Government was continued until the moment 
when the Imperial family itself strove to bring about a 
change in this Government. In the Council of Three, how- 
ever, considerable differences had already arisen since the 
outbreak of the Italian movement, and unity was no longer 
to be attained in the handling of the internal questions re- 
garding Hungary, Poland and Bohemia. 

With Metternich's flight and the driving away of the 
entirely innocent burgomaster from Vienna, all laws of order 
were cast aside ; complete anarchy, at first good-natured, set 
in. Nevertheless the revolutionary agitation stopped signifi- 


cantly before the name of the Emperor and the person of the 
childish monarch. The vain game with institutions and 
government programmes which was played during the next 
few weeks between poor Ferdinand and the burghers, who 
were, on the whole, inclined to cling to patriarchal customs, 
at least insured the monarchy against the more serious 
attacks of the provinces. 

One had to be content with maintaining the central point 
in an upright position, and thus the original plans for the 
change of throne were put off until a more fitting time. 

The main points of the administration were once more 
brought together by an old bureaucrat who fortunately hap- 
pened to be popular at the moment, and the Chancery of 
State was far too lazy for the quick change in the successors 
of the powerful prince of ancient diplomacy, to be able to 
make any great alteration in the external relations of the 
Hapsburg-Lothringian hausmacht. 

Fiquelmont, Lebzeltern, Wessenberg, threw themselves all 
three with great vehemence into the German question and 
adopted as their chief task the maintenance of the doctrine 
of the departed master ; to allow everything to happen sooner 
and rather than a strengthening of the Prussian power in the 
Confederate kingdom of Central Europe. 

One of the most remarkable consequences of the events in 
Vienna was their reaction on the German States themselves. 
The overthrow of the system in Austria, in which so many 
German Governments had seen their only reserve, robbed the 
Conservative forces in the smaller States of their last hope 
and remaining courage. Only now did the revolutionary 
Philistinism of the small residences find itself quite drunk 
with victory, now that the feared master of the German 
Confederate police could no longer be dangerous from his safe 
corner on the Danube. 

Thus in Saxony also the proper self-confidence with which 
the King opposed the pressure of the rioters for nearly fourteen 
days was shaken by the news of the occurrences in Vienna. 
The Leipzig demonstrations during the first days of March 
were courageously repulsed by the King, and nothing appeared 
to be able to turn him from the decision to permit reforms 
only when made by lawful parliamentary negotiations. But 


the demand for the complete abolishment of the censorship 
was too well founded for anyone to wish to wait for the 
decision of the Assembly. On the 6th of March Minister von 
Falckelstein sent in his resignation, but in the King's proclama- 
tion of the same day the summoning of Parliament was pro- 
mised for the 1st of May. A Press Bill would then be laid 
before it. The King thought he might still be able to work 
by means of exhortation, and requested that the confidence 
refused him should not be made a reason for acting before it 
had been warranted by the self-constituted representatives. 

But the formation of a new Ministry could not be delayed 
until the assembly of parliament, and a reconstruction of the 
old one under the Presidency of Konneritz and von Wietersheim, 
who were retained, belonged to the impossibilities, unless they 
were prepared to maintain peace and quiet in Leipzig and 
Dresden by main force. The King thus saw himself forced 
in a few days to go more and more to the left, and to seek 
new councillors for his crown. At length, on the 16th of 
March the Braun Ministry was formed, which contained in 
itself all shades of opposition even to the radical Oberland, 
and which from the first moment abandoned the constitutional 
path marked out by the King, in order to warrant to the land, 
by means of grants, every possible freedom according to the 
usual custom of the strange times until the end of March. 

The War Minister in the new Cabinet was Colonel von 
Rabenhorst, the same who, as I showed in the preceding 
chapter, had assumed as his task the union of the Saxon and 
Thuringian armies. The Leipzig Professor von der Pfordten 
had begun his political career with him in this Ministry, a 
career which he afterwards continued in Bavaria, and which 
became important and pregnant for universal German affairs. 
He had, as they said in Leipzig, in no way pushed himself 
forward during the March days, and not being a Saxon he 
was timid about mixing himself up in the external affairs of 
the country. 

It is said to have been a pure accident that, as the Rector 
was not able to get it ready owing to the calls on his time, 
the drawing up of this address presented by the University 
to the King was given over to him, and resolved upon by the 
Senate on the 3rd of March. This circumstance was decisive 


for von der Pfordten's future ; for it caused him to be known 
at Court and amongst the people, and he was not allowed to 
be absent from the Liberal Ministry of the 16th of March. 

A peculiar chain of circumstances had prevented Herr von 
Beust, who was then Ambassador in London, from undertak- 
ing the Foreign Ministry ; the King had really intended him 
for this and summoned him to Dresden. But Herr von der 
Pfordten had taken his place with suddenly acquired popu- 
larity, and six months later, in the spring of the year 1850, 
worked in unison with him to destroy the last hopes of the 
unity of Germany. Such were the peculiar paths which were 
marked out for the most aspiring and energetic men of the 
next ten years through the Revolution of 1848. That the 
two statesmen who most greatly hindered the progress of the 
idea of German unity should reveal themselves in Saxony, of 
all countries, where they did not seem to be able to advance 
radically enough, was, after a short time, a patent surprise 
which no one had certainly foreseen less than the frank and 
honourable King Frederick Augustus. 

Meanwhile Germany's immediate future depended on 
Berlin ; the form which affairs would take there, must 
necessarily be decisive, considering the fact that everything 
was uncertain. Hence the strained attention with which all 
thoughtful politicians watched the King. In the circle 
immediately surrounding me, as amongst my relations, there 
was a feeling of the utmost confidence. Prussia's attitude 
appeared to assume a particularly favourable aspect, as Berlin 
remained tolerably quiet during the first two weeks in March, 
and it looked as if the King had everything in his own hands. 
On the 6th of March he closed the session of the united 
committees, and took occasion to speak of the periodicity of 
the United Diet in the most unconstrained manner as a matter 
founded on the nature of the institution. 

In the provinces, particularly in Cologne, a few disturb- 
ances of the peace had, it is true, occurred, which were 
followed by similar ones in Breslau, Magdeburg, Konigsberg, 
but the addresses which had been received by the authorities 
of these and other towns had been sent to Berlin, were con- 
tained within narrow limits, and with the exception of 
Konigsberg, matters assumed nowhere a dangerous character. 


Nevertheless the Ministry lost all self-possession at these 
most insignificant agitations. They neither ventured upon 
energetic measures nor could they decide to make any con- 
cessions. The demand of freedom for the Press, was yielded 
to in principle, in a most unfortunate Cabinet order of the 
8th of March, whereas its execution was prevented by a post- 
ponement, until the Confederate Press law could be established. 

During these days the King exhausted himself in endless 
speeches to the different deputations. The Berlin ' Magistrate ' 
published some of these Royal words, and yet one could only 
wonder at hearing so many theoretic explanations from the 
highest office at such a pressing time. There was again a 
talk of the innate steadfastness of the German nature, there 
should a course and an aim have been pointed out with the 
words ' free Princes, free people,' with mottoes like ' Bold and 
Discreet,' so that they could not be mistaken, even if they 
only slightly touched upon the plainly marked grooves of the 
Prussian administration. 

Under these circumstances the old councillors positively 
refused service. The androgynal creatures in whom the 
King reposed confidence, who, with their partial piety and 
partial liberalism had supported all half-measures of the 
State since 1840, suddenly found themselves too weak, and 
counselled him to make concessions which they were never- 
theless not willing to answer for. They thought it right to 
propose others who could undertake to carry out the new 
order of things. For, in order to please the Royal Sovereign 
and act according to his views and to be able, nevertheless, to 
say, at the same time, that they had early advised the necessity 
of reform, they tendered their resignation at the most difficult 
moment, and the King privately consented. Thus, there was 
actually no Government in Prussia on the important day of 
the 18th of March, and the King stood alone, and found 
himself in a position which was really unique of its kind and 
only too calculated to give rise to misunderstandings of every 

One feels moved, when casting a backward glance histori- 
cally at this unhappy time to exonerate Frederick William 
IV in some degree from the charges which contemporaries 
and particularly the military have heaped upon him. It 


remained enigmatical to me also what relation it could have 
to the order for the retreat of the troops, after they had been 
completely victorious. 

The little knowledge which I was able to gain on the 
subject, I imparted to my brother in several letters during the 
month of March 1848. 

' Gotha, March 20th. 

1 Alvensleben has just returned from Berlin, where he 
witnessed the most frightful events ! The last capital of 
Germany has now fallen a prey to the Ultra-Liberal principle. 
The monarchy there has lost the last battle. " Who will not 
hear, must feel," remains a true proverb. It is uncertain as 
yet, whether the King will be able to hold his position. He 
had yielded, and wished to fight again afterwards ; blood has 
flowed in streams; the troops fought like lions, as did the 
burghers, I may say like knights, for the burghers threw 
themselves on the troops without anger, and, after the battle 
had lasted for two days without being decided, they accom- 
panied the troops with rejoicings when the King sent them 
out of the city. The city was illuminated yesterday. 

' King and kingdom have surrendered themselves to the 
mercy or the mercilessness of the armed mass of the people, 
and what orders and decisions they make will now depend 
upon their generosity. Until now there has been much to be 
done in order perhaps to check the revolution in union with 
the Liberals and all well-intentioned men.' 

1 March 25th. 

' The situation in Berlin threatens the greatest dangers. 
The King wishes to place himself at the head and will give 
way, in order not to be immediately thrown overboard ; but 
he will never serve the German matter honestly. 

' All this makes us fear that he is the man for the Ultra- 
Radicals, who are numerous and powerful, who are desirous 
completely to overthrow all orderly relations, and are entirely 
anti-constitutional : they use him in order to unseat us quiet 
Liberals, and particularly all Princes, and will then drop him 
at the proper time. We shall then naturally fall with him, 
and relations will be established like those in Switzerland, 

VOL. i. U 


which is very satisfactory to people in general. This fear is 
universal, and we are approaching a very dangerous period. 
If you are able to use your influence, do so, try particularly 
to find out what the King's design is. Everyone is saying 
that, in order to secure himself, he is thinking of sacrificing 
us small Princes. Public opinion is at present entirely against 

My brother, on the contrary, would not allow his con- 
fidence in the King to be shaken, and it will be of interest to 
hear his answer, at least in some characteristic principal 
points : 

' Buckingham Palace, March 30th. 

' I have received two welcome letters from you, for which 
I heartily thank you. Although the excitement in Germany 
must still be very great, and the situation in Europe is 
becoming more and more complicated, yet it looks as if 
Germany wished once more to become consolidated. I do not 
understand why the King of Prussia's manner of acting does not 
meet with your approbation. He alone has done what was left 
to be done, and thereby rendered Germany an immense service. 
The new Germany will and must be reformed, and if an 
important German Prince does not undertake it, the work will 
fall into the hands of clubs, unions, professors, theoreticians, 
swindlers ; and if the work be not soon begun, democracy will 
run away with it. Without an Emperor as Chief Head, a 
Republic will arise, and the final solution will be a state of 
things such as exists in America or in Switzerland. 

' I have also given myself the task of working out a con- 
stitutional plan, which gives me more guarantees for a good 
future than the Heidelberger with his Parliament of ninety, 
imitated from the Paris Constituent Assembly. If it pleases 
you, adopt it and try to support it as much as possible ; it will 
be of aid in producing some quick result. I have also sent it 
to Berlin, Vienna, Dresden, Munich, etc. Do all you can for 

' P.S. The poor Prince of Prussia is greatly to be pitied 
at being under a cloud and most unjustly, for he is frankly 
trying to bring about a new state of things. 


' P.S. (2) A few more words. I have just received your 
welcome letter of the 25th. I again find want of confidence 
in the King of Prussia. I can assure you that I see in the 
King's character the greatest guarantees for the safety of the 
other sovereigns. He has committed most of his political 
faults out of regard for the scruples which he entertains for 
Austria and the other sovereigns, and safety is to be sought 
only in his energetic march forward ; hence the rage of the 
Radicals about it. Their chief trick will be to keep the 
Princes separated by means of petty considerations and thus 
weaken them. For God's sake do not let yourselves be caught 
in this trap. Your sovereignly would be most endangered 
in this way, and would at length succumb to a republic. 
Preach this right and left.' 

As may be seen from the foregoing letters and many 
others besides, to which I shall presently return, my brother 
had entirely identified Prussian affairs and events with those 
of Germany. He could hardly believe that King Frederick 
William had made his decisions during the most eventful days 
in March from any other point of view, than that of the work 
of the German Union. In this view he was partly, like all 
the world, confirmed by the appearance of things after the 
retirement of the troops from Berlin. 

As is known, Frederick William IV had already announced 
before the outbreak of the Revolution that he was on the 
point of making proposals for the regeneration of the Con- 
federacy ; but the remarkable words which seemed to be the 
most flagrant contradiction of facts, and according to which 
the King declared himself ready to undertake the direction 
and management of Germany, only appeared on the 21st of 
March. If he now said that Prussia should ' be absorbed ' 
in Germany, one saw in this speech only the cry of a stricken 
man, and for the same reason, arose the old Prussian feeling 
against a national idea, which had been invoked for deliver- 

When Heinrich von Arnim who was now appointed to a 
place in the Ministry formed by Count Arnim-Boitzenburg 
afterwards asserted * that the King's proclamation of the 

* Frankfort and Berlin, p. 18. Stockmar Denkwiirdigkeiten, p. 457. 


21st of March ' had been received by the remainder of 
Germany with sneers and contempt, and that Germany was 
therefore not yet ripe for such thoughts,' this does not, as is 
seen from my letter introduced above, fully suit the case. 

They heaped scorn on the King riding about with the 
black, red and yellow flag, because they noticed that he did 
this at a moment when he had lost all the power which he 
had not known how to use when he still possessed it. 

If Stockmar himself, to whom the admission was in- 
tolerably hard, at that time owned that the King had mis- 
managed in every way, yet it certainly must not be said that 
the other Germans were not ripe for the unity of Germany. 

The change of popular opinion in Prussian concerns was 
then complete, even in the nearest States and territories. 
Everything turned away from the northern sun in order to 
hail the star of the national regeneration, highly doubtful as 
it was, which had risen in the south-west. 

In the West of Germany, where they still lived amongst 
the traditions of the old German kingdom, where they still 
cherished memories of the old centres of Frankish and 
Suabian Imperial Power, they could not think otherwise than 
that the regeneration of Germany must be accomplished in 
the most thorough manner, and that the people and Assemblies 
of these peculiar provinces of the Empire were first of all 
called upon to bring about the national reorganisation. 

But the ideas which were diffused from here concerning 
the restoration of the Central Power were of so misty and 
uncertain a character, that one could hardly form an idea of 
how such a kingdom was really to exist with provincial 
parliaments which claimed the most unlimited rights of 

In the individual States they would not hear of reserva- 
tions in favour of the Confederate legislature, and I myself 
had made the experience in my own Duchies that the ex- 
pressions of faithfulness to the Confederation were exactly 
what gave the best satisfaction in my proclamations. They 
wanted everything arrived at and settled in a moment, and as 
regarded the German kingdom, the larger number of national- 
minded Germans pictured to themselves some kind of a 


republican organisation in the visionary form of old Imperial 

I do not know whether the anecdote so often related of 
those days which tells of the demand of the people for a 
Republic was founded on some actual event with the Grand- 
Duke, but according to this the thoughts of most of them were 
really fixed on Germany in a form of which the more closely 
united Fatherlands had thought with all the penetration of 
independent constitutional monarchies, but the German Em- 
pire as a whole was only represented as a republican ideal. 

The assembling of the members of the German Parliaments 
at Heidelberg brought about by Romer and Itzstein took 
place on the 5th of March. The first declarations of the 
German Diet, regarding the German reform, followed on the 
days included between the 6th and the 10th of March, and 
the German proclamation of the King of Prussia on the 18th 
of the same month. The Heidelberg tendency, as is known, 
made itself felt in the preliminary parliament in Frankfort, 
which sat from the 31st of March until the 3rd of April, and 
instituted the Committee of Fifty. The German Diet strength- 
ened itself during the interval with the proxies of the Seven- 
teen, and reformed its ranks with men of liberal and popular 

In Berlin, on the other hand, the greatest efforts were 
made in order to identify the national movement with 
Prussia's endeavours, and it really looked for a moment as if 
the ideas to which Radowitz had for years been trying to win 
the King over, had some prospect of being realised. As the 
invitation jointly issued by Austria and Prussia, to attend the 
Conferences in Dresden had found no acceptance, the happy 
idea had occurred to them in Berlin to summon the Confede- 
rate Assembly to Potsdam, and it is one of the most remark- 
able facts of history, now entirely forgotten, that Austria 
really signified her full consent to this measure during the 
March days. Count Colloredo, as President of the German 
Diet, had already received an order from his Government to 
close the sessions in Frankfort and to proceed to Potsdam, 
whither, as they expressed it in the despatch, the German 
Diet would be temporarily transferred. 

But before the Conferences in Potsdam could be opened, an 


extraordinary change had taken place in Austrian politics, 
and they rose against Prussia's proposals with the same 
decision as they had previously shown in agreeing to them. 
The order given the President of the German Diet to go to 
Potsdam was recalled, and in a circular despatch of the 24th 
of March, distrust was sown and opposition raised against all 
Prussian intentions. 

' It is true,' said the despatch, ' that we readily agreed to 
the King of Prussia's idea of removing the German Diet for a 
time to Potsdam, but in this we only wished to continue the 
existing state of things.' ' However,' remarked the Austrian 
Minister verbally, ' since the sending off of circular relating 
to this case, the Proclamation of the 21st of March, made by 
His Royal Prussian Majesty, has come to our knowledge 
through the public papers. 

' This substantially alters the situation in our eyes. If no 
communication has up to the present been made to us con- 
cerning the immediate consequence and development which 
will be given to the ideas mentioned from a Royal Prussian 
direction, as well as the form in which its realisation is to 
follow, and we afterwards, as is but right, reserve our full 
verdict, yet so much is already assured to us, that no revision, 
but a complete reformation of the existing state of things may 
be contemplated, and this not by means of free and conven- 
tional, but partially arbitrary precedence. 

' Under these circumstances His Majesty the Emperor is 
more decided than ever to hold fast the basis of the agree- 
ment which Your Highness's reigning ancestors now asleep 
in God made on the 8th of July 1815 with Germany's 
Princes and free towns ; and which, though altered and im- 
proved by universal consent, cannot, however, be partially 
cancelled by lawful means. 

' The existing alliance is whatever its admitted defects 
and wants may be still the Palladium of German unity and 
German strength against foreign countries. No Prince can 
be found in Germany who is desirous of shaking off this holy 

' The city of Frankfort is according to Article 9 of the Act 
of Confederacy, the seat of the Confederate Assembly. Only 
in Frankfort, and only in the Confederate Assembly which 


meets there according to existing Confederate laws, will the 
Imperial presiding envoy take part in the transactions which 
will decide the institution of the work of revision, and the 
form under which it is to be accomplished, but withdraws 
at once from any other partially and irregularly conducted 
negotiation, and to reserve anything further for His Majesty 
the Emperor. 

' Germany ought and must be renovated, this is Austria's 
decided desire and firm intention in her present attitude. 
But we have an equally unalterable conviction that this high 
aim is only to be attained by legitimate means and with the 
co-operation of all. 

Will your .... acquaint the Government which you 
represent with this our determination. They will certainly 
not fail to do justice to the mind, faithful to the Confederation 
and the Fatherland, with which they are delivered, and will, 
as heretofore, attach themselves willingly to the Imperial 
Court which desires nothing for itself, only equal rights, and 
by means of united forces an equal protection for all of 
the constituent parts of our great, glorious German Father- 

Under these circumstances it was found necessary in 
Berlin to give up the Potsdam Assembly ; but it was by no 
means thought on this account that the Prussian plans for a 
thorough reorganisation of the Confederation would have to 
be given up. The presence of a number of plenipotentiaries 
and Ministers of German States was taken advantage of in 
order to prevent free conferences, concerning which the 
Ministry sent circumstantial instructions in a circular despatch 
of the 27th of March, and in which a programme of German 
development officially accepted by Prussia appeared, for the 
realisation of which unfortunately only a decided royal will 
was wanting. 

At the Berlin Conferences Wiirtemberg, Saxony, Baden, 
Darmstadt and Nassau were represented ; amongst the 
plenipotentiaries Gagern already at that time enjoyed the 
greatest consideration, and in his co-operation people saw a 
warrant for the carrying into execution of the Prussian 
programme in the Assemblies of the individual States. 
Although the decisions of the Conference were communicated 


in the modest form of questions, yet the greatest and most 
desirable clearness was shown in the picture which was 
drawn of Germany's future. 

It was presupposed that the united leadership of the Con- 
federation would be under one Head. There was to be an Upper 
House, formed by the members of the Confederacy or their 
delegates, and a Lower House from the representatives of the 
individual States at the rate of one Deputy to 100,000 inhabi- 
tants. The competency of the Head of the Confederacy and 
both Houses of the German Parliament extended to military 
affairs and arming of the people, legislation of home and States 
citizens' rights, the administration of justice, criminal law, 
commercial law, Confederate jurisdiction, the establishment of 
a universal system of customs, of money, measures, weights, 
railroads, river-beds, lastly, the restoration of common repre- 
sentation of the Confederacy in foreign countries. 

This Prussian programme was set forth as clearly theoreti- 
cally, as it was doubtful by what means it was to be put into 
execution. Whilst the resolutions arrived at concerning the 
above points were withheld from the former German Diet 
and even from the constitutional powers of the single States, 
the time had come when deeds alone could decide in the 
damage done by the popular agitations which had originated 
in Frankfort. 

The Prussian Cabinet did not, indeed, omit to give the 
most binding assurances of the decided wish of the King to 
bring about the sole leadership of the Confederacy under one 
Head, and it referred to His Majesty's declaration that he 
himself would undertake this leadership during the days of 
present danger, but the weakness which had been shown with 
regard to the riot in Berlin awakened but little confidence in 
the Conservatives, but little enthusiasm for the Prussian leader- 
ship of German affairs in the progressive and Liberal party. 

Everyone turned in blind excitement from the Prussian 
attempts to bring about the national unity, and followed the 
syren's song of the Frankfort assailants. The quietly 
thoughtful politician who knew that no further step was to 
be expected of Prussia, which would satisfy the enthusiasm 
of the time, had to try to content himself with wondering 
what turn things would next take. 


My brother, for his part, had left nothing undone in order 
to force me to adopt his view of a strong Central Power, and 
that with a Prussian head, but I could only find that engage- 
ments were soon met prematurely on all sides. Even if I 
entirely approved of Albert's views in theory, yet I cherish 
well-founded doubts that with such a personality as that of 
Frederick William IV anything great and enduring was to 
be created by Prussia. Finally, Stockmar had gone over 
more and more completely to the Frankfort view of faithfulness 
to the Confederacy, although he hesitated for a long time 
before accepting the proffered representation of Coburg in the 
committee of proxies. He was very undecided and altogether 
undetermined in every way, when the occurrences in Berlin 
had as it were completely destroyed all his plans. 

Under these circumstances the Frankfort tendency assumed 
an ever increasing preponderance, and the personages who 
had assembled there since the beginning of April, partly as 
envoys to the Diet, partly as proxies, lent a seeming brilliancy 
to it, by which it was difficult not to be impressed, no matter 
how practically and realistically one judged things. Added to 
this, the representatives of Prussia, Usedom and Dahlmann, 
spread the report through Frankfort itself that it was possible 
that the King and the Prussian Government might adopt the 
course now become national. 

In England, Bunsen spread the belief that the King, over 
whom he appeared to exercise personal influence, would allow 
himself to be induced to accept the hand held out to him from 
Frankfort. It produced the impression that one could sail 
well if one would trust one's self for the moment to the current 
of air proceeding from the newly organised Confederate 

As Austria also appeared to submit to the desire of the 
Empire by nominating Schmerling as envoy to the German 
Diet, the hope of a solution of the question from the point 
of view of the federal laws increased in the circles nearest to 
me, and the legal means of development would unquestionably 
have remained most apparent if a general understanding 
could possibly have been arrived at and the Confederate 
State had, as it were, organically developed from the former 
States Confederation. 


With this view, my brother drew up the Memorial of the 
28th of March, of which he spoke in the letter introduced 
above. Copies of the same had reached the larger Govern- 
ments and particularly the King of Prussia, who annotated 
my brother's project with original remarks and answered it 
with his own hand. 

I will now introduce the text of this interesting document.* 

'Buckingham Palace, March 28. 

'Germany, from a States Confederation must become a 
Confederated State that is the task which must be accom- 
plished. If this solution is healing and enduring, it must be 
developed from the present matter and become the issuing 
point of all German history. It must not be a made theory, 
but the final representation of a State long expected and 
desired by the German nation, a State in which all conditions 
and exigencies of the individual territories will be fully 
satisfied. We have individually different nations in Germany, 
states, dynasties, crowns complete in themselves, which must 
all be united. To level and blot out the individualities of the 
nations by a centralisation upon the same model, would be 
sinful, for the manifold vital powers and freshness of life of the 
German people consist in their peculiarity and legality. The 
crowns and dynasties which are one with the personality of 
this State, must not be injured or degraded, if the personality 
and executive power of the individual States represented by 
them is not to be disturbed ; but both States and peoples must 
be politically brought together as a whole and vividly repre- 

' My conception of the solution is as follows : 

'The Princes of the German Confederacy together with the 
four burgomasters of the free cities form a Princely Diet and 
choose from amongst their number for life, or a certain 
number of years (ten ?) a German Emperor. (X) 

' The Parliaments of the different German States choose 

* They are all in one publication: ' Zum Verstandniss der Deutschen Frage,' 
Stuttgart 1807, but the pamphlet is so rare that I consider myself justified in having 
them republished from my own papers. The lines and crosses, red in the original, 
black here, originate, as will be seen from the following letter written by the King, 
from the latter. 


from amongst the members of their two Houses,* a number of 
members according to the number of inhabitants and im- 
portance of the individual States, and form therewith a 
German Imperial Diet. 

' A Supreme Court of the Empire, presided over by a 
Chancellor who can not be removed, would form the highest 


Court of Judicature, composed of the juridical faculties of the 
German universities, deciding all questions between the 
different individual Governments and their Parliaments, such 
as German questions of succession and regency, as well as 
divisions and inheritances. 

' The representation of Germany falls to the Emperor. 
All business concerning the Empire will be carried on in his 
name. He appoints the offices together with the Princely 
Diet. At the head of the Princely Diet he will regularly 
open the Imperial Diet. He can refuse the proposals of the 
Princes, and a decree of the Empire only becomes lawful 
through his sanction. He can occasionally allow himself to 
be represented by another Prince. His Ministers are the 
Minister for Foreign Affairs and the two Presidents of a 
Chamber of Commerce and a Councillor of War. These 
Ministers are answerable to the Imperial Diet. The Foreign 
Ministry has to negotiate with Foreign Ambassadors, and, in 
extraordinary cases, to send messengers to foreign Courts. 

' The German Chamber of Commerce, formed of servants 
of the individual States, has under it the affairs concerning 
the German customs, navigation, streets, railways, post-office 
and traffic. 

' The German Council of War, formed by the Generals of 
the different armies, rules the organisation of the combined 
German army, formed by the troops of the different individual 
States, at the head of which stands a Confederate Commander- 
in-chief in times of war. In the same way the German 
fortresses are under a council of war and (in prospect) the 
German fleet. 

The German sovereigns themselves form the Princely Diet, 
or the Princes of their House who represent them. It has a 
veto against the decisions of the Imperial Diet, and against 
the appointment to offices by the Emperor. It fills the three 

* On the margin the King has written 'optime.' 


Imperial Houses of Parliament under the Presidency of the 
Emperor. It has to sanction the proposals made by the 
Emperor to the Imperial Diet. It votes according to the 
majority, but in such a manner that the Princes of larger 
States have a comparatively larger number of votes. Every 
Prince can dissent by procuration. The Princely Diet elects 
the Confederate Commander-in-Chief with the Emperor, in 
case of a lasting war. 

' The Imperial Diet assembles every three years. The 
Deputies (Imperial messengers ?) of both Chambers of the 
different States sit and transact business together, but vote in 
two bodies corresponding to the Chambers. (X) 

' Every member speaks from his seat. The Imperial Diet 
votes by majority, so that the agreement of both bodies is 
necessary. The number of members must not be too large. 
Not over 50 in the first, not over 150 in the second Chamber, 
200 altogether. Marshal of the Empire, elected by the whole 
Imperial Diet from the first House, must have the Presidency. 


' Thus we have an Emperor as the representative and 
personification of German unity, and as the chief handler of 
the executive power his worthiness vouched for by the 
choice of and from amongst thirty-seven sovereign heads, 
upon whom, on the other hand, falls part of the splendour of 
the dignity created by themselves. 

' Further, as members of the executive power, a responsible 
Ministry in the Presidents of the three Imperial Chambers 
and a Confederate Field Marshal, whose ability is warranted 
by the time of his election. Further, a Princely Diet as 
immediate participants of the executive power, as well as the 
representative importance of the Emperor, who, through this 
necessary participation, fully assures the unimpaired continua- 
tion of the might and highness of all German crowns. Then 
an Imperial Diet as the expression of the united will of the 
whole German nation, yet so united, that the individuality of 
each separate German people and State is thoroughly repre- 
sented through the sending of Imperial messages from their 
own parliaments. Finally, we have a high Supreme Court of 
the Empire as an expression of the united German juridical 


wisdom, removed from all external influences through its 

' The warrant of all these authorities naturally reaches only 
as far as matters of universal German importance which we 
shall be able to decide more nearly without encroaching 
upon the legislature and administrative department. 


When my brother sent me the copy of this plan, I at once 
perceived an error in the attempt to have an Emperor chosen 
for only ten years, or even for life, which would be fatal to 
the whole project, and I was afterwards glad to see from the 
reply and the remarks of King Frederick William IV, that I 
had not made a mistake in this respect. Meanwhile, on the 
other hand, the King of Prussia's comprehension evidently 
rivalled so greatly with my brother's plan in the doctrinary 
statement of improbabilities and impossibilities, that nothing 
could be done in this way either. I can feel pleased even at 
this time, that I at once frankly discussed both sides of the 
question at the time. 

The King was at Potsdam when my brother's document 
arrived, and he let his answer, which was not especially 
addressed to any one person, become known as a kind of con- 
fidential circular at friendly Courts. In this way, which 
suited the extraordinary times, a remarkable exchange of 
opinion was brought about amongst the sovereigns, which 
was continued for more than two years, without a real insight 
of kheir knowledge of the course of affairs being possible. 

The non-official circular note of Frederick William IV to 
the colleague princes of Germany ran as follows : 

' Of all the constitutional projects for Germany, this one 
imagined by the clever and intellectual prince corresponds 
most with my views. But as regards individual matters I 
cannot assent to this project. That to which I particularly 
agree I have underlined with red ; that which I consider 
unsuitable is marked with a black St Andrew's cross. I do 
not relish the idea of an Emperor as Head of the Confederacy. 
An Emperor elected for a time is a monstrosity against which 
I particularly protest. If the Confederate Head is only 
elected for a time (which I look upon as wrong) the name of 


Emperor must not be squandered and dishonoured through 
him. He should be called Regent. Even to the life-long 
Head the title of Emperor cannot be given, on account of 
Austria, as I will show later on. 

' The German nation has a right, dating back a thousand 
years, to make its head the indisputable First Head of 
Christendom. But it is not conceivable that the heir of 
thirty Roman Emperors, that is, the first hereditary Emperor, 
would give precedence to this chosen Head. It cannot even 
be expected. But it is as certain as anything can be, that 
the Russian Emperor would never grant such dignity to this 
kind of a German Emperor. Out of all this I know a very 
easy way, for the German matter even a self-evident one. 
Let the Roman Emperor be again accepted as the Honourable 
Head of the German nation. Let the Roman Imperial 
dignity be renewed, and indissolubly with the hereditary 
Empire of Austria, as it was until the year 1806 pro honoris 
causa, if one will. Let certain significant honours be also 
paid to him. I am altogether in favour of the choice of a par- 
ticular German Head of the Empire. If he is elected, as I 
hope to God he will be for life, and then in true German 
style is also accepted as the royal authority appointed by 
God, (and is not regarded, d la polonaise ; as the football of 
the ambitions of magnates) let him be called " King of the 
Germans " as in olden times, I would like for the Kings of 
the Confederacy (who should once more associate their title 
with that of Elector) to stand the election alone ; but after- 
wards to call upon the remaining sovereign Princes for their 
consent. Both should be done in a few hours, the Kings 
and Grand-Dukes perhaps in the so-called conclave of the 
Cathedral of St Bartholomew in Frankfort, the Princes in the 
choir. Upon this let them address themselves to the Romish 
Emperor and respectfully request him to ratify the election. 
This can be done by an Archduke to whom plenipotentiary 
powers have been given, at the same moment. Then the 
Cathedral should be opened to the people as in olden times 
and their acclamations would complete the election. Soon 
after this the German King should be anointed and crowned 
(like the Roman Emperor at his hereditary entrance into 
power) and, if he is a Roman Catholic, by the Archbishop of 


Cologne, who would become Chancellor of the Empire if he 
is Evangelical, by an Archbishop of Magdeburg, who should 
be nominated Primas Germaniae. 

' By means of thus placing the Roman Imperial dignity on 
the head of the Austrian hereditary Emperor, Austria will 
then become secure to the German Empire. Austria will 
have won Germany for ever, and with Germany the most 
beautiful and best lands of Germany will be secured for the 
new (old) kingdom Tyrol, Vorarlberg, Upper and Lower 
Austria, Steyermark, Carinthia, Carniola and Istria, If 
Austria does not wear the highest crown, it is impossible to 
expect her to bow before a German elected Head, if she ever 
comes to herself again. And who can doubt it ? The Princely 
Diet appears to me to be an uncommonly happy thought. 
Only I picture it to myself formed like the old Imperial Diet, 
into a college of Kings and Grand-Dukes, of Dukes and 
Princes, strengthened by the mediatised Princes and Counts 
(partly vimtim, partly divided into benches), the Princely 
Diet would form the German Upper House of the Imperial 
Diet every three years, the Lower House of which would be 
the House or Assembly of Imperial Messengers. Only I 
pressingly recommend that it should never be forgotten in 
the relative position of the Upper to the Lower House, that 
sovereign Princes form its kernel, and under them two Great 
Powers (may God have mercy on them !) 

' The providing of a responsible Ministry also appeals 
greatly to rne. Whether the Head, that is when it is the 
King of the Germans himself, cannot be allowed a little more 


freedom of action, I leave undecided. But under certain 
circumstances, for instance in case of war or rebellion, I would 
insist upon the King being made Dictator. ... I had for- 
gotten my formal protest against the combined deliberation of 
the Houses of Princes and Imperial Messengers. That never 
does any good, and may possibly expose the highest sovereigns 
to insult, which must be avoided. The forcing together of 
fifty Princes and 150 Imperial Messengers is unjust and would 
certainly end in the victory of the Imperial Messengers. 
Amongst the Imperial Messengers I should like to see the 
immediate nobility of the Empire represented with assessors 
for the remaining German nobility ; then Deputies for the 


towns and country constituencies, who, however, must not 
be forced to vote out of their constituencies, whose option 
is free. 

' I will close my remarks now, and warmly recommend 
them to the reader.' 

As may be seen, the constitutional construction of the 
German Empire had become an absorbing occupation for the 
highest circles, and no one would be in a position correctly to 
understand the whole attitude of King Frederick William 
during the next two years, who had not imprinted on his 
memory the fixed limits marked out in the above memorial. 
Frederick William IV had actually chosen the fundamental 
ideas just explained for his unchangeable rule of precept during 
the events which were happening around him. 

Meantime the committee of Seventeen Proxies had begun 
active work in Frankfort in April, and besides this, the pre- 
paratory Parliament had begun to hold council. In both 
assemblies Dalhmann came forward with certain proposals, and 
his elaborat concerning the future form of the Empire was 
spread abroad as the bill for the constitution of the Seven- 
teen, and recommended for acceptance. 

In America and England, as on the Continent, people 
occupied themselves seriously with it, whilst in Germany the 
agitation concerning it had long since died out, and both 
favourable and unfavourable criticisms could only appear in 
the light of innocent and academical dissertations. 

It is known that Frederick William IV personally gave 
all his attention to the bill for the constitution, King Max of 
Bavaria answering him through his Government.* 

The unfavourable criticism which my brother finally made 
of the bill, cannot be fully understood without my inserting 
several portions of our correspondence : 

' Coburg, 5th April 1848. 

' I am writing to you again to-day, as every day brings 
forth something new, and the development of our universal 
German relations advances so quickly that one hardly has 
time to keep pace with it. We shall soon have gained the 
end in view, when it will be seen whether there are to be 

* All these documents are known through Dahlmann's remission, and have been 
repeatedly communicated. 


princes in Germany, or the Republic is to be formed after the 
American pattern. In case of the first, the following conditions 
must be accepted, or rather consented to by the reigning 
sovereigns : 

'1. Constitution of a Confederate Head under the name 
of President. 

' 2. A German Parliament, but one House. 

' 3. A Ministry answerable to this Parliament. 

'4. A Confederate Field-Marshal. 

'5. The German Princes must give up all rights of 
sovereignty, which they formerly claimed as their own for the 
increase of the dignity of their supremacy. To this belongs the 
rule that no sovereign may have his own military power, etc. 

' 6. Arming of the people, abolition of all standing armies. 

' 7. Alteration of the already existing Constitution ; abolition 
of the two House system. 

' 8. Abolition of the nobility and all feudal burdens. 

' 9. Introduction of a universal German system of weights, 
coinage, customs, etc. 

' All historical ground must be abandoned, and it must be 
worked and constituted only after the American pattern. I 
have only introduced the most important points here ; but 
there are many others of less universal interest. 

' If all that has been mentioned above were the furthest 
goal which we are striving to reach, one might at least indulge 
in the hope that one could perhaps get through with fewer 
ultra-liberal principles : As it is, these points are the nearest 
goal and the last hope which remains to us before we come to 
the Republic. 

' One must not think that this would perhaps be universally 
desired ; it is however, unfortunately evident that in the 
universal rivalry always to be first in Liberalism, the German 
races have brought themselves so far that they have arrived, 
to their own astonishment, before the gates of the Republic, 
without really having wished to do so. This is the true state 
of affairs, which is unfortunately no imaginary picture of a 
depressed mind, but the sad result, which I have experienced 
through the medium of Briegleb, from the communications 

o o 

of the leaders of the whole movement, such as Welcker, 
Bassennann, Itzstein .... 

VOL. I. x 


'To-morrow, the 30th, envoys from all the German Princes 
will assemble in Frankfort, to consider the introduction and 
carrying out of those points. Unfortunately, however, it will 
only be a question of whether they can accept these points 
pure or not. If the sovereigns do not quietly accommodate 
themselves to everything, the envoys of most of the southern 
and middle German States have decided to engage in no 
negotiations whatever, and to join the Second Assembly, an 
illegal body, it is true, which comes together in Frankfort at 
the same time, and consists of men from all parts of Germany, 
who have united of their own free will, and who wish to carry 
out their private views and decisions by means of force. It 
will then be a question of leading this dangerous body, and 
preventing the mischief as far as possible. In any case, 
everything looks very black for us. In order to remain stead- 
fast I have sent Briegleb to Frankfort. He is young, strong 
and of sharp understanding and certainly no Conservative. 
I shall communicate to you the news he sends me, it will be 
the most correct which one can obtain concerning the 

' P.8. I have just received your letter of the 25th. I am 
sorry that Stockmar is momentarily not in a position to 
undertake a mission, such as Briegleb's, and think that his 
reflective nature would have suited the Enrages too little, who 
are now about to lay down laws for us. One ought to hate 
everything, when one thinks that if the King of Prussia had 
three days earlier done what he now feels himself forced to 
do, Germany might have looked forward to a safe future.' 

' Gotha, April 6th 1848. 

' I received your two letters with enclosure regarding the 
formation of the Confederacy, and only regret having no 
time to answer you at length concerning this matter. You 
will excuse me if I own to a fear that, in consequence of your 
surroundings and your close acquaintance with Bunsen, as 
well as the presence of the Prince of Prussia, you are viewing 
the whole state of affairs in Germany too much from a 
Prussian point of view. 

' I have no feeling of distrust against the King of Prussia, 
but I look upon him and this is the opinion of all Germany, 


as impossible at the present moment! His name alone is 
unfortunately enough to spoil any cause whatever which he 
joins. His portrait also has been abused and publicly burned 
by the people in Munich, Stuttgart, Karlsruhe and Frankfort. 
If such terrible mistakes had not been made in Berlin, the 
King might seize upon the leadership of the matter if it is in 
any way to be undertaken by a monarch. Things are unfor- 
tunately far worse than you consider them, and than they 
can possibly appear at a distance. 

' Rest assured that up to the present the most complete 
anarchy reigns in Germany, and that everything now depends 
upon the "sovereign" people. The transactions of the 800 
men in the church of St Paul in Frankfort, the paper of 
which I send you, you must read attentively ; they are the 
proof that the Republicans have retired for a moment only ; 
unfortunately they, that is, their leaders have been again 
nominated as substitutes for the fifty permanent members, 
Briegleb was also nominated as one of the fifty. 

' Illegal as is this Assembly, the German Diet has neverthe- 
less entered into a kind of communication with it, and will 
for a while maintain itself by this means. Meanwhile the 
elections for Parliament are about to begin in Germany. 
One Deputy to every 500,000 inhabitants. One must really 
be present on the spot in order to be able to conceive the real 
circumstances. If you took a great many German newspapers 
now, you would soon see that your proposal, excellent as it 
is, seems to have come a century too late. Your presupposition 
is nearer to realisation than you thought a week ago. The 
democrats have really triumphed already. The matter now 
in hand is the conditions of peace. If Prussia had acted four 
days earlier, before being forced to do so, there would have 
been prospects of a perfect state of things. Now it has come 
too late.' 

In the same state of mind I wrote to my brother on the 
17th of April that he judged the course of things much too 
optimistically. It was indeed characteristic that the Com- 
mittee of Fifty, which possessed no legal power whatever, not 
only drew up proclamations, but Sent decrees to the Govern- 
ments, and nevertheless remained entirely unmolested by the 
Confederate Assembly and the Seventeen. 


' Further,' said I in my letter, ' it is a fact that at this 
moment the Committee of Fifty governs Germany with the 
German Confederacy as a sort of Co-regent, and illegally as 
it has constituted itself, it has nevertheless been recognised 
by all the German Governments. It has even been referred 
to regarding commerce. The reason of this cannot possiblj" 
lie in any plan of the people or of any Government, I call it 
the " consequence of the spirit of the times." ' 

At the time the frequently mentioned Bill of the Seventeen 
appeared, it was no longer so much as fitted for exercising 
great influence over the Parliamentary elections which had 
meantime been begun. It was characteristic of my Duchy of 
Gotha, that Briegleb was already looked upon at that time as 
an Ultra-Conservative, and could only be carried against the 
Radicals with great trouble. 

Phenomena of this kind showed the Bill of the Seventeen 
as the really unpractical and hopeless result of a doctrine 
which met with but little sympathy from the greater mass of 
the people. Only one fact can be granted, that at least a 
substratum had been formed for the questions to be discussed 
for the future Constitution which could prevent the negotia- 
tions from being entirely neglected. 

I was therefore really glad when Albert criticised the Bill 
in a way which, as is known, made a deeply discouraging 
impression on the members of the Committee of Seventeen. 
My brother had already seen in the middle of April that 
the proceedings in Frankfort were only too favourable to 
radical and doctrinary productions, and therefore wrote to me 
from Osborne on the llth of April : 

' Exert yourself to prevent Frankfort from remaining the 
capital of Germany. It is a bad place, and so easily overrun 
by mobs from Baden, Mainz, Darmstadt, Mannheim, etc., also 
much too near the French frontier. Nuremberg is the centre 
of Germany and lies in a good region.' 

As for the rest, even on the 13th of April my brother 
would not admit the hopelessness of the work of the German 
Constitution, and with his usual frankness wrote almost 
reproachfully concerning my descriptions of the 6th : ' That 
those who desired order should not immediately cry out that 
anarchy had come !' He still believed that we ought only to 


' throw the right yeast into the brew,' and blamed me ' for 
keeping perfectly neutral.' 

' Whether Prussia ' he continued, ' places herself at the head 
or not, has remained quite untouched in my plan (of the 
28th of March), its essential difference from the Heidelberg- 
Frankfort plan consists in the fact that commons remain 
commons, peers peers, sovereigns sovereigns and yet they 
form a constitutional whole. And only thus can something 
come of it ; for the Emperor of Austria can certainly not be 
Emperor at home and Peer in Germany ! The points were 
entirely passed over in Frankfort, because people fixed their 
utmost attention on the construction of the Assembly and the 
parts of the Constitution only, in which they themselves would 
figure in future; how the remainder was done was all the 
same to them. Do not thrust the matter so lightly from you : 
you will regret it when it is too late.' 

My brother's last warning was hardly necessary, yet up 
to the present I had seen no useful means of managing the 
development of German affairs, and was therefore glad when 
I arrived at full agreement with Albert in regard to the Bill 
of the Seventeen. He himself spoke in much plainer terms 
to me than in the Memoir, which reached Dahlmann through 

' The principal thing,' he wrote on the 4th of May, ' is now 
the Constitution for Germany. The plan which I hear has 
been accepted by the Seventeen, is shocking / You must do 
your utmost in order to modify, at least, one point. Patriotism 
can submit to everything, but not to a change of principles. 
That the sovereign should sit in the Confederation with other 
Councillors of the Empire, as such, is not possible, rather not 
at att I Obey the German Emperor and Parliament if you 
will but do not let it be expected of you that you will be 
Dukes, Grand-Dukes, Electors and Kings at home, and in 
Frankfort one of the two hundred Imperial Councillors. I 
do not understand how anyone can commit such a blunder. 
But it will be necessary for you sovereigns to come to an 
understanding at some time concerning these things, and 
insist upon the removing of the residence from Frankfort. 
It is a frightful place to be the central point of Germany ! 

' P.S. Your letter with enclosures has just arrived ... As 


regards universal German affairs, I certainly advise subor- 
dination to a temporary Central Power, if such an one can be 
formed, and in future to work principally towards making 
Austria remain in the German States Confederation, and then 
sail in the same boat with them. It would be absurd to ask 
certain things of Austria, Prussia and Bavaria. If Prussia 
alone is left, her preponderance will be so great that one may 
expect ignominy for the rest. The individual States must be 
limited, and greatly limited, but they need not be put down 
in order to obtain unity.' 

My letter of the 9th of May was written in answer to this. 

' We are hastening forward to the day of decision with 
giant steps. The hope of constituting a united compact state 
of things for Germany is no small one ; but, on the other hand, 
the hope of preserving the small German Princes is null. 
The most important thing which I have now to communicate 
to you is that we small princes will, as regards the constituent 
Assembly, let ourselves be represented in the corporation of 
the Confederation, as we cannot appear in person. Every 
little territory will then have its civil vote. To this end I 
felt myself bound to choose a particular man as Ambassador 
for Coburg-Gotha also. Stockmar alone could be the man ! 
And I am glad to be able to tell you that he not only con- 
sented willingly, but feels so much better, that he will be able 
to set out for Frankfort to-morrow. I look upon his appear- 
ance in the Confederacy as a lucky event. He asked me 
to-day to inform you of this, as he would only be able to write 
to you from Frankfort. 

' All eyes are now turned in anxious expectation towards 
Frankfort, where daily and hourly the Deputies of the people 
are arriving for the settlement of the Constitution. Briegleb 
who has up to the present been secretary to the Fifty, and 
has not entered Parliament, hastened here for a few hours in 
order to consult with Stockmar and me concerning the 
important questions of the future. I shall take pains to 
explain to you in a few words the state of affairs, as Briegleb 
judges them in Frankfort and we judge them here. 

' The Republic has but few if energetic supporters on her 
side. These are for the most part anarchists. They want 
law from above internally as well as externally. They do 


not want monarchy for the sake of the Princes, but because 
they see that the Republic is more dangerous to freedom than 
monarchy, naturally only the constitutional monarchy is 

' All dynastic, personal considerations of Princely Houses, 
as for us individually, have been left in the background, 
much as individual races cherish and express love and respect 
for their Princes. Prussia and her King are to be placed at 
the head, but only because it is Prussia, the largest and most 
important of the Confederate States. The person of the King, 
hated as it may appear to be, is a secondary thing, and is 
not taken into consideration at all. To unity and strength 
both inwardly and outwardly, immense sacrifices are to be 
made, in order to form a commanding Great State. May 
Heaven bless the cause ; but many a heart must break first, 
and many tears must flow. Hundreds of families will be 
reduced from an existence poor, it is true, but free from care, 
to beggary. May the time never come when they will regret 
what they now firmly intend to carry out. 

' Austria is now on the point of being torn into pieces. 
If the Germans in the Imperial State do not wish to be 
destroyed by Slavs, Czechs and Magyars, they must surrender 
at discretion to the Parliament. It is very probable that 
Russia is thinking of playing Austria a trick in return for her 
long friendship. They have been working for years to seduce 
the Southern Provinces. 

' I have just received your welcome letter of the 4th inst. 
I am glad that you are against the Bill for the Constitution 
drawn up by the Seventeen Proxies. I look upon the work 
as bad, and the views as unpractical, and many think as I do. 
Nevertheless, it will come to something of the same kind, as 
no place will be made for us small Princes. We are not to 
have the position of the mediatised, but are to descend with 
them and the nobility to the democratised burghers. Their 
intentions are quite friendly. But one thing is certain, that 
we small Princes cannot possibly maintain ourselves, since we, 
after the Emperor has been presented with the chief rights of 
sovereignty, and we have, with regard to the legislature, 
received everything necessary, generally, from the future 
Parliament, should really make too dear and too bad Chief 


Presidents. But I will say no more about this, for in a few 
weeks we shall know what to expect.' 

A few days later I received the Memoir drawn up by 
my brother himself against the Bill of the Seventeen, and 
answered on the 16th of May. 

'Your denunciations agree entirely with my views, and 
your reasons are unanswerable; unfortunately, however, 
entirely in opposition to the wishes of our Liberals, who only 
want a mock Emperor r who would be more preferable to them 
in his unimportance, than if hereditary or elective. 

' In my opinion, the meaning of the whole bill has been 
enclosed in the frame of the French centralisation idea, with- 
out any understanding of the condition of things in Germany 
having been brought forward in opposition.' 

' If we Princes,' I wrote at the close of the above quoted 
letter, ' now act as we ought and should like, we would have 
quickly united with the Moderates in a firm alliance, and then 
have made a new Constitution with them. But as it is, we 
are still under the yoke of distrust, which, even if it is light, 
will nevertheless be held fast by the Ultra-Liberals. The cry 
against attempts to react is still sounded, ungrounded as 
it is.' 







IN order to comprehend the situation in Frankfort at the 
time of the meeting of the National Assembly, one must go 
back to the events which had occurred in the German Diet 
itself since the middle of March. People were quite clear on 
one point, that the old Confederate Assembly could continue 
to exist neither over or with a German Parliament, the 
summoning of which had been agreed upon. But it had 
been far easier to form the National Assembly than to form a 


governing power which could keep its stand against it. That 
the former German Diet would never be accepted by the 
National Assembly as the executive organ of the Empire, 
was a fact, concerning which no one could be deceived. 
Unless they wished to resign all continuance of justice, and 
expose Germany to all the uncertainties of a democratic 
Constituent Assembly, an organ must be formed which 
might be legally entrusted with the powers of the German 

Prussia's proposal to undertake the direction of affairs had 
been refused, and the independent attempts of the Prussian 
Ministry to bring about a reform of the Confederacy had 
fallen to the ground. Concerning these tendencies on the 
part of the Berlin Government, the King of Bavaria did not 
hesitate to declare through his Ambassador in Frankfort : ' If 
there be any means by which the frightfully excited national 
feelings can be driven to the height of an explosion and the 
German diet completely nullified, those means are to be found 
in such demonstrations.' The ^ Governments of Baden, Hesse, 
Nassau also drew quickly back from this plan, and declared 
the impossibility of being able to follow the programme of 
the Prussian Ministry at that time. 

I was, as may have been seen from my letter already 
quoted, no less of the opinion that the energetic adoption of 
the Prussian policy, the position of the King being such as it 
was, would have meant the same thing in most lands as giving 
themselves up entirely. 

If the King of Prussia desired to prove the truth of his 
words uttered on the 21st of March with regard to the Ger- 
man question, he must .not avoid the roundabout way through 
Frankfort. But when, in most of the description of the Par- 
liamentary history of the year 1848 it is asserted that in this 
case the interest and conduct of the Southern Germans had 
opposed an unavoidable hindrance to the Prussian policy, it is, 
at least as far as regards the beginning of the agitation, only 
correct in a very small degree. 

Immediately at the beginning of the proposals of the 
united Courts of Darmstadt and Karlsruhe to establish a 
dictatorship and a national representation, Wiirtemberg had 
answered in a manner which had hitherto received barely 


sufficient attention. Even the documents exchanged in those 


days between the Southern German States, and which were 
therefore independent of Prussian influence, showed how 
remarkably favourable the clauses were for Frederick William 
IV there also, where, after later events, nothing but opposi- 
tion was usually offered. The King of Wurtemberg not only 
approved of the intentions of the Courts which were working, 
according to the Prussian idea, to bring about a reform of the 
Confederacy, but himself offered the following explanations, 
which were much too little regarded : 

' His Majesty the King considers it unavoidable for the 
safety of the common Fatherland that the hitherto united 
Governments should declare their readiness to propose the 
leadership of affairs to that one of the chief German Regents 
whom the united votes shall elect, and His Majesty is 
prepared to entrust that leadership to Prussia ; as, however, 
it is the conviction of the united Courts that Prussia's leader- 
ship only should be possible, and the public opinion and 
support of all Germany could only then be won if Prussia 
essentially grants her people the same rights and freedom 
which the Southern and Western German lands already 
possess, the hitherto united Courts would be able to look 
forward to some success for their efforts only under the above 

'The plenipotentiaries of the United Courts hope and 
expect to receive a communication from Prussia as soon as 
possible, and in case of consent would consider themselves 
authorised to journey to Berlin and uniting with the pleni- 
potentiaries of all German Courts there, if possible, to arrive 
at some decision, be it a definite one, or only preparatory, 
while awaiting the consent of a Congress of Princes which 
will meantime have been proposed by Prussia.' 

Meanwhile the good-will and the favourable moment had 
borne no fruit, and all immediate negotiations on the part of 
the Princes and their Governments had been broken up. Thus 
it would have indeed been urgently necessary and useful if 
Prussia had decided upon a higher kind of activity ; but her 
envoy, Count Donhoff, exhausted his strength by the old- 
fashioned means of jealously watching the Presidency of the 
Confederation, which had been entrusted during the last days 


of March, to the hands of Count Colloredo, and six weeks 
later to Herr Anton von Schmerling. 

Positive activity was in no way shown by the Prussian 
envoy in Frankfort, and what had been done in this respect 
in Berlin aroused the suspicion, that it was not a question 
of united Germany, but only of the aggrandisement of Prussia. 

Considering the complete absence of a leader of the German 
Diet, it could hardly fail to happen that the entirely illegal 
Committee of Fifty gained a predominating influence. No 
session of the German Diet took place without the members 
having to occupy themselves with proposals from this man- 
dateless body. The foundation of a provisory Central Power 
was always being talked about on all sides, but no decisions 
of any kind were arrived at. With dumb expectancy we 
looked forward to the meeting of the National Assembly 
which was not to take place until the 13th of May, and then 
at Prussia's urgent request, the opening was postponed until 
the 18th of May. The sole action, if not exactly a difficult 
one, in which Prussia had succeeded, was in effectuating the 
adoption of the Eastern Provinces which did not belong to 
the Confederacy by the new Germany, and thus placing 
herself in a position to essentially increase the number of her 
members in Parliament. 

During the 37th session of the German Diet, on the 18th 
April the envoy from Baden had given expression to the 
pressure on all sides for the creation of a Confederate execu- 
tive committee by means of several formal proposals. The 
executive committee was to be furnished with the widest 
authority ' to carry out in the name of the Confederacy the 
measures fitting to the circumstances and relations in all 
passing events.' It was to be formed by three commissioners, 
one of whom Austria was to appoint, the other Prussia, and 
the third all the remaining Confederate States, and three 
more were to be proposed by Bavaria. 

Similar proposals had already been specially brought 
under discussion by the Weimar Minister von Watzdorf in 
the Saxon Parliament, and it was undeniable that the Govern- 
ments would have a stronger and more secure position with 
regard to the National Assembly if they were united in this 
way by an executive committee. On the other hand, it was 


not to be mistaken that Prussia might easily be outvoted in a 
triumvirate with Austria and Bavaria, whilst the endurance 
of the old Confederate relations would at least not prejudice 
a reorganisation by means of Prussian proposals. Unfor- 
tunately we waited in vain for a proposal from Prussia con- 
cerning the executive organ, which we might have agreed to 
in the Confederate Assembly. 

The Committee of Fifty had previously urged the German 
Diet to agree to transactions which were of a highly doubtful 
nature. They began to allow themselves to be represented 
in foreign countries without there being any legal subject of 
representation to define. The Committee of Seventeen also 
urged several transactions regarding the German naval power 
which had better been left alone, particularly as regarded 
England, where they wished to obtain the ships. Thus the 
relations of the German Diet in Frankfort towards the end of 
April had become quite untenable, and I repeat here a report 
drawn up at this time by the Saxon envoy von Gablenz, 
which, it appears to me, explained the situation clearly and 
with great knowledge of the matter, and which reached me 
on the 27th of April from Frankfort : 

' The relations here are very much to be deplored, and it is 
urgently necessary that the Princes of Germany should soon 
assume a more decided attitude with regard to the constituent 
Assembly, unless complete anarchy and the triumph of the 
Republican party is desired. 

' The Confederate Assembly is at present much too weak to 
fulfil its high destiny. Count Colloredo is not fitted for 
the Presidency, and Count Donhoff, although an able man, is 
certainly no longer in the right place. It is incomprehensible 
that they have not provided in Berlin for his substitution by 
a more popular man. Herr von Wessenberg is pointed out as 
the successor to Count Colloredo.* 

' Even now the mutual jealousy of Austria and Prussia 
shows them at a great disadvantage. Each of the two 
envoys is afraid of the other's obtaining greater popularity, 
and thus it happens that neither dares to oppose the exactions 
of the Fifty, as soon as the other makes a motion of yielding. 
Besides this, elements have lately come into the Confederate 

* It was Schmerling, as is known. 


Assembly, concerning which it is not at all certain whether 
they are not purposely playing into the hands of the extreme 
party itself, or whether it is only a total want of energy, 
failing to oppose where it is necessary to do so. 

' Thus it may happen that the Constituent Assembly will 
openly ally themselves with the Fifty, and not with the 
German Diet, especially if they meet, as decided, on the 1st 
of May, when the republican Southern Germans will arrive 
here in superior numbers, and will have the upper hand. As 
an agreement between all the Governments concerning the 

o o 

acceptance of the Weimar proposals, or that of the envoy 
from Baden with regard to the appointment of a triumvirate 
is difficult to settle in time, I also am of the opinion that the 
monarchical principle, or, at least, the continuance of the 
smaller Princely Houses, may yet be saved by voluntary 
recognition of a Head on the part of the Princes. For this, 
it is not at all necessary that all Princes agree concerning 
the choice of a Head, as individual ones also can preside 
with such a voluntary submission, and then we shall be able 
to count all the more certainly on favourable conditions. 

' Considering the situation of affairs, the choice would lie 
between Austria and Prussia alone. But I think that the 
former is much too near internal dissolution to warrant any 
support. Besides this, they are by no means inclined in Austria 
to sacrifice the unity of the Austrian monarchy to the unity 
of Germany, so that the complete union of Germany with 
Austria is not to be thought of. This is becoming more and 
more recognised, and the enthusiasm which was at first felt 

O ' 

for the Austrians who had entered the Assembly of the Fifty, 
is beginning to cool.' 

How very well-founded the judgment of my informant 
was concerning the wide separation between all the parties in 
the German Diet, was also shown in military matters, which 
in spite of the determination* already arrived at on the 27th 
of April, never came to the election of a Confederate Com- 
mander-in-Chief. For my part, I had taken pains to direct 
the nomination for the position of Commander-in-Chief to 
General von Wrangel, and for that of Lieutenant-General to 
Prince Theodore of Thurn and Taxis. 

* Compare separate Protocol of the 42nd session of the German Confederate 
Assembly of the 27th April 1848. 


At the same time, the last hopes of the Liberal statesmen 
of the Confederate Assembly had been set on the proposed 
bill for the Constitution drawn up by the Seventeen. They 
pretended that the German Diet would be forced to cling to 
the last anchor of safety for a legal development of affairs. 
The judgment concerning most of the Courts given by the 
middle and smaller States alone had long prepared us to 
expect a negative vote from the Diet, and a memorial, com- 
piled by Herr von der Pfordten in Dresden, which was 
zealously circulated and which, not without cleverness, ex- 
pressed opposition to the foundation of a hereditary imperial 
dignity confirmed us in this : 

'The restoration of a hereditary Imperial dignity,' said 
Herr von der Pfordten in his memorandum, ' is indeed very 
much to be desired/and to be kept in view for the future; 
for the present it appears impossible for many reasons which 
can hardly be explained. Austria is passing through a crisis, 
the end of which cannot be conjectured, but she can hardly 
continue to keep her strength, according to German opinion ; 
her new Constitution has founded a Slav State rather than 
a German one. Prussia is not consolidated either, and almost 
the entire nation has a feeling of antipathy for her. The 
remaining States are not strong enough to bear a hereditary 
Imperial crown, and an Emperor without an Empire is con- 
ceivable theoretically, but not possible practically. 

c If, therefore, a hereditary Emperor is impossible, an elected 
Empire should be rejected for good, and unless one wishes to 
forget all the lessons taught by history. We must declare 
ourselves with equal firmness against a collective Head, 
whether it be the whole German Diet or a College of 
Three, which would only continue the weaknesses hitherto 
shown by the Confederate Power. Only a single Head with 
a responsible Ministry at his side can be the bearer of a strong 
Central Power, such as Germany needs, unless she is to fall a 
prey to outside foes and anarchy, and only such a monarchical 
Central Power can form a guarantee for the monarchical con- 
stitution of the individual States. If the Central Power is 
formed by Republicans, it will very soon swallow up the indi- 
vidual monarchs. 

' After all these considerations the following proposal alone 


appears to be feasible. The dignity of the Head should alter- 
nate every five years between the Emperor of Austria and the 
German Kings according to the order of rank they have 
hitherto held, in such a manner, nevertheless, that the first 
Head would now be elected by the majority by the votes of 
the members of the Confederacy in a close council, but the 
Emperor of Austria, if not elected, should in any case be the 
first to begin.' 

I should not like to assert that Herr von der Pfordten's 
proposal would have had any prospects of meeting with 
approval, but it actually put an end to the Bill of the Com- 
mittee of Seventeen. Bavaria also made a move against the 
latter by bringing forward a programme of her own, in which 
the triumvirate idea of Baden was largely developed and im- 
proved. I was very doubtful if the Saxon and Bavarian 
Cabinet were in the remotest degree in earnest regarding 
these proposals, they only wished to complicate the case, in 
order to have a back door of escape in case of universal 

What remained decided at the moment was the riotous noisi- 
ness and the opposition of the Committee of Fifty in Frank- 
fort, which took care that the Governments should be entirely 
disarmed as far as the constituent National Assembly was 
concerned. The triumvirate, as well as every other consoli- 
dation of the Confederacy, was fought against to the utmost 
here, and as the weakness of the Princes and their want of 
unity had cleared the field for the Committee of Fifty, the 
future alone was left for the Parliament to strive for. 

Since the beginning of May the representatives of all the 
German peoples had assembled in Frankfort, to which city of 
old reminiscences the unpractical mind of the German poli- 
tician would cling. Every other place would have been 
better, as my brother had correctly asserted beforehand, for 
the meeting of the great National Assembly. Nevertheless, 
it cannot be denied that our fears concerning the construction 
of the first great legal representation of Germany had been 

The conviction was soon borne in upon us that the body 
which had come together here concealed in its midst, in 
the majority, a power of intellect and education, which 


would have been admirable if political experience and know- 
ledge of real states and personal relations had accompanied it 
in an equal degree. The fault here was, that most of the 
Moderates had come to Frankfort without any clear idea of 
their task, and were, so to speak, waiting for some kind of 
inspiration ; thus it was that the members allowed themselves 
to be ruled by casual events and the influence of clever 

I had early taken measures to procure exact information 
concerning the events in and outside of St Paul's Church. 
Since the middle of May the Saxon Duchies, as well as all the 
other States, had sent a special representative to the Con- 
federacy for the civil votes. The consequence, as I have 
already remarked, was that Stockmar had been made plenipo- 
tentiary for Coburg-Gotha ; Meiningen elected my old, closely 
connected tutor of Bonn, Professor Perth es. Besides this, I 
had sent an excellent observer and minute informant to 
Frankfort in Herr von Meyern, who supplied me with the 
most correct knowledge of persons and things. 

It is not my intention to furnish a history of the great 
Assembly from the rich materials supplied me by these 
excellent men, but only to bring forward the chief points 
which, according to their nature, exercised an influence over 
me, as over all individual Governments. Since the Presidency 
of the Confederacy had been conferred by the Austrian 
Government on their former proxy in the Council of Seventeen, 
Herr von Schmerling, the German Diet had unquestionably 
succeeded in gaining a somewhat more honourable position 
before its complete breaking up, but the question of the 
reorganisation of the Confederacy had gained but little 
thereby ; rather the tendency and party which Germany was 
striving to place under Prussian leadership, had been crowded 
still more into the background. 

Under these circumstances Stockmar had no influence in 
Frankfort; he was disappointed and more reserved than 
ever. Herr von Gagern had in the beginning of May, 
during a tour round the European Courts, visited my 
brother in London. Thus the latter, as he wrote to me, 
' was given an opportunity of being able to see the cards.' 
In a disappointed frame of mind, in which my brother's 

VOL. I. Y 


ironical style came to his aid, he remarked concerning the 
'acquisitions of the new times:' 'Mine consists in a hand- 
kerchief with the German colours which was sent me from 
Frankfort, the seat of the I myself German husbands, 
brothers, citizens, representatives, Fifties, qualified-opinion 
men, and I can now blow my nose in accordance with the 
spirit of the age.' 

Whilst the German Diet was in every way being hindered 
from forming a provisory Imperial authority, the institution 
of an executive power was pointed out as the first and most 
necessary task immediately on the meeting of the National 
Assembly. Radicalism only desired to take away the important 
affairs from the German Diet, as the representative of the 
rights of Princes ; ' the will of the people,' as they were fond 
of expressing it, ' must not be anticipated,' but the National 
Assembly referred the hastily brought forward proposal for 
the institution of an executive power to a committee of fifteen 

With regard to the matter itself, one soon began to observe 
that exactly the same difficulties would arise in the National 
Assembly which had succeeded in preventing the German 
Diet from arriving at any determination. Other persons 
were acting, but the same principles prevailed. Just as in the 
German Diet, Austria and Prussia faced one another in an 
inimical attitude, and here, as there, the resource of the Triade 
was attempted. The idea of the Triumvirate was resuscitated 
in Parliament in a more democratic form, as they wished to 
see the future ruler of Germany invested not as the plenipo- 
tentiary of the Governments, but really as the proxy of the 

The Governments were only to point out the triumvirs, 
but their election and plenipotence were really to be the 
business of the National Assembly. Gagern, Schmerling and 
Camphausen were named as the future Imperial regents, and 
consolation was proffered the supporters of the rights of Princes 
in the assurance that these popular men were only to admini- 
strate provisorily. At the constitution of a definite Central 
Power, they said, it would be remembered that Princes also 


Only in the middle of June had the Committee for the 
institution of the Central Power closed their protracted 
deliberations, and gone as far as to formulate proposals for 
a provisory Confederate directory with as far-reaching a 
sphere of activity as possible. But at this time a complete 
change of disposition had already taken place, and there was 
a decided leaning towards a more monarchical form of govern- 
ment. In the circles of the German Diet, as well as amongst 


the Austrian and Southern German envoys, the name of the 
Archduke John had insensibly begun to be passed from 
mouth to mouth, and grown popular. 

The Austrian Government might have every reason to 
bring forward, or, more correctly speaking, to play the Duke, 
who had but little influence at the Court of Vienna, as a fit 
person for the Confederate Presidency against the aspirations 
of Prussia. In order to procure votes for him, the Austrians 
spread a perfect atmosphere of Liberalism around his person, 
and the assurances of the German sentiments, which he was 
supposed to have already declared at the festival of Cologne 
Cathedral in 1842, were very happily circulated, a fitting 
change having been made in the text of his utterances. 
Hardly a single one of all the German national representa- 
tives assembled in Frankfort knew the Austrian Prince, 
whom Raveaux nevertheless called ' the first German patriot.' 
Several romantic tales of his marriage, manner of life and 
pretended neglect at the Imperial Court won for him, like 
popular fairy tales, the hearts of good men. Other German 
Princes were still less known amongst the representatives of 
the people than he was, and could not therefore be taken into 

In Prussia, on the other hand, they were by no means of 
the opinion that the raising of an Austrian Archduke to the 
position of Administrator of the Empire was to be taken so 
naturally, as was the case in St Paul's Church. In Berlin the 
political background of such a choice was not misunderstood, 
and they struggled against it as. long and as successfully as 
they could. But before the proposals, so carefully and 
thoroughly considered by the committee, for the establishment 
of the executive power had been laid before the whole 
Assembly, a firmly established majority had been formed 


which had been won over to the one ruler scheme. At the 
night session of the 12th of June the Centre, consisting of 
about 300 representatives, voted for the establishment of one 
provisory Head. 

They said that ' a Prince ' also could and must submit to 
the conditions which had been made for the provisory 
Triumvirate, in order to undertake the government in a 
monarchical sense. The name ' Administrator of the Empire ' 
was then added to the carefully prepared affair. At the same 
time the Rights had been won over to the one ruler scheme, 
out of consideration for the monarchical principle, and thus it 
became possible for even Vincke to give utterance in Parlia- 
ment on the 21st of June, to the confident expectation that : 
' Prussia also will gladly join in the election of Archduke 
John.' Without going more minutely into the particulars of 
the parliamentary struggle, I will communicate a piece of 
information of the 23rd of June from my Charge' d' Affaires 
in Frankfort who cannot deny its worth even at this date. 

' At last the decision has become almost indubitable, the 
Triumvirate appears to have been entirely abandoned, not 
because there were reasons for refuting it on the contrary, 
this has been universally acknowledged, even by its oppo- 
nents but because they wished to see the principle of unity 
preserved throughout, and because the supporters of the 
Triumvirate in the National Assembly have defended the latter 
either very lamely or not at all, to which may be added the 
fact that these supporters consist of the most learned and 
deepest thinkers in Parliament, but who are no speakers at 
all, and therefore are exposed, with their best proposals, to 
attacks from all sides against which they are unable to defend 
themselves. Briegleb says that the Triumvirate has fallen 
chiefly through the confidence with which all its opponents 
outside of St Paul's Church asserted : " It will not do ! No 
one is seriously thinking of it ! It has no supporters ! " Thus 
its real supporters, who had not known their own numbers, 
had looked upon themselves as isolated, and relinquished the 
whole project. During last night's session, which, besides, 
was so unimportant, and mostly such a repetition of what 
had already taken place, that I consider a special description 
superfluous, they passed the Triumvirate over without notice, 


and the debates turned for the most part on the quality of 
the one Head to be provisorily elected. 

' The question now is, shall it be a Prince or a private man ? 
If it be a Prince, it will mean a future Emperor, if a private 
man, it will mean a future President. This is clear to every- 
one. But whatever reasons may be brought forward for or 
against this, the decision of the majority is certain. Austria, 
Prussia and Bavaria will unite against the Republic, and for 
that anchor of monarchy, the provisory Prince. It will only 
depend upon whether the majority is important, for no one 
conceals from himself that the greatest possible unanimity in 
the choice of the Central Power will give the greatest possible 
strength and vitality. 

' With this view it is of the greatest importance that 
Gagern has most decidedly declared that he will in no case 
and at no price accept the provisory place of President, as 
he does not consider himself fitted for it, and because he is 
well aware that by this nomination they only wish to remove 
him from his present post in which he can be useful to the 

' The choice of a Prince will therefore depend more on the 
Left Centre, which would have decided more for a provisory 
Presidency with regard to Gagern's personality. A pre- 
liminary mumber of over 300 votes is said to have been 
already given for the Prince. 

' But the majority have united not only concerning the 
rank, but the person also. The Archduke John is an old 
man, hence the great policy of Vincke, when he said yester- 
day that Prussia would no doubt gladly subordinate herself 
to the Archduke. He is already thinking of the inherit- 

' There appears to be no doubt of the Archduke's accept- 
ance of the nomination. At least, Schmerling said it would 
certainly be the case, considering the importance of the 
post, and asked Herr von der Gabelentz whether, in case, as 
is expected, the proposal is left to the Princes, he would ask 
for instructions from his Government concerning it ; besides, 
as it appears, many of the envoys took the authorisation to 
propose the Archduke for granted.' 

Little, that was certain, had been made public concerning 


the events which took place in the German Diet itself during 
the last days of its existence. 

A formal instruction, in favour of the impending election of 
the Archduke John to the post of Administrator of the 
Empire, could probably not be furnished by any of the 
Princes at Frankfort ; yet the envoys were more or less 
assured that they must not formally oppose the attempts of 
the Austrian Presidency to bring about a legal vote of the re- 
tiring German Diet in favour of the administration of the 

Prussia's attitude had until then been wavering, but it was 
at length universally recognised that firm decisions were not 
to be counted upon from that quarter; Stockmar also was 
convinced that the King would do nothing. My representa- 
tive in the German Diet had secretly escaped, if I may so put 
it, from Frankfort, on the 2nd of June, in a way which could 
only be explained by the singularity of this remarkable man, 
and, without giving any information either to me or my 
Ministry, had gone to Berlin, in order to bring the King into 
action at the last moment. He reaped no reward, meeting 
with no success whatever. The particulars of this are to be 
found with all desirable details in his memorials as well as 

It is an interesting fact that Secretary of the Legation 
von Meyern also remained unenlightened concerning Stock- 
mar's undertaking, and could only report that he had ' unex- 
pectedly gone away early this morning.' Of course the newshad 
been spread in Frankfort that a last attempt had been made to 
force Frederick William IV to act, and the consequence was 
that the inimical operations of the last week in June were 
kept as secret as possible from my envoy by the circles of the 
German Diet. Meanwhile it could not be denied that the 
expiring Confederate Assembly had contrived the setting up 
of the administration of the Empire in a rather clever manner. 
They wrote to me from Frankfort on the 30th of June as 
follows: 'The German Diet has anticipated the National 
Assembly at the very last, and will now become for that 
reason the object of the bitterest attacks of the Left. 

' Immediately after the close of the session of Parliament it 
held a session yesterday, and carried and sent off without 


delay, per estafet, a congratulatory address, which had already 
been drawn up, to the Archduke John, in which, amongst 
other things, they expressed their pleasure at being able to 
inform him that all the Governments had beforehand declared 
their unanimity respecting his election,* and that they 
invited him to occupy his high post as soon as possible. Thus 
the Archduke receives the first news of his election from the 
German Diet, as the deputation from the National Assembly 
only leaves this morning.' 

That the disappointment in Stockmar's circle was painful 
and cruel is self understood. And it was not his sixty years, 
as he said in his memorials, but the conviction of the utter 
untenableness of his position, which moved him to announce 
his retirement on the day of the breaking up of the German 
Diet, and to recommend Dr Perthes, who was also the repre- 
sentative of Meiningen, for the representation of the Duchies 
to the Administrator of the Empire. 

Meanwhile the great universal satisfaction represented in 
the newspapers as being felt for the election of the Prince of 
a House of which one could not say that it had had much 
German sympathy of late years, was very imaginary. In 
Frankfort also, the pleasant excitement had been aroused 
only very gradually, and many toasts were necessary in 
order, as they said, to make 'John Landless' really popular 
with his electors. Even Gagern, whose bold grasp, or mistake, 
as others said, had made the affair successful, remained very 
still during the following days, as observers informed me, and 
accepted the homage which was offered him with dignity, but 
without pleasure. 

A very droll recollection is connected in my mind with 
the election of the Administrator of the Empire, which was 
solemnly celebrated in Coburg and Gotha, as everywhere 
else, and which gave rise to a long and angry trial as to who 
should pay for the rejoicing. For the public exchequer, the 
provincial exchequers, the town exchequers, in short, every- 
one refused to pay for the various hundredweights of powder 

* If such a unanimity in the German Diet, which can hardly be ascertained at 
this date, really reigned, it could only be explained by the fact that Stockmar's vote 
was not counted, as the vote was probably carried in close council, and Stockmar by 
no means led the Saxon civil vote. Besides, Stockmar demeaned himself, as is seen 
from the above, so independently, that even I had not the slightest influence over 
his actions. 


which had been shot off for the new Administrator of the 
Empire on the 9th of June, as well as later on the 6th of 

Meanwhile the Imperial deputation had hastened from 
Frankfort to Vienna, and the Archduke John was informed 
of his election to the administration of the Empire in the 
familiar way, and then solemnly brought to the residential 
city of the new, weak provisory Imperial power. He travelled 
by way of Dresden and Eisenach to Frankfort, and I did not 
fail on receiving this news, to go at once from Coburg to 
Gotha, in order fittingly to welcome the Head of the Empire 
to my land. As the Archduke remembered me from former 
meetings, our short conversation was of such a kind that I at 
once touched upon the burning questions. As, for my part, I 
had nothing to conceal, I spoke of the necessary sacrifices 
which the German Princes owed the work of unity, and may 
have shown greater vivacity in so doing than the Archduke 
expected, for he expressed himself afterwards to Stockmar in 
Frankfort as being greatly pleased, but almost in a surprised 
manner, at meeting with much cordiality on the part of 
Princes whom he had thought on the side of Prussia. 

On the other hand, it was entirely wanting in tact of Herr 
Heckscher, afterwards the Archduke's Minister, not only to 
give a kind of certificate of good conduct concerning me as 
well as the King of Saxony and the Grand-Duke of Weimar 
on the tribune of the National Assembly, in his statement of 
the journey and reception of the Administrator of the Empire, 
but even to recommend us three as examples to the other 
German rulers whose fidelity to the Empire was not above all 
doubt a proceeding which was considered very offensive, 
particularly in Prussia, and for which we were to a certain 
degree held responsible. 

As for the rest, the Archduke, as I faintly remember, did 
not make the impression, as far as many points were con- 
cerned, of being fully at home in German matters. He 
plainly maintained the greatest reserve, whereas I expressed 
myself without dissembling and with the knowledge of all 
the consequences of the events of that time. We had long 
since become accustomed in Germany to regard the situation 
of the individual States as dangerous, and no longer discussed 


the question of greater or less mediatisation, as the reader has 
seen in the preceding chapter, with anxious fear in confiden- 
tial circles only, but generally very frankly and entirely 
officially. The Archduke kept up his wavering prograinme- 
less attitude in Frankfort, honestly and undoubtedly well 
meaning as it at that time was, and, as I was later able 
to observe, retained the feeling of being a man who was 
suddenly forced to establish entirely new relations. 

His first act as ruler was to give notice of the constitution 
of the provisory Central Power, the leadership of which he 
had undertaken on the 12th of July, and the completion of 
which was placed on the 15th of July in the hands of a 
Ministry, which at first consisted only of Heckscher, the 
Prussian Major-General von Peucker and Herr von Schmerling. 

The latter was able to unite the internal as well as the 
external affairs for the former with all the greater ease, as the 
sphere of activity of both was a very imaginary one. The 
Administrator of the Empire immediately announced his 
entrance into power by a circular note addressed to all the 
Confederate States. Although, remarkable to relate, this 
announcement was addressed to the States Ministries only, 
and not by a Prince to Princes, I nevertheless thought it right 
to answer it personally, and in a form such as is used on a 
real entrance into rule. I do not know now whether this 
was done by all rulers, or whether my personal homage pro- 
duced a particular impression, at any rate, the Administrator 
of the Empire felt himself bound to thank me in a letter 
without any ministerial countersign, and which therefore 
deserves to be given here : 

' Your Highness 's honoured letter of the 25th inst., reached 
me yesterday by way of Vienna. I find with pleasure that 
it contains the expression of the same sentiments which, 
considering the serious circumstances under which I have 
entered upon the dignity of an Administrator of the Empire, 
and which surround us at the present hour, must be of all the 
greater value to me. 

' The task which has been entrusted to me, and which 
only the purest love of my country could move me to accept, 
is great and difficult. May the help of God, as well as the 


firm support which is given me by the full confidence and 
honest liking of the German Princes and peoples, give me 
strength and courage to carry out with success the work 
begun for the universal welfare. I can, therefore, only accept 
it with heartfelt thanks, if, as Your Highness has done in so 
friendly a way, the assurance of this support, this unlimited 
confidence is given me. It shall be my sacred duty to return 
both honestly, and, as union makes strength and happiness, 
we may hope that our splendid German Fatherland will also 
become so in the same way. My first care after my return 
to Frankfort was the completion of the Imperial Ministry. 
I have succeeded in establishing it, and in giving the leader- 
ship of affairs to men whose experience, insight, popularity, 
and well-known patriotism will offer a guarantee for the just 
and salutary administration of universal matters. 

' I beg Your Highness to accept the renewed assurance of 
my hearty personal esteem and devotion. 

'Frankfort, August 9th, 1848.' 

The completion of the Imperial Ministry, of which the 
Archduke spoke in the above letter, was, that my cousin, 
Prince Karl von Leiningen, had decided to undertake the 
Presidency, whilst Duckwitz, Beckerath and Mohl repre- 
sented Commerce, Finance and Justice, with the already 
appointed Ministers of the Interior, for Foreign Affairs and 
War, and thus formed a complete Ministry. Leiningen's 
election was certainly happy, and calculated to decrease the 
poor opinion of the German Kingdom entertained by the 
great European world. My cousin's name would also vouch, 
particularly in England, for the restoration of diplomatic 
relations, and, in spite of all democratic phrases, the respect of 
persons also which was necessary in 1848. 

The Prince was considered very energetic, and, so far as 
regarded the Unity of Germany, as decided to shrink from 
nothing, not even the mediatisation of the Princes. 

He had also spoken earnestly and without concealment to 
my brother and myself, regarding the fact that the small 
lands were entirely untenable. In this respect he revealed a 
degree of Radicalism which would perhaps have been entirely 


inexplicable in such a man, if one had not remembered that, 
as head of a Mediatised House, he saw in this course of 
development only a kind of compensating justice. 

Concerning him, my brother wrote rather angrily to me 
on the 29th of July : 

'Karl has written again that the Princes cannot retain 
their position, and advises them to abdicate quickly and to 
make at least a good bargain. This is, however, a low con- 
ception of higher interests I still believe in the union of a 
federal monarchy. Prussia's start will have a good effect, 
only the Archduke must be surrounded by envoys from the 
individual States. Whom shall you send to him? Camp- 
hausen goes from Prussia, I hear; Bunsen will perhaps be 
Foreign Minister, for he has suddenly been summoned to Berlin.' 

When the news of Leiningen's nomination reached England, 
my brother nevertheless wrote with a certain degree of 
pleased interest : 

' Karl has now taken his place in Frankfort, at the head 
of the First Ministry. I thought at once that he would 
become somebody, when he had the letter inserted in the 
General Post-Office newspaper, which act I so disapproved 
of that I at once attacked him on the subject. Meantime it 
is highly important that a man of standing should be at 
the head of the Ministry, and Karl has a talent for Foreign 
politics. Whether he will have the necessary endurance must 
remain to be shown. Stockrnar will probably do some 
prompting. I am receiving the most various kinds of 

As regarded my own views of the election of our cousin 
and friend to the post of President of the Ministry, I in no 
way concealed from myself that, in spite of his excellent 
intellectual gifts, his reign could not last long. ' To such a 
calling belong stability of views and actions, and the complete 
surrender of all private interests and convenience,' I re- 
marked to Albert on the llth of August. 

Born in the year 1804, Leiningen was in the very prime 
of life and in the zenith of his political consideration and 
influence. His activity for many years as Imperial Councillor 
in the Bavarian and Baden Parliaments, previous to the year 
1848, had schooled him in parliamentary forms, and he 


possessed what is called the courage of his opinions in the 
greatest degree. The early death of his father and the 
marriage of his mother with the Duke of Kent had caused 
him to spend the greater part of his youth in England, and 
thence he had in a certain measure formed English views. 


Yet he studied at Gottingen, and educated himself to a 
thorough knowledge of German law. The intellectual life of 
the German nation was in every way familiar to him, and 
he had many relations with the most important scientists 
and authors. Above all he was a great friend of Humboldt, 
through his intercourse with whom his familiarity with 
Berlin affairs had been increased. 

He wrote very cleverly and with rare quickness ; at the 
same time, in accordance with his whole temperament, he paid 
little attention to form. But he always showed himself to be 
sharp and correct in his judgment of persons and things, and 
was not easily inclined to illusions. If his letters had been 
collected, they would furnish a much stronger commentary on 
the events of the time than those of my brother, for his 
speech was very cutting on all occasions. He was more 
Southern German than Prussian in his views of the questions 
of the day, and often angered my brother by his injurious 
expressions concerning the importance of Prussia, which he 
would not admit against Germany. There were times when 
his pessimism rivalled that of King Leopold, to whom he had 
stood nearest of all the older members of the family. 

Everything might have been expected of him sooner than 
a firm persistence in the same opinions he seized an idea 
quickly and decidedly, but he let it go again with equal quick- 
ness. If he now proclaimed mediatisation, I was nevertheless 
far from believing that he was in a position to carry it out ; 
but the consequence of this was, that most of the Princes of 
Germany had been filled with unconquerable mistrust of him, 
as well as against the whole Ministry of the Empire, and the 
National Assembly. When they formally prescribed the 
transactions of Hanover, because the King had not agreed to 
the unconditional acceptance of the decisions concerning the 
Central Power in July, deep depression showed itself even 
amongst those Princes who would have been inclined to make 
sacrifices for the unity of Germany. 


The Duke of Meiningen was accidentally present at a 
session of Parliament during which, amongst other things, 
the proposal was made to depose the King of Hanover and to 
declare his kingdom to be the property of the Empire. 
Almost at that same date the King of Wiirtemberg, the Grand- 
Dukes of Baden and Darmstadt, and the King of Bavaria were 
present in Frankfort. 

The impressions with which the sovereigns went away are 
indescribable. I found the Duke of Meiningen, who still 
lived amidst all the traditions of the strictest legitimacy of 
Princes, stiff with horror when he returned home. If the 
example of Hanover was not immediately followed by all, it 
was only because they were held back by fear and the 
momentary bad condition of things. Most of them regarded 
Prussia and Bavaria with real satisfaction, as they, along with 
the Government of Kurhesse, no longer neglected to strengthen 
and complete the particular elements in the army and also in 
the Representative Assembly. 

Towards the end of July I was informed, from a very 
trustworthy source, that the King of Bavaria had established 
the closest relations with the Austrian Court, then staying at 
Innsbruck, and especially with that party which held all the 
threads of clerical and military reaction. An uninterrupted 
secret exchange of letters took place between Munich and 
Innsbruck through persons who were in the secret, such as 
Herr von Tiirkheim and others. The aristocracy and clergy 
had already joined hands in the Catholic South and East, in 
order to maintain the individual independence against the 
Central Power as strongly as possible. In Bavaria all hopes 
were set on the elections to Parliament, with the help of which 
they hoped to oppose the National Assembly. 

In Prussia the opposition to the Frankfort extortions was 
shown in the order issued by the Central Power concerning 
the acceptance of the German colours by the armies. As is 
known the troops of all German States were to adopt the 
black, red and gold cockade, and through this symbol to pay 
a kind of homage to the Central Power. But even in liberal 
circles this demand had touched a point which aroused all the 
traditions of Prussian consciousness. 

Thus, to my great regret, the Central Power had with its 


first general measure obtained but very poor, indeed, almost 
shameful success on the whole. Nothing was more significant 
of this than the fact that my faithful attitude towards the 
Empire was not only represented in Frankfort on this 
occasion as a remarkably praiseworthy and pleasing event, 
but that they henceforth pointed me and other small 
sovereigns out, of whose necessary and speedy mediatisation 
and setting aside they were still convinced, as ' supporters of 
the Central Power.' 

I succeeded in celebrating the 6th of August as solemnly 
as possible in Gotha. I had arranged a great people's festival 
on a heath in the neighbourhood of the town, and summoned 
my contingent of troops to it, as well as the men on active 
service. As I undertook the personal command of this large 
crowd of people, numbering about 10,000 persons, I made a 
speech which has remained valuable to me as a personal 
recollection of the day. The words were spoken at the front, 
where I had stationed myself on horseback, and did not fail 
to make an impression : 

' In accordance with the expressed wish of our Adminis- 
trator of the Empire, all German troops are to assemble 
around their Princes on this day, and, in unison with him, 
declare their readiness to give both blood and life in obedience 
to the ordinances of the Administration of the Empire. 

' My heart beat high at this command, and, with the 
consciousness that not I alone in these meadows have the 
beautiful aim of the universal Fatherland before my eyes, I 
summoned all the men amongst my faithful people capable of 
carrying arms, besides the standing troops. 

' My eye rests with pride and pleasure on this numerous 
company. So let us heartily proclaim that we are all 
Germans, and, like unto a brazen wall, will protect our beauti- 
ful Fatherland from the pressure of outside foes, just as, like 
a fiery sword, we will destroy those who attempt to insult 
our memories, our rights, our freedom. 

'As a sign of your earnest intentions join me in the 
inspiriting cry : Long live the Administrator of the Empire ! ' 

The national celebration in Gotha might be called brilliant. 
Numberless visits from neighbouring territories lent an im- 
portance to it which extended far beyond the Duchy. It had 



not remained unknown to me that in Prussia and other 
kingdoms they had officially tried to suppress the rejoicings 
on the 6th of August. In contrast to this, Gotha was a spot 
well-situated for a demonstration, which had, for me, the 
two-fold aim of working against the democratic and repub- 
lican proceedings in the Thuringian towns and particularly 
in Gotha, and to set I will say a good example to my 
princely neighbours. 

It was well known to me that the Prussian War Minister 
von Schreckenstein had addressed a circular note to the 
Generals in command, in which the order of the Central 
Power concerning the adoption of the German cockade had 
been interpreted in a very odd manner. On command of the 
King, it said, the army was to receive the communication of 
the establishment of a German Central Power in accordance 
with existing circumstances, but any promulgation was 
especially to be most earnestly avoided on the 6th of August. 
Whereas the repugnance for the efforts in Frankfort was thus 
being fully expressed, Frederick William IV did not hesitate 
a few days later to meet the Administrator at the celebration 
of the building of the Cathedral in Cologne. 

The meeting consequently assumed the character of a 
diplomatic game of chess, at which I was glad not to have 
accepted the opportunity of appearing. For on the arrival of 
the Frankfort deputation and the Ministry, at the torchlight 
procession of the citizens and at the table of Princes, every- 
thing was done in order to prove to the world the exceeding 
harmony which was supposed to exist between the King and 
his Archducal guests. 

To the initiated, and particularly in military circles, it was 
no regret that the bridge between Berlin and Frankfort had 

o O 

been torn down since the 6th of August. 

At the same time the delusions of the members of Parlia- 
ment who inclined towards Prussia were remarkable. The 
only too well known words of Frederick William, with which 
he reminded the Representatives in the National Assembly, 
that there were still Princes in Germany, and that he also was 
one of them, were interpreted in a way which led to further 
doctrinary extortions. Gagern even asserted, in his reports of 
the Cathedral celebration made for the National Assembly, 


that this utterance of the King's was to be taken only as an 
innocent jest, such as the witty man was fond of making. 

The King was in reality decidedly opposed to all the 
programmes drawn up by the party of unity, and at that 
time I, as well as King Leopold, and my brother also, who was 
certainly well informed, was assured that he was not to be 
won over to the founding of Imperial territories in conse- 
quence of mediatisation, nor to the absorbtion of Prussia by 
Germany, but would at most give some support to the project 
formerly begun by his Ministry for the States Representative 
of seven of the German Princes in a Confederate Council. 
But he made this concession only in a very half-hearted 
manner, and the real significance was without doubt what I 
wrote at that time on the llth of August 1848, to King 
Leopold : 

' King, army, Ministry, and people are all pulling in 
different directions, and not one of the eminent men has 
consideration and decision enough to direct a blow of any 
importance whatever. Amongst these, I count the Prussian 
proposals for a representation in the Central Power. There 
is no doubt that Germany with a Central Power needs an 
organ of the individual States Governments in the National 
Assembly, and that even the provisory constitution of the 
Empire cannot well do without such a mediating body which 
can appease outside interests. 

' In the law pertaining to the Central Power the need of a 
union between the Administrator of the Empire and the 
Individual Governments is recognised, and they have tried to 
obtain this by appointing embassies in Frankfort. Neverthe- 
less, the Prussian proposal goes too far, and they wish to 
form a College of the States plenipotentiaries which can 
decree in opposition to the National Assembly. Agreeable 
to the purpose as it would be to see the senseless discord 
lessened between Prussia and the National Assembly, yet it 
is only too apparent that this proposal can by no means be 
carried out without consulting the National Assembly.' 

As is known, Prussia's disinclination remained strong 
enough to hinder any vital institution of States representa- 
tion to the Administrator of the Empire, and if one wished 
to consider the reasons for the failure of the idea of unity on 


the whole, this circumstance was certainly one of the most 
evident of them. For the National Assembly became more 
and more fruitless in its one-sided democracy, and each fresh 
conflict with the individual States could not fail to reveal the 
powerlessness of the latter all the more clearly to the real 

Amidst these oppositions there now arose a question con- 
cerning the armistice which Prussia had agreed upon with 
Denmark at Malmoe, which was calculated to increase the 
bitterness to the utmost degree : In a particular chapter I will 
explain the affairs relating to Schleswig-Holstein in connection 
with other matters, and limit myself here to hints concerning 
these things in connection with the development of the 
National Assembly. It was during the last days in August, 
when the National Assembly undertook its first great errantry 
in the affairs of foreign politics, and it could not happen other- 
wise than that an immense gap should be made between their 
will and their ability. 

The policy which Prince Leiningen and the Imperial 
Ministry first adopted with regard to external affairs, suffered 
from both children's complaints and senility. Of the men who 
would have known how to move on diplomatic ground there 
were none who could have taken charge of the affairs of the 
Embassy. Bunsen's duties prevented him from being in a 
position to accept an office in the Central Power, and Stockmar, 
who was always giving advice and making prophecies, was 
not further removed from anything than from really under- 
taking and co-operating in the matter. 

The three envoys who were sent to the Great Powers 
were Auerswald, Raumer, and Andrian, excellent men to be 
sure, but without the necessary diplomatic past, and probably 
also without any future of the kind. Thus the failure inside 
the country had been added to the failure outside. At the 
end of August a number of embassies had been created, which, 
however, according to Heckscher's own declaration, had 
nothing more to do than to give official notice of the entrance 
into rule of the Administrator of the Empire, and to furnish 
explanations of the relations in Frankfort. Any serious 
foreign work on the part of the Ministry had, however, 
already been rendered impossible by the ceaseless interpola- 

VOL. I. Z 


tions with which the National Assembly busied itself for days 
together. To these matters, discussed, in the eyes of all 
Europe, with so little dignity, the Schleswig armistice 
question belonged first of all. 

The storm which arose concerning the latter, and which 
was to bring about the most lamentable events, burst forth in 
the National Assembly on the 4th of September. On the 
following day it was decided not to allow the Imperial troops 
to return to Schleswig-Holstein. All the members of the 
Imperial Ministry handed in their resignation. Dahlmann, 
whose critical spirit had succeeded in accomplishing the 
rejection of the armistice, had the courage to take upon him- 
self the entire responsibility and burden of this affair, without 
being able to effect the formation of a new Cabinet. 

At this moment of the greatest excitement in and outside 
of St Paul's Church, and on the eve of a frightful revolution, 


I entered Frankfort. I had for a long time had the intention 
of going there in person, in order to form an opinion of my 
own. As the situation daily assumed a more threatening 
character, I hastened my journey, arrived on the morning of 
the 6th of September, and, to my astonishment, found the 
Ministry overthrown. 

I had had the particular intention of regulating some of 
the affairs pertaining to the Coburg contingent with General 
von Peucker as War Minister, now it was only possible for 
me to make observations on what had occurred, and to ascer- 
tain the state of helplessness in which they all were. For the 
greater part of the Deputies were concerned at their own 
victory, and the proposers of the cessation of the armistice 
knew least of all what should be done. 

I paid my respects to the Administrator of the Empire 
on the same day, was with Leiningen for some time, and paid 
Gagern a visit. I learned from my cousin that England, 
France and Russia had sent threatening letters, and demanded 
unconditionally of the Imperial Government that the con- 
ditions of the Malmoe armistice were to be complied with. 
The hopes of the Ministry were set on the fact that Dahlmann, 
who had overthrown it, would not be able to form a new 
Cabinet, and that they might therefore hope to make up the 
difference of twenty votes, with which Dahlmann had won, 


when the principal question was voted for. Besides, Leiningen 
showed but little desire to continue the direction of affairs. 

When I went to the Administrator of the Empire, I found 
him more composed than I had imagined he would be, after 
what had been told me. He spoke rather quietly about the 
decision arrived at by the National Assembly, on the preced- 
ing day, and had worked out a system in which he blamed 
Prussia as sharply as possible, but which he asserted would 
assure the carrying out of the armistice : ' The question of a 
war with Denmark,' said he, ' must by all means be separated 
from the question of Prussia's conduct. The armistice must 
be accepted, although Prussia has gone beyond her full 

He then began to speak of Prussia with great anger, and 
I noticed that it came from his heart when he judged Prussia's 
conduct from the worst point of view. It angered him 
especially that of the three conditions, under which the Central 
Power had conferred the authority to conclude the armistice, 
not a single one had been considered. It was not difficult to 


see that the Administrator of the Empire regarded this 
omission as an intentional neglect of his person and position. 
He was confirmed in this by the fact that the envoy of the 
Imperial Administration had been purposely deceived by 
General von Below, on pretence of secret instructions having 
arrived from Berlin. 

Greatly as the Archduke John gave vent to his Prussian 
antipathy, and greatly as he showed a kind of sympathy for 
the insulted National Assembly, yet he appeared to be 
entirely ignorant of everything which should have been done 
without delay. It was hoped that Heckscher's retirement 
from the Ministry would lull the storm in St Paul's, and that 
the remaining Ministers could be retained. The long and 
stormy session of the National Assembly, at which I was 
present on the following day, did not make the impression 
upon me that quiet days were to be expected. 

In the part of St Paul's where I had a place, I was glad to 
see several old acquaintances, .such as Erbach, Fiirstenberg 
and Lichnowsky, as well as Radowitz and my old tutor 
Lobell of Bonn, whose instructive information helped me 
through the meaningless phrases of most of the speakers, and 


the frightful contentions between Wesendonck, Vogt and 
President Gagern. As on the second day also these scandalous 
proceedings, which they assured me were not the rule, were 
not calculated to give me any better opinion of the future of 
Germany, I left Frankfort, going on the 10th of September 
with a feeling of real comfort but full of the greatest dis- 
appointment as well. 

I had talked with and become acquainted with a great 
many persons. At the house of the Consort of the Admini- 
strator of the Empire, the Baroness von Brandhof, I again 
met the latter, and he drew me into a conversation about the 
Ministerial crisis. He asked nothing less than that I should 
use my influence with Stockmar and get him to form a new 
Ministry. In this I could not fail to perceive a want of 
knowledge of the persons with whom the Administrator had 
any dealings, and at once felt doubtful of the possibility of a 
new Ministry. Stockmar laughingly assured me immediately 
afterwards that it would never occur to him to assent to such 
a desire on the part of the Administrator of the Empire, he 
even said that it would now be the best thing for Prince 
Leiningen to withdraw, as he would not soon find a more 
favourable opportunity of doing so. 

As is known, Leiningen retired from office, although the 
Malmoe armistice was afterwards ratified by the National 
Assembly, and Herr von Schmerling undertook the Presidency. 
I described the impressions produced upon me by everything 
perhaps somewhat strongly in a letter to my brother, 
which strikes me to-day as being a historical document, and 
therefore to be published here, on account of the main point ; 
but the reader must remember that the pressure and excite- 
ment of the moment caused me to use many a harsher word 
than I should perhaps have done if only taking a calmly re- 
trospective view : 

' DEAR ALBERT, As I presume that you are aware of my 
stay here from Alexandrina's letter to Victoria, you will no 
doubt excuse me if I only give you hasty sketches of the 
immense impressions which the state of things here has made 
upon me. 

' The aim of my journey was to bespeak certain matters 


with the Ministers and individual Deputies, particularly our 
own, which regard Saxon interests only. The fall of 
Leiningen's Ministry, and the frightfully pregnant crisis, 
naturally altered many things in my plan of operations. I 
have got into the midst of the agitation, through my acquaint- 
ance with most of the men of the day, and the good feelino- 
which is entertained for me here gave me an opportunity on 
the one hand of becoming thoroughly acquainted with the 
existing state of things, and on the other of exercising some 
influence over them. It is impossible for me to write more at 
present ; but I will give you the following sketches : 

' 1. Ministry. Want of all vitality and therefore a speedy 
downfall. Karl, with Peucker, is the only one who is now 
personally sufficient. The others are nearly all unfitted for 
being Ministers under present circumstances. There are long 
lists of perverse actions which those gentlemen performed 
with rare coolness. 

' 2. National Assembly. A company of men who for the 
one part either do not understand their task, nor for the 
other how they ought to behave in Parliament. Individually 
great capacity, but they think they can work separately, and, 
because they alone wish to shine, to eclipse one another and 
raise themselves. A Right and a Left, but no regular party. 
No regular leader and no party fidelity. The Ministry fell 
principally because a few fools even if Dahluiann is cata- 
logued with them in order to have themselves pitied as 
martyrs, wished to belong to the minority, and so overcame 
the Assembly by their speeches that they obtained a majority, 
and overthrew their own Ministry. They now stand on 
the ruins and cannot possibly form a Ministry from this 

' All Germany is in anxious suspense. I have attended 
frightful sessions. I understand now why Stockmar will not 
belong to this Ministry at any price ; he cannot wish to have 
anything in common with such people as we have here. 

'3. Administrator of the Empire. He is not trusted. I 
cannot say whether this is right or wrong. 

'The people here have no conception of real politics, of 
the manner in which one must hold intercourse with Foreign 
Powers. One's hair stands on end when one thinks what we 


are coming to, if they continue as they are now doing. Many, 
it is true, are only beginning to see, and they are horrified at 
themselves, but many are blind from arrogance and self- 

' I have wished you here with your calm understanding, in 
order to cure their blindness. When you see Karl again, 
remind him of this period and you will find a confirmation of 
what I have written. Your 

' Frankfort, September 8, 1848.' 

My gloomy views of things in Frankfort were in a few 
days to be confirmed in a manner which was terrible beyond 
all expectation. If, on the 16th of September, the crafty 
majority of St Paul's had arrived at the decision not to hinder 
the completion of the armistice of Malmoe, it was no longer 
secure from the elements which the Left had figuratively and 
openly called forth. That to which, in Parliament, under the 
name of republican and democratic principles, they shame- 
facedly tried to give the appearance of a legal battle, had 
been already fully unveiled before the parliamentary simple- 
tons on the 17th and laid the naked revolution bare to the 
light of day. The arguments which had not been able to gain 
a victory in the war of speeches at the eleventh hour, were to 
be made clear to the conservative and honourable men in this 
unlucky Assembly by the fists of the rabble. 

They were only able by means of a trick to save the 
members of the Right from the masses waiting at the gates 
for them to leave St Paul's, making them go out through 
a side exit which was left unguarded, thus outwitting the 
friends of the republican Left. 

On the 17th of September the republican unions in 
Frankfort had sent a petition to the National Assembly, in 
which they demanded the decision regarding the armistice to 
be cancelled. All those who had voted for it, said the petition, 
were traitors to their country. When the session of Parlia- 
ment was opened on the 18th, armed crowds of people pressed 
into the church, but were driven back by Gagern's presence 
of mind ; but barricades were raised outside. 

In the night between the 17th and 18th, Hessian, Prussian 


and Austrian troops were sent for from Mainz, who on the 
following noon were able to master the agitation without 
shedding blood. In the afternoon, however, the fiorht be^an 

O t> 

to assume a more serious and general aspect ; not the tenth part 
of the militia had assembled to protect the National Assembly, 
on the contrary, there were many who sided with the rioters, 
amongst whom there were even members of the parliamentary 

Accustomed as people at that time were to scenes of horror, 
yet, as I had seen and spoken to so many of the threatened 
men only a week before, I was deeply moved by the news 
from Frankfort. Hardly had the first intelligence of the 
rapacious attack on the National Assembly been spread, before 
it was followed by the news of the death of Auerswald and 
Lichnowsky. I shall never forget those moments, and 
although the thrilling events are well known, yet it will 
perhaps be of more than personal value if I introduce here a 
few of the accurate descriptions which my well-informed and 
quiet observer in Frankfort sent me, derived from his own 
immediate experience : 

'After the session/ von Meyern informed me on the 18th, 
at four o'clock in the afternoon, ' the game became somewhat 
more serious. At the entrance of the Hasengasse * a barricade 
had been raised the Heckerlied sounded from behind it. 
The Austrian sappers charged, and it was splendid to see how 
the white coats assaulted it and the rebels did honour to the 
name of the street. Not a shot had as yet been fired. But 
this did not last long, and near the Catholic church, from 
behind a new barricade, they shot two Austrians dead. A 
discharge in files was the reply. The result is as yet unknown. 

' I went away to the Roman Emperor, to dine with Head 
Marshal Wangenheim. About 150 paces from here, where 
the line is extended to two small streets, two barricades, 
larger than the first were built. A Prussian detachment 


stationed itself underneath the Roman Emperor. They were 
derided from the barricade, but did not move. Some of them 
were shot dead before my eyes by men in the houses armed 
with rifles ; they did not move. At length they were allowed 
to shoot. A few discharges in files scattered the insurgents ; 

* Hare Street or Lane. 


but from behind the barricades and the windows several more 
of their men were wounded with rifle bullets at a good 
distance. The Prussians could do nothing without sappers 
and cannons. In order to avoid unnecessary losses they 
withdrew to the side of the street. Smoking my cigar on the 
balcony of the Roman Emperor, I heard a bullet whistle 
before my nose, and my cigar was out, for the bullet had 
cut it in two. 

' The poor wounded men who are lying downstairs are 
universally pitied. I saw one of the poor fellows die very 
tranquilly. To-day, towards evening, about 10,000 men will 
be here, Wiirtemberg artillery, troops from Nassau, Grand- 
Ducal Hessian troops, and auxiliaries from Mainz. Early 
to-morrow morning the cowardly mass of democrats, who are 
always running away in the open streets, will have escaped 
by every possible exit. The only consequence will be that 
the National Assembly will be removed to Nuremberg, of 
which many are already talking.' 

' Frankfort, \th September, early in the morning. 

It is a sad duty which I have to perform, when I address 
myself to Your Highness in my budget of to-day, in order to 
announce the sad fate of Prince Lichnowsky. He was 
mortally wounded yesterday evening in a most cruel manner, 
and can hardly have lived through the night. He was so 
rash as to ride out to meet General Auerswald of the 
Wiirtemberg Artillery, and at the Eschenheimer Gate he fell 
into the hands of a band of democrats, who at once shot after 
the two riders, and wounded Lichnowsky, their sworn foe, 
" whose entrails," they had sworn in the People's Assembly of 
the day before yesterday, " to strew in the streets." Driven 
to straits, they jumped down from their horses and fled into 
a house. But here, unarmed as they were, they were seized ; 
old General Auerswald was beaten to death with cudgels, and 
Lichnowsky it is too revolting Lichnowsky, the valiant, 
was held by two of these assassins and shot through the body 
by a third at a distance of two paces. 

' With this death wound, and arms almost cut in pieces, 
besides a wound in the head, they carried him I do not 


know how it came to pass to Bethmann's, where he is said 
to have related the whole scene : " They have shot me," such 
are said to have been his words, "but poor Auerswald I 
cannot speak about it." Yesterday evening he was said to be 
lying unconscious and beyond hope in the hospital.* It is so 
revolting, that the occurrences in the city are almost driven 
into the background. 

' After I had carried my yesterday's budget to the post, 
the firing ceased. Representatives belonging to the Left 
thought it right as Members of Parliament to go to the 
barricades in order to mediate. There was an armistice until 
half-past six o'clock. Meanwhile troops arrived from all sides, 
also Darmstadt and Wurtemberg artillery as well as cavalry. 
Nevertheless the impudent insurgents demanded the with- 
drawal of the troops outside of the city. " You have no con- 
ditions whatever to make," General Nobili. the commander, is 
said to have answered the barricade envoys, and sent them 
back at once. All the blood which may be shed is naturally 
laid to his account. 

' After the expiration of the respite for parley, they broke 
up the barricades at the entrance to the street with a few 
cannon shots, as I was again able to witness from the 
balcony of the Romo,n Emperor and stormed them with 
Prussian and Darmstadt infantry. 

'Herr von Boddien, now adjutant to the Archduke, rode in 
several times amongst the insurgents, and on one occasion 
received a whole discharge in file from them. The firing in 
the streets of the more distant quarters of the city lasted 
until nearly 11 o'clock in the evening, then everything grew 
quiet. Frankfort has been declared in a state of siege by 
the Imperial Ministry, and a court-martial has been announced. 
I heard it read aloud in the English Court amidst great 
rejoicing. It was necessary. 

' The poor troops, in thick masses in the streets almost 
defenceless, one may say were shot down, and they took 
prisoners, who will perhaps be some day condemned to 
imprisonment. Our German troops are awfully good- 
natured, as I have had an opportunity of noticing. Yester- 

* Lichnowsky was staying at Bethmann's and was carried there at his own 


day evening the Prussians had one officer, Captain Jiirgens, 
killed, and a second one wounded ; the Darmstadters had a 
staff officer severely wounded, shot through the body, and a 
second one wounded. The Kurhessian battalion, now the 
Fuldaer, were not trusted, and were kept back. 

' Lieutenant von Griesheim, of Mainz, with whom I 
spoke in the evening in the English Court, made an excursion 
yesterday to Hanau, with fifty men, tore up the rails there, 
in order to prevent a new relay from this abode of robbers, 
and on the way back, captured a perfect den of robbers in a 
village in which they shot at his men ; his men spiked a 
Pole, and captured six ringleaders, amongst them a Frankfurter 
militiaman in uniform, who had shot with them. As regards 
the Frankfort militia generally, my opinion of them has been 
confirmed ; at the general march not one-tenth appeared, and 
several were seen behind the barricades. Also representa- 
tives on the extreme Left are said to have been recognised 
amongst the insurgents. The Prussians also arrested a 
stranger at the Roman Emperor, who had the impudence to 
shoot out of one of the windows. 

' Everything appears quiet this morning. The Prussian 
Deputies are holding a conference, and the National Assembly 
will continue in the right course. 
' With the deepest respect, etc., 


In a letter which followed, von Meyern told me that, 
besides Auerswald and Lichnowsky, old Jahn had also been 
chased and wounded by the insurgents. Heckscher, however, 
who had remained in Soden on the 18th, was only dragged 
out of the railway carriage and roughly handled. His clothes 
were torn from his body, and the escort saved him at the risk 
of their own lives, and got him to Mainz. At the attack on 
St Paul's, eighteen members of the Right, amongst whom was 
Gagern, were on the list of the proscribed. Finally, Meyern 
informed me, as the worst example of the horrible fanaticism, 
that it was a woman who had shown the murderers Lich- 
nowsky's hiding-place. The frightful woman struck him 
furiously on the head with her parasol as he lay dying and 
deserted on the ground. Considering the relations which I 


had had for so many years with Lichnowsky, one can imagine 
what an impression this news made upon me. I had a feeling 
of honest friendship for the much slandered, valiant martyr 
of the German Revolution. In spite of his eccentric manners 
he had something gentle and very sympathetic about him. 
During my stay in Frankfort, I once had an opportunity of 
seeing how well known and greatly hated the Prince was. 
For, as he was accompanying me home late in the evening 
from an entertainment at Bethmann's, we were presently 
surrounded by a mass of people, who gave loud utterance to 
their dislike of the Prince. I tried to get him quickly away 
from this suspicious company, and did not fail to represent to 
him the dangers by which he was surrounded, if he continued 
to exasperate the democrats in his old way. 

I have kept the last letter which he wrote me, and which 
was probably the last one he wrote at all. His words, which 
showed a remarkable presentiment, reached me almost at the 
same time I received the news of his death. One cannot 
read of his intention to start for Berlin on the 18th of 
September without deep emotion, ' providing the events in 
Frankfort did not prove too much for him.' I will contribute 
what I can towards the memory of the brave warrior by 
repeating his words here. It had occurred to me to prepare 
a surprise for him on my return from Frankfort by sending 
him the Order of the Ernestine House. He answered : 

' MOST GRACIOUS SIR, I have had the honour of receiv- 
ing Your Highness's gracious letter of the 14th. The Order 
which Your Highness has been pleased to bestow upon me, 
and which Herr von Meyern brought me, will always remain 
a valuable pledge of the sentiments which you, most gracious 
sir, express so amiably in your letter, and on which I set a 
high value. I beg Your Highness to allow me to express my 
warmest thanks here for both. 

' Herr von Meyern will have furnished information of the 
important day yesterday, and the session of twelve hours. It 
was the painfully won victory of healthy reason and order 
over insanity and subversion. The Dahlmann and Herrmann 
combination was already choked at the very outset ; a patch- 
ing up of the former Cabinet was shown to be impossible 


yesterday. Consequently a complete Prussian Cabinet is 
possible, as yesterday proved more than anything the victory 
of Prussian predominance, to which the two deputies of Your 
Highness's division manfully and honestly contributed your 
part. Gagern also seems to realise this, for my departure is 
fatal to him, and on his advice the Archduke sent this morn- 
ing for Count Schwerin. Nevertheless, I shall not let myself 
be detained, and go early to-morrow to Potsdam, and thence to 
Silesia. I expect to return in from ten to twelve days, and 
shall then, if events do not prove too much for me, pay my 
respects to Your Highness in Gotha. This is all that I can 
say to-day. We had a riot yesterday ; to-day a still hotter 
edition is expected. Laying myself respectfully at the feet of 
Her Highness the Duchess, I remain with sincere attachment, 
Your Highness' most obedient servant, ' F. LICHNOWSKY.' 

Before the mail left Lichnowsky had added a leaf to the 
letter, in which he made a request of me regarding a private 
matter, and closed as follows : 

' Things look bad in Berlin and Potsdam. There have been 
excesses amongst the Cuirassier Guards. They are talking 
of an interim-Cabinet here, and then of a Gagern Ministry. 
NOILS verrons ! 

1 Frankfort, September 17, Evening.' 

My brother, who, as will be remembered, had formerly 
mistrusted Lichnowsky on account of his Spanish adventures, 
pleased me by the acknowledgment which he paid the fallen 
man : 

' Little as I used to like Lichnowsky's proceedings, yet I 
have always greatly admired his talents as a speaker, and his 
political courage, a gift which is more rare than any other in 
our times, and his dreadful end moved me deeply. It is to 
be hoped that severe measures will now be adopted against 
the agitators, otherwise one stone will not be left upon the 
other, and the misery will become unbounded.' 

The Imperial Ministry, after the rising in September in 
Frankfort, had the most praiseworthy intentions of providing 
for the restoration of order in the different parts of Germany, 
where the measures of the respective Governments did not 


appear sufficient ; unfortunately, as regarded this, there was a 
total want of co-operation of united will and successful exe- 
cution of suitable measures amongst the public authorities. 
In no way supported by the territorial authorities, in open 
conflict with Prussia, the combined Imperial troops were 
never directed to the right spot, and in many lands, par- 
ticularly in Thuringia, they aroused the suspicion that they 
were only serving to put in practice the intentions of media- 
tisation entertained by the National Assembly. 

Whilst open insurrection ruled in different parts of the 
Prussian monarchy, the inhabitants of neighbouring lands 
felt themselves burdened and inconvenienced by the Imperial 
troops, without considering their presence necessary. In the 
kingdom of Saxony the internal dissolution was making ever 
increasing progress, but the mobilised corps of the Imperial 
army lay in the Saxon Duchies. In Baden, the invasion of 
the Struwesian volunteers had been repulsed by the native 
troops before the arrival of the Imperial contingent, at the 
time of and in connection with the uprising in Frankfort, and 
when they arrived they were as little able to prevent the 
secret activity of the revolutionary propaganda there as in 
Hesse and the Palatine. 

It was a remarkable time ; whilst the uselessness of 
princes was being preached and demonstrated in almost every 
spot, the plenipotentiaries of the moment could not under- 
stand that nothing could be done, unless legitimate and 
historical activity of rule went hand in hand with the 
founding of new Powers and new institutions. 















THERE could only be talk of an independent action on the 
part of the Imperial Ministry, in so far as the two great 
Powers of Germany left it the necessary elbow-room. As 
long as the state of things in Prussia and Austria hindered 
any decided activity on the part of the Governments, and in 
Berlin, as well as in Vienna, the keeping up of the State 
appeared to be placed in question every day. They could 
still lull themselves to rest with illusions in Frankfort, as if 
the Central Power really had a certain moral and material 
support in the convictions of all the great land of Germany. 

All these illusions in St Paul's were dispelled by the 
events in Austria and Prussia during October and November. 
Whilst the two great Powers were strengthening themselves 
internally, stifling the Revolution in their midst, recovering, 
as it was, that which they had lost, the universal doctrinary 
discussions in Frankfort concerning a future Germany as- 


sumed a serious political aspect. Then, when one spoke of 
the predominance of Prussia, of Austria's position in Germany, 
of the hereditary or election Empire question, it had been 
given a foundation in so far that, as a politically thoughtful 
man could really conceive, the one might be expected of this 
or that Power, and the other not. 

In Austria after the October storms which had driven the 
Court and the Government to the fortress of Olmiitz, Prince 
Felix Schwarzenberg assumed the control of affairs on the 
21st of November. Through this energetic man Austrian 
politics at length again assumed a decided direction and colour, 
they were able in Germany to count on a real factor. The 
Ministry which Schwarzenberg had formed appeared before 
the public on the 27th of November with a programme in 
which it declared that it was its task to unite all the lands 
and races of the monarchy in one State body. ' This point of 
view,' it continued, ' points out at the same time the way in 
the German question ; only when rejuvenated Austria and 
rejuvenated Germany have assumed new and settled forms, 
will it be possible to decide upon their mutual relations. Until 
then Austria will continue faithfully to perform her duties as 
a member of the Confederacy.' 

This announcement appeared to raise some hope that an 
understanding between Germany and Austria was possible, 
but what Prince Schwarzenberg had understood in the words 
' rejuvenated Germany ' was only later to be realised with 
horror. That, however, Austria's aims were diametrically 
opposed to all that which had formerly been denoted in 
Frankfort, first by the decisive expression of the larger 
States Confederation, and soon afterwards by the name of 
the Gagern programme, could not long be concealed even from 
the most incorrigible Optimists. 

I had been able to obtain complete information of these 
opposite tendencies in the course of Bavarian politics, from an 
attentive observer in Munich. How far, meanwhile, the Arch- 
duke in Frankfort was aware of the recession of the Schwar- 
zenberg policy from the ways of every party which naturally 
wished to maintain its place in the National Assembly is more 
than I should like to decide. 

As the Administrator of the Empire and his Ministerial 


President were able to keep their negotiations with Schwar- 
zenberg a complete secret, it was not possible to see through 
the ways of the Austrian Government in Frankfort ; but in 
the end it could not but remain the same thing for the issue 
of events, whether the Administrator of the Empire was only 
deceived or whether he himself was taking an active part in 
the game of the Schwarzenberg policy. Under any circum- 
stances the task consisted in so interpreting Austria's pro- 
mised fidelity to the Confederacy, that the Archduke should 
maintain the Austrian position in Frankfort as long as pos- 
sible, until the proper time arrived for the real views of 
Austria to be brought forward. 

The relations of the Frankfort parties to the new Prussian 
Ministry had developed otherwise, and, if one may so put it, 
more honourably. For when, after the short Pfuel-Eichmann 
Ministry, Count Brandenburg undertook the formation of a 
Ministry on the 2nd of November, his first task consisted in 
ensuring the Continuance of the Prussian monarchy according 
to the Constitution, but he was also decided not to let the 
German question drop. 

With a complete understanding of the wants of Prussia, 
Count Brandenburg had a warm heart for Germany, and 
seriously intended to perform the duties of Prussia towards 
her in a more complete manner than had hitherto been done. 
As his plenipotentiary Camphausen in Frankfort at once 
began to exercise a more serious influence, the hopes of the 
party of unity at St Paul's who sympathised with Prussia 
rose greatly. When, on the 9th of November, Count Branden- 
burg appeared at the Berlin Parliament and read a Royal 
message which ordered the removal of the Assembly to Bran- 
denburg, where the session was to be resumed on the 27th, a 

o 7 

feeling of ease spread throughout Germany, of having a great 
weight removed, everyone thought that Prussia would at 
length collect herself and was preparing to take a great step. 

I will not go into particulars here ; it is known how the 
Prussian National Assembly was broken up, and the Constitu- 
tion of the oth of December was granted. Count Brandenburg's 
intentions only partly suited the King from the beginning. 
Prussia's misfortune was the union of the Ministerial Presi- 


dency with a man who was much more in accordance with 
the sentiments of the King than the latter himself. 

In order to carry out the measures mentioned, Count 
Brandenburg needed an unscrupulous colleague for internal 
matters, and such a one would perhaps be difficult to find 
outside the circles of those men, who were just beginning to 
transform the really good traditions of the Prussian official 
circles and the army into a political programme of reaction. 
In this new party the Manteuffels played a part which was 
well pleasing to the King and which enabled the Minister of 
the Interior, chosen by Count Brandenburg himself, to exer- 
cise an influence over German matters which incessantly 
crossed the wishes of the President of the Ministry. 

During the unhappy months of the year 1848 the party 
had been able to weave a net around the entire Court, and as 
they were only half sure of the King personally, they took all 
the greater care to remove all influences which might work 
upon Frederick William in opposition to them. Lichnowsky, 
who was trusted by the party, informed me that they had 
also chosen me as an object of attack with the King, and the 
same thing was afterwards told me by the other side. They 
tried with extraordinary skill to prevent all those persons 
particularly from having any intercourse with the King, who 
threatened to alter his attitude of aversion in the much hated 
German question. 

I by no means had, as my brother so often reproached me, 
a feeling of personal mistrust towards the King, and still less 
did I dislike him, I was even very much on his side. But 
when one reflected that one of the leaders of that party of 
the Ministry of the Interior now led, and possessed every 
means of influencing the King, one could not possibly cherish 
the hope that an understanding could be arrived at between 
Frankfort and Prussia. Under these circumstances one could 
not oppose a union with other Great Powers, when such a 
union could promote the insurance of State order. 

As the idea of the Ducal Saxon military contingent with 
the Royal Saxon army had therefore been brought forward at 
that time in the National Assembly, I made no opposition, as 
has already been said in another chapter. Indeed, I did not 
conceal from myself, that in case Saxony did not remain 

VOL. i. A 2 


faithfully German, a concurrence would be formed by the 
annexation of Thuringia by the Prussian State which might 
become very dangerous to the establishment of unity in 

Meanwhile the rivalry in Frankfort between the aspirants 
of Austria and Prussia had given rise to a strange state of 
things, which was to become extremely fatal. Instead of the 
restoration of order in the large States becoming a signal for 
the possibility of the formation of a Conservative Party 
which would insist upon the unity of the Kingdom, nearly 
all divisions of Parliament let themselves be moved to raise 
an abominable clamour at the reaction, and no one had the 
courage definitely to cast aside the cant of freedom. Even 
the Imperial Ministry did not dare to go straight forward, 
but always acted as if it had to support the freedom of 
Austria and Prussia in the matter, and must be the watchman 
of the so-called universal improvement. 

Entirely undiplomatic missions to the Austrian and 
Prussian Governments were sent, at least apparently, so that 
the Imperial Ministry should not loose the support of the 
whole, or half of the Left. They did not recoil before the 
most desperate measures to gain their end. Thus, one rightly 
had a feeling that Austria would hardly be inclined, after 
they had allowed Blum to be shot, to negotiate much with his 

A man of rank was therefore needed in order to keep up 
the consideration for Imperial Government desired by Parlia- 
ment, and the idea occurred to them to send my cousin to 
Olmiitz. Without having asked him beforehand, they 
attempted to force instructions upon him, which would forever 
have made a man experienced in foreign politics ridiculous, 
and he therefore, declared his inability to accept them. 
Nevertheless the Ministry boasted of its unlucky idea to the 
National Assembly, and explained its entire willingness to 
inform the House of the instructions laid before Prince 
Leiningen. Prince Leiningen's nomination was really made 
public in the official Post-Office organ, without the latter 
having given his consent. 

Still more remarkable was their attitude in regard to 
Prussian affairs, when the Ministry appeared to be almost in 


emulation of the Left in anxiety concerning the Berlin 
National Assembly which had formerly been so striven 
against. They sent Imperial commissioners to the Prussian 
Government, demanding the removal of the Houses to Berlin ! 

People imagined that they could perceive a certain amount 
of mischievous joy against Prussia on the Ministers' bench, 
when the most nonsensical proposals were made in Parliament, 
as, for example, the collection of the Imperial troops against 
Prussia; the instructions to the war Minister to carry into 
effect, to this end, the raising of the contingents of the smaller 
and middle States within twice twenty-four hours ; or the 
demand that the Imperial commissioners in Berlin were to 
bring about the appointment of a Ministry there, which would 
possess the confidence of the country, and much more of the 
same kind. It is true that follies of the kind were suppressed 
by the National Assembly itself, but the moral fall of the 
great Assembly was more perceptible every day. 

A more compact majority of Prussian envoys and those 
who sided with Prussia was only formed very gradually, 
under Gagern's leadership. 

The latter had gone to Berlin at the end of November, 
and on his return it was thought in Frankfort that an under- 
standing had been established between him and the Prussian 


Government. But whereas the tendencies towards the found- 
ing of a Prussian-German Empire appeared to be strengthened, 
a decision had been arrived at by Austria and Bavaria to blow 
up the whole proud edifice of new Imperial unity at any 
price. Towards this end the Austrian and Ultramontane 
Deputies in St Paul's were partly drawn into service, and 
partly the Administrator of the Empire himself. The latter 
had, indeed, to submit to Schmerling's withdrawal from the 
Ministry, and, good or bad, to accept a Cabinet under Gagern's 
presidency which was inclined towards Prussia, but, with the 
help of an alliance between the extreme Left and the Austrians, 
they hoped to make the Constitution as democratic and the 
new throne to be raised as uncomfortable for King Frederick 
William IV as possible. 

It will be of interest to insert here a piece of information 
from von Meyern, who, in the middle of December, a few days 
before the accession of Gagern to the Ministry, described the 


general position to me in a way which, I think, was most 
correct : 

' "With regard to the future Head of the Empire, and the 
definite Constitution of Germany in general connection with 
this matter, and also the relation of Austria to Germany, 
much has recently been done in secret here. The result which 
I have been able to make out of the present condition of the 
matter, according to the most varied information, and what 
Privy Imperial Councillor Kohlschiitter confirmed and ex- 
plained to me to-day, is pretty much as follows : 

' The committee for the Constitution, having reached the 
paragraph relating to the Head of the Empire in the Bill for 
the Constitution, has again chosen a sub-committee for a 
preliminary consultation. This committee, in which are 
Dahlmann, Beseler, and I think Droysen, also, has finished 
its work and has gone back in it to the hereditary Empire, 
which is to be conferred on the Prussian dynasty. The 
National Assembly is to elect, the King of Prussia is to 
accept, and the opposition of the other States must give way 
before the fait accompli, whilst Austria will be left out of 
this States Confederation provided with a Prussian Head. 
The States of second rank are to be compensated in an 
Imperial Council, which would support the Emperor only 
with their advice. 

' This idea is, like the continuation of the " bold grasp,'' to 
be seen in the self-election of the National Assembly, together 
with that of Gagern. Gagern, with his centres, would also 
provide a majority for it in the National Assembly, although 
the left (the March union with 140 votes) would oppose it on 
account of the hereditary Empire, and the Right (Vincke 
with forty votes) on account of the self -election and the want 
of union. 

' Not only inside, but outside the National Assembly, it is 
opposed by the most important hindrances. First of all, the 
King of Prussia himself, whom Gagern tried in Berlin to 
induce to accept, has made his consent dependent upon the 
consent of the remaining German reigning Houses. Gagern 
is also said to have returned from Berlin with the supposition 
that the King would suspend the Prussian Constitution until 
the proclamation of the one here, in order then to be able to 


accept the German Constitution for Prussia along with 
the German crown. Gagern alone appears to consider the 
granting of a Prussian Constitution, which has meantime 
become necessary, as no hindrance to the main point, and 
must also have hopes that the King, once elected by the 
National Assembly, will accept, as, since his return from 
Berlin, he is said to be working for the idea more zealously 
than ever. 

' Further, according to the newspapers, Austria is said to be 
opposed to her exclusion from Germany in favour of Prussian 
predominence, and, what is more, to have had her claims to 
equal rights for her German States with the other German 
States founded on the Confederate Act, and her views of the 
bond which is moreover to bind all German States without 
exception more closely, openly asserted through an Archduke. 
This would therefore, in any case, be a States Confederation, 
even if more closely united, which Gervinus prophesied as 
being the Austrian policy in his Article of the 6th inst., in 
the supplement to the German newspaper. 

' But, finally, Bavaria and the other South German Powers 
of second and third rank, already known to be inimical to 
Prussian predominence, particularly under the form of a 
hereditary Empire, are said to be quite decided against the 
self-election of the National Assembly, and as they are 
thoroughly informed of what will be advised in this respect, 
intend soon as Herr Kohlschiitter tells me in order to 
protect themselves against the proposed fait accompli, to lay 
a declaration before the National Assembly, in which they 
will demand the exercise of their rights to the union. 

'According to what Herr Kohlschiitter asserts, Hanover 


appears to be in harmony with Bavaria (and Austria) regard- 
ing this. He does not speak openly about Saxony especially, 
but gives one to understand that she will also take part in 
this, as, shrugging his shoulders, he said : " One could not but 
deplore the fact that the pious wish for German unity would 
not be fulfilled ; but there was no help for it, as one must go 
with those who would last the longest." Thus, nothing great 
could ever be arrived at ! 

' Even the Foreign diplomatists here are said to have inti- 
mated that their Cabinets would interfere and not agree to 


Prussian predominance. As regards the small States, the Powers 
of secondary rank appear to expect that they would strike in 
this difference on the side of Prussian predominence. The 
Powers of secondary rank had the intention of proposing, 
with Austria, a Confederate Directory in place of the Head 
of the Empire. As a final blow, Herr von Blittersdorff thought 
it necessary to nominate himself as Chief Defender of the 
Gagern idea, his name alone being sufficient to injure it more 
than any Power would do. Von Arnim belongs with him to 
its supporters.' 

To the difficulties mentioned in the above information, 
which were expected to beset the Prussian Empire, I may add 
that since the 2nd of December 1848, the ascension of the 
throne by the son of the Archduke Charles and the abdication 
of the Emperor Ferdinand, gave rise to the thought of an 
Austro-German Empire in circles inclined towards Austria. 

Although Austria's introduction into the limits of a 
German Constitution was daily shown to be more difficult and 
impossible in Parliamentary negotiations, yet the Austrians 
by no means thought of receding from their position, and since 
the middle of December, even the Administrator of the 
Empire, throwing aside the veil of German patriotism with 
ever increasing abandon, showed himself as the representative 
of Austrian interests and intentions. His position with 
regard to the Gagern Ministry chosen by him, or rather, 
pressed upon him, was most singular, and only to be imagined 
at a time when people were accustomed to see the most 
opposite and unnatural elements side by side and working 

Complete pessimism with the one, new hopes of revolution 
and anarchy with the others, were the consequences of the 
schism between the Administrator of the Empire and his 
Ministry. The observations which Herr von Stein found an 
opportunity of imparting to me during his stay in Frankfort 
before Christmas were very interesting : 

' Our whole German question has again reached a bad 
crisis, and if a solution is not soon arrived at, contrary to 
hope, a complete sundering is inevitable, and even a worse 
than before. Prince Leiningen, as well as the old experienced 
diplomatist Smidt von Bremen, told me, that they could 


form no idea whatever as to how the united Fatherland 
would be brought about ; a German Diet appeared to be more 
acceptable to both for the time being than the Imperial Diet ; 
the settlement of the Imperial Constitution appears to be 
highly doubtful. 

' They think it possible that a provisory Head for three 
years would suffice, that the present Administrator of the 
Empire should make way for the King of Prussia, and that 
the latter would only be elected by a small majority for a 
time. Prince Leiningen, who unfortunately went to Karls- 
ruhe yesterday, is very gloomy, believes that the particular 
interests are being brought forward more and more, that the 
revolutionary scenes will be repeated, and that anarchy is 
prevalent in many circles, already sees the Empire falling, and 
therefore advises for the present that there be no absorption 
by it ; but that the less powerful Princes of Germany should 
seek a point of support in the inner union, or in annexation 
to more powerful States. 

'The Thuringian alliance pleased him, although he is of 
the opinion that an annexation to the Crown of Saxony would 
be preferable, as the privileged position of Prince of the 
House would seem to be more certainly assured. The 
immediate province of the Empire was only mentioned before 
me as a requisite spot, in which the Imperial Diet might hold 
its sessions. 

'The soiree given by the Administrator of the Empire 
yesterday evening, and which was largely attended by the 
Deputies and diplomatists, came just at the right time, but 
made the comical impression upon me of a gathering of 
passers-by in the common room of a post-office, or the waiting- 
room of a railway station, for the fate of everything earthly 
shone forth only too plainly, and the unsafety of the provisory 
government was perceptible, at least to me, in the enter- 

' I spoke with nearly all the Ministers and Deputies. The 
person of the Administrator of the Empire is perhaps too 
unimportant, and his wife's presence in the drawing-room 
could not improve it. Smiling satirically, I met Minister 
Nothomb in the crowd, who, on his way from Berlin to 
Brussels, is staying here for a few days. He is not distrustful 


of Prussian affairs, and is at least expecting something fit to 
eat from the German kitchen here. To see Radowitz and 
Vogt of Giessen engaged in a long and eager conversation 
would have been laughable, if it had not furnished a melan- 
choly picture of the path taken by the groups in Parliament ; 
both extremes are striving against reason, and have the 
common wish that nothing may be accomplished.' 

As Gagern's Ministry, now barely two weeks old, has 
begun to waver a great deal during the past few days, 
Herr von Stein remarked that it was a question whether 
another Ministry could be formed at all. 'As a lure,' he 
wrote, ' 2000 florins monthly have been voted for the Ministry, 
but it would be more advisable to pay them by the week.' 

It may be seen that at the end of the year, with regard to 
the German question, a kind of humour made itself felt which 
promised to put a quick end to things. Meantime worse was 
to come, for time had been granted the Parliament really to 
complete the work of the Constitution by the temporising 
attitude of the Austrian and Bavarian Government. The 
impossibility of carrying it out was not to be proclaimed by 
those who intrigued the most against it, but by Prussia and 
her King in person. 

Meantime it could not but be admitted that during the 
past six weeks of the new year Gagern's party worked 
seriously, perseveringly and not without parliamentary skill 
to bring the Constitution under shelter, even against the 
strongest minorities. A long-wanted stricter discipline had 
nevertheless at length been established by the necessities of 
the day amongst the patriotic functions of Parliament. Nor 
could it be prevented that a number of determinations were 
taken up in the work of the constitution which would not 
have appeared acceptable even to a Prince much more liberal 
personally than Frederick William IV, yet, in the end, the 
hereditary Empire had really been established by a very 
small majority, as well as the election of the King of 

For my part I had not waited for the result before doing 
all I could to urge the King into a course of conduct which 
would be the only remedy for Germany. As soon as I was 
certain that the committee for the Constitution had come to 


a determination with regard to the Imperial question, I 
addressed the following letter to King Frederick William IV: 

' Gotha, 1 4th January 1849. 

the Constitution of the German National Assembly in Frank- 
fort-on-the-Main has decided in a majority that an Emperor 
shall be placed at the head of the German Empire. 

' Only in this way can Germany attain greater unity, by 
means of which her elevation to higher political importance 
externally and the prospering of real freedom internally is 

' I therefore hope that the future decision of the National 
Assembly will join in this determination, but that the fate 
of Germany will be placed in the hands of a Prince who 
possesses will and strength thoroughly to fulfil his high 

' Your Majesty is henceforth intended by divine Providence 
to lead the German Fatherland to a happier future. Your 
Majesty will therefore have no hesitation in obeying the call 
to till this high position, as soon as it has reached Your 

' I am expressing a wish which is certainly equally 
entertained by the majority of the Princes of Germany, and 
do not delay particularly to lay at the feet of Your Majesty 
the declaration that I shall be pleased to see Your Majesty at 
the head of Germany. 

' I beg Your Majesty to accept the assurance of my dis- 
tinguished regard and devotion, and remain, Your Majesty's 
obedient friend, cousin, and servant, 

ERNEST, D. of S. C. and G. 

' Von Stein. To His Majesty the King of Prussia.' 

In Berlin the greatest value had always been placed on 
the accomplishment of the election of the German Emperor 
by the unanimous vote of the princes; iny cordial letter 
would at least have served to be taken as a symptom that 
there were really princes in Germany, who were decided on 
following with me the path indicated; but in Berlin they 


passed over such utterances, or at most vouchsafed a negative 
answer, the reasons for which were invariably the same, and 
which are expressed in the now well-known letter of Frederick 
William concerning the Imperial question. The only proper 
means of summoning a Congress of Princes was not brought 
under consideration in it. 

Whilst in Frankfort the parliamentary battle over the 
Constitution and the hereditary Empire thrust everything else 
into the background, in Berlin the actions of the different 
parties on diplomatic ground became more and more passion- 
ate. It was as if Heaven and Hell should strive for the soul 
of the irresolute King. Whereas, on the one hand, those 
faithful to the Empire, a kind of idealistic diplomatist, the 
Gagerns, Stockmars, Bunsens, Dahlmanris, made the utmost 
endeavours to draw Frederick William IV over to the German 
course, three elements united, in order to free the King 
from the snare of what was already being called the Revolu- 
tion : Foreign diplomacy, a German- Austrian Court coalition, 
and Prussian particularism. 

In order not to succumb to this threefold attack, Camp- 
hausen in Frankfort tried to win the plenipotentiaries of all 
the individual Governments over to assuming a certain 
attitude and position before the second reading of the bill for 
the Imperial Constitution. Gagern and the constitutional 
party put off the consultation and decision of the Parliament 
until the necessary instructions for the plenipotentiaries of 
the individual States had arrived. The latter strove in every 
way to obtain the information asked of them. 

During the first two weeks in February conferences con- 
cerning the bill for the Constitution, took place in the Council 
of Confederate envoys under Camphausen's presidency. Un- 
fortunately, however, a number of the plenipotentiaries in 
Frankfort could not be induced to take part in these inde- 
pendent transactions. Thus Welcker and Wydenbrugk for 
Baden and Weimar, because they were under all circumstances 
hostile to Prussia, and the Altenburg Republican Krutziger, 
and as regarded the Saxon envoy Kohlsch titter, he had orders 
from his Government to keep aloof. 

Austria negotiated directly with Hanover, in order to nip 
the work of the Constitution in the bud, and Herr von 


Schmerling, who, since his retirement from the Ministry, 
performed the functions of Austrian plenipotentiary, raised 
a project according to which the entrance of the German 
provinces belonging to Austria into a closer Confederate 
State was to be agreed upon, if, on the other hand, they 
declared themselves willing to admit a directory of six votes, 
those of the Emperor and the five Kings. In return for this 
the most complete possible acknowledgment of their natural 
rights, and, after a time, the entrance into the tolls-union was 

Of course these Austrian proposals were only calculated to 
win back Bavaria, Hanover and Saxony all the more surely 
from the idea of the Prussian Head, and in the Middle States 
everything had accordingly been done in order to arouse oppo- 
sition against Prussia. The most had been done in Bavaria 
towards this, where the Ultramontanes raised their heads with 
a prophetic look into the future of the coming years. But in 
Saxony also they preferred to let the Republican creed thrive 
and grow, because they saw in it a means against the pre- 
tended intentions of Prussia. 

In reality these intentions did not exist at all, for in 
Berlin they allowed themselves, it is true, to be pushed and 
urged, but they regarded their immediate task as being nothing 
else than the putting down of the revolution, wherever and 
however it should show itself. The King expressed these 
ideas in all kinds of the most polite forms, to the various 
envoys of the Frankfort Parliament, and to Gagern himself, 
but secretly he desired and hoped nothing else than that the 
National Assembly would play its part out as soon as possible, 
and make a quick end of the Frankfort episode. 

In order to effectuate this, they left everything, in Berlin, 
with the greatest confidence, and according to the old method, 
to their dear confederate Austria and her Administrator of 
the Empire, who could not have been more fitted than he was 
to wait phlegmatically in order to gain his end, whilst appear- 
ing to be very busy. The Archduke, as everyone knows, 
really was able so to arrange matters, that he let every con- 
ceivable evil be heaped upon him until the end of June in 
Frankfort, solely so as not to give up the last post. With 
praiseworthy resignation he saw the work, with which his 


good name was again connected, completely ruined, and finally 
become an object of derision. 

But the King of Prussia himself was not to play his 
double part in the Frankfort Imperial dream without being 
punished for it. Severe humiliation lay without doubt in 
the lamentable way in which his election was laboriously 
brought about by his party in Frankfort, and in the really 
painful situation in which he found himself forced to refuse 
an offered crown of the most imaginary kind, with the 
appearance of feeling himself flattered thereby. 

I am well aware that the customary manner of compre- 
hending and describing these things is a very different one ; 
vanity and a desire to dispute have almost entirely concealed 
the fact in history, that the Empire was finally carried by a 
majority of four votes in the National Assembly. They 
forgot, or tried to forget, that at the election of Frederick 
William IV not much more than a third of that proud 
Assembly which had met a year before, and in which the 
rights of Princes were more than once declared to be an 
empty trifle, had taken part in the voting. That it is still 
possible in books of history to spread the opinion that a less 
powerful Prince would have been pleased to accept this 
rump Empire from such hands is one of the tokens of small 
political insight. 

In reality Frederick William IV could have no other 
feeling concerning the results of the long pains in labour of 
the Frankfort Empire, than one of heavy defeat. Added to 
this, not the least thing had been done by the Prussian 
Government during the three months which had elapsed since 
the Constitutional Committee had finished their work, in 
order to obtain a consent, such as I had thought it right to 
give the King, for my small part, on the 14th of January, 
without being asked. The result of the whole action could 
be none other than the refusal of the Empire by Frederick 
William IV. 

My brother, who was really not wanting in seriousness, 
as far as regarded the German question, to which he had so 
often devoted much reflection, nevertheless could not help 
making the jesting remark : 

' What is now to become of the poor nation, as the King 


of Prussia has thrown the Emperor of the Germans into the 
water, just when he was trying to stand on his feet ? ' 

When the last act of the Frankfort Imperial tragedy was 
played at the end of March, and the refusal followed on the 
3rd of April, I was in Schleswig-Holstein, and had had my 
wish to take the field, away from the misery of politics, 
fulfilled. In the next chapter I will relate these matters 
connectedly, but at present I shall only bring up a few 
principal points to complete the whole of what may be said 
concerning the development of German affairs in general. 

Even after, and in spite of Prussia's refusal, the question 
of the acceptance of the Constitution worked out by the 
National Assembly was not to be settled as regarded the 
individual Governments. The Central Power supplied the 
plenipotentiaries of the Governments with authentic copies of 
the Imperial Constitution decided upon ; whether it was to be 
recognised in the individual lands, and proclaimed, was a point 
which would have to be immediately decided. 

In a conference between the Imperial Ministry and the 
Charge's d'Affaires of the individual lands on the 14th of April, 
the declaration was made in Frankfort that the Central Power 
henceforth regarded it as their task to show the value of the 
Imperial Constitution and carrying into execution. Upon this 
Schmerling arose in his quality of Austrian plenipotentiary, 
in the name of his Government, with the communication 
that Austria did not admit the final value of the Constitution, 
but now, as before, insisted upon her views of union. 

The hereditary Imperialists answered that they were just 
about to formulate an answer to the refusal of the Imperial 
Crown, and were therefore still on a business footing with 

The further consequences were, that the Austrian envoys 
in Frankfort were recalled by their respective Governments. 
The Governments of the middle States, on the contrary, 
adopted a temporising policy. In Bavaria, the painfully 
formed Ministry under Pfordten had begun written negotia- 
tions concerning the acceptance of the Imperial Constitution, 
and critically settled the acceptable and unacceptable con- 
ditions of the Imperial Constitution in extensive documents. 

As these examinations were made on both sides with great 


German thoroughness, one may say, that in the thirty-six 
States of Germany an amount of written material was heaped 
up over this Constitution which never saw the light, the 
ordering of which will probably never be arrived at by the 
pen of any author. As regarded my Government, it simply 
accepted the Imperial Constitution. 

In Saxony, Baden and the Palatine, the republican and 
anarchical elements had made a last effort to organise a revolt 
against the authorities of the land, under the apparently law- 
ful flag of the Frankfort Constitution. The battle against the 
revolution once more gave the Prussian State a favourable 
opportunity of attempting to preserve the legitimate ideas of 
her unity by ensuring the safety of Germany. 

The only possible way which offered itself was to step 
with strong hand into the place of the ever more and more 
sinking Central Power. But the King avoided this very 
thing in the most decided manner, although the Administrator 
of the Empire assumed a more and more hostile attitude 
towards Prussia, and at length the last consideration for the 
Prussian Government was cast aside through the setting aside 
of Gagern's Ministry. 

A comical farce came near being played at the instalment 
of the Gravell-Jochmus Ministry, concerning which I received 
news which I should like to see preserved by posterity as 
characteristic of the present state of things in Frankfort. 

It must first be mentioned that in Prussia, on the 15th of 
May, an edict of the King was promulgated, according to 
which the Prussian envoys in Frankfort had their mandates 
withdrawn, and that at the same time the opinion was held 
in Berlin, that the Archduke would lay the office of Adminis- 
trator of the Empire in the hands of the King of Prussia, as 
information was then really being sent from Frankfort that 
the Archduke was already prepared for the journey. But at 
the last moment these plans of the Administrator of the 
Empire were altered, and the session of the National Assembly 
of the 16th of May offered a picture of a situation which could 
never be forgotten : 

' The recall of the Prussian Deputies was announced. The 
reply of the latter, as well as of the entire National Assembly 
all against two voices was, that no government had the 


right to recall representatives. The Prussian Deputies par- 
ticularly explained, besides, that they would only go if, in 
accordance with their views, the Assembly further forsook 
the legal way of carrying out the Constitution. Deputy 
Gravell announced his retirement in writing. After a while 
he nevertheless appeared in person, and then on the Ministers' 
bench. He was received with scornful laughter from every 
side, and some voices were heard calling " out ! " Warned by 
good friends, he really preferred to leave, as he had retired as 
a Deputy, and was not yet introduced as a Minister. After 
such an unfortunate beginning of the President of the Im- 
perial Ministry, it may be necessary to say something about 
him as a person. 

' Gravell, Prussian Deputy, a man with a crimson face and 
snow-white hair, but not, it appears, whitened by age, is the 
only member of the National Assembly who rivals Moritz 
Mohl in ridiculousness. Partly on account of his comical 
ways, partly on account of the meaningless proposals brought 
forward by him during the past year, he has hardly ever 
mounted the tribune without being laughed at, he even usually 
laughs at himself. This man, otherwise what is known as an 
honest man, has been found fit by the Archduke to fill the 
offices of President of the Ministry and Minister of the In- 
terior. When the news was spread the day before yesterday 
and yesterday everyone looked upon it as a bad joke, but it 
was true, soon after his unlucky retirement Gravell returned 
and handed the President a letter. 

' Upon this the President read out his official nomination. 
The new President mounted the tribune amidst a perfect 
storm of shouts. But only after many and continued calls of 
"order" could the uproar be stopped, when he named his 
colleagues : Detmold, the small thoroughly German advocate 
of the Directory of the Extreme Right, Minister of Justice. 
Mar, an unimportant Hamburger, Minister of Commerce ; a 
War Minister not yet to be named on account of a condi- 
tion made with him ; (Prince Wittgenstein. General from 
Darmstadt, where, it is said, he had to retire), and as the best 
of all, Jochmus, formerly a Hamburger clerk, then a Turkish 
general, also a Pasha with two horsetails, of unknown life and 
doubtful faith, German Imperial Minister for Foreign Affairs. 


1 The indignation raised by such a farce and such mockery 
flung into the face of the nation, is universal amongst all 
parties, but it is greatest, if I may believe certain signs, on 
the part of the Prussian plenipotentiaries (that is, the 
Government authorities which side with Prussia). 

'To-day at four o'clock the Ministry will lay down a 
programme which is formed on the lines, that the Central 
Power will not worry itself about the work of the Constitu- 
tion, and hopes that the National Assembly will not interfere 
with the Administration. That a vote of mistrust will 
follow this is certain, but it is also not improbable that the 
Administrator of the Empire will be deposed. 

' Regarding this latter event, the Committee of Thirty has 
already sent in a notice of the installation of an Imperial 
Regency of five members, and formally proposed it.'* 

The gradual dissolution of the National Assembly and the 
journey of the remnant to Stuttgart, the declaration of the 
Administratior of the Empire that this Assembly was unlaw- 
ful, its insane decisions and proclamations, and its final and 
thorough military measures, are all either fresh in the reader's 
recollection, or known from countless descriptions, which offer, 
it is true, as a rule, a confused picture of the hopelessness and 

* One of the most charming characteristics which Minister Gravell displayed to 
all the world concerning himself and his Archducal master, has almost fallen into 
oblivion. Under the title ' My Confession of Faith, regarding the political State 
of Germany,' he had a Memoir printed after his entrance into the Ministry, which 
he had handed the Administrator of the Empire as his programme, and which, 
as he said, decided the latter to choose him for a Minister. The exceedingly 
ridiculous nonsense which this document contains, and concerning which Herr 
Gravell assures the public 'that it is the best justification of his appointment,' can 
probably be found in numbers in different libraries. Gravell's circular note is less 
well-known, that in which he informed the Government of his wretched so-called 
programme. It is of the 20th of May, and runs as follows : ' It is my deep 
conviction that the intellectual activity of the German nation has received an 
impression which is indelible, and against which every other force will strive in 
vain. This is the frank opinion of a Power which not only demands respect, but 
with which only the presumptuous will neglect to establish friendly relations. 

' Every force depends upon what direction it takes, and the direction of the 
determinations of men and peoples is either decided by reason, or by the sensual 
appetitive faculty. The more reflection, enlightenment of ideas, and clearness of 
insight increase, the more influence and strength must reason win over public 
opinion and the strength of will which it governs. 

' These observations have made it appear essentially useful to me to circulate 
the accompanying document throughout all parts of Germany, as it is at the same 
time a fact and an appeal to German understanding. I enclose eighty copies of it, 
with the humble request that you will hand one to your sovereigns, and send the 
remainder to your Governments to be distributed, The Imperial Minister of the 


' To the Plenipotentiaries at the Provisory Central Power. 
' The Honourable Minister of State, Baron von Stein.' 1 


defeat of its contemporaries. For that the national effort to 
establish unity would come to so ignominious an end, was 
even more than the worst pessimist had expected. 

Not less depressing, however, was the part which the 
Administrator of the Empire played out to the end in Frank- 
fort. All Prussia's diplomatic attempts by means of Con- 
ferences between the plenipotentiaries of the twenty-nine 
States which had expressed themselves in favour of the Im- 
perial Constitution, to obtain positive conclusions and the 
leadership of the affairs of the Empire, were defeated by the 
calculations of the Administrator of the Empire, who had 
been cleverly prompted by the Austrian Cabinet under no 
circumstances to give up his post. In order, therefore, to pre- 
vent the occurrence of a gap in the executive power of the 
Empire, the Archduke behaved in a remarkable manner, even 
officially clothing his departure from Frankfort, which might 
really rather be compared to an escape, in the form of a 
journey to a bath, and pretending to the plenipotentiaries of 
the States that he was thinking of unweariedly carrying on 
the government of the Empire, as he was taking his Jochmus 
Ministry with him, and would keep it near his person. 

When the Darmstadt plenipotentiary Eigenbrodt, who 
had been ordered to Berlin by his Government, took leave of 
the Archduke on the 25th of June, the latter said, ' he would 
go to a bathing place for six weeks, and take General Jochmus 
with him, as he hoped that during this time Austria would 
have mastered Italy and Hungary, and Prussia would then 
assume a different tone.' 

The recall of the Prussian plenipotentiary, and his ex- 
planation that his Government no longer recognised the 
Central Power, in no way altered the comedy played by the 
Archduke in obedience to orders from Vienna, as may be 
imagined. When he left Frankfort on the 30th of June with 
his Minister Jochmus, unnoticed, the latter issued the follow- 
ing circular note to all the plenipotentiaries of the German 
States at the Central Power, which became known at that 
time, indeed, but which must not be absent from any descrip- 
tion of the characteristics of the desperate policy of those 
times : 

' His Imperial Highness the Archduke, Administrator of 

VOL. I. B 2 


the Empire has decided that the undersigned Imperial Minister 
for Foreign Affairs and the Marine shall accompany His 
Imperial Highness during his absence from Frankfort to the 
Baths of Gastein, and has accordingly, by a decree issued 
to-day, entrusted the Honourable President of the Imperial 
Ministry Prince of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg with the 
control of the affairs of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and 
the Marine. 

'The undersigned while informing all the Honourable 
Plenipotentiaries of the above, cannot refrain from expressing 
his regret at the discontinuance of the friendly relations 
which have hitherto existed during the short time of his 
official activity, and at the same time expressing the pleasant 
hope that after his return in the course of time to his post, 
such relations will again be established. The Imperial 
Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Marine, 

' Frankfort, 29th June 1849.' 

Thus forsaken, and, to an extent, betrayed, the German 
nation saw the hopes fall which had been nourished during 
thirty years, and which appeared to fulfil the deceptive 
beginning of the year 1848. It was, as Dahlmann expressed 
it, a ' shipwreck in the bay.' No wonder, then, that under 
these circumstances the better spirit of the nation was com- 
promised by the May Revolution of the year 1849, and 
that the anarchical and deserting elements of the Baden, 
Palatine, and Saxon rebels chose a legitimate sign-board for 
their blameable intentions. 

One saw people, who had otherwise been faithful to their 
patriotic duties and obligations, fall into deep political errors. 
The statistics showed an exorbitant increase of cases of 
madness in every part of Germany, and society appeared to 
be entangling itself to the same degree in a labyrinth of re- 
actionary fits and paroxysms, by which it was held in feverish 
dreams of downfall. 

As I was, at that time, somewhat more conspicuously in 
popularity through my share in the popular Schleswig-Hol- 
stein war, I had more than one opportunity of perceiving 
the disturbances in the political conscience of otherwise quiet 


and good men. I have retained almost tragi-comical recol- 
lections of the numerous invitations and importunities for me 
to place myself at the head of a great national uprising. 

A letter of this kind from a well known man, written to 
me in May 1849, was perhaps more significant of the political 
situation at that time, than all the articles supplied to public 
newspapers. Therefore, the amusing document, but without 
the name of the author, shall close the Frankfort tragedy in 
not too serious a manner. As the man describes himself in his 
letter as having an affection of the liver, no one will be very 
much surprised if, in the oak forests of Kissingen, perhaps in 
romantic remembrance of the times when the Franconian 
peasantry wished to form the Empire which was to last a 
thousand years, or the nobility revolted against the faithless 
Princes, he thought of me as the leader of a great national 
army, who was once more to do honour to the crown of 
Charles the Great. 

' Kissingen, \\th May 1849. 

AND SOVEREIGN, Whilst Your Highness is fighting devotedly 
for the German cause in Schleswig-Holstein, and holding it 
against an insolent foe, it has been betrayed and forsaken by 
those to whom the Germans looked as being those whose 
power and position seemed to have called them to obtain the 
victory. Your Highness knows the declarations made by the 
King of Prussia and the Kings of Bavaria, Hanover and 
Saxony who go with him, and Your Highness is aware of the 
indignation of the German people at that declaration, as well 
as of their enthusiasm for the Imperial Constitution, of the 
events in Stuttgart and Dresden, and of the conduct and 
uprising of the people, that is, in the Bavarian Rhineland, in 
the three Franconias, in the Prussian Rhineland, Westphalia 
and Hanover. 

'No thoughtful man is any longer doubtful that the 
German cause will win ; the only question is, whether this 
victory will cost a thousand or, as the King's attitude will 
d ecree a hundred thousand human lives, perhaps the noblest, 
the best ; whether this victory will be gained in a few months, 
or in ten years, whether it will be fought on the ground of 


rights or in the bloody revolution with the overthrow of 
everything now existing, with the destruction of prosperity 
and the education of Germany for a long time. 

1 In this terrifying position Germany is looking for a 
deliverer, and this deliverer is no other than yourself, High- 
ness ; not I say this, all the voices in Germany are uttering 
the same more or less loudly. All thinkers their number is 
great, who recoil from the betrayal of the German cause, as 
before the horror-inspiring red Republic, are saying that 
deliverance is only to be found if a German prince will place 
himself at the head of the movement for the establishment 
and carrying out of the Imperial Constitution ; that no other 
Prince has the German sentiments, the sacrifice of the German 
cause, the heroic courage, the great-heartedness necessary for 
this, than yourself, Highness, the victor of Eckernfb'rde ; that 
no other Prince than you, the branch of a highly celebrated 
princely race, who is plainly called to lead the fate of the 
nations of Europe, can accomplish this heroic work, that, if 
Your Highness would appear with a troop of German warriors, 
with a call to the German people, to gather around you for 
the Imperial Constitution, for the German cause, all those 
capable of carrying arms in every different people would 
hasten to you, so that in a short time you would be the 
master of a power which would at once gain the victory for 
the German cause, which would put an end to the destructive 
internecine war in a moment, perhaps even without a single 
blow ; that the love, the veneration, the thanks of a great 
nation would be given you, and history would rank you 
amongst the first and noblest heroes. 

' It may well appear presumptuous in me to interfere in 
matters which I am not called upon to undertake ; but love 
for my people, which I see on the verge of a frightful abyss, 
the certainty that Your Highness is fitted for it through your 
high position and your heroism, makes it my duty to express 
to Your Highness with what confidence, with what hopes, 
the German nation looks to you ; the conviction that I am 
addressing a great-hearted Prince, whom I saw part from us 
glowing, with enthusiasm for the German cause, that I speak 
to my Prince, whom I am happy really to love and honour, 


has driven me to take this step, even with the possibility of 
doing something improper. 

'Your Highness will be the deliverer of your people. 
Perhaps, for God is with the just cause, you will be that in a 
few days. 

'I am writing this from Kissingen, where I have been 
staying for some weeks past in order to take the waters for a 
bad liver complaint, and where I daily have an opportunity 
of learning that the hearts of almost all German peoples 
beat for Your Highness. With the deepest respect, Your 
Highness's, etc.' 

Abel, 165 

Aberdeen, Lord, 34, 155, 156, 187, 188, 

190, 195, 197, 198, 199, 204 
Adelaide, Queen, 70 
Albert, Prince, of Austria, 58 
Albert, Prince, 1, 19, 25, 44, 77, 81, 87, 

88, 90, 91, 93, 94, 96, 129, 130, 140, 

163, 170, 171, 172, 193, 19G, 198, 201, 

207, 222, 289, 299, 313, 317, 324, 32o, 


Aldegunde, Princess, 124 
Alexander, Emperor, 7, 15, 46 
Alexander, Duke of Wiirtemberg, 18 
Alexander, Mensdorff, 18 
Alexander, Netherlands, Prince, 69 
Alexandra, Princess, of Baden, 126, 127, 


Alexandrina, 356 
Alten, 78 
Altenburg, 53, 256 
Altenstein, 117 
Alvensleben, 305 
Amalia, Princess, 83, 127 
Andrian, 353 
A:. -"ii. Mr, 94 
Antas, das, 210, 211 
Anton, Franz Friedrich, 5, 57, 83 
Antoinette, Princess, 18 
Arconati, Marchese, 75 
Arndt, Ernest Moritz, 77 
Arnim, von, 307, 374 
Arrivabene, Count, 75, 76 
Aschach, Pacha, Hadschi Abdullah, 184 
Astod, Pacha, Kusselham ben Ali, 182 
August, Duke of Saxe Gotha, 16, 41, 42, 

43, 72, 131 

Augusta, Princess, 16 
Augustin, Count, 65 

Auerswald, 353, 359, 360, 361, 362 
Aulaire, St, 190, 198 
Aumale, Duke of, 71, 131, 185, 214 
Austria, Emperor of, 9, 11, 47, 48, 50, 59, 
172, 325, 336 


Baden, Grand Duke of, 125, 126, 127 

128, 159, 170, 349 
Baden, Hereditary Prince, 170 
Bandiera, 210, 211 
Barbes, 111 
Basserman, 321 
liaudissin, 84 

Bavaria, Crown Prince of, 126 
Bavaria, King of, 13, 150, 330, 349, 387 
Beck, 164, 294 
Becker, 266 
Beckerath, 346 
Bellinghausen, 40 
Below, von, General, 355 
Hernia, 198, 199 
Bendemann, 84 
Berger, 75 

Bergerou, Professor, 74 
Berlepsch, 258, 259 
Bernhard, Erich Frund, Duke, 43, 44, 

46, 51, 137, 138 
Beseler, 372 
Bethmann, 361 
Bethmann-Hollweg, 78 
Beust, von, 303 
Bischer, 165 
Blanc, Louis, 1*>2 
Blanquis, 111 
Blittersdorff, 159, 164, 374 
Blum, 370 



Blumenbach, 56 

Boddien, von, 361 

Bomsin, 210 

Borman, Colonel, 75 

Borne, 110 

Bourbons, the, 9, 123, 195, 199, 201 

Brandenburg, Count, 368, 369 

Brandhof, von, 356 

Braun, von, 50, 51 

Breitenstein, Professor, 78 

Bremen, von, 374 

Bresson, General, 179, 181, 186, 202, 203 

Bressor, Ambassador, 117 

Bretschneider, 24 

Briegleb, 321, 322, 324, 326 

Brohmer, von, 239, 269, 278, 279, 280, 

281, 282, 284, 285, 286 
Brouckeres, the two, 74 
Brtichner, 249, 250, 252 
Brunswick, Duke of, 40 
Bulwer, Sir Henry Lytton, 74, 186, 190, 

195, 203 
Bunsen, 155, 169, 170, 220, 221, 222, 313, 

322, 325, 342, 347, 353, 378 
Buszlaben, von, 224 
Butler, Mr, 184 
Byron, 33 

Cadiz, Duke of, 187, 188, 202 

Camphausen, 338, 347, 368, 378 

Canning, 33, 62 

Carlos, Don, 62, 104, 115 

Carlowitz, Councillor, 51, 63, 83 

Carolina, Princess, 12, 16, 223 

Cassel, Grand-Duke of, 40 

Capodistrias, President, 64, 65 

Charles, Archduke, 58, 374 

Charles, Leiningen, 18 

Charles, Prince, 40 

Charles V, 3 

Charles X, 34, 35, 222 

Charlotte, Princess, 16 

Chass^, General, 37 

Chop, 269 

Christina, Queen, 104, 179, 187, 188, 189, 

190, 193, 195, 197, 198, 199, 200, 204, 


Ciborias, Abbe', 2 
Clementina, Princess, 71, 72, 131 
Coburg, Prince of, 16, 32 
Coburg-Saalfeld, 15, 34, 53 
Colloredo, Count, 309, 332, 333 
Constantine, Grand-Duke, 18 
Cullier, Major, 109 

Dahlmann, 313, 320, 325, 354, 357, 363, 

372, 378, 386 

Darmstadt, Grand-Duke of, 349 
Dante, 83 

De Keyser, 74 

De Paulas, Franz, 180, 187, 202 

Debaux, M. Paul, 36 

Dennis, Captain, 182, 184 

Detmold, 383 

Devrient, Edward, 84 

Devrient, Emil, 85 

Dietz, Governor, 63, 97, 208, 209 

Disraeli, 70 

Donhotf, Count, 331, 333 

Dowager Queen of Spain, 200 

Droysen, 372 

Drury, Rev. Mr, 74 

Duckwitz, 346 

Duncker, Professor, 267 

Dungern, Count von, 296 

Eberhardt, 231 

Edward, Prince of Altenburg, 38 

Eichhorn, Minister, 117 

Eigenbrodt, Plenipotentiary, 385 

Elector Frederick, 2 

Elizabeth, Queen, 88, 89 

England, Queen of, xiv., 129, 130, 135, 

197, 207 
Enrique, Don, 187, 190, 199, 200, 202, 

203, 204 

Erbach, Count, 77, 355 
Erifa, Chamberlain, 52 
Ernest Augustus, King, 60 
Ernest, Coburg family, 2 
Ernest, Prince, 1, 2, 8, !), 16, 29, 100, 

107, 137, 138, 194, 195, 198, 202, 229, 

241, 358, 377 
Ernest the Pious, 42, 265 
Ernestine Branch, 3 
Eschwege, General, 208 
Espartero, 104, 105, 106, 107, 108, 111, 

115, 179, 205 

Esterhazy, Prince Paul, 173 
Eynard, 65 

Falckelstein, von, 302 

Ferdinand, Emperor, 58, 300, 301, 374 

Ferdinand, King, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 135, 

188, 196, 207, 209, 246 
Ferdinand, Prince, 3, 8, 9, 15, 16, 58, 59, 

63, 137, 193, 196, 199, 211 
Feodora Leiningen, 18 
Fichte, 78, 79 
Fischer, Councillor, 51 
Fiquelmont, 301 

Florschuetz, 19, 21, 23, 24, 27, 52, 72 
Florschuetz, Dr, 95 
Francesco, Don, 203 
Francis Charles, Archduke, 58 
Francis, Duke of Modena, 124 
Francis Emperor, 16, 58, 109 



Franz Josias, 3, 4, 9 

Frederick, Augustus, 50, 81, 83, 303 

Fredeiick, Duke IV, 41, 42, 43, 44 45 

Frederick, II, 110 

Frederick, Josias, old, 4, 8 

Frederick, Perthes, 23, 52, 53 

Frederick, Piince, 40, 58 

Frederick the Gentle, 2 

Frederick William II, 45 

Frederick William III, 7, 51, 57, 59, 77, 

Frederick William IV, 57, 117, 118, 119, 

121, 153, 154, 150, 158, 159, 100, 107. 

1(J8, 170, 171, 172, 170, 220, 221, 222, 

293, 304, 307, 313, 317, 320, 331, 312. 

351, 309, 371, 370, 3 7 7, 378, 380 
French, Emperor of the, 2, 3 
Frundsberg, 107 
Fiirstcnberg, Prince of, 127, 355 

Gabelentz, Herr von der, 341 

Gablenz, 209, 333 

Gagern, von, 290, 311, 337, 338, 341, 343, 

351, 354, 3o(>, 358, 364, 371, 372, 373, 

370, 378, 379, 382 
Gallait, 74 
Gartner, 78 
George IV, 34 
Gerard, Marshal, 132 
Gerlache, President, 73 
Gentzen, 15 
Gneisenau, 7 
Goethe, xiii 

Gotha, Duke of, 5, 47, 51 
Gottingen, seven, the, GO 
Gravell, Deputy, 383, 384 
Grieshcim, Lieutenant von, 3C2 
Grey, 91 

Grosvenor, Lord, 70 
Gruben, 95 
Guizot, 39, 109, 115, 116, 178, 185, 186, 

187, 188, 190, 198, 199, 202, 205, 213, 



Hamilton, Lord Claude, 70 
Hanover, King of, 349, 387 
Hapsburgs, The, 123 
Hassenpthig, 159 
Hassenstein, Professor, 21 
Haufst angel, 84 
Hebbel. Poet, 219 

Heckscher, Herr, 344, 345, 353, 355, 362 
Heine, 110 

Helena of Mecklenburg, 71 
Helena, Princess, 208 
Henckel-Donnersmark, 77 
Henry VIII, 89 
Herrmann, 363 
VOL. I. 

Hess, Councillor, 231 
Hillebrandt, 186 
Hohenlohe, Prince, 18, 241 
Holland, King of, 75 
Holtzendorf, General von, 274 
Humboldt, Alexander von, 158, 348 
Huukiar, Skele^si, 07 


Isabella, Queen, 179, 180, 185, 187, 188, 

190, 191, 194, 1S5, 202, 204 
Itzstein, 309, 321 

Jager, Poet, 77 

Jakoly, 24 

Jochimm, Minister, 383, 385, 386 

Johanm, Princess, 83 

John, Archduke, 59, 339, 340, 341, 342 

343, 344, 34(5, 355 
'John Landless, '3 13 
John, Minister, 252 
John, Prince, 82 
John VI, 101 

Joinville, Prince, 71, 213, 214, 215 
Joseph, Duke of Saxe-Altenburg, 137, 


Julia, Princess, 18 
Jurgens, Captain, 362 


Kanitz, Baron, 169 

Karl, Prince, 172 

Kaufmann, 78 

Kaitfungen, Chevalier Kunz von, 1, 2 

Kent, Duchess of, 70, 89, 95, 108 

Kent, Duke of, 18, 348 

Kohary, Princess, 16 

Kohlschutter, Councillor, 372, 373, 378 

Kolowrai, 300 

Kiinitz, Freiherr von, 42, 50, 51 

Konneritz, 302 

Kriesz, 21 

Krutziger, Dr, 251, 252, 253, 378 

Kutaluk, General, 75 

Lafaurie, Dr, 248 
Lamartine, 215 
Landxfeld, Countess, 294, 295 
Losson. 78 

Lavradio, Count, 63, 99 
Lebzelteni, 301 
Lehmann, Madame. 162 
Lehzcn, Baronew, 90, 91 
Leibmann, 261 

C 2 



Leiningen, Prince, 18, 52, 125, 129, 160, 
170, 171, 261, 265, 294, 295, 346, 347, 
353, 355, 35(5, 357, 370, 374, 375 

Leopold, of Belgium, King, 4, 5, C, 13, 
27, 32, 36, 01, 62, 65, 66, 71, 72, 74, 75, 
76, 81, 90, 91, 111, 112, 115, 124, 125, 
129, 134, 136, 138, 141, 143, 149, 157, 
170, 174, 175, 189, 191, 193, 1!<7, 198, 
203, 204, 208, 211, 222, 225, 230, 237, 
246. 239, 348, 352 

Leopold, Prince, 3, 7. 16, 33, 34, 36, 189, 

190, 191, 192, 196, 197, 199, 2'J4 
Lepel, 143, 111, 145, 146 
Lesseps, 180 

Leuchtenberg, Duke of, 36, 63 
Lichnowsky, Prince, 158, 355, 359, 360, 

362, 363, 364, 309 

Lindeiiau, Privy Councillor von, 41, 43 
Lippe Btickeburg, Prince of, 80 
Lobell, 78, 355 
Lotz, Councillor, 43, 44, 51 
Louis, Archduke, 300 
Louis III, 296 
Louis, of Bavaria, 33, 66, 124, 165, 294, 

295, 296 
Louis Philippe, 35, 62, 63, 67, 71, 90, 

109, 110, 111, 114, 115, 116, 123, 176, 

177, 178, 179, 181, 185, 186, 187, 188, 

191, 192, 193, 195, 197, 198, 199, 200, 
202, 203, 204, 212, 213, 214, 215, 221 

Louis XIV, 161, 197 
Louis XVI, 157 
Louisa Charlotta, 180 
Louise, of Saxe-Gotha, 16, 43, 96 
Louise, Queen, 90, 204 
Louie', Marquis, 207 
Loweufels, von, 84, 95, 102, 103 
Lowenstein, Prince, 77 
Ludwig, 152 


Madon, 74 

Magnan, General, 75 

Mahmond, Sultan, 109 

Mangold, Baron von, 84 

Manteuffels, The, 369 

Mar, 383 

Maria Christina, 177, 179, 180, 181, 185, 

186, 192, 197, 198 
Maria, Donna, 62, 63, 96, 97, 99, 205, 

207, 209, 211 
Marie, Princess, 17, 126 
Marie, Queen, 83, 95, 124, 128 
Marryat, Captain, 70 
Martin, 24 
Maurer. 165 

Max Joseph, King, 45, 320 
Max, Prince, 57 
Maximilian II, 296 
Mazariu, 161 
Medjid, Abdul, 109 
Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Grand-Duke, 56, 


Mehemed AH, 67, 109, 115 
Melbourne, Lord, 113, 115 
Mendelssohn, 85 
Mensdorff, Alexander and Arthur, 178, 

209, 210 

Mensdortf, Pouilly, Count, 8, 9, 18 
Menzel, 152 
Metternich, 15, 40, 46, 47. 50, 58, 112, 

115, 118, 119, 155, 156, 157, 162, 173, 

174, 176, 212, 213, 286, 290, 291, 293, 

298, 300 

Meyer, 200, 261, 262 
Meyern, von, 337, 342, 359, 302, 363, 371 
Miguel, Don, 62, 207, 210 
Minckwitz, General von, 50, 51 
Minckwitz, Court Marshal von, 259 
Mirattores, 180 
Mohl, Moritz, 383 
Mohl, Robert, 165, 346 
Montpensier, Due de, 188, 191, 196, 202, 

2C.3, 205, 212 

Montpensier, Duchess, 222 
Muhlenfels, von, 267, 268, 269, 276 


Napoleon, 4, 6, 15, 16, 23, 120 

Napoleon, Louis, 111 

Narvaez, 108, 179, 180, 205 

Nebenius. 104 

Nemours, Due de, 36, 63, 90, 109, 131, 

215, 223 

Nicholas, Czar, 40, 46, 59, 155, 165, 220 
Nissen, 78 
Nobili, General, 361 
Noggerath, 78 
Nothomb, Minister, 375 

Olozoga, 179 

Orange, Prince of, 69 

Orientalis, Isidorus, 251 

Orleans, Duke of, 71, 130, 214 

O'Sullivan, 174 

Otto, Emperor, 255 

Otto of Greiz, 209 

Otto, Prince of Bavaria, 36, 66 

Oudinot, 132 

Oxenstierna, 112 

Pacheco, 205 

Palmella-Saldanha, Ministry. 210 

Palmerston, 62, 63, 65, 109, 111, 112, 
113, 114, 115, 170, 186, 187, 190, 197, 
19?, 199, 200, 2C2, 204, 210, 211, 212, 

Parker, Admiral, 211 

Pedro, Emperor Don, S3 

Pellico, Silvio, 75 



Perthes, 78, 79, 337, 343 

Peucker, Major General von, 345 354 

Pfordten, Herr von, 278, 302, 303 335 

336, 381 
Pius IX, 176 

Planitz, Minister von, 248, 252 
Pontois, M. de, 112 
Pope, The, 213 
Portugal, Queen of, 63 
Prim, General, 17!) 
Prince, English, 00 
Prodzinsky, General, 73 
Prussia, Crown Prince of, 56, 221. 306. 

Prussia, King of, 14, 149, 150, 103, 170, 

171, 172, 174, 213, 220, 2!)8, 300, 307, 

300, 310, 314, 317, 322, 327, 330 372 

375, 380, 382, 387 

Queen Mother of Spain, 193 
Queen of England, 170, 222, 223 
Qu^telet, 72, 73 
Quinet, Edgar, 110 

Rabenhorst, Minister, 275, 276, 277, 302 
Radowitz, ItiO, 167, 169, 171, 213, 309, 

355, 376 
Raumer, 353 
Raveaux, 339 
Razumoffsky, 12 
Re*el, Bailiff, 235 
Rehfuss, 78 
Reisziger, 85 
Rettig, 164 

Rianzares, Duke of, 193 
Richelieu, 161 
Rochow, 119 
Roder, 269 
Romer, 30!) 
Rotteck-Welcker, 110 
Russia, Emperor of, 9, 12 

Salamanca, 180, 205 

Saldanha, General, 62, 211 

Santa Maria, 103 

Saxe-Coburg, Prince of, 36, 190, 265 

Saxe-Hildburghausen, Duke of, 48, 50 

Saxe-Meiningen, Duke of, 48, 53, 349 

Saxon Royal Family, 1 

Saxony, Ducal Highness, 46 

Saxony, King of, 45, 50, 88, 108, 126, 

256, 274, 344, 387 
Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg, Prince, 

Seckndorf, Herr von, 251, 252 

Serr, Major, 85 

Schaarschmidt, Privy Councillor, 50, 51 

Schulling, 117 

Schenk, U5, 1G5 

Schiller, 80 

Schlartin, 167 

Schlegel, 78, 80 

Schleiemiacher, 117 

Schmerling, 313, 332, 337. 338, 341, 345 
350, 371, 379, 381 

Schmidt, Georg, 2 

Schiinburij, Frederick von, 2 

Schreckenstein, von, 351 

Schroder, Sophie, 85 

Schumann, 80 

Schwartz, Councillor, 257 

Schwarzenberg, Prince Felix, 367, 368 

Schweinitz, 2 

Schwerin, Count, 364 

Shakesi>eare, 80 

Sophia, Princess, 18 

Soult, Marshal, 109 

Spessart, 269, 271 

St Leger, General, 207 

Stein, von, 223, 235, 239, 244, 24, 252. 
257, 207, 268, 269, 270, 274, 277, 278, 
279, 281, 2HO, 374, 376, 377, 384 

Stephen, Archduke, 173 

Stockmar, 63, 90, 91, 93, 94, 132, 14L 
142, 170, 171, 172, 188, 237, 256, 202, 
308, 313, 322, 326, 337, 342, 343, 344, 
347, 353, 350, 357, 378 

Stuarts, The, 123 

Talleyrand, 123 

Terceira, Duke of, 210 

Tettenborn, General, 9 

Theodore, Prince of Thurn and Taxis. 334 

Thiers, 108, 109, 111, 114, 115, 131, 177, 

186, 214, 216 
Tieck, 84 
Tiedge, 84 

Trapani, Duke of, 186, 190, 191, 193 
Triitschler, 224 
Tudors, The, 123 
Turkheim, Herr von, 349 


Ubedom, 313 

Van Praet, 74 

Vaux, de, 74 

Victoria, Prince**, IS 

Victoria, Queen, 18, 69, 70, 88, 90, 93 
96, 108. 125, 182, 187, 188, 191, 194.' 
195, 199, 201, 203. 204, 209. 210. 35 

Vigo, General Mendez, 211 



Villaflor, 62 
Vincke, 340, 341, 372 
Vittoria, Duke of, 106 
Vogt, 356, 376 


Waldkirch, Count, 294 

Wallerstcin, Prince, 165, 295 

Walter, 78, 79 

Wangenheim, H. M., 359 

Wappers, 74 

Watzdorf, Herr von, 257, 269, 270, 271, 

Weimar, Grand-Duke of, 45, 50, 264, 271, 

277, 344 

Weitersheim, 83, 302 
Welcker, 159, 321, 378 
Wellington, Lord, 34, 70, 72, 220 
Wesendonck, 356 
Wesenberg, 301, 333 
Westminister, Duke of, 70 

Wettins, the ancient, 2 

Weyrs, de, 74 

Wichmann, 72 

William, Emperor, 14 

William IV, 40, 59, 69, 70, 90 

William, Prince of Prussia, 126 

Wilmovsky, von, 77 

Wilson, Sir Charles, 102 

Wittgenstein, Prince, 383 

Witzleben, von, 4 

Wrangel, General von, 334 

Wrede, 294 

Wiirtemberg, King of, 13, 45, 331, 349 

Wurzer, 78 

Wustemann, Councillor, 51 

Wutzer, Wilhelm, 77 

Wydenbrugk, 256, 267, 378 

Wylde, Colonel, 211 

Zeschau, 83