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Full text of "Prussia and the Franco-Prussian war. Containing a brief narrative of the origin of the kingdom, its past history, and a detailed account of the causes and results of the late war with Austria; with an account of the origin of the present war with France, and of the extraordinary campaign into the heart of the empire. Including biographical sketches of King William and Count von Bismarck"

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IT is less tlian two hundred years since the petty Marqiiisatc of Brandrn- 
hiirg and the little Duchy of Prussia were united in a kingdom. Prussia, 
as thus constituted, was so insignificant a realm in territory and population 
as quite to excite the contempt of the proud monarchs of Europe. England, 
France, Austria, and Russia were by no means disposed to admit the newly- 
created king of so paltry a domain on social equality with them. 

Prussia is now recognized not only as one of the great powers, but as, 
probably, the first military power in Europe. The steps by which this 
greatness has been attained constitute one of the most interesting chapters 
in the history of modern times. Prussia is the representative, not of lib- 
eralism, but of absolutism. It has been under the banner of despotic sway 
that most of its victories have been achieved. 

Prussia now presents to the world the somewhat appalling spectacle of 
a nation of forty millions, in which every able-bodied man is a trained 
soldier. It has been able, at a moment's warning, to send into the field 
armies so overwhelming in numbers, and so admirably organized and disci- 
plined, as to crush the military power of France, to batter down her strong- 
est fortresses, and even to penetrate the heart of the empire, and invest her 
proud metropolis with beleaguering hosts. The object of this volume is to 
give a narrative of the origin, growth, and present condition, of this gigantic 
power. It would be difficult to find anywhere a theme more full of in- 
structive and exciting incidents. 

The mad jjranks of the halfcrazcd Frederick William ; the wild and 
.wonderful career of I'^rederick the Great; the awful reverses which over- 
whchncd Prussia in the wars of the French Revolution ; the astounding 
victories and conquests achieved in the late war with Austria, which culmi- 
nated in the great i)attle of Sadowa, where Austria, a helpless victim, lay 
prostrate at the feet of the conqueror ; and the recent campaign in France, 
which has excited the wonder of the world, as the French armies have 



melted away before the Prussian legions, as fortress after fortress has 
fallen before their batteries, and as Paris itself has surrendered to hosts 
such as Attila could scarcely have brought into the field, — these are events 
which are to be chronicled among the most momentous which have trans- 
pired upon our globe. 

The narrative here given of the Franco-Prussian War is an impartial 
recital of facts known by all intelligent men. If this record be not sub- 
stantially true, then is it impossible to obtain any truth of history. Never 
did events take place under a broader blaze of day. Wherever our sympa- 
thies may rest, the facts here given are indisputable; and it is a weakness 
for one to shrink from impartial truth because it is not, in all respects, 
flattering to national pride. 

It cannot be gratifying to any Frenchman to read this record of the 
utter humiliation and the ruin of his country, and of that lamentable want 
of stability on the part of his countrymen which has caused this humilia- 
tion and ruin. 

And, in the creation of the new Germanic Empire, there have been some 
distinctly-avowed motives which have inspired the actors, and some meas- 
ures which have been adopted before the eyes of all the world, which many 
Germans will not reflect upon with pleasure. 

But both French and Germans will find in these pages as honest and 
impartial a record of facts as it is possible to give. The intelligent Ameri- 
can community, who month after month have watched with the utmost 
interest the development of these transactions, will be able to testify from 
its own personal observation to the accuracy of this account of the 
Franco-Prussian War. But we must remember that it is a pardonable 
weakness for men, when in a foreign country, to be even unduly zealous in 
reference to the good name of their native land. 

The accuracy of the portraits, we think, may be relied upon. They 
have been obtained from the most authentic sources. The beautiful group 
of the Imperial Family of France has been taken, by express permission, 
from the private collection of the Emperor, and has been engraved by the 
most skilful of French artists. The writer can testify to the remarkable 

fidelity of the likenesses. 

New Haven, Conn. 



I. Origin of the Monarchy 9 

II. Fritz, and the Commencement of iii.s Ueicjn 2.5 

III. TriF, Seven-Years' War 40 

rv. The Partition of Poland, and the Invasion of France . . 53 

V. Prls.sia and the French Revolution 68 

VI. Prussia Overwhelmed 83 

Vll. Frederick William III. and the New Coalition .... 07 

VIII. Struggles for Liberty 113 

TX. King William 1 120 

X. The Chief Supporters of the Crown 137 


XII. Tin; LinuRATioN of Italy 168 

XIII. The GER.MAN War 174 

Xrv. Fr.\nce demands her Ancient Boundary 1S3 

XV. Tni: Policy of Count Bismarck T"2 

XVI. The Declaration of War 200 

XVII. The Eastern Question 2;i.S 

XVIir. France Invaded 2I7 

XIX. Pru.^sian Victories and French Defeats 223 

XX. The Capture of Sedan 2.34 

X.\I. The Overthrow of the E.mpire 217 

XXII. The Prisoner and the E.xile 2r.o 

X.\III. War and its Woes 271 




XXIV. The Germanic Empiiie 287 

XXV. The Siege of Paris 312 

XXVT. The Political Embarrassments 327 

XXVU. Peace 341 


Frederick the Great Frontispiece. 

Prussian Group. — Containing Portraits of King William, the Crown Prince, 

Prince Frederick Charles, Count Bismarck, and Gen. Von Moltke . . 137 
Imperial Group.— Viz., Napoleon III., the Empress Eugenie, and the Prince 

Imperial 247 


Prussi.i, 1740 31 

Prussia, 1786 61 

Prussia, 1815 107 

Prussia, 1866 181 

March of the Germans to Paris 221 

The German Empire 247 



its place. 


BOUT the year of our Lord 997, Adelbert, 
Bishop of Prague, Avith two companions, set 
out on a missionary tour to the shores of 
the Baltic. The savage inhabitants killed 
him. Still Christianity gradually gained 
ground. As the ages rolled on, idolatry 
disappeared, and nominal Christianity took 
The people were poor, ignorant, widely dis- 
persed, and but partially civilized. During weary cen- 
turies, as generations came and went, nothing in that 
reg'ion occurred of interest to the world at large. 

When, in the sixteenth century. Protestantism was 
rejected by Southern Europe, it was accepted by the 
inhabitants of this wild region. At the commencement 
of the eighteenth century, there was found upon the 
soulliern shores of the Baltic a small territory, about as 
large as the State of Massachusetts, called tlu; Mar' 
quisate of Brandenburg. The marquis belonged to a 


very renowned family, known as th^ House of Hohen- 
zoUern. At the distance of some miles east of this 
marquisate, there was a small duchy called Prussia. 
The Marquis of Brandenburg, who had come into 
possession of the duchy, being a very ambitious man, 
by skilful diplomacy succeeded in having the united 
provinces of Prussia and Brandenburg recognized by 
the Emperor of Germany as the kingdom of Prussia. 
The sovereigns of Southern Europe looked quite con- 
temptuously upon this new-born and petty realm, and 
were not at all disposed to receive the parvenu Idng into 
their society as an equal. 

Berlin was the capital of the Marquisate of Branden- 
burg : Konigsberg was the capital of the Duchy of 
Prussia. Though the marquis, Frederick, was crowned 
at Konigsberg, he chose Berlin as the capital of his new 
kingdom. He took the title of Frederick I. The king 
had a son, Frederick WiUiam, then ten years of age. 
As heir to the throne, he was called \kvQ, Crown Prince. 
When eighteen years of age, he married Sophie Doro- 
thee, his cousin, a daughter of George, Elector of Hano- 
ver, who subsequently became George I. of England. 
On the 24th of January, 1712, a son was born to the 
Crown Prince, who received the name of Frederick, and 
subsequently became renowned in history as Frederick 
the Great. The babe, whose advent was hailed through- 
out the kingdom with so much joy as heir to the crown, 
had at that time a sister, Wilhelmina, three years older 
than himself. At the time of the birth of Frederick, 
the monarchy was but twelve years old. His grand- 
father, Frederick L, was still living ; and his father Avas 
Crown Prince. 

When Frederick was fourteen months old, his grand- 


father, Frederick I., died, and his fatlier, Frederick Wil- 
liam, ascended the thi-one. He was one of the strangest 
men of whom history makes mention. It is difficult 
to account for his conduct upon any other supposition 
than that he was partially insane. His father had been 
fond of the pageantry of courts. Frederick William 
despised such pageantry thoroughly. Immediately u])on 
assuming the crown, to the utter consternation of the 
court he dismissed nearly every honorary official of the 
palace, from the highest dignitary to the humblest page. 
His household was reduced to the lowest footing of 
economy. Eight servants were retained, at six shillings 
a week. His father had thirty pages. All were dis- 
missed but three. There were one thousand saddle- 
horses in the royal stables. Frederick retained thirty. 
Three-fourths of the names Avere struck from the pen- 

The energy of the new sovereign inspired the whole 
kingdom. Everybody was compelled to be industrious. 
Even the apple-women were forced, by a royal decree, 
to knit at their stalls. The king farmed out the crown- 
lands, drained bogs, planted colonies, established manu- 
factures, and encouraged every branch of industry by 
all the energies of absolute power. 

Frederick William, a tliick-set, burly man, ever 
carried with him, as he walked the streets of Berlin, a 
stout ratan-cane. Upon the slightest provocation, he 
would soundly tlirash any one whom he encountered. 
He especially hated the refmement and polish of the 
Frencli nation. If he met a lady in rich attbe, she was 
sure to be rudely assailed : he would often even give 
her a kick, and tell her to go home and take care of her 
brats. No young man fashionably dressed coidd cross 


the king's path without receiving a sound caning if the 
royal arm could reach him. If he met any one who 
seemed to be lounging in tlie streets, he would hit him 
a blow over the head, exclaiming, " Home, you rascal, 
and go to work ! " 

Frederick was scrupulously clean. He washed five 
times a day. He would allow in the palace no carpets 
or stuffed furniture. They caught the dust. He ate 
rapidly and voraciously of the most substantial food, 
despising all luxuries. His dress usually consisted of a 
blue military coat with red cuffs and collar, buff waist- 
coat and breeches, and white linen gaiters to the knee. 
A well-worn triangular hat covered his head. 

By severe economy, small as were his realms, and 
limited as were his revenues, he raised an army of nearly 
a hundred thousand men. An imposing army seemed 
to be the great object of his ambition. He drilled his 
troops, personally, as troops were never drilled before. 
Possessing an u^on constitution, and regardless of com- 
fort himself, he had no mercy upon his soldiers. Thus 
he created the most powerful military engine, for its 
size, ever known upon earth. 

The French minister at Berlin, Count Rothenburg, 
was a very accomphshed man. He wore the dress, and 
had the manners, of the French gentlemen of that day. 
He and liis associates in the embassy excited the ire of 
the king as they appeared at Berlm in the gorgeous 
court-dresses of the Tuileries and Versailles. The king, 
in his homespun garb, resolved that the example should 
not spread. 

There was to be a grand review at Berlin. The 
French embassy would be present in theu' accustomed 
costume of cocked hats, flowing wigs, and laced coats. 


Tlic king caused a party of llio lowest of the populace 
of Berlin, equal in number, to be dressed in the most 
grotesque caricature of the French costume. As soon 
03 the French appeared upon the field, there was a 
great sound of trumpets ; and these harlequins were 
brought forward to confront them. Military discipline 
reigned. There was no derisive laughter. There waa 
perfect silence. The king sat upon his horse as im- 
movable as a marble statue. With French politeness, 
the ministers of Louis submitted to the discourtesy, and 
ever after appeared in the homespun garb of Berlin. 

Frederick was very desirous that his son, whom he 
called by the diminutive Fritz, should develop warlike 
tastes ; but, to his bitter disappointment, the child 
seemed to be of an effeminate nature. He was gentle, 
affectionate, fond of music and books, and clung to his 
sister Wilhelmina with almost feminine love. The king 
deemed these qualities unmanly, and soon began to 
despise, and then to hate, the child. Still the energetic 
king resolved to leave no efforts untried to make a 
soldier of his boy. 

"When Fritz was six years old, his father organized a 
company of a hundi'cd high-born lads, to be placed 
under his command. Tlie number was gradually in- 
creased to a regiment, of which Fritz was colonel. When 
seven years of age, he was placed under the care of 
tutors, who were directed to press forward his education, 
iiitellectual and military, with the most merciless vigor. 
In the orders given to the distinguished military men to 
whom the education of the child was intrusted, tlie 
king said, — 

" You have in the highest measure to make it your 
cai"e to infuse into my son a true love for tlie soldier- 


business, and to impress on him, that as there is nothing 
in the world which can bring a prince renown and honor 
like the sword, so he would be a despised creature be- 
fore all men if he did not love it and seek his sole glory 

The poor little fellow was exposed to almost incredi- 
ble hardships. His father took him on his journeys to 
review his garrisons. Theu* carriage was what was called 
a sausage-car. It consisted merely of a stuffed pole, 
about ten feet long, upon which one sat astride, as if 
riding a rail. This pole rested upon wheels before and 
behind, without springs. Thus they rattled over the 
mountains and through the mud. The delicate, sensi- 
tive child was robbed of his sleep as liis cast-u'on father 
pressed him along on these wild adventures, regardless 
of fatigue or storms. " Too much sleep," said the king, 
" stupefies a fellow." 

Every fibre in the soul of Fritz recoiled from this rude 
discipline. He hated hunting boars, and riding on the 
sausage-car, and being drenched with rain, and spat- 
tered with mud. 

Instinctive tastes are developed very early in child- 
hood. When Frederick Wilham was a bo}'", some one 
presented him with a very beautiful French dressing- 
gown embroidered with gold. He thrust the robe into 
the fire, declaring that he would never wear such finery. 

Fritz, on the contrary, could not endure homespun. 
He loved clothes of fine texture, and tastefully orna- 
mented. Most of the early years of the prince were 
spent at Wusterhausen. This was a plain, rectangular 
palace, surrounded by . a ditch, in a very unattractive 
region. Though there were some picturesque drives, 
yet, to Frederick's eye, the gloomy forests and pathless 


morasses head no charms. The pahices of Berlin and 
Potsdam, which the pleasure-loving monarch, Frederick 
I., had embellished, still retained much splendor; but the 
king furnished the apartments wliich he occupied in 
stoical simplicity. 

The health of Fritz was frail. He was very fond of 
study, particularly of the Latin language. His illiterate 
father, who could scarcely write legil^ly, and whose 
spelling was ludicrous, took a special dislike to Latin. 
One day he caught his son with a Latin book in his 
hand, under the guidance of a teacher. The king was 
infuriated. The preceptor escaped a caning only by 
flight. Still more vehemently was he enraged in de- 
tecting his son playing the flute, and with some verses 
which he had written by his side. With inexpressible 
scorn he exclaimed, " My son is a flute-player and a 
poet .! " 

There was no point at which the father and the son 
met in harmony. Every month, they became more es- 
tranged from each other. The mother of Fritz, Sophie 
Dorothee, and his sister Wilhelmina, loved him tenderly. 
This exasperated the king. He extended his hatred for 
the boy to his mother and sister. 

At length, another son was born, — Augustus Wil- 
liam, — ten years younger than Frederick. The father 
now evidently wished that Frederick would die, that 
Augustus William might become heir to the throne. He 
hoped that he would develop a different character from 
that of Fritz. Still the king persevered in his endeavors 
to inspire Fritz with his own rugged nature and tastes. 

George of Hanover having become George I. of Eng- 
land, his daugliter, the mother of Fritz, became very 
desu-ous of marrying her two children, Wilhelmina and 


Fritz, to Frederick and Amelia, the two children of her 
brother George, who was then Prince of Wales. But 
Frederick William, and George, Prince of Wales, had 
met as boys, and quarrelled ; and they hated each other 
thoroughly. The other powers of Europe were opposed 
to this double marriage, as thus the kingdoms of Prus- 
sia and England would virtually be united. 

The young English Frederick bore the title of the 
Duke of Gloucester. It was at length agreed by the 
English court that Frederick should marry Wilhelmina ; 
but there were still obstacles in the way of the marriage 
of Fritz with Amelia. The Duke of Gloucester sent 
an envoy with some presents to Wilhelmina. In the 
following graphic terms, the Prussian princess describes 
the interview : — 

" There came, in those days, one of the Duke of 
Gloucester's gentlemen to Berlin. The queen had a 
soiree. He was presented to her as well as to me. He 
made a very obliging compliment on his master's part. 
I blushed, and answered only by a courtesy. The queen, 
who had her eye on me, was very angry that I had an- 
swered the duke's compliments in mere silence, and 
rated me sharply for it, and ordered me, under pain of 
her indignation, to repair that fault to-morrow. I re- 
tired, all in tears, to my room, exasperated against the 
queen and against the duke. I vowed I would never 
marry him." 

Wilhelmina was a yqvj remarkable girl, endowed with 
a very affectionate, intellectual, and noble nature. Fred- 
erick of England was eighteen years of age, a very dis- 
solute fellow, and exceedingly unattractive in personal 
appearance. Wilhelmina says that her grandfather, 
George I., after he became King of England, was intoler- 


ably puifod up with pride. He was disposed to luuli 
quite contemptuously upon her father, who was king of 
so feeble a realm as that of Prussia. Though George 
had given a verbal assent to the marriage of his grand- 
son with Wilhelmina, he declined, upon various frivolous 
excuses, signing a marriage-treaty. Wilhelmina was 
quite indifferent to the matter. She declared that she 
cared nothing for her cousin Fred, whom she had never 
seen ; and that she had no wish to marry him. 

When Fritz had attained his fourteenth year, his 
father appointed him captain of one of the companies in 
the Potsdam Grenadier Guard. This was a giant regi- 
ment created by the caprice of Frederick William, and 
which had obtained world-wide renown. Such a regi- 
ment never existed before, and never will again. It was 
composed of giants, the shortest of whom were nearly 
seven feet high : the tallest were almost nine feet in 
lieight. Frederick William had ransacked Europe in 
search of gigantic men. No expense of money, intrigues, 
or fraud, were spared to obtain such men wherever 
found. The Guard consisted of three battalions, — 
eight hundred in each. 

Frederick William swayed a sceptre of absolute power 
never surpassed in Turkey. It was a personal govern- 
ment. The property, the liberty, and the lives of his 
subjects were entirely at his disposal. He was anxious 
to perpetuate a race of giants. If he found in his 
domains any young woman of remarkable stature, he 
would compel her to marry one of his military Goliaths. 
It does not, however, appear that he thus succeeded in 
accomplishing his purpose. 

One only thought seemed to engross the mind of 
Sophie Dorothee, — the double marriage. Her maternal 



ambition would be gratified in seeing Willielmina Queen 
of England, and her beloved son Fritz married to an 
English princess. Frederick William, with his wonder- 
fully determined character, his military predilections, and 
]iis army of extraordinarj^ compactness and discipline, 
began to be regarded by the other powers as a very for- 
midable sovereign, and one whose alliance was greatly to 
be desired. Notwithstanding he had an army of sixty 
thousand men, — which army he was rapidly increasing, 
and subjecting to discipline hitherto unheard of in 
Europe, — he practised such rigid economy, that he was 
rapidly filling his treasury with silver and gold. In the 
cellar of his palace a large number of casks were stowed 
away, filled with coin. A vast amount of silver was also 
wrought into massive plate, and even into furnitiu"e and 
the balustrades of his stairs. These, in case of emer- 
gency, could be melted and coined. 

This strange king organized a peculiar institution, 
which was called " The Tobacco Parliament." It con- 
sisted of a meeting of about a dozen of his "confidential 
friends, who were assembled almost daily in some room 
in the palace to drink beer, smoke their pipes, and talk 
over matters. Distinguished strangers were sometimes 
admitted. Fritz was occasionally present, though always 
reluctantly on his part. His sensitive physical system 
recoiled from the beer and the smoke. Though he was 
under the necessity of putting the pipe in his mouth, he 
placed no tobacco in the bowl. His father despised the 
fragile boy, whom he deemed so effeminate. 

The double marriage was still the topic of conversa- 
tion in all the courts of Europe. In the year 1726, the 
Emperor of Germany,- who was invested with extraor- 
dinary power over all the German princes, issued a de- 


crce, declaring that he coukl not consent to the douhlo 
nuptial alliance with England. This decision did not 
trouble Frederick William ; for he so thoroughly hated 
his English relatives, that he was not desirous of any 
very ultimate alliance with them. He was willing that 
Wilhelmina should marry the Duke of Gloucester, be- 
cause she would thus become eventually Queen of Eng- 

On the other side, the King of England earnestly 
desired that his grand-daughter Amelia should marry 
Fritz ; for she would thus become Queen of Prussia. He 
therefore declared that he would not allow the Duke of 
Gloucester to marry Wilhelmina unless Amelia also 
married Fritz. 

But Frederick William was opposed to the marriage 
of Fritz and Amelia for three reasons : First, He was, 
by natiu-e, an intensely obstinate man ; and the fact that 
the King of England was in favor of any project was 
sufficient to make him opposed to it. Secondly, He hated 
Fritz, and did not wish him to enjoy the good fortune of 
marrying a rich and beautiful English princess. ' And, 
thirdly. He knew that Amelia, as the bride of Fritz, 
would bring to Berlin wealth of her own, and the refine- 
ments of the British court, and that thus Fritz might be 
able to organize a party against liis father. 

Fredei'ick William therefore said, " Frederick of Eng- 
land may marry Wilhelmina ; but Fritz shall not marry 
Amelia." George I. replied, " Both marriages, or none." 
Thus matters were brought to a dead lock. 

While these intrigues were agitating both courts, 
Fritz was residing, most of the time, at Potsdam, — a fa- 
vorite royal residence, about seventeen miles west from 
Berlin. In the year 1729 lie was seventeen years of ago, 


a very handsome boy, attracting much attention by his 
vivacity and liis engaging manners. He was occasion- 
ally dragged by his father into the Tobacco Parhament, 
where, sickened by the fumes of tobacco and beer, he 
sat in mock gravity, puffing from his empty white clay 

In June, 1729, a courier brought the intelligence to 
Berlin that George I. had suddenly died of apoplexy. 
He was sixty-seven years of age when Death's fatal shaft 
struck him, while on a journey in his carriage. As he 
sank before the blow, he exclaimed, " All is over with 
me ! " and his spirit passed away to the judgment. 

Much as the half-insane King of Prussia hated 
George I., his sudden death deeply affected him. He 
became very religious in all pharisaic forms of self-de- 
nial, and in spreading almost sepulchral gloom over the 
palace by the interdict of all enjoyment. Wilhelmina 
writes of her father at this time, — 

" He condemned all pleasures. ' Damnable all of 
them,' he said. You were to speak of nothing but the 
word of God only. All other conversation was forbid- 
den. It was always he who carried on the improving 
talk at table, where he did the office of reader, as if it 
had been a refectory of monks. The king treated us 
to a sermon every afternoon. His valet-de-chambre 
gave out a psalm, which we all sang. You had to listen 
to this sermon with as much devout attention as if it had 
been an apostle's. My brother and I had all the mind in 
the world to laugh. We tried hard to keep from laugh- 
ing ; but often we burst out. Thereupon reprimand, 
with all the anathemas of the Church hurled on us, 
which we had to take with a contrite, penitent air, — a 
thing not easy to bring your face to at the moment." 


Fritz, about tliis time, was takon by his fallier on 
ft visit to Augustus, King of Poland, at Dresden. The 
court was exceedingly dissolute, filled with every temp- 
tation which could endanger an ardent young man. 
Fritz, Avho had hitherto encountered only the severity 
and gloom of his father's palace, was bewildered by 
scenes of voluptuousness and sin which could liave 
hardly been surpassed at Belshazzar's feast. 

He was very handsome, full of vivacity, and remarkably 
(j^ualified to shine in society ; and, being direct heir to the 
tin-one of Prussia, he was the object of incessant atten- 
tions and caressings. Child as he was, he fell before 
these great temptations. It was a fall from which he 
never recovered. His moral nature received a wound 
which poisoned all his days. 

Upon his return to Potsdam, after a month of reckless 
abandonment to sin, he was seized with a severe fit of 
sickness. It was many years before his constitution re- 
covered its vigor. His dissipated habits clung to him. 
He chose for his companions those who were in sympa- 
thy with his newly-acquired tastes and character. His 
vigorous father, keeping an eagle-eye upon his son, often 
assailed him with the most insane ebullitions of rage. 

Still, Sophie Dorothee, notwithstanding all obstacles, 
clung with a mother's pertinacity to the idea of the 
double marriage. Her brother, George II., was now 
King of England ; and Frederick was Prince of Wales, 
direct heir to the crown. He was then twentj^-one 
years of age, living an idle and dissolute life in Hanover. 
Wilhelmina was nineteen years old. 

Fritz, though he had never seen Amelia, had received 
licr miniature. She was pretty ; would bring with her a 
large dowry; and the alliance, in point of raidc, would 


be as distinguished as Europe could furnish. He was, 
therefore, quite desirous of securing Amelia for his 
bride. By the advice of his mother, he wrote to Queen 
Carohne, the mother of Amelia, expressing his ardent 
affection for her daughter, and his unalterable resolve 
ue^er to lead any one but her to the altar. 

Frederick WiUiam knew nothing of these intrigues ; 
but his dislike for his son had now become so intense, 
that often he would not speak to him, or recognize him 
in the slightest degree. He treated him at the table 
with studied contempt. Sometimes he would give liim 
nothing whatever to eat : he even boxed his ears, and 
smote him with his cane. Fritz was induced to write a 
very suppliant letter to his father, endeavoring to win 
back at least his civil treatment. The answer which 
Frederick William returned, incoherent, confused, and 
wretchedly spelled, was as follows. Contemptuously he 
spoke of his son in the third person, writing he and his 
instead of you and yours. 

" His obstinate, perverse disposition, which does not 
love his father; for when one does every thing, and 
really loves one's father, one does what the father re- 
quires, not while he is there to see it, but when his back 
is turned too. For the rest, he knows very well that I 
can endure no effeminate fellow who has no human in- 
clination in him ; who puts himself to shame; cannot 
ride or shoot ; and withal is dirty in his person ; frizzles 
his hair like a fool, and does not cut it off. And all this 
I have a thousand times reprimanded, but all in vain, 
and no improvement in nothing. For the rest haughty, 
proud as a churl ; sp>eaks to nobody but some few ; and 
is not popular and affable ; and cuts grimaces with his 


face' as if he were a fool ; and docs my will in nothing 
bat following his own whims ; no use to him in any 
thing else. This is the answer. 

" Frederick William." 

The king was a hard drinker ; very intemperate. In 
January, 1729, he was seized with a severe attack of the 
gout. His boorish, savage nature was terribly developed 
by the pangs of the disease. He vented his spleen 
upon all who came within hearing of his tongue, or 
reach of his crutch ; and yet this most incomprehensible 
of men, while assailing his wife with the most vituperative 
terms which the vocabulary of abuse could afford, woulc] 
never allow a profane expression or an indelicate allusion 
in his presence ! His sickness lasted five weeks . Wil- 
helmina writes, " The pains of purgatory could not equal 
those which we endured." 

The unhappy royal family at this time consisted of 
the following children : Wilhelmina, Fritz, Frederica, 
Charlotte, Sophie Dorothec, Ulriquc, August Wilhelm, 
Amelia, and Henry, who was a babe in arms. 

Frederica, who is described as beautiful as an angel, 
and a spoiled child of fifteen, became engaged to the 
Marquis of Anspach. She was the only one of the 
family who ventured to speak to her father with any 
freedom. One day, at the table, just before her ap- 
proaching nuptials, the king, who was then suffering 
from the gout, asked her how she intended to regulate 
her housekeeping. She replied, — 

" I shall have a good table, delicately served, — better 
than yours ; and, if I have children, I will not maltreat 
them as you do, nor force them to eat what they have 
au aversion to." 


" This," writes Wilhelmina, " put the king quite in a 
fury ; hut all his anger fell on my brother and me. He 
first threw a plate at my brother's head, who ducked out 
of the way. He then let fly another at me, which I 
a^ oided in like manner. He then rose into a passion 
against the queen, reproaching her with the bad training 
which she gave her children. 

" We rose from the table. As we had to pass near 
him in going out, he aimed a great blow at me with 
his crutch, which, if I had not jerked away from it, would 
have ended me. He chased me for a while in his wheel- 
chair ; but the people drawing it gave me time to escape 
to the queen's chamber." 

While the king's peculiarly irascible nature was thus 
stimulated by the pangs of the gout, he was incessantly 
venting his rage upon his wife and children. 

" We were obliged," writes Wilhelmina, " to appear 
at nine o'clock in the morning in his room. We dined 
there, and did not dare to leave it, even for a moment. 
Every day was passed by the king in invectives against ' 
my brother and myself. He no longer called me any 
thing but the English blackguard : my brother was 
named the rascal Fritz. He obliged us to eat and drink 
the things for which we had an aversion. Every day 
was marked by some sinister event. It was impossible 
to raise one's eyes without seeing some unhappy people 
tormented in one way or another. The king's restlessness 
did not allow him to remain in bed : he had placed him- 
self in a chair on rollers, and was thus dragged all over 
the place. His two arms rested upon crutches which 
supported them. We always followed this triumphal 
car, hke unhappy captives who are about to undergo 
theu' sentence." 



S we have mentioned, Fritz was very fond 
of music. A teacher from Dresden, by the 
name of Quantz, was secretly instructing 
him on the flute. His mother, in sympathy 
with her child, aided him in this gratifica- 
tion. They both knew full well, that, should 
the king detect him with a flute in his hand, 
the instrument would instantly be broken over the poor 
boy's head. Fritz resided with his regiment at Pots- 
dam. He never knew when his father would make his 

Whenever Fritz was with his music-teacher, an inti- 
mate friend, Lieut. Katte, was placed on the lookout. 
His mother also, at Berlin, kept a vigilant watch, ready 
to despatch a courier to her sou whenever she suspected 
that the king was about to visit Potsdam. 

One day, the prince, luxuriating in a rich French 
dressing-gown, was in the height of his clandestine en- 
joyment with his flute, when he was terrified by Katte's 
Inirsting into the room with the announcement that his 
wily and ever-suspicious father was already at the door. 
Katte and (Quantz seized flute and music-books, and 
rushed into a wood-closet. Fritz threw oft' his dressing- 
gown, and, linrrying on his military coat, sat down at tho 


table as if engaged in some abstruse mathematical prob- 
lem. The father burst into the room, frowning like a 
thuncler-cloud. A French barber had dressed Fritz's 
hair in the most approved Parisian style. The sight of 
his frizzled curls called down upon the head of the prince 
the most astonishing storms of vituperative epithets. 

Just then, the king caught sight of the dressing-gown. 
With a new outburst of rage, he crammed it into the 
fire. Hating every thing that was French, he searched 
the room, and collected every book he could find in that 
language, of which Fritz had quite a library. Sending 
for a neighboring bookseller, he ordered him to take 
them awa}^ and sell them for what they would bring. 
Had he chanced to open the door of the wood-closet, 
Katte and Quantz would have been terribly beaten, 
even had they escaped the headsman's block. 

" The Idng," writes Wilhelmina, " almost caused my 
brother and myself to die of hunger. He always acted 
as carver, and served everybody except us. When, by 
chance, there remained any thing in the dish, he spit 
into it to prevent our eating of it. I was abused with 
insults and invectives all day long, in every possible 
manner, and before everybody. 

" The queen contrived in her bedroom a labyrinth of 
screens, so that I could escape without being seen, 
should the king suddenly enter. One day, he surprised 
us. In attempting to escape, several of the screens fell. 
The king was at my heels, and tried to catch hold of 
me and beat me. He overwhelmed me with abuse, and 
endeavored to seize me by the hair. I fell upon the 
floor, near the fire. The scene would have had a tragi- 
cal end had it continued, as my clothes were actually 
beginning to take fire. The king, fatigued with crying 

FRITZ. 27 

out and with his passion, at length put an end to it, and 
went his wa3\" 

Again Wilhelmina writes, " This dear brother passed 
his afternoons with me. We read and wrote together, 
and occupied ourselves in cultivating our minds. The 
Idng now never saw my brother without threatening 
him with the cane." 

The following occurrence is recorded by Wilhelmina, 
as related to her by Fritz : " As I entered the king's 
room this morning, he first seized me by the hair, and 
then threw me on the floor; along which, after having 
exercised the vigor of his arm upon my person, he 
dragged me, in spite of all my resistance, to a neighbor- 
ing window. His object, apparentl}^ was to perform the 
office of the mutes of the seraglio ; for, seizing the cord 
belonging to the curtain, he placed it around my neck. 
I seized both of his hands, and began to cry out. A 
servant came to my assistance, and delivered me from 
his hands." 

In view of this event, Fritz wrote to his mother, " I 
am in despair. The king has forgotten that I am his 
son. This morning, at first sight of me, he seized me 
by the collar, and struck me a shower of cruel blows 
^^'ith his ratan. He was almost beside himself with 
rage. I am driven to extremity. I have too much 
honor to endure such treatment, and I am resolved to 
put an end to it one way or another." 

In June, 1700, tlic King of Poland held a magnificent 
review at ]\luhlberg. Frederick William attended, tak- 
ing his son with him. Fritz was exposed to every mor- 
tification which his unnatural parent could inflict upon 
him. In the presence of the monarch, the lords and 
ladies, he was treated by his father with the grossest 


insults. The king even openly flogged liim with a 
ratan. Adding mockery to his cruelty, he said, — 

" Had I been so treated by my father, I would have 
blown my brains out. But tliis fellow has no honor: 
he takes all that comes." 

Fritz, goaded to madness, attempted, with the aid of 
a friend (Lieut. Katte), to escape to England. He was 
arrested. The king, in his rage, seized him by the col- 
lar, hustled him about, tore out handfuls of his hair, 
and smote him on the face with his cane, causing the 
blood to gush from his nose. 

" Never before," exclaimed the unhappy prince, " did 
a Brandenburg face suffer the like of this. I cannot 
endure the treatment which I receive from my father, — 
his abuse and blows. I am so miserable, that I care but 
little for my own life." 

The king assumed that his son, being an officer in the 
army, was a deserter, and merited death. He impris- 
oned him in a strong fortress to await his trial as a 
deserter. He assailed Wilhelmina with the utmost 
ferocity because she was in sympathy with her brother. 

"He no sooner noticed me," writes Wilhelmina, "than 
rage and fury took possession of him. He became black 
iu the face, his eyes sparkling fire, his mouth foaming. 
' Infamous wretch,' said he, ' go keep your scoundrel 
brother company ! ' 

" So saying, he seized me with one hand, strildng me 
several blows in the face with the other fist. One of 
the blows struck me on the temple. I lay on the floor 
without consciousness. The king, in his frenzy, pro- 
ceeded to kick me out of the window, which opened to 
the floor. The queen and my sisters ran bet wee q, pre- 
venting him. My head was swollen with the blowa 

FRITZ. 29 

which I had received. ITiey threw water upon my 
face to bring me to life ; which care I lamentably re- 
proached them with, death being a thousand times better 
in the pass things had come to. The king's face was so 
disfigured with rage, that it was frightful to look upon. 

" ' I hope,' said he, ' to have evidence to convict the 
rascal Fritz and the wretch Wilhelmina, and to cut their 
heads off. As for Fritz, he will always, if he lives," be 
a worthless fellow. I have three other sons, who will 
all tiu^n out better than he has done.' " 

Wilhelmina was imprisoned in her room. Two senti- 
nels were placed at the door. She was fed upon the 
coarsest prison-fare. A court-martial was convened. 
By order of the king, Fritz was condemned to die. 
Lieut. Katte, the friend of Fritz, was accused of being 
privy of the attempt of Fritz to escape, and of not mak- 
ing it known. He was condemned to tAvo years', some 
sa}' to life-long, imprisonment. The king was exasper- 
ated by the leniency of the verdict. 

." Katte," he exclaimed, " is guilty of high treason ! 
He shall die by the sword of the headsman ! " 

A scaffold was erected in the yard of the castle where 
Fritz, then a slender, fragile boy of eighteen, was im- 
prisoned. Katte was taken to the scaffold on the death- 
cart. Four grenadiers held Fritz at the window to 
compel him to see his friend beheaded. Fritz fainted 
as Katte's head rolled upon the scaffold. The Emperor 
of Germany interfered in behalf of the prince, whom his 
father intended to have also beheaded. The Idngs of 
Poland and Sweden also interfered. Thus the life 
i)f Fritz was saved. 

Such were the influencgs under "which the charactei 
of Frederick tlie Great was formed. On the 20th of 


November, 1731, Wilhelmina was, by moral compulsion, 
married to the Marquis of Baireuth. Tlie Idng gradually 
became so far reconciled to liis son as to treat him with 
ordinary courtesy. By a similar compulsion, on the 
8th of Januar}'', 1733, Fritz was married to Elizabeth, 
daughter of the Duke of Brunswick. Elizabeth was 
beautiful, amiable, and accomplished, and of irreproach- 
able integrity of character. 

But the Crown Prince of Prussia was cold, severe, un- 
loving. With undisguised reluctance, he took the hand 
of his innocent bride ; while, then and ever after, he 
treated her with the most cruel neglect. Soon after the 
ceremony of marriage was performed, he caused, by 
previous arrangement, a false alarm of fire to be raised. 
Frederick rushed from the apartment of his bride, and 
did not return. He had often declared that he never 
would receive the princess as his wife. 

Frederick ever recognized the legal tie of their mar- 
riage. On state occasions, he gave Ehzabeth the position 
of queen, and treated her with that stately courtesy 
with which he addressed other ladies of the court who 
were entitled to his respect. Such was the only recog- 
nition Elizabeth ever received as his wife. 

On the 31st of May, 1740, Frederick William, after a 
long and painful siclvuess, found himself dying. Tliat 
dread hour had come to liim, which, sooner or later, 
comes to all. He sent for a clergyman, M. Cochins, 
and, as he entered, exclaimed, — 

" Pray for me! — pray for me! My trust is in the 

He called for a mirror, and carefully examined his 
emaciated features " Not so worn out as I thought," 
he said : " an ugly face, — as good as dead already." 

i^ lis 

13 ^ ■§ r-1 

^^ F Hj.y f^^ 


As he was thus faintly and ahuost inarticulately 
talking, he seemed to experience some monition that 
death was immediately at hand. " Lord Jesus," he 
exclaimed, " to thee I live ; Lord Jesus, to thee I die. 
In life and in death, thou art my gain." 

These were his last words on earth. Thus the soul 
of Frederick passed to the judgment-seat of Christ. 

Fritz was now King of Prussia, — King Frederick IT. 
lie was just completing his twenty-eighth year. His 
realms comprised an area of about fifty-nine thousand 
square miles ; being about the size of the State of 
Michigan. It contained a population of 2,240,000 souls. 
Frederick was absolute monarch, restrained by no par- 
liament, no constitution, no custom, or laws superior to 
his own resolves. He commenced his reign by declar- 
ing that there should be entire freedom of conscience in 
religion, that the press should be free, and that it was 
his wish to make every one of his subjects contented 
and happy. 

Speedily he taught all about him that he was to be 
undisputed monarch. " I hope," said a veteran officer, 
spealdng in behalf of himself and liis sons, " that we 
shall retain the same posts and authority as in the last 

" The same posts" replied the king, " certainly. Au- 
thority — there is none but that which resides in the 

One of his boon-companions advanced, as had Ijecn 
his wont, to meet him jovially. The young monarch, 
fixing a stern eye upon him, almost floored him with the 
rebuir, " I am now king ! " 

Those who had been his friends in the days of liis ad- 
versity were not rewarded ; those who had been his foes 


were not punished. The Giant Guard was disbanded ; 
and, instead of them, four regiments of men of ordinary 
stature were organized. The king unexpectedly devel- 
oped a very decided military taste. He immediately 
raised his standing army to over ninety thousand men. 
Very systematically, every hour was assigned to some 
specific duty. He rose at four o'clock in the morning : 
a single servant lighted his fire, shaved him, and dressed 
his hair. He allowed but fifteen minutes for his morn- 
ing toilet. The day was devoted untiringly to the im- 
mense cares which devolved upon him. 

His nominal wife he recognized in public as queen, 
and ever treated her, when it was necessary that they 
should meet, with cold civility. Gradually these meet- 
ings grew rare, until, after three or four years, they 
ceased almost entirely. Frederick was anxious to em- 
bellish his reign with men of literary and scientific 
celebrity. He established an academy of sciences, 
corresponded with distinguished scholars in other parts 
of Europe, and commenced correspondence and intimate 
friendship with Voltaire. 

On the River Maas, a few miles from Liege, there was 
a renowned castle, which, with some thousand surround- 
ed acres of land, had long been considered a dependency 
of the lords of Herstal. Frederick demanded this prop- 
erty upon a claim too intricate to be here fully explained. 
Voltaire, who drew up the manifesto, declares the claim 
to have been a mere pretext. Two thousand men, 
horse and foot, were sent to take possession of the sur- 
rounding territory, and to quarter themselves upon the 
inhabitants until the property, or its equivalent, was 

The Bishop of Liege, who was in possession, was a 


feeble old man of eigli<;y-two years. Resistance was 
impossible. The snm of a hundred and eighty thou- 
sand dollars was paid as a ransom. " This," writes 
Voltaire, " the king exacted in good hard ducats, which 
served to pay the expenses of his pleasure-tour to Stras- 

On the 20th of October, 1740, the Emperor Charles VI. 
died. He left no son. That he might secure the crown 
to his daughter, Llaria Theresa, and thus save Europe 
from a war of succession, which otherwise appeared in- 
evitable, he issued a decree called " The Pragmatic 
Sanction." This law had been accepted and ratified by 
the several estates of the Austrian monarchy. Prussia, 
all the leading powers of Europe, — England, France, 
Spain, Russia, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, — and the 
Germanic body, had solemnly pledged themselves to 
maintain the Pragmatic Sanction. 

Thus, by the death of the emperor, his daughter 
Maria Theresa, a very beautiful young wife, twenty-four 
3'ears of age, whose husband was Francis, Duke of Lor- 
raine, and who was just about to become a mother, in- 
lierited the crown of Austria. She was inexperienced ; 
had scarcely the shadow of an army ; and her treasury 
was deplorably empty. 

On the south-eastern frontier of Prussia, between 
tliat kingdom and Poland, Maria Theresa had a province 
called Silesia. It was about twice as large as the State 
of Vermont, and contained a population of two millions. 
For more than a century, Silesia had belonged to Austria. 
The assent of Europe had sanctioned the title. 

Frederick was ambitious of enlarging his dominions : 
it was not pleasant to be king of a realm so small, that 
other sovereigns looked upon it with e()ntem[)t. With 


his powerful standing army, it was easy to take military 
possession of Silesia : it had no strong fortresses : there 
were not two thousand Austrian soldiers in the province. 
Frederick could present no claim to the territory which 
was deserving the slightest respect. In conversation 
with his friends, he frankly admitted, that " ambition, 
interest, the desire of making people talk about me, 
carried the day ; and I decided for war." 

With the utmost secrecy he matured his plans, gathered 
his army near the frontier, and then, after some slight 
diplomatic manoeuvring, but without any declaration of 
war, rushed his troops across the border, and commenced 
taldng military possession of all the important posts. It 
was proposed that he should place upon the banners the 
words, " For God and our Country." " Strike out the 
words, ' For God^' " said the king : " I am marcliing to 
gain a province, not for religion." 

That Austria might not send troops to the rescue of 
her invaded province, Frederick commenced his cam- 
paign in mid-winter. The roads were miry : storms of 
sleet swept the bleak plains: there ^ was scarcely any 
enemy to be encountered. In the course of a few weeks, 
the whole country seemed subjugated. Frederick left 
Berhn for this campaign on the 12th of December, 1740. 
The latter part of January, he returned to receive the 
congratulations of his subjects upon the conquest of 
Silesia. In six weeks he had overrun the province, and 
vh-tually annexed it to his realms. 

But Maria Theresa developed character which alike 
surprised Frederick and all Europe. The chivalric 
spirit of the surrounding monarchies was enlisted in 
behalf of a young queen thus unjustly assailed, and 
despoiled of an important province of her realms. The 


preparations wliicli IMaria Theresa made to regain her 
lost possessions induged Frederick to send an arm}- of 
sixty thousand men into Silesia to hold firmly his con- 
quest. A terrible war was the consequence, — a war in 
which nearly all the nations of Europe became involved, 
and Avhich extended even to the distant colonial posses- 
sions of England and France. Milhons of money weie 
expended, hundreds of thousands of lives sacrificed, 
cities sacked, and villages burned ; while an amount of 
misery was spread through countless homes which no 
imagination can gauge. 

Year after year rolled on, while the strife was con- 
tinuing in ever-increasing fury. France, wishing to 
weaken Austria, joined Frederick ; England, jealous of 
France, joined Maria Theresa; Prussia, Sweden, and 
Poland were drawn into the maelstrom of fire and 
blood. The energy displayed by Frederick was such as 
the world had never before witnessed : he was alike re- 
gardless of his own comfort and that of his soldiers. 
His troops were goaded forward, alike over the burning 
plains, beneath the Ijlaze of a summer's sun, and 
through winter's storms and drifts and freezing gales. 

" On the head of Frederick," writes Macaulay, " is all 
the blood which was shed in a war which raged during 
many years and in every quarter of the globe, — the 
1)lood of the column of Fontenoy, the blood of the brave 
mountaineers who were slaughtered at CuUoden. The 
evils produced by this wicivcdncss were felt in lands 
v/here the name of Frederick was unknown. In order 
that he might rob a neighbor whom he had promised to 
defend, black men fought on the coast of Coromandel, 
and red men scalped each other l)y the Great Lakes of 
North America." 


Frederick was equally versed in diplomacy and in 
war. He did not hesitate to resort to any measures of 
intrigue, or of what would usually be called treachery, 
to accomplish his ends. Several of the victories which 
he gained gave him world-wide renown. By a secret 
treaty, in Avhich he perfidiously abandoned his French 
alhes, he obtained possession of the Fortress of Neisse, 
and thus became, for a time, undisputed master of Si- 

On the 11th of November, 1741, Frederick returned 
to Berlin, congratulating himself and his subjects with 
the delusion, that his conquest was established, and that 
there would be no further efforts on the part of Austria 
to regain the province. He was thus secure, as ho sup- 
posed, in the possession of Silesia. 

There seems to have been no sense of honor or of 
honesty in any of these regal courts. The province of 
Moravia was a part of the Austrian kingdom : it was 
governed by a marquis, and was about one-third larger 
than the State of Massachusetts. Frederick entered 
into an alliance with Saxony, Bavaria, and France, to 
wrest that territory from Maria Theresa. Moravia, 
which bounded Silesia on the south, was to be annexed, 
in general, to Saxony ; but Frederick, in consideration 
of liis services, was to receive a strip five miles in width 
along the whole southern frontier of Silesia. This strip 
contained the important miUtary posts of Troppau, 
Friedenthal, and Olmutz. Again the storms of Avar 
burst forth with renewed fury; again Frederick dis- 
played that extraordinary energy which has filled the 
world with his renoAvn. 

In the midst of winter, on the 26th of January, 1742, 
Frederick set out upon this campaign. Speaking of the 


first day's movement from Glatz to Landscrona, Gen. 
Stille says, — 

" It was such a marcli as I never before witnessed. 
Through the ice and through the snow which covered 
that dreadful chain of mountains, we did not arrive till 
very late : many of our carriages were broken down, 
and others were overturned more than once." 

By the skilful diplomacy of Frederick, aided by 
France, Maria Theresa was thwarted in her efforts to 
place her husband, Duke Francis, on the throne of the 
empire ; and Charles Albert, King of Bavaria, was 
chosen emperor. This was regarded as a great triumph 
on the part of Frederick. Charles Albert, whose life 
fi'om the cradle to the grave was a constant tragedy, 
took the title of the Emperor Charles VII. 

Frederick, in the intensity of his earnestness, was 
greatly annoyed by the lukewarmness of his allies. He 
was not disposed to allow any considerations of humani- 
ty to stand in the way of his plans. Regardless of his 
own comfort, he was equally regardless of that of his 
troops. But the alHes, whom he had with some difficulty 
drawn into the war, and who were not goaded on by his 
ambition, had no taste for campaigning through blinding; 
smotlicring snow-storms, and bivouacking on fi-ozen 
plains swept by wintry gales. 

At last, Frederick, in disgust, withdrew from his allies, 
and with marvellous sagacity and determination, though 
at an awful expense of suffering and death on the part 
of his troops, conducted the campaign to suit his own 
purposes, and in accordance with his own views. An 
incessant series of bloody battles ensued. Cities were 
bombarded, villages laid in ashes, and whole piovincea 


devastated and almost depopulated. Frederick was 
again triumphant. 

On the 11th of June, 1742, a treaty of peace was 
signed at Breslau. Again his conquest was assured to 
him : Silesia was ceded to Frederick an,fl his heirs for- 
evermore. Elate with victory, the young conqueror 
cantoned his troops in Silesia, and, with a magnificent 
suite, galloped to Berlin, greeted all along the road by 
the enthusiastic acclaim of the people. 

In the following terms, Frederick, in his " Histoire 
de mon Temps," narrates the results of these two cam- 
paigns : — 

" Thus was Silesia re-united to the dominions of 
Prussia. Two years of war sufficed for the conquest of 
this important province. The treasure which the late 
king had left was nearly exhausted. But it is a cheap 
purchase where whole provinces are bought for seven or 
eight millions of crowns. The union of circumstances 
at the moment peculiarly favored this enterprise. It 
was necessary for it that France should allow itself to 
be drawn into the war ; that Russia should be attacked 
by Sweden ; that from timidity the Hanoverians and 
Saxons should remain inactive ; that the successes of 
the Prussians should be uninterrupted; and that the 
King of England should become, in spite of himself, the 
instrument of its aggrandizement. 

" What, however, contributed most to this conquest 
was an army, which had been formed for twenty-two 
years by means of a discipline admirable in itself, and 
superior to the troops of the rest of Europe ; generals 
who were true patriots ; wise and incorruptible min- 
isters ; and, finally, a certain good fortune which often 


accompanies youth, and often deserts a more advanced 

Maria Theresa regarded the loss of Silesia as the act 
of a highway robber. She never ceased to deplore the 
calamity. If the word " Silesia " were spoken in her 
presence, her eyes would be immediately flooded with 



FREDERICK, having obtained Silesia, felt now 
^ disposed to cultivate the arts of peace. He 
\3 had withdrawn from his allies, and entered 
into externally friendly relations with Austria. 
But still the storms of war were raging over 
nearly the whole of Europe. Though Fred- 
erick had dexterously escaped from the tem- 
pest with the spoil he had seized, other nations were still 
involved in the turmoil. 

Maria Theresa became signally victorious over France. 
Austrian generals had arisen who were developing great 
military ability. Bohemia and Bavaria were recon- 
quered by Austria ; and the emperor, Charles VI., deso- 
late, sad, and pain-stricken, was driven from his realms. 
Encouraged by these successes, Maria Theresa was 
quietly preparing to win back Silesia. 

Thus influenced, Frederick, in the spring of 1744, 
entered into a new alliance with France and the emper- 
or. With characteristic foresight, he had kept his army 
in the highest state of discipline ; and his magazines 
were abundantly stored with all the materials of war. 
Having arranged with his allies that he was to receive, 
as his share of the spoils of the anticipated victory, the 
tluee important Bohemian principalities of Koniggratz, 



Buntzlau, and Leitmcritz, he issued a manifesto, saying, 
with unblushing falsehood, — 

" Ilis Prussian majesty requires nothing for himself: 
he has taken up arms simply to restore to the emperor 
his imperial crown, and to Europe peace." 

In three strong military columns the king entered 
Bohemia, and on the 4th of September, having thus far 
encountered no opposition, invested Prague. The cam- 
paign proved to be the most sanguinary and woful he 
had yet experienced. The sweep of maddened armies 
spread desolation and misery over all Bohemia. Starv- 
ing soldiers snatched the bread from the mouths of 
starving women and children. Houseless families froze 
hi the fields. In the dead of winter, Frederick was 
compelled to retire to Silesia in one of the most dis- 
astrous retreats recorded in the annals of war. 

Cantoning his shattered army in the Silesian villages, 
ho returned to Berlin to prepare for a new campaign. 
His pecuniary resources were exhausted, his army dread- 
fully weakened, and his materiel of war impaired or con- 

It was in such hours of difBculty that the genius of 
Frederick was developed. The victorious Austrians 
had pursued his troops into Silesia. The unhappy 
emperor died in poverty and pain. France alone re- 
mained an ally to Frederick. His situation seemed 
almost hopeless. On the 29th of March, 1745, he 
A\i()(e from Neisse to his minister, Podewils, at P)cr- 
lin, — 

" We find ourselves in a great crisis. If we do not, 
by mediation of England, get peace, our enemies from 
(lifff^rcnt sid(!S will come plungiiig in against me. Peace 
1 cannot force them to; but, if we must have war, wo 


will either beat tliem, or none of us will ever see Berlin 

On the 20tli of April he again wrote, " If we needs 
must fight, we will do it like men driven desperate. 
Never was there a greater peril than that I am now in. 
The game I play is so high, one cannot contemplate the 
issue in cold blood." 

Another desolating campaign, with its series of san- 
guinary battles, ensued. At Hohen-Friedberg and at 
Sohr, Frederic gained great victories, though at the ex- 
pense of the terrible slaughter of his own and of the 
Austrian troops. Dreadful as were the blows he in- 
flicted upon others, he received blows almost equally 
terrible himself. At length, once more a victor, having 
captured Dresden, the capital of Saxon}^, he again 
sheathed his dripping sword, and concluded a peace. 
In his comments upon this war, Frederick writes, — 

" Considering, therefore, things at their true value, we 
are obliged to acknowledge that this contest was in every 
respect only useless effusion of blood, and that the con- 
tinued victories of the Prussians only helped to confirm 
to them the possession of Silesia. Indeed, if considera- 
tion and reputation in arms meant that efforts should 
be made to obtain them, undoubtedly Prussia, by gaining 
them, was recompensed for having undertaken the war. 
But this was all she gained for it ; and even this imagi- 
nary advantage excited feehngs of envy against her." ^ 

Frederick returned to his capital on the 1st of January, 
1746. Prussia now enjoyed a few years of repor.e. The 
king, with energies which never tired, devoted himself 
to the development of the resources of his realms, and, 

^ Histoire de mon Temps 


like Csesar, to writing the history of his own great 
achievements. In a letter to Voltaire upon this subject, 
he writes modestly, — 

" ' The History of my Own Time,' which at present 
occupies me, is not in the way of memoirs or commenta- 
ries. My own history hardly enters into my plan ; for I 
consider it a folly in any one to think himself sufficiently 
remarkable to render it necessary that the whole uni- 
verse should be informed of the details relating to him, 
I describe generally the disturbed state of Europe ; and I 
have particularly endeavored to expose the folly and the 
contradictions which may be remarked in those who 
govern it," ^ 

The impulse which Frederick gave to industry was 
very great ; and the reforms which were introduced into 
the laws b}^ the Code Frederick were worthy of all praise, 
when compared with the semi-barbaric and confused 
system which had before existed. During this time, 
Frederick became involved in a bitter quarrel with Vol- 
taire, into the details of which Ave have no space here to 
enter. But again the clouds of war began to gather, 
and darken the horizon. 

Maria Theresa, ever anxious to regain Silesia, entered, 
with that object in view, into a secret alliance with 
Elizabeth, Empress of Russia, and with Augustus III. 
of Poland. Both EUzabeth and Maria Theresa enter- 
tained a very strong personal dislike for Frederick, The 
Marchioness of Pompadour, who ruled France, had con- 
sidered herself insulted by the sarcasms of his Piussiau 
majesty. Anxious for revenge, she also joined the alli- 
ance. It so chanced, at that time, that three women 

' Letter to Voltaire of tho 24th of April, 1747, 


ruled Continental Europe. These three women were 
arrayed against Frederick. Thus, in addition to the im- 
portant diplomatic issues which were involved, personal 
pique envenomed the conflict. Tliere were also many 
rumors that Frederick was contemplating additional 
conquests. Frederick, by bribery, became acquainted 
with the plan of the coalition. It was nothing less than 
taking possession of Prussia, and essentially dividing it 
between them ; leaving to their vanquished foe, perhaps, 
a small duchy or marquisate. The king resolved to an- 
ticipate his foes, and to strike them before they had 
begun to move. France was at that time at war with 
England, and hoped to take Hanover. This led the 
JBritish court, trembling for its Continental possession, to 
enter into a reluctant and inefiicient alliance with Prussia. 
Thus commenced the Seven -Years' War. 

France had already assembled an immense force on 
the Rhine to march upon Prussia from the west. The 
Swedes, who had been drawn into the alliance, and the 
Russians, were marshalling their forces in Pomerania and 
Livonia for an attack from the north. Austria had 
gathered a hundred and fifty thousand men on the 
frontiers of Silesia to invade Prussia from the south. 
Prussia seemed now doomed to destruction. 

Frederick, having demanded, as a matter of form, the 
object of these military demonstrations, and receiving 
an evasive answer, informed the court of Vienna that 
he considered their answer a declaration of war. Im- 
mediately, three divisions of the Prussian army, amount- 
ing in all to over a hundred thousand men, entcj'ed 
Saxony, and were soon united near Dresden. Dresden 
was easily captured ; and its archives fell into the hands 
of the victor. Immense sums of money were levied 
from the people. 


Austria rushed to the aid of Saxony. The utmost 
liuman energy was expended in the mortal struggle. 
The reader would weary at the recital of the names 
even of the battle-fields. Dispersing his foes, though at 
a vast expense of misery and blood on the part of his 
own troops, the Prussian monarch rushed into Bohemia, 
and fell fiercely upon the Austrian troops intrenclied 
outside of the walls of Prague. The renowned battle 
of Prague, which, says Carlyle, " sounded througli all the 
A\-orld, and used to deafen us in drawing-rooms within 
man's memory," was fought on the otli of May, 1757. 

" This battle," writes Frederick, " which began to- 
wards nine in the morning, and lasted till eight at night, 
was one of the bloodiest of the age. The enemy lost 
twenty-four thousand men. The Prussian loss amounted 
to eighteen thousand. This day saw the pillars of the 
Prussian infantry cut clown." 

The routed Austrians fled for shelter behind the walls 
of Prague. The city, which contained one hundred 
thousand inhabitants, was quite unprepared for a siege. 
The garrison, daily expecthig an Austrian army to march 
to its relief, held out with great firmness. The scene 
of misery witnessed in Prague was awful. An incessant 
storm of shot and shell fell upon the crowded dwellings. 
Confl.igrations were continually bursting forth. There 
was no safety anywhere. Famine came ; pestilence fol- 
lowed. DcuKJiis could not have inflicted more misery 
than the wretched inhabitants of Prague endured. 

At length the banners of INIarshal Daun appeared, 
waving over sixty thousand Austrians. The antagonists 
met, and fought with the utmost ieToe'itj. The slaugh- 
ter on both sides was awful. Frederick, almost frantic 
with grief, saw his battalions meltuig away before tho 


batteries of the foe. Six times his cavalry charged; 
six times they were repulsed. Frederick was beaten. 
Sullenly he Avithdrew, leaving fourteen thousand behind 
him slain, or prisoners. With but twenty-five thousand 
men, their ranks shattered and bleeding, and their hearts 
despondent, Frederick retreated to the Fortress of Bres- 
lau in Silesia. An allied force of ninety thousand Aus- 
trians and French pursued them. Soon another terrific 
battle ensued. The Prussians, having lost eight thou- 
sand more men, were driven from Breslau. 

It was now mid-winter. The allies supposed that 
Frederick was ruined. The Austrians spoke of his shat- 
tered bands with ridicule and contempt. Marvellous are 
the vicissitudes of war. On the 4th of December, 1757, 
the antaGfonistic hosts ao^ain met on the Plains of Lissa. 
Frederick had thirty thousand men ; the allies, ninety 
thousand. The battle was short and decisive : it lasted 
only from the hour of noon to the going-down of the sun. 

The Austrians were thoroughly routed. Seven thou- 
sand of their slain were strewed over the blood-stained 
snow. Twenty thousand were made prisoners. All 
their baggage, their military chest, one hundred and 
thirty-four pieces of cannon, and fifty-nine standards, 
fell into the hands of the victors. The Prussians paid 
for this victory five thousand lives. 

Frederick, with triumphant banners, marched upon 
Breslau. The city capitulated, surrendering its whole 
garrison of eighteen thousand men and its supplies. 
The victor then turned upon the approaching Russians, 
and drove them out of the kingdom. He then advanced 
upon the Swedes : they fled precipitately to take shelter 
behind the walls of Stralsund. Thus terminated the 
campaign of 1757. 


During the winter, both parties were recruiting their 
strength for the renewal of the fight. The returning 
sun of spring opened new woes for war-stricken Europe. 
The summer was passed in a series of incessant bat- 
tles, sweeping over nearly the whole of Germany. In 
tlio battle of Hochkirchen, on the 14th of October, 
Frederick, in his turn, encountered a wof ul defeat. He 
retreated, leaving behind him nine thousand slain or 
prisoners, and a hundred and one guns. Nothing deci- 
sive was accomplished by the enormous expenditure of 
treasure, and the carnage and woe of this campaign. 
Thus ended the third year of this cruel and wasting 

The spring of 1759 came. Maria Theresa was elated 
by her victories at the close of the last campaign. The 
allies redoubled their efforts. Catholic Germany gener- 
ally rallied with religious zeal against heretical Prussia 
and England. England, a maritime nation, could afford 
Frederick but little assistance, save in money. Ilcr 
gifts in that respect were small, amounting to but little 
over three millions of dollars a year. Indeed, England 
did but little, save to protect her own province of 

The armies of France, Austria, Poland, Sweden, and 
Russia, were now marching upon depopulated and impov- 
erished Prussia. The allies represented a population of 
over a hundred millions. The population of Prussia 
was less than five millions. Thus Frederick had against 
him about twenty to one. With incredible exertions, 
the king had raised forty thousand troops. Early in 
June, he met eighty thousand of the allies near Frank- 
fort on the Oder. Both parties Avere vanquished : first 
the allieij m awful slaughter ; then, by a sudden and an- 


expected turn in tlie tide of battle, the Prussians were 

Frederick, in the moment of supposed success, sent 
the following despatch to Berlin: "We have driven 
the enemy from his intrenchments. In two hours, ex- 
pect to hear of a glorious victory." 

The two hours of battle's hideous and hateful clamor 
passed away ; and another courier was despatched with 
the appalling message, " Remove from Berlin with the 
royal family. Let the archives be carried to Potsdam, 
and the capital make conditions with the enemy." 

Twenty-four thousand of the allies, and twenty thou- 
sand Prussians, fell on that bloody day. Two horses 
were shot beneath Frederick ; and his clothes were 
pierced with many balls. In the darkness of the night, 
he retreated with the remnant of his troops. The allies 
had sujffered so severely, that they did not attempt to 

Disaster never disheartened Frederick : it only 
aroused anew his energies. With amazing vigor he ral- 
lied his scattered forces, dismantled distant fortresses, 
and brought their cannon into the field, and in a few 
days was at the head of twenty-eight thousand men to 
dispute the advance of the foe upon Berlin. Week af- 
ter week, the thunders of war continued to echo over 
this wretched land. Winter came. The soldiers, on 
both sides, suffering more from famine, frost, and sick- 
ness, than from the bullets of the foe, could no longer 
remain in the open field. In the Austrian army, four 
thousand died in sixteen days from the inclemency of 
the weather. Thus terminated the campaign of 1759, 
the fourth year of this desperate conflict. 

The sx3riug of 17G0 found both parties equally eager 


for the renewal of the war. Maria Theresa was elate 
with hope. Frederick was inspired by despair: the vet- 
eran army of the Prussians was almost annihilated. 
The Prussian king had filled his broken ranks with 
peasants and boys, and any raw recruits whom he could 
force into the ranks by the energies of absolute power. 
With his utmost efforts, he could muster but seventy- 
five thousand men ; and these, to use his own language, 
" were half peasants, half deserters from the enemy, — 
soldiers no longer fit for service, but only for show." 
The " deserters " were prisoners of war, whom Freder- 
ick had compelled to enlist under his banners. 

The allies were marching upon him with two hun- 
dred and fifty thousand men. Against such unequal 
numbers, Frederick fought with energy and skill which 
filled Europe with wonder. Villages were burned ; 
harvests were trampled under foot ; fields were crim- 
soned with gore ; widows and orphans starved on the 
dreary plains ; and still there were no decisive results. 
On the whole, the campaign was in Frederick's favor. 
To the surprise of all, he had succeeded in thwarting 
the endeavors of the allies to crush him. Again the 
combatants retired to winter-quarters ; and the fifth year 
of the war was ended. 

Frederick, in his correspondence with his friends, con- 
fessed that his prospects were hopeless. He, however, 
resolved to struggle to the last, and to l)ury himself be- 
neatli the ruins of his kingdom. Having rejected 
Christianit}^, and having none of the consolations of 
religion to sustain liim, he carried constantly with him 
a phial of poison, that, as a last resort, he might commit 

The sixtli campaign, that of 17G1, proved uneventful. 


Frederick fortified himself with so much skill at Kiiners- 
dorf, that the allies did not venture to attack him. 
They surrounded him in large numbers, as hounds sur- 
round a tiger at bay. There were many bloody skir- 
mishes and sieges : large regions were devastated, and 
thousands perished in their misery. Frederick encoun- 
tered severe reverses, and was, apparently, every month 
approaching nearer to his end. Despairing, yet reso- 
lute, when the storms of winter drove the allies from 
the field, the Prussians sought refuge in a camp near 
Leipsic. The sixth year of blood and woe had ended. 

Frederick could no longer conceal his despondency. 
The English withdrew their subsidy : the Prussians de- 
clared that they could struggle no longer against such 
fearful odds. The allies were elated : it seemed mani- 
fest that one campaign more would finish their work, 
and that Prussia would He helpless at their feet. In 
this dark hour, in a day as it were, the whole prospect 
became changed. 

One individual chanced to be taken sick and die : 
that individual was Elizabeth, the Empress of Russia. 
She died on the 5th of January, 1762. Her death 
changed the fate of Europe. Peter III., who succeeded 
Ehzabeth, hated Maria Theresa, and admired Frederick. 
He ordered his troops immediately to withdraw from the 
alHance, and sent them to the aid of Frederick. The 
Swedish court was so alhed with that of Russia, that 
their troops also withdrew. Peter III. even sohcited a 
position for himself in the Prussian army. 

The change was as sudden as that caused by a turn 
in the kaleidoscope. Again there was a transient re- 
verse. Peter HI. was assassinated. His wife, the world- 
renowned Catharine II., ascended the throne : she dis- 


solved the Prussian alliance, and ordered her troops to 
return to Russia. In the mean time, Frederick had 
roused the Turks against Austria. Before the Russians 
had left his camp, he attacked the Austrians with his 
accustomed impetuosity, and they were routed with 
great loss. Maria Theresa was now in dismay : her 
allies Avere leaving her ; her treasury was exhausted. 
The Turks, sweeping all opposition before them, were 
ascending the Danube : Frederick, victorious, was en- 
riching himself with the spoils of Saxony and Bohemia. 
On the 1.3th of February, 1763, peace was concluded. 
Frederick retained Silesia. 

According to Frederick's computation, the conquest 
of the province had cost the lives of six hundred and 
seventy thousand of the allies, and one hundred and 
eighty thousand Prussians who had perished on the field 
of battle. The treasure expended and wasted in the 
desolations of war can never be estimated ; neither can 
there be any accurate estimate of the hundreds of thou- 
sands of men, women, and children, who had perished 
of exposure, famine, pestilence, and misery. The popu- 
lation of Prussia had diminished five hundred thousand 
during the Seven -Years' War. 

The day after the treaty of peace was signed, Freder- 
ick wrote to his friend D'Argens, " For me, poor old 
man that I am, I return to a town where I know noth- 
ing but the walls ; where I find no longer any of my 
friends ; where great and laborious duties await me ; 
and where I shall soon lay my old bones in an asylum 
which can neither be troubled by war, by calamities, 
nor by the wickedness of men." 

Under the energetic and sagacious administration of 
Frederick, Prussia rapidly recovered from its ruinous 


condition. " To form an idea," he writes, " of the gen- 
eral subversion, and how great were the desolation and 
discouragement, you must represent to yourself coun- 
tries entirely ravaged, the very traces of the old habita- 
tions hardly discoverable : of the towns, some were ruined 
from top to bottom, others half destroyed by fire. Of 
thirteen thousand houses, the very vestiges were gone ; 
there was no field in seed, no grain for the food of the 
inhabitants ; noble and peasant had been pillaged, ran- 
somed, foraged, eaten out by so many different armies, 
that nothing was now left them but life and miserable 




OTWITHSTANDING the acquisitions which 
Frederick had made to his domains, Prussia 
was still but a feeble kingdom, compared 
with the great monarchies of Austria, France, 
and Russia. To place Prussia upon any 
thing like an equality with these first-class 
powers, it was necessary for his Prussian 
majesty still more to enlarge his realms. 

The kingdom of Poland occupied a territory of two 
hundred and eighty-four thousand square miles. It 
contained a population of twenty millions. Poland was 
surrounded by Austria, Russia, and Prussia. It is not 
certain with whom the idea originated, of dismembering 
this kingdom, — whether with the Russian empress, or 
with Frederick. The king was chosen by the nobles. 
Upon the death of Augustus, King of Poland, on the 5th 
of October, 17Go, Catharine, by bribery, succeeded in 
placing upon the throne a handsome young Pole, Stanis- 
laus Poniatowski, who had for some time been a very 
special favorite at her court. He was crowned King of 
Poland on the 7th of September, 1764. 

Two or three years passed away of wars and insur- 
rections, and all the usual tumult and woe wliich have 



characterized the progress of the nations. There were 
some secret interviews between the courts of Russia, 
Prussia, and Austria, in which it is supposed that the 
question of the dismemberment of Poland was agitated. 
Frederick, however, informs us that he at length sent 
to Catharine a sketch of a plan for partitioning several 
provinces in Poland ; " to Which," he says, " the court 
at Petersburg, intoxicated with its own outlooks on 
Turkey, paid not the least attention." ^ 

Joseph, the son of Maria Theresa, had become em- 
peror, through the agency of his mother, after the death 
of his father, the Emperor Francis. On the 25th of 
August, 1769, he visited Frederick, at Neisse. Under 
cloak of the festivities, the all-important question was 
discussed, of the partition of Poland, which was then 
in such a state of anarchy as to render any attempt at 
resistance hopeless. Another interview took place be- 
tween the King of Prussia and the emperor, on the 3d 
of September, 1770, at Neustadt, near Austerlitz. 

Not long after this interview, Frederick drew up a 
new plan of partition, which he presented to Russia 
and Austria. By this plan, which was adopted, Russia 
took eighty-seven thousand five hundred square miles. 
Austria received sixty-two thousand five himdred. The 
share which was allotted to Prussia was but nine thou- 
sand four hundi'ed and sixty-four square miles. Small, 
in respect to territory, as was Prussia's share, it was re- 
garded, in consequence of its position and the character 
of the region, equally valuable with the other portions. 

In the carrying-out of these measures of partition, 
which the world has usually regarded as one of the most 

* (Euvres de Fr^d^ric, vi. 20. 


atrocious acts of robbery on record, resort was had both 
to bribery and force. A common fund was raised by 
the three powers to purchase the acquiescence of the lead- 
iucc members of the Polish diet. Each of the confeder- 
ate powers also sent an army to the frontiers of Poland 
to crush the distracted people, should any forcible resist- 
ance be attempted. Thus the deed was accomplished. 

It would seem that the conscience of Maria Theresa 
recoiled from the political crime ; but she was over- 
borne by her son, the emperor, and by the imperious 
spirit of the prime-minister, Kaunitz. Wliile, therefore, 
reluctantly she gave her assent to the measure, she 
issued the following extraordinary document : — 

" When all my lands were invaded, and I knew not 
where in the world to be brought to bed in, I relied on 
my good right and the help of God. But in this thing, 
where not only public law cries to heaven against us, 
but also all natural justice and sound reason, I must 
confess never in my life to have been in such trouble. 
I am ashamed to show my face. Let the prince (Kau- 
nitz) consider what an example we are giving to the 
world, if, for a miserable piece of Poland, we throw our 
honor and reputation to the winds. I see well that I 
am aloue, and no more in vigor : therefore I must, though 
to my very great sorrow, let things take their course." ^ 

In allusion to the same subject, Frederick writes, " A 
new career came to open itself to me ; and one must 
have been either without address, or Ijuried in stupidity, 
not to have profited hy an opportunity so advantageous. 
I seized tliis uni'xpected opportunity l>y the forelock. 
By dint of negotiating and intriguing, 1 succeeded in 

1 " ir.rmayr, Taschoiilnich, 1831, s. GO."— Cited by Dr. .T. D. E. Prcus* 
hlstoriograplier of liraudenburg, iu his Life of li'redorick tlio Gieiit, iv. 38. 


indemnifying our monarchy for its past losses by incor- 
porating Polish Prussia with my old provinces." 

It was unquestionably a great benefit to the region, 
thus acquired, to be brought under the energetic admin- 
istration of Frederick. " As Frederick's seven years 
struggle of war may be called superhuman, so was there 
also, in his present labor of peace, something enormous, 
which appeared to his contemporaries almost preternat- 
ural, — at times inhuman. It was grand, but also terri- 
ble, that the success of the whole was to him, at all 
moments, the one thing to be striven after. The com- 
fort of the individual Avas of no concern at all." ^ 

Frederick died, as he had lived, a dreary death of 
pain and hopelessness. He had no faith in the immor- 
tality of the soul, or in the existence of any God who 
takes an interest in the affairs of men. In the severe 
anguish of his dying-hours, he avoided any allusions to 
religious subjects. There is no royal road to the tomb. 
The sufferings of the dying monarch were very severe ; 
but he bore them without a murmur. The king was 
unreasonably dissatisfied with his phj^sicians, who could 
not reheve him from pain ; and sent for the renowned 
Dr. Zimmerman of Hanover. In the following terms, 
Dr. Zunmerman describes the appearance of the king at 
his first interview : — 

" When I entered the apartment of the king, I found 
him sitting in an elbow-chair, with his back turned to- 
ward that side of the room by which I had entered. 
He had on his head a large hat very much worn, orna- 
mented with a plume of feathers equally ancient. His 
dress consisted of a cloak of sky-blue satin, all bedaubed 

* Freytug, p. 397. 


and tinged (of a brownish-yellow color) with Spanish 
snuff, lie wore boots, and rested one of his legs, which 
wa» very much swelled, upon a stool ; while the other 
hung down to the floor. 

" When he perceived me, he pulled off his hat in 
a very civil and condescending manner, and in a mild 
tone of voice said, ' I return you many thanks, sir, 
for your kindness in coming hither, and for the speed 
with which you have performed your journey.' " ^ 

At times, the Idng appeared exceedingly dejected. 
There could have been but little in the memory of the 
past to give him pleasure. The present was shrouded 
in the gloom of sickness in its most painful and revolt- 
ing forms. The future opened before him but the 
abyss of annihilation. One day, as the doctor entered 
his room, the king greeted him with the words : — 

" Doctor, I am an old carcass, fit only to be thrown 
to the dogs." 

The doctor at length was compelled to leave his 
royal patient, and return to Hanover. " I left the 
king," he writes, "not only in a dangerous, but in 
a desperate condition, — with a confirmed dropsy, to 
all appearance an abscess in the lungs, and such a 
prostration of strength, that he could neither stand nor 
move without support." 

In taking leave of Dr. Zimmerman, the king said, 
" Adieu, my good, my dear Mr. Zimmerman ! I 
ask pardon of your patients for having deprived them 
of your assistance. I thank j-ou for your kindness in 
staying with me so long. i\Iay you be always happy I 
Do not forget the old man you have seen here." 

* Entxetiena de Fr^d^ric, Roi do Prusse, avec le Docteur Zimmormon. 


For six weeks longer, the dying king remained in 
a state of constant suffering. The dropsy was in his 
(Stomach and chest. His limbs were greatly swollen, 
frequently bursting into loathsome and very offensive 
wounds. Asthma caused him to gasp for breath. He 
could not lie down by night or by day, but was confined 
to a wearisome position in his chair. Mirabeau, who 
was in Berlin at the time, writes, — 

" The king has not been in bed for six weeks. The 
swelling augments. He sees it, but will not perceive 
what it is, or, at least, will not appear to do so. He 
talks as if it were a swelling accompanying conva- 
lescence. He is determined not to die if violent 
remedies can save him, but to submit to punctures and 
incisions to draw off the water." 

It is not difficult, in youth, health, and prosperity, 
to reject the religion of Jesus ; but when these dark, 
sad hours of the dying-chamber come, if one have 
not the consolations which Christianity proffers, the 
most dreadful and impenetrable gloom must overshadow 
the soul. One can scarcely conceive of a scene more 
utterly joyless and dismal than the dying-chamber 
of Frederick the Great. 

On the ITth of August, 1786, at twenty minutes past 
two in the morning, he died, in the seventy-fifth year 
of his age, and the forty-sixth of his reign. There 
was one clause in his will which was judiciously disre- 
garded. " He had directed himself to be buried near 
his dogs, in the gardens of Sans-Souci, — a last mark 
of his contempt for his own species. He was buried 
in a small chapel in the church of the garrison, at 
Potsdam, where, side by side, repose Frederick and 
his father, — the former in a coffin of block tin, the latter 


in one of copper, and equally without ornament of any 
Idnd." ' 

The Prussian territory had been nearly doubled 
under the reign of this extraordinary man. He left 
the crown to his nephew, his deceased brother's son. 
Frederick William II. commenced his reign in possession 
of a territory of 71,670 square miles, being but little 
larger than the State of Missouri. It contained nearly 
six million inhabitants. Tliis little realm, proud of 
its military prestige, maintained a standing army of two 
hundred and twenty thousand men. This army con- 
sumed four-fifths of the revenues of the state. 

Frederick "William II. was a profligate and a weak 
man. He was a feeble ruler, and a Avretched financier; 
speedily exhausting his treasur}', and involving the 
kingdom in debt. 

The French Revolution soon began, like a moral 
earthquake, to shake all the thrones in Europe. In 
the first partition of Poland, to which we have referred, 
there had still been a considerable portion of the king- 
dom left under its king, Poniatowski. The example 
of France had reached the wilds of Sarmatia. On 
the 3d of Ma}', 1701, the Poles ventured to establish 
a republican constitution under monarchical forms. 
Perpetuating an heredltanj monarchy, they proclaimed 
rehgious toleration, the emancipation of the hourgensle, 
and the progressive emancipation of the serfs. 

Burke said of this movement, '"In it humanity has 
every thing to rejoice and glory in. It is probably 
the most pure public good ever yet conferred on 
manldnd. Ten millions of men were placed in a way 

' Life of Frederick II., by Lord Dover, vol. ii. p. 328. 


to be freed gradually, and therefore, to themselves, 
safely, not from civil or political chains, which, bad 
as they are, only fetter the mind, but from substantial 
personal bondage. Not one drop of blood was spilled ; 
no insults on religion, morals, or manners." ^ 

Prussia and Russia assumed that this constitution 
was bringing dangerous Jacobinism too near their 
thrones. They united their armies for a second dis- 
memberment. In overwhelming numbers, their com- 
bined troops crossed the frontiers, and were cantoned 
in the provinces they had seized. Thus was Poland 
overrun by the armies of the two most jDOwerful mihtary 
monarchies in Europe. 

The chivalric Poles were roused to energies of de- 
spair such as the world had never witnessed before. 
Kosciusko was chosen as military leader. With his 
brave band he retook Warsaw, driving out the Russian 
and Prussians. To recapture the city, Frederick V/il- 
liam II. sent thirty thousand of his perfectly-drilled 
soldiers to co-operate with forty thousand Russian 
veterans sent by Catharine. After a series of bloody 
conflicts, Warsaw was taken by storm on the 4th of 
November, 1794. Amidst conflagrations, bombard- 
ments, shrieks, and death, the Polish battalions were 
driven into the Vistula. Ten thousand soldiers perished ; 
ten thousand were taken prisoners ; and twelve thou- 
sand of the inhabitants of Warsaw were put to the 
sword. Stanislaus was sent captive into Russia, where 
he died. The conquerors divided Poland between 

1 Burke's Appeal to the Old Whigs. Works, vol. ii. p. 224. 
" Alison's History of Europe, vol. i. p. 358. 

"^3'S' HXM 


In reference to this great crime, the poet CamplDcll 
has written beautifully in his " Pleasures of Hope : " — 

"Oh bloodiest picture in the book of Time ! 
Sarmatia fell unwept, -without a crime ; 
Found not a generous friend, a pitying foe. 
Strength in her arms, nor mercy in her woe ; 
Dropped from her nerveless grasp the shattered spear; 
Closed her bright eye, and curbed her high career. 
Hope for a season bade the world ftirewell ; 
And Freedom shrieked as Kosciusko fell." 

Frederick Wilham II., the King of Prussia, died at 
Berlin on the 16th of Nov. 1797. He did not leave 
behind him an enviable reputation in any respect. In 
the final partition of Poland, Prussia received twenty- 
one thousand square miles, with one million inhabitants. 
In all, Prussia had rol)bed Poland of fifty-seven thou- 
sand square miles, and two million five hundred and fifty 
thousand inhabitants.^ 

Frederick William HI., son' of the deceased king, who 
now ascended the throne, was twenty-seven years of 
age. Sir Archibald Alison, whose predilections are 
strongly in favor of kings and nobles, thus describes 
him : — 

'' His character and habits already presaged the im- 
mortal glories of his reign. Severe and regular in pri- 
vate hfe, he had lived, amid a dissolute court, a pattern 
of every domestic virtue. Married early to a beautiful 
and high-spirited princess, he bore to her that faithful 
attachment which her captivating qualities Avere so well 
fitted to excite, and which afterwards attracted the ad- 
miration, though they could not relax the policy, or meet 

* Encyclopaedia Americaua. 


tlie sternness, or excite a spark of cliivalry in the cold 
and intellectual breast, of Napoleon." ^ 

The young king wrested from the Countess Lich- 
stenau, one of his deceased father's guilty favorites, 
many crown-jewels which were found in her possession, 
and a large portion of the enormous wealth which hud 
been lavished upon her. She was assigned a retreat 
near Berlin, with a salary of three thousand dollars. 

All the Continental monarchs were soon alarmed by 
the revolutionary principles which were so rapidly 
spreading throughout France. Prussia and Austria en- 
tered into a coalition to unite with the royahst party in 
France, crush out the popular movement with the tread 
of their armies, and restore the absolutism of the ancient 
regime. With that purpose they assembled an immense 
army at Coblentz, on the Rhine. The march of the in- 
vaders was commenced on the 25th of July, 1792. 

The allied troops consisted of eighty thousand of the 
veteran soldiers of Prussia, and sixty-eight thousand 
Austrians.- These troops were placed under the com- 
mand of the Duke of Brunswick. His mother was one 
of the sisters of Frederick the Great. His wife was the 
Princess Augusta of England. 

In three great divisions, this army, one hundred and 
forty thoasand strong, entered France. The Duke of 
Bnmswick ascended the left bank of the Moselle, to 
march upon Paris by the way of Verdun and Chalons. 
His immense force, in all its immense array of infantry, 
cavalry, guns, and baggage, crowded forty miles of road. 

Prince tlohenlohe, marching twenty miles on the left, 

* Alison's History of Europe, vol. i. p. 473. 

* Ibid., vol. i. p. 126; also Thiers' History of the French Revolution vol. L 
p. 278. 


pursued a route which passed through Thionvillc and 
Metz. Count de Clairfayt led his battalions on the 
right, by the iMezidres and Sedan. 

The Duke of Brunswick issued a proclamation, which 
at once became world-renowned, and which exasperated 
the popular party in France to the highest degree. 

'' Their majesties," said the duke in his famous mani- 
festo, " the Emperor of German}'- and the King of Prus- 
sia, having intrusted me with the command of the 
combined armies assembled l)y their ordecs on the 
frontiers of France, I desire to acquaint the inhabitants 
of that kingdom with the motives which have deter- 
mined the measures of the two sovereigns, and the in- 
tentions by which they are guided. 

" They wish to put an end to the anarchy in the 
interior of France ; to stop the attacks against the throne 
and the altar; to re-establish the royal power; to restore 
to the king the security and liberty of which he is de- 
prived, and to place him in a condition to exercise the 
authority which is his own. 

" Such of the national guards as shall have fought 
against the troops of the two allied courts, and who 
shall be taken in arms, shall be treated as rebels, and 
punished as rebels to their king. 

" The members of the departments, districts, and 
municipalities, shall be responsible, with their lives and 
property, for all misdemeanors, fires, murders, pillage, 
and acts of violence, which they shall suffer to be com- 
mitted, or which they shall notoriously not strive to 
prevent in their territory. 

" The inhabitants of the cities, towns, ;uid villages, 
who shall dare to defend themselves against the troops 
of their imperial and royal majesties, and to fire upon 


them, either in the open field, or from the windows, 
doors, and apertures of their houses, shall be instantly 
punished with all the rigor of the law of war, and theii 
houses demolished or burned. 

" The city of Paris, and all its inhabitants, without 
distinction, are required to submit immediately, and 
without delay, to the king ; to set that prince at full 
and entire liberty ; and to insure to him, as well as to all 
the royal personages, the inviolability and respect which 
the laws of nature and nations render obligatory on sub- 
jects toward their sovereigns. 

" Their imperial and royal majesties will hold per- 
sonally responsible, with their lives, for all that may 
happen, to be tried militarily, and without hope of par- 
don, all the members of the national assembly, of the 
department of the district of the municipality, and of 
the national guard of Paris, the justices of the peace, 
and all others whom it may concern. 

" Their majesties declare, moreover, on their faith and 
word as emperor and Idng, that if the Palace of the 
Tuileries is foreed or insulted, that if the least violence, 
the least outrage, is offered to their majesties, the king 
and queen, and to the royal family, if immediate provis- 
ion is not made for their safety, they will take exem- 
plary and ever-memorable vengeance by giving up 
Paris to military execution and total destruction, ai-d 
the rebels guilty of outrages to the punishments they 
shall have deserved," &c.^ 

" The greatest sensation," writes Prof. Smyth, " was 
produced in our own country of Great Britain, and 
all over Europe, by a manifesto like this, which went 

* Thiers' History of the French Revolution, vol. i. p. 314. 


in trulli to say that two military powers were to 
inarch into a neighboring and independent kingdom, to 
settle the civil dissensions there as they thought best, 
and to punish by military law all who presumed to re- 
sist them. No friend to freedom could, for a moment, 
tolerate such a procedure as this." ^ 

The result was, the Palace of the Tuileries was 
stormed b}^ the exasperated populace of Paris ; the 
royal family was taken captive, and incarcerated in the 
Temple ; and soon both king and queen were led to 
the guillotine. Onward pressed the allies with resist- 
less tramp. All opposition melted before their solid 
battalions. Thionville and Verdun were surrounded 
and captured. The victorious invaders crowded the 
defiles of the Argonne. The army of Dumouriez, sent 
to oppose them, was almost annihilated, l^'ugitives 
rushed into Paris, pale and breathless, declaring that no 
further opposition was possible. 

Terrible was the consternation in Paris. France rose 
en masse. Every man on the popular side, pale with 
deathless resolve, grasped his arms. All who were sus- 
pected of being in alliance with the Prussians were 
mercilessly assassinated. The venerable Vergniaud ut- 
tered a word which nerved every arm. 

" The plan of the enemy," said he, " is to march di- 
rectly upon Paris, leaving the fortresses behind him. 
Let him do so : this course will be our salvation, and his 
ruin. Our armies, too weak to withstand him, will be 
strong enough to harass him in the rear. When he ar- 
rives, pursued by our battalions, he will find himself 
face to face with our Parisian army, drawn up in bat- 

• Prof. Smyth's Lectures on the French Ilcvolutioii, vol. ii. p. 320. 


tie array under tlie walls of the capital. There, sur- 
rounded on all sides, he will be swallowed up by the 
soil which he has profaned." 

The excesses committed in Paris against royalists in 
the blind frenzy of the hour are beyond the powers of 
any pen to describe. Dr. Moore, an English gentle- 
man, who was an eye-witness, writes, — 

" Amid the disorders which have taken place, it is 
impossible not to admire the generous spirit which glows 
all over the nation in support of its independence. No 
country ever displayed a nobler or more patriotic enthu- 
siasm." ^ 

On the 20th of September, 1792, the Duke of Bruns- 
wick encountered, to his surprise, a French army, 
strongly intrenclied upon the heights of Valmy, near 
Chalons. Seventy thousand men, peasants and artisans, 
had rushed to those heights. For twenty days, the storm 
of battle raged there with tremendous fury. The young 
men from the shops and the fields fought from behind 
their ramparts with the bravery of veterans. From all 
parts of France, re-enforcements were hurrying to the 
scene of the conflict. The supplies of the invaders 
were cut off. Sickness decimated their camp. The 
freezing gales of winter were at hand. In deep humili- 
ation, the Prussians broke up their camp on the 15th of 
October, and retii-ed to their fortresses on the Rhine^ 
They left behind them twenty-five thousand, who had 
perished of sickness, the bullet, and the sword. 

" The force," writes Alison, " with which the Prus- 
sians retired, was about seventy thousand. Their re- 
treat was conducted in the most imposing manner ; tak- 

* Journal of Sir John Moore, vol. i. p. 160. 


Lng position, and facing about, on occasion of every 
lialt. They left behind them, on their route, most 
mehancholy proofs of the disasters of the campaign. 
All the villages were filled with the dead and dying. 
The allies had lost by dysentery and fevers more than a 
fourth of their numbers." 



S the allied army retreated, after its defeat 
at Valmy, in September, 1792, Gen. Du- 
mouriez pursued a division of twenty-five 
thousand Austrians under Gen. Clairfayt. 
On the 4th of November he overtook 
the fugitives, strongly intrenched upon 
the heights of Jemappes, near Mons. One 
day was employed in concentrating the French forces 
and arraying the batteries. Twenty-five thousand men 
were behind the ramparts : sixty thousand advanced to 
storm them. Early in the morning of the 6th, the can- 
nonade began : a hundred pieces of artillery opened their 
thunders. All day long, war's fierce tornado, with its 
whirls, its eddies, and its onward rush, swept the field. 
The Austrians were routed. In broken bands they fled, 
having lost fifteen hundred prisoners, and four thousand 
five hundred in killed and wounded. 

" The sensation," writes Thiers, " produced by this 
important battle, was prodigious. The victory of Je- 
mappes instantaneously filled all France with joy, and 
Europe with new surprise. Nothing was talked of but 
the fact of the coolness with which the Austrian artil- 
lery had been confronted, and the intrepidity displayed 



in storming their redoubts. The danger and the victory 
were even exaggerated ; and throughout all Europe the 
faculty of gaining great battles was again awarded to 
the French." ^ 

The Duke of Orleans (subsequently King Louis Phi- 
lippe), at that time a young man, known as the Duke of 
Chartres, greatly signalized himself by his bravery in 
this conflict. The French armies now swept triumph- 
antly towards the Rhine, driving their foes before them. 
Cheered by these victories, the convention in Paris, on 
the 19th of November, 1792, issued the decree, — 

"That they would grant fraternity and succor to 
every people who were disposed to recover their liberty ; 
and that they charged their generals to give aid to all 
such people, and to defend all citizens who had been 
or might be disquieted in the cause of freedom." 

This decree was followed ]:)y another, on the 15th of 
December, declaring that France would proclaim, in all 
the provinces it conquered, " the sovereignty of the 
people, the suppression of all the constituted authori- 
ties, of all feudal and territorial rights, of all the privi- 
leges of nobility, and exclusive privileges of every de- 

The people were invited to meet, and organize new 
republican governments founded on popular suffrage. 
By these defeats, the Prussians were placed in a very 
deplorable condition. Winter was at hand ; disease was 
making dreadful ravages in their camps ; republican 
principles were penetrating even the ranks of the army. 
A flag of truce was sent by Frederick William III. to 

» Thiers' History of flio Frencli Ilovohition, vol. ii. p. 10. 
» Jomini, Histoiro des GueiTes de In U(!volution, ii. 264. 


confer upon terms of compromise. Dumouriez wrote to 
the French Government, — 

" The proposals of the King of Prussia do not appear 
to offer a basis for negotiation ; but they demonstrate 
that* the enemy's distress is very great. I am per- 
suaded that the King of Prussia is now heartily sorry in 
being so far in advance, and that he would readily 
adopt any means to extricate himself from his embar- 
rassments." ^ 

The negotiations for peace were not successful. 

During the winter, the allies gathered their forces 
anew ; and, in the spring, Frederick William commenced 
another campaign by besieging the French fortress of 
Mayence, on the left bank of the Rhine. The King 
of Prussia brought forward fifty-five thousand men ; and 
Austria sent enough troops to swell the number to 
eighty thousand. The French had about the same 
number in the Valley of the Moselle and in their for- 
tresses on the Rhine. 

The King of Prussia crossed the river, without oppo- 
sition, at a point a little below Mayence, and invested 
the city from both sides of the Rhine. The garrison 
consisted of twenty thousand men. The investment 
commenced in April, 1793. 

The city of Mayence, nearly opposite the mouth of the 
River Majaie, was even then a ver}^ strongly fortified 
place. The King of Prussia, in person, conducted the 
siege. There were the usual scenes of bombardment, 
tumult, and blood, storming-parties repulsed, and sorties 
driven back. Two hundred pieces of artillery played 
upon the fortress ; while floating batteries, placed upon 

* Dumouriez' despatch to the French Government. 


the Rhine, threw into the streets an incessant storm 
of shells. 

" Distress was at its height. Horseflesh had long 
been the only meat the garrison had. The soldiers ate 
rats, and went to the banlcs of the Rhine to pick np the 
dead horses which the current brought down with it. 
A cat sold for six francs ; horseflesh, at the rate of forty- 
live sous per pound. The officers fared no better than 
the soldiers. Gen. Albert Dubayet, having invited his 
staff to dinner, set before it, by way of a treat, a cat, 
flanked by a dozen mice. 

" Communications were so completely intercepted, 
that, for three months, the garrison was wholly ignorant 
of what was passing in France. The Prussians, who 
had practised all sorts of stratagems, had false " Moni- 
teurs " printed at Frankfort, stating that Dumouriez had 
overthrown the Convention, and that Louis XVIII. 
was reigning with a regency. The Prussians placed at 
the advanced posts transmitted these false " Moniteurs " 
to the soldiers in the French garrisons. 

" At length the distress became so intolerable, that 
two thousand of the inhabitants solicited permission to 
depart. Albert Dubayet granted it ; but, not being re- 
ceived by the besiegers, they remained between two 
flres, and partly perished under the walls of the place. 
In the morning, soldiers were seen bringing in wounded 
infants wrapped in their cloaks." ^ 

On the 2.jth of July, the starved garrison was com- 
pelled' to capitidate. The King of Prussia allowed the 
troops to march out with their arms and baggage. T!ioy 
simply engaged not to serve, for a year, against tho 

» Thiers' French Revolution, vol. ii. p. 260. 


But Frederick William III. had now become weary 
of the war. He would have abandoned the enterprise ; 
but England came forward with liberal promises of 
gold. England, uniting with Holland, agreed to pay 
the King of Prussia two hundred and fifty thousand 
dollars a month, and also to meet all the expenses of 
bread and forage for the Prussian army. There was 
also granted the Prussian king a gratuity of one mil- 
lion five hundred thousand dollars to aid him in com- 
mencing operations, with the promise of five hundred 
thousand dollars upon his return to the Prussian States. 

In consideration of this subsidy, Frederick Wilham 
agreed to furnish sixty-four thousand five hundred men 
to the coalition ; of which coalition, England was now 
the acknowledged head. The Prussian army was to be 
under a Prussian commander. All the conquests made 
of French territory were to belong jointly to England 
and Holland.^ 

" The discontent of the Prussian troops," writes Ali- 
son, " was loudly proclaimed when it transpired that 
they were to be transferred to the pay of Great Britain. 
They openly murmured at the disgrace of having the 
soldiers of the great Frederick sold like mercenaries to 
a foreign power. The event soon demonstrated that 
the succors stipulated from Prussia would be of the 
most inefficient description." 

The conflict raged on the Rhine, month after mnnth, 
with varying success. Gen. Kleber, who was in com- 
mand of the French forces, driving the allies before 
him, crossed the Rhine, and carried the horrors of war 
into the territory of the enemy. Ere long he encoun- 

* Thiers' French Revolution, vol. iii. p. 18. 


tered overwhelmiuG^ numbers, and was compelled to 
retreat across the Rhine, back into France. Again, re- 
enforcements arriving, the French republicans assumed 
the offensive, and carried the war across the river to the 
right bank. Thus the blood-red tides of battle cbbetl 
and flowed. 

This majestic stream, the Rhine, wliieli had so long 
been the boundary of the Roman Empire, mainly sep- 
arated the antagonistic armies from the Alps to tlie 
ocean. The allies had an immense advantage in still 
holding the strong fortress of i\Iayence, which they had 
captured on the French side of the Rhine ; but as the 
rcjjublican troops gained victory after victory, and Rrus- 
sia itself was threatened with invasion by the tricolor 
flag, Frederick William, disheartened and trembling, 
again resolved to withdraw from the alliance. 

Republican France had so roused herself, that she had 
twelve hundred thousand men under arms. All the 
important military points on the liliine were in their 
possession. Holland was organizing as the Republic of 
the United Provinces, and entering into alliance with 
the French Republic. 

Frederick William HI. sent a commissioner to the 
headquarters of the French commander to propose 
l)eaee. ' The commissioners met at Basle ; and on the 
6t]i of April, 171).'), peace was concluded M"ith Prussia. 
Tlie French agreed to evacuate all the provinces they 
had conquered on the right bank of the Rhine. 1'lie 
Prussian king pledged himself to friendly relations with 
the French Republic. 

Still I'^ngland, Austria, and Naples continued the 
war lor three years longer. The Freiieh armies, having 
encouulercd some repulses in the conflict with tlic Aub* 


trians, occupied the left bank of the Rhine, and, with 
that broad and rapid river for their protection, warded 
off invasion from Germany. Immense French victories 
gained by tlie young general, Bonaparte, over the Austri- 
ans in Italy, led to a convention at Rastadt to confer upon 
terms of peace. We give the substance of these nego- 
tiations as stated by M. Thiers. The intelligent reader 
will be deeply interested in comparing the claims of 
France and the reply of Germany in 1798 with the 
claims of Germany and the reply of France in 1870. 

France demanded, not only that the line of the Rhine 
should be the recognized frontier between the two coun- 
tries, but that France should also have possession of all 
the islands in the Rhine, which were very important in 
a military point of view. France also demanded Kehl 
and its territory, opposite to Strasburg ; and Cassel and 
its territory, opposite Mayence ; and that fifty acres of 
land on the German side of the Rhine, facing the old 
bridge of Huningen, should be transferred to the Re- 
public. In addition to this, France insisted that the 
important fortress of Ehrenbreitstein, nearly opposite 
Coblentz, shoidd be clemohshed. These concessions, it 
was asserted, were essential to protect France from the 
menace of Germanic invasion. 

The deputation of the German Empire, on the other 
liand, replied, that the River Rhine was the natural 
boundary between the two nations, offering equal se- 
curity to both ; that, if France were to keep all the 
offensive points, this security would cease to exist for 
Germany. They proposed, as the real boundar}^, the 
channel of the main branch of the river, — all the islands 
on the right of that line to belong to Germany; all 
on the left, to France. The deputation was not willing 


that France should retain an}^ offensive points on the 
river, while Germany was to lose them all.^ 

After long negotiation, the obviously reasonable Ger- 
man proposition was accepted. The main channel of 
the River Rhine was declared to be the boundary be- 
tween France and Germany. This important treaty 
was signed in September, 1798. 

The establishment of, first the consulate, and then 
the empire, in France, increased rather than diminished 
the exasperation of the old feudal monarchies. Under 
these new organizations, the republican doctrine of 
equal rights for all men was retained. Hereditary no- 
bility was rejected, at first entirely rejected, and then 
but partially revived. Titles of honor were conferred as 
the reward of merit only. The doctrine of the " di- 
vine riglit" of kings was utterly repudiated; and the 
powers of government were based upon popular suf- 

The feudal kings and nobles of Europe were not to be 
deceived by a name. The fact that the Republic called 
itself an Empire, and that the elected executive was 
called Imperator, instead of President, rendered repub- 
licanism, thus arrayed, as formidable as ever. The 
principles avowed were in direct antagonism with all 
the old regimes : consequently, coalition aftei coalition 
was organized against these democratic principles, what- 
ever names tliey might assume. 

The antagonism which had so long existed between 
Prussia and Austria was qne of the inlluenecs wliich 
induced Frederick William III. to witlidraw from the 
uliiancc against France. During the ten years of 

' 'I"hiers' History of the Froncli Itcvolution, vol. iv. p. 20(>. 


peace which Prussia enjoyed, the kingdom had rapidly 
increased in popuhxtion and wealth. The vicissitndes 
of war had thrown a large portion of the commerce 
of Germany into its hands. The population had 
increased to nine million five hundred thousand souls ; 
its net income amounted to about fifty million dollars ; 
its standing army numbered two hundred thousand 
highly-discipUned troops.^ 

" The Prussian capital was one of the most agreeable 
and least expensive in Europe. No rigid etiquette, no 
rigid line of demarcation, separated the court from the 
people. The royal family lived on terms of friendly 
equality, not only with the nobility, but with the 
leading inhabitants of Berlin. An easy demeanor, a 
total absence of aristocratic pride, an entire absence 
of extravagance or parade, distinguished all the parties 
given at court ; at which the king and queen mingled 
on terms of perfect equality with their sul)jects. 

" Many ladies of rank, both in Paris and London, 
spent larger sums annually on their dress than the 
Queen of Prussia. None equalled her in dignity and 
grace of manner and the elevated sentiments with 
which she was inspired. Admiration of her beauty, 
and attachment to her person, formed one of the strong- 
est feelings of the Prussian monarchy." ^ 

The King of Prussia was the first of the monarchs, 
among the great powers, who recognized the empire in 
France. Wlien, in 1804, Russia, in coalition with 
Austria and England, was preparing to send down her 
Muscovite legions into France, Frederick entered into 
an agreement with the French Empire to maintain a 

^ Bignon, Hi^toire de Fi-ance dopuis le 18mc Brumaire, t. ii. p. 293. 
* Alison's Ilistoiy of Europe, vol. ii. p. 2Sfe. 


Btrict neutrality, and not to permit Russian or any other 
foreign troops to cross her territories. 

Early in the spring of 1803, England, Austria, and 
Russia formed a new coalition against France, into 
which Sweden, Hanover, Sardinia, and Naples were 
soon drawn. The luiited army of the allies was to 
number live hundred thousand men. 

" It was a great object," writes Sir Archibald Alison, 
" if possible, to unite Prussia in the alliance. For this 
purpose, M. Xoviltzoff was dospatclicd to Berlin. Not- 
withstanding all the efforts of England and Russia, it 
was found impossible to overcome the leaning of Prus- 
sia towards the French interest. The real secret of 
this partiality was the effect of the glittering prize, 
which her ministers had long coveted, in the electorate 
of Hanover. The Prussian Government could never 
divest itself of the idea, that by preserving a dubious 
neutrality, and reserving her interposition for the deci- 
sive moment, she might, without danger, add that im- 
portant acquisition to her domains. 

" The Prussian ministers at length openly broached 
the project of taking provisional possession of tliat 
electorate, 'as the union of the Continental dominions 
of liis Britannic Majesty to Prussia is of such conse- 
quence to tliat monarch}^, that it can never relinquish 
the prospect of gaining such an accjuisition, providing 
it can be done Avithout compromising the cliaractcr of 
his Majesty.' 

" The king at length put the question, ' Can I, witliout 
violating tie rules of morality, witliout being lield up in 
history as a king destitute of faith, depart, for the 
acquisition of Hanover, from tlie character which I 
have hitherto maintained?' 


" It was easy to see in wliat sucli contests between 
duty and interest would terminate. Before the middle 
of August, the Prussian cabinet intimated to the 
French minister at Berlin their willingness to conclude 
a treaty of alliance, offensive and defensive, with the 
French Government, on the footing of the annexation of 
Hanover to their dominions. Subsequent events pre- 
vented the treaty being signed, and saved Prussia from 
this last act of cupidity and infatuation." ^ 

During all this time, there was a strong minority in 
Prussia in favor of war, against the rapidly-spreading 
liberal opinions of France. The Queen Louisa and 
Prince Louis were prominent in this party. A French 
army-corps had marched through a corner of Anspach, 
thus violating the territory of Prussia. Though 
immediate apology was made, " the cabinet at Berlin," 
writes Alison, " had taken umbrage to an extent which 
could hardly have been anticipated, and which was 
greatly beyond the amount of the injury intlicted. 

" Matters were in this inflammable state when the 
Emperor Alexander arrived at Berlin, and employed 
the whole weight of his great authority, and all the 
charms of his captivating manners, to induce the king 
to embrace a more manly and courageous policy. Under 
the influence of so many concurring causes, the French 
influence rapidly declined. 

" On the 3d of November, 1805, a secret conven- 
tion was signed between the two monarchs, for the 
regulation of the affairs of Europe, and to erect a 
barrier against the encroachments of France. 

" The conclusion of this convention was followed by 

* Alison, vol. ii. p. 322. 


a scene as remarkable as it was romantic. Wlicn tlicy 
signed it, both were fully aware of the perilous nature 
of the enterprise on which they were adventuring. 
The Archduke Anthony had arrived two days before 
witli detailed accounts of the disastrous result of the 
combats around Ulm. 

" Inspired with a full sense of the dangers of the 
Avar, tlie ardent and chivalrous mind of the queen con- 
ceived the idea of uuiling the two sovereigns by a 
bond more likely to be durable than the mere alliance 
of cabinets with each other. This was to bring them 
together at the tomb of the great Frederick, where, it 
was hoped, the solemnit}'" and recollections of the scene 
would powerfully contribute to cement their union. 

" The emperor, Avho was desirous of visiting the mau- 
soleum of that illustrious hero, accordingly repaired to 
the church of the garrison at Potsdam, where his re- 
mains are deposited ; and at midnight the two monarchs 
proceeded together, by torchlight, to the hallowed 
grave. Uncovering when he approached the spot, the 
emperor kissed the pall ; and taking the hand (sword?) 
of the King of Prussia, as it lay on the tomb, thc}^ swore 
an eternal fricndsliip to each other, and bound them- 
selves by the most solemn oallis to maintain their en- 
gagements inviolate in the great contest for European 
independence in wliich they were engaged. 

"A few hours after, Alexander departed for GalHcia, 
to assume, in person, the command of the army of re- 
serve, which was advancing through that province to 
the support of Kutusoff. Such was the origin of that 
great alhance, which, tliougli often interrupted by mis- 
fortune, and deeply checkered with disaster, was yet 
destined to be brought to so triumphant an issue, and 


ultimatel}^ wroiiglit sucli wonders for the deliverance of 
Europe." ^ 

Before the Prussians had brought their two hundred 
thousand troops into the field, the French armies, under 
Xapo](ion, had captured Vienna, and had almost annihi- 
lated the Prussian army in the great victor}^ of Austerlitz. 
Prussia had, as yet, made no declaration of war. The 
treaty was kept a profound secret. The 15th of Decem- 
ber, 1805, was the appointed day in which war was to be 
declared against France, and hostilities were to com- 
mence. The result we give in Sir Archibald Alison's 
words, somewhat abbreviated. 

The Prussian minister, " Hauguitz, had come to Vi- 
enna to declare war against Napoleon ; but the battle 
of Austerlitz had totally deranged their plans. The 
armistice liad completely detached Austria from the 
coalition. The severest morality could not condemn a 
statesman who sought to withdraw his country from a 
contest which now appeared hopeless. But, not content 
with this, Hauguitz resolved to go a step farther. 

" On the breaking-up of the confederacy into which 
he had just entered, he determined to secure a part of 
the spoils of his former allies, and, if he could not 
chase the French standards beyond the Rhine, at least 
wrest from England those Continental possessions which 
fihe now appeared in no condition to defend. 

" With matchless effronter}^, he changed the whole 
object of his mission ; and when admitted into the pres- 
ence of Napoleon, after the victory, congratulated liim 
upon his success, and proposed a treaty, the basis of 
which should be the old project of annexing Hanover 
to the Prussian dominions. 

* Alison's History of Europe, vol. ii. p. 357. 


" Although Napoleon IkuI not received full accounts 
of the treaty of the 3d of November, he was aware of 
its substance. Upon receiving Hauguitz, therefore, he 
broke out into vehement declamation against the perfidy 
of the Prussian cabinet ; informed him that he was ac- 
quainted with all their machinations ; and that it now 
lay with hira alone, after concluding peace with Austria, 
to turn his whole forces against Prussia ; wrest from them 
Silesia, whose fortresses, unarmed and unprovisioned, 
were in no condition to make any defence ; excite an in- 
surrection in Prussian Poland, and punish them in the 
most signal manner for their perfidy. 

" Reasons of state, however, he added, sometimes 
compelled sovereigns to bury in oblivion the best 
founded cause of animosity. On this occasion, he was 
wilhng to overlook their past misconduct, and ascribe it 
entirely to the efforts of England ; but this could be 
only on one condition, — that Prussia should at length 
abandon its doubtful policy, and enter, heart and hand, 
into the French alliance. On these terms, he was still 
willing to incorporate Hanover in to their dominions, in 
exchange for some of its detached southern possessions, 
which were to be ceded to France and Bavaria. 

" Overjoyed at the prospect thus afforded of extri- 
cating his country, not only M'itliout loss, but with great 
accession of territory, Hauguitz at once accepted the 
stipulations. It was agreed that Prussia should enter 
into an alliance with France, and receive, besides tlie mar- 
graviate of Baireuth, the whole electorate of Hanover, 
in fuU sovereignty, as avcII as all the other Continental 
dominions of his Britannic Majesty." ^ 

* Alison's History of Europe, vol. ii. p. 394. 


This treaty was signed on the 15th of December, 
1805, — the very day on which Prussia was to have com- 
menced hostihties against France. The indignation 
which tliis transaction excited in Great Britain was in- 
tense. ]\Ir. Fox, who was then minister, said in his 
place in parliament, " The conduct of Prussia is a union 
of every thing that is contemptible in servility with 
every thing that is odious in rapacity." ^ 

* Parliamentaiy Debates, vi. 891. 



|OUISA, the Queen of Prussia, was, intellectu- 
ally, far the superior of her husband. She 
saw clearlj^ that the principles of the French 
Revolution, organized in the empire of 
France, if unchecked, would inevitably nn- 
dermine the Prussian and all other feudal 
thrones. The war-party in Berlin, with the 
queen and Prince Louis at its head, were unmeasured 
in their vituperation of this alliance with France. 
Their remonstrances, however, were of no avail. 

The annexation of Hanover to Prussia gave to that 
kingdom an increase of territorv amounting to fourteen 
thousand eight hundred square miles (equal to about 
twice the State of Massachusetts), and increased the 
population by over a million. The course, however, 
A\liicli Prussia pursued, was so vacillatiug, that " all 
sincere friendship had become impossible between Prus- 
sia and France. Prussia was regarded as a suspected 
power, whose hollow friendship had ceased to have any 
value." ' 

England was gi'catly exasperated. The Prussian har- 
bors were immediately declared in a state of blockade, 

• Bignon, Ilistoirc dc France, t. v. p. 223. 



and ail embargo laid upon all vessels of that nation in 
tlie British harbors. 

" An order of council," writes Alison, " was soon 
after issued, authorizing the seizure of all vessels navi- 
gating under Prussian colors. And such was the effect 
of these measures, that the Prussian flag was instantly 
swept from the ocean ; and, before many weeks had 
elapsed, four hundred of its merchant-vessels had found 
their way into the harbors of Great Britain." ^ 

Queen Louisa and Prince Louis were still consecrat- 
ing all their energies to bring Prussia into co-opera- 
tion with England, Russia, and Austria, in antagonism 
to the principles of the French Revolution, which Avere 
now being borne widely through Europe on the imperial 
banners. Suddenly Prussia changed front, renounced 
the alliance with France, and commenced vigorous hos- 
tilities against the French Empire. We give the reasons 
for this change as expressed by Sir Archibald Alison : — 

1. France had overturned the constitution of the 
Germanic Empire, and, by the newly-formed confedera- 
tion of the Rhine, had made Germany essentially tribu- 
tary to the French Empire. 

2. The Queen and Prince Louis did not appeal in vain 
to the patriotic spirit of the nation. " The inhabitants 
of that monarchy, clear-sighted and intelligent beyond 
almost any other, as well as enthusiastic and brave, per- 
ceived distinctly the gulf into which they were about 
to fall. One universal cry of indignation burst forth 
from all ranks. The young officers loudly demantjed to 
be led to the combat : the elder spoke of the glories 
of Frederick and of Rosbach. An irresistible current 
swept away the whole nation. 

* Alison, vol. ii. p. 425. 


" 3. But all these causes of complaint, serious as they 
were, sank into insignificance compared to that which 
asose when it was discovered by jM. Lucchesini, the 
Prussian ambassador at Paris, that France liad entered 
into negotiations with England, on the footing of the 
restitution of Hanover to its lawful sovereign ; that, 
while continually urging the cabinet at Berlin to look 
for indemnities for such a loss on the side of Pomera- 
nia, Napoleon had* engaged to Russia to prevent them 
from depriving the King of Sweden of any part of his 
German dominions ; and that, while still professing sen- 
timents of amity and friendship to Frederick William, 
he had offered to throw no obstacles in the way of the 
re-estaljlishment of the kingdom of Poland, including 
the whole of Polish Prussia, in favor of the Grand 
Duke Constantine. 

" Irritated beyond endurance by such a succession of 
insults, and anxious to regain the place which he was 
conscious he had lost in the estimation of Europe, the 
King of Prussia put liis armies on a war-footing ; de- 
spatched ]M. Krusemark to St. Petersburg, and 'Si. Lacobi 
to London, to endeavor to effect a reconciliation with 
ihese powers ; opened the navigation of the Elbe ; con- 
cluded his difficulties with the King of Sweden ; and 
caused his troops to defile in the direction of Leipsic. 

" The torrent of public indignation at Berlin became 
irresistible. The war-party overwhelmed all opposi- 
tion. In the general tumult, ' the still small voice ' of 
reason, which counselled caution and preparation in the 
outset of so great an enterprise, was overtossed. Prince 
Louis and his confederates openly boasted, that Prussia, 
strong in the recollection of the great Frederick and 
the discipline he had bequeathed to his followers, wa^ 


able, singie-handed, to strike down the conqueror of 
Europe. Warlike and patriotic songs resounded, amidst 
thunders of applause, at the theatres ; and the queen 
roused the general enthusiasm to the highest pitch by 
displaying her beautiful figure on horseback in the 
streets of Berlin, at the head of the regiment of hus- 
sars, in the uniform of the corps." ^ 

The Prussian armies, numbering two hundred thou- 
sand, entered the heart of Saxony. Frederick William 
compelled the King of Saxony to join the alliance. 
" Our cause," he said, " is the common cause of legiti- 
mate kings. All such must aid in the enterprise." 

The young emperor, Alexander of Russia, anxious to 
efface the stain of Austerlitz, was hastening by forced 
marches over the wilds of Poland, with two hundred 
thousand veteran troops in his train. The invincible 
fleet of England crowded the shores of the Mediter- 
ranean and of the Channel. 

At midnight on the 24:th of September, 1806, Na- 
poleon entered his carriage at the Tuileries to join his 
army in the Valley of the Rhine. In his parting mes- 
sage to the senate, he said, " In so just a war, which we 
have not provoked by any act, by any pretence, the true 
cause of which it would be impossible to assign, and 
where we only take arms to defend ourselves, we de- 
pend entirely upon the support of the laws, and upon 
that of the people, whom circumstances call upon to 
give fresh proofs of their devotion and courage." 

" Napoleon," says Alison, " had no gallantry or chiv- 
alrous feeling in his breast. In his first bulletin he 
wrote, ' The Queen of Prussia is in the army, dressed 

1 Alison, vol. ii. p. 428. 


OS an Amazon, bearing the uniform of the regiment of 
dragoons, writing twenty letters a day to spread the 
eonflagration in all directions. We seem to behold Ar- 
mida in her madness, setting fire to her own palace. 
After her follows Prince Louis of Prussia, a young 
prince full of bravery and courage, hurried on by the 
spirit of party, who flatters himself he shall find a great 
renown in the vicissitudes of war. Following the ex- 
amples of these illustrious persons, all the court cries, 
' To arms ! ' but when war shall have readied them, 
with all its horrors, all will seek to exculpate them- 
selves from having been instrumental in bringing its 
thunders to the peaceful plains of the North.' 

" Such," continues Sir Archibald Alison, " was the 
language in which Napoleon spoke of the most beauti- 
ful princess in Europe." 

By skilful manoeuvres, the whole French army, in a 
few days, having crossed the Rhine, were thrown into 
the rear of the Prussians, thus cutting off all their sup- 
plies. Victory seemed no longer doubtful. Under 
these circumstances, the emperor wrote as follows to 
Frederick William : — 

" Sire, I am now in the licart of Saxony. Believe 
me, my strength is such, that yoTU' forces cannot long 
bidance the victory. But wherefore shed so much 
blood? to what purpose? Why should we make our 
subjects slay each other? I do not prize a victory Avhuh 
is purchased by the lives of so many of my chiklrcn. 
If 1 were just commencing my military career, and if I 
had any reason to fear the chances of war, this language 
would be wholly misplaced. Sire, your INIajesty will bo 
vanquished : j'ou will have compromised the repose of 


your life and tlie existence of your subjects, without 
the shadow of a pretext. At present you are uninjured, 
and may treat witli me in a manner conformable with your 
rank. Before a month has passed, you will treat, but 
in a different position. I am aware that I may, in thus 
writing, irritate that sensibility which belongs to every 
sovereign ; but circumstances demand that I should 
use no concealment. I implore your Majesty to view in 
this letter nothing but the desire I have to spare the 
effusion of human blood. Sire, my brother, I pray God 
tliat he may have you in his worthy and holy keeping. 
Your Majesty's good brother, " Napoleon." 

" Finding affairs," writes Alison, " in a situation so 
much more favorable than he could have anticipated, Na- 
poleon, to gain additional time to complete the encircling 
of his antagonist, despatched an officer of his household 
with proposals of peace to Frederick William." What- 
ever may have been the motives which dictated the pa- 
cific overture, no reply was returned to the letter. 
Though the despatch was intrusted to a Prussian officer, 
it is said that the king did not receive it until the 
morning of the battle of Jena. 

On the morning of the 14th of October, the two 
hostile armies met, face to face, on the plains of Jena 
and Auerstadt. The two battle-fields were at the dis- 
tance of but a few miles from each other. On each 
side the soldiers were equally brave, equally inured to 
war, and were led by able generals. Immediately 
there was commenced one of the most awful storms 
of battle which has ever desolated this globe. For 
eight hours the struggle continued, with the summoning 
of all possible human energies. About mid-day, the 


Prussian commander felt sanguine of victor}'. He de- 
spatched the following order to one of his generals: — 

" Send all the force you can to the chief point of 
attack. At this moment, v/e beat the enemy at all 
points. My cavalry has captured some of his cannon."' 

A few hours later, the whole aspect of the field 
was changed. The tide of disaster was surging in 
upon the Prussian general from all directions. The 
following almost frantic despatch was sent to his 
reserve : — 

" Lose not a moment in advancing with your yet 
unbroken troops. Arrange your columns so that 
through their openings there may pass the broken 
bands of the battle. Be ready to receive the charges 
of the enemy's cavalry, which in the most furious 
manner rides on, overwhelms and sabres the fugitives, 
and has driven into one confused mass the infantry, 
cavalry, and artillery." 

Night came. The Prussian army was destroj'ed. 
It was no longer a battle, but a massacre. All order 
was lost, as the Prussians, a rabble rout, lied like 
an inundation from the field. The king himself nar- 
rowly escaped being made prisoner. In the gloom 
of night, and almost alone, he leaped hedges and 
fences, and plunged through field and forest, to effect 
his escape. Prince Louis fell in one of the conflicts 
which ushered in tlie great battle, his head being split 
open by a sal)re blow. 

The Prussians lost, during tliis disastrous da}', twenty 
thousand in killed and wounded ; and twenty thousand 
were taken prisoners. In iioliiing was tiie militaiy 
genius of Napoleon more conspicuous than in the vigor 
and ability with which he pursued a vanquished foo. 


Ill less than fourteen days, every remnant of the Prussian 
army was taken, and all the fortresses of Prussia were 
in the hands of the French. 

Frederick William III. fled to the confines of Russia 
to seek protection behind the bayonets of the troops 
of Alexander. 

Prussia was struck as by a thunderbolt. The history 
of the world presents no other example of such a 
power being so speedily and so utterly destroyed. 
In one month after the emperor left the Tuileries, the 
feat was accomplished. An army of two hundred 
thousand men was killed, captured, or dispersed. For- 
tresses hitherto deemed impregnable had been com- 
pelled to capitulate. Napoleon was reposing in the 
palace of the Prussian king at Berlin, while the French 
army was encamped in the streets and squares of the 
city. Prussia was a captive in the hands of France, 
bound hand and foot. 

By what is called the right of conquest, Prussia now 
belonged to France. Monarchical Europe heard these 
tidings with amazement and dismay. 

Wherever the French army appeared, it was the 
propagator of the revolutionary doctrines of " equal 
rights for all men." Every soldier in the ranks was 
animated by the conviction, that all the avenues of 
honor and of wealth were open before him ; that merit, 
not birth, was the passport to distinction. Many of t:ie 
Prussian ofiicers appreciated the tremendous power 
with which the doctrine of equality invested the French 

One of them wrote, in a letter which was inter- 
cepted, " The French, in the fire, become supernatural 
beings : they are urged on by an inexpressible ardor, 


not a trace of which is to be discovered in our soldiers. 
What can be done with peasants who are led into battle 
by nobles to encounter every peril, and yet have no 
share in the honors or rewards? " 

The King of Saxony, as we have mentioned, had 
been compelled to join Prussia against France. Such 
is the fate of the minor powers. Immediately after 
the great battle, the emperor assembled the Saxon 
officers in one of the halls of the University of Jena. 

"I know not why," he said to them, " I am at war 
with your sovereign. He is a wise, pacific prince, 
deserving of respect. I wish to see your country 
rescued from its humiliating dependence upon Prussia. 
"Why should the Saxons and the French, with no 
motives for hostility, fight against each other ? I am 
read}^ on my part, to give you a pledge of my amicable 
disposition, by setting jou all at liberty, and by sparing 
Saxony. All I require of you is, no more to bear arms 
against France." 

The officers, with many expressions of gratitude, 
departed for Dresden ; and Saxony immediately with- 
drew from the coalition. But the armies of Russia, 
two hundred thousand strong, rapidly advancing, were 
still to be encountered. 

" It was shortly after having detached Saxony from 
the Prussian, and united it to his own alliance, tliat 
Napoleon received an answer from the King of Prussia 
to the illusory proposals of accommodation made by 
him Ijcfore the battle of Jena, and which that unhappy 
monarch easily caught at after tliat disaster, as the 
only light which seemed to break upon his sinking 
fortunes." ^ 

* Alison, vol. ii. p. 455. 


The emperor replied, that he had then no time to 
negotiate upon the terms of a final peace ; that the 
campaign was but just begun, and that he must 
await its issue. He, however, entered into an armistice 
with a foe who was disarmed and bound, and entirely 
at his mercy. 

The French army then pressed forward, through 
December storms, for the banks of the Vistula. There 
they encamped for the winter. On the 7th of Feb- 
ruary, 1807, the terrible battle of Eylau was fought. 
Immediately after this great victory, the French emperor 
wrote to the King of Prussia as follows : — 

" I desire to put a period to the misfortunes of your 
family, and to organize, as speedily as possible, the 
Pi'ussian monarchy. Its intermediate power is necessary 
for the tranquillity of Europe. I desire peace with Rus- 
sia ; and, provided the cabinet of St. Petersburg has no 
designs upon Turkey, I see no difificulty in obtaining it. 
Peace with England is not less essential with all na- 
tions. I shall have no hesitation in sending a minister 
to Memel, to take part in a conference of France, 
Sweden, England, Russia, Prussia, and Turkey ; but 
as such a congress may last many years, which would 
not suit the present condition of Prussia, your Majesty 
therefore will, I am persuaded, be of opinion, that I 
liave taken the simplest method, and one which is most 
likely to secure the prosperity of your subjects. At all 
events, I entreat your Majesty to believe in my sincere 
desire to re-establish amicable relations with Russia and 

These overtures the allies peremptorily rejected. The 
King of Sweden wrote to the King of Prussia, — 

" I think that a pubhc declaration should be made in 


fnvor of the legitimate cause of the Bourbons by openly 
espousing their interests, Avliich is phiinl}' that of all 
established governments. My opinion on this point is 
fixed and unalterable." ^ 

In reference to these proposals of peace made by the 
Emperor of the French, Alison savs that the Russian 
general strongh* advised Frederick William not to treat. 
He urged, that the fact of Napoleon proposing an armis- 
tice, after so doubtful a battle as that of Eylau, was the 
best evidence that it was not for the interest of the 
allies to grant it. Napoleon, being thus foiled in his 
endeavors to arrest the war by negotiation, gathered 
up his strength to conquer a peace with his s\yord. 

Scarcely had the snows of winter begun to melt, ere 
the French army commenced its march northward from 
the banks of the Vistula to the Banks of the Niemcn. 
A campaign of ten days, wliicli culminated in the great 
French victory of Friedland, secured the following re- 
sults : — 

The French took one hundred and twenty pieces of 
cannon, seven colors, and killed, wounded, or captured 
sixty thousand Russians. They took from the hostile 
army all its magazines, its hospitals, its ambulances, the 
fortress of Kijnigsberg, witli three hundi'cd vessels 
which were in that port, laden with all kinds of mili- 
tary stores, and one hundred thousand muskets, which 
England was sending to the aid of the Russians.'- 

Frederick William was with Alexander at the time of 
tliis terrible defeat of the Russian arms. The confer- 
ence at Tilsit, between the Emperor of France and the 
Emperor of Russia, ensued. 

* M^moires 'run lloinme d"fit:it (I'lincc II:>nlenberj:;), t. ix. p. 30(5. 

• Bigiion, Ilijtoire do France ile])ui-; le 18ino Bnimaire, t. vi. p. ail. 


" France," says Alison, " had nothing to demand of 
Russia, except that she shoukl close her ports against 
England ; Russia nothing to ask of France, but that she 
should withdraw her armies from Poland, and permit 
the emperor to pursue his long-cherished projects of 
conquest in Turkey." ^ 

The two emperors speedily agreed upon terms of 
peace. The poor King of Prussia was quite disregarded 
in these arrangements. 

" The King of Prussia arrived two days after in Til- 
sit, with his beautiful and unfortunate queen, and the 
ministers on both sides, — Talleyrand on the part of 
France, and Marshal Kalkreuth on that of Prussia. 
But they were of little service ; for such was the extraor- 
dinary length to which the intimacy of the two em- 
perors had gone, that not only did they invariably dine 
and pass the evening together, but almost all the morn- 
ing conferences, during which the destinies of the 
world were arranged, were conducted by them in per- 
son." 2 

" Had the Queen of Prussia arrived earlier ao our 
conferences," says Napoleon, " it might have had much 
influence upon the result of our negotiations ; but, 
happily, she did not make her appearance till all was 
settled. As soon as she arrived, I went to pay her a 
visit. She was very beautiful, but somewhat past the 
first flower of youth. She received me in despair, ex- 
claiming, ' Justice, justice ! ' and throwing herself back 
with loud lamentations. I at length prevailed on her 
to take a seat ; but she continued, nevertheless, her pa- 
thetic entreaties. 

* Alison, vol. ii. p. 541. 

* Memoires de Savary, Duke of Rovigo, t. iii. p. 77. 


" ' Prussia,' said she, ' was blinded in re.!jard to her 
power. She ventured to enter the lists with a hero, 
oppose herself to the destinies of France, and neglect 
its fortunate friendship. She has been severely punished 
for her folly. The glory of the great Frederick, the 
halo his name spread round our arms, had inflated the 
heart of Prussia. They have caused her ruin.' 

" Magdeburg," continues the emperor, " was the ob- 
ject of her entreaties ; and when Napoleon, before din- 
ner, presented her with a beautiful rose, she at first 
refused it, but immediately after took it with a smile, 
adding, ' At least with Magdeburg,' 

"'I must observe to your Majesty,' replied the em- 
peror, ' that it is I who give, and you only who must 

" The Queen of Prussia," Napoleon continues, " un- 
questionably possessed talents, great information, and 
singular acquaintance with affairs. She was the real 
sovereign for fifteen years. In truth, in spite of my ad- 
dress and utmost efforts, she constantly led the conver- 
sation, returned at pleasure to her subject, and directed 
it as she chose, but with so much tact and delicacy, 
that it was impossible to take offence." ^ 

The Queen of Prussia was most bitterly disappointed 
at the terms of the treaty which her husband felt con- 
strained to sign. The losses of Prussia, by this treaty, 
were en))rmous. Frederick William had about one-half 
his kingdom restored to him. The portion which Prus- 
sia had ^vrested from Poland was organized into a Po- 
lish state, called the Duchy of Warsaw. The provinces 
of Prussia upon the left bank of the Elbe were formed 

1 Najtoleon at St. Helena, by Johii S. C. Abbott, pp. 371, 27a. 


into the kingdom of Westphalia. The Idngdom of 
Prussia was reduced from about nine million of inhabit- 
ants to about five millions. Her revenue of twenty- 
four million dollars was diminished to fourteen mil- 
lion dollars. The fortresses left her, whether in Si- 
lesia or on the Oder, remained in the hands of France 
as security for the payment of the war-contributions.^ 

" At the same time," writes Alison, " enormous con- 
tributions, amounting to the stupendous, and, if not 
proved by authentic documents, the incredible sum of 
twenty millions sterhng, were imposed on the countries 
which had been the seat of war between the Rhine and 
the Niemen. This grievous exaction completely para- 
lyzed the strength of Prussia, and rendered her, for the 
next five years, totally incapable of extricating herself 
from that iron net in which she was enveloped by the 
continued occupation of her fortresses by the French 
troops." ^ 

» Bignou's Histoire de France, t. vi. p. 35. * Alison, vol. ii. p. 547, 




REDERICK WILLIAM of Prussia, though of 
moderate abilities, seems to have been an 
honest and humane man. The folloAvin^ 

touching proclamation, which he issued to 
the inhabitants of his lost provinces, won for 
him the esteem of every generous heart in 
Europe : — 

" Dear inhabitants of fiiitliful provinces, districts, and 
towns, my arms have been unfortunate. Driven to 
the extreme boundaries of my empire, and having my 
powerful ally conclude an armistice, and sign a peace, 
no choice remained to me but to follow his example. 
That peace imposed on me tlie most painful sacrifices. 
The bonds of treaties, the reciprocal ties of love and 
duty, the fruit of ages of labor, have been broken 
asunder. All my efforts (and they have been most 
strenuous) have proved in vain. Fate ordains it. A 
father is compelled to depart from his children. I 
hereby release you from your allegiance to me and my 
house. j\Iy most ardent prayers for j^our welfare will 
always attend you in your rekitions to 3-our new sover- 
eigns. Be to them what you liave ever been to me. 

7 97 


Neither force nor fate shall ever sever the remembrance 
of you from my heart." ^ 

The grief of the unhappy Queen of Prussia wore so 
heavily upon her spirits, that she soon sank into the 
grave, when but thirty-nine years of age. She, above 
all others, had instigated the war ; and she could not 
brook the ruin which she had thus brought upon her 
country and her house. Her life was indeed a sad one, 
full of trouble. Her virtues were her own : her faults 
were to be -attributed to her education and the times. 

The kingdom of Frederick the Great had apparently 
met with an irreparable blow ; but the king, Frederick 
William IH., instead of sinking in despair, nobly roused 
himself to additional exertions to develop the wealth 
and resources of his diminished realms. The calamity 
wliich had befallen Prussia, in the end proved a bless- 
ing. A new era of freedom and equality dawned upon 
the realm, which had hitherto been governed by abso- 
lute power. 

The illustrious Baron Stein, in the retirement of his 
estates, had pondered the great questions which were 
now agitating Europe. His mind, greatly liberalized, 
had become deeply convinced of the necessity of politi- 
cal reform. Upon being appointed minister of the 
interior, he issued an ordinance, conferring upon 
peasants and burghers the right, hitherto confined to 
the nobles, of acquiring and holding landed propert3\ 
The nobles, in their turn, were permitted, without losing 
caste, to engage in pursuits of commerce and industry. 
Every species of slavery and of feudal servitude was 
forever abolished. The inhabitants of cities were 
allowed to choose councillors, who should regulate all 

' Scott's Napoleon. 


local and municipal concerns. Thus the disastera 
which Prussia had encountered led her to relax tho 
fetters of the feudal system, and vigorously to com- 
mence the introduction of repuljlican reforms.^ 

Gen. Scharnhorst was appointed minister of war. 
" In him," says Alison, " a blameless life and amiable 
manners were combined with the purest patriotism 
and the soundest judgment. Exalted attainments were 
undisfigured by pride." 

Gen. Scliarnhorst, following the admirable example 
of Baron Stein, threw open to the common soldiers the 
higher offices of the army, from which they had 
hitherto been excluded. He abolished those degrading 
corporal punishments under which the self-respect of 
the soldier had wilted. He also abolished those invidi- 
ous distinctions, which, by exempting the aristocratic 
classes from the burden of military service, caused its 
weight to fall more severely upon those who were not 

By the engagements with France, it was stipulated 
that Prussia should not keep on foot an army of more 
than forty-two thousand men. The letter of this 
agreement was kept, while its spirit was evaded, by 
never having more than the agreed number at once in 
arms. The young recruits, having been thoroughly 
drilled, were sent to their homes ; and others took their 
places : thus, while but forty thousand were enrolled, 
there were soon more than two hundred thousand 
thoroughly trained to arms. 

In the year 1812, Napoleon commenced liis fata] 
campaign to Moscow. The latter part of December, 

» MC-moires d'un Ilomme d'iitat (Prince Uanlenborg), t. ix. p. 460. 


the tidings of the utter disaster which had over- 
whelmed the French armies reached Berhn. The 
opponents of the French alliance, still numerous in 
Prussia, were clamorous for a general uprising, to 
attack the French in the disorder, the misery, and the 
helplessness of their retreat ; but the king, and his 
able minister Hardenberg, remained faithful to their 
treaty-obligations. Great anxiety was felt in Paris in 
consequence of the past fickleness of Prussia : but 
Augereau, the French minister at Berlin, wrote to the 
French Government, that France had no cause for 
anxiety ; that the Berhn cabinet would remain firm to 
the French alliance.^ 

Still the opponents of France were unwearied in their 
endeavors to change the policy of the government, 
and enter into an alliance with Russia. One of the 
Prussian generals, De York, treacherously entered into 
a secret treaty with a Russian general to do nothing 
to oppose the advance of the Russian troops in their 
pursuit of the French. He excused himself for this 
act of perfidy by the declaration that the French were 
so utterly routed, and his own forces so weak, that in 
this way only could he save his army-corps from de- 
struction. In a despatch to the King of Prussia, he 
stated, — 

" Now or never is the time for jonr Majesty to ex- 
tricate yourself from the thraldom of an ally whose 
intentions in regard to Prussia are veiled in impenetra- 
ble darkness, and justify the most serious alarm. That 
consideration has guided me : God grant it may be for 
the salvation of the country ! " ^ 

* Augereau to Berthier, Dec. 22, 1812. 

» Baron Fain, Campagne de 1S14, t. ii. p. 209. 


" Never," -writes Alison, " was a monarch more 
embarrassed by a step on the part of a lieutenant than 
the King of Prussia was on this occasion. His first 
words were, ' Here is enough to give one a stroke of 
apoplexy.' Deeply impressed with the sanctity of his 
existing treaties with France, and feeling, as every man 
of honor would, that the obligation to maintain them 
inviolate was only rendered the more stringent by the 
disasters which had overwhelmed the imperial armies, 
he saw clearly that the agitation in his dominions was 
such, that it was not improbable that the people would 
ere long take the matter into their own hands, and, 
whatever the government might do, join the Russians 
as soon as they advanced into the Prussian territory." ^ 

Oppressed by these embarrassments, the king re- 
mained faithful to his treaty-obligations. Gen. De York 
was ordered under arrest. His command of fifteen 
thousand men wa^ conferred on Gen. Kleist, who was 
ordered to take his contingent as rapidly as possible to 
the aid of the retreating French. At the same time, 
Prince Hardenberg submitted to the French ambassa- 
dor at Berlin, with the approval of the king, a proposal 
to consolidate the union between Prussia and France 
by the marriage of the Prince Royal of Prussia with a 
princess of the family of the French emperor. Fred- 
erick William engaged, under these circumstances, to 
raise the Prussian contingent in the service of France 
to sixty thousand men.''* 

Frederick William wrote to the French minister, the 
Duke of Bassano, on the 12th of January, 181-3, — 

" Tell the emperor, that, as to pecuniary sacrifices, 

» Alison, iv. 40. * Baron Fain, Campagne de 18U, t. i. p. 207. 


they are no longer in my power ; but that, if he will 
give me money, I can raise and arm fifty thousand or 
sixty thousand men for his service. I am the natural 
ally of France. By changing my system of policy, I 
should only endanger my position, and give the emperor 
grounds for treating me as an enemy. I know there 
are fools who regard France as struck down ; but you 
will soon see it present an army of three hundred thou- 
sand men as brilliant as the former." ^ 

Early in January, 1813, the Russian armies, pursuing 
the retreating French, entered the Prussian territory. 
Proclamations were scattered broadcast, urging the in- 
habitants of Prussia to rise, and join in the war agauist 
France. The Russians rapidly took possession of the 
fortresses of Prussia. On the 4th of March, the ad- 
vance guard of Cossacks entered Berlin ; and, on the 
11th, Berlin became the headquarters of the Russian 
army. Still the Prussian monarch, who had retired to 
Breslau, remained firm in his allegiance to France. 

On the 15th of May, 1813, the Prussian minister, Har- 
denberg, wrote to the French minister, St. Marsau, — 

" The system of the king has undergone no altera- 
tion. No overtures, direct or indirect, have been made 
to Russia. If the emperor approves the steps which 
have been taken to secure the neutrality of Silesia, and 
will grant some pecuniary assistance to Prussia, the al- 
liance could be contracted more closely than ever. 
Nothing but despair will throw Prussia into the arms of 
Russia." 2 

" There can be no doubt," writes Alison, " that these 
protestations on the part of the Prussian monarch were 

1 Baron Fain, t. i. p. 213. * M^moires d'un Homme d'Etat, t. xii. p. 32. 


sincere ; and that it only lay with Napoleon, hy giving 
him some pecuniary assistance, to secure the cabinet of 
Berlin in the French alliance, and gain an auxiliary 
force of sixty thousand men to aid him in defending the 
course of the Elbe." ^ 

But it was obvious to the emperor, that Prussia, over- 
run by the triumphant armies of Russia, would be com- 
pelled to join in the coalition against France. lie judged 
correctly. The anti-French party, sustained by the Rus- 
sian armies, rapidly increased in influence. Secret ne- 
gotiations were opened between them and the Russian 
general. At length a treaty was formed, called the 
" Treaty of Kalisch," to which Frederick William was 
induced, with great difficulty, to give his assent. 

By this treaty, an alliance, " offensive and defensive," 
was formed between the Emperor of Russia and the 
King of Prussia to prosecute the war with France. 
Prussia agreed to bring eighty thousand men into the 
field, independent of the garrisons in the fortresses. 
Neither party was to make peace Avithout the consent 
of the other : jointly, they were to do every thing in 
their power to induce Austria to join the alliance, and 
to induce England to afford pecuniary aid to Prussia. 
The Emperor of Russia engaged never to lay down his 
arms until all the possessions wrested from Prussia in 
the campaigns of Jena and Auerstadt were restored. 
The treaty was to be kept secret from France for two 
months, while privately communicated to England, Aus- 
tria, and Sweden.''^ 

" Frederick William," writes Alison, " who was only 
brought to accede to this treaty with the utmost diffi- 

' Alison, vol. iv. p. 45. 

• Martin'3 Collections dcTiait(5 dc Pays, sup. iii. 234. 


culty, was well aware that his political existence was 
thenceforth bound up in the success of Russia in the 
German war. His first words, after agreeing to the al- 
liance, were, ' Henceforth, gentlemen, it is an affair of 
life and death.' Great pains, accordingly, were taken 
to conceal the treaty from the knowledge of the French 
ambassador: but, notwithstanding every effort, its ex- 
istence soon transpired; and it was thought unneces- 
sary to dissemble any longer. The French Government, 
informed of these facts, which were not unexpected, re- 
plied to the Prussian minister, — 

"'As long as the chances of war were favorable to 
lis, your court remained faithful to its engagements ; but 
scarcely had the premature rigors of winter brought 
back our armies to the Niemen than the defection of 
Gen. Do York excited the most serious suspicions. His 
Majesty the Emperor of France prefers an open enemy 
to an ally always ready to abandon him. A power 
whose treaties are considered binding only so long as 
they are deemed serviceable can never be either useful 
or respectable. The finger of Providence is manifest 
in the events of last winter. It has produced them, to 
distinguish the true from the false friends of humanity. 
His Majesty feels for your situation, M. Baron, as a sol- 
dier and a man of honor, on being obhged to sign such 
a declaration.' " ^ 

The Emperor of France, speaking upon this subject 
at St. Helena, said, — 

" The King of Prussia, in his private character, is a 
good, lo3^al, and honorable man ; but, in his political ca- 
pacity, he was unavoidably forced to yield to necessity. 

* Baron Fain, t. i. p. 260. 


You were always the master with him when you had 
force on your side, and the hand uphfted." ^ 

Frederick - Wilham issued a proclamation, informing 
his subjects, that, if they would volunteer their services, 
he would, as a reward, confer upon them a constitution 
securing to them many civil rights.^ Universal enthu- 
siasm pervaded the nation. In the terrible conflict which 
ensued, the Prussian troops took a conspicuous part. 

At Waterloo, it was the appearance of Blucher with 
sixty-five thousand Prussians, late in the day, upon the 
field, which secured the victory of the allies, the over- 
throw of the French Empire, and the re-establishment 
in France of the old regime of the Bourbons. 

"It is almost certain," says Gen. Jomini, "that 
Napoleon would have remained master of the field of 
battle, but for the arrival of sixty-five thousand Prus- 
sians in his rear." 

The Prussian army returned in triumph to Berlin. 
And now the people demanded the promised constitu- 
tion ; but the Emperor of Austria interposed. 

" I cannot allow," he said, " free institutions so near 
my throne. They will excite disaffection among my 
subjects. I shall therefore consider the granting of a 
constitution as a declaration of war against me." 

The Emperor of Russia also issued an equally impera- 
tive remonstrance. Thus the king forfeited his pledge, 
being unable to redeem it without involving his king- 
dom in a desolating and hopeless war. 

When the allies met at Vienna to partition out 

' Las Casas, ii. 3C5. 

' "This was a gigantic contest; for liis enemies, by deceiving their subjoctj 
with false promises of liberty, had brouglit whole nations agaiust him." — Na^ 
pier'B War in tlie Peninsula, vol. iv. p. 205. 


Europe among them, they were not generous in theil 
treatment of Prussia. Though the kingdom was con- 
siderably enlarged, the treaties of 1815 did not give 
compactness to her irregular territory. The kingdom 
was divided into two very unequal parts, — the eastern 
and the western, — separated by the German States of 
Hesse, Hanover, and Brunswick. With but a third of 
the population of France, Prussia had seven hundred 
miles more of frontier to guard. One extremity of 
Prussia reached the walls of the French fortress of Thi- 
onville, on the Moselle, far west from the Rhine ; while 
the other extremity was bordered by the Memel and the 
Niemen. There were, in reahty, three Prussias, — one 
in Poland, one in Germany, and one on the Rhine. ^ 

After these terrible convulsions, Europe, exhausted, 
enjoyed repose for many years. Nothing occurred in 
Prussia particularly calling for historic notice. In the 
year 1840, Frederick William HI. died, in the sixty- 
sixth year of his age. His reign was long, exceedingly 
disastrous at its commencement ; and though, at its 
close, he left Prussia apparently prosperous and happy, 
the fires of approaching revolution were slumbering be- 
neath the surface. 

The sceptre passed to the king's son, Frederick Wil- 
liam IV. To the surprise and consternation of the 
king and court, at the time of his coronation, the Prus- 
sian diet passed a motion, by a majority of ninety to five, 
requesting the kmg to grant a new law for the organi- 
zation of the provincial diets, by which the national 
representation should he chosen hy the people, in accord- 
ance with the royal declaration of 1815, which had 
never yet been fulfilled. 

* Encyclopsedia Americana. 


After an embarrassing delay, the king declared that 
*' he would never consent to a general popular represen- 
tation, but that he would pursue a course in accordance 
with historical progress, and suited to German nation- 
ality." 1 

Republican principles were now bursting forth in all 
directions throughout the kingdom of Prussia. There 
were loud demands that the censorship of the press 
should be abolished, that a general parliament of the 
whole kingdom should be convoked, and that there 
should be publicity of debates. This fermentation of 
liberty was peculiarly active in the Rhine j)rovinces. 
There was now a stead}-, constant struggle for many 
years, without revolutionary violence, — on the part of 
the people for reform, and on the part of the court to 
check the progress of liberal ideas. 

At length, in the year 1847, the demand for a repre- 
sentative government had become so loud and universal, 
that the royal cabinet could no longer venture to resist. 
On the 3d of February an edict was issued, convoking 
a general assembly of the States of Prussia. This was 
an immense step in the path of popular liberty. But 
still the spirit of the court was manifest in the royal 
speech at the opening of the assembly. 

" I have convoked tliis assembly," said the king, " to 
make myself acquainted with the wants of the people ; 
but the government will not be changed in its essence. 
Tlie absolute monarchy has only become consulthi;/. I 
do not deem it for the interest of my j-jcople to adopt a 
proper representative government. I consider it m}- 
duty to resist the levelling and innovating spirit of the 

• Annual Ilistory, vol. xxiii. p. 422. 


age. I will never permit a charter to intervene between 
me and the duty I owe my people. I will never yield 
to the rule of majorities, and will resist to the last 
extremity the ruinous democratic designs which are the 
disgrace and peril of the age." ^ 

A stormy debate, of course, followed these bold decla- 
rations. There were three hundred and fifty-three 
members of the assembly. Even in this body, the royal 
party — that is, the party in favor of absolute govern- 
ment — was so strong, that only by a majority of fifty- 
three could a vote be carried in favor of a constitution. 
Germany consisted of a conglomeration of a large 
number of States, consisting of Idngdoms, electorates, 
duchies, and principalities. Each State was independ- 
ent in the regulation of its local affairs, but bound in 
offensive and defensive alliance with the great con- 
federation. Austria had long been the predominating 
power in this league. Though the crown of the Ger- 
manic Empire was elective, it had for some time been 
almost hereditary in the royal family of Austria. Prussia 
had become exceedingly jealous of the domination of 

A party had arisen in Germany, as in Italy, calling 
for unity. Germany contained a population of forty 
million inhabitants, and had two thousand walled cities. 
It was affirmed, that, by concentration and unity like 
that which existed in France and Russia, Germany 
might become the controlling power in Europe. There 
were many leading minds in Prussia in favor of this 
unification, hoping by diplomatic intrigue to secure the 
imperial crown of United Germany for the King of 

* Annual History, vol. xxx. p. 325. 


On the 18th of March, 1818, Frederick William IV. 
issued a royal proclamation, in which he said, — 

" Above all, we demand that Germany shall be trans- 
formed from a confederation of States into one federal 
State. We demand a general military system for Ger- 
many; and we will endeavor to form it after that model 
under which our Prussian armies reaped such unfading 
laurels in the War of Independence. We demand that 
the German army be assembled under one single federal 
banner ; and we hope to see a federal commander-in- 
chief at its head," &c. 

This remarkable document placed the King of Prussia 
at the head of the party in favor of German unity, 
wliich was then considered the liberal or popular party. 
Austria was by no means disposed thus to yield her 
supremacy. The ultra democrats of the liberal party 
regarded this movement of the Prussian king as a mere 
feint to gain power which he would wield against 

On the evening of March 19, 1848, — the day after 
the issuing of the proclamation, — there was an immense 
gathering of the populace in King Street, opposite the 
palace, in Berlin, to testify their gratitude to the mon- 
arch who had thus apparently espoused their cause. 
When the king appeared upon the balcony, the sky was 
rent with their acclamations. 

A squadron of cavalry and a body of infantry were 
drawn up under the windows of the palace to preserve 
order. The disaffected party wished to provoke the 
hostility of the people against the government by excit- 
ing a collision between the citizens and the royal troops. 
With this design, in the midst of the tumult caused by 
the immense gathermg, some pistol-shots were fired at 



the troops ; and an eager party commenced throwing up 

The cavalry, without drawing their swords or making 
a charge, moved their horses forward, upon tlie walk 
only, to clear the square. Either by design or accident, 
two muskets were discharged from the ranks of the in- 
fantry into the retreating mass of the populace. The 
response was a general discharge of fire-arms upon the 
soldiers from numerous insurgents who had come pre- 
pared for that purpose. 

The insurrection proved to be very formidable. The 
students of the university, as brave as they were intel- 
ligent, were at its head. A battalion of the guard soon 
joined them. 

" The cavalry now drew their sabres, and charged the 
mob in good earnest. A sanguinary conflict ensued ; for 
the insurgents had among them a great number of old 
soldiers as well trained to arms as the royal troops, and 
the students combated with the utmost resolution. 
The conflict continued until nightfall, and even long 
after it had become dark, by the light of the burning 
houses, several of which were broken into, and, after 
])eing sacked, were set on fire by the inhabitants. 

" Overwhelmed with terror at this calamitous event, 
which cost sixty persons their lives, besides four times 
that number wounded, the king issued a proclamation, 
addressed to ' My beloved Berliners,' in which he ex- 
pressed the utmost regret at the events which had 
occurred, and declared that the conflict had arisen 
from accident and the shots first fired from King 
Street." ' 

* Alison, vol. vili. p. 413. 


The king was an ultra absolutist. Ilis cabinet Avas in 
perfect sympathy with him in his hatred of popular 
liberty. The more intelligent of the liberal party under- 
stood full well that the king, in advocating German 
unity, sought only to consolidate the powers of despot- 
ism. He wished to become emperor of united Germany, 
that he might sway a sceptre of unrestrained power like 
that wielded by the Sultan of Turkey and the Czar of 
Russia. He could thus easily silence the clamors of the 
people for reform. But the king was greatly alarmed 
by the indication the insurrection gave of the most for- 
midable opposition to his views. There was infinite 
danger that the insurrection would become revolution 
unless he instantly retraced his steps. 

" The next morning, the king gave token of his sub- 
mission by accepting the resignation of his whole minis- 
ters, who were immediately succeeded by a new cabinet, 
composed of known liberals. 

" On the 20th, a general amnesty was proclaimed ; and 
the whole persons in custody on account of the insurrec- 
tion were liberated without bail ; and two additional 
ministers were appointed, known to belong to the most 
advanced liberals. On the 22d, the bodies of the citizens 
who had been killed in the affray on the evening of the 
18th were paraded with great pomp before the royal 
palace ; and the king was obliged to submit to the hu- 
miliation of inclining his head before the lifeless remains 
of those Avho had perished under the sabres of his 
guards. At the same time, the king pul)lis]ied a decree 
appointing a national guard in the capital, and ordered 
the royal troops to leave the city; and after riding 
throuu'h the streets in the German inuiorni, in I he 


course of which he made repeated protestations of his 
anxious desire for German freedom, he issued two proc- 
lamations, in which he openly announced his intention 
of putting himself at the head of the restored and united 
German nation." ^ 

^ Alison, vol. ill. p. 413. 



^ T is a great mistake to suppose, that, in the 
^^ J(3 great conflicts which have agitated the 
^ %^1 P monarchies of Europe, there has been a 
clearly-marked line of division between 
the oppressed people on the one side, and 
the despotic kings and courts on the other. 
The people have been in antagonism be- 
tween themselves ; and often the large majority have 
been in favor of the old feudal despotisms. The people 
in Prussia were thus divided. The Catholic party, 
which was quite numerous, and which embraced a large 
part of the peasantry, strongly opposed the liberal 
movement. The Poles were mostly in favor of it. As 
a general rule, the liberals, as they were called, were 
confined to the large towns. Tlie peasantry were 
opposed to change. 

Wliile Prussia was in this state of agitation, the 
newly-appointed assembly met, on the 2d of April, to 
draw up a constitution. The king, in opening the 
assembly, said, — 

" His Majesty has promised a real constitutional 
charter, and we are assembled to lay the foundation- 
stone of the ediiice. We hope that the work will 

8 113 


proceed rapidly, and that it will perfect a constitution 
for the whole G-erman race.'''' The following were the 
fundamental principles of the constitution, presented by 
the king, and adopted by the assembly : — 

1. Every householder twenty-four years of age was 
entitled to a vote for representation in the lower house. 

2. Every five hundred voters could choose an elector. 

3. Every householder thirty years of age was eligible 
as a deputy. 

4. Two deputies were to be chosen by every sixty 
thousand inhabitants. 

The king also promised to lay before them a bill 
providing for freedom of the press, personal liberty, the 
right of meeting and petitioning, the publicity of judi- 
cial proceedings, trial by jury, and equal ci\T.l and 
political rights for all persons. 

These regulations referred to Prussia alone, and 
could bind no other State of German3^ Still the agita- 
tion in Prussia extended throughout all the German 

The legislature was to consist of two houses. The 
first, or senate, was composed of the princes of the 
blood royal, and sixty peers appointed by the king ; and 
also of one hundred and eighty members, to be chosen 
by the people. The dignity of the sixty peers was 
hereditary. The others were chosen for eight years. 
No commoner could be chosen who was not in receipt 
of an income of two thousand five hundred dollars. 

The members of the lower house were to be elected 
for four years, and were subject to no property qualifica- 
tion. This constitution, though a great advance fi'om 
the absolutism of the past, did by no means satisfy the 
democratic leaders. During the whole summer, there 


vrere excited gatherings of the people, and violent and 
inflammatory debates. There were mobs in the streets 
of Berlin, and many acts of violence were perpetrated. 

Under these circumstances, the king resolved on very 
energetic repressive measures. Assuming the pretence 
of a general review of the royal forces, fifty thousand 
troops Avere assembled at Potsdam. Gen. von Yv^rangel, 
a very determined royalist, was appointed to command 
them. The review took place on the 22d of September, 
1848. In an order of the da,j, the general thus ad- 
dressed the troops : — 

" The king has honored me with the highest proof of 
his confidence in giving me command of all the troops. 
I will establish order when it is disturbed. The troops 
are stanch, their swords are sharpened, and their mus- 
kets are loaded. It is not against you, men of Berlin, 
that this is done, but to protect you. Grass is growing 
in your streets. Your houses are empty. Your shops 
are full of goods, but void of purchasers. This must be 
changed ; and it shall bo changed. I swear it to you ; 
and a Wrangel never yet failed in keeping his word." 

The Burgher Guard, a body somewhat corresponding 
with our militia, were in sympathy with the people. 
Though this was the natural force to be called upon to 
preserve order in the city, it could not be relied upon by 
the king. In a discussion which took place upon the 
articles of the constitution, it was decided, by a vote of 
two hundred and seventeen to one hundred and thirty- 
four, that, in the title given to the king, the words, " by 
the grace of God," should be omitted. Tliis was very 
distinctly announcing the democratic principle, that the 
king's sole title to the throne was the will of the jyoplc. 

Nearly all branches of business were thrown into 


confusion by these distractions and agitations. The 
chief manufactories were closed. Tliousauds were 
without employment and without bread. The assem- 
bly, chosen by popular suffrage, had a decided majority 
in favor of reform. This majority kept up a constant 
warfare against the Idng and court, confident of sup- 
port, should it be needed, from the Burgher Guard and 
the populace at Berlin. 

On the 31st of October, 18-18, the assembly passed a 
resolution, " that all Prussians are equal before the law ; 
that neither privileges, titles, nor rank, are to exist in 
the State ; and that the nohility are abolished^ In fact, 
the democratic clubs now governed the assembly, con- 
trolling its measures by the menaces of the mob. 
" Not content with the majority which they already 
possessed in the assembly, the mob from without, with 
the avowed purpose of intimidating the conservative 
members, broke into its hall, amply provided with ropes, 
nails, and nooses, as a preparation for summary hang- 

The king speedily developed the resolute measures 
he had decided to adopt. He dismissed his liberal min- 
istry, and appointed, defiantly, an administration of 
the most decided conservatists. It was certain that a 
collision would soon occur. The king, having inaugu- 
rated the new ministrj^, sent in a royal decree to the 
assembly, stating that the insubordination in the streets 
of Berlin was such, that he transferred the sittings to 

A scene of fearful violence ensued. The monarchical 
party, fifty in number, withdrew with the president. 

* Alison, vol. viii. p. 423. 


The rest, in a state of intense excitement, passed a 
series of indignant remonstrances, and declared them- 
selves in permanence. Tliirty of the members remained 
in the house all night. 

The next morning, as the members began to arrive, 
they found the building surrounded by royal troops, 
who were ordered to allow any one to go out, but none 
to go in. The Burgher Guard warmly espoused the 
cause of the assembly. The majority, two hundred 
and twenty-five in number, which remained after the 
withdrawal of the monarchical members, re-assembled, 
at an early hour next morning, in the hall of the Schiit- 
zcn Gild. Before daylight, a numerous body of the 
Burgher Guard, well armed, had met around that hall 
for the protection of the assembl}'. 

The king immediately issued a proclamation, dissolv- 
ing the Burgher Guard, and ordering them to give up 
their arms. No attention was paid to the order. The 
order was reiterated more peremptorily ; thirty thou- 
sand royal troops were brought into the city ; and Ber- 
lin was declared in a state of siege. As there were but 
fifteen thousand Burgher Guards, and the royal troops 
were incomparably better disciplined, the Guard dis- 
persed, and a blood}'' contest was avoided. 

The next day, the assembly again met in the Schiit- 
zcn Gildhall. An officer from Gen. Wrangel ordered 
them to disperse as an illegal assembly. "Never, till 
forced by arms ! " was the cry of the assembly. The 
vice-president was in the chair. A body of soldiers en- 
tered. Four officers quietly lifted up the chair upon 
which the vice-president was seated, and carried ii, 
with its occupant, into the street. . The members fol- 
lowed in a state of great exasperation. 


The assembly made several other efforts to meet ; 
but it was always dispersed by the soldiery, witliout 
bloodshed. T]ie months rolled on, fraught with in- 
trigue, agitation, peril, and distress. The people, in 
their blindness, were often warring against their own 
interests. The court was struggling to retain the des- 
potic power which had descended to it through the 
dreary ages. 

Throughout all the States of Germany, there had been 
a struggle between the democratic and monarchical party 
in reference to the choice of the Emperor of the Ger- 
man Confederacy. The democrats wished to have any 
man of ability eligible : the monarchists wished to con- 
fine the choice to one of royal blood. 

In the diet at Frankfort, in 1849, it was voted, by 258 
to 211, that the choice should be limited to one of the 
ruling sovereigns of Germany. It was then moved 
that the imperial crown should be offered to the King 
of Prussia. After an exciting debate of eleven days 
upon this subject, it was announced, by a vote of 290 
out of 558, that the King of Prussia was chosen em- 

" The time was when this flattering offer would have 
been joyfully accepted ; but time had worked many 
changes. The imperial crown, as now tendered, was 
very different from the imperial crown as originally 
coveted. Being elective, it more nearly resembled the 
presidency of America, or the empire of imperial Rome, 
than the old Germanic diadem. 

"Austria had openly declared against the union of 
all the confederacy under one head; and there could 
be little doubt that the acceptance of the imperial 
crown by Frederick William would at once bring on a 


war with that power, backed by Russia, with whom she 
was now in closest alliance. Influenced by these con- 
siderations, the king determined to decline the proffered 
honor." 1 

The new constitution prepared by the general as- 
sembly at Frankfort was rejected* by Austria, Bavaria, 
Hanover, and Saxony. It was, however, received by 
twenty-one of the lesser States of Northern Germany. 
These minor States concurred, by a collective vote, in an 
address to the King of Prussia, urging him to accept 
the proffered dignity. 

All Germany was thrown into confusion by these dis- 
cussions ; and there were insurrections, which were 
only quelled by the sword. It was manifest that the 
constitution of Frankfort could not be accepted. The 
Kings of Prussia, Hanover, and Saxony, met, and drew 
up, with great precision, a constitution of a hundred 
and ninety articles. By this arrangement, the imperial 
crown was made hereditary in the Prussian monarchy. 
The liberals, in derision, called this the " Constitution 
of the Three Kings." Neither Austria nor Bavaria 
would accept it. Thus it failed. 

While the King of Prussia was thus struggling to 
gain the ascendency in Germany, the spirit of revolu- 
tion continued to agitate his kingdom. A new cham- 
ber of deputies was chosen, which consisted strongly 
of democrats. The representatives boldly declared 
themselves against the government. The challenge 
tlius thrown down was accepted l)y the court. On tlio 
29th of April, 1849, a circular was addressed by the 
Prussian cabinet to all the States of Germany. In this 
it was said, — 

* Alison, vol. viii. p. 431. 


" Prussia engages to oppose the revolutionary agita- 
tion of the times with the utmost energy, and promises 
to furnish the other governments with timely assistance 
for the same purpose. The danger is a common one. 
Prussia will not betray its mission to interfere, in the 
hour of peril, wherever and in any manner it may deem 
necessary. It is convinced that a limit must be put to 
the revolution of Germany. This cannot be effected 
by mere passive resistance : it must be done by active 
interference." ^ 

Thus the King of Prussia endeavored to place him- 
self at the head of the party opposed to reform ; and 
thus he called upon all throughout Germany, who were 
in sympathy with his views, to rally to his support. He 
wished for a united Germany, that he might consoli- 
date the powers of absolutism, and, with the tramp of 
his armies, crush out the revolutionary spirit. The lib- 
erals wished for a united Germany, that republican 
freedom might work in unison, and that their nation 
might be brought more in harmony with the United 
States of America. 

The king invited a congress of all the German 
princes to meet in Berlin in May, 1849. Twenty-two 
of the minor princes came ; but Austria, Bavaria, 
Wurtemberg, and Saxony declined the invitation. Tlie 
assembly was a failure. 

An American gentleman, who was in Berlin at that 
time, gives the following interesting account of the 
scenes which he witnessed. This was in 1848, when 
William I. was not yet king, but only crown prince, the 
king's brother. We give the narrative in his words, 
though abbreviated : — 

» Annual Register, 1849, p. 849. 


" The king, in those days, was his poor Majesty Clic- 
quot, as he was called, — a man not without literary cul- 
tivation, of a great deal of maudlin sentimentality, and 
a prodigious capacity for drinking champagne ; but 
champagne and political sentimentality were his bane 
and ruin. It was a great pity both for him and his 
country ; but his Majesty was not respected. 

" For many days, in Berlin, there had been thunder in 
the air. It was evident that something impended. The 
reading-rooms along the pleasant street, Unter den Lin- 
den, and all the hier loJcals, were full of attentive students 
of th'j papers, who discussed the chances of events. At 
leng'li, the final news came.^ The first thing that we 
heard in Berlin was, that the government was ready, and 
had plenty of soldiers. Probabl}' it knew the necessity: 
for the city had an air of suppressed excitement ; and 
the feeling was such, that troops of the cavalry of the 
paternal government paraded the streets at night to 
help everybody keep quiet. 

" But the amazing and sudden success of the revolu- 
tion in France put all the crowned heads of Europe in a 
panic ; and they began to make concessions to the people. 
It was pitiful to see, because it implied a kind of con- 
scious robber relation between the rulers and the nations. 
The kings seemed like pirates who had been overtaken, 
and, in mortal terror at the probable consequences of 
their crimes, proposed to disgorge their plunder. They 
professed willingness to restore large shares of the treas- 
ures of liberty that they had stolen ; and were evidently 
much more conscious, at that moment, of the power of 
the people, than of their ' God-given ' authority. King 

* Tlio news of tlie revolution in France of 181S, rumors of wliich hiul iilrcaily 
spread through all Kuropc, creating iutcubO excitement. 


Clicquot went with the rest, and promised well : there 
should be a constitution, and all the modern improve- 
ments, added to the political edifice of Prussia. There 
were optimists in those starthng days, who thought that 
Europe was to be republicanized by the mere force of 
reason ; and that kings were about gracefully to own 
themselves in the wrong, and to retire. 

" But suddenly, one Saturday afternoon in Berlin, the 
mere force of reason gave way. The writer was dining 
with some student friends at the old Belvidere. While 
we Avere yet dining, anxious faces appeared ; and we were 
told that trouble was brewing. A crowd of people had 
been to the royal palace to demand arms, and they had 
been refused. The revolution was coming : the tidal 
wave was even now lifting us. We all arose, and went 
out. A huge concourse of men was swiftly swarming 
from the palace into the broad street. As it passed 
along like a dark cloud, covering every thing with 
shadow, doors and windows were closed ; and shop-keep- 
ers hurried to make all fast. Before the*" palace of the 
Prince of Prussia, his present Majesty King William, a 
carriage was standing; and, the moment the crowd had 
passed, the Princess of Prussia, the present queen, and 
a beautiful woman, came out with children, and stepped 
quickly into the carriage, which drove off rapidly to- 
ward the king's palace. The crowd swept on ; and the 
leaders of revolution knew that the hour had come. 

" As we strolled curiously along, we saw men with 
clubs and iron bars, hurrying by, evidently, to a rendez- 
vous ; and officers on horseback clattered through the 
streets, which all carriages had deserted. The leaders 
knew that no time could be safely lost ; and by three 
o'clock barricades were rising in the chief streets that 


led into Unter den Linden. We turned into our room 
in tlie Fricdrich Strasse, and at the same moment saw 
fi'om the window that a crowd had brought the materi- 
als to build a barricade just beneath it. 

" The barricade was soon built ; and the sound of 
firing grew heavier and nearer. We heard the approach 
of soldiers advancing upon the barricade. At the same 
ujoment, the sloping roof of the .house opposite the 
window began to heave, and Avas finally burst through 
by the iron bars of the insurgents, who, completely pro- 
tected by the eaves from the fire of the soldiers in the 
street, could throw down upon them every kind of 
deadly missile. But the clear voice of the commanding 
officer ordered, loud enough for all on the neighboring 
houses to hear, that the troops should fire upon every 
person who appeared at a wiudoAv; and he sent a de- 
tachment into the opposite house. The barricade was 
then assaulted and carried. But for hours the alarm-bells 
rang, and the sharp volleys of musketry rattled, and the 
dull heavy cannon thundered and shook the air. A 
great battle was going on in the city. The moon shone ; 
the white clouds drifted through the sky ; and there was 
no other sound than that of the bells, the muskets, and 
the cannon. 

" The next day, .the city Avas like a city that had been 
carried by assault. The soldiers had taken the barri- 
cades, and held the streets. But there was a universal 
feeling that the people were strong enough to bring 
King Clicquot to terms ; and there was bitter hatred of 
the Prince of Prussia, who had counselled and directed 
the operations of the night. The king issued a senti- 
mental proclamation to his Uehe Berliner (liis dear Ber- 
liiiese). But the dead were carried to the royal palace, 


and brought into tlie court ; and his poor Majesty was 
compelled to come to the window and look upon his 
subjects, whom he was plainly told that he had mur- 
dered. He wept and promised ; and it was understood 
that his brother sharply reproached him for not main- 
taining his prerogative by the grace of God. But there 
was a Idnd of national guard organized and armed. 
There was a solemn and triumphal funeral of the dead,; 
and Humboldt walked in the procession among the na- 
tional mourners. There was a little feeble talk of Clic- 
quot as Emperor of Germany ; but, after the ludicrous 
and brief empire of the Archduke John, the last of poor 
Clicquot's wits ebbed away. Robert Blum, the popular 
leader, had been shot ; and the Prince of Prussia, becom- 
ing Idng, stoutly held that he owed his crown to God, 
and was responsible to him, and not to the people." ^ 

* Harper's Magazine, November, 1870. 



riUS the tumult of affairs coutinucd, ever 
varying, and yet ever essentially the 
same, until the year 1857. The king', 
Frederick William IV., then ^ave indu- 
bitable evidences of insanity : it conse- 
quently became necessary for him to 
withdraw from the government. As he 
had no children, his next brother, William, was declared 
regent. William was exceedingly unpopular, in conse- 
quence of his openly-avowed advocacy of absolutism, 
and his implacable hostility to popular reform. For 
four years, the Crown Prince, William, reigned as 
regent; then, upon the death of his brother, he was 
crowned king on the 2d of January, 18G1. 

William I., who now occupies the throne, was the 
second son of Frederick William III. He was born 
on the 22d of March, 1797. In 1829, he married the 
Duchess Catharine of Saxe -Weimar. He has two 
children. The eldest, the Crown Prince, Frederick 
William Nicholas Charles, was born Oct. 18, 18.')1. 
Jle was married to Victoria, Princess Royal of 
(h-eat Britain, on the 2oth of January, 1858. Tho 
younger child, the Princess Louisa Maria, was born 



Dec. 3, 1838 ; and married, on tlie 20th of September, 
1856, the Grand Duke Frederick of Baden. 

The coronation of the king Look place in the ancient 
town of Konigsberg. In this city, which is situated 
upon one of the inlets of the Baltic Sea, there is an 
antique castle, very imposing in its structure, which 
overlooks and commands the city. In the chapel 
of this venerable ecUfice, the ceremony of coronation 
took place. 

There was no enthusiasm on the occasion. The 
king, who had already attained the age of sixty-four, 
a bluff, stern man, fully conscious that he was hated 
by the populace, whom he despised, apparently made 
no efforts to secure popularity. He was far too proud 
to seek the applause of the canaille. An eye-witness 
thus graphically describes the scene at the coro- 
nation : — 

" The first time I saw the king was when he rode 
in procession tlu'ough the ancient city, some two or 
three days before the performance of the coronation. 
He seemed a fine, dignified, handsome,, somewhat bluff 
old man, with gray hairs and gray mustache, and an 
expression, which, if it did not denote intellectual 
power, had much of cheerful strength and the charm 
of a certain kind of frank manhood about it. He 
rode well, — riding is one of the accomplishments in 
which kings almost always excel, — and his military 
costume became him. 

" Certainly no one was just then disposed to be very 
enthusiastic about him : but every one was inclined to 
make the best of the sovereign and of the situation ; to 
forget the past, and to look hopefully into the future. 
The manner in which the coronation ceremony was 


couducted, aud the speech which the king delivered 
soon after it, produced a terrible shock of disappoint- 
ment ; for in each the king manifested that he under- 
stood the crown to be a gift, not from his people, but 
from Heaven. 

" To me, the ceremonies in the chapel, splendid and 
picturesque as was the mise en sceiie, appeared absurd, 
and even ridiculous. The king, bedizened in a regal 
costume which suggested Drury Lane or Niblo's 
Garden, lifting a crown from off the altar, and, without 
intervention of human aid other than his own hands, 
l)lacing it upon his head to signify that he had his 
crown from Heaven, not from man ; then putting 
another crown upon the head of his wife to show that 
she derived her dignities from him ; and then turning 
round, and brandishing a gigantic sword, as symbolical 
of his readiness to defend state and people, — all this 
seemed to me too suggestive ot the opera comique 
to suit the simple dignity of the handsome old 

" Far better and nobler did he look in his military 
uniform, and with his spiked helmet, as he sat on his 
horse in the streets, than when, arrayed in crimson 
velvet cloak and other such stage paraphernalia of 
conventional royalty, he stood in the castle chapel, the 
central figure in a ceremonial of mediajval splendor, and 
worse than medieval tediousness." ^ 

The king is a man of unusuall}^ fine physique. Ho 
is of majestic and Avell-proportioned form ; and his 
finely-chiselled features are expressive of that indomita- 
ble resolution which has characterized every act of lii^ 

* ilr. Justin McCarthy, in Galaxy for October, 1870. 



life. There was present on this occasion Marsha] 
McMahon, Duke of Magenta. He had just returned 
from the campaign in Italy against the Austrians, 
where he had won his title and European renown. 
At the coronation, he represented the empire of 

"There was great curiosity among the Konigsberg 
public to get a glimpse of the military hero ; and, al- 
though even Prussians could hardly be supposed to take 
delight in a fame acquired at the expense of other 
Germans, I remember being much struck with the 
quiet, candid good humor with which people acknowl- 
edged that he had beaten their countrymen. There 
was, indeed, a little vexation and anger felt when some 
of the representatives of Posen, the Prussian Poland, 
cheered somewhat too significantly for McMahon as 
he drove in his carriage from the palace. 

" The Prussians generally felt annoyed that the Poles 
should have thus publicly and ostentatiously demon- 
strated their sympathy with France, and their admiration 
of the French general who had defeated a German 
army. But except for this httle ebullition of feeling, 
natural enough on both sides, McMahon was a popular 
figure at the Idng's coronation; and, before the cere- 
monies were over, the king himself had become any 
thing but popular. 

" The foreigners liked him, for the most part, because 
his manners were plain, frank, hearty, and agreeable ; 
and to foreigners it was matter of little consequence 
what he said or did in accepting his crown. But the 
Germans winced under his blunt repudiation of the 
principle of popular sovereignty; and, in the minds 
of some alarmists, painful and odious memories began 


to revive, and transform themselves into terrible omens 
for the future." ^ 

William I. had but a bloody record to present. 
Every uprising of the people in behalf of liberty, 
whether in Prussia or in any other of the States, he had 
been eager to cut down with the sword. More than 
once, his dragoons had crimsoned the pavements of the 
streets of Berlin with the blood of its citizens ; and 
when, in Hanover, in Saxony, in Baden, the people 
attempted by violence to effect that reform which they 
found themselves unable to attain by peaceful means, 
the helmeted squadrons of Prince William hewed them 
down, and trampled them in the dust. 

" This pleasant, genial, gray-haired man," writes Mr. 
McCarthy, " whose smile had so much of honest frank- 
ness, and even a certain simple sweetness, about it, had 
a grim and blood-stained history behind him. The blood 
of the Berliners was purple on those hands which now 
gave so kindly and cheery a welcome to all comers. The 
revolutionists of Baden held in bitter hate the stern 
prince, who was so unscrupulous in his mode of crush- 
ing out agitation. 

" From Cologne to Konigsberg, from Hamburg to 
Trieste, all Germans had for years had reason, only too 
strong, to regard William, Prince of Prussia, as the most 
resolute and relentless foe of popular liberty. During 
the greater part of his life, the things he promised to do, 
and did, were not such as free men could approve. He 
set out in life with a general detestation of liberal prin- 
ciples and of any thing which suggested popular revolu- 

* Mr. Justin McCartliy, Galaxy, October, 1870. 



King William is not regarded by any who know him 
as a man of superior abilities, or of much intelHgence. 
He has a dogged firmness of character, which his friends 
call decision, and his enemies stigmatize as obstinacy. 
His strongest mental development consists of a cling- 
ing to' the despotism of the past, and a horror of reform. 
In the year 1815, he was one of the princes who entered 
Paris with the allies as they trampled beneath iron hoofs 
the first empire in France. Since then, he has seemed 
conscientiously to deem it his divinely-appointed mis- 
sion to keep the people in subjection. 

Frederick William IV. was one of the most vacillatino- 
of men. He was kind-hearted, and sought the happiness 
of the people, but had not sufficient force of character 
to mark out and pursue any clearly-defined policy. 
William I. is one of the most inflexible monarchs who 
ever sat upon a throne. The fundamental principle of 
his reign seems to be, that there shall he no innovations. 
The poUcy of the government is, not to bend to meet the 
exigencies of modern times, but to force those exigen- 
cies to frame and mould themselves in accordance 
with the existing government. 

" Wilham I.," writes Mr. McCarthy, " was for many 
years a downright, stupid, despotic old feudalist. At 
one of his brother's councils he flung his sword upon 
the table, and vowed that he would rather appeal to that 
weapon than consent to rule over a people who dared 
to claim the right of voting their own taxes." 

Unattractive as appears the character of William I., 
he has secured a certain degree of respect by the un- 
questionable and almost religious sincerity with which 
he pursues his inflexible course. The simplicity of his 
mode of living and of his address invested the bluff, 


unpolished soldier with a certain charm over the minds 
of the people. The gray-haired old man could often be 
seen by the passers in the streets, sitting at one of 
the windows of his palace, reading or writing. 

It is reported that domestic discord disturbs the repose 
of the palace. In the celebrated diary of Varnhagen 
von Ense, which seems to be authentic, and which very 
graphically describes life in the Prussian court, it is 
stated that the king and his wife Augusta do not hve 
very lovingly together. Augusta has a vein of radical- 
ism in her nature, and cannot conceal a certain degree 
of admiration for some of those popular leaders in Ger- 
man)', and other parts of Europe, whom her husband 
detests and despises. King William is far too stubborn 
a man to be a yielding and agreeable companion. 

Varnhagen represents the king as naturally kind- 
hearted, but didl, brusque, and pig-headed in the ex- 
treme, — a man who will not do what he thinks is wrong ; 
and who will do what he believes to be right, come what 
may. He is hke those conscientious inquisitors who 
prayed God to strengthen them to break the bones of her- 
etics on the rack, and to consign them to the flames. 

From the revelations of Varnhagen, which have never 
been contradicted, it docs not appear that the court in 
Berlin has been, in modern times, a model of purity. 
Humboldt was a constant inmate of that court. From 
his diary, it appears how thoroughly ho despised most of 
those royal personages by whom he was patronized. 
His life at court must often have been almost loathsome 
to him. The following anecdote throws a flood of light 
upon the character, or at least the reputation, of the 
court : — 

" The late King of Hanover was a coarse, rough, un- 


cultivated man. His reputation for brutality was sucli, 
that he was accused, by the general voice of the people, 
of the murder of his valet. 

" He once accosted Humboldt in the palace of the late 
King of Prussia, and, with his customary brusqueness, 
inquired why it was that the court was always full of 
philosophers and dissolute characters. Humboldt re- 
plied, ' Perhaps the king invites the philosophers to 
meet me, and the others to please your Majesty.' " ^ 

After the coronation of the king, he grew, month after 
month, increasingly unpopular. He quarrelled con- 
stantly with his parliament, silenced the journals, and 
persecuted every one who ventured to speak in favor of 
reform. Count Bismarck, to whom we shall hereafter 
allude, was in entire sympathy with the king in his 
hostihty to representative governments, and in his sup- 
port of absolutism. Pie was called into the council of 
the king, and became the power behind the throne 
stronger than the throne itself. 

" There was, probably," writes Mr. INIcCarthy, " no 
public man in Europe so generally unpopular as the 
King of Prussia, — except, perhaps, his minister, the 
Count von Bismarck. In England, it was something 
like an article of faith to beheve that the king was a 
bloody old tyrant. The dislike felt towards the king 
was extended to the members of his family ; and the 
popular conviction in England was, that the Princess 
Victoria, wife of tlie king's son, had a dull, coarse 
drunkard for a husband. It is perfectly wonderful how 
soon an absurdly erroneous idea, if there is any thing 
about it wliich jumps with the popular humor, takea 
hold of the public mind of England." 

» Galaxy for November, 1870. 


In the month of July, 1861, as the king was taking a 
walk, accompanied by one or two of his suite, along the 
fasliionable avenue of Baden-Baden, a fanatic discharged 
at him two barrels of a pistol. Both balls, happily, 
missed the king. The event caused many deputations 
to wait upon him with congratulations for his providen- 
tial escape. 

An American gentleman who chanced to be in Baden 
at that time accompanied a delegation of Englishmen to 
present an address to the king. In the following terms 
he describes the interview : — 

" At the appointed day and hour, we assembled, some 
fifteen or twenty of us, in the lower story of the hired 
house which the king occupied. It was known in Baden 
parlance as the Blesmeric Mouse, from the name of its 
owner, Herr Mesmer. 

" We were all in full evening-dress. The spokesman 
of the delegation, while mustering his forces, said to us, 
' Gentlemen, please take off your gloves.' So I learned 
one bit of court etiquette, — that you take off your gloves 
to a king ; at least, to the King of Prussia. 

" The gloves being removed, we were conducted up 
stairs, and ushered into his jMajesty's presence. The 
first impression his Majesty gave me was that of a very 
badly-dressed man. His dark cutaway and striped 
trousers looked as if they had been bought at a slop- 
shop, and a second-rate one at that. 

" The next impression that his Majesty gave me was, 
that his manners were no better, that is, no more ele- 
gant or graceful, than his dress. He reminded one of a 
military puppet. All his actions were stiff and jerky. 
When he advanced, it was ' Forward, march ! ' AVhen he 
tui-ned, it was a manoeuvre executed by pivoting on one 


heel. His massive features and powerful frame could 
not be deyoid of a certain dignity ; but it was a clumsy 
dignity at best, — like that of an ^schylean actor in 
mask and buskins. 

" The king's reply to the address — probably the same 
speech which he had made to each successive deputation 
— was brief, and well worded. One expression some of 
us noted at the time, and had reason to remember after- 
wards: ' I am convinced,' said he, ' that Providence has 
preserved me for a special purpose.' But, when each 
individual Avas successively presented to him, his awk- 
wardness came out again." ^ 

With discriminating criticism Mr. LlcCarthy writes, 
" I do not believe that the character of the king is any- 
wise changed. He was a dull, honest, fanatical marti- 
net when he turned his cannon against the German lib- 
erals in IS-IS ; he was a dull, honest, fanatical martinet 
when he unfurled the flag of Prussia against the Aus- 
trians in 18G6, and against the French in 1870. 

" The brave old man is only happy when doing what 
he thinks is right ; but he wants alike the intellect and 
the susceptibilities which enable people to distinguish 
right from wrong, despotism from justice, necessary 
firmness from stolid obstinacy. But for the war, and the 
great national issues which rose to claim instant decis- 
ion. King William would have gone on dissolving par- 
liaments and punishing newspapers, levying iaxes 
wii^hout the consent of representatives, and making the 
police-officer master of Berlin. The vigor which was 
so popular when employed in resisting the French, 
would assuredly, otherwise, have found occupation in 

' Mr. Carl Benson, in Galaxy for November, 1870. 


repressing tlie Prussians. I see nothing to admire in 
King William but his courage and his honestj'. 

" For all the service he has done to Germany, let him 
have full thanks ; but I cannot bring myself to any 
warmth of personal admiration for him. It is, indeed, 
hard to look at him, without feeling, for the moment, 
some sentiment of genuine respect. The fine head and 
face, with its noble outlines, and its frank, pleasant 
smile ; the stately, dignified form, which some seventy- 
five years have neither bowed nor enfeebled, — make the 
king look like some splendid old paladin of the court 
of Charlemagne. He is, despite his years, the finest 
physical specimen of a sovereign Europe just now can 

" But I cannot make a hero out of stout King Wil- 
liam, although he has bravery enough of the common 
military land to suit any of the heroes of the Nibelungen- 
lied. He never would, if he could, render any service 
to liberty. He cannot understand the elements and 
first principles of jiopular freedom. To him the people 
is always as a child, — to be kept in leading-strings, 
and guided, and, if at all boisterous or naughty, to be 
smartly bu'chcd, and put in a dark corner. 

" There is nothing cruel about King William ; that is 
to say, he would not willingly liurt any human creature, 
and is, indeed, rather kind-hearted and humane than 
otherwise. He is as utterly incapable of the mean spites 
and shabby cruelties of the great Frederick, whose statue 
stands so near his palace, as he is incapable of the sav- 
age brutalities and indecencies of Frederick's father. 

" He is, in fact, simply a dull old disciplinarian, satu- 
rated through and through with the traditions of the 
feudal past of Germany ; his highest merit being the 


fact, that he keeps his word ; that he is a still, strong 
man, who cannot lie ; his noblest fortune being the 
happy chance which called on him to lead his country's 
battles, instead of leaving him free -to contend against, 
and perhaps, for the time, to crush, his country's aspira- 
tions for domestic freedom. 

" Kind Heaven has allowed him to become the cham- 
pion and the representative of German unity, — that 
unity which is Germany's immediate and supreme need, 
calling for the postponement of every other claim and 
desire. And this part he has played hke a man, a sol- 
dier, and a king. 

" But one can hardly be expected to forget all the 
past, — to forget what Humboldt and Varnhagen von 
Ense wrote ; what Jacobi and Waldeck spoke ; what 
King Wilham did in 1848, and what he said in 1861. 
And unless we forget all this, and a great deal more to 
the same effect, we can hardly help acknowledging, that, 
but for the fortunate conditions which allowed him to 
prove himself the best friend of German unity, he 
would probably have proved himself the worst enemy 
of German liberty." 

rON . B B.flUSS£L 




'HE Crown Prince, Frederick William, the 
son of the hing, is not considered a man of 
much abihty, or of any marked integrity of 
character. He is now (1870) thirty-nine 
years of age; having been born in 1831. 
He has command of the central wing of 
the Prussian army invading France. Hav- 
ing seen considerable service, and not being wanting in 
energy or courage, he occupies a respectable rank as a 
military commander. Having married the eldest daugh- 
ter of Queen Victoria, — who will thus, probably, soon 
become Queen of Prussia, — it is difficult for the British 
court to adopt any efficient measures to thwart the am- 
■^jitious designs of the Prussian monarchy. 

The most prominent military man is Prince Frederick 
Charles. He is forty-two years of age, and is command- 
er-in-chief of tlio Prussian forces. Frederick Charles 
is the nephew of the king ; being the son of the king's 
brother Frederick. At ten years of age, Frederick 
Charles entered the army. It was deemed essential 
that every prince of the House of Hohenzollern should 
be thoroughly instructed in military service, that, in 



case of necessity, he might be able efficiently to dra'W 
his sword in defence of his country. 

Even in those early years, it is said that he was a pas- 
sionate admirer of the heroic deeds of Frederick the 
Great. With great enthusiasm he studied the history 
of the Seven- Years' War, thoroughly familiarizing him- 
seK with all the strategic and tactical movements of 
that renowned struggle. His innate love of military 
affairs enabled him to make rapid progress in his studies ; 
and his military genius soon became conspicuous to his 
teachers and his companions. 

When but twenty years of age, in 1848, he was as- 
signed to the staff of the commander-in-chief of the 
Prussian army, Gen. von Wrangel, in the first invasion 
of Schleswig-Holstein. His recldess courage greatly 
inspirited the troops, and contributed much to his re- 

When, in 1849, his uncle, now King William I., was 
sent to Baden to crush out with his dragoons a popular 
uprising there. Prince Frederick Charles accompanied 
him, and rendered signal service in the sanguinary con- 
flicts which ensued. During the fifteen years of peace 
which followed. Prince Charles devoted himself with' 
renewed assiduity to his military studies ; making him-" 
self familiar with every branch of the service, and pay- 
ing special attention to the organization and movements 
of large armies. 

In the second invasion of Schleswig-Holstein, in 1863, 
— to which we shall hereafter refer, — Frederick Charles 
was intrusted with the command of the Prussian di- 
vision. In the attack upon Diippel, one of the most 
formidable of the Danish strongholds, Frederick Charles, 
after two repulses, which were accompanied by terrible 


slaughter, grasped the flag of the Royal Guards, and per- 
sonally led to a third attack, which was successful. 

At the commencement of the war between Prussia 
and Austria, in 186(3, Frederick Charles had command 
of the first division of the Prussian army. On the 23d 
of June he crossed the frontier, and, in ordering the 
attack of his troops upon the Austrians, addressed them 
in these singular words, characteristic of the blunt, un- 
cultivated soldier : — 

" May your hearts beat towards God, and your fists 
upon the enemjM" A series of almost unparalleled vic- 
tories ensued. Triumphant as was this campaign, which 
was terminated by the utter defeat of the Austrians at 
Sadowa, it revealed to the eagle-eye of Prince Frederick 
Charles some serious defects in the organization of the 
Prussian army. He subsequently published a pamplilet 
upon the subject, which attracted great attention 
throughout all Germany. 

Baron von Moltke is another Prussian whom the agi- 
tation of the times has brought prominently before the 
world. Tlie baron was born in Mecklenburg on the 26th 
of October, 1800. In early life, he served in the Danish 
army. In the year 1822, he entered the Prussian army 
as second lieutenant. His superior military abilities 
soon rendered him conspicuous, and secured him rapid 

In 1835 he went to Constantinople to organize the 
Turkish army. In the campaign which ensued against 
the Viceroy of Egypt, he greatly distinguished himself, 
and returned to Prussia crowned with new honors. In 
1858 he was appointed chief of staff, and in 1864 took 
a very distinguished part in the war which wrested 
Schleswig-Holstcin from Denmark. Soon after, he pub- 


lislied several works on military science, which have 
been widely translated, and which have given him great 
celebrity in military circles. 

" But the greatest field for the practical apjjlication 
of his genius was offered him during the campaign of 
1866. It is said that not only was he in constant pos- 
session of information about every movement of the 
army, but that he never was at a loss, one single mo- 
ment, how to counteract all his adversary's operations, 
and turn them to his own advantage. 

" His character is as firm as a rock ; and, when once 
engaged in the planning of a military movement, noth- 
ing can detain him from carrying it out, as long as he 
feels morally convinced that he is in the right, and that 
there is a chance of success. In spite of his advanced 
years (for he has reached his threescore years and ten), 
he is said to be still very robust ; and has no fear of the 
fatigues of a campaign."^ 

But by far the most remarkable man whom these mod- 
ern agitations have brought prominently to view is Count 
Otto Edward Leopold von Bismarck. He was born at 
Schonhausen on the 1st of April, 1815. His parents 
were opulent, and of an ancient family. Otto was the 
youngest of six children. When he was but a year old, 
his father removed to Pomerania, where he inlierited 
some kuiglitly estates at Kniephof, about five miles to the 
east of Naugard. Here Otto remained with his parents 
until he was six years of age. 

The rural mansion at Kniephof was plain, but cai3a- 
cious. It was pleasantly situated. Its beautiful garden 
and surrounding woods and meadows gave it no incon- 

* The Great European Conflict, by G. W. Bible, p. 55. 


Biderable celebrity. In 1821, when Otto was six years 
of age, he was sent to Berlin, and placed in the renowned 
school of Prof. Plamann. Here lie remained for six 
years, until 1827 ; when he entered the Frederick Wil- 
liam Gymnasium. His elder brother was in the class 
above him. Their parents were in the habit of spending 
their winter-months in Berlin. Thus the boys enjoyed 
mueli of home-life, as they resided with theu' parents. 

The two boys were placed under the best of tutors ; 
and Otto, in addition to becoming a good classical scholar, 
attained so famihar an acquaintance with English and 
French as to speak both languages with correctness and 
fluency. No expense was spared in the education of 
these children. Their mother was an accomplished 
lady, aUke distinguished for her personal beauty and her 
mental endowments. She seems early to have appre- 
ciated the remarkable character and abilities of Otto ; 
and she expressed a particular desire that he should de- 
vote himself to a diplomatic career. The father of Otto 
was a witty, kind-hearted, good-humored man, who 
look the world easily, and who was not remarkable for 
information or intellect. 

In the year 1830, when Otto had attained his six- 
teenth l)irthday, he was confirmed in the Trinity Church 
at Berlin. Two years later, in 1832, he graduated at 
tlie gymnasium, and entered upon the study of the law. 
Dr. Bonnell, director of the gymnasium, speaks in the 
following terras of Otto when under his care : — 

" ]\Iy attention was drawn to Bismarck on the very day 
of his entry ; on which occasion the new boys sat in the 
schoolroom on rows of benches, in order that the mas- 
ters could overlook the new-comers with attention 
during the inauguration. Otto von Bismarck sat, as I 


still distinctly remember, with, visible eagerness, a clear 
and pleasant boyisb face and bright eyes, in a gay and 
lightsome mood, among his comrades : so that it caused 
me to think, ' That's a nice boy. I'll keep my eye on 

" He became an inmate of my house in 1831, where 
he behaved himself, in my modest household, in a 
friendly and confiding manner. In every respect, he 
was charming. He seldom quitted us of an evening. 
If I were sometimes absent, he conversed in a friendly 
and innocent manner with my wife, and evinced a strong 
inclination for domestic hfe. He won our hearts ; and 
we met his advances with affection and care : so that his 
father, when he quitted us, declared that his son had 
never been so happy as with us." ^ 

He is represented at this time as being quiet, retiring, 
formal, and quite punctilious in observing and exacting 
that courtesy which etiquette required. An admirable 
memory aided him in the study of languages. He was 
very fond of dogs and horses. Though, not fond of 
athletic sports, he was a good fencer, an accomplished 
swimmer, and danced gracefully. He had grown rap- 
idly ; was tall, thin, with a pale face, though enjoying 
good health. At the university he became acquainted 
with Lothrop Motley, who has since become so distin- 

Otto had wished to enter the University at Heidel- 
berg. His mother objected, lest he should " contract 
the habit, detestable to her, of drinking beer." He 
therefore entered the University of Gottingen. Here 
he plunged into dissipation with great recklessness. His 

* Life of Bismarck, by John George Louis Hesekiel, p. 115. 


vigorous constitution cnal)led him to endure excesses 
under which others wouhl have broken down. He 
fought a duel, in which lie was slightly wounded. Soon 
after, he had four challenges at the same time upon his 
hands. In his " jolly life at Gottingen, he had no leisure 
to attend the classes." ^ 

Upon going home in vacation, his dress and altered 
manners greatly grieved his mother. The months of so- 
called pleasure rolled on ; and Bismarck became nomi- 
nally a lawyer, opening his office in Berlin. He was a 
good-looking man, of majestic stature and courtly bear- 

During the winter succeeding the summer of 1835, 
young Bismarck attended a court-ball. Here he met, for 
the first time. Prince William, son of King Frederick 
William III. As Bismarck, with another lawyer of 
equally majestic stature, was introduced to the immedi- 
ate heir to the throne, William, scrutinizing the two 
stately forms before him, said, "Well, Justice seeks 
her young advocates according to the standard of the 
guards." This was the first interview between the 
future monarch and his future illustrious prime-minister. 

In the 3^ear 1836, Bismarck was sent as an attache to 
the legation to the court at Aix la Chapelle. Plere 
again he plunged into all the fashionable dissipation of 
the imperial city. He was thrown into convivial asso- 
ciation with Englishmen and Frenchmen. Speaking 
fluently the two languages, he became a great favorite, 
and made several excursions to Belgium, France, ai d 
the Rhine province. 

Ill llio year 18:57, he was transferred to the crown 

' Life of Bismarck, by John George Louis Hesekiel, p. 127. 


office at Potsdam. The next year, lie entered tlie Jager 
Guard to fulfil his military duties. He was a wild fel- 
low. His improvident father had so managed the estate, 
that the family was threatened with pecuniary ruin. 

The sons begged their father to grant them the ad- 
ministration of the Pomeranian property. The request 
was acceded to ; and the parents retired to Schonhausen 
to spend the evening of their days. The mother, who 
was in feeble health, soon died, in November, 1839. It 
was in the summer of this year that Bismarck entered 
on the administration of the Pomeranian estates. He 
was then twenty-three years of age. He had been ac- 
customed to extravagant expenditure. Now bitter 
want oppressed him. Thus impelled by necessity, he 
devoted himself, for a time, to the care of the wasted 
estates, with diligence and with wisdom. 

But the change in his mode of life depressed him : he 
became subject to deep despondency. With returning 
prosperity came returning recklessness. His eulogistic 
biographer says of him, — 

" Despite liis wild life and actions, he felt a continually 
increasing sense of lonelmess ; and the same Bismarck 
who gave himself to jolly carouses among the officers of 
the neighboring garrisons, sank, when alone, into the 
bitterest and most desolate state of reflection. He suf- 
fered from that disgust of life common to the boldest 
officers at times, and which has been called ' first lieu- 
tenant's melancholy.' The less real pleasure he had in 
his wild career, the madder it became ; and he earned 
himself a fearful reputation among the elder ladies and 
gentlemen, who predicted the moral and pecuniary ruin 
of ' Mad Bismarck.' " ^ 

' Life of Bismarck, by John George Louis Ilesekiel, p. 133. 


The two brothers divided the estates in Pomerania, so 
that Kniephof and its surroundings fell to the share of 
Otto. " Strange scenes occurred at Kniephof when the 
youthful owner, tortured by dark thoughts, dashed rcck- 
lessl}'", to kill time, through the fields, — sometimes in soli- 
tude, and sometimes in the company of gay companions 
and guests: so that Kniephof became renowned far and 
wide in the land. 

" Strange stories were current about their nocturnal 
carouses, at which none could equal ' Mad Bismarck ' in 
emptying the great beaker filled with porter and cham- 
pagne. Tales of a Avild character were whispered in the 
circles of shuddering ladies. At each mad adventure, 
each wild burst of humor, a dozen myths started up, 
sometimes of comical, sometimes of a terrible character, 
until the little mansion of Kniephof was looked upon as 
haunted. But the ghosts must have had tolerably strong 
nerves ; for the guests, slumbering with nightcaps of por-. 
ter or champagne, were often roused by pistol-shots, the 
bullets whistling over their heads, and the lime from the 
ceilings tumbling into their faces." ^ 

Bismarck was of course, in his many hours of soli- 
tude, restless and unhaftpy. In vain he sought repose 
for his troubled spirit in reading. lie tried travels, and 
visited France and England. His father died in 1845 ; 
and Bismarck received, as an addition to his property, 
the estate of Schonhauson. Here he took up his future 
residence. Some local ofiices of trivial importance were 
conferred upon him. 

At tlie house of a friend Bismarck met a young lady, 
Johanna von Putkannner, and fell deeply in love with 

' Life of Bisrmirck, p. 134. 


her ; but his reputation was such, that the friends of the 
young lady were horror-struck at the thought of her 
union with such a debauchee. Johanna, however, re- 
turned the affection of her ardent lover ; and her parents, 
with great reluctance, at length gave their assent to the 
union. They were married in July, 1847. On his bridal 
tour, Bismarck visited Switzerland and Italy. At Venice 
he met King Frederick William IV., and was invited to 
dine with him. They conversed for a long time upon 
German politics. Bismarck had already imbibed a strong 
antipathy to democratic progress, and was strenuously 
in favor of preserving all the prerogatives of the crown. 
The views he expressed in this conversation were evi- 
dently very gratifying to the king. Here, probably, 
was laid the foundation of that royal favor with which 
the king ever after regarded his illustrious subject. 

We are told by his eulogistic biographer that the first 
enemy Bismarck saw to the power of the throne was 
liberalism ; and he showed a firm front to it. Then de- 
mocracy ventured upon some of its utterances ; and he met 
this foe with the most unhesitating conviction. " Lib- 
eralism, democrac}^, the inimical jealousy of Austria, the 
envy of foreign nations, — such are the enemies of the 
Prussian sovereignty; and Bismarck has, with equal 
courage and firmness, with as much insight as success, 
fought openly and honestly against these." 

When, in 1847, Frederick William IV., constrained by 
the general popular uprising in his realms, consented to 
a constitution which granted many reforms, the old no- 
bility were displeased. They adhered to the absolutism 
of their former sovereigns. In the debate upon this 
question, Bismarck, as deputy to the United Diet, first 
made his appearance as a public speaker. He entered 


bis protest against the constitution, and against any con- 
cession to the spirit of liberalism. His remarks were so 
little relished, that his voice was drowned with hisses and 

The whole liberal press now came down upon Bis- 
marck with the utmost ferocity. With singular cool- 
ness, he had avowed himself the friend of feudal ab- 
solutism and the enemy of " popular rights." " Thus," 
says his biographer, " he found himself in full battle- 
array against hberalism. He gave utterance to his 
opinions in conformity with his natural fearless na- 

In a long speech in 1847, he said, " With whom does 
the right reside to issue an authentic declaration ? In 
my opinion, in the king alone. The Prussian sovereigns 
are in possession of a crown, not by the grace of the peo- 
ple, but by God's grace, — an actually unconditional 
crown, some of the rights of Avhich they have volunta,rily 
conceded to the people." 

Thus Bismarck took his stand, with ever-increasing 
boldness and ability, in support of the sovereignty of the 
crown, and in antagonism to popular rights. The sum- 
mer of 1848 was terrible in its menaces to the absolutism 
of the Prussian throne. Bismarck was recognized as the 
boldest and ablest of the advocates of royalty. Ilis 
courage never faltered. Consequently he Avas hated by 
the advocates of reform as much as he was cherished by 
the court. 

One evening, he was in a beer-saloon which was fre- 
quented by those in political sympathy with him. 

" He had just taken his seat, when a particularly offen- 
sive expression was used at the next table concerning 
a member of the royal family. Bismarck iuiniediately 


rose to his full height, turned to the speaker, and thun 
dered forth, — 

" ' Out of the house ! If you are not off when I have 
drunk this beer, I will break this glass on your head ! ' 

" At this there ensued a fierce commotion ; and out- 
cries resounded in all directions. Without the slightest 
notice, Bismarck finished his draught, and then brought 
down the mug upon the offender's pate with such effect, 
that the glass flew into fragments, and the man fell down 
howling with anguish. There was a deep silence, during 
which Bismarck's voice was heard to say in the quietest 
tone, as if nothing whatever had taken place, — 

" ' Waiter, what is to pay for this broken glass ? ' " ^ 

In the spring of 1851, Bismarck was appointed by 
Frederick William IV. ambassador to the diet at Frank- 
fort on the Main. The following anecdote is related 
of him, which, if not absolutely true, is certainly charac- 
teristic of the man : " He one day visited the presiding 
deputy, Count Thun. The count received him with a 
sort of brusque familiarity, and went on coolly smoking 
his cigar, without even asking him to take a chair. Tlie 
latter simply took out his cigar-case, pulled out a cigar, 
and said in an easy tone, ' May I beg a light. Excel- 
lency ? ' Excellency, astonished to the greatest degree, 
supphed the desired light. Bismarck got a good blaze 
up, and then took the unoffered seat in the coolest way 
in the world, and led the way to a conversation." 

In a letter from Bismarck to his wife, dated Frank- 
fort, 3d Jul}^ 1851, we find the following sentiments : — 

" I went, day before yesterday, to Wiesbaden, to ; 

and, with a mixture of sadness and wisdom, we went to 

* Life of Bismarck, p. 202. 


see this scene of former folly. Would it might please 
God to fill tliis vessel with his clear and strong wine, in 
which formerly the champagne of twenty-one years of 
youth foamed uselessly, and left nothing but loathing 

behind ! Where now are , and Miss ? How 

many are buried with whom I then fluted, drank, and 
diced ! How many transformations have taken place in 
my views of the world in these fourteen years ! How 
little are some things to me now which then appeared 
to me great ! How much is venerable to me which I 
then ridiculed ! " 

During the summer of 1855, Bismarck visited the Ex- 
position at Paris. Here he was the guest of the Prus- 
sian ambassador. Count Hatzfeld ; and was introduced, 
for the first time, to the Emperor of the French. Again, 
in the spring of 1857, he visited Paris, and had a .special 
political conference with the emperor ; after which he 
visited Denmark and Sweden. Sundry incidental re- 
marks in his letters now begin to show how the idea of 
adding to the power of Prussia was daily more and more 
occupying his thoughts, and gaining strength in his mind. 
In an apparently official communication, dated May 12, 
1859, we find the following expressions : — 

" Perhaps I am going too far when I express it as my 
opinion, that we should seize every justifiable opportunity 
to obtain a revision, necessary to Prussia, of our relations 
to the smaller German States. I think that we should 
wilhngly take up the gauntlet, and regard it as no mis- 
fortune, but as real progress, if a majority at Frankfort 
should decide upon a vote which we could regard as an 
arbitrary change in the object of the confederation, a 
violation of its treaties. The more unmistakable this 
violation, the better. I sec in our position in the diet a 


defect of Prussia, which we shall have, sooner or later, 
to heal by fire and the sword." 

The Italians were moving to escape from Austrian 
thraldom, and to establish Italian unity. Unaided, the 
divided States of Italy could by no means resist the pow- 
erful Austrian monarchy. France was the only nation 
to which the Italians could look for aid. Prussia had 
engaged to unite with Austria, should the French armies 
march to the aid of the Italians. In allusion to this sub- 
ject, Bismarck wrote as follows, from St. Petersburg, on 
the 22d of August, 1860 : — 

" According to the journals, we have bound ourselves 
verbally to assist Austria, under all circumstances, should 
she be attacked by France in Italy. Should Austria find 
it necessary to act on the offensive, our consent would 
be requisite if our co-operation is to be anticipated. 
Austria having security that we should fight for Venice, 
she will know how to provoke the attack of France. 

" Viennese politics, since the Garibaldian expedition, 
desire to make things in Italy as bad as they can be, in 
order that, if Napoleon himself should find it necessary 
to declare against tlie Italian revolution, movements 
should commence on all sides to restore the former state 
of things. 

" Some kind of general rumors reach me that the press 
carries on a systematic war against me. I am said to 
have openly supported Russo-French pretensions respect- 
ing a session of the Rhine province, on condition of com- 
pensation nearer home. I will pay a thousand Frede- 
rick d'ors to the person who will prove to me that any 
such Russo-French propositions have ever been brought 
to my knowledge by any one." ^ 

* Life of Bismarck, p. 292. 


" The Edinburgh Review," in the following terms, ex- 
presses its estimate of the character of Bismarck: " His 
private life is pure. Nobody has accused him of having 
used his high position for his pecuniary advantage ; but 
by the side of these virtues the darker shades are not 
wanting. He never forgets a slight, and persecutes 
people who have offended him with the most unworthy 
malice. His strong will degenerates frequently into 
absurd obstinacy. He is feared by his subordinates ; 
but we never heard that anybody loved him. He can 
tell the very reverse of truth with an amazing coolness. 
He laughs at the fools who took his fine words for solid ' 
cash. His contempt of men is profound.'' ^ 

jMr. Friedrich Kapp, in an article in " The New-York 
Nation " of October, 1870, upon the conversatioiis of 
Count Bismarck, narrates the following incident : — 

" To the Austrian minister, when this gentleman 
rather incredulously received one of Bismarck's asser- 
tions, he said, a few weeks before the outbreak of the 
war of 18GG, ' I never make a false statement whenever 
I can avoid it. In your case it is not necessary. There- 
fore I have no earthly interest to deceive you, and you 
can believe my words.' " 

'■ Ediuburgli Review, vol. cxxx. p. 457. 



ARLY in the spring of 1859, Bismarck was 
appointed ambassador to Russia. His la- 
bors were not arduous. Much of liis time 
was devoted to the education of his three 
children, — one daughter and two sons. On 
the 2d of July, before his family had joined 
him in Petersburg, he wrote to his wife, — 
" Half an hour ago, a courier awakened me with tidings 
of war and peace. Our politics are sliding more and 
more into the Austrian groove. If we fire one shot on 
the Rhine, the Italo-Austrian war is over : in place of 
it, we shall see a Prusso-French war, in which Austria, 
after we have taken the load from her shoulders, will 
assist, or assist so far as her own interests are concerned. 
That we should play a very victorious part, is scarcely to 
be conceded. 

" Be it as God wills ! It is, here below, always a ques- 
tion of time. Nations and men, folly and wisdom, war 
and peace, — they come like waves, and so depart ; while 
the ocean remains. On this earth there is nothing but 
hypocrisy and jugglery ; and whether this mass of flesh 
is to be torn off by fever, or by a cartridge, it must fall 
at last. Then the difference between a Prussian and an 



Austrian, if of the same stature, will be so small, that it 
will be difficult to distinguish between them. Fools and 
wise men, as skeletons, look very much like one another. 
Specific patriotism we thus lose ; but it would be des- 
perate if we carried it into eternity." 

That Bismarck possesses, some warm human sympa- 
thies is evident from the following extracts from a letter 
of condolence to a friend who had lost a beloved child : — 

" A greater sorrow could scarcely have befallen you, — 
to lose so charming and joyfully-growing a child, and 
with it to bury all the hopes which were to become the 
joys of your old age. Mourning cannot depart from 
you as long as you live in this world. This I feel with 
you in deeply painful sympathy. We are helpless in 
the mighty hand of God, and can do nothing but bow 
in humility under his behest. 

" How do all the little cares and troubles which beset 
our daily lives vanish beside the iron advent of real mis- 
fortune ! We should not depend on this world, or regard 
it as our home. Another twenty or thirty years, and we 
shall both have passed from the sorrows of this world. 
Our children will have arrived at our present position, 
and will find with astonishment that the life so freshly 
begun is going down hill." 

On the 22d of May, 1862, Bismarck was appointed 
ambassador to Paris. Nothing of special interest seems 
to have occurred during his short mission there. He 
was now regarded by the liberals as the leader of the 
aristocratic, or Junker party as it was called. There was 
no one more Ixjld and able than he in defence of the pre- 
rogatives of the nobility and of the crown. Greatly to 
the indigiialion of thu democracy, the king, in the au- 
tumn of lyOo, appointed Bismarck prime-minister. The 


biographer of his life, who was in entire sympathy with 
his political views, writes, — 

" When Bismarck arrived in Berlin, about the middle 
of September, 1862, he found opposed to him the party 
of progress, almost sure of victory, clashing onward like 
a charger with heavy spurs and sword, trampling upon 
every thing in its path, setting up new scandals every 
day, and acting in such a manner that the wiser chiefs 
of that party shook their very heads. Beside that party 
of progress, and partially governed and towed along by 
it, was the liberal party, possessed, with the exception of 
a minority, of an almost still greater dislike for Bismarck 
than was entertained by the progressists." 

Having declared himself in favor of Italian unity, 
which would weaken Austria, the hostility of that power 
was strongly excited against him. He therefore entered 
into more friendly relations with France. His great ob- 
ject seemed now to be to unite all parties (aristocratic 
and democratic), to wrest from Austria the leadership of 
Germany, and to confer that leadership upon Prussia. 
He was fully aware that this great feat could not be ac- 
complished without war. Repeatedly he said, " The all- 
important questions of the day are not to be settled by 
speeches and by votes, but by iron and blood." ^ 

Bismarck complained bitterly that most of the German 
Sta,tes were in sympathy witli Austria, and stood out 
offensively against Prussia. One of the first acts of his 
administration was to enter into an alliance with Russia 
to suppress the Polish insurrection. 

Upon the accession of William I. to the throne, Prus- 
sia consisted of a territory of 24,464 square miles ; being 

* Life of Bismarck, p. 340. 


but about half as large as the State of New York. It 
contained a population of but little more than eight mil- 
lions. The kingdom was composed of eight provinces, 
two of wliich, Prussia and Posen, did not belong to the 
German Confederacy.^ 

Adjoining Prussia, on the north-west, there were two 
small duchies, — Schleswig and Holstein. Bounded on 
the north-west by the German Ocean, and on the north- 
east by the Baltic Sea, with the River Elbe at their base, 
they presented unusual facilities for commerce. Their 
united population was about a million. 

These duchies were a part of the dominion of the 
King of Denmark, though under a different law of suc- 
cession from that of the crown. For some time, both of 
the duchies had been under one ruler, — Duke Frederick. 
The title was hereditary. Upon the death of Frederick 
VII. of Denmark, his successor on the throne. Christian 
IX., claimed the dukedom of the two duchies. On the 
other hand, the reigning duke, Frederick, claimed it. 
Though the two duchies were inseparably connected, 
one of them, Schleswig, belonged to the Germanic Con- 
federation ; and the other, Holstein, did not : but, as one 
belonged to the confederation, the contested claim to the 
dukedom Ijecame a German question. The inhabitants 
of the ducliies were, with great apparent unanimity, in 
favor of Duke Frederick, and opposed to the claims of 
Denmark. In view of this difficulty, the Danish govern- 
ment had secured a treaty, on the 2d of May, 18G2, to 
which Austria, Prussia, France, Russia, and England 
were parties, guaranteeing the integrity of the Danish 
monarch3% Thus all Europe became involved in the 

* AmfTican Annual Cyclopajcliii, 1867. 


England was somewhat embarrassed in her action. 
Victoria's daughter had married the Crown Prince of 
Prussia, and thus was destined to be the queen of that 
kingdom. The eldest son of Victoria, the Prince of 
Wales, had married a daughter of the King of Denmark . 
thus this Danish princess was prospective Queen of 
England. This intimate family relationship between 
the British court and both Prussia and Denmark greatly 
embarrassed the court of St. James in its action. 

Prussia and Austria, as members of the Germanic 
Confederation, espoused the claims of Frederick to the 
duchies. Notwithstanding their treaty obligations, tliey 
furnished mihtary aid to wrest the duchies from the King 
of Denmark. England, embarrassed by her matrimonial 
connections, stood aloof. None of the other minor pow- 
ers ventured to intervene. Thus, after a brief struggle, 
Schleswig and Holstein were wrested from Denmark, 
and were declared to be independent of the Danish 

This was Bismarck's first step in his very shrewd and 
successful intrigue. Immediately three new claimants 
appeared, demanding the duchies by the right of inherit- 
ance : these were the Grand Duke of Oldenburg, the 
Prince of Hesse, and, to the surprise of all Europe, Wil- 
liam I., King of Prussia. Thus, including Duke Frede- 
rick and the King of Denmark, there were five claimants. 

All Europe was at this time in a state of great agita- 
tion. Poland was in insurrection. There was, mani- 
festly, a conflict arising between Prussia and Austria in 
reference to supremacy in Germany. Italy, triumphant 
(with the aid of France) at Solferino, and having thus 
attained almost entire unity, was gathering its forces for 
the conquest of the Papal States and for the liberation 


of Venetia; and France was clamorous fur the posses- 
sion of her ancient boundary of the Rhine. 

Under these circumstances, the Emperor of the French 
adopted the extraordinary measure of addressing the 
following circular to all the crowned heads in Europe. 
It was dated 

"Palace of the Tuilekies, Nov. 4, 1863. 

" In presence of events which every day arise, and l)e- 
come urgent, I deem it indispensable to express myself, 
without reserve, to the sovereigns to whom the destinies 
of peoples are confided. 

" Whenever severe shocks have shaken the bases and 
displaced the limits of States, solemn transactions have 
taken place to arrange new elements, and to consecrate, 
by revision, the accomplished transformations. Such 
was the object of the Treaty of Westphalia in the seven- 
teenth century, and of the negotiations of Vienna in 
1815. It is on this latter foundation that now reposes 
the political edifice of Eurojie ; and yet, you are aware, 
it is crumbling away on all sides. 

" If the situation of the different countries be atten- 
tively considered, it is impossible not to admit that the 
treaties of Vienna, upon almost all points, are destro3^cd, 
modified, misunderstood, or menaced : hence duties with- 
out rule, rights without title, and pretensions without 
restraint. The danger is so much the more formida- 
l)h', because the improvements brought about by civili- 
zation, which have bound nations together by the identity 
of material interests, would render war more destructive. 

" This is a subject for serious reflection. Let us not 
wait, before deciding on pur course, for sudden and irre- 
sistible "events to disturb our judgment, and carry us 
liway, despite ourselves, in op})Osite directions. 


" I therefore propose to you to regulate the present, 
and secure the future, in a congress. 

" Called to the throne by Providence and the will of 
the French people, but trained in the school of adversity, 
it is, perhaps, less permitted to roe than to any other to 
ignore the rights of sovereigns and the legitimate aspi- 
rations of the people. 

" Therefore I am ready, without any preconceived sys- 
tem, to bring to an international council the spirit of 
moderation and justice, — the usual portion of those 
who have endured so many various trials. 

" If I take the initiative in such an overture, I do not 
yield to an impulse of vanity ; but, as I am the sovereign 
to whom ambitious projects are most attributed, I have 
it at heart to prove by this frank and loyal step that my 
sole object is to arrive, without a shock, at the pacifica- 
tion of Europe. If this proposition be favorably re- 
ceived, I pray you to accept Paris as the place of meeting. 

" In case the princes, alHes, and friends of France, 
should think proper to heighten by their presence the 
authority of the deliberations, I shall be proud to offer 
them my cordial hospitality. Europe would see, per- 
haps, some advantage in the capital, from which the sig-* 
nal for subversion has so often been given, becoming the 
seat of the conferences destined to lay the basis of a 
general pacification. 

" I seize this occasion, &c., 


In the speech which the emperor made the next day 
at the opening of the Legislative Corps, he said, — 

" The treaties of 1815 have ceased to exist. The force 
of events has overthrown them, or tends to overthrow 


them, almost everywhere. They have been hroken in 
Greece, in Belgium, in France, in Italy, and upon the 
Danube. Germany is in agitation to change them ; Eng- 
land has generally modified them by the cession of the 
Ionian Islands ; and Russia tramples them under foot at 

" In the midst of these successive violations of the 
fundamental European pact, ardent passions are excited. 
In the south, as in the north, powerful interests demand 
a solution. What, then, can be more legitimate or more 
useful than to invite the powers of Europe to a con- 
gress, in which self-interest and resistance would disap- 
pear before a supreme arbitration ? What can be more 
conformed to the ideas of the time, to the wishes of the 
greater number, than to speak to the conscience and the 
reason of the statesmen of every country, and say to 
them, — 

" ' Have not the prejudices and the rancor which di- 
vide us lasted long enough ? Shall the jealous rivalry 
of the great powers unceasingly impede the progress of 
civilization ? Are we still to maintain mutual distrust 
by exaggerated armaments ? Must our most precious 
resources be indefinitely exhausted by a vain display 
of our forces ? Must we eternally maintain a state of 
things which is neither peace with its security, nor war 
with its fortunate chances? 

" ' Let us no longer attach a fictitious importance to 
the subversive spirit of extreme parties, by opposing our- 
selves, on narrow calculations, to the legitimate aspira- 
tions of peoples. Let us have the courage to substitute 
for a state of things sickly and precarious a situation 
solid and regular, should it even cost us sacrifices. Let 
us meet without preconceived opinions, without exclu- 


sive ambition, animated by the single thought of estab- 
lishing an order of things founded, for the future, on the 
well-understood interests of sovereigns and peoples.' 
• " This appeal, I am happy to believe, will be listened 
to by all. A refusal would suggest secret projects, which 
shun the light. But, even should the proposal not be 
unanimously agreed to, it would secure the immense ad- 
vantage of having pointed out to Europe where the dan- 
ger lies, and where is safety. Two paths are open : the 
one conducts to progress by concihation and peace ; the 
other, sooner or later, leads fatally to war, from obstinacy 
in maintaining a course which sinks beneath us. 

" Such is the language, gentlemen, which I propose 
to address to Europe. Approved by you, sanctioned by 
public assent, it cannot fail to be listened to, since I 
speak in the name of France." 

The address of the Emperor of the French was sent 
to all the crowned heads in Europe, — fifteen in number. 
England declined the proposal. In a letter from Earl 
Russell, dated Nov. 28, 1863, it was stated, — 

"Not being able to discern the likelihood of those 
beneficial consequences which the Emperor of the French 
promised himself when proposing a congress, her Ma- 
jesty's government, following their own strong convic- 
tions, after mature deliberation, feel themselves unable 
to accept his imperial Majesty's invitation." ^ 

Austria, following the lead of England, without posi- 
tively declining, did not accept, the proposal. The em- 

1 " The reception of the proposal of the emperor, in England, was generally 
unfavorable. England could not expect any territorial aggrandizement from the 
congress, but only the loss of her European dependencies, and, in particular, 
Gibraltar. The press, almost unanimously, discouraged a participation in thn 
congress." — American Annual Cyclopadia, 1863, p. 390. 


peror stated that the treaties of 1815 were still regarded 
by Austria as the public law of Europe, and asked sev- 
eral questions, strangely assuming that it depended upon 
France, and not upon the congress, to decide what meas- 
ures should be discussed. 

Alexander of Russia cordially acceded to the propo- 
sal. In his reply, he said, " My most ardent desire is to 
spare my people sacrifices which their patriotism accepts, 
but from which their prosperity suffers. Nothing could 
better hasten this moment than a general settlement of 
the questions which agitate Europe. A loyal under- 
standing between the sovereigns has alwa3's appeared 
desirable to me. I should be happy if the proposition 
emitted by j^our Majesty were to lead to it," 

All the other crowned heads accepted the proposal 
with much cordiality. Victor Emanuel of Italy wrote, 
" I adhere with pleasure to the proposal of your Majesty. 
My concurrence, and that of my people, are assured to 
the realization of this project, which will mark a great 
progress in the history of mankind." Louis I., King of 
Portugal, who had married one of the daughters of Victor 
Emanuel, wrote, " A congress before war, with the view 
of averting war, is, in my opinion, a noble thought of 
progress. Whatever may be the issue, to France will 
always belong the glory of having laid the foundation 
of this new and highly philosophical principle." 

The 3'outhful King of Greece, George L, who was the 

second son of the King of Denmark, and consequently 

brother to the wife of the Prince of Wales, wrote, 

" This appeal to conciliation, which your ]\Iajesty has 

jist made in tlie interests of European order, has been 

inspired by views too generous and too elevated not to 

liud iu me the most sympathetic reception. The noble 
» 11 


thought which predominates therein could not be better 
enhanced than by the frank language and the judicious 
considerations with which your Majesty has accompanied 
your proposition." 

In a similar strain, the kings of Belgium, of the 
Netherlands, of Denmark, of Bavaria, Saxony, Wurtem- 
berg, and Hanover, expressed their approval of the con- 
gress. The Pope was prompt in his acceptance. Even 
the Sultan of Turkey gave in his adhesion to the plan, 
saying that he should be glad to attend the congress in 
person, if the other sovereigns would do the same. The 
Swiss Confederation replied, " We can only, there- 
fore, accept with eagerness the overture your Majesty 
has deigned to make." 

It was regarded as essential to the plan, that there 
should be a general congress ; that all the leading pow- 
ers should unite. If any should refuse to join, they 
would also refuse to be bound by the decisions of the 
congress : thus the refusal of two such leading powers 
as England and Austria thwarted the measure. 

After all the replies were received, the French minis- 
ter, M. Drouyn de Lhuys, in the name of the French 
Government, issued another circular to the European 
courts, with a summary of the responses, and giving the 
following as the result : — 

" The refusal of England has, unfortunately, rendeied 
impossible the first result we had hoped for from the a])- 
peal of the emperor to Europe. There now remains the 
second hypothesis, — the limited congress. Its realiza- 
tion depends upon the will of the sovereigns. After the 
refusal of the British cabinet, we might consider oar 
duty accomplished, and henceforth, in the events whicli 
may arise, only take into account our own convenience 


and our own particular interests ; but we prefer to rec- 
ognize the favorable dispositions wliich have been dis- 
played toward us, and to remind the sovereigns who 
have associated themselves Avith our intentions that we 
are ready to enter frankly with them upon the path of a 
common understanding." 

The Emperor of the French was much disappointed at 
this result. In a letter written soon after to the Arch- 
bishop of Rouen, dated Jan. 14, 1864, he wrote, — 

" You are right in saying that the honors of the Avorld 
are heavy burdens Avliich Providence imposes upon us. 
Thus I often ask myself if good fortune has not as many 
tril)ulations as adversity. But, in both cases, our guide 
and support is faith, — religious faith and political faitli ; 
that is to say, confidence in God, and the consciousness 
of a mission to accomplish." 

In the mean time. Count Bismarck had submitted to the 
syndics of the crown of Prussia at Berlin the question 
of the legal title to the sovereignty of the duchies of 
Schleswig and Ilolstein. After several conferences, 
tliese legal gentlemen decided that tlie King of Denmark 
had been the legitimate heir, but that the duchies noio 
belonged, by right of conquest, to Austria and Prussia. 

This curious decision, it is said, was brought about by 
the diplomatic skill of Count Bismarck. Until this time, 
Austria had never laid any claim whatever to the duch- 
ies. Francis Joseph was as much surprised as he was 
gratified to learn that one-half of the sovereignty of 
the duchies enured to him. As, however, the duchies 
were at a great distance from Austria, and consequently 
of but little value to tliat kingdom, Count Bismarck 
supposed that Francis Joseph would sell, for a considera- 
tion, liis share of the sovereignty. Prussia, accordingly, 


offered Austria sixty millions of dollars for the relin- 
quishment of her title. 

Austria refused : she would only consent that Prussia 
should, for the present, hold Schleswig, while Austria 
should hold Holstein. This agreement was entered into 
at what was called the Convention of Gastein, which 
was held in August, 1869. Both France and England 
announced in diplomatic notes their dissatisfaction with 
this arrangement. Austria appointed Marshal von 
Gablenz governor of her newly-acquired province of 
Holstein. Prussia appointed Gen. von Manteuffel gov- 
ernor of Schleswig. The duchies were quite dissatisfied 
with this arrangement. A large majority of the people 
in both duchies sent memorials to the federal diet, pro- 
testing against the division of the duchies, and demand- 
ing the recognition of Duke Frederick. These remon- 
strances of the people were of no avail. 

Count Bismarck, having thus annexed Schleswig to 
the Prussian crown, now turned his attention to the ac- 
quisition of Holstein. The agitations in other parts of 
Europe greatly favored his plans. The Prussian army 
was placed on a war-footing. Negotiations were opened 
with Victor Emanuel in Italy, stating, that if, while 
Prussia should attack Austria upon the north, Italy 
should assail Austria from the south, Venetia could be 
wrested from her grasp, and re-annexed to Italy. " If 
you will help us gain Holstein," said Prussia, " we will 
help you gain Venetia." 

Having thus made all his arrangements. Count Bis- 
marck demanded the surrender of Holstein. The reason 
assigned for this demand was as follows : — 

" King William I. is grievously affected to see devel- 
oped under the aegis of Austria tendencies revolutionary. 


anti hostile to all the thrones. He therefore declares 
that friendly relations no longer exist between Prussia 
and Austria." 

This astonishing declaration, that Austria was allow- 
ing too much popidar freedom in Holstein, was soon fol- 
lowed by another, in which it was declared that the 
repose of Prussia rendered it necessary that the gov- 
ernment should pursue with firmness the annexation of 
both of the ducHies, so desirable in all points of view. 

Still this was not a positive declaration of war. Aus- 
tiia inquired of Prussia if she intended to break the 
treaties of the Convention of Gastein. 

" No ! " was the characteristic response ; " but, if we 
had that intention, we should tell you we had not." 

It seems to have been an avowed principle in Euro- 
pean diplomacy, that sincerity was a virtue not to be 
expected in the intercourse of cabinets. In one of Bis- 
marck's letters, dated Frankfort, May 18, 1851, he 
writes, — 

" I am maldng enormous progress in the art of saying 
nothing in a* great many words. I write reports of many 
sheets, which read as tersely and roundly as leading arti- 
cles ; and if Manteuffel can say what there is in them, 
after he has read them, he can do more than I can." ^ 

» Life of Bismarck, p. 228. 



'O understand those intrigues of cabinets 
and those majestic military movements 
which have recently arrested the attention 
of the whole civilized world, it is necessary 
that there should be brief allusion to the 
Uberation of Italy from Austrian domina- 
tion by the combined armies of France 
and Sardinia. 

By the treaties of 1815, the constitutional kingdoms 
of Italy, which, by the aid of the French Empire, had 
been estabhshed upon the foundation of equal rights 
for all men, were overthrown. Italy was cut up into 
petty States, over which the old despotic regimes were 
inaugurated. Thus parcelled out, most of these States 
were merely provinces of Austria ; and the vast armies 
of Austria watched with an eagle-eye, ready instantly to 
quell any popular uprising in any part of the Italian 
Peninsula. The Idngs, dukes, and princes whom the 
allies had placed over these petty States, were the guar- 
dians of Austrian despotism. 

Upon the re-establishment of the empire in France in 
1852, the popular masses all over Italy were greatly 
excited with the desire of regaining their former liber- 



ties. Victor Emanuel was King of Sardinia ; Count 
Cavour, his prime-minister. They applied to the newly- 
elected French emperor to learn if France would sup- 
port Sardinia against Austria, should Sardinia com- 
mence the work of popular reform witliin her own 
kingdom. The pledge was promptly given. 

Sardinia entered upon enactments of liberty. Schools 
were established, aristocratic privileges were abolished, 
freedom of worship was proclaimed, and freedom of 
the press restrained only by laws of libel. Austria 
vigorously remonstrated, and gathered an army of two 
hundred and fifty thousand troops upon the Sardinian 
frontier. These reforms in Sardinia would excite dis- 
content in despotic Austria. 

The French minister in Austria informed the court 
in Vienna, in very significant diplomatic phrase, " that 
France could not look with indifference upon the in- 
vasion of Sardinia by the Austrian troops." 

The latter part of April, 1859, the Austrian troops 
crossed the Ticino, and commenced a rapid march upon 
Turin, the capital of Sardinia. The Emperor of France 
immediately issued a proclamation, dated Tuileries, 
May 3, 1859, containing tlie following words: — 

" Austria, in causing her army to enter the territory 
of the King of Sardinia, our ally, declares war against 
us. She thus \'iolates treaties, justice, and menaces our 
f I'ontiers. We are led to inquire what can be the reason 
for this sudden invasion. Is it that Austria has brought 
matters to this extremity, — that she must cither rule 
up to the Alps, or Italy must be free to the shores of 
the Adriatic ? 

" The natural allies of France have been always those 
who seek the amelioration of humanity. When she 


draws the sword, it is not to subjugate, but to liberate. 
The object of this war is, then, to restore Italy to her- 
self, and not to impose upon her a change of masters." 

Two hundred thousand French troops were imme- 
diately transported to the plains of Sardinia. The 
French nation, with great unanimity, approved of the 
measure. M. Thiers, leading the opposition in the Legis- 
lative Corps, severely condemned it. He declared that 
enlightened statesmanship demanded that Italy should 
be kept divided into fragmentary States, and not that a 
strong kingdom of twenty-five millions of people should 
be organized on the frontiers of France. He urged that 
France should aid in maintaining the treaties of 1815. 
But the voice of the French nation was almost unani- 
mously with the government. 

After a series of sanguinary conflicts, the Austrians 
were driven out of Sardinia. Upon the plains of Ma- 
genta and Solferino, they encountered another terrible 
defeat, which liberated Lombardy. All Italy now rose 
in insurrection against its Austrian oppressors. The 
duchies of Tuscany, Parma, Modena, chased the Aus- 
trian rulers out of their domains. From all parts of 
Italy, the young men crowded to the liberating banners 
of France and Sardinia. 

All dynastic Europe was alarmed. The spirit of the 
old French Revolution of 1789 seemed to have burst 
from its long burial, and to be again menacing every 
feudal throne. Hungarians were grasping their arms. 
Polanders were shouting the battle-cry of freedom. 
Ireland was clamoring for deliverance from that English 
throne by which it had been so terribly oppressed. 

In hot haste, a coalition was formed against France 
and regenerated Italy. It was not only the wish but 


the intention of France and Sardinia to liberate Vcnctia. 
Thus all Italy, delivered from the despotism of the 
Anstrians, would be the master of its own destinies, and 
could organize such institutions as it might see fit to 

England has always chosen alliance with despots, 
rather than with the advocates of popular liberty. If 
the twenty-five millions of Italy, emancipated by the 
aid of French armies, were to be consolidated into one 
kingdom or one confederacy, under the banner of the 
aljolition of aristocratic privilege and the establishment 
of equal rights for all, Italy and France would be in 
sympathy. The two kingdoms, renouncing feudalism, 
would support each other. This would add amazingly 
to the strength of the principles of reform throughout 

Under these circumstances, England and Prussia en- 
tered into an alliance, and informed Sardinia and France, 
that, if they made any attempt whatever to liberate 
Venetia, all the military power of England and of 
Prussia should be combined with that of Austria to 
repel the movement. 

This was a fearful threat. There were indications 
that other leading northern dynasties would also co-ope- 
rate with England and Prussia. Tliis would surely lead 
to an invasion of France from the Rhine. All Europe 
would thus be plunged into one of the most desolating 
wars earth ever witnessed. 

Thus the liberating army of Sardinia and France was 
arrested in its march. The poor Venetians, to their un- 
utterable disappointment, were left bound more firmly 
than ever, hand and foot, in Austrian cliains. The peauo 
of Villafranca, wliich liberated all of Italy except Vene- 


tia from Austrian rule, sounded the deatli-knell of tliose 
peoples, who, not in Venetia only, but in Hungary, in 
Poland, and in various other parts of Europe, were rising 
to break their chains. 

There is something very affecting in the tones in 
which the noble Kossuth pleaded, and pleaded in vain, 
with the British cabinet, not to intervene against Ve- 
netia, and in favor of Austria. The sympathies of the 
British people were cordially with Kossuth. In his 
celebrated speech in the London Tavern on the 20th 
of May, 1859, the lord-mayor being in the chair, the 
eloquent Hungarian said, — 

" Now, my lord, I do not remember to have heard one 
single official or semi-official declaration, that, if her 
Majesty's government were not to remain neutral, they 
would side with Sardinia and France against Austria ; 
but I have heard many declarations forcibly leading to 
the inference that the alternative was either neutrality, 
or the support of Austria. We are told, that, if a 
French fleet should enter the Adriatic, it might be for 
the interest of England to oppose it ; that, if Trieste 
were attacked, it might be for the interest of England to 
defend it ; that it might be for the interest of England 
to defend Venice. From what ? Of course, from the 
great misfortune of being emancipated from Austria. 

" I love my fatherland more than myself, — more than 
any thing on earth. Inspired by this love, I ask one 
boon, one only boon, from England ; and that is, that she 
shall not support Austria. England has not interfered 
for liberty : let her not interfere for the worst of despot- 
isms, — Austria." 

Ta this imploring cry the cabinet of St. James paid 
no heed. England united with Prussia to help Austria 


hold Venetia. Thus Venetians and Hungarians were 
left to groan in their chains. England, as well as aU the 
other feudal monarchies, has ever been in great dread of 
any republican movement. A large part of the repub- 
licans hoped, that by a compromise, in which monarchi- 
cal forms should be retained, this hostility might be in 
some degree disarmed, and that under these forms the 
spirit of repubhcan equality might be established without 
provoking the armed hostility of Europe. 

Father Gavazzi, one of the most renowned champions 
of Italian liberation, in a letter written to influence the 
British cabinet, dated Aug. 4, 1860, says, — 

" We fight for the sole purpose of uniting all Italy 
under the constitutional sceptre of Victor Emanuel. 
Let Englishmen repudiate the idea that there is any 
thing republican in the present movement; since the 
most ardent advocates of republicanism have sacrificed 
theu' views to the great cause of our independence, 
unity, and constitutional liberties. Be sure, that, if there 
is no intervention in our figlitings, we shall arrive to 
crown in the capital our dear Victor Emanuel king of 

Such was the state of affairs, when Bismarck, who 
had aided England in preventing the liberation of Ve- 
netia, suddenly changed his policy. He had for years 
been maturing his plans to consolidate Germany in one 
great empire, with the King of Prussia at its head. 
In that enterprise, Austria was Prussia's only rival. 
Bismarck had made tlie most extraordinary preparation 
for war with Austria Ijy raising an immense army, giving 
it the most perfect organization and discipline, and arm 
ing it with the most deadly weapons. 

Still Austria was a very formidable military power. 


With her supremacy in Germairy, she could bring a much 
larger force into the field than Prussia, though that ener- 
getic little kingdom had arrayed every able-bodied man 
under her banners. Bismarck, therefore, sent a confi- 
dential envoy to Victor Emanuel to inform him that 
Prussia was about to attack Austria from the north to 
obtain possession of both of the Elbe duchies ; that this 
would furnish Italy with an admirable opportunity, by 
co-operating in an attack upon the south, to wrest Ve- 
netia from Austria. 

Italy eagerly availed herself of the opportunity, 
though perfectly aware that she owed no thanks to 
Prussia, who was consulting only her own interests in 
the alliance. Thus the great Germanic war, so fatal to 
Austria, was ushered in. 

" The London Times " of Dec. 12, 1866, contained the 
following very just tribute to the efforts of the Emperor 
of the French for the hberation of Italy : — 

" The Italians must acknowledge in the Emperor of 
the French their greatest, most unwearied, most gener- 
ous benefactor. To the Italians, the emperor has always 
been, at heart, that Louis Napoleon who took up arms 
for Italy, and against the temporal power, five and thirty 
years ago. It seems as if some vow made by the bed- 
side of his brother, dying in his arms at Forli, swayed 
Napoleon's mind through life, and bade him go firmly, 
however slowly, to his goal. In aU other measures, in 
any other home or foreign policy, the emperor had 
friends and opponents ; but the Italian game was 
played by him single-handed, and the game is won." 

M. Thiers, as we have mentioned, was bitterly opposed 
to the aid which the imperial government lent Italy in 
escaping from Austrian domination, and becoming a con- 


BoliJated kingdom. In his celebrated speech before 
the Legislative Corps on the 18th of March, 18G7, he 
said, — 

" As for me, when distinguished Italians have spoken 
to me of unity, I have said to them, ' No, no, never ! For 
my part, I will never consent to it.' And if, at the time 
when that question came up, I had had the honor to hold 
in my hands the affairs of France, I would not have con- 
sented to it. I would say to you even, that, upon that 
question, the friendship, very ardent and sincere, which 
existed between Monsieur Cavour and me, has been in- 
terrupted." ^ 

The imperial government has been consistent and un- 
wavering in its approval of Italian unity and German 
unity. But for the aid of France, Italy could by no pos- 
sibility have shaken off the yoke of Austria, and have 
become consolidated ; and nothing would have been 
easier than for France to have united her armies with 
those of Austria, and, thus driving back the invading 
Prussians to their native Brandenburg, to have pre- 
vented the unification of Germany. Truly does M. 
Thiers say, that France created the unification of Italy, 
and i)ermitted that of Germany. 

1 "Je vous dirais memc, sur cette question, I'amitid tres sincere et tr^a 
Vive, qui existe entre M. Cavour et moi, a iii iiiterrompue." — Mwiiteur, Msu-cli 
16, 1867. 



USTRIA, which had just emerged from a 
disastrous war with Italy aided by France, 
and now menaced with war by Prussia aided 
by newly-united Italy, had a standing army 
at her disposal of nine hundred thousand 
men. Prussia, having mobilized her whole 
force, could bring six hundred thousand into 
the field. Under the Italian banners, four hundred and 
fifty thousand troops were marshalled. Thus Prussia 
and Italy united could bring over a milhon of men to 
assail Austria in front and rear. 

It was necessary for Austria to divide her forces to 
meet this double assault. Strong garrisons were also 
requisite to hold the Hungarians in subjection, who 
seemed upon the eve of rising. An outbreak in Hun- 
gary would surely lead to an insurrection in Poland. 
This would bring the armies of Russia into the arena. 
Thus all Europe was menaced with war. 

In view of this awful conflagration which now threat- 
ened Europe, and to avert which the Emperor of the 
French had proposed a congress, England manifested 
regret in not having acceded to that pacific overture. 
Lord Cowley was sent in haste with a despatch from 



Lord Clarendon to the Emperor of the French, contain- 
ing the announcement that England would withdraw 
her declinature to the proposal of a congress, and was 
now prepared to unite with France in that measure. 
The reply which the Emperor of the French made, as 
reported to the British cabinet by Lord Cowley, was as 
follows : — 

" In 1859, England refused to assist me in the libera- 
tion of Italy, and, by her coalition with Germany, com- 
pelled me to stop short, leaving the work undone. 

" When in 1864 I proposed a congress for the pur- 
pose of removing the endless complications which I 
foresaw would result from the Danish war, it was still 
England that opposed my project, and did her utmost to 
make it abortive. 

" Now she wants peace, even at the price of the con- 
gress which she then rejected. I will, however, assure 
her jNIajesty that I am ready to do all I can to prevent 
war ; but, as the most favorable opportunity for doing 
so has passed, I can no longer take upon myself the re- 
sponsibility for any event that may occur." 

M. Thiers, in his very eloquent speech in the Legisla- 
tive Coi-ps against the liberation of Italy, had said, — 

" No sovereign should create voluntarily, on his own 
frontier, a state of twenty-five millions of inhabitants. 
By committing such a fault, we have not promoted the 
welfare of France, of Italy, or of Europe." 

The ambitious desires of Prussia to unite all Germany 
under one empire, either roused M. Thiers' apprehen- 
sions anew, or presented him another favorable opportu- 
nity to attack the imperial government. He united with 
the democrats in this opposition, hoping to reconstruct 
upon the ruins of the empire the Orleans throne. On 


the other hand, the democrats hoped upon those ruins 
to rear a republic. 

With terrible energies of denunciation, M. Thiers 
condemned the government of being "guilty of the 
greatest of all possible blunders " in allowing the forma- 
tion of a united Germany. With great powers of elo- 
quence, he called upon France to rouse all her military 
strength to resist the ambitious encroachments of 

It is clear, that, had France then pursued the policy 
urged by Thiers, Prussia could have been overwhelmed. 
Comparatively weak as Prussia then was, France, aided 
by Austria, could, with all ease, have driven the Prus- 
sians across the Rhine, and have regained her ancient 
boundary. Thus the terrible humiliation which now 
overwhelms France would have been averted ; and the 
empire, protected by the Rhine, could bid defiance to 
German invasion. 

But, in pursuing this course, France must have proved 
false to her most sacredly-avowed principle of allowing 
the people of each nationality to unite in a consolidated 
government. She would also have been compelled to 
send her soldiers, fresh from the fields of Magenta and 
Solferino, to fight against the unification of Italy, by 
aiding Austria to retain her hold upon Venetia. The 
empire refused thus to ignore its principles, and embrace 
in their stead the doctrine of political expediency. 

Therefore, in opposition to the forcible arguments of 
M. Thiers, the imperial government emphatically re- 
avowed its adhesion to the doctrine of " nationalities." 

This doctrine had been unfolded in the following 
terms by the Emperor Napoleon I. at St. Helena : — 

" One of my great plans," said Napoleon to Las Casas 


on the 11th of November, 1816, " was the rejoining, the 
concentration, of those same geographical nations which 
have been disunited and parcelled out by revolution and 
pohcy. There are dispersed in Europe upwards of 
thirty millions of French, fifteen millions of Spaniards, 
fifteen milUons of Italians, and thirty millions of Ger- 
mans ; and it was my intention to incorporate these sev- 
eral people each into one nation. It would have been 
a noble thing to have advanced into posterity with such 
a train, and attended by the blessings of future ages. I 
felt myself worthy of this glory. 

" In this state of things, there would have been some 
chance of establishing in every country a unity of 
codes, of principles, of opinions, of sentiments, views, 
and interests ; then perhaps, by the help of the uni- 
versal diffusion of knowledge, one might have thought 
of attempting in the great European family the appli- 
cation of the American Congress, or of the Amphicty- 
ons of Greece. V/hat a perspective of power, grandeur, 
liappiness, and prosperity, would thus have appeared ! 

'^ Tlie concentration of thirty or forty millions of 
Frenclimen was completed and perfected ; that of fifteen 
millions of Spaniards was nearly accomplished. Three 
or four years would have restored the Spaniards to pro- 
found peace and brilliant prosperity. They would liave 
become a compact nation, and I should have well de- 
served then- gratitude; for I should have saved them 
from the tyranny with which they are now oppressed, 
and from the terrible agitations that await them. 

" With regard to the fifteen millions of Italians, their 
concentration was already far advanced : it only wanted 
maturity. The people were daily becoming more estab- 
lislied in the unity of principles and legislation, and also 


in the unity of thouglit and feeling, — that certain and 
infallible cement of human concentration. The union 
of Piedmont to France, and the junction of Parma, 
Tuscany, and Rome, were, in my mind, only temporary 
measures, intended merely to guarantee and promote the 
national education of the Italians. 

" All the south of Europe would soon have been ren- 
dered compact in point of locality, views, opinions, sen- 
timents, and interests. The concentration of the Ger- 
mans must have been effected more gradually ; and 
therefore I had done no more than simplify their mon- 
strous complication. How happens it that no German 
prince has yet formed a just notion of the spirit of his 
nation, and turned it to good account? Certainly, if 
Heaven had made me a prince of Germany, I should 
infallibly have governed the thirty millions of Germans 

" At all events, this concentration will certainly be 
brought about, sooner or later, by the very force of 
events. The impulse is given ; and I tliink, that since 
my fall, and the destruction of my system, no grand 
equiLibrium can possibly be established in Europe, except 
by the concentration and confederation of the principal 
nationalities. The sovereign who, in the first great con- 
flict, shall sincerely embrace the cause of the people, 
will find himseK at the head of all Europe, and may 
attempt whatever he pleases." ^ 

In advocacy of these views, France had assisted in 
liberating the Italians from the thraldom of Austria, and 
in promoting the unification of Italy. The emperor had 
also stated, ia an address to the Corps L^gislatif, that 

* Abbott's Napoleon at St. Helena, pp. 272-274. 


France had neither the right nor tlic disposition to inter- 
fere with the attempts which might be made for the uni- 
fication of Germany. These views were very violently 
assailed by the opposition, consisting of united legiti- 
mists and republicans. 

In the German war, France remained neutral. The 
hostile armies were soon upon the move. Two millions 
of men, along lines hundreds of leagues in extent, 
armed with the most formidable weapons of modern 
warfare, were rusliing against each other. Europe 
looked on, appalled by the spectacle. The genius of 
Bismarck was conspicuous on this occasion. For years 
he had been preparing for the struggle which he knew 
that the measures he was introducing would inaugurate. 
The Prussian army was in the highest state of discipline ; 
all the material of war abundant, and in the right posi- 
tion ; and the infantry were provided with arms capable 
of such rapidity of fire, that, in effective service, one 
Prussian could throw as many bullets as three Austrians. 

War was declared on the 18th of June, 18GG, with the 
usual appeal to God, on both sides, for his aid, and the 
usual declaratiou that each party had drawn the sword 
only in defence of justice and liberty. At a given sig- 
nal, the Prussian armies from the north plunged simul- 
taneously and impetuously into the Austrian provinces. 
At the same time, the Italians from the south, in divis- 
ions whose united strength amounted to four hundred 
thousand men, rushed into Venetia. 

The reader wouhl be weary with the details of the 
battles, — the cliarges and tlie repulses, the awful scenes 
of carnage, conflagration, and misery, which ensued. 
For forty days, this tempest of war raged with scarcely 
a moment's intermission. The spectacle was sucli an 


had seldom been witnessed on earth before. The disci- 
pHne of the armies, their numbers, and the murderous 
engines of war which they wielded, secured results which 
had never before been accomplished in so short a period. 

The advance of the Prussian armies was almost as 
resistless as the sweep of the tornado or of the ava- 
lanche. Their path was over smouldering ruins, and 
through pools of blood, as they drove before them their 
foes, ever desperately fighting. With perfect organiza- 
tion, and armed with the terrible ne(;dle-gun, they over- 
ran kingdoms, dukedoms, and principalities almost as 
fast as armies could march. 

Francis Joseph, in terror, was compelled to withdraw 
his troops from Venetia, to repel, if possible, the Prus- 
sian advance upon his capital. Too proud to surrender 
the province to the Italians, he transferred it to France. 
It was probably his hope that France, in possession of 
so magnificent a pledge, would be able, by some friendly 
intervention, to arrest those devastations of war which 
the imperial government had, before hostilities com- 
menced, endeavored to avert by means of a congress ; 
but Prussia, now flushed with victory, would listen to 
no terms but such as she herself might dictate. 

France immediately surrendered Venetia to Italy. 
Kossuth was in Italy, shouting the war-cry, and calling 
upon the Hungarians to rush into the Italian ranks. 

" Hungarians ! " he exclaimed, " flock to the standard 
of Victor Emanuel : here is your place of honor. Aus- 
tria is our enemy. Italy gave shelter, bread, and kind- 
ness to the exiled Hungarians. 

" Italy is for Italians : Hungary is for the Hungarians. 
Out with Austria from Italy ! Out with Austria from 
Hungary I Come here, my braves ! I await you ; and I 

^3S H lUO^^ ,; 


call upon 3^011 also iu the name of Garibaldi, who is 
ready to draw his glorious sword in behalf of Hungary, 
which will rise and break her chains." 

In the terrible battle of Sadowa, which was fought 
near a small village of that name, about five miles from 
Koniggratz, the mihtary power of Austria was, for the 
time being, broken down. In that conflict there were 
two hundred and fifty thousand men engaged on each 
side. The very hiUs trembled beneath the concussion 
of fifteen hundred pieces of artillery. The Austrians 
were utterly routed, and with dreadful slaughter. In a 
campaign of seven weeks, Austria had lost nearly one 
hundred thousand men. 

The banners of the victorious Prussians were now 
visible from the steeples of Vienna. Further resistance 
was hopeless. Humiliated Austria, prostrate and bleed- 
ing, was compelled to accede to whatever terms the con- 
queror proposed. Prussia demanded the sovereignty 
over all the provinces she had overrun. Thus she 
obtained both Schleswig and Holstcin, the kingdom of 
Hanover, the kingdom of Saxony, the magnificent duke- 
dom of Saxony, large parts of Bohemia, Austrian Silesia, 
and Bavaria, wdth minor dukedoms and principalities 
too numerous to mention. 

Though there was, at first, a slight disposition mani- 
fested by Prussia to veil these conquests behind tlie 
verbiage of diplomatic phrases and pious utterances, it 
was soon evident that all these realms were virtually 
annexed to the Prussian kingdom. In a campaign of 
about forty days. Count Bismarck had doubled the ter- 
ritory, and doubled the population, of Prussia. Thus 
suddenly, Prussia, from a second-rate kingdom, liad risen 
to an equality in rank with tlic most powerful mon- 


archies in Europe. In population and in military 
strength, she was fully equal to France. In addition to 
this, she held both banks of the Rhine. Prussia could 
thus, from her strong fortresses on the Rhine, invade 
France at her pleasure. Should she meet with any re- 
verse, her armies could retire behind that broad and 
rapid river, both banks frowning with Prussian fortress- 
es, and bid defiance to pursuit. 

The door from Prussia into France was wide open : 
tlie door from France into Prussia was hermetically 



N consequence of the immense conquests 
made by Prussia, France found herself with- 
out any natural boundary to protect herself 
from one of tlie most formidable of European 
powers. By the treaties of 1815, the allies 
had placed in the hands of Prussia both 
banks of the Rhine and the Valley of the 



The avowed object of this cession to Prussia of those 
provinces south of the Rhine which had belonged to 
France was to deprive France of any available northern 
boundary ; so that, should there be another popular 
uprising in France, an avenue would be opened, lined 
with Prussian fortresses, through which the allied troops 
might march into the heart of the kingdom. 

All France now became agitated with the new peril 
with which the empire was menaced. A rival nation, 
with institutions in many respects hostile to those of 
France, and, in all the elements of national power, the 
equal of France ; a nation ambitious, encroaching, and 
with apparently boundless designs of enlargement, — 
had the command of the portals of the empire from the 
north. And this government, adhering to feudal abso- 



lutism, was bitterly hostile to tlie republican principles 
wliicli the empire advocated. 

In a speech which M. Thiers addressed the Legislative 
Corps on the 3d of December, 1867, he said, — 

" The Germanic Confederation, which, for fifty years, 
has been the principal authority for maintaining the 
peace of the world, has disappeared, and has been re- 
placed by a military monarchy, which disposes of forty 
millions of men. You are placed between two unities, — 
one of which, Italy, you made ; and the other, Prussia, 
you permitted. They are joining hands over the Alps. 
They only consent to preserve peace on condition that 
you will allow the one to complete itself by seizing upon 
the States of the pope, and the other to swallow up the 
German governments of the south. Such is the situa- 
tion ; and I defy any one to deny it." 

In the course of this exciting debate, the French 
minister, M. Drouyn de Lhuys, read a letter from the 
Emperor of the French in reference to the proposed 
congress, containing the following sentiments : — 

" Had the conference assembled, my government 
would have declared that France repudiated all idea of 
territorial aggrandizement so long as the European equi- 
librium remained undisturbed. 

" We should have deshed for the German confederacy 
a position more worthy of its importance, — for Prussia, 
better geographical boundaries ; for Austria, the main- 
tenance of her distinguished position in Europe after 
the cession of Venetia to Italy in exchange for territo- 
rial compensation. 

" France could only think of an extension of her fron- 
tiers in the event of the map of Europe being altered to 
the profit of a great p>oiver^ and of the bordering provinces 


expressing hi) a formal and free vote their desire for 
annexation^ ^ 

Alluding to the severe attacks upon the government 
for refusing to oppose the unification of Germany, the 
emperor had said in his discourse at the opening of the 
session of the Legislative Corps, on the loth of Feb- 
ruary, 18G5, — 

" In reference to the conflict wliich has risen upon the 
Baltic, my government, cherishing sympathies for Den- 
mark, and kind wishes for Germany, has observed the 
strictest neutrality. Summoned in a conference to ex- 
press its opinion, it has limited itself to the avowal of 
the principle of nationalities, and of the right of the pop- 
ulations to be consulted respecting their destiny. Our 
language, corresponding with the attitude which we wish 
to preserve, has been moderate, and friendly towards 
both parties." ^ 

It is a little remarkable, that while the illustrious 
French statesman, M. Thiers, so severely censures the 
emperor for befriending German unity, the illustrious 
American senator, Mr. Sumner, with equal severity con- 
demns him for opposing that unity. 

" Early in life," says Mr. Sumner, " a ' charcoal ' con- 
spirator against kings, he now became a crowned con- 
spirator against republics. The name of a republic was 
to him a reproof; while its glory was a menace. Against 
the Roman republic he conspired early ; and, when the 
rebellion waged by slavery seemed to afford opportunity, 
he conspired against our republic, promoting as far as he 

> Monitcur, .Tunc 13, 18G6. 

' La I'olitiquo ImjK/riale, Expo^^e paries Discours et Proclamations dc I'Em- 
pcrcur Napol(5on III., dcpuis ic 10 Dccombrc, 1S48, jusqu'cn Juillct, 1865, 
p. 423. 


dared the independence of the slave States, and at the 
same time, on the ruins of the Mexican repubhc, setting 
up a mock empire. In similar spirit has he conspired 
against German unity ^ whose just streyigth promised to he 
a ivall against his unprincipled ambition.'''' ^ 

France had been terribly humiliated by the march of 
the allies to Paris, and by those treaties of 1815, which, 
wresting from her the natural boundary of the Rhine, 
had left the kingdom defenceless from invasion from 
the north. Even the Bourbons, who had taken part in 
those treaties, felt keenly the national humiliation ; but 
they submitted to it from fear that the people might 
again rise in defence of popular rights, and that again 
the presence of the allied armies might be needed to 
maintain the Bourbon throne. 

The years rolled on, — the sad years of disquiet and 
suffering which have imbittered all the centuries. At 
last, even the Bourbons could endure the shame no 
longer of having the northern provinces of France in 
the hands of a foreign nation, and those very fortresses 
which had been constructed to guard France from in- 
vasion garrisoned by foreign troops. 

But these Rhine provinces had been assigned to Prus- 
sia by treaties which all the governments assembled at 
Vienna were pledged to maintain. Even the Bourbons 
themselves had agreed to hold them sacred. They could 
not be regained without war and also perfidy on the j art 
of the Bourbon government. 

The discontent, however, of the people was so great, 
in view of this degradation, that the Bourbons thought 
it would be a popular measure, and would strengthen 

* Senator Sumner on the war, New- York Herald, Oct. 29. 


them oil the throne, should they make an attempt to 
regain these provinces, even at the expense of their 
plighted word and of a war. 

Viscount Chateaubriand was one of the ministers of 
Charles X. He testifies in his memoirs that the gov- 
ernment of Charles X. had entered into a secret treaty 
uith Russia to aid her in her designs upon Constantino- 
ple ; and, in return, Russia was to aid France in regain- 
ing her lost Rhenish provinces. 

Just before there was time to execute this treaty, 
there was, in the year 1820, a new revolution, in which 
the French people a third time drove the Bourbons from 
the throne. By the adroit management of a few opu- 
lent and influential men in Paris, the crown was placed 
upon the brow of Louis Philippe, without submitting 
the question to the vote of the people. 

Louis Pliihppe, who could claim the throne neither 
by right of the popular vote nor by the doctrine of 
legitimacy, fearing that the allies might again combine 
in defence of the " divine right " of sovereigns, and re- 
instate the Bourbons, endeavored to secure the support 
of the surrounding dynasties by pledging himself to the 
maintenance of their policy. He therefore wrote to each 
of the leading sovereigns, promising that, in case his 
government was recognized by them, he would respect 
the treaties of 1815 ; which was equivalent to saying 
tiiat he would make no effort to regahi the Rhine prov- 

Alison writes in reference to the secret negotiations 
to which we liave alluded between the Bourhoyi cahhwis 
and Russia, " The result was a secret agreement that 
Russia should support France in the eventual extension 
of its frontier to the Rhine, and that France should 


countenance Russia in the advancing its standards to 
Constantinople. Prussia was to be indemnified for the 
loss of its Rhenish provinces by the half of Hanover ; 
Holland, for the sacrifice of Belgium, by the other half. 
But this agreement, how carefully soever veiled in secre- 
cy, came to the knowledge of the British Government ; 
and it was the information which they had gained in 
regard to it which led to the immediate recognition of 
the government of Louis Philippe." ^ 

" The treaties of 1815," writes Louis Blanc, " had left 
burning traces in the hearts of Frenchmen. These, it 
was hoped, would be effaced by the recovery of the 
Rhine as the frontier of France." 

Again he writes, speaking of the government of Louis 
Philippe, " The first thought of the new government 
had been to obtain recognition. It therefore resolved to 
base its policy upon the maintenance of the treaties of 
1815. Louis Philippe promised to shield from every 
blow the European system established in 1815. His 
accession was therefore hailed with joy by the sovereigns 
who had in 1815 divided the spoils of France between 
them." 2 

This subserviency of Louis Philippe to the policy of 
the allies, rendered him, in France, by far the most un- 
popular monarch who had ever sat upon that throne. 
Still, sustained by the sympathies of all the surrounding 
monarchies, who regarded him as their agent in arresting 
the progress of liberal opinions, he retained the throne 
for about eighteen years. 

The downfall of Louis Philippe in 1848 was followed 

1 Alison's History of Europe, vol. vi. p. 165; also France under Louis 
Philippe, vol. i. p. 88. 

'^ Louis Blanc, vol. i. p. 290. 


by the brief republic, and that by the re-establishment 
of the empire in 1851. Upon the establishment of the 
republic, it was feared by monarchical Europe that 
French armies would immediately be pushed forward to 
seize the ancient boundary of the Rhine. To allay these 
fears, and thus to prevent an armed alliance against the 
republic, the leaders of that party, Ledru Rollin and 
Louis Blanc, issued a circular to the governments of 
Europe, in which they said, — 

" The treaties of 1815 do not exist in right in the 
63-68 of the French Republic. But war does not neces- 
sarily follow from that declaration. The territorial 
limits fixed by those treaties are the bases which the 
republic is willing to take as the point of departure iu 
its external relations with other nations." 

They hoped by this declaration, that, for the present^ 
they would make no attempt to push their boundaries to 
the Rhine to allay the fears of those who were pledged 
to maintain the treaties of Vienna. 

When Louis Napoleon was chosen president, the allies 
were much alarmed. It was quite manifest that this 
election would prove but a stepping-stone to the re-es- 
tablishment of the empire ; and it was very certain that 
the empire, once consolidated in any thing like its fornun" 
splendor, would insist, eventually, upon its ancient and 
only natural boundary on the Rhine. " The London 
Morning Post " of 1852 said, — 

" The allies are wUling to tolerate the temporary presi- 
dency of the nephew of Napoleon ; but they will not 
tolerate the transformation of the presidency into an 

The French people do not appear to have been intimi- 
dated l)y tliis threat. They were not disposed to iiKpiire 


of the British cabinet what government France might 
adopt. In six months after the utterance of this threat, 
the French people, by majorities which astounded Eu- 
rope, re-estabhshed the empire, and chose the heir of 
Napoleon as emperor. 

The two extreme parties, the legitimists and the 
republicans, were united in the Corps L^gislatif in oppo- 
sition to the imperial government. As we have men- 
tioned, the government was severely censured by this 
opposition for aiding in the unification of Italy, and for 
permitting Prussia to create a great German nation of 
forty millions of population. In an address at the open- 
ing of the chambers on the 18th of November, 1866, 
the emperor said, in allusion to these censures, — 

" Notwithstanding the declaration of my government, 
which has never varied in its pacific attitude, the belief 
has been spread that any modification in the internal sys- 
tem of Germany must become a cause of conflict. It is 
necessary to accept frankly the changes which have taken 
place on the other side of the Rhine ; to proclaim, that, 
so long as our interests and our dignity shall not be 
threatened, we will not interfere in the transformations 
effected by the wish of the populations." ^ 

On the 14th of February, 1867, the emperor, after 
the astounding conquests of Prussia, still more explicitly 
expressed his views upon the subject in the following 
words : — 

" Since your last session, serious events have arisen in 
Europe. Although they may have astonished the world 
by their rapidity and by the importance of their results, 
it appears, that, according to the anticipation of the first 

* La Politique Imp^riale. 


emperor, there was a fatality in their fulfihiient. Napo- 
leon said at St. Helena, — 

" ' One of ni}^ great ideas has been the agglomeration 
and concentration of the same nations, geographically 
considered, who have been scattered piecemeal by revo- 
lutions and policy. This agglomeration will take place 
sooner or later by force of circumstances. The impulse 
is given ; and I do not think, that, after my fall and the 
cUsappearance of my system, there will be any other 
great equilibrium possible than the agglomeration and 
confederation of great nations.' 

" The transformations," continues Napoleon III., 
" which have taken place in Italy and Germany, pave the 
way for the realization of this vast programme of the 
union of the European States in one solo confederation. 
The spectacle of the efforts made by the neighboring 
nations to assemble their members, scattered abroad for 
so many centuries, cannot cause disquiet in such a 
country as ours, all the parts of which are irrevocably 
bound up with each other, and form a homogeneous and 
indestructible body. 

" We have been impartial witnesses of the struggle 
which has been waged on the other side of the Rhine. 
In presence of these conflicts, the country strongly mani- 
fested its wish to keep aloof from it. Not only did I 
defer to this wish, but I used every effort to hasten the 
conclusion of peace." ^ 

• Speech at the opening of the French Chambers, Feb. 14, 1867. 



'RANGE had felt very uneasy in having her 
northern provinces and fortresses in the hands 
of Prussia, even when that kingdom was a 
feeble power, numbering but eighteen millions. 
But France could not move to recover those 
provinces without bringing against her all of 
monarchical Europe, pledged to maintain the 
treaties of 1815. 

But now Prussia, in entire disregard of those treaties, 
had engaged in as stupendous a system of conquests as 
Europe had ever witnessed. She had suddenly risen to 
the position of a first-class power. The Prussian king- 
dom had become an organized camp. Every man was a 
soldier. The armies of Austria had been scattered by 
her military bands like sheep by wolves. In population, 
in resources, in the number and appointment of her 
armies, she had become at least fully the equal of France. 
And yet she held both banks of the Rhine. She held 
the Valley of the Moselle. There was neither mountain- 
range nor river to present any barrier to the impetuous 
rush of her legions into the heart of France. 

On the other hand, should an invading Prussian army 
be repelled, and find it necessary to retreat, it need only 



retire behind the broad and rapid Rhine, with all the 
bridges at its command, and the most formidable for- 
tresses fringing both its banks ; and there it could rest in 

It is said that ambition grows with what it feeds upon. 
Prussia, instead of being satiated with the enormous 
acquisitions which she had made, was supposed to be 
looking around for new conquests. The French " Jour- 
nal Officiel " says, — 

" No one can ignore the ambitious designs of Prussia 
against Holland. Bismarck wishes that little nation to 
submit, as the Danish duchies were forced to submit. 
He wished to render Holland a naval State of the North 
German Confederation. But for the stand taken by 
France, Prussian policy woidd have proved fatal to the 
inde*pendence of the Netherlands." 

Under these changed circumstances, every man, of all 
parties, in France, became alarmed. It was deemed fear- 
ful to leave the key of entrance into France in the hands 
of so majestic and menacing a power. Bourbonists, 
Orleanists, Imperialists, and Republicans, all alike were 
agitated. And yet the hands of France seemed tied. 
Prussia made no attack upon France : she was simply 
gaining gigantic strength, which would soon enable her 
to dictate laws to the French Empire, and to be the con- 
trolling power in Europe. 

Such was the state of affairs when the sagacious Bis- 
marck endeavored to place Leopold of Hohenzollern 
upon the throne of Spain. Leopold was a prince of one 
of the most important principalities of Prussia, a near 
relative of the royal family, and a colonel in the Prussian 
army. The successful accomplishment of this feat woidd 
indeed have been the revival of the empire of Charle- 



magne ; Spain would have been but a province of the 
great German Empire, submissive to the crown of Prus- 
sia ; France would have been quite at the mercy of this 
gigantic power. And yet it was very adroitly done. 

"You Frenchmen," said Bismarck through all his 
organs, " profess that the people have a right to choose 
their own sovereigns. Has not Spain, then, a right to 
choose her monarch ? And, if Spain choose Leopold of 
HohenzoUern, is it not intolerable insolence in France to 
pretend to object to this free choice of a free people ? 
and can Prussia submit to the insult of being commanded 
by France to forbid Leopold to accept the crown offered 
him by the suffrages of an independent nation? " 

In reply, the French journal, " Le Gaulois," very 
forcibly puts the other side of the question : — 

" Let us look back a httle. Prussia seized Schleswig 
and Holstein : we said nothing. Prussia accomphshed 
Sadowa : we were silent. Prussia made fresh annexa- 
tions : we held our peace. Prussia occasioned the 
serious difficulty about Luxemburg : we were concilia- 
tory. Prussia enthroned a HohenzoUern in Roumania : 
we said nothing. Prussia violated her engagements at 
the treaty of Prague : we do not resent it. 

" Bismarck has now prepared for us a candidate for 
the throne of Spain to cut our hamstrings, and to crush 
us between him and the Spaniards as he crushed Aus- 
tria between Germany and Italy. If we had submitted 
to this last affront, there is not a woman in the world 
who would have accepted the arm of a Frenchman." 

A writer in " The New-York Herald," commenting 
upon this subject, writes, " No statement touching the 
war is more flagrantly impudent and unjust than that 
accredited to ' The London Times,' — that France, with- 


out a shadow of excuse or justification, plunges Europe 
into war. 

" On the contrary, regarding the situation from an im- 
partial standpoint, it does not appear that France is 
without justification. So far from it, it appears that 
France could not, without humiliation, stand in any 
other position than that which she now assumes. 

" It was not merely the candidacy of Hohenzollern 
France objected to : it was the appearance of Prussia 
bej^ond the Pyrenees ; it was the assumption of Prussia 
to take possession of Spain as if it were a German 
duchy. France was fully justified in making an indig- 
nant protest against this." 

A very interesting article upon the war recently ap- 
peared in " The New- York Observer," from the pen of 
Mr. J. T. Headley, who probably is as famihar with 
the politics of Europe as anj^ other American. In this 
article, Mr. Headley says, — 

" That Bismarck anticipated, na}^ desired war, there 
can be little doubt. His object was twofold : first, to 
consolidate Germany ; second, to secure a safe frontier 
against France. Most people may have forgotten that 
this question of placing a German prince on the throne 
of Spain was raised a year ago, and demanded an ex- 
planation. Bismarck ridiculed the whole thing as a 

" From that moment, at least, he knew that an at- 
tempt to bring about such an event would result in war. 
Then why did he allow such a firebrand to be thrown 
into France ? He knew, from the conduct of the 
French minister a year before, that war would follow ; 
and, if he did not desire war, he could easily have pre- 
vented Prim's proposition from being offered or made 


public. Moreover, Prim had no authority or power to 
make it ; showing, conclusively, that the whole thing was 
concocted between him and Bismarck to bring about 
just what happened. 

" To make this still more apparent, note, that from the 
time, a year before, when the manner in which the ru- 
mored proposition was received foretold the result, he 
commenced putting Germany on a war-footing. Cars 
for the express purpose of transporting troops were 
built, and lay in trains along the various railroads of the 
State. More than this, the result proved, that, before 
the shell that had been prepared exploded, he had 
called out and concentrated his troops so near the fron- 
tier, that while Bonaparte, by his sudden declaration of 
war, and advance to the Rhine, expected to be eight 
or ten days ahead of his adversary, he was more than 
that time behind him. 

" Such an accumulation of circumstantial evidence 
furnishes incontestable proof of a deep, well-laid plot, 
on the part of Bismarck, to provoke a war." ^ 

A nation of forty millions of people, as intelligent, as 
enhghtened and liberty-loving, as any people on the 
globe, does not unanimously rush into war without 
truly believing that there is some provocation.^ 

In France, this is not a war of the government, but 
of the people ; not a war to aggrandize a dynasty, but 
to rectify a frontier. It can, with more propriety, be 

* New- York Observer, Oct. 27, 1870. 

2 " Bismarck, who had played with Austria before 1866 till he kaew that 
he had a force iu hand strong enough to crush her, gained time by fooling the 
French diplomatists till every thing was in so perfect a state of preparation, 
that, within a fortnight after war had been declared, half a million of trained 
eoldiers were ready to enter France:' — Marichtster {Euffland) Guardian, Axxg* 
25, 1870 


said that the people impelled the government to the 
war, than that the government dragged the people into 
it. It is the general admission, that the people, instinc- 
tively alarmed by the enormous growth of Prussia, and 
less informed of the relative strength of the two powers 
than the government, demanded war with a degree of 
unanimity which no government could have withstood, 
even if disposed to do so. 

It has been the general impression in the United 
States, that the imperial government had sedulously 
fostered the war-spirit in France ; that the whole em- 
pire was converted into a military camp, and that thus 
all Europe was compelled to keep up enormous arma- 
ments. The startling events Avhich have occurred 
show how erroneous was this opinion. Just before the 
breaking-out of the war, the French minister, the Duke 
de Grammont, said, in a circular published in the " Jour- 
nal Officiel," — 

" If Europe remains armed, if a million of men are 
on the eve of the shock of battle, it cannot be denied 
that the responsibility is Prussia's, as she repulsed all 
idea of disarmament lohen we caused the jrroposal to he 
made and began hy giving the example. The conscience 
of Europe and history will say that Prussia sought this 
war by inflicting upon France, pre-occupied with the 
development of her political institutions, an outrage no 
nation could accept without incurring contempt." 

The deputies of the Corps Ldgislatif, chosen by uni- 
versal suffrage, and consequently representing all par- 
ties, sustained tlie war by a vote of 24(3 to 10. In tlie 
Senate, composed of two hundred and fifty of tlic most 
illustrious men in France, it is not rc[)orted that there 
was a single dissentient voice. Immediately after the 


decisive vote in the Corps Legislatif, the Senate, in a 
body, on the 17th of July, repaired to St. Cloud to 
pledge to the emperor their cordial support in the con- 
duct of the war. In a very emphatic speech which M. 
Rouher made upon the occasion, he said, " Your Majes- 
ty draws the sword, and the whole country goes with 

" The right is on our side," exclaims the " Courrier des 
Etats-Unis : " " the world cannot refuse to see it. At 
this hour, the hearts of all Frenchmen beat in unison. 
'•To the Rhine ' is the cry of the whole nation." 

One hundred million dollars were in a few hours sub- 
scribed to the war-fund. A hundred thousand volun- 
teers came forward, almost in a day, to join the army. 

In Germany, the people followed, they did not lead, 
the government ; but they followed with the enthusi- 
asm, and all the deep conviction, that they were in the 
right, which inspired the French. How deplorable is 
this spectacle ! what a comment upon the frailty of 
human nature ! Here are forty millions of people on 
either side of the Rhine. They are rushing against 
each other with the utmost conceivable fury, crimsoning 
the battle-fields with blood, and filling the two kingdoms 
with widowhood, orphanage, and misery ; and each par- 
ty, through thousands of churches, appeals to God in 
attestation of the righteousness of its cause. There 
can be no doubt that there are, on both sides, thousands 
of sincere Christians, who conscientiously invoke the 
assistance of Heaven. 

France assumes that she is fighting to regain her origi- 
nal and legitimate boundaries, — boundaries which she 
deems essential to her independent existence under the 
changed .state of affairs in Europe. Prussia assumes 


that she is fighting to resist a wanton and unprovoked 
attack from France, who is endeavoring to wrest from 
her important portions of her territory, — territory 
which she has held, without dispute, for half a century. 
Throughout Cluistendom, intelligent, conscientious 
religious communities are divided. Millions are in 
warm sympathy with Prussia : other milhons are no 
less ardent in their prayers for the success of the arms 
of France. Surely such facts should teach a lesson of 



ND now events of the most momentous na- 
ture succeeded each other with marvellous 
rapidity. The ex-queen, Isabella of Spain, 
an exile in Paris, on Sunday, the 26th of 
June, 1870, formally abdicated the throne 
in favor of her eldest son, Prince Alphonso. 
On Tuesday, the 6th of July, the intelli- 
gence was made public in the streets of Paris that the 
Prussian court was secretly intriguing to place Prince 
Leopold of Hohenzollern on the vacant throne of Spain. 
The abdication of Isabella in favor of Alphonso had 
but little force, since neither the ex-queen nor her son 
dared to cross the Pyrenees to enter the Idngdom from 
which insurrection had expelled them. 

It will be remembered, that, once before, the rumor 
had been circulated, that Prussia was intriguing to place 
one of her princes on the Spanish throne, and that Bis- 
marck had declared that there was no foundation for the 
rumor. The tidings which now reached the French 
court, that a Prussian prince was again a candidate for 
the crown once worn by Charles V., caused agitation 
throughout the whole of Paris. It gave immediate rise 
to a very exciting debate in the Legislative Corps. All 



parties seemed to be united in the conviction, tluit this 
renewed measure of Count Bismarck was a direct menace 
to the independence of France. Ahiiost the universal 
press gave utterance to tlie popular feeling, that the pro- 
posed encroachment must be resisted, even at the peril 
of war. 

The question was one in which imperialists, monarch- 
ists, and republicans were alike interested. If Prussia, 
with forty millions of inhabitants, in compact military 
organization, and already in possession of both banks of 
the Rhine, were virtually to annex Spain to her domain, 
France would be quite at her disposal. The republicans 
had more to fear from this movement than either the 
imperialists or the monarchists ; for there could be no 
question respecting the deadly hostility of Prussia to a 
republic. France had already advanced, in the line of 
popular rights, from the old feudal monarchy to the 
republican empire, founded, not upon " legitimacy," but 
upon universal suffrage. Even this reform excited the 
hatred and the dread of Prussia. Should France still 
take another step, and advance to a republic, no one 
could question that Prussia would summon all her ener- 
gies to crush out those institutions which would be 
threatening Europe with revolution. 

Influenced by such considerations, after mature delib- 
eration, the French minister (the Duke of Grammont) 
gave ofi&cial notice to the Prussian court, on Monday, 
the 11th of July, that France could not permit a German 
prince to ascend tlie throne of Charles V. In the mean 
time, agitation was rapidly increasing all over France. 
The discussion clearly revealed the peril in which Franco 
was placed in having both banlcs of the Rhino in the 
possession of a power which had suddenly assumed such 


gigantic proportions. The conviction became apparently 
universal, that France must immediately, and at all haz- 
ards, reclaim her ancient boundary of the Rhine. She 
did not demand both banks, but only the southern bank, 
as essential to the protection of France ; leaving the 
northern bank with Prussia for the protection of Ger- 
many. Tlie war-cry resounded through France ; but 
that cry was not, " On to Berlin ! " but " On to the 
Rhine ! " AU that France demanded was that ancient 
boundary which she deemed essential to her defence 
from Germanic invasion. 

The next day, July 12, it was announced that Leopold 
was withdrawn from the candidature ; but the agitation 
had become so great and extended, that something more 
than this was needed to allay it. 

" To-morrow," it was said, " sonje new intrigue may 
place some other German prince upon that throne. It 
is not to Leopold personally that we object. We demand 
of Prussia the pledge that she will not place any of her 
princes on the Spanish throne. One Prussian prince is 
just as dangerous as another; and, moreover, these 
encroachments of Prussia show the peril of France. 
Since Prussia has trampled the treaties of 1815 beneath 
her feet in her enormous encroachments, a regard to our 
own safety imperatively demands that we should have 
surrendered back to us the provinces which Prussia holds 
on the south bank of the Rhine." 

On the 14th of July, the King of Prustjia refused to 
receive Count Benedetti, the French ambassador, under 
circumstances which increased the exasperation then 
rapidly rising between the two nations. King William 
accused the count of presenting his demands at an un- 
seemly time and in an insolent manner. The French 


court accused the king of insulting France in the person 
of her ambassador, and of rudely refusing to receive 
propositions intended to avert war. Each nation told 
its own story. Forty millions of Germans believed that 
their king had been impudently approached by the 
French ambassador : forty millions of Frenchmen be- 
lieved that imperial France had been designedly insulted 
by the Prussian monarch. 

On the 15th of July, the French Government, sus- 
tained by the Legislative Corps, by the Senate, and appar- 
ently by the enthusiastic acclaim of the French people, 
declared war against Prussia. Though there were indi- 
vidual remonstrants, it seems to be the undisputed testi- 
mony of the French press, and of all the American and 
English correspondents in France at that time, that the 
general voice of the nation was for war. It is said that 
the emperor, better acquainted than others with the mili- 
tary preparation of the two nations, was almost the only 
man in Paris opposed to the immediate declaration of 
hostihties ; but the popular current was so strong, that 
even he could not resist it. A very intelligent American 
gentleman who Avas in Paris at the time, and who had 
resided in Paris so much of his time as to be quite at 
home in Parisian society, wrote me, — 

" In respect to this war, it seems hardly fair to hold 
Napoleon responsible for it ; since he said, so it is stated, 
that he was opposed to it at the outset, but that the 
French people ' slipped aivay from him,^ and that he was 
obliged to go with them, or lose hold of them entirely. 
This seems, I must acknowledge, rather against my 
theory of government l)y the will of the people ; but 
so, they say, it was. At any rate, all of whom we in- 
quir(!d in Paris told us that the war was generally pop- 


In a brief speech which the emperor made to the 
Senate on the occasion, he said, " War is legitimate 
when it is made with the assent of the country and the 
approbation of its representatives. You are right in 
recalling the words of Montesquieu, ' The true author of 
a war is not he who declares^ but he who renders^ it neees- 
mry.^ " 

In an address to the French people, issued on the 23d 
of July, the emperor said, " There are in the life of 
peoples solemn moments, when the national honor, vio- 
lently excited, presses itself irresistibly, rises above all 
other interests, and applies itself to the single purpose 
of directing the destinies of the nation. One of these 
decisive hours has now arrived for France. 

" Prussia, to whom we have given evidence, during 
and since the war of 1866, of the most conciliatory dis- 
position, has held our good will of no account, and has 
returned our forbearance by encroachments. She has 
aroused distrust in all quarters, in all quarters necessi- 
tating exaggerated armaments ; and has made of Europe 
a camp, where reign disquiet, and fear of the morrow. 

" A final moment has disclosed the instability of the 
international understanding, and shown the gravity of 
the situation. In the presence of her new pretensions, 
Prussia was made to understand our claims. They were 
evaded, and followed with contemptuous treatment. 
Our country manifested profound displeasure at this 
action ; and quickly a war-cr}^ resounded from one end 
of France to the other. 

" There remains for us nothing but to confide our des- 
tinies to the chance of arms. We do not make war 
upon Germany, whose independence we respect. We 
pledge ourselves that the people composing the great 


Germanic nationality sliall dispose freely of tlicir desl i- 
nies. As for us, we demand the establishment of a state 
of things guaranteeing our security, and assuring the 
future. We wish to conquer a durable peace based on 
the true interests of the people, and to assist in abolish- 
ing that precarious condition of things when all nations 
are forced to employ their resources in arming against 
each other." 

King William of Prussia, in accepting the gage of 
battle thus thrown down by France, addressed in the 
following terms the North German Parliament on the 
20th of July : — 

" The King of Prussia had no interest in the selection 
of the Prince of Hohenzollern for the Spanish throne, 
except that it might bring peace to a friendly people. 
It had, nevertheless, furnished the Emperor of the 
French with a pretext for war unknown to diplomacy ; 
and, scorning peace, he has indulged in language to Ger- 
many which could only have been prompted by a mis- 
calculation of her strength. 

" Germany is powerful enough to resent such language 
and repel such violence. I say so in all reverence, know- 
ing that the event is in God's hands. I have fully 
weighed the responsibility which rests on the man who 
drives into war and havoc two great and tranquil nations 
yearning for peace and the enjoyment of ^he common 
blessings of Christian civilization and prosperity, and for 
contests more salutary than those of blood." 

In the declaration of war issued by the French Gov- 
ernment, it was stated that the French were obliged to 
consider the proposal to elevate a Prussian prince to 
the tlirone of Spain as menacing the independence of 
France ; that, consequently, France had requested Prus- 


sia to disavow that scheme ; that Prussia refused to do 
so; that this refusal imperilled France and the Euro- 
pean equilibrium. The declaration concludes with the 
following words : — 

" The French Government, therefore, in taking step,3 
for the defence of its honor and injured interests, and 
having adopted all measures which the circumstances 
render necessary, considers itself at war with Prussia." 

The enthusiasm with which this declaration was 
greeted in France was equalled by the enthusiasm with 
which all Prussia sprung to arms. The whole popula- 
tion rose in support of the king. Somewhat to the sur- 
prise, and greatly to the disappointment, of France, the 
jSouth German States declared their intention to support 
Prussia. Thus both North and South Germany became 
a unit in the prosecution of the war. 

It was found that Prussia was thoroughly prepared 
for the conflict, as though she had anticipated it, and 
had made secret arrangements accordingly. France, on 
the other hand, was found singularly unprepared, indi- 
cating that her government was taken by surprise. 

" The Moscow Gazette " declared, that, though France 
commenced the conflict, it was originated by Prussia. 
"A war with France," it said, "was absolutely neces- 
sary for the unification of Germany. Prussia had felt 
this fatal necessity hanging over her for more than 
three years, and at last had seized the opportunity 
when it was ripe. The war was prepared by the astute 
policy of Berhn, not only at home, but also in the ene- 
my's camp ; and when all was ready, and when France 
was quite incapable of entering on a great war, she was 
goaded into fighting, in such a manner that it seemed 
as if the provocation came from France herself." 


One of the largest armies of which history gives an}' 
record was immediately on the march from Prussia for 
the invasion of France, — an army, in the aggregate, es- 
timated at over seven hundred thousand men. These 
troops were in the highest state of disciplitie, abundant- 
ly supplied, and armed with the most powerful weapons 
of destruction which modern art could create. Anoth- 
er German army, equal in numbers, was held in reserve, 
to be pushed forward in detachments as occasion might 

The Southern German States co-operating with Prus- 
sia enabled Bismarck, from the Prussian fortresses upon 
the Rhine, to commence his march uj)on Paris with 
troops three or four times as numerous as France had 
in tho field to repel them. 



EFORE proceeding any farther, let us turn 
aside for a moment to contemplate what is 
called " The Eastern Question," which has 
become inextricably involved in the compli- 
cations of European diplomacy. It is confi- 
dently afifirmed by the partisans of France, 
that Bismarck, anxious to extend along both 
sides of the Rhine the territory of the great German 
empire he was seeking to construct, goaded France into 
the war (for which Prussia was all prepared), and pur- 
chased the neutrality of Russia by a secret treaty, in 
which he agreed to co-operate with the czar in his 
designs upon Constantinople. 

It has long been the great object of Russian ambition 
to drive the Turks back into Asia, and, seizing upon 
Constantinople, to make it the southern capital of the 
Russian Empire. A brief reference to the geography 
of those regions will show the vast importance of this 
measure to Russia. 

The Mediterranean Sea is connected with the Sea of 
Marmora by a serpentine strait, usually called the 
Hellespont, which is from half a mile to a mile and a 



half in width. At the mouth of this strait there are 
four strong Turkish forts, called the Dardanelles : con- 
sequently the strait itself frequently takes the same 
name. Nothing can be easier than to crown the crags 
and bluffs which line these waters with fortresses that 
no fleet can pass. 

Having threaded the Strait of the Dardanelles, you 
pass into the Sea of Marmora, — a hundred and eighty 
miles in length, and sixty in breadth. Crossing this 
sea to its northern shore, you enter the Bosphorus. This 
strait, which is about fifteen miles long, and of an 
average width of half a mile, conducts you to the Black 
Sea, in itself an ocean, — seven hundred miles long, and 
three hundred broad. The Strait of the Bosphorus is 
considered the most attractive sheet of water upon the 
globe. But a short distance up the strait, on the Euro- 
pean side, the imperial city of Constantine is reared. 
It seems to be the uncontradicted testimony of all 
observers, that earth presents no other site so favorable 
for a great metropolis. 

The Black Sea receives into its immense reservoir not 
only the Danube, but nearly all the majestic rivers of 
Russia, — the Dnieper, the Dniester, and the Don. 

The great empire of Russia, with a territory three 
times as large as that of the United States, and with 
more than twice its population, has no access to the 
ocean for purposes of commerce but by a few sea- 
ports on the Baltic, far away in the north, which, for a 
large portion of the year, are blocked by the ice. It 
seems essential to the prosperity of Russia, to the de- 
velopment of her resources, to her emergence from cora- 
parutive l)arl)arisni, that she should have free connnereial 
intercourse with tlie outside world. It is only through 



the Bospliorus and the Dardanelles that Russia can find 
avenues to this commerce. But the Turks can at any 
time close this door, and refuse to allow any Russian 
ship to enter or depart. In case of war, Turkey can 
thus almost annihilate Russian commerce. 

For about a hundred years it has been the constant 
object of Russian ambition to obtain Constantinople as 
her southern capital, and the Dardanelles and the Bos- 
pliorus as her commercial avenues. This has been the 
constant effort of her diplomacy ; and it has led to many 
sanguinary conflicts. 

When, in 1827, the Greeks emancipated themselves 
from the Turkish yoke, they were encouraged to the 
effort, and aided in the struggle, by Russia. As the re- 
sult of that conflict, the czar took a long stride towards 
the possession of Constantinople ; but all the European 
monarchies seem united in their determmation that 
Russia shall not obtain Constantinople. They say that 
Russia, in possession of the imperial city and of the 
straits which lead to it, would be invulnerable, and 
could bid defiance to combined Europe : the Black Sea 
would become an impregnable harbor ; its shores a navy- 
yard, which no fleet or army could penetrate. 

The anxiety which England feels upon this subject 
may be inferred from the following extract from " The 
London Quarterly Review : " — 

" The possession of the Dardanelles would give to 
Russia the means of creating and organizing an almost 
unlimited marine. It would enable her to prepare in 
the Black Sea an armament of any extent, without its 
being possible for any power in Europe to interrupt her 
proceedings, or even to watch or discover her designs. 
It is obvious, that, in the event of war, it would be in the 


power of Russia to throw the whole weight of lier dispo- 
sable forces on any point in the Mediterranean, without 
any probability of our being able to prevent it. Her 
whole southern empire would be defended by a single 
impregnable fortress. The road to India would be open 
to her, with all Asia at her back. The finest materials 
in the world for an array destined to serve in the East 
woidd be at her disposal. Our power to overawe her in 
Europe would be gone ; and, by even a demonstration 
against India, she could augment our national expendi- 
ture by millions annually, and render the government 
of the country difficult beyond all calculation." 

M. Meneval, the private secretary of Napoleon I,, 
testifies, that, in one of the interviews of the emperor 
with Alexander I., the czar ofi^ered to co-operate with 
the Emperor of France in all his plans of aggrandize- 
ment, if Napoleon would consent that Russia should 
take possession of Constantinople. The emperor, after 
a moment's reflection, replied, " Constantinople, never ! 
It is the empire of the world." ^ 

On the 6th of November, 1816, Napoleon, at St. 
Helena, conversing with Las Casas, said, " Russia has a 
vast superiority over the rest of Europe in regard to the 
immense powers she can call up for the purpose of inva- 
sion, together with the physical advantages of her situa- 
tion under the pole, and backed by eternal bulwarks of 
ice, which, in case of need, will render her inaccessible. 
Who can avoid shuddering at the thought of such a vast 
mass, unassailaljlc on the flanks or in the rear, descending 
upon us with impunity ; if triumphant, overwhelming 
every thing in its course ; or, if defeated, retiring amidst 

' SIciicviil, Vic Privde do Napol(5on. 


the cold and desolation whicli may be called its forces 
of reserve, and possessing every facility of issuing forth 
again at every opportunity ? Constantinople is, from its 
situation, calculated to be the seat and centre of univer- 
sal dominion." ^ 

Again : on the 14th of February, 1817, Dr. O'Meara 
inquired of the emperor if it were true that Alexander 
of Russia intended to seize Constantinople. The em- 
peror replied, — 

" All his thoughts are directed to the conquest of 
Turkey. We have had many discussions about it. At 
first I was pleased with his proposals, because I thought 
it would enhghten the world to drive those brutes, the 
Turks, out of Europe ; but when I reflected upon the 
consequences, and saw what a tremendous weight of 
power it would give to Russia on account of the num- 
ber of Greeks in the Turkish dominions who would 
naturally join the Russians, I refused to consent to it, 
especially as Alexander wanted to get Constantinople, 
which I would not allow ; for it would destroy the equi- 
librium of power in Europe."^ 

A few months after this, on the 27th of May, 1817, 
the conversation again turned on this all -important 
subject, in the humble apartment of the exile at St. 
Helena. Speaking to Dr. O'Meara, the emperor said, — 

" In the course of a few years, Russia will have Con- 
stantinople, the greatest part of Turkey, and all Greece. 
Almost all the cajohng and flattery which Alexander 
practised towards me was to gain my consent to effect 
this object. In the natural course of things, in a few 
years Turkey must fall to Russia. The powers it could 

* Napoleon at St. Helena, p. 451. * Idem, p. 534. 


injure, who could oppose it, are England, France, Prus- 
sia, and Austria. Now, as to Austria, it will be very 
easy for Russia to engage her assistance by giving her 
Servia, and other provinces bordering on the Austrian 
dominions. Tlie only hypothesis that France and Eng- 
land may ever he allied with sincerity will he in order to 
prevent this. But even this alliance will not avail. 
France, England, and Prussia, united, cannot prevent it : 
Russia and Austria can at any time effect it." ^ 

In the month of June, 1844, the Czar Nicholas of 
Russia visited the court of Queen Victoria. He was 
received in a blaze of splendor at Windsor Castle. All 
the honors which the court of St. James could confer 
were lavished upon him. It was subsequently made 
known to the world through the memorandum of the 
Russian minister. Count Nesselrode, that the object of 
the czar in this imperial visit was to induce England to 
lend her countenance and co-operation in driving the 
Turks out of Europe, and in dividing the conquered 
territory between them. It was indeed a princely estate 
which it was proposed thus to seize. Turkey in Europe 
covers a territory twice as large as the Island of Great 
Britain, and embraces a population of fourteen millions, 
only three millions of whom are Mohammedans. 

The following, according to Count Nessebode, was 
the proposition which the czar made to the British cabi- 
net : Russia was to incorporate into her dominions the 
tlu-ee splendid Danubian provinces of Moldavia, Wal- 
kichia, and Bulgaiia. This would give her the entire 
command of the mouths of the Danube. The czar was 
also to be permitted to establish nominally a Greek 

' Napoleon at St. Ilolcna, p. 502. 


power in Roumalia, but under Russian protection, with 
Constantinople as its capital. This was, of course, sur- 
rendering Constantinople to Russia. 

Austria was to receive as her share in the division 
the fertile and beautiful provinces of Servia and Bothnia. 
These provinces, situated on the south side of the Dan- 
ube, adjoined the Austrian possessions, and presented a 
territory of great fertility, which enjoyed the lovely clime 
of Italy. The provinces embraced over forty thousand 
square miles, being a little larger than the State of Ken- 
tucky, and contained about two million inhabitants. 
Austria was also to be permitted to extend her southern 
frontier so as to embrace nearly the whole of the east- 
ern coast of the Adriatic Sea. 

The lovely Island of Cyprus, the gem of the East- 
ern Mediterranean, a hundred and forty-six miles -long 
and sixty miles broad, was to be transferred to England. 
With this island as a naval depSt, England was also 
to take possession of the whole of Egypt. This would 
give her the command of the canal between the Medi- 
terranean and the Red Sea, and would greatly facilitate 
her intercourse with India.^ 

And why did not England and Austria embrace this 
magnificent and perfectly feasible plan? That there 
was no moral principle to restrain them from any 
measure of national aggrandizement, the past history 
of the two kingdoms amply proves. 

And, moreover, what claim, it might be asked, can the 
Turk sliow to his European possessions ? He crossed 
the Hellespont a blood-stained robber. With dripping 

* Alison, vol. viii. p. 40. 


cimcter he hewed his patli through the quivering nerves 
of the vanquished Christians. Sraouklering ruins and 
gory corpses marked every step of his progress. 

Why, then, did not England and Austria consent to 
this division of European Turkey? It was because this 
arrangement woukl make Russia so powerful, that she 
M' ould be the undisputed monarch of the Eastern world. 
The balance of power in Europe would be destroyed, 
and Russia would attain a supremacy before which all 
other European po\vers would tremble. 

And yet nothing in the future seems more certain 
than that Russia will advance to Constantinople. The 
late Crimean War did but postpone the event for a few 
3-cars. On this side of the Atlantic, where questions of 
European balances of power disturb ns not, the popular 
sympathies are almost unanimously in favor of Russia. 
There would be no mourning here should the crescent 
fall, and should the Greek cross be raised over the dome 
of St. Sophia, and over all the fortresses which frown 
along the heights of the Bosphorus and the Darda- 

Such is the general aspect of the "Eastern Question." 
In all the diplomacy which now agitates Europe, this 
question invariably comes up as one of the most essen- 
tial elements. There are many rumors that a secret 
understanding now exists between Russia and Prussia, 
by Avhich Russia consents tliat Prussia shall organize an 
immense German empire in the heart of Europe, which 
shall overshadow the surrounding monarchies; and Prus- 
sia, in return, is to support Russia in her march to Con- 
stantinople. If this be the fact, Russia and Germany 
henceforth liold Europe in their grasp. All the other 


monarchies will be virtually tributary to these two 
gigantic powers. Russia enthroned at Constantinople, 
and Prussia the head of imperial Germany, occupying 
the whole Valley of the Rhine, from the sea to the Alps, 
can bid defiance to Europe in arms. 

France is now powerless. Prussia is acting in co- 
operation with Russia. England, without the aid of 
France, can accomplish but little. Any alhance between 
England and democratic France is impossible. The 
British Government has even more to fear from democ- 
racy across the Channel than from Russia on the Bos- 
j)horus and the Dardanelles. 

The last phase of this all-exciting and ever-changing 
question is, that England, Russia, and Prussia enter into 
a virtual alliance ; that Prussia be permitted to work 
her will upon France, now prostrate before her ; that 
Russia be permitted to do as she pleases with the Otto- 
man Empire ; and that England seize upon the Suez 
Canal, thus appropriating to herself this new and mag- 
nificent avenue of East-Indian commerce, which France 
devised, engineered, and constructed. To this arrange- 
ment, France, without a government, without an army, 
impoverished, exhausted, bleeding, can present no op- 

^ Telegram from London, Dec. 1, 1870. 



N Friday, the 22d of July, but one week 
after the declaration of war, immense divis- 
ions of the Prussian army were gathered 
on tlie French or left side of the Rhine. 
These vast military bands, numbering several 
hundred thousands, v/ere marshalled between 
the two massive and almost impregnable 
fortresses of Coblentz and Mayence. Braver troops 
than these German soldiers, or troops better disciplined, 
armed„and officered, never marched to the sound of the 
drum. They were inspired, not only by patriotic fervor, 
l)ut by the full conviction that their cause was just in 
tlie sight of God. 

Tlie next day, July 28, a division of this army, ad- 
vancing from Saar-Louis, on the southern frontier of the 
Prussian-Rhine provinces, crossed the boundary, and, 
invading France, marched directly south, some ten or 
twelve miles, towards St. Avoid. There was nothing to 
oppose them. The frontier was there but an imaginary 
line, unprotected by river, mountain, or fortress. 

In these modern days there is great power in public 
oj)inion. Both France and Prussia were alike anxious 
to obtain the moral support of other nations. As the 



Prussian troops commenced their march, Count Bis- 
marck caused a communication to be inserted in " The 
London Times " of the 25th of July, in which he accused 
M. Benedetti, the French minister at Berhn, of pro- 
posing tliat Prussia should allow France to seize and 
annex Belgium in compensation for the conquests Prus- 
sia was making. This statement caused intense exas- 
peration in England against the imperial government. 

To this M. Benedetti rephed in an official communi- 
cation to the Duke of Grammont, the French minister in 
Paris. This document, which attracted the attention of 
all Europe, was published in the " Journal Officiel " of 
July 29. In this paper, M. Benedetti declares, that, 
instead of making that proposal to Prussia, Count Bis- 
marck himself had made it to the French minister ; and 
that, upon its being transmitted to the French emperor, 
he had immediately rejected it. 

" It is matter of public notoriety," writes M. Bene- 
detti, " that Count Bismarck offered to us, before and 
during the last war, to assist in re-uniting Belgium to 
France in compensation for the aggrandizement he aimed 
at, and which he has obtained for Prussia. I might on 
this point invoke the whole diplomacy of Europe. The 
French Government constantly declined these overtures. 
M. Drouyn de Lhuys is in a position to give, on this 
point, explanations which would not leave any doubt 

Count Bismarck had stated that he had this commu- 
nication in the handwriting of M. Benedetti. To this 
the French minister replied, — 

" In one of these conversations, and in order to form 
a thorough comprehension of his intentions, I consented 
to transcribe them in some sort under his dictation. The 


form, no less than the substance, clearly demonstrates 
that I confined myself to reproducing a project con- 
ceived and developed by him. Count Bismarck kept the 
paper, desiring to submit it to the king. On my side, 
I reported to the imperial govermnent the communi- 
cations which had been made to me. The emperor 
rejected them as soon as they were brought to his 

" If the initiative of such a treaty liad been taken 
by the emperor's government, the draft would have 
been prepared at the ministry, and I should not have 
had to produce a copy in my own handwriting : besides, 
it would have been differently worded, and negotiations 
would have been carried on simultaneously in Paris and 

These contradictory statements agitated the press of 
England and America. Probably each reader came to 
a decision in accordance with his predilections, whether 
they were in favor of Prussia or France. There seemed 
to be no room for misunderstanding. The contradiction 
was positive and imquahfied. Either Count Bismarck 
or Count Benedetti must have uttered a deliberate false- 

We ought, in justice to the French minister, to state 
that Lord Lyons, the British minister at Berlin, wrote 
a letter to Lord Granville, in which he fully confirmed 
the statements of the French ambassador. This letter 
was dated "Foreign Office, July 29, 1870," and was 
published in " The London Daily News" of Aug. 2. 

"Those who have watched," he writes, "the course 
of European affairs since the accession to office of M. 
Bismarck, are aware from which side have come those 
suggestions which are now attributed to France. Ever 


since the year 1865, M. Bismarck has constantly endeav- 
ored to carry out his own plans by endeavoring to turn 
the attention of the French Government to territorial 
aggrandizement. He told M. Lefebore de Behaine that 
Prussia would willingly recognize the rights of France 
to extend her borders wherever the French language is 
spoken, thereby indicating certain Swiss cantons, besides 
Belgium. These overtures the government of the em- 
peror declined to entertain. 

" After the battle of Sadowa, Count Bismarck told the 
French ambassador that the course of France was clear : 
The French Government should go to the King of Belgi- 
um, and explain that the inevitable increase to Prussian 
territory and influence was most disquieting to their 
security, and that the sole means of avoiding these dan- 
gerous issues would be to unite the destinies of Belgium 
and France by bonds so close, that Belgium, whose 
autonomy would, however, be respected, would become 
in the north a real bulwark of safety for France. The 
French Government declined to listen to these proposals. 
These suggestions were again made at the time of the 
Luxemburg affair. They were categorically rejected by 
the emperor." 

Lord Lyons closes his long letter by the statement, 
" that the document under the handwriting of M. Bene- 
detti was written under the dictation of Count Bis- 
marck, who wished to entangle the French Government 
in a conspiracy against the Uberties of Belgium." 

On the 26th of July, at half-past six o'clock in 
the evening. King William left Berlin for the seat of 
war. The queen accompanied him to the railroad- 
Ktation, which was decorated for the occasion with flow- 
ers. The king was greeted with the cheers of an 


immense multitude. He issued the following procla- 
mation : — 

" On my departure to-day for the army, to fight with 
it for Germany's honor and the preservation of our 
most precious possessions, I wish to grant an amnesty 
for all political crimes and offences, in recognition of the 
unanimous uprising of my people at this crisis. My 
l^eople know, with me, that the rupture of the peace, 
and the provocation to war, did not emanate from our 
side ; but, being challenged, we are resolved, placing 
full trust in God, to accept the battle for the defence 
of Fatherland." 

Two ddjs after, on the 28th, the French emperor, 
taking with him his son, fifteen years of age, left St. 
Cloud for the frontier. The empress was left as regent. 

As the emperor took his departure for a conflict 
into which he had been so reluctantly drawn, he said, in 
a brief and by no means exultant address to the Legis- 
lative Corps, " We have done all in our power to avoid 
war ; and I can say that it is the entire nation which 
luis, in its irresistil)le impulse, prompted our resolution." 

In his proclamation to the army, he said in despond- 
ent tones, which, at the time, were severely censured, 
" The war which now commences will be long, and 
hardly contested ; for its theatre will be places hedged 
with oljstacles, and thick with fortresses." 

On Sunday, July ol, there was skirmishing between 
the advance-posts of the French and Prussians near St. 
Avoid. The French were repulsed ; but, as larger French 
forces were in the vicinity, the Prussians recrossed the 
boundary, and retired upon Saarbruck. On Tuesday, 
the 2d of August, the Frencli troops crossed the fron- 
tier, luarclu'd upon Saarl)ru('k, and in a sliort conflict, 


which lasted from eleven o'clock, a. m., to one o'clock, 
p. M., stormed the heights. The emperor and the 
Prince Imperial were present. It was an affair of but 
little moment, rendered memorable only by the private 
despatch which the emperor, proud of his son's heroism, 
sent to the mother of the boy. The telegram from the 
battle-field was as follows : — 

" Louis has just received his baptism of fire : he be- 
haved with admirable coolness. A division of Gen. 
Frossard took the heights which overlook the left bank 
of Saarbruck. The Prussians made a short resistance. 
We were in the first line : the balls and bullets fell at 
our feet. Louis has kept a bullet which fell near him. 
Some of the soldiers wept on seeing him so calm." 

There were many who ridiculed this despatch as ab- 
surd. " The London Echo " of Aug. 4, quoting from 
" The London Standard," says, — 

" The stern ordeal with which the Prince Imperial 
was confronted was a state necessity. The baptism 
of war is a sacrament which the French nation regards 
with pecuUar devotion. When we are told that many 
soldiers wept at seeing him so calm, we perceive that 
the incident may have its theatrical side to English 
eyes ; but to Frenchmen it is an episode not easily for- 
gotten : and it may be, that, in after-years, the memory 
of the baptism of fire at Saarbruck will serve the prince 
better than all the traditions of his house." 



EN. DOUAY'S division of Marshal Mac- 
Mahon's corps was stationed at Weis- 
senbourg, which was the extreme north- 
eastern post of France. The pretty little 
town, on the south bank of the Lauter, con- 
tained about five thousand inhabitants. 
The country around, rough and broken, was 
covered with dense masses of forest. 

There were about thirty thousand French troops at 
WeissenbouTg. Considerably over a hundred thousand 
Priissians, advancing from the strong fortresses of Landau, 
Manheira, and Mayence, emerged unexpectedly from the . 
forests, and fell upon the French with great fury. The 
battle was long and bloody. The Prussians, marching 
recklessly upon the ramparts of their foe, were cut 
down with awful carnage by the accuracy and rapidity 
of the French fire. The mitrailleuses annihilated whole 
regiments ; but the French were overpowered, routed, 
and put to flight. 

The Crown Prince of Prussia led the Gorman troops 
in this brilliant and successful assault. MacMalion re- 
treated in a westerly direction to Bitclie and Woerth. 
Tlie Prussians pursued vigorously. The French, liaving 



received slight re-enforcements, made another stand, with 
about thirty-five tliousand men, near Woerth. The 
Prussians, a hundred and forty thousand strong, again 
fell upon them.^ Notwithstanding the disparity of force, 
the battle was fought with equal desperation on botli 
sides. The slaughter was dreadful. The Prussians, 
advancing in dense masses against the artillery, the mi- 
trailleuses, and the musketry of their foes, suffered 
more severely than the French. King William's ex- 
ultant telegram to Queen Augusta was as follows : — 

"Wonderful luck! — this new, great victory won by 
Fritz. Thank God for his mercy ! We have taken thir- 
ty cannon, two eagles, six mitrailleuses, four thousand 
prisoners. A victorious salute of a hundred and one 
guns was fired upon the field of battle." 

Napoleon was at Metz. He sent the following tele- 
gram to Paris : " Marshal MacMahon has lost a battle. 
Gen. Frossard, on the Saar, has been compelled to fall 
back. The retreat is being effected in good order. All 
may be regained." 

As the French retreated, the immense German army, 
estimated at from five to eight hundred thousand men, 
came pouring across the frontier into France. Their 
impregnable fortresses upon the Rhine afforded them a 
perfect base of operations. 

The German cavalry, in pursuit, came upon many 
thousand fugitives who had thrown away their arms. 
All the villages were crowded with wounded from the 
battle of Woerth. 

' " It is positively ascertained at the ministry of war in Paris that Marshal 
MacMahon had only thirty-five thousand men at the battle of Woerth, and that 
the Prussians numbered a hundred and forty thousand." — Correspondent of 
the Londun Times, Aug. 9, 1870. 


The Prussians testify to the valor of their foes on this 
occasion. Eleven times the French charged the Prus- 
sian lines, each time breaking through only to find a 
mass of fresh troops behind. Nearly all of MacjNIahon's 
staff were killed. The marshal himself, after having 
been fifteen hours in the saddle, was unhorsed, and fell 
fainting into a ditch. Nothing can be imagined more 
liorrible than this flight, as thirty thousand fugitives 
rushed pell-mell, pursued by four times their number, 
hurling upon them a murderous storm of shot and shell. 

The correspondent of " The London Times," then 
with the Prussian army, writes, " The fighting of the 
French was grand. The Prussian generals say they 
never witnessed any thing more brilliant. But the 
Prussians were not to be denied. With tenacity as 
great, and a fierce resolution, they pressed on up the 
heights, where the vineyards dripped with blood, and, 
though checked again and again, still pressed on with a 
furious intrepidity which the enemy could not withstand 
in that long fight of six hours, during which the battle 
raged in full vehemence. It lasted, indeed, for thirteen 

It is a wild and sad glimpse we catch of Marshal Mac- 
Mahon at the close of this disastrous battle. Accom- 
panied by a melancholy procession of the wounded, he 
entered Nancy in search of food for his routed and 
starving army. He was covered with mud ; his clotlies 
were torn with bullets ; one of his epaulets had been 
shot away ; and his face and hands were blackened with 
p(nvder. It was almost impossible to recognize him. 
At the hotel he asked for some cold meat. For twenty- 

' London Times, Auji;- 9- 


eight hours he had tasted no food. Some one asked him 
of the cuirassiers. " There are none of them left," he 
replied sadly. The Crown Prince was in hot pursuit. 
The marshal, with his broken and dispirited ranks, 
hurried on.^ 

The French retreated in two bands, — one, under Gen. 
Frossard, towards Metz ; the other, under Gen. MacMa- 
hon, by a more southerly route, towards Nancy. It was 
manifest, to the surprise of France and all Europe, that 
Prussia had brought into the field forces so overwhelm- 
ing in numbers, that the French troops would be com- 
pelled to take refuge in their fortresses until the nation 
could be roused to arms. France had not more than 
three hundred arnd fifty thousand troops in all her north- 
ern departments. A gentleman in Berlin wrote, — and 
subsequent facts sustain his declaration, — 

" There are now in France over seven hundred thou- 
sand effective German troops. Besides these, three new 
armies are forming ; and in less than a fortnight they 
will be where they are most needed. The rapidity with 
which the present army was equipped and sent to the 
frontier was one of the most stupendous achievements 
of war. These new armies will" raise the effective Ger- 
man force to something over a milhon. There are, 
besides, enough trained and experienced soldiers here 
to double that number, if there should be even a suspi- 
cion of their necessity. 

" The first principle the government adopted for car- 
rying on the war was, not to see with how few soldiers 
they could get on, but rather how many could in any 
way be employed to hasten its successful termination. 

1 Loudon Daily News, Aug. 20, 1870. 


If one million of men could make final success reasona- 
bly certain, and two millions would hasten that success, 
two millions were to be called without a moment's hesi- 

There was now apparently a constant battle. The 
roar of artillery, the crackle of musketry, and the tramp 
of charging squadi'ons, were heard almost every hour of 
every day. Wherever the French made a stand, they 
were assailed. No matter how strong their position, no 
matter with what desperation of valor they might face 
their foes, they were invariably overwhelmed and routed. 
Even if they succeeded for a time in repelling at any 
pomt the Prussian assault, and literally covered the 
field with the Prussian dead, new forces of the foe soon 
came rushing forward ; and the French shouts of victory 
were hushed in the silence of defeat, flight, and death. 

The Prussian officers seemed quite reckless of human 
life. The German soldiers fought as though life to them 
was of no value. Not three weeks had passed from the 
commencement of hostilities ere it was announced that 
two hundred thousand Prussian soldiers had fallen, or 
had been captured, in a constant series of Prussian vic- 

While Gen. MacMahon was on his flight towards 
Nancy, pursued by numbers which he could not resist, 
another immense German army was advancing in rapid 
strides for the investment of the French fortress of 
Metz. This was by far the strongest military post which 
France had in her north-eastern provinces. At the 
same time, another German army marched to lay siege 
to the -French city and fortress of Strasburg on the 

The alaim in Paris was great. The government had 


no force sufficient even to retard the advance of the 
victorious foe to the walls of the metropolis. Vigorous 
measures were immediately adopted for the defence 
of the city. Laws were passed summoning all unmar- 
ried Frenchmen between the ages of twenty-five and 
thirty-five to the defence of the country. 

On the 7th of August, the Empress Eugenie, who had 
been intrusted with the regency during the absence 
of the emperor to the front, issued the following procla- 
mation from the Tuileries : — 

" Frenchmen, the opening of the war has not been in 
our favor. Our arms have suffered a check. Let us be 
firm under this reverse, and let us hasten to repair it. 
Let there be among us but a single party, — that of 
France ; but a single flag, — the flag of our national 

" Faithful to my mission and my dutjs you will see 
me first where danger threatens, to defend the flag 
of France. I call upon all good citizens to preserve 
order : to disturb it would be to conspire with our ene- 
mies. " Eugenie." 

Marshal Bazaine at Metz was appointed commander- 
in-chief of the French armies on the Rhine. He had a 
disposable force, could he concentrate it, of about two 
hundred and thirty thousand men with which to repel 
three times that number of Germans. Gen. MacMahon, 
with thirty-five thousand troops, was effectually cut off 
from him at Nancy, about thirty miles on the south. 

The generalship of the French officers in these con- 
flicts has been very severely, and perhaps justly, con- 
demned. Still it is obvious that no skill of generalship 


could counteract such a vast disproportion in numbers. 
The Prussian troops were as brave, as well armed, and 
as ably officered, as any troops that ever entered a battle- 

A correspondent, writing to " The London Standard " 
from Berlin, Aug. 18, says, " Great credit is given the 
French emperor, in Berlin, for the straightforward way 
in which he has acknowledged his disasters. ' MacMa- 
hon has lost a battle ' is a direct style of speaking not 
usual among the French when there is any thing un- 
pleasant to relate." 

Just after the battle of Woerth, a French officer, who 
was taken prisoner, reported in the " Gaulois," "His 
Royal Highness the Crown Prince of Prussia talked to 
us about the war, which he said he detested. He was in- 
exhaustible in his praises of the bravery of the French. 
' Two regiments of cuirassiers,' he said, ' were sent 
against the Prussian batteries. Our infantry was deci- 
mating them ; and yet they formed again as if on 
parade, and charged again, sword in hand, with wonder- 
ful ensemble. 

"'I was at Paris,' he continued, 'about the end 
of December, and saw the emperor, who always showed 
great kindness to my wife and me.' " * 

These reverses caused intense excitement in Paris, 
and inspired the opponents of the government with new 
energies. Jules Favre, the eloquent leader of the demo- 
cratic opposition in the Legislative Corps, in an impas- 
sioned speech, attributed the reverses of the army to the 
absolute incapacity of the emperor. He demanded that 
the emperor should relinquish the command, and tliat tho 

' Le Gaulois, Aug. 12, 1870. 


legislative body should take in hand the direction of the 
affairs of the country. 

Indescribable agitation followed this speech. The 
deputies in opposition to the government applauded ; 
but the majority protested. Gen. Cassagnac declared 
that such a movement was the commencement of revo- 
lution. Gesticulating frantically, he exclaimed, " If the 
ministry did their duty, you would be tried by court- 
martial, and shot ! " 

There was a great uproar. The members rushed from 
their seats. It is said that there were some personal 
rencounters. The president, after in vain attempting to 
restore order by ringing his bell, put on his hat, thus 
announcing that the sitting was suspended. The com- 
motion in the streets of Paris was still more exciting'.-' 

The shattered fragments of the French army, no 
longer able to cope with the foe, were on the retrograde 
movement for the defence of Paris. The Germans vig- 
orously pursued, spreading in all directions, foraging 
freely, capturing small towns, and levying heavy contri- 
butions upon the people. The vilest of men always 
rush into the ranks of an army. There is no power 
of discipline which can prevent awfiQ scenes of outrage 
wherever armies move. Stories are told of atrocities 
committed by both French and Germans, too revolting 
to be repeated. 

It was about sixty miles fi'om Woerth to Metz and to 
Nancy. An army, with its artillery-train, can seldom 
move more than fifteen miles a day. The Prussians 
were in such amazing force, that they occupied all the 
passes of the Vosges Mountains. One strong body of 

' Lloyd's Weekly London Newspaper, Aug. 14, 1870. 


troops was sent to lay siege to Strasburg ; another 
surrounded the fortress of Bitche; while the cavalry 
from the army of the Crown Prince, Frederick William, 
approached Metz. The cavahy of the army of the 
Prince Royal, which was on the advance to Paris by 
parallel roads about thirty miles south, moved upon 

jMarshal Bazaine, with about a hundred and eighty 
thousand men, was compelled to take refuge beneath 
the walls of Metz. Beyond Metz, the road to the capital 
was open. The Prussian army, pushing on between 
Metz and Nancy, prevented any union of MacMahon's 
division with that of Bazaine. MacMahon continued 
his retreat towards Paris ; and, on the morning of the 
12th of August, the Prussians took possession of the city 
of Nancy. The Prussians were now within two hundred 
and twenty miles of Paris. 

Metz, which was to be the scene of so much heroism 
and suffering, was a fine city of fifty -six thousand inhab- 
itants. It was situated at the confluence of the Seillc 
and the Moselle, and contained one of the largest arse- 
nals in France, with founderies and machinery of all 
kinds for the manufacture of arms and miUtary equip- 
ments. Its defences were considered almost impregna- 
ble ; the fortifications having been constructed by 
Vauban. In the year 1552, the emperor, Charles V., 
besieged the place for ten months. Though the garrison 
was small, it held the works firmly ; and the emperor, 
after the unavailing efforts of nearly a year, was com- 
pelled to raise the siege, having lost ten thousand men. 

Into this fortress Bazaine was driven, with not less 
than a hundred and eighty thousand troops under his 
command. He was a man of great military renown. It 


was supposed that such a fortress, so garrisoned, could 
hold out against any odds for many months. Bazaine 
had risen to his proud eminence as a marshal of France 
through his own energies. In 1831 he had enlisted as 
a private in the army, and had started for Africa with 
his knapsack on his back. In four years he rose to a 
sub-lieutenancy. He accompanied the army sent by 
Louis Philippe to Spain to assist Isabella against the 
Carlists. In 1839 he returned to Algiers with the rank 
of captain. In 1850 he obtained a colonelcy. During 
the Italian war, his bravery and military ability were 
brilliantly displayed. In Mexico he won his marshal's 
hdton. He is the youngest of the French marshals, 
being now fifty-nine years of age. He has ever been 
an ardent supporter of the imperial government in 

On the 14th of August, the emperor was at Verdun, 
about thirty miles west of Metz. MacMahon had re- 
treated from Nancy to Toul, moving towards Verdun. 
Bazaine, leaving a garrison in the fortress of Metz, 
endeavored with the main body of his army to effect 
a junction with MacMahon at Verdun. He had trans- 
ported about half his force across the Moselle, to the 
left bank, when the Prussians fell suddenly upon him. 
The battle was fierce even to desperation. The slaughter 
on both sides was dreadful. The French were driven 
back to Metz. 

For days and weeks almost, an incessant battle raged 
around this fortress. Marshal Bazaine had about a hun- 
dred and fifty thousand men whom he could bring into 
the field. Prince Frederick Charles, in command of the 
Prussian force, had two hundred and thirty thousand. 
With great military sagacity, he had so posted his troops 


as to cut oif all the avenues of escape. It has generally 
been thought that Bazaine ought to have cut his way 
through his foes. It is easy, seated by one's fireside, to 
form such a judgment. No one can doubt the ability, 
bravery, or patriotism, of Bazaine. The bloody battles 
which were fought day after day testify to the energy 
of his attempts. It must not be forgotten that Prince 
Charles was one of the most able and experienced of 
military commanders ; that he had an army outnumber- 
ing the French by eighty thousand men ; that he had 
thrown up intrenchments across every avenue of escape, 
which intrenchments were bristling with artillery, mi- 
trailleuses, and the needle-gun. Never before were 
battles so bloody. The slain were counted by tens 
of thousands*. The hospitals were crowded with the 
mutilated victims of this awful strife. 



/HE " London Globe " of Aug. 15 contains 
a letter from an intelligent gentleman in 
Berlin, containing the following statement : 
" A very reliable informant ^ states, that, 
within one week, Germany will have an 
effective army of 1,200,000 men. I should 
feel great caution in giving currency to 
these figures, were it not that I am certain that my in- 
formant is in a position to know." 

The movements of the Prussians were as cautious as 
they were impetuous. It was their evident design that 
the whole country behind the German armies, as far 
back as the Rhine, should be cleared of every military 
obstruction. They therefore seized upon all the barri- 
ers of the Vosges ; and their numbers were so immense, 
that, while a victorious army was advancing upon Paris, 
they had all the forces they needed to conduct the 
sieges of Metz, Strasburg, Bitche, and every other 
fortress they found upon their way. The annals of war 
scarcely present an example of so triumphant a march. 
The dismay and distress occasioned in the homes of the 
peasantry, and in the villages, as these apparently 
countless thousands of Prussians swept triumphantly 



along, cannot bo imagined. Vast numbers (men, women, 
and children) fled from their homes, abandoning every 
thing, and in utter destitution sought refuge in tho 
walled towns. God alone can comprehend the amount 
of misery inflicted ; and as, on the field of battle, the 
missiles of war strewed the ground with the mangled, 
far away, amid the vineyards of Germany and the cot- 
tages of France, the woe was reduplicated as mothers 
and wives and loving maidens in despair surrendered 
themselves to life-long woe. 

A French officer who was taken prisoner gives the 
following pleasing accounts of an interview with his 
victor : — 

" Prince Frederick William, heir to the crown of Prus- 
sia, is a tall, thin man, with a tranquil and placid physi- 
ognomy ; to which, however, the curve of his aquiline 
nose and the vivacity of his eye lend a stamp of decis- 
ion. He speaks the French language with great purity. 
' We all,' said he, ' admired, yesterday, the tenacity and 
courage evinced by the very meanest of your soldiers. I 
do not like war : if I ever reign, I will never make it. But, 
in spite of my love of peace, this is the third campaign 
I have been obliged to make. I went yesterday over 
the field of battle : it is frightful to look at. If it only 
depended on me, this war would be terminated on the 
spot. It is, indeed, a terrible war. I shall never offer 
battle to your soldiers without being superior in num- 
ber: without that, I should prefer to withdi-aw.' " ^ 

All alike seem to combine in testifying to the heroism 
of the French soldiers. A writer in " The London 
Times" of Aug. 16 says, "It may be questioned 

> London Daily News, Aug. 15, 1870. 


whether the French have not gathered more real glory 
from their defeats than the Prussians from their victo- 
ries. Greater devotion was probably never witnessed in 
any war than that of certain French regiments, which 
rushed, at the voice of their general, upon inevitable 
destruction. The Prussians have fought where they 
liked and when they liked, and always with treble 

While Bazaine was in vain endeavoring to cut his Avay 
from Metz over the ramparts of his foe, MacMahon, 
with about thirty thousand men, was retreating upon 
Chalons, pursued by the Crown Prince at the head of 
a hundred and twenty thousand troops flushed with 
victory. On the 16th of August, the remnants of Mac- 
Mahon's corps, numbering but fifteen thousand men, 
reached Chalons, where re-enforcements were met which 
raised their number to eighty thousand. 

" MacMahon," says " The London Times," " in this 
retreat, has inflicted awful loss on the German army. 
There will be mourning in many thousand households, 
from the Rhine to the Vistula, and from the shores of 
the Baltic to the frontiers of Southern Bavaria. But 
then the Duke of Magenta has been utterly routed, and 
his defeat must have carried terror to the gates of 
Paris." 1 

In these hours of disaster, Gen. Trochu, who had al- 
ready attained celebrity as a brilliant officer, was ap- 
pointed, by the emperor, Governor of Paris, and com- 
mander-in-chief of all the forces assembled for its de- 
fence. Gen. Trochu was an imperialist ; believing, with 
the overwhelming majority of his countrymen, that the 

1 London Times, Aug. 11, 1870. 


empire was a better government for France than the 
old monarchy under a Bourbon or an Orleans prince, or 
the republic under such men as Favre and Hugo and 

Strasburg on the Rhine contained eighty-four thou- 
sand inhabitants. " The Alsatians," says "The London 
Times," " are more loyal Frenchmen, almost, than the 
Parisians." A large force surrounded the city, and soon 
opened upon it a terrible bombardment from the siege- 
guns which they gathered from their fortresses near at 
hand. MacMahon had retreated to Chalons, fifty miles 
west of Metz, The Crown Prince, with a hundred 
and fifty thousand troops, was on the triumphant march 
towards Paris. Bazaine was hopelessly shut up in jMetz, 
■svith his ammunition and provisions rapidly disappear- 
ing. Bands of Prussian cavalry were riding in all di- 
rections, emptying the granaries and the barn-yards of 
the peasants, and imposing enormous contributions on the 
towns which were captured. Desolation and misery were 
everywhere. The fields were covered with the unburied 
dead, Vionville, Flavigny, Rezonville, and Gravelotte 
were mostly in ashes. Families were wandering in the 
fields in terror and starvation. 

The emperor was at Chalons, striving to assemble 
there a new army to arrest the advance of the Prussians 
upon Paris. There was no longer any French army in 
the field. Such a sudden collapse of one of the strong- 
est military powers in the world was never before wit- 
nessed. A war of a fortnight had laid France pros- 
trate ; and this was done by a nation which but about 
a century ago could count but five million inhabitants. 
It was supposed that the Prussians would march irre- 
sistibly over the fortifications of Paris, and speedily en- 


camp their hosts in the Garden of the Tuileries and in 
the Elysian Fields. Sorrows never come singly. Dis- 
aster followed disaster. The scenes described by eye- 
witnesses appall the imagination. In the silence of night, 
all the wooded gorges of the Ardennes resounded with 
the moan of the mutilated and the dying, rising in one 
continuous wail. The houses and the barns were filled 
with the sufferers. In one short battle, the French alone 
lost fifteen thousand in killed and wounded ; and the 
Prussians, who marched recklessly up to their batteries 
of artillery and mitrailleuses, lost twice as many. The 
few surgeons could do comparatively nothing in the 
midst of such an accumulated mass of misery. Thou- 
sands groaned and died in the open fields, with none to 
give them even a cup of cold water. 

The great object of Prussia in this war, as expressed 
by Bismarck after having entered upon it, and by all the 
leading Prussian journals, was to wrest from France so 
much additional territory, and so to weaken her, that she 
could never again make an attempt to recover her lost 
Rhine provinces. The panic in Paris was great ; and 
frantic efforts were made to prepare for a siege. 

The emperor remained with MacMahon's army, hop- 
ing to effect a junction of his troops with those of 
Bazaine. The plains of Chalons are as level as a floor, 
and thus poorly adapted for a defensive battle. On the 
21st of August the French camp at Chalons was broken 
up, and the army retired about thirty miles to the north- 
east, — to the more broken ground of Rheims. As these 
armies of retreat and pursuit rushed along, scenes of 
heart-rending woe were witnessed among the inhabitants 
of the region thus swept by the devastating tempests of 
war. The Belgian frontier was overrun with thousands 


of families seeking refuge there in utter impoverish- 

The Crown Prince of Prussia was now within a hun- 
dred miles of Paris. There was no force before him to 
oppose his march. An advance force of cavalry had 
been pushed forward to witliin sixty-five miles of the 
capital. The zeal of the French people in the war, not- 
withstanding their disasters, is manifest from the fact, 
that a new war loan of a thousand million francs was 
taken up in forty-eight hours. Strasburg was holding 
out firmly against a terrible bombardment. The whole 
populace of Paris was roused to prepare the city for the 
approaching siege. Tliough the Prussians had encoun- 
tered enormous losses, the railroad-trains from the Rhine 
were crowded with their re-enforcements hurrying for- 
ward to fill the places of those who had fallen. 

Never was the march of an invading army more reso- 
lute. On Sunday, the 25th of August, the Prussian 
scouts had reached Mieux, within twenty-five miles of 
Paris. It was a distance of three hundred miles from 
Sierca, the nearest point on the Prussian frontier, to the 
city ; and yet this long line, through French territory, 
Prussia guarded perfectly against a warlike nation of 
forty millions inhabitants. The French, unable to 
meet their foes in the field, did what they could to 
harass their march by blowing up bridges, cutting rail- 
ways, and l)locking roads. 

A constant stream of French prisoners and of captured 
guns and flags was entering the streets of Berlin, causing 
the frequent blaze of illuminations and the most enthusi- 
astic demonstrations of joy. The French, acting on the 
defensive, fought from 1)cliiiid their ram[)arts and in their 
fortresses. Though invariably in the end defeated, they 


as invariably inflicted upon their assailants a heavier loss 
in killed and wounded than they encountered. The 
shouts of joy which resounded through the streets of 
Berlin were answered by deeper wails of woe emerging 
from thousands of German cottages, whose inmates 
were plunged into life-long woe. It seems to be 
authentically stated that Prussia had then 1,124,000 
well-trained and disciplined men under arms. Seven 
hundred and twenty thousand of these were in France. 
The condition of France was apparently hopeless. The 
exultant Prussians were marching wherever they pleased, 
filling their camps with abundance, exacting enormous 
contributions, and compelling France to drain the cup 
of humiliation to its di'egs. 

We have space for but one illustration of these ex- 
actions. It is given by a correspondent of " The Lon- 
don Times ; " which journal was in cordial sympathy 
with the Prussians. The little town of Saverne con- 
tained 5,331 inhabitants. As the Prussian troops ap- 
proached, the more wealthy portion of the inhabitants 
fled. The contributions demanded of the town were 
ten thousand loaves of three pounds each ; sixteen 
tliiDusand pounds of rice ; two hundred and fifty pounds 
of roasted coffee ; fifteen hundred pounds of salt ; one 
thousand pounds of tobacco ; seventy-five thousand 
cigars of superior quality; fifteen thousand quarts of 
wine ; two hundred pounds of sugar ; fifty pounds of 
extract of meat ; a hundred and twenty thousand pounds 
of oats ; fifty thousand pounds of hay ; fifty thousand 
pounds of straw. These were all to be delivered before 
six o'clock the next morning in warehouses appointed 
for the piu'pose. A hundred wagons were to be fur- 
nished to enable the victors to carry away this food 


and forage. Tlio penalty of non-compliance was the 
general plunder of the town by the soldiers. 

Scarcely any thing conceivable is more awful than 
the m'arch through a country of half a million of hostile 
troops. A garden may bloom before them : a desert 
will be left behind. Famine and pestilence inevitably 
follow in the train. 

On Tuesday, the 30th of August, the army of the Crown 
Prince overtook MaciMahon's corps a short distance north 
of Rlieims ; and after a fierce battle, of enormous slaugh- 
ter on each side, the Prussians drove the shattered army 
of the French in utter rout towards Sedan. During all 
the hours of the 31st, the battle raged in an incessant 
series of bloody skirmishes, as the French troops, about 
a hundred thousand in number, pressed on every side, 
fell back, bleeding, exhausted, despairing, into Sedan. 

From the commencement of the war, the Prince Im- 
perial, notwithstanding his youth, had accompanied his 
father, sharing all the fatigues of the campaign. At 
the commencement of these hours of terrible disaster, 
Marslial MacMahon, foreseeing that he was to be sur- 
rounded by overwhelming numbers, urged the emperor, 
with his son, to withdraw. The emperor resolved to 
remain with the army, and share its fate. He sent his 
son, however, to M^zieres, and thence into Belgium. 

The dawn of the morning of the 1st of September 
found the French so surrounded as to be cut off from all 
possibility of retreat. They were crowded together in 
a narrow space, while five hundred pieces oi artillery 
were opening fire upon them. At five o'clock in the 
morning, the terrific storm of battle opened its thunders. 
It was an awful day. In the first hour of the battle. 
Gen. MacMahon was struck by the splinter oi" a shell, 



and, was carried back, severely wounded, into Sedan. 
The command passed to Gen. Wimpffen. Nearly tliree 
hundred thousand men were now hurling a storm of 
bullets, shot, and shell, into the crowded ranks ©f the 
French. It was an indescribable scene of tumult and 
carnage. A correspondent of one of the London papers 
writes, — 

" All describe the conduct of the emperor as that of 
one who either cared not for death, or actually threw 
himself in its way. In the midst of the scene of con- 
fusion which ensued upon the irruption of the panic- 
stricken French into Sedan, the emperor, riding slowly 
through a wide street swept by the German artillery 
and choked by the disordered soldiery, paused a moment 
to address a question to a colonel of his staif. 

" At the same instant a shell exploded a few feet in 
front of Napoleon, leaving him unharmed ; though it 
was evident to all around that he had escaped by a 
miracle. The emperor continued on liis way without 
manifesting the slightest emotion, greeted by the enthu- 
siastic vivats of the troops. Later, while sitting at a 
window inditing his celebrated letter to the King of 
Prussia, a shell struck the wall just outside, and burst 
only a few feet from the emperor's chair, again leaving 
him unscathed and unmoved." 

For five hours the emperor had been exposed to a fire 
which filled the air with bullets, ploughed up the gTound 
at his feet, and covered the field with the mutilated 
and the dead. At half-past three o'clock in the after- 
noon. Gen. Wimpffen sent an officer to propose that the 
emperor should place himself in the middle of a column 
of men who should endeavor to cut their way through 
the enemy. The emperor replied, that he coiald not con- 


sent to save himself at the sacrifice of so many men ; 
that he had determined to share the fate of the army. 
Though a large portion of the army was still fighting 
valiantly upon the heights around the walls, the streets 
of Sedan were choked with the debris of all the corps, 
and were fiercely bombarded from all sides. 

After twelve hours of so unequal a conflict, the com- 
manders of the corps d^armSe reported to the emperor 
that they could no longer offer any serious resistance. 
The emperor ordered the white flag to be raised upon 
the citadel, and sent the following letter to his Prussian 
Majesty, who was v/ith the conquering army : — 

" Sire, my brother, not having been able to die in the 
midst of my troops, it only remains for me to place my 
sword in the hands of your Majesty. 

" I am of your Majesty the good brother, 

" Napoleon." 

William immediately replied, " Sire, my brother, 
regretting the circumstances under which we meet, I 
accept the sword of your Majesty ; and I pray you to 
name one of your officers provided with full powers to 
treat for the capitulation of the army which has so 
hravely fought under your command. On my side, I 
have named Gen. Moltke for tliis purpose. 

" I am of your Majesty the good brother, 

" William." 

Gen. Wimpffen was sent to the Prussian licadquarters. 
•' Your army," said Gen. Moltke, "does not number more 
than eighty thousand men. We have two hundred and 
thirty thousand, who completely surround you. Our 


artillery is everywhere in position, and can destroy the 
place in two hours. You have provisions for only one 
day, and scarcely any more ammunition. The prolonga- 
tion of your defence would be only a useless massacre." ^ 

Gen. Wimpffen returned to Sedan. A council of 
thirty-two general oflBcers was called. With but two 
dissentient voices, it was decided to be useless to sacri- 
fice any more lives. The capitulation was signed. 

Our distinguished countryman. Dr. J. Marion Sims, 
was present at the battle of Sedan as surgeon-in-chief 
of the Anglo-American ambulance-corps. He testifies 
as follows to the necessity of the surrender : — 

" It was impossible for the French to do otherwise 
than surrender. The emperor was not to be blamed. 
It was simply an act of humanity to have surrendered. 
On the morning of the 1st of September, MacMahon 
left his hotel at six o'clock. The battle had been pro- 
gressing for some time. At half-past six he received 
his wound in the thigh, and was carried back to his 
hotel. The command then devolved upon Gen. Wimpf- 
fen, who had arrived only the day before. At five 
o'clock in the evening, white flags were raised ; and, at 
six o'clock, the firing ceased entirely. 

" On the next day, when the emperor had an inter- 
view with the Idng and talked of capitulation. Gen. 
Wimpffen said he could not sign the articles ; but Bis- 
marck showed him how the forces were situated, the 
French hemmed in, and without ammunition or pro- 
vision, and no way of escape. Then Gen. Wimpffen, 
seeing he was surrounded by three times his own 

' Campagne de 1870. Des Causes qui ont amen^ la Capitulation de Sedan, 
par uu Officier attach^ a I'fitat Major-G6n(5ral. 


strength and was powerless, had to sign the articles, 
after being but a few hours in command. 

" The newspaper reports of the cruelty of the Prus- 
sians are not in the least exaggerated. The particulars 
are not fit for publication. Some eighty thousand 
French marched from Sedan before the Prussian hues 
to the little .peninsula formed by the river, where they 
were halted after the capitulation. It was the saddest 
day in my life when I followed the poor French prison- 
ers ; and, if I lived a hundred years, I could never for- 
get what I saw them endure. They were several days 
there on that piece of lanxl, dying of sickness and 

" The Bavarians utterly destroyed Bazeilles, a town 
of three thousand inhabitants. They say they were 
fired upon from the windows of the houses. In their 
rage they fastened up the doors, and set fire to each 
house, burning a great number of women and children. 
The smell of charred human flesh, for several days after- 
wards, was sickening. The Bavarians also shot a priest 
there, and some nuns and school-girls, besides a great 
number of citizens. 

" I think the emperor never looked better than on 
the day of his surrender. It is a great mistake to sup- 
pose he is a decrepit old man. His intellect was never 
more vigorous ; and his physical health is perfect, with 
the exception of some mere infirmities. He is occasion- 
ally sul)ject to sciatica, but to no disease that threatens 

" It is said that the Prince Imperial is a scrofulous 
boy. That is another great mistake. He is strong and 
rosy, in perfect health, and very intelligent, — a splen- 
did boy, take him all in all. When he was ill a few 


years ago, and was reported scrofulous, he simply had 
an abscess, the result of pressure m taking horse-riding 
lessons, — nothing connected in the least with disease 
of the bones or joints. 

" They say the emperor has millions. I sincerely 
hope it may be so ; but I have it, on the highest author- 
ity, that he is poor. The empress has property ; and 
the Prince Imperial has property, left him two years 
ago by an Italian lady who died in Paris ; but the em- 
peror is not a rich man." ^ 

* Testimony of Dr. Sims in the New- York Times, Nov. 4, 1870. 

.1 € 

ITiHlI iliffllPSlSOB.IIIulIPBEggofiiKI® [PSDKl©!! DlullPllIBDMc 
Executed m Pans express^ for 'Abiott's life of Jfapoleou IH'' 





ING WILLIAM, in a letter which he wTote 
to Queen Augusta, speaks as follows of his 
fallen foe : — 

" You already know, through my three 
telegrams, the extent of the great historical 
event which has just happened. It is like a 
dream, though one has seen it unroll itself 
hour after hour. On the morning of the 2d I drove 
to the battle-field, and met Moltke, who was coming to 
obtain my consent to the capitulation. He told me that 
the emperor had left Sedan at five o'clock, and had 
come to Donchery. As he wished to speak to me, and 
there was a chateau in the neighborhood, I chose this 
for our meeting. At one o'clock I started with Fritz, 
escorted by the cavalry staff. I alighted before the 
chateau, where the emperor came to meet me. We 
were both much moved at meeting again under such cir- 
cumstances. What my feelings were, considering that 
I had seen Napoleon only three 3^cars before at the 
summit of his power, is more than I can describe." 

" At this conference," writes one of the officers of 
the imperial staff, " the king showed the lofty feelings 
whicli animated him by exhibiting to the emperor all 



the consideration wliicli his misfortunes demanded ; and 
the emperor preserved an attitude of the utmost dig- 

The illustrious captive was assigned to the Castle of 
Wilhelmshohe, near Cassel, one of the most attractive 
castles in Germany. Accompanied by his friends, sup- 
phed with every comfort, and surrounded by a guard of 
honor, the chains which held the prisoner of war were 

The tidings of this great calamity soon reached Paris, 
and created intense excitement. The democratic party, 
which numbered in its ranks many of the lower orders 
of the Parisian populace, deemed it a favorable oppor- 
tunity to overthrow the empire and to grasp the reins 
of power. An American gentleman then in Paris 
writes, under date of Sept. 4, — 

" Paris is in a state of riotous excitement. Crowds 
are tearing down the imperial arms, and destroying the 
golden eagles of the empire. Fears are entertained 
that the city will soon be at the mercy of mobs." 

The mob shouted, " Down with the empire ! " " Live 
the republic ! " Gen. Trochu, Governor of Paris, was 
called for. He told the mob, that, having taken the 
oath of allegiance to the empire, he could not thus 
renounce it. The crowd at length became so menacing, 

1 Wilhelmshohe is one of the finest mansions in Europe. It is said to have 
cost about ten million dollars, and was built from the money which the Elector 
William received from England for the Hessian troops loaned her to fight the 
North-American colonies. The castle is situated but a short distance from Cas- 
sel, which was the capital of the kingdom of Westphalia. It is erected upon a 
hill commanding a magnificent view of the adjacent country. It is approached 
by a grand avenue, and is surrounded by one of the finest parks in Europe. 
The palace, which is built of white sandstone resembling marble, consists of a 
massive central tower, flanked by spacious wings. The garden, spreading out 
fixim the foot of the tower, is renowned for its picturesque beauty. 


that the poKce dispersed it with firo-arras. At one 
o'clock, P.M., a crowd of a hundred thousand armed 
men surrounded the buikliug of the Legislative Corps, 
and crowded all its avenues, rending the air with fren- 
zied shouts. From all parts of the city, the agitated 
masses were converging towards the Legislative Hall. 
The friends of the government found it necessary to 
secrete themselves, or to keep silent. The Place de la 
Concorde presented a compact mass of human beings. 
A strong military force guarded the Tuileries. Shouts 
of " Vive r(ipublique ! " rose on all sides. The police 
were overpowered by the populace, and their arms 
thrown into the Seine. Paris was in the hands of the 
mob. The populace began to shout for the abdication 
of the empress-regent. Her life was menaced by braw- 
ny men and women. 

There are few things on earth more to be dreaded 
than a Paris mob. The men were armed with muskets 
and revolvers. The tumults, the shouts, the surgings 
to and fro, and the menaces, were horrible. Terror had 
commenced its reign ; and the friends of order, utterly 
helpless, fled. The mob burst open the doors of the 
Legislative Hall. The president trembled in his chair 
as the blouses, with oaths and execrations, took possession 
of the room. Some of the radical speakers tried in 
vain to appease them. The A'iends of the government, 
composing the very large majority of the deputies, 
escaped as they could. 

" What the minister of war would have said, what 
M. Thiers, and even Jules Favre, would have said, re- 
mains to be imagined ; for the people would not hear, 
but yelled ' Dechcance ! ' so savagely, that nothing else 
was heard. The crowd kissed the jubilant leaders of the 


left, and hurrahed until the hall rang. The president, 
putting on his cap to announce that such proceedings 
could not be tolerated, received such a blow on the head 
from a club, that he fell covered with blood, and was 
led away moaning, while other infuriated workmen were 
striving to hit him again. Enthusiastic blouses at once 
set off up the boulevard, bearing huge placards announ- 
cing that the republic was proclaimed by 185 votes 
agamst 113. But there really was no voting at all, and 
no one to vote against it." ^ 

In these hours of tumult and terror, the deputies 
being all dispersed by the vast riot, the Empress Eugenie 
was at the Tuileries. All were bewildered by the sud- 
den outbreak of lawlessness and violence. Worn down 
with care and sorrow, she listened ajipalled to the clamor 
which was surging through all the streets. Tidings 
came that the mob was advancing to sack the Tuileries. 
Her woman's heart shrank from ordering the body- 
guard to shoot them down. The conflict between the 
small body-guard and the mob would be bloody, and 
almost certainly unavailing. The only safety for the 
empress was in immediate flight, with as few attendants 
as possible, that she might avoid observation. 

The empress had but just retired by a private door, 
when the mob came surging through the gravelled 
alleys of the garden, burst open the doors of the palace, 
and rioted unrestrained through all its apartments. The 
flag of the French Empire was hauled down, and insult- 
ing sentences were scribbled upon the statues and the 
walls. Hundreds of degraded women, foul and drunken, 
ransacked the ai^artments of Eugenie, — that empress 

* Paris correspondence of the Boston Journal, Sept. 5, 1870. 


who for twenty years had proved that the children of 
sorrow could never appeal to her in vain. They broke 
into the private cabinet of the emperor. The Babel of 
their songs and cries resounded far and wide tlirough 
the streets. 

Wliile these scenes were transpiring, a few of tlnj 
leaders of the democratic party in Paris met in the 
H8tel de Ville, and organized themselves into a provis- 
ional government. Gambetta, one of the most promi- 
nent of these men, repaired to the office of the minis- 
ter of the interior, and, with but two men to support 
him, demanded the books. The imperial officers, aware 
that the mob of Paris was at the command of Gambetta, 
withdrew from the office, leaving him in full possession. 

It was thus that the empire in France was over- 
thrown by a few hundred men in Paris. The empu'e, 
in an appeal to universal suffrage, iu every city and vil- 
lage in France, in the army, in the navy, and in Algiers, 
had been established by a vote of nearly eight millions. 
There were but about three hundred thousand in the 
negative. The republic was established by the demo- 
cratic portion of the populace in Paris. The opponents 
were overawed, and dared not express an opinion. 
Outside of the walls of Paris, there were thirty-eight 
millions of French people. Their voice was not listened 
to at all. The ecclesiastics, almost without an excep- 
tion, were in favor of the empire. The peasantry 
composing the millions of the rural districts were sup- 
porters of the empire with scarcely a dissenting voice. 

The democratic party in the leading cities — Lyons, 
Marseilles, &c. — followed the lead of the democrats in 
Paris in renouncing the empire and in proclaiming a 
republic ; but they refused to give in their adhesion 


to the self-constituted provisional government in Paris, 
and established governments of their own. Thus im- 
mediately there sprang up four distinct governments in 
France, each claiming to be " the French republic." 
First, there was the self-constituted " committee of 
national defence " in Paris. The second was a sort of 
delegated government in Tours. The third was a com- 
mittee of public safety at Marseilles, under the dictator 
Alphose Esquhos. The fourth was the red republican 
committee at Lyons. And there was still another at- 
tempt to grasp the reins of power by the democrats of 

During the progress of the French revolution of 1789, 
the people of France were divided in opinion respecting 
the best form of government to be adopted. The aris- 
tocracy, and all under their control, demanded the old 
monarchy. They were sustained by wealth, by the 
immense influence of ancestral rank, and by all the 
coui-ts and nobles of Europe. On the other hand were 
the repubhcans, mainly composed of the energetic 
populace of the cities and the more intelligent of the 
inhabitants of the rural districts. In some portions 
of France, nearly all the peasantry were in favor of the 
old monarchy. Never was there a more dreadful war 
waged on earth than that between the French monarchists 
and republicans in La Vendee. 

The empire was an attempt at a compromise between 
the old regime and the modern republic. It maintained 
monarchical forms ; while it rejected all aristocratic 
privilege, rearing the whole fabric of the government 
upon the principle of equal rights for all men. It 
rejected the principle of the divine right of kings, and 
proclaimed the divine right of the people. The re-estab- 


lished empire wliich the democratic party in the great 
cities was now endeavoring to overthrow had been 
adopted by the voice of universal suffrage. Every man 
in France, who was not a felon or a pauper, voted. The 
historic facts, beyond all dispute, were as follows : — 

In 1848, the French people overthrew the monarchical 
throne of Louis Philippe, established a republic, and 
chose Louis Napoleon Bonaparte president by 5,562,834 
votes. The fairness of the vote cannot be questioned, 
since the polls were in the hands of Gen. Cavaignac, a 
rival candidate, who was then dictator. 

A conspiracy was formed by the leaders of the Legiti- 
mist, Orleans, and Jacobin parties, to overthrow this 
repubhc. The monarchists deemed it too democratic 
in its character, and the red repubUcans deemed it not 
democratic enough. Thus the monarchist Thiers and 
the radical Louis Blanc clasped hands for its overthrow. 
Each hoped upon its ruins to rear his own favorite 
governmental fabric.^ 

By the coup d'etat, on the morning of Dec. 2, 
1851, the president thwarted this conspiracy, and res- 
cued the repubUc from the- destruction with which it 
was menaced. An immediate appeal to universal suf- 
frage, on the 20th of December, sustained the president 
in the coup d'etat. Thus France made the act her 
own, and rewarded Napoleon by re-electing him presi- 
dent of the republic, wliich he had saved, for an ad- 
ditional period of ten years. The vote was taken 
throughout the eighty- six departments of France. 
There were 7,439,216 votes in favor of the president, 
and but 640,737 against him. 

* See Alison's Historj' of Europe, vol. vii. p. 535. 


And now the people of France resolved to re-establish 
the emph'e, — the old republican empire of Napoleon I. 
Petitions were sent in from all parts signed by millions. 
" It became every day more evident that Paris, all 
entire, associated itself heart and soul in the wish uni- 
versally and spontaneously uttered by the departments. 
From all parts of the territory, addresses soliciting this 
change, covered by thousands of signatures, flooded the 
Senate, which alone, in accordance with the constitution, 
could effect amendments of this nature. Thus it was 
the totality of France which demanded the re-establish- 
ment of the empire." ^ 

The polls, to decide upon the question whether the 
empire should be re-established, were opened on the 
21st and 22d of November, 1852. This was eleven 
months after the coup d'etat^ by which the president 
had saved the republic. There were 7,864,180 votes 
in favor of the empire, and but 253,145 cast against 

Thus the empire was re-established with a degree of 
unanimity quite unparalleled in the history of nations.'^ 
It is said that Napoleon, having taken an oath to be true 
to the republic, could not, under these changed circum- 
stances, lend liis aid to the establishment of the empire 

1 MM. Gallix et Guy, p. 594. 

^ It is generally estimated, that, where suffrage is universal with all males 
over twenty-one years of age, there is one voter to about five of the population. 
The empire was established by a vote of 7,864,180. This represents a population 
of 39,320,900. Surely such unanimity was never before manifested in the 
establishment of a government. For twenty years, this government confeiTed 
upon France prosperity never enjoyed before, and was repeatedly sanctioned by 
the votes of the people. The opposition was confined to the great cities. It is 
easy to say that the vote was fraudulent ; but the cordial support of the 
empire for twenty years proves that it was in harmony with the popular senti- 


without peijuiy. Such is Senator Sumner's opinion. 
He says, — 

" Promise, pledge, honor, oath, were all violated in 
this monster treason. Never in history was greater 
turpitude. As I am a repubhcan, and believe in repub- 
lican institutions, I cannot forgive the traitor." ^ 

The re-establishment of the emph-e made but a slight 
change in the republican constitution, which still re- 
mained in force. The government consisted of the su- 
preme executive called Emperor, his Ministers, a Coun- 
cil of State, a Senate, and a House of Representatives 
called the Corps Legislatif. 

The emperor, chosen by universal sufli-age, transmit- 
ted his crown to his natural heirs. He appointed his 

The Senate was composed of the cardinals, the mar- 
shals, and the admirals of France, with enough others, 
appointed by the crown from citizens most distinguished 
for their services, to bring the number up to a hun- 
dred and fifty. The senators held their seats for life. 
After being appointed, tliey were entirely independent 
of the crown. 

The members of the Corps Ldgislatif were chosen by 
the people ; one deputy for every thirty-five thousand 
electors. Every Frenchman over twenty-one years of 
age was a voter ; and the deputies were chosen for a term 
of six years. 

The councillors of state were from forty to fifty in 
numl)cr, were appointed by the emperor, and were re- 
movable by him. No law could be estabhshed, or tax 
hnposed, without receiving the sanction of tlie Council 

' Senator Suniiior on tlie war, — New-York IlcralJ, Oct. 29, 1870. 


of State, tlie Senate, the Legislative Corps, and the sig- 
nature of the emperor. The executive, legislative, and 
judicial functions were clearly defined, and carefully 
separated. This constitution could at any time he 
amended by the votes of the people, without rendering 
it necessary to resort to revolutionary violence. 

While this constitution was less popular in its pro- 
visions than that of the United States, it was an im- 
mense advance from the spirit of the old Bourbon re- 
gimes^ and was decidedly more repubhcan in its charac- 
ter than the constitution of Great Britain. 

Such, in brief, was the government which the demo- 
cratic leaders in the great cities, in the midst of the 
terrible disasters by which France was overwhelmed, 
had overthrown, and replaced by several self-constituted 
committees of public safety.^ 

Gen. Dix, who was for several years the American 
ambassador to the French Empire, in his parting speech 
to the American residents in Paris said, — 

" It speaks strongly in favor of the illustrious sove- 
reign who for the last twenty years has held the desti- 
nies of France in his hands, that the condition of the 
people, materially and intellectually, has been constantly 
improving; and that the aggregate prosperity of the 

1 " It was not from the necessity of circumstances that France chose Loi' \i 
Napoleon. It was because France preferred him above all others, without ex- 
ception. It is because he is the only man truly popular ; the only name to which 
attach souvenirs of grand achievements accompUshed for the country. What 
can any one say respecting the achievements of our legitimate kings? Who, 
in cottage or shop, knows anything of them? Nobody. But all the world 
knows of the man who raised France to grandeur unheard of before; who sub- 
dued anarchy, and brought Europe to our feet ; the man who knew how to 
recompense services rendered, and to discover merit wherever it existed; the 
man who took the son of the citizen to make him a marshal, and the son of a 
workman to make him a king." — MM. Gallix ei Guy, p. 9. 


country is greater, perhaps, at the present moment, than 
at any former period. 

" As you know, debates in the Corps LdgisUitif, on 
questions of public policy, are unrestricted. They are 
reported with great accuracy, and promptly published in 
the official journal and other newspaper presses. Thus 
the people of France are constantly advised of all that 
is said for or against the administrative measures which 
concern their interests. In liberal views, in that com- 
prehensive forecast which shapes the policy of the present 
to meet the exigencies of the future, the emperor seems 
to me decidedly in advance of his ministers, and even 
of the popular body chosen by universal suffrage to aid 
him in his legislative labors." 

Bismarck scornfully called the new governments which 
had usurped the place of the empire the " gutter democ- 
rac}^" and refused to recognize them. M. Thiers, the 
Orlcanist, would not acknowledge their authority, though 
terril)ly embarrassed in consequence in his endeavors to 
obtain a treaty of peace. The monarchies of Continental 
Em'ope, almost with one accord, refused to recognize 
any of these govemmeyits^ which were founded neither 
upon legitimacy nor upon popular suffrage. 

For twenty years the empire had been the acknowl- 
edged government of France, recognized by all the 
nations of Europe and America. Nearly every civil, 
ecclesiastical, and military office was in the hands of tlie 
fiiends of the empire. The marshals and generals and 
tlie rank and file of the army were, with scarcely an 
exception, ardent imperialists. Fearful as was the press- 
ure upon them to drive back that Germanic invasion 
which was perilling the very life of France, their ener- 
gies were in a degree paralyzed by the rebellion against 


the government which had so suddenly sprung up in the 
great cities. Mar^lial Bazaine, at Metz, scornfully refused 
any recognition of the self-constituted committee in Paris, 
— a committee CL*-operating with the Prussian armies in 
overthrowing the established government. But for the 
presence of neaJy a million of armed Prussians in 
France, the empire would have remained firm. 

The democratic leaders in Europe are generally infi- 
dels, bitter foes of the Church. The peasantry, almost 
to a man, were friends of the empire, which respected 
their religion. I'he priesthood had immense influence 
in all the rural districts ; and the whole priesthood, as a 
body, were opposed to the democracy. Thus, when Favre 
and Rochefort chilled upon France to rise en masse to 
repel the invaders, there was no cordial response. The 
priests and the peasants scarcely knew which to dread 
the most, — the Prussians, or the democrats ; and when 
Garibaldi, who, by his assaults upon the Church, had ren- 
dered liimself extremely obnoxious to all the Catholic 
priesthood, hastened to the aid of the democratic gov- 
ernment in France, thousands of the Catholic soldiers 
refused to serve under such a leader. 

Thus France was apparently doomed to destruction. 
With no acknowledged government, with democrats re- 
viling imperiahsts in the most unmeasured terms of 
abuse, and impeiialists treating the democrats as the 
enemies of religif n and order, while at the same time 
the empire was overrun by as terrible an invasion as ever 
afflicted a people, and with but few words reaching 
French ears from England or America but words of 
scorn, the cup of misery the nation was doomed to dizain 
seemed to be full to the brim. There was a latent Or- 
leans element in the community, which did not develop 
itself in these disastrous hours. 


Bismarck seemed appalled. He had expected that the 
overthrow of the republican empire would re-introduce 
tlic old monarchy under a Bourbon or an Orleans king-. 
Instead of this, the democrats leaped upon the vacant 
throne, and grasped the sceptre. Bismarck, in conster- 
nation, would gladly have wrenched the sceptre fiom 
them, and restored it to the emperor. Democracy he 
feared above all things else. 

" A republic," says Mr. Headley, " stares him in the 
face. He knows, from the effect of the last French 
repuljlic on Germany, that another one established to- 
day will threaten the stability of his government more 
than Strasburg or Metz ever did or can ; that a repub- 
lic surging up to the borders of Germany is a more fear- 
ful menace than a hundred thousand French troops 
stationed along the Rhine. This very fact may furnish 
the key to his conduct in insisting on the overthrow of 
Paris. He knows that Paris is not France ; and though 
the city may vote for a republic, the entire country has 
just cast an overwlielming vote in favor of an empire. 

" Therefore, could he once occupy the capital, — so that, 
on the one hand, it could not overawe the provinces, and, 
on the other, give free scope to the monarchists to elec- 
tioneer among the people, — a similar result would follow, 
and thus France become an empire. With this he could 
accomplish a double object, — secure Europe from the 
dreaded effect of a vast republic rising in its midst, and 
obtain also such a frontier as he desires. Such a plan 
would be worthy of this prince of diplomatists." 



EVER was the adage respecting one going 
down hill more strikingly verified than in 
the case of the emperor in his honrs of mis- 
fortune. Even his buried mother Hortense 
and the Empress Eugenie had to take their 
share of the merciless vituperation. They 
were held up to the scorn of the world as 
women whose very touch was pollution. It was feared 
by the foes of the empire that popular suffrage might 
re-estabhsh the imperial throne. Resort was therefore 
had to all the poisoned weapons of calumny to prevent 
this result. Accusations were fabricated, and docu- 
ments, letters, and private papers, forged to prove that 
the Palace of the Tuileries, where for twenty years the 
most pure and illustrious of the gentlemen and ladies of 
England and America had found hospitable welcome, 
had been but a warehouse of infamy, seething with 
pollutions scarcely equalled by those of Sodom and 
Gomorrah. Must it be forever so that political antago- 
nism shall extinguish every sentiment of magnanimity 
and honor ? 

Probably never before in the history of the world 
was a man assailed so fiercely and unscrupulously as was 



tlie Emperor of the French in his hours of misfortune. 
A writer in " The London Sunday Times " of Aug. 14 
raised a feeble voice of remonstrance. 

" I feel constrained," he wrote, " to lift up my voice 
in humble but earnest protest against the splenetic, 
malevolent, and contemptuous tone adopted by too many 
of your contemporaries in their allusions to the present 
monarch of the great French nation. 

" Even had the emperor no claim whatever on the es- 
teem and courtesy of Englishmen, there would still be 
spmetliing exceedingly repulsive and ignoble in the zest 
with wliich the writers referred to have seized upon the 
moment of his supreme anxiety to heap upon him abuse 
which could only be merited by a monster in whom the 
knave and the fool were equally dominant. 

" The culmination of adversity should at least impose 
some restraint upon scorn and resentment, even though 
it fail to awaken compassion and sympathy. The Em- 
peror of the French may have been at fault in permit- 
ting his ministers to hurry him into a causeless and awful 
war. It is not of legitimate comment and criticism that 
I now venture to complain. I protest against violent, 
scornful, unjust, and vulgar abuse ; against irritating 
sneers and vindictive insolence ; against lying vitupera- 
tion and swaggering impertinence. Let it not be said 
that I exaggerate." 

After quoting sundry of these assaults from " The 
Daily News," " The Pail-Mall Gazette," and " The Lon- 
don Times," which abundantly sustained his statement, 
he continues : — 

" Now, of whom is all this written ? Of a man, who, 
during the whole period of his ascendency, has been the 
self-sacrificing friend and the faithful ally of this coun- 


try. For years after he assumed the chief direction of 
affairs in France, he was treated every day and every 
week, by nearly the whole Enghsh press, to foul and 
scornfid reprobation; yet, under provocations which 
would have goaded almost anybody else to madness, 
he sustained those onslaughts with marvellous patience. 
He never once resented them. 

" In great enterprises he has co-operated with us, main- 
taining a candor, a courtesy, a consideration, and delicacy 
of respect, which all who have had directly to deal with 
him have gratefully acknowledged. In evil report and 
in good report, he has been fast and frank in his friend- 
sliip with England. We owe vast expansions of our 
trade to his sagacity in framing and instituting the com- 
mercial treaty. 

" Say what we will, under his auspices the material in- 
terests of France have undergone a marvellous develop- 
ment. The prosperity has been accompanied by some 
of the higher forms of popular progress. Have we any 
reasons for hunting down a monarch who never did us 
harm, and who has estabhshed the most venerable claims 
on our respect and gratitude ? " 

On the 18th of October, an English gentleman had 
an interview with the emperor at Wilhelmshohe. In a 
communication he made to " The London Telegraph," 
he writes, — 

" Napoleon III. was seated before a desk encumbered 
with documents, books, and newspapers. The apart- 
ment he uses as a study is a small square room not un- 
like the cabinet he used at the Tuileries. The emperor 
looked in every respect as well as when I last saw him 
it St. Cloud in July last. I reminded him that he had 
then spoken to me of the HohenzoUern incident, which 
he had regarded as finished. 


" ' Yes,' said the emperor with a sigh. ' Lliomyne 
propose^ mais Dleu dispose. I had no wisli to make war ; 
but fatality willed that it- should be so. Public opinion 
was aroused in its favor ; and I was obliged to acquiesce 
in the popular wish./ 

" The emperor confidently relies upon the verdict of 
history to exonerate liim from all the charges heaped 
upon his head. He alluded, but without bitterness, to 
the numberless calumnies of which he is the object in 
many parts of France. He spoke in despondent terms 
of the present distracted condition of France, — a prey 
to a foreign foe without, and anarchy within. 

" When I ventured to ask him if the time would not 
soon come when he would be authorized to make some 
movement by his own initiative to retrieve his fortunes, 
he at once replied, that the sole aim of France must now 
be to drive out the invader of her soil ; and he would 
never, by word or deed, throw any obstacles in the way 
of accomplishing that task." ^ 

On the 9th of November, a correspondent of " The 
New- York Herald " was favored with an interview 
with the emperor at the Castle of Wilhelmshohe. Ho 
found his Majesty perfectly free in his daily movements, 
and treated with profound respect. Traversing a num- 
ber of stately halls and apartments, he was presented 
to the emperor in a room so small, that a writing-desk 
before the fire took up nearly the whole floor. 

In the course of the conversation, the emperor is re- 
l)orted to have expressed the following sentiments : — 

" All must admit that the press is a powerfid institu- 
tion. In France it has worked much good, and also 

' London Tclegnipli, Octobor, 1870. 


much injury. When I consented to its being freed 
entirely from censorship, it was seized by demagogues 
and unscrupulous politicians, who openly preached dis- 
obedience to the laws ; and they were but too successful 
in perverting the minds of the people. 

" The same intelligience does not prevail in France 
that is found in the United States. The seditious 
arguments advanced by the press, when in the hands 
of pretended reformers, easily inflamed the untutored 
minds of the people. 

" I suppose that Americans would naturally sym- 
pathize with republican institutions ; but all the con- 
ditions requisite to a true republican form of govern- 
ment are absolutely wanting in France. Those who 
boldly grasped the reins of power have already dis- 
covered their utter inability to establish such a govern- 
ment. That for which they blamed me most, they have 
been compelled to do themselves, and in a form still 
more obnoxious. 

" The restraint imposed upon the press, for instance, 
was the constant theme of the most violent attacks 
upon my government. But while I made but moderate 
use of this law, while fines and punishments were rare, 
and were preceded by a mild system of avertissemeiits, 
they have suppressed a number of journals because they 
did not chime in with their fantastic ideas of republican 

" The republic of America and the republic of France 
are as diferent as white is from black. Your country 
submits to law. Public sentiment and public spirit, 
based upon general intelligence and morality, dictate 
the control of society. In New York and Boston, the 
theatres are allowed to perform such plays as they deem 


fit. Suppose they should treat the pubUc to impure 
and offensive pieces : tlie press woukl denounce them ; 
nobody woukl go to see them ; they woukl be con- 
demned by the verdict of the pubhc. 

"But, in France, the greater the departure from moral- 
ity and decorum, the greater will' be the crowd flocking 
to delight in it. It is no easy work to curb such an 
extravagant and depraved spirit in a country so often 
unhappily shaken by revolution. It requires the utmost 
energy to build up any tiling, — any form of state gov- 

" I know the American people to be a frank-hearted, 
generous nation ; and I cannot believe they approve of 
the slanderous accusations now preferred against me. 
Have you read the vile statement, published in the 
' Inddpendance Beige ' and in other journals, that I 
had appropriated the public funds, and conjured up war 
to conceal such illegal transactions ? I wish to state 
emphatically that such a breach of trust under my gov- 
ernment in France is an utter impossibility. Not a sin- 
gle franc is expended without severe checks on the 
part of the administration. This fact is well known to 
every intelligent person in France. I could hardly 
attempt to contradict all these vile calumnies, though 
I have denied a few of them." 

In reference to the war the emperor remarked, " We 
deceived ourselves as to the strength of our own army 
as well as that of the Prussians. I have often cautioned 
my ministers against erroneous statements. It was 
proljaljly no fault of their hearts, but of their heads, 
that they would not listen to me when I told them that 
we could not compete with Prussia's military establish- 
ment ; that our effective strength as compared to hers 


was insufficient. This was the deception, the fault of 
which must be shared more or less by all of us, which 
has led to the most disastrous results. We were to have 
reaiy for service, at a moment's notice, two hundred 
thousand reserves. When they were needed, however, 
not more than one-half the number was at hand. Tluis 
the Prussians got ' ahead ' of us, as you would say. Not- 
withstanding all this, the bravery of our troops obliged 
them to use double numbers of men to gain easy vic- 

" France needs peace ; but the conditions imposed by 
Count Bismarck are too exacting. What government 
in France could accept them, and at the same time 
maintain itself against the outraged people ? France 
cannot endure so deep a humiliation." 

" Will your Majesty," the correspondent inquired, 
" have the goodness to explain why the provisional gov- 
ernment so obstinately refuses to hold an election for 
representatives in the constituent assembly ? " 

" In my opinion," the emperor replied, " it is because 
it is afraid of the reds." 

" May they not," it was asked, " have as much reason 
to apprehend that a large number of Bonapartists may 
be returned ? " 

" I do not think so," said the emperor. " The dis- 
cordant elements of socialism, communism, and an- 
archy, have, spread terror throughout the country, and 
gotten the upper hand ; and it is very difficult to con- 
tend with such Utopian and seductive influences." 

In reference to the restoration of the empire, and the 
recall of the emperor by the popular voice. Napoleon 
Baid, — 

" When I consider the uncertainty lurking on the road 


to such an aim, when I consider the vast impediments 
to be removed, I really feel but little ambition. I would 
rather be independent. I would rather be as I now 
am, — a prisoner, — and never step again on French 

"But with regard to your Majesty's interest as a 
father," it was said, "you must be naturally desirous of 
bequeathing your throne to your promising son, and 
thus upholding the dynasty." 

" No," the emperor replied with much manifest emo- 
tion : " not even for him could I wish it. I love him too 
much to desire for him chances of such dread uncer- 
tainty. If these cannot be avoided, he would be far 
happier in private life, without the overwhelming respon- 
sibilities attaching to such a station, and that, too, in 
France, which can never forget a humiliation." 

Some journals have expressed doubts respecting the 
authenticity of the above narrative ; but the senti- 
ments expressed are in manifest accord with every re- 
port which has come from the prisoner of Wilhelm- 

The testimony in reference to the sentiments and 
conduct of the Empress Eugenie, from all those who 
were favored with an interview, is uniformly the same. 
She had found a retreat at Chiselhurst, in the county of 
Kent, England, a small, rambling village, about half an 
hour's ride, on the railway, from Charing Cross. She, 
with her suite, occupied Camden House, a three-story 
mansion of red and yellow brick, with a park and pretty 
ornamental grounds. A lady, writing from London to 
" The New-York World " under date of Oct. 18, 1870, 
gives the following account of an interview : — 

" I have heard nuich of the beauty and grace of the 


empress j but I was not prepared to see a person of 
such exquisite loveliness. 

" While I do not feel at liberty to repeat the words 
which the empress uttered, either to myself or to 
others in my hearing, I may express the conviction with 
which I left her presence. She loves France, and is 
anxious for its welfare, — more anxious for that than 
for the restoration of the empire and perpetuity of the 
Napoleonic dynasty. She has nothing to do with the 
intrigues that are going on here, or in Jersey, or at 
Mons, or at Wilhelmshohe. She sees that the salvation 
of France depends upon the maintenance of the pro- 
visional government, now established there, until the 
enemy has been driven from its borders ; and it is for 
this that she hopes, for tliis she works, and for this she 
prays daily, if not hourly ; being oftener on her knees 
than on her feet, asking the intercession of our Blessed 
Lady for the land which is so rich in faith, as well as so 
sadly stained with unbelief. 

" That the great majority of the French people still 
look upon her husband as their lawful ruler, chosen by 
them in the first place, and confirmed in his authority 
by their repeated votes, she believes : that they will ask 
him to return to them, or that, at least, they will de- 
mand the restoration of his dynasty, she considers prob- 
able. But that is not the question now. The question 
now is, ' How to save France from being conquered 
and crushed by Germany ; ' and he is her friend who 
aids in that work, be he republican or imperialist. 

" When peace is restored, and the country is once 
more free to choose its form of government, it will be 
time then to decide whether it will elect to recall a 
ruler under whom a score of years of uninterrupted 


prosperity and peace were enjoyed, or to continue in 
power a party who drove that ruler into a war for which 
he was wholly unprepared, and which he was wholly 
unwilling to undertake. It was liberal France that 
made the war unavoidable ; it was imperial France that 
desired peace, and dreaded war: but it remains for the 
future to show whether Franco is still, at heart, impe- 
rialistic, or republican. The empire was cstabhshcd by 
the votes of the peox)le, and confirmed by their voices 
over and over again. The people have not expressed 
any wish for the substitution of a republic for the em- 
pire : should they do so, the empress will not be found 
plotting against them." 

Gen. Dix, in his address to the Americans in Paris 
upon his retirement from his embassy to the court of 
the Tuileries, paid the following just and beautiful trib- 
ute to the character of Eugenie : — 

" Of her who is the sharer of the emperor's honors, 
and the companion of his toils ; who in the hospital, at 
the altar, or on the throne, is alike exemplary in the dis- 
charge of her varied duties, whether incident to her po- 
sition, or voluntarily taken upon herself, — it is difficult 
for me to speak without rising above the level of tlie 
common language of eulogium. But I am standing here 
to-day as a citizen of the United States, without official 
relations to my own government or any other. I have 
taken my leave of the imperial family ; and I know of 
no reason why I may not freely speak what I honestly 
think, especially as I know I can say nothing which will 
not find a cordial response in your breasts. 

"As, in the history of the ruder sex, groat luminaries 
have from time to time risen high above the horizon, 
to break, and at the same time to illustrate, the monot- 


ony of tlie general movement; so, in the annals of 
her sex, brilliant lights have at intervals shone forth, and 
shed their lustre upon the stately march of regal pomp 
and power. 

"And such is she of whom I am speaking. When I 
have seen her taking part in the most imposing, as I 
think, of all imperial pageants, — the opening of the 
Legislative Chambers, — standing amidst the assembled 
magistracy of Paris, surrounded by the representatives 
of the talent, the genius, the learning, the literature, 
and the piety of this great empire, or amidst the re- 
splendent scenes of the palace, moving about with a 
gracefulness all her own, and with a simplicity of man- 
ner which has a double charm when alhed to exalted 
rank and station, I confess tliat I have more than once 
whispered to myself, and I believe not -always inaudibly, 
that beautiful verse of the graceful and courtly Claudian, 
the last of the Roman poets, — 

' Divino servitu gressu claruit ; ' 

or, rendered in our own plain English, ' The very path 
Bhe treads is radiant with her unrivalled step.' " 




/HE capture of the array at Sedan, witli the 
emperor, was an irreparable disaster to 
France. There was no longer any force 
in the field to resist the invaders ; there 
was no longer any government which France 
would recognize. It was no longer possible 
for neighboring dynasties, despising democ- 
racy, to enter into alliance to aid France, since such aid 
would strengthen that democracy which the dynasties 
feared far more, even, than they feared Germanic su- 
premacy in Europe. Victorious Prussia was also deeply 
embarrassed. She had overthrown the republican empire, 
with its respect for monarchical forms, only to introduce 
tlie genuine democracy of Favre and Hugo and Roche- 
fort, which prided itself in trampling all monarchical 
forms under its feet. Thus was Prussia inspired with a 
new incentive to reject all terms of peace but those 
which would re-establish monarchy in some of its forms 
in France, or which would so degrade and weaken the 
nation, that Europe would have nothing to fear from a 
dishonored and powerless democracy. 

Never before in tlie history of the world was tliero 
so sudden and awful a collapse of a great nation. 


272 HISTORY OF pnussiA. 

France seemed ruined beyond all hope of redemp- 

Catholic France could not rally with enthusiasm to 
fight the battles of an infidel democracy. For such 
a cause the priests could not pray ; for such a cause, the 
peasants, who reflected the opinions of the Catholic 
clergy, reluctantly advanced to meet the foe. 

Imperial France, which embraced nearly the whole 
rural population, and all the civil, ecclesiastical, and 
military officers, maddened by the overthrow of the 
government by city mobs in the hour of the most dire 
extremity of the nation, was paralyzed in all her ener- 

The military leaders refused to recognize any authority 
but that of the empire ; and every vestige of the empire 
the democratic populace had swept from Paris. The 
men who had thus grasped the reins of power had but 
little confidence in the generals who were in open an- 
tagonism to them ; and they accused these generals of 
lukewarmness, and even treason. 

Thus clouds and darkness enveloped France. From 
no quarter could a ray of light be seen. The condition 
of Marshal Bazaine was hopeless. The army of Prince 
Charles and of the Crown Prince united in surrounding 
him. In the mean time, the siege of Strasburg was prose- 
cuted with great vigor ; while powerful Prussian armies 
marched in all directions, capturing towns, levying 
cuntributions, and gathering up ample supplies. What 

» " If Napoleon were to make an appeal to the French people, France, mean- 
while, seeing in the republic nothing but disorder, is it impossible that the peas- 
ants, who are Bonapartists almost to a man, would vote for the restoration of the 
empire V All our reliable news from the interior of France reveals the fact, that 
the peasants are not republicans. We regret this fact, while we are compelled 
to confess it." — New-Ym-k Herald. Oct. 1, 1870. 


a condition for proud France to be in ! TIio despatches 
of the King of Prussia indicate his astonishment in 
view of the marvellous results so suddenly accom- 

After an heroic resistance of two months, Strasburg 
capitulated on the 28th of Sej)teraber. The terrific bom- 
bardment commenced on the 15th of August. The 
besiegers had four hundred heavy guns and mortars, 
with which they threw an incessant storm of shot and 
shell into the city night and day. It was the object 
of the bombardment to inflict such misery upon the 
inhabitants, that the soldiers in the citadel would be 
compelled, from humane considerations, to surrender. 

The sufferings in the city were awful beyond all 
description. The bursting-forth of conflagrations, the 
explosion of shells, the crash of falling walls, the shrieks 
of the wounded ; famine, sickness, misery, — all combined 
in converting wretched StrasJ3urg into a volcanic pande- 
monium. There was no safety anywhere. Children 
were torn to pieces in the streets, and their gory limbs 
scattered far and wide over the pavements. Shells 
crushed through the roofs, and exploded in the cellars 
where mothers and maidens were huddled together in 
terror. One shell fell in the third story of a house, 
and killed twelve persons outright, wounding twelve 

Gen. Ulrich, who was intrusted with the defence, was 
compelled to steel his heart against these cries of woe. 
His defence was heroic in the highest degree. Four 
hundred citizens — men, women, and children — were 
killed ; seventeen hundred were wounded. Four hun- 
dred houses were burned, rendering eight thousand 
persons houseless. Three hundred children died of 



starvation. Damage was inflicted upon the city to the 
estimated amount of fifty million dollars.^ 

The surrender of Strasburg with its vast mihtary 
stores released the besieging army of over fifty thousand 
men to co-operate in the siege of Metz and in the march 
upon Paris. A garrison of eight thousand Germans was 
left to hold Strasburg, wliile the remainder of the be- 
leaguering host pressed forward to new victories. 

The provisional government in Paris, assuming that 
the war was the criminal act of the imperial government, 
which was now overthrown, applied through M. Thiers 
for peace. " It is understood," said " The London 
Times " of Sept. 14, " that M. Thiers offered an indem- 
nity of five hundred million dollars, one-half the French 
fleet, to dismantle the fortresses of Alsace and Lorraine, 
and to leave the Rhine provinces, for which France had 
.commenced the war, in the hands of Prussia." 

The reply, so far as it can be gathered from the offi- 
cial journals in Berlin, was, that there is no longer any 
government in France with which Prussia could form a 
treaty ; that the present government in Paris exists only 
by leave of the gutter democracy ; that the security of 
the new empire which Prussia is establishing in Ger- 
many renders it essential that France should be so weak- 
ened, that Germany shall never again have cause to fear 
that France will cross the Rhine. 

Then it was asked, " Is it not equally important that 
France should have protection against Germanic inva- 
sion ? " The emphatic and unanswerable reply was, 
" The conquered must submit to the will of the con- 

* Testimouy of Dr. Schnergaus, a member of the city council. 


The onward sweep of the Prussian armies was sub- 
lime in its aspect. While nearly three huncbed thousand 
troops were assailing Marshal Bazaine at Metz, in a war- 
tempest whose thunders were unintermitted by day or 
by night, four hundred thousand more veteran soldiers, 
with rapid strides, in such array that no force could be 
brought to resist them, circled around the doomed city 
of Paris, gu-ding it with a chain of ponderous batteries 
and bristhng steel, through which there was no escape. 

It seemed as though there were no limit to the number 
of troops which Germany had poured into France. There 
were enough to besiege Metz, to besiege Paris, to be- 
siege a score of other minor fortresses ; and there were 
men enough left to send powerful armies, — north to 
Amiens, and south to Orleans and Tours. Every day 
announced some new German victory. Jules Favre 
endeavored to represent the Bonaparte dynasty as ex- 
clusively responsible for the war. To this, Bismarck's 
organ in BerUn, " The North-German Correspondent," 
rephed, — 

"M. Jules Favre has given himself the trouble to 
defend this perversion of history and common sense in a 
long circular despatch. We maintain, on the other hand, 
and our asseverations are supported by all the facts of 
the case, that the immense majority of the French peo- 
ple, through all the organs of public opinion, — in the 
press, the Senate, the Corps Legislative, and the army, 
nay, down to the very street-mobs of Paris, — demanded 
war. Even the small minority which hold at present 
in their hands the reins of state are so far from honest- 
ly seeking peace, that they are doing what in thom lies 
to make peace impossible." 

Wc can form some estimate of the state of feeling in 


France upon this subject by supposing that Mexico were 
a rich, powerful military empire, with a population of 
forty millions, and every man a trained soldier. If the 
Mississippi were the only natural boundary between 
Mexico and the United States, it would indeed be hu- 
miliating to allow Mexico to hold the territory on both 
banks of the stream, from the Gulf to the Ohio. 

The German Empire, now rising in such gigantic pro- 
portions, is in direct and intense antagonism with the 
political principles prevailing almost universally in 
France. It is an absolute government, founded upon 
the doctrine of the divine right of kings and the exclu- 
sive privileges of the nobles. The French Empire, now 
crumbling to decay, was founded upon the doctrine of 
the divine right of the people^ universal suffrage, and 
equal rights for all men. 

There was necessary antagonism between two sys- 
tems of government so diametrically opposed to each 
other. There could be no possible peace between them 
but by clearly-defined boundaries which neither could 
easily pass, — which France sought to establish ; or by 
the one empire so disarming and weakening the other as 
to render it impotent, — which last Prussia sought to do. 

It would require volumes to describe the scenes of 
horror which were now every hour transpiring. The 
Prussians, in this most wonderful of campaigns, displayed 
military ability which certainly has never been surpassed, 
and I know not that it has ever before been equalled. 
Paris was invested, in a circuit forty miles in diameter, 
by an army numbering three hundred thousand men. 
Every avenue of escape was cut off. The most formi- 
dable intrenchments were thrown up at every point 
which a sortie could strike. These intrenchments were 


protected by thirty tliousaiul men. In case of a sortie^ 
telegraphic coniraunication instantly brought to their 
aid thirty thousand men on either side of them to attack 
the assailants on both flanks. Thus ninety thousand 
men behind the strongest earthworks were prepared to 
repel any attempts to pierce their lines. 

Tliree hundred thousand men surrounded Metz, and 
its doom was sealed. The storm of an incessant bom- 
bardment fell upon Montraedi and Toul and Thionville 
and Bitche and Phalsburg. Bazelle was in ashes ; and 
its three thousand inhabitants were wandering along the 
roads, houseless, foodless, clotheless, seeking relief from 
those who were nearly as miserable as themselves. 

Seventy thousand Prussian cavalry scoured the coun- 
try in all directions, gathering ample supplies for the 
invading army of nearly a million of men. Almost 
every day announced the demolition of some fortress, or 
the capture of some town, by the resistless Prussians. 
France, bleeding, robbed, humiliated, almost helpless, 
was without any recognized government or any spirit 
of cordial co-operation among its distracted people. As 
the Prussians advanced, they found almost a deserted 
country before them. The peasants, in terror, fled into 
the woods. 

Mr. Malet, a secretary of the English legation in Paris, 
gives the following report of an interview he held with 
Count Bismarck. The Prussian minister said in refer- 
ence to peace with France, — 

" We don't want money : we are rich. We don't 
want ships : Germany is not a naval power. But we 
know very well that we shall leave behind us in France 
an undying legacy of hate ; and that, happen what may 
just now, France will at once go into training. What 


we now insist upon is Metz and Strasburg. We shall 
keep them for a bulwai-k against French invasion, mak- 
ing them stronger than ever before." 

Metz and Strasburg, which Bismarck thus demanded, 
were the main fortresses of the important provinces 
of Alsace and Lorraine. These provinces embraced the 
six northern departments of France, spreading over 
12,430 square miles, and containing a population of 
about three million inhabitants, who were intensely 
French in their feelings. 

In continuation of the conversation which Mr. Malet 
reports. Count Bismarck said, " What the king and I 
most fear is the effect of a republic in France upon Ger- 
many. No one knows as well as we do what has been 
the influence of American republicanism in Germany." 

M. Jules Favre, in behalf of the government of the 
national defence in Paris, as minister of foreign affairs, 
visited Bismarck at the Prussian headquarters at 
Ferrieres. He gives a minute report of the interview in 
the "Moniteur " of the 28th of September. He says, — 

" The count maintained that the security of Germany 
commanded him to guard tli^ territory which protected 
it. He repeated several times, ' Strasburg is the key to 
the house : I must have it.' ' The two departments,' he 
said, ' of the Bas Rhin and the Haut Mhm, a part of 
the Moselle, with Metz, Chateaux Chalins and Senones, 
are indispensable. I know well,' he added, ' that they 
are not with us. That will impose an unpleasant job 
upon us ; but we cannot help it. I am sure, that, in a 
short time, we shall have a new war with you. We 
wish to make it with all our advantaores.' " 

" It is clear," writes Jules Favre, " that, in the intoxi- 
cation of victory, Prussia wishes for the destruction of 


France. She demands three of our departments, two 
fortified cities, — one of a hundred thousand, the other 
of seventy-five thousand inhabitants, — and eight or ten 
smaller ones also fortified. She knows that the popula- 
tions she wishes to tear from us repulse her ; but she 
seizes them, nevertheless, replying with the edge of the 
sword to their protestations against such an outrage of 
their civic liberty and their moral dignity. To the nation 
that demands the opportunity of self-consultation she 
proposes the guaranty of her cannon, planted at Mt. 
Valdrien. Let the nation that hears this either rise at 
once, or at once disavow us when we counsel resistance 
to the bitter end." 

On the 16th of October, Soissons, after a severe bom- 
bardment, fell into the hands of the Prussians, with a 
large amount of mihtary stores. Some idea of the 
terrors of these bombardments may be inferred from the 
fact, that, from an official statement, it appears that in 
the bombardment of Strasburg, which lasted thirty-one 
days, 441 pieces of ordnance were used, which threw 
into the city 193,722 shots, averaging 6,249 daily, or 
between four and five each minute. Some of these 
enonnous missiles of destruction weighed a hundred and 
eighty pounds. 

Day after day came fraught with disaster. Though 
the broken bands of the French, and the new recruits 
which sprang up here and there, fought with despera- 
tion, and gained some victories, the majestic march of 
the Prussians was resistlessly onward. Paris was every 
hour becoming more hopelessly bound in the iron girdle 
which surrounded it. Under the empire, Paris had 
become the most beautiful city in the world. Scholars, 
artists, pleasure-seekers, thronged it from all nations. 


Even the bitterest foes of the empire did not deny its 
rapid increase in wealth, beauty, and all artistic attrac- 

" The life of this beautiful city," says " The New- 
York Tribune " of Nov. 29, 1870, " has been for eighteen 
years one of the most singular examples ever seen of 
an unbroken tide of material success. It has increased 
vastly in extent, in riches, in population ; and, in every 
department of luxury and art, there has been an im- 
provement without parallel in recent times." 

King William, and his son the Crown Prince, had been 
honored guests at the Tuileries, and had admired the 
beauties of a city which has no rival in Europe. It is 
said that they shrank from the Vandalism of throwing 
their shells into the palaces, the churches, the thronged 
streets, the homes of elegance, and the galleries of art, 
with which the city abounded. They feared that the 
sympathies of the world would be with Paris, thus 
doomed to destruction. 

The war had now become simply an effort, on the 
part of Prussia, to wrest from France Alsace and Lor- 
raine, that France might be thus weakened, and Prussia 
thus strengthened. The openly-avowed object was ter- 
ritorial aggrandizement. Would Christendom sustain 
Prussia in the destruction of Paris and the slaughter of 
thousands of its helpless citizens for such an object? It 
is confidently said that Count Bismarck urged the hurl- 
ing of the shells, but that the king hesitated. 

It should also be stated that Paris was surrounded 
by a cordon of forts, supporting each other at such 
a distance outside of the walls, that the Prussians 
could not plant their siege-guns near enough to throw 
their shells into the city ; and that this fact, not con- 


siclcrations of hnmanitj, caused the bombardment to Ije 

But, whatever the cause may have been, the dreary 
weeks rolled on, with mcessant and bloody battles around 
the walls ; while two millions of people, shut out from 
all intercourse with the outside world, were consigned 
to the resistless approaches of famine, — a foe more to be 
dreaded than fire or the sword. 

A part of the provisional government was in Paris : 
a part liad escaped in a balloon to Tours. A French 
army was gathering near Tours for the defence of the 
portion of the ministry assembled there. A large army 
of Prussians was on the march to capture those minis- 
ters, or-disperse them. The Prussian king and his suite 
took possession of the magnificent saloons of Versailles, 
where they " fared sumptuously every day." Jules Fa- 
vre was in Paris, acting as President of France. Gen. 
Trochu was military governor of the city, having received 
his appointment from the emperor. The complications 
would have been exceedingly ludicrous, had not the cir- 
cumstances been so extremely distressing. 

On the 27th of October, King William sent the 
astounding telegram to Berlin, " This morning, Bazaine 
and Metz capitulated. A hundred and fifty thousand 
prisoners, including twenty thousand sick and wounded, 
laid down their arms this afternoon, — one of the most 
imi)ortant events of the war. Providence be thanked ! " 

For sixty-seven days, the gallant troops had struggled 
against overpowering numl)ers. They had expended 
their ammunition, and had eaten up tlieir horses. Tlicir 
hospitals were filled with the sick and wounded, and 
starvation was staring them in the face. The army did 
not fall unavenged. Forty-five thousand of the army 


of Prince Charles had perished, during the siege, of sick- 
ness or wounds, sending a wail of anguish into forty- 
five thousand German homes beyond the Rhine. The 
suiTender of this army with its veteran soldiers and 
generals, and the surrender of this all-important fortress 
with its vast supply of heavy guns and small-arms, was 
a disaster apparently irretrievable. 

Marshal Bazaine was an imperialist. He had no re- 
spect for the democratic committees which had sprung 
up in different parts of France. These committees con- 
sequently denounced him as a traitor, and clamored for 
his head ; but subsequent developments proved that 
he had done every thing he could do for the salvation of 
woe-stricken France. 

The capitulation of Metz released an army of three 
hundred thousand Prussians to co-operate in the siege 
of Paris, and to march with the forces advancing to- 
wards the Loire. On the morning of the 30th of Oc- 
tober, the governmental committee in Tours issued a 
proclamation, in which they said, — 

" Metz has capitulated. A general upon whom France 
relied has just taken away {yient (jfenlever) from the 
country, in its danger, more than a hundred thousand of 
its defenders. Marshal Bazaine has betrayed us. He 
has made himself the agent of the man of Sedan, and 
the accomplice of the invader. Regardless of the honor 
of the army of which he had charge, he has surrendered, 
without even making a last effort, a hundred and twen- 
ty thousand fighting men, twenty thousand wounded, 
guns, cannons, colors, and the strongest citadel of 
France. Such a crime is above even the punishment 
of justice. 

" Meanwhile, Frenchmen, measure the depths of the 


abyss into which the empu'e has precipitated you. For 
twenty years, France submitted to this corrupting power, 
which extinguished in her the springs of greatness and 
of hfe. The army of France, stripped of its national 
character, became, without knowing it, an instrument of 
tyranny and servitude, and is swallowed up, in spite of 
the lieroism of the soldiers, by the treason of their chiefs. 
It is time for us to re-assert ourselves under the aigis of 
the republic." 

This address was signed by Cremieux, Glais-Bisoin, 
and Gambetta, — men who were regarded as political 
adventurers, and in whom France had no confidence. 
Nothing can more clearly show the unfitness of such 
men to govern than the total want of acquaintance 
with human nature which this proclamation evinced. 
France, in these hours of anguish, needed the union of 
all parties by the spirit of mutual conciliation. 

For twenty years the empire had governed France, 
crowning it with prosperity, and making it the leading 
power in Europe. Again and again the empu^e had 
been sustained by the votes of the overwhelming major- 
ity of the people. The rural population were imperial- 
ists almost to a man. The army, composed of young 
men taken from the cottages and the workshops, ardent- 
ly supported the empire. The generals who led these 
armies had, without an exception, taken the oath of 
allegiance to the empire. Without the support of these 
generals, these armies, and these masses of the people, 
France was powerless ; and yet these committee-men, 
wlio assumed to be the government of France, who 
bad gained power simply through the energies of a 
Parisian mol), endeavored to unite France under tlicir 
government by denouncing the emperor in the strong- 


est language of contempt, by declaring the chiefs of the 
army to be traitors, the soldiers to be dupes, — who had 
been, without knowing it, the instruments of tyranny 
and servitude, — and the masses of the people as guilty 
of the inconceivable folly of submitting for twenty 
years to a corrupting power which had extinguished the 
springs of life in France. 

Under these circumstances, with the cities under the 
control of the democratic party, heaping scorn upon 
the imperialists and the rural districts, and all the lead- 
ing officers of the church, the army, and the state, 
wedded to the empire, there seemed to be no possibility 
of that enthusiastic co-operation of all France which 
was essential to the repulse of the invaders. 

Still the generals and the armies fought despairingly, 
and gained some minor victories. New recruits some- 
what languidly entered the field. During the month of 
November, the battle raged almost incessantly over 
vast regions of the northern and central departments 
of France. The emperor was a prisoner. The empire 
was overthrown. There was no government in France. 
Prussia, on the contrary, was guiding her invincible 
bands with all the energies of despotic power. The 
world, which looked on, could see no hope for France. 
Her doom of utter defeat and humiliation seemed in- 
evitable. Could France rally en masse with entliusiasm 
under any recognized government, — imperial, monarchi- 
cal, or republican, — with the seven millions of fighting 
men she could bring into the field, with the entire com- 
mand of the sea, enabling her to obtain any amount of 
arms and munitions of war, she might still drive the 
invaders bleeding and breathless from her soil; but 
there seemed now to be no possibihty of this co-opera- 


Were the question between Fnince and Germany pre- 
sented to an impartial umpire, the decision woukl uu- 
douljtedly be, " Let the forty milKons of Germans be 
organized under any form of government they may 
choose, with the River Rhine as their southern frontier. 
Let the forty millions of Frenchmen be organized luider 
any form of government they may like, with the River 
Rhine as their northern frontier." 

This woidd be settling the question according to the 
dictates of reason ; according to the boundary which 
Nature has marked out. This would give neither party 
the advantage over the other. With such a boundary, 
the absolute empire of Germany and the republican 
empire of France, or republican Germany and republi- 
can France, might live on terms of fraternal kindliness. 

But it seems now (early in December, 1870) that the 
question is not to be settled by reason, but by iron and 
by blood. The conquered must submit to the dictation 
of the conqueror. The rolling centuries have, however, 
taught us one lesson, — that notldng is settled in this ivorld 
until it is settled right. The infamous treaties of 1815 
planted the seeds of the wars which in these later years 
have drenched the fields of Italy and Austria with blood, 
and of the conflict which is now filling Germany and 
France with the wailing cry of widows and of orphans. 

We know not Avhat God has in reserve for France, for 
Europe, for humanity. Nations as well as individuals 
need and receive chastening from the Lord. In view 
of the woes which are still desolating this war-scathed 
world, one is led to cry out in anguish, " How long, O 
Lord ! how long ? " The awful carnage now drenching 
the fields of France with French and German blood 
must ere long come to a close. Then the settlement 


which shall be accepted will decide whether there shall 
be permanent peace and fraternity, or merely a truce, to 
give place, after a few years, to another bloody conflict, 
which shall again shroud t-u'O nations, and perhaps all 
Europe, in woe. Every friend of humanity will pray 
that God will so guide the event, that abiding peace may 
come to our sad, sad world. 



LL the plans of Count Bismarck seemed 
almost miraculously to succeed. The 
thought of a great German empire in the 
heart of Europe, which should rival in 
grandeur and power the glories of Charle- 
magne, apparently inspired all Germany 
with such enthusiasm as to silence every 
republican murmur, and cause all fears of despotism to 
be forgotten, and all aspirations for popular rights to be 
obliterated from the public mind. State after State of 
Southern Germany professed allegiance to Prussia, and its 
readiness to accept King William as Emperor of United 
Germany, — emperor by divine right ; to be the ruler, 
and not the servant, of the people. 

Bismarck knew full well, and frankly gave expression 
to the opinion, that France would never consent, except 
by compulsion, to leane herself at the mercy of Germa- 
ny ; which empire, holding both banks of the Rhine, could 
at any time pour her armies resistlcssly into the empii'c 
of France. It was certain, that, were peace made upon 
those terms, France, so soon as she had recovered from 
the exhaustion and ravages of the war, would gather 
her strength anew, to regain those provinces which she 



deemed essential to her independent existence, now tliat 
Germany liad become a power before which all Enrope 
trembled. Hence it was that Bismarck deemed it essen- 
tial to the success of his plans that Prussia should not 
only hold those Rhenish provinces on the south side of 
the Rhine upon which she had already reared so many 
impregnable fortresses, but that she should wrest from 
France the whole remaining line from her frontier-for- 
tress of Lauterburg, — a hundred miles south, to Basle, 
in Switzerland. 

This acquisition, transferring to Prussia the magnifi- 
cent provinces of Alsace and Lorraine, with the ancient 
fortress of Strasburg, would sink France to a second- 
rate power. Nothing could induce her to make this 
sacrifice but the deepest conceivable humiliation. The 
fact that Prussia was abundantly prepared for the war, 
with her armies all marshalled, with her ammunition- 
wagons all filled, with her transportation-cars all ready, 
indicates clearly that the attainment of this end was the 
prominent object which Prussia had in view at the com- 
mencement of the war. And it must be admitted that 
this was shrewd policy. It was an essential step in the 
plan of revivmg the empire of Charlemagne upon the 
old feudal foundation of the divine right of kings. To 
all the pleadings of humiliated France for peace, the in- 
variable reply was, " Surrender Alsace and Lorraine ! " 

Terrible as was the loss which the Prussians encoun- 
tered in their series of almost uninterrupted victories, 
their ranks were kept full by an incessant stream of re- 
cruits forwarded from the Germanic States. The loss 
of life seemed to be a matter not taken into considera- 
tion in the prosecution of these plans of territorial 


At no time from the commencement of the invasion 
was there less than half a milUon of well-trained Ger- 
man soldiers in France. Within a few weeks, they cap- 
tured or destroyed three hundred and fifty thousand 
regular French troops. It is said that there were about 
four hundred thousand soldiers of all arms, many merely 
citizen-soldiers, who were shut up in Paris. They manned 
the forts, kept up an incessant fire on the Prussian hues, 
and made many despei'ate sorties. Though at times 
partially victorious, they were, in the end, always haffled. 
Not a wagon could enter the city ; not an individual 
could leave but by soaring through the clouds in a 

Various attempts were made, with more or less of 
success, to create in different parts of France, beyond 
the reach of the Prussian cannon, new armies. But the 
well-trained Germans swept the territory in all direc- 
tions, and almost every day brought its catalogue of 
their victories and their conquests. Everywhere that 
any considerable French force made its appearance, either 
in the north near Amiens, or in the south upon the Loire, 
they were pretty sure to be promptly assailed by a supe- 
rior force of Prussians ; and however fiercely they fought, 
and however densely they strewed the ground wdth the 
slain of their assailants, they were eventually put to 

Early in December, a sortie was attempted from Paris 
with a hundred thousand men. The battle was as fierce 
as mortal energies could wage. The slaughter on both 
sides was dreadful. Both parties made victorious onsets ; 
both parties shared in disastrous defeats. Thousands of 
hearts in the cottages of France and Germany were rent 
with anguish as tidings reached them of loved ones who 



would never return. Still Prussia was steadily winding 
her chains more tightly around the doomed city, crying 
out, " Give us Alsace and Lorraine ! " and still the de- 
spairing French exclaimed, " We will bury ourselves 
beneath the ruins of Paris ere we will submit to any 
further dismemberment of the empire ! " The tide 
of public opinion in England and America was no^v 
rapidly turning in favor of the French, who were 
now fighting so heroically for the integrity of their 
realms. All that France now hoped for was to obtain 
such terms of peace as would not compel every French- 
man to hang his head for shame. A writer in the " New- 
York Herald " of Dec. 3 undoubtedly gave expression 
to the rapidly-increasing public sentiment in saying, — 

" And here we are led to look at the present object 
and spirit of the war on the part of Prussia. Both the 
purpose and character of this dreadful conflict have 
changed. From a war of defence, and against ' the 
Bonapartes,' it has become an ambitious and a relent- 
less one. To squelch the French republic, and to dis- 
member France, is now the object of the King of Prus- 
sia. He says, or rather Count Bismarck says for him, 
that it is not continued from hostility to republicanism. 
Both pretend that they are not making war upon the 
republic of France ; that they are comparatively indiffer- 
ent as to what form of government the French people 
may choose ; and that they have no wish to interfere with 
such choice, or to impose any government upon the 
nation. This declaration does not accord with their ac- 
tion, nor with their sentiments and policy. It is unrea- 
sonable to suppose a proud monarch, an absolutist of 
the old ' divine-right ' school, like King William, would 
be indifferent to the establishment of a republican gov- 


ernment in France, or that lie would not try to prevent 
it. It is as unlikely that his aristocratic minister, or the 
proud aristocracy of Prussia, and the hundreds of petty 
princes of Germany, are indifferent. No: they" fear too 
much the danger to their own privileges from a great 
republic in the heart of Europe, embracing such a vast 
territory and population. They know by experience 
a!id from the lessons of history what an extraordinary 
influence a French republic has m awakening and diffus- 
ing republican ideas and aspirations in surrounding na- 
tions. They dread this propagandism of liberty and 
democracy ; and, if possible, will extinguish the fire before 
it is well lighted." 

The pressui'e of defeat and misery was gradually 
uniting all parties. The Catholic priesthood, which 
has almost boundless influence over the peasantry, was 
at first bewildered in view of the usurpation of the 
government by democratic leaders in Paris, who were 
as hostile to the church as to the empire ; but the 
priests now began to see that the triumph of the Prus- 
sians was the ruin of France. 

« The priests," said " The London Times " of Dec. 2, 
" in the rural districts, are preaching against the Prus- 
sians. The rustics are, conscquentl}', terribly incensed 
against the invaders. German patrols in the Valley of 
the Loire are shot down from every hedge and build- 
ing. The Prussian bearers of despatches are killed 
when nobody but innocent-looldng ploughmen are in 
sight. Many of these priests have been captured by 
the Prussians, and they will be brought to trial." 

The French troops did not rally with any enthusiasm 
around Garibaldi : he was a foreigner and a heretic. 
Though he fouglit heroically, and gained some minor 


victories with his small band, he could accomplish noth- 
ing which would have any serious bearing on the issues 
of the war. After almost every victory, he found it 
necessary to order a retreat. 

Early in December, Gen. De Paladines, who had gath- 
ered an army of two hundred thousand new levies near 
Tours, commenced a march for the relief of Paris. As 
he approached the walls, a sortie was to have been made, 
and the Prussian line at that point was to have been 
crushed between the hosts. The soj-tie was attempted, 
and, though partially successful, did not accomplish the 
end desired. Gen. De Paladines commenced his march. 
He was soon encountered by a superior force under 
Prince Frederick Charles, and after a two-days' battle, 
having inflicted and suffered terrible slaughter, was 
driven back to Orleans. 

The Prussians pursued them, and, having erected 
their batteries, threatened to open fire upon the city. 
To save the citizens from the horrors of a bombardment, 
De Paladines withdrew his army, and, retiring to the 
left bank of the Loire, permitted Orl(ians for the second 
time to fall into the hands of the foe. This was on the 
4th of December. The victorious Prussians, moving in 
various directions, recaptured five important towns in 
the vicinity. Still the French did not yield to despair. 
" The London Times " of Dec. 5 says, — 

" Special despatches show that the people are more 
encouraged and better assured than ever before. Al- 
though in the midst of almost crushing misfortunes, the 
republicans are waging a desperate struggle for life and 

The disastrous defeat of De Paladines' army seemed to 
destroy all hopes in Paris for relief from abroad. Fam- 


iiic is a foe against which no power in the end can 
contend. There were two millions of j^eople shut np 
in J^aris. Rapidly tlieir provisions were disappearing ; 
and no additional supplies could by any possibility bo 
brought into the city. Haggard cheeks and skeleton 
frames were already seen in the streets ; the animals in 
the menagerie in the Jardin des Plantes were slain and 
eaten ; cats and dogs and rats were, in the disguise of 
French cookery, eagerly devoured ; horse-flesh became 
a coveted dainty. To all the world it appeared that 
the end was at hand, and that Paris must speedily 

All accounts agreed in describing the conduct of the 
French in these engagements as heroic in the extreme. 
jNIany of the charges they made excited the admiration 
of their foes. They disprove the assertion so frequently 
made, that the Frenchmen of the present generation are 
wanting in the chivalric courage which characterized 
their ancestors. 

Still the democratic provisional government at Tours 
distrusted the old generals of the empire. They at- 
tril)uted every defeat to their devotion to the empire, 
and to tlieir want of zeal in fighting for a republic. 

" It is a standing belief of the French," says one of 
the daily journals, " that every general of theirs who is 
beaten is a traitor. Napoleon, Bazaine, Leboeuf, Canro- 
l)ert, and the rest, are traitors, or they never would have 
suffered defeat. Cambriel also is a traitor, or he would 
have permitted the Garibaldians to ride rough-shod over 
liim. The last traitor is De Paladincs, — even ho wlio 
was the idol of last week. We place him in tlio list 
because the French already talk of having him court- 
martialled. All idea that the Germans are mainly re- 


sponsible for the defeat of their armies is scouted by the 
people ; it is impossible ; and so the poor generals get 
the blame." 

The news was soon flashed along the wires that the 
ancient city of Rouen, the world-renowned capital of 
Normandy, was in the hands "of the conqueror. This 
enriched the Prussians with the sjDoils of one of the 
most fertile departments in France, — filling their maga- 
zines with grain, and abundantly supplying them with 
herds of fat cattle. Rouen was within sixty miles of 
Havre, one of the most important seaports in France, 
and the seat of many of its most celebrated manufac- 
tures. The occupation of Rouen by the German troops 
cut off all communication between Havre and the inte- 
rior of France. Havre was trembling with fear, and all 
her energies were paralyzed. Thus, day after day, the 
prospects of France became more dark and hopeless ; 
every Frenchman understood that it was a struggle for 
national life. The surrender to the great German Em- 
pire of the south bank of the Rhine, for the entire dis- 
tance from Belgium and Holland to Switzerland, would 
prove a blow from which France could never hope to 
recover. Whether France were to exist as a republic, 
a monarchy, or an empire, she must forever relinquish 
the proud supremacy she had so long held in Euroj)e. 
The Emperor of Germany could at any time say, " Obey 
me, or I shall punish you." 

Gen. Trochu had conducted the defence of Paris with 
great ability. He had marshalled under his banners 
four hundred thousand men, whom he had carefully 
drilled, and supplied amply with arms from the arsenals 
of Paris. By the incessant fire of his forts, he had kept 
the enemy at such a distance from Paris, that he mani- 


festly could not open upon the city any e£Fective bom- 
bardment. Still it was reported in the journals that the 
private secretary of the United-States ambassador (Mr. 
Washburne) had stated on the 4tli of December tliat 
famine would compel the surrender of Paris within three 
weeks. Prince George of Saxony also telegraphed to 
the king at Dresden, that it would not be possible for 
tlie French to attempt any more offensive movements. 
Still many considered it probable that Gen. Trochu 
would make another desperate effort to cut through the 
lines of the beleaguering foe. 

As we write these lines, near the middle of Decem- 
ber, one immense portion of the Prussian army, various- 
ly estimated at from four to five hundred thousand men, 
surrounds Paris with impregnable lines over thirty miles 
in circuit. Another army, over two hundred thousand 
strong, is driving the army of Gen. De Paladines, con- 
sisting of two hundred thousand men and five hundred 
pieces of cannon, across the Loire to the southern bank, 
and is threatening a march upon Tours to disperse that 
portion of the provincial government which is assembled 
there. Another large German army is near Amiens, 
sending out clouds of cavalry to scour the country in all 

The only intercourse which the government in Paris 
can have with the outside world is by means of balloons. 
Watching the wind, an immense balloon is sent up some 
two or three miles into the air, and then is left to drift 
over the Prussian lines, often the target for sharpshoot- 
ers and artillery, until, beyond the reach of Prussian 
(japture, it descends into the fields of France with its 
compact mail, and often with several passengers. A few 
days ago, one of these balloons was seen flying before a 


fierce wind, far off to sea, where all must have per- 

Carrier-pigeons are taken from Paris in these balloons. 
Letters are tied around their necks, when they return 
on s^/ift wing to their accustomed cotes in Paris. Thus 
only does the government in Tours hold any communica- 
tion with the committee within the walls of the city. 

The tremendous cannon planted upon the forts sur- 
rounding Paris keep up an incessant cannonade upon 
the Prussian lines. The thunders of the bombardment 
shake the hills by day and by night. There are daily 
battles as the French emerge from some portion of 
their works, and fall fiercely upon the bristling circuit 
of bayonets and batteries which surround them. An 
eye-witness, who stood upon an eminence in the Prus- 
sian lines on the 4th of December, thus describes the 
scene in a despatch dated the next day : — 

" A grand effort was made yesterday and the day be- 
fore. There was a heavy cannonade ; but no infantry 
appeared on the north side. Very early yesterday, it 
was apparent there was hot work in the west. Mont 
Valdrien was thundering away in every direction. From 
the eminence overhanging Argenteuil every thing was 
visible : a battle was progressing south of Valdrien. 
Closer to me, the work was very warm. In the morning, 
shells from the batteries at Nanterre and Courbevoie 
had been crashing into Bezons and Argenteuil. A shel- 
tered road behind the latter town is scored in many 
places with deep ruts made by the shells. 

" On the other side of the eminence where I stood, 
the batteries kept up an unremitting fire of shells, which 
ploughed its summit in all directions ; and the buildings 
which crown the eminence were knocked about remorse- 


lesslj. As the day broke, my position became too dan- 
gerous, notwithstanding its great advantages as a point 
of outlook. I was compelled to evacuate, and retreat 
into the low ground beyond it, which was only ' out of 
th(; frying-pan into the fire.' If I went east, shells from 
Labriche were tumbling into Epernay. St. Gratian and 
Deuil and Montmigny and Stains were having rough 
times at the hands of Fort du Nord. Farther round, 
Digny and Le Bourget were attacked by Fort de TEst. 
From Margency I accompanied a staff-officer through 
Montmigny, round by Garagi and Arnonville. For the 
first time during the siege, the Fort du Nord was throw- 
ing shells into IMontmorency. 

" In the forenoon, there had been a sortie toward 
Stains. Three battalions came over the flat against it, 
supported by a close-sustained fire from the Fort du Nord 
and Lunette de Stains. The village was garrisoned by 
the second regiment of the Guard, and battalions of 
Queen Elizabeth's Regiment. The French had two bat- 
talions of Gardes Mobiles, and one of Garde Imp6riale. 
They came on with great resolution and in excellent 
order. The German Guards, who were waiting for them, 
received them with a steady fire within short range. 
The Frenchmen tried a rush ; but the bullets stopped 
them. After holding their ground for a little while, and 
exchanging shots with the Germans, the inevitable result, 
a retrograde movement, set in. The French, however, 
deserve credit for the regular manner of the retreat. 

" Another demonstration, in the direction of Bourget, 
was made at a later hour. Dense columns of French 
tro(»[)s appeared on the plain in front of Fort Aubers- 
villier, and advanced steadily towards Bourget ; but they 
lost heart before they got nearer than the railway-sta- 


tion, and never came within range. Bourget, already 
pounded with shells, was again bombarded all day. In 
fact, the fire of shells from the forts all round the circuit 
was heavy and continuous, but so wild and purposeless, 
withal, that it did little damage. Every thing on the 
northern side has been in the nature of a feint." 

Such are the scenes, which, while we write these lines, 
are transpiring around unhappy Paris. To human view, 
there is no hope for France. The cup of humiliation is 
placed to her lips ; and, unless there should be some al- 
most supernatural interposition, she must drain it to its 

The conduct of the Committee of National Defence in 
Tours, under these trying circumstances, did not secure 
the confidence of the people in France, or of intelligent 
observers in any part of the world. A writer in " The 
New- York Tribune " of Dec. 8 says, — 

" The behavior of the Tours Government, on learning 
of the defeat of the Army of the Loire at Orleans, is 
more discouraging to the true friends of France than re- 
verses in the field ; for it shows that the men who are 
now suffered to direct the destinies of the nation have 
neither the intelligence nor the temper of statesmen, and 
that, in the days of humiliation and internal discord 
which must follow the close of the war, they will proba- 
bly be found wanting in the real qualities of leadership 
which the country will then need. 

" The policy of the Committee of Defence thus far 
has been to utter magnificent boasts, and, when their 
recklessness had been exposed, to throw the blame of 
failure upon people who don't deserve it. Very soon 
there will be a collapse of the whole fabric of deception, 
just as there was of Napoleon's military organization. 


M. Gambetta had better ask himself what he thinks will 
become of the government of the national defence when 
the day of enlightenment arrives." 

Thomas Carlyle, who is the avowed advocate of abso- 
lute governments, and the opponent of government by 
the people, and who is probably more famihar with Prus- 
sian and German politics than almost any other man, 
expresses the following views in reference to the great 
German empire now rising into being. We give his 
words as reported in a letter from Mr. Moncure D. Con- 
way, dated London, Oct. 25, and published in " The 
Cincinnati Commercial : " — 

" I have just passed an evening," writes Mr. Conway, 
" with Thomas Carlyle. Long ago, he recognized ' mag- 
nanimous Herr Bismarck,' as he called him, as a man 
after his own heart, and as the ' coming man ' of the 
fatherland. As you may judge, recent events have only 
increased his enthusiasm for Germany, and his esteem 
for Bismarck. 

" With regard to Count Bismarck, he said, ' All the 
politicians in the world seem to me as mere windbags 
beside him. He has shown himself capable of throwing 
himself utterly into his cause ; and all other causes are 
simply insignificant in comparison with his, — the build- 
ing-up of a great genuine power and government in 
Europe out of the only solid materials left in it; for, 
really, it seems to me that the true principles of order 
and government have almost disappeared from Europe, 
were it not for Germany.' 

"■ Speaking of the destiny of Germany,. Carlyle ex- 
pressed the opinion that it was inevitable that it would 
become speedily consolidated, and that the chief, more 
particularly the German portions of Austria would, a 


little later perhaps, be united with the rest of Germany. 
He anticipated that the influence of such a Germany 
would be infallibly peaceful. ' The very name of the 
German indicates how strong he has already been in 
war. German means only guerre-man, or war-man.' " 

Every day since the commencement of the war, the 
conflict has been marked with increasing ferocity on both 
sides. This, of course, was to have been expected. A 
small party of Prussian cavalry came clattering into a 
defenceless village near Rouen, and commenced levying 
some«petty exactions from the people. Wliile thus en- 
gaged, a body of French cavalry rode suddenly in, fired 
upon them, and killed several. The rest sprang to their 
horses, and escaped. The next day, the Prussians re- 
appeared with re-enforcements numbering six hundred 
men, and with two cannon. Ascending a neighboring 
eminence, they bombarded the town until it was laid in 
ashes, and then turned their guns upon the two neigh- 
boring villages of H^ricourt and Le Fresnoy, which they 
also demohshed. While engaged in this work, a party 
of French sharpshooters rapidly gathered, and placed 
themselves in ambush, to assail them as they retired ; 
and this they did with a fire so deadly, that twenty-six 
wagons were required to carry ofp the slain. 

" Every thing," writes a correspondent from Havre 
to " The Boston Journal," " leads me to believe that 
the Prussians are now becoming unduly ferocious. 
They meet a more decided resistance than heretofore, 
and revenge themselves on any one they catch. Their 
mode of procedure is to tie any unfortunate fellow they 
catch on the road by the wrists with a rope, which they 
attach to the pommels of their saddles. If one dragoon 
succeeds in arresting half a dozen, he ties them all in 


this wa}', and brings them in, dragging them at the ani- 
mal's heels with the same exultation that an Indian would 
parade so many scalps. A hasty trial, in which there 
are only two or three formulas, is hurried through ; and 
the nearest thicket answers for a place of execution. 
This is to strike terror into the hearts of all the civilians 
who desire to arm themselves. At the town of Ar- 
mentieres, a perfectl}'^ trustworthy eye-witness, recently 
returned from Rouen, declares that he saw this sad 
spectacle. J\Icn, pale with rage, were trying in vain 
to extinguish the fires that were burning down their 
houses ; women, in despair, had thrown themselves on 
the ground, trying to cover their screaming childi'en 
with their bodies, and huddling around them the frag- 
ments of their wretched furniture, which they had 
dragged from the flames ; one old woman, eighty-four 
years old, was screaming to l)e taken out of a l)urning 
house, and her son tore his hair as he tried in vain to 
drag the smouldering l)eams from her aged limbs ; and 
one villager, a tremendous athlete, was so overcome 
with anger and sorrow, that he expired from apoplexy 
in the midst of his four widowed children. Meantime 
the hideous projectiles continued to fall, as by and by 
they will fall on dear old Paris and all the familia? 
haunts, to baptize in blood the new republic. One 
of the incidents of this avenging bombardment had 
sinister consequences. Four men stood up together 
amid the ruins of their burned and blackened houses, 
and swore each to kill a Prussian before the next sun- 
set. Four lancers were found dead near each other on 
the high road from Armcntieres to Ilericourt the next 
day. Extravagant as this may seem, it is strictly true 
To amuoc themselves as they were returning liouic, tiie 


Prussians took a dozen stout peasants whom they found 
repairing a bridge over a road whereon French troops 
were expected to pass, and gave them each twenty-five 
lashes on their bare backs, — so mangling them, that 
none could stand alone after it." 

It would be difficult to number the French cities 
which were exposed to the horrors of bombardment ; 
and no one who has not witnessed the spectacle can 
form any conception of the terror and horror of the 
scene. An immense projectile, weighing from one to 
two hundred pounds, rises majestically into the air, and 
then, with a terrific noise, rushes headlong towards the 
ground, bursting as it strikes with a loud explosion, scat- 
tering ruin in all directions. Ponderous walls crumble 
before these thunderbolts of war. Massive buildings are 
demolished by them. There is no safety anywhere. 

There is much more of sincere piety among many of 
the peasantry and the liumble orders in France than 
is generally supposed in Protestant countries. When 
Strasburg was enduring the agony of bombardment, 
one who was present, sharing the peril and the terror, 
describes the scene as follows : — 

" At a quarter before nine last night, the bombard- 
ment began. From that time until eight o'clock this 
morning (eleven hours), the firing did not cease. It 
was one continuous roaring, — a rushing and whistling 
of missiles in the air, followed by the crashing of cliirn- 
neys, and, from time to time, cries of misery and terror. 
The night was very dark. It rained ; and it was impos- 
sible, standing on the ramparts, to distinguish the 
position of the hostile batteries, which were placed 
behind some building, or protected by the scarp of the 
railroad ; and they were thus enabled to carry on their 


work of destruction uiiptiiiisbed. Our people at>k v hat 
this treatment signifies. . . . Our enemies know that 
there are eighty thousand inhabitants in the city, a 
harmless population, — childi-en, trembling mothers ; that 
the city is full of the sick and wounded, who are thus 
robbed of invigorating sleep, or whose death they ac- 
celerate. It is not possible to give an estimate of the 
damage done to innumerable buildings during the night. 
We should have to record nearly every street in the 
city ; and, in some streets, nearly all the houses. The 
shells came from all sides, and into all quarters of the 

" The shells fell by tens and hundreds in one and the 
same street. As soon as one house was set on fire, shell 
after shell was poured in upon the flames, preventing 
the work of the firemen. The whole city is covered 
with ruins : the roofs, chimneys, and facades are de- 
stroyed on all sides." 

Such are the scenes which are now, as we write these 
lines, continually transpiring in France. It is, indeed, 
incomprehensible that a loving God can look calmly 
down in the permission of such enormities. While the 
city was shaken, and blazing beneath this terrific tempest 
of war, the pastor of the Church of St. Thomas issued 
the following notice to his flock: — 

" If the dear God spare our life, a prayer-service will 
be held Sunday morning at half-past nine : if not, dear 
fathers and mothers, perform the religious deities your- 
selves, amid your own families. Read a hymn from the 
hymn-book, a chapter from the Bible. The God of old 
still lives : call on liiiu in your need. And, though Imdy 
and soul languish, we will still remain true to him, and 
thank him ; for he is our Helper and our God." 


The general course pursued by the Prussians upon 
the capture of a town is described by all correspondents 
as follows: A certain number of soldiers are imme- 
diately marched into the place. These generally arrive 
towards evening, after a day's march, hungry and cross. 
The mayor is sent for, and informed that so many 
cattle, so many bushels of grain, and so much wine, 
must be immediately furnished. The requisition usually 
amounts to very much more than it would be possible 
for the place to furnish. The trembling mayor collects 
every thing he can. The soldiers are billeted in the 
different houses : the horses are often stabled in the 
church and town-hall. The Prussian flag is hoisted ; 
and the slightest opposition to the will of the conqueror 
draws down upon the inhabitants the severest punish- 
ment. The soldiers must be fed, though women and 
children starve. 

There were, occasionally, amusing events in the midst 
of these scenes of woe. The Prussians, emboldened 
by victory, often resorted to measures of astonishing 
audacity. It is said that the Mayor of Fontainebleau 
had gathered the city council around him, and was 
vigorously passing war-measures, when the clatter of a 
squadron of horsemen was heard in the court3^ard. 
The leader of this cavalcade of forty men leaped from 
his horse, and, armed to the teeth, entered the council- 
chamber, and demanded the keys of the city. 

"• We hjive no keys," the mayor calmly replied. 
" Fontainebleau is an open town." 

" Well, then," said the dragoon, " let us know where 
we can lodge ; and prepare at once the necessary rations 
for thirty thousand men, who are only a few hours be- 


" All riglit," said the ma3^or ; and then, turning to the 
council, added, *' Let us conduct these gentlemen to the 
chateau, since we must ; and there we can provide thum 
with stabling and lodging." 

The party immediately left for the magnificent 
chateau, a world-renowned edifice associated with 
many of the most extraordinary events in French his- 
tory. The dragoons were conducted into the court- 
yard ; and, while feeding their horses, the gates were 
suddenly closed. The mayor on the outside, looking 
through the iron railing, said, " Gentlemen, you are my 
prisoners : try and make yourselves at home." The 
dragoons were in a terrible rage, uttered fearful threats 
of vengeance to be inflicted so soon as their troops 
should come up, and refused to surrender. 

" Very well," the mayor replied, " your poor beasts 
shall not suffer ; but you shall not have one morsel of 
bread until you lay down your arms, and yield your- 
selves as prisoners. When the thirty thousand troops 
come, we will surrender to them,, but not to forty 

In two hours the dragoons surrendered, and were 
sent to a safe place within the French lines. The 
thirty thousand troops did not come. 

In conclusion, let us reflect upon the following historic 
facts, which probably no intelligent reader will con- 
trovert : — 

1. Prussia, or rather Count Bismarck, who repre- 
sented Prussia, some years ago formed the project of 
re-organizing Germany into a vast empire founded u\)on 
the divine right of kings to rule, and of the duly of the 
people to be ruled. 



2. In the accomplishment of this plan, the treaties of 
1815, which Prussia had sworn to respect, were entirely 
disregarded and overthrown. 

3. By diplomacy and war, Prussia suddenly rose from 
a nation of about fifteen millions to a nation numbering 
forty millions, with every able-bodied man a trained 
soldier, constituting a military power unsurpassed by 
that of any other nation. 

4. France could easily have prevented this expansion 
by uniting with Austria, as M. Thiers urged the im- 
perial government to do. This union would inevitably 
have crushed Prussia at Sadowa, and would have saved 
France from the ruin in which she is now involved. 

5. The imperial government refused thus to oppose 
the unification of Germany, declaring that the Ger- 
mans had a right to manage their own affairs, and that 
it was desirable for the prosperity of Germany that its 
fragmentary States should be consolidated into one na- 

6. This consolidation being thus effected, the imperial 
government in France asked, that, in consideration of 
its assent to the unification of Germany, Prussia should 
surrender to France those Renish provinces on the 
French side of the Rhine which had been wrested from 
her by the treaties of 1815, and placed in the hands 
of Prussia, — provinces which France deemed, in the 
altered state of affairs, essential to her independence ; 
qualifying, however, the request with the provision, that 
the people of those provinces should decide by vote 
whether they would return to France, or would remain 
with Prussia. 

7. Prussia peremptorily refused this proposition, but, 
xecoiT-nizing in a measure the reasonableness of the 


demand, proposed, according to the testimony of the 
French and English ambassadors, that France shoukl 
extend her frontier to the Rhine by seizing upon Bel- 
gium. Tliis proposition France instantly rejected. 

8. France tlien proposed to all the crowned heads of 
Europe that a congress should be called to reconstruct 
the boundaries of the nations, so that the agitating 
questions then arising, menacing Europe with war, 
should be settled by an appeal to reason, and not by the 
sword. This pacific plan was rejected. 

9. Prussia, while France was thus trembling in view 
of her peril in having the immense fortresses on the 
left bank of the Rhine in the hands of so formidable a 
power, and leaving the gateway of France wide open 
to German invasion, endeavored by secret intrigue to 
place a German prince upon the throne of Spain. This 
would convert Spain into a German province, re-creating 
the old German empire of Charles V. Thus France 
would find herself powerless, exposed to be crushed by 
Germany at her leisure, 

10. All France was alarmed. Imperialists, monarch- 
ists, and republicans alike shared in the general agita- 
tion. Prussia was informed that France could not 
consent to the conversion of Spain into a province of 
Germany by placing the Spanish crown upon the brow 
of a German prince. 

11. Prussia consented to withdraw Prince Leopold, 
to whom, as a man, France had no objection, but peremp- 
torily (France says insultingly) refused- to give any 
assurance that she woidd not place some other German 
prince upon the Spanish throne. 

12. Thus menaced, the people of France exclaimed 
with one voice, that it had become essential to the indo- 


pendence of France that she should rechiim her ancient 
boundary of the Rhine. The uprising of the whole 
nation, of men of Ihe most antagonistic parties, in 
this demand, is not to be regarded as an act of frivolity, 
but as a deep conviction, pervading the entire of 
France, that the independence of the nation was im- 

13. It is manifest that Count Bismarck, who represents 
Prussia, was aware that the measures he was adopting 
would lead to war; that he desired war; that he had 
made the most ample preparations for war ; and that the 
results have, thus far, been just what he hoped to 
accomplish. Prussia retains the provinces on the left 
bank of the Rhine, crushes the military power of 
France, and seizes upon Alsace and Lorraine, thus in- 
creasing her territory, multiplying her fortresses, and 
commanding both banks of the Rhine from Belgium to 

14. One of the last telegrams which has crossed the 
Atlantic, as we write these lines, is as follows : — 

" Intelligence from Brussels gives the assurances that 
Prussia is fully resolved to annex Luxembui-g, upon the 
ground that Luxemburg is essential to render Lorraine 
strategically useful." 

No intelligent man doubts that similar considerations 
will lead speedily to the positive or the virtual annexa- 
tion of both Belgium and Holland. The grandeur of 
the Germanic Empire seems to leave them both at her 

15. The action of the democratic leaders in the great 
cities, in taking advantage of the Prussian invasion, and 
of the captivity of the emperor, to seize upon the reins 
of power, operates in many respects very disastrous! v- 


The empire was the choice of the French people. The 
democratic party in Paris, Lyons, and Marseilles, com- 
posed of an incongruous mass of moderate republicans, 
red republicans, and socialists, in deadly hostility to 
each other, has not the confidence of the people of 
France. They cannot with entlmsiasm rally around 
usurpers, who in the hour of disaster have grasped 
power, unsustained by either the old feudal doctrine 
of divine right, or by the modern doctrine of popular 

16. France is effectually cut off by this action of 
the democratic leaders from any alliance with any other 
power. Prussia refuses to recognize these committees 
even enough to treat with them. England, Italy, Aus- 
tria, all tremble in view of the enormous encroachments 
of Prussia ; but not one of these powers can interfere 
in behalf of anarchic France. The British Government 
will not enter into an alliance with a self-constituted 
democratic committee in Paris. Victor Emanuel can- 
not lend his armies to build up a democracy in France, 
which has overthrown the empire, to which he is in- 
debted for the crown of Italy, — a democracy whose first 
attempt, in case of success, would be to demolish his 
throne, and erect upon the ruins an Italian republic. 
Spain, which lias rejected a republic and voted for a 
monarchy, and which has placed a son of Victor Eman- 
uel upon her throne, refusing to recognize the committee 
for national defence as the government of France, can- 
not be expected to cross the Pyrenees with her armies 
to aid in consolidating a government which Spain has 
refused to acknowledge. And Austria is the last nation 
on tlie continent of Europe to be fighting for the estab- 
lishment of democracy in France. 


17. Thus the disastrous overthrow of the repub- 
lican empire in these hours of misfortune and dis- 
may — a government which was acknowledged and 
respected by all the nations of Europe, and which was 
established and sustained by the overwhelming majori- 
ty of the French people — seems to doom France to 
irretrievable destruction. There is no cordial union at 
home, there is nothing to be hoped for from abroad. 

18. France, under the empire, has for twenty years 
been one of the most prosperous, influential, and happy 
nations on the continent of Europe. All the arts of 
industry have flourished; the most magnificent works 
of internal improvement liave been constructed ; and the 
nation has been advancing with rapidity never before 
experienced in education, wealth, and power. Paris 
has been one of the most orderly, well-regulated, and 
attractive cities on the globe. The most refined" and 
wealthy families from all nations have there found a 
happy home. Could France but hope that the next 
twenty years would be like the last, she would be happy 

Suddenly a moral earthquake has come ; and all 
France presents the aspect of consternation, ruin, and 
woe. More than half a million of invaders arc: sweeping 
over her territory, leaving behind them famine, smould- 
ering ruins, and fields crimsoned with blood. There is 
no recognized government in France which Europe will 
acknowledge, or around which the French people are 
willing to rally. A darker hour than that which, at the 
close of the year 1870, spreads its gloom over France, 
few nations upon this globe have ever experienced. 
The world looks on with wonder to see what results 


God designs to evolve from these scenes of ruin and of 
wretchedness. \yiicn may we hope that the prayer 
wliich our Saviour has taught us will be answered? — 

'•'' Tliy kingdom come ; Thy ivill he done, in earth as in 



'HE empire in France was a republican 
empire, founded upon universal suffrage, 
recognizing the right of the people to or- 
ganize their own form of government, 
abolishing all aristocratic privilege and all 
feudal immunities, and establishing the 
doctrine of equal rights for all men. Not- 
withstanding its attempt to conciliate Europe by its 
adoption of monarchical forms, and its disavowal of any 
design to disturb other governments by inciting demo- 
cratic insuiTections, its entu-e renunciation of " leaiti- 
macy" and of "privilege" rendered it obnoxious to 
dynastic Europe. If the people of France might choose 
their own sovereign, adopt such form of government as 
pleased them, frame their own constitution, and enact 
and execute their own laws, why might not the people 
of England, Prussia, Austria, demand the same right ? 

Still there was embarrassment. In France there were 
essentiallj^ three parties : 1. The old feudal party of 
legitimacy. 2. The compromise party of the empire. 
3. The democratic party, in its various shades of mod- 
erates, radicals, and communists. The overthrow of 
the empire might not re-introduce the old feudal reyime 



under the Bourbons, or its somewhat modified spirit 
under the Orleanists, but might possibly be succeeded 
by some form of democracy under avowed and deadly 
hostility to every European throne : therefore the dy- 
nasties reluctantly tolerated the empire, fearing that its 
overthrow might lead to something worse. 

It was under these circumstances that Count Bismarck 
formed the plan of re-organizing the ancient German Em- 
pire upon the basis of the divine right of kings and the 
exclusive privileges of nobles. Only such modifications 
of the old feudal refjimes were submitted to as the 
changed state of the times rendered inevitable. The 
avowed object of this movement was to head off and 
crush out the sentiment of popular rights, which was 
gradually being disseminated throughout Europe. Count 
Bismarck and King William were in entire harmony in 
this aim ; and they prosecuted their enterprise with 
sagacity, energy, and success, which has astonished the 

It is said that revolutions never roll backwards. Per- 
haps they do not ; but here there is an apparent reflex 
flow of the most appalling kind. This gigantic German 
Empire, formed, not by the people of Germany, but by 
the twenty-five German princes who hold their ofiices 
by divine right, and who have combined in the organi- 
zation of the empire, can instantly silence, throughout 
all Germany, any voice which may dare to speak in favor 
of popular rights. 

Still it may prove to be an excellent government. It 
may be that the German people are like children, who 
cannot be safely trusted with the management of their 
own affairs. It is for the interest of the emperor and 
his associate kings and princes to seek the prosperity 


and happiness of tlieir several peoples. In tlieir com- 
bined action they are certainly so strong, that they 
can easily and instantly crush out any attempt at a 
popular uprishig in any portion of their realms. It 
is also very certain that a democratic government may . 
he very corrupt, oppressive, and ruinous. Tiiis holy 
alliance of the princes of Germany in a consolidated 
empire will undoubtedly secure Germany from revolu- 
tions for many years to come ; and may, perhaps, confer 
upon the people blessings, which, under present circum- 
stances, could not be attained in any other way. 

The power of this new and majestic empire is con- 
trolled by the emperor and the associate princes. There 
are three bodies recognized in the government : 1. The 
Emperor. The crown is hereditary in the person of the 
King of Prussia, who is almost the absolute sovereign 
in his own realm. 2. The Imperial Council. This con- 
sists of the twenty-five princes of various degrees of 
power and dignity, whose realms constitute united Ger- 
many. Their votes are in accordance with the extent 
and population of their domains : the King of Prussia 
has seventeen votes, — one-third of all ; Bavaria casts six 
votes \ Saxony and Wurtemberg, four each ; Baden and 
Hesse, three; Mecklenburg, Schwerin, and Brunswick, 
two; the rest, one each. The princes are all hereditary 
legislators, ruling by right of birth or divine right. 
3. There is a third body, called the Reichstag. It con- 
sists of three hundred and eight3^-two members, chosen 
by universal suffrage, — one deputy for each hundred 
thousand of the population. This gives Prussia two 
hundred and forty members, — nearly two-thirds of the 

It seems rather hard for France, that as the reward 


for her having consented to the unification of Germany, 
wliich she could easily have prevented, she should Ije 
trampled so mercilessly beneath the feet of that gigantic 
empire. Pere Hyacinthe said, in a speech in London 
the latter part of December, 1870, — 

" Justice has been denied the second empire ; for that 
government made the unity of Italy, and caused that of 
Germany. It was a generous policy, well expressed by 
Napoleon III., during the Italian campaign, in these 
words : ' Every one knows that before the flag of France 
there goes a great idea, and l)ehind it a great people.' " ^ 

On the 11th of August, 1870, as the Germanic legions 
were pouring into France, King William issued a proc- 
lamation, addressed " To the French Nation," dated at 
Saarbriick, in which he said, " Prussia wars, not on 
France, but on Bonaparte." To Napoleon personally 
he had no objections : they were friends. It was the 
republican empire to which he was opposed. But 
when the imperial army was overthrown, and Napoleon 
was a prisoner, and " the gentlemen of the pavement of 
Paris," as Bismarck designated them, had seized upon 

1 In a sermon preached by the Rev. 0. B. Frothingham, and reported in the 
New- York Herald of Jan. 2, 1871, we find the following striking remarks: — 

" We examine French imperialism, and we find that we cannot condemn it 
more than other imperialisms in history. You say that the country was licen- 
tious: there wfis not so much licentiousness in France under Napoleon III. as 
under Louis XIV. or Louis XV. You say the empire was extravagance: the 
cost of governing France for the last ten years was not so much as for five years 
imder Louis' reign. It costs no more to keep Paris clean than to keep New 
York dirty. The empire was peace, order, and prosperity. You say the 
emperor wa,s a tyrant : he was elected by the people. You say that the elec- 
tion was not a fair one, and that the ballot-boxes were stufled: the ballot-boxes 
arc stulled in New York. In spite of cavil, Napoleon submitted the question 
of imperialism to the people four times; and four times the people said, 'Rule 
over us.' The empire was splendor: the glory of Paris wa.s the glory of tho 


the reins of government, — thus transferring the supreme 
power, not back to the old regime^ but forward to the 
democracy of the cities, — then Bismarck and King Wil- 
liam were alarmed ; and they would gladly have re- 
instated Napoleon upon the throne, after having wrested 
from France both banks of the Rhine, from Belgium to 
Switzerland. France thus deprived of any natural 
boundary, with Germany in possession of the whole val- 
ley of the Rhine and of the majestic fortresses which 
frown along its shores, was entkely at the mercy of 
Germany. At any hour the German legions could rush 
into France from these vast ramparts ; while at the same 
time the Rhine and its fortresses presented an impassable 
barrier against any advance of the French troops into 
the new empire. 

Under these circumstances, it became quite manifest 
that it was the policy of the German conquerors to re- 
store Napoleon to" his throne, after having so weakened 
France that she would be powerless in the hands of her 
victors. And it was cruelly reported that the Emperor 
of France was willing so to submit to such humiliation 
as to allow himself to be carried back to the Tuileries 
by the arms of the conquering Prussians. The emper- 
or, with great good sense, had quietly submitted to his 
fate ; for it had ever been one of the fundamental prmci- 
ples of his belief, that he was borne along by providences 
over which he had but little control. Prosperity did 
not elate him ; adversity did not depress him. But, as 
the rumors of his plottings to regain the throne by some 
military stratagem became widely diffused, he, on the 
12th of December, 1870, authorized, from his imprison- 
ment at Wilhelmshohe, the following statement to be 
made : — 


" It would be quite well if it were j)ublicly understood 
that I never intend to remount the throne on the strength 
of a military pronunciamento, by the aid of the soldiery, 
just as little as by that of Prussia. I am the sole sover- 
eign in Europe who governs, next to the grace of God, 
by the will of the people ; and I shall never be unfaith- 
ful to the origin of either. The whole people, which 
has four times approved of my election, must recall me 
by its deliberate votes, else I shall never return to 
France. The army possesses no more right to place me 
on the throne than had the lawyers or loafers to push 
me from it. The French people, whose sovereign I am, 
has the sole decision." ^ 

Count Bismarck has testified to the cordial assent 
which France gave to the unification of Germany, and 
that Prussia had no fears that France would take any 
dishonorable advantage of the war between Prussia and 
Austria to regain her lost boundary of the Rhine. It 
was always the desire of the imperial government, in 
accordance with its declaration that " the empire is 
peace," to avoid all war, and to obtain a rectification of 
its boundaries by " reason," and not by " iron and by 

In 1866, when all the military energies of Prussia 
were concentrated in the march upon Sadowa, Count 
Bismarck said to Mr. Benedetti, " Our trust in the good 
faith of the French Government is so firm, that we have 
not a sinjxle soldier left on the left bank of the Rhine." ^ 

As we have mentioned, France, at the commencement 
of the war, had but about four hundred thousand sol- 

* Correspondence of the New- York Herald, Dec. 30, 1870. 

• Testimony of the Marquis de Gricourt. 


diers in the field. Prussia, all prepared for the conflict, 
with her troops in marching-order, her rail-cars for their 
transportation all ready, and her vast magazines on both 
banks of the Rhine filled with the materiel of war, in- 
stantly, upon the declaration of hostilities, sent into 
France nearly a million of men ; while another million 
were held in reserve, following in a continuous stream, 
to take the place of those who fell in battle, and to 
replenish the German armies wherever they needed re- 

The imperial troops of France, after a few bloody 
battles, were overpowered, and all either slain or cap- 
tured. The German hosts were so numerous, that on 
every battle-field they could outnumber their foes by 
two or three to one. The world probably never saw 
braver and better disciplined soldiers, more skilful com- 
manders, or better armaments, than the Germans brought 
into the struggle. 

Having annihilated the imperial armies, the Germans 
had troops enough to send four hundred thousand men 
to lay siege to the city of Paris, to besiege with over- 
powering numbers every fortress and walled city which 
the French still garrisoned, and also to send resistless 
armies in all directions to gather supplies and to im- 
pose contributions upon the people. The French sol- 
diers in garrison, and the new recruits who were hur- 
riedly summoned to the field, fought valiantly, but with 
almost unvarying defeat. Every day witnessed the tri- 
umph and the advance of the German arms. 

The sieges of some of the walled towns were awful 
beyond all imagination, attended with an appalling loss 
of property and of life, and an accumulation of misery 
v/Iiich God only can gauge. In the midst of terrific 


bombardments, sliells exi)loJing in tlie crowded streets 
and in the tlii'oni;e<I dwellings, conflag'rations blazed 
forth ; and scenes of tumult, dismay, and woe, were wit- 
nessed, which could not have been surpassed had fiends 
been the agents. 

The annals of war contain no other record of such a 
career of victories as attended the German arms. In 
the course of a few weeks, Strasburg, Phalsburg, Toul, 
Vitry le Fran^ais, Verdun, Metz, Laon, Soissons, Bitche, 
Mclizieres, Rocroy, Schelestadt, Neuf Brisach, Thionville, 
Montm(?dy, Perronne, Longwy, and many other places 
of minor note, fell into the hands of the invaders. 
Many of the towns were military posts of the first order. 
The world was astounded to see these fortresses, one 
after another, crumljling before the batteries of the Ger- 

In the course of a few months sixteen pitched battles 
were fought, with often two hundred thousand men or 
more on either side. In nearly all these battles, the Ger- 
mans were victorious. If they met with a momentary 
repulse, they immediately replenished their thinned 
ranks, and advanced again to certain victory. Besides 
these general battles, there were innumerable minor con- 
flicts. For five months, there was not an hour, by day 
or by night, in which, in some part of the vast lield swept 
by these opposing hosts, the murderous thunders of bat- 
tle were not heard. 

One division of the German array, under Gen. Von 
Werder, swept in a broad path down the eastern frontiers 
of France, scattering all opposition, a distance of two 
hundred miles, to Dijon and Chalons. Another division, 
un(l(!r the Crown I*niu;e, Ijatt^ringdown fortresses, rout- 
ing armies, capturing opulent towns, ravaged the north- 


era sections of France, through the whole breadth of 
the empire almost to the English Channel. Another 
host, more than two hundred thousand strong, marching 
directly beyond Paris, bore their victorious banners 
through many a bloody fight to the banks of the Loire, 
capturing Orleans and Tours, and every other place on 
their lines of advance. 

King WiUiam, taking the magnificent palace of Ver- 
sailles for his headquarters, with Count Bismarck and 
Baron Moltke in his suite, invested Paris with four 
hundred thousand veteran troops. The city was encom- 
passed by military lines thirty or forty miles in extent. 
The investment was commenced on the 19th of Septem- 
ber, 1870 ; and was continued until the 25th of January, 
1871. Wherever there was the least possibihty of the 
beleaguered garrison attempting a sortie, ramparts bris- 
tling with artillery and mitrailleuse were thrown up, so 
as to render escape impossible. 

There were two millions of inhabitants within the 
city, about three hundred thousand of whom were 
armed. They probably accomplished all that, under 
the circumstances, mortal valor could accomphsh. Week 
after week and month after month, for one hundi'ed 
and thirty days, they beat off their foes. Gradually the 
lines of the beleaguering hosts drew nearer. Three 
several times, at the head of over one hundred thousand 
men, Gen. Trochu endeavored to cut his way through 
the coil of batteries and ramparts ever tightening around 
him. The slaughter on both sides was immense. But 
the Germans invariably held or regained their positions. 
Every hour, hope in Paris grew fainter; and despair 
settled down over the doomed city in darker folds. 

Several armies Avere gathered in the provinces to 


march for the rchef of Paris ; but they were speedily 
overpowered and dispersed by tlie Germans. The peas- 
antry had h^ig been jealous of the disposition of the 
democratic leaders in the great cities to usurp the con- 
trol of affairs without consulting the inhabitants of the 
riu-al districts. The sudden and lawless overthrow of 
the government which had been established b}^ the 
overwhelming majority of the people of France, and had 
been maintained by them, by repeated votes, for more 
than twent}' years, and the usurpation of the govern- 
ment by a self-appointed committee without the shadow 
of constitutional or legal authority, so alienated the peo- 
ple, that there was no disposition to rise en masse under 
such leaders, even to assail the invading Prussians. 

The Bourbonis'ts, the Orleanists, the Imperialists, the 
Red Republicans, and the Communists were alike opposed 
to those "gentlemen of the pavement," as Bismarck 
scornfully termed them, who, some in Paris and some in 
Tours, called themselves "the Committee of National 
Defence." Under these circumstances, there was no 
hope of the vigorous uprising of the nation. The dem- 
ocratic party, which was mainly confined to the great 
cities, was divided into three quite distinct and bitterly 
hostile sections, — the Moderate Republicans, the Red 
Republicans, and the Socialists. Notwithstanding the 
pressure of the war, these factions in Paris conspired 
against each other ; and there were frequent scenes of 
insurrection and bloodshed. 

To add to the gloom of the condition, there was not 
a single nation in Europe who manifested any sympathy 
for the anarchic committees who assumed to govern 
France ; not one who would cordially recognize them as 
a government, or enter into any dijilomatic relations 



with them ; not one which did not apparently feel that 
Europe had more to dread from the establishment of 
such a regime in Paris, antagonistic to every surrounding 
monarchy, than even from the enormous encroachments 
of Prussian absolutism, which, though it threatened to 
dominate over all Europe, would lend its influence in 
every kingdom to arrest the rising tide of democracy. 

So heroic, notwithstanding all these discouragements, 
was the defence of the inexperienced young soldiers in 
Paris, that the Prussians did not succeed until the 9th 
of January in planting any batteries sufficiently near to 
throw shells over the walls into the city. On that day, 
these terrific bolts of war, thrown from a distance of four 
or fire miles, descending as from the clouds, fell thickly 
in the western portion of the city, killing women and 
children, kindling conflagrations, destroying the most 
venerable works of art, and scattering dismay and death 
on every side. Direful famine added its horrors to the 
woes now desolating the most gay and beautiful metrop- 
olis upon this globe. 

On the 12th of January, a balloon succeeded in leaving 
the city. Its despatches informed the outside world that 
the bombardment had continued with great violence ; 
that shells were falKng near the Palace of the Luxem- 
burg ; that several citizens had been killed, and others 
wounded; that the Red Repubhcans had placarded 
the streets with revolutionary posters, trying to excite 
insurrection, declaring the Government of Defence cow- 
ardly and incompetent. Thousands of shells had fallen, 
creating havoc in all directions; killing women and 
children, and striking hospitals, ambulances, houses, 
and churches. 

The next day the Germans succeed in capturing a 


Freucli battery, which enabled thein to push their siege- 
guns a mile nearer the city. From Versailles could be 
seen the smoke of numerous fires caused by the shells ; 
and still far away over the frozen fields of France the 
battle raged, and the trampled snow was crimsoned with 
the blood of the slain as the drifts swept over the vic- 
tors and the vanquished sleeping in death together. 

And so it was, that day and night, over distant fields 
and around the doomed city, the awful struggle was con- 
tinued without intermission. An eloquent writer says, 
speaking of the state of things on the 17th of January, 
" The surroundings of the city are in ruins or in flames. 
Explosive bolts of iron of over two hundred pounds in 
weight, howling like demons in their destructive flight, 
are plunging down through the humblest roofs and 
grandest domes in the heart of the doomed metropolis. 
It is the bombardment of Strasburg ten times magni- 
fied. In its destructive projectiles, and in the warlike 
engines and forces employed, it dwarfs all precedents 
of ancient or modern times. The remorseless siege and 
destruction of Carthage, we do not forget, involved the 
extinction of a great nation and a great people ; nor 
will the intelligent reader fiiil to recall the appalling 
loss of human life — eleven hundred thousand souls — 
involved in the siege and burning, of Jerusalem by 
Titus ; nor do we overlook the sacking and burning 
of Rome by Alaric. But neither Babylon, Tyre, Jeru- 
salem, Carthage, nor Rome, furnishes any thing in the 
horrors of war more shocknig to the Christian human- 
itarian of the niiiotecnth century than this lionil^lo 
bombardment of Paris, with its l)lind and indiscriminate 
killing and mangling of sohliers and non-combatants, the 
strong and the iielplcss, men, womcai, and children." 


In seven months these German armies had crushed 
the most renowned mihtary power of modern times, had 
captured its emperor, and had taken possession of one- 
half of its territory. Prince Frederick Charles was pur- 
suing the routed forces of Gen. Chanzy, driven beyond 
the Loire. Gen. Bourbaki, in the east of France, was 
nearly surrounded by the Germans under Von Werder 
and Manteuffel, and his doom seemed inevitable. In 
the north, the posture of affairs was still more gloomy. 
Gen. Faidherbe was sullenly retreating before the 
stronger forces of Gen. Von Goeben. 

On the 19th of January it was reported, that, the day 
before, four hundred and fifty shells had been thrown 
into the city ; that Sevres was in ruins ; that a German 
battery was within four miles of Notre Dame ; that 
Prince Hohenlohe had declared his determination to 
destroy all the principal edifices in Paris ; that batteries 
were already reared for the destruction of St. Denis, the 
sepulchre of the ancient kings of France ; and that in 
Paris "abominable plots" were formed for the over- 
throw of the Committee of Public Defence, and for the 
establishment of the reign of terror. An insurrection- 
ary procession, numbering six hundred, had paraded the 

Still the dismal hours of war and woe passed slowly 
away. Nothing was to be heard on any side but disasters 
to the French. Starvation threatened Paris. All the 
animals in the menagerie were eaten. Horses, dogs, cats, 
rats, furnished eagerly-coveted food for the famishing 
people. The conservatory of the Jardin des Plantes, 
containing the most magnificent collection of exotics in 
the world, was in ruins ; and in the city there were 
every hour new indications of hostility to the Provisional 
Government, and new menaces of revolt. 


Gen. Trochii, utterly disheartened, tendered liis resig- 
nation as Governor of Paris. But no one could be found 
to take his place. It was mid-winter : the fuel was all 
consumed ; the people were freezing as well as starving. 
The German batteries were drawing nearer, the storm 
of shells growing more thick and terrible. There was 
no possible shelter. The government was in bewilder- 
ment : it knew not what to do. Sorties were impossible. 
Every hour of resistance was only submitting to heljiless 
massacre. Starvation was steadily approaching : capitu- 
lation would seal the destiny of the Committee for 
Public Defence. 

Under these circumstances, Jules Favre, the lead- 
ing spirit in the Provisional Government, with anguish 
of spirit which must have been awful, on the 25th of 
January sought an interview with Count Bismarck, at 
Versailles, to propose terms of surrender. France, Paris, 
was at the feet of the conqueror. He could exact, and 
he did exact, his own terms. Scornfully rejecting any 
recognition of the "gentlemen of the pavement" as the 
government of France, he consented to an armistice of 
twenty-one days, upon condition that all the troops in 
the city should surrender their arms, and that the forts 
surrounding Paris should be given up to the Germans. 
This was, of course, the unconditional surrender of Paris. 
The German troops could march into the city unresisted 
any hour of any day. 

It Avas also exacted, that on the 8th of February 
there should be an election, throughout France, of a 
Constituent Assembly. This body should meet on the 
ir>th, and immediately adopt some form of governnu-nt 
which Germany would recognize, and with which Ger- 
many would treat for conditions of peace. To that 


government King William would present the following 
terms, which, in the name of France, it must accept, or 
the slaughter would continue ; for ivar, on the part of 
the French, seemed no longer possible : — 

1. France was to surrender to Prussia Alsace and 
Lorraine, with Belfort and Metz ; 

2.. To pay as indemnity for the expenses of the war 
ten milKards of francs, — equal to two thousand million 
dollars ; 

3. To surrender to Prussia the French colony of 
Pondicherry ; and, 

4. To transfer to the German navy twenty first-class 
French frigates.^ 

Such, essentially, were the terms which the victor 
professed himself ready to offer to his prostrate and 
humiliated foe. 

» London Times, Feb. 1, 18T1. 


'HERE is no satisfactory evidence, that, at 
/C^ /j! ^ ^^y *™^ during the war, the masses of the 
CrCm H T^ people in France were in sympathy with 
the self-constituted committees in Paris 
and Bordeaux. For obvious reasons, the 
populace in large cities are more liable to 
sudden impulses and to fickle changes than 
the inhabitants of the rural districts. Still, in the great 
cities there was no harmony of views in accepting what 
Avas called the Republic, — a usurpation which did not 
dare to appeal to the votes of the nation for its recog- 
nition. Even in Paris, the democratic party was so 
divided, that there were insurrections against the Gov- 
ernment for the National Defence, and fearful menaces 
of civil war, even when the bombardment of the Prus- 
sians was shaking the windows of the Hotel de Ville. 

Jules Favre, who may, perhaps, be considered a mod- 
erate republican, was at the head of the government in 
Paris, Gambctta, a red repu])lican of the most crim- 
son die, was the leader of that portion of the govern- 
ment which had taken refuge in Tours, and afterwards, 
upon the approach of the Prussians, had escaped to Bor- 
deaux. P'rom the commencement of the so-called repub- 



lican government, there had been ever-increasing discord 
between these two sections of the ruhng power. 

Upon the surrender of the army in Paris as prisoners 
of war, it is estimated that there was the ahuost incredi- 
ble number of eight hundred thousand of unwounded 
French prisoners in German hands, including the em- 
peror and the marshals of France. The victors had 
also captured six thousand cannon and rifles, and mili- 
tary stores of all kinds in amount which can scarcely 
be estimated. This had all been accomplished in six 
months. It is safe to say that no such achievements had 
ever before been performed in the history of this world. 

Gambetta, while calling himself a republican, was 
probably as bitterly opposed to a true republic as any 
man in the empire. What he demanded was a dictator- 
ship, with himself at its head. He forbade the conven- 
ing of a National Assembly, silenced the remonstrances 
of the press, and suppressed the councils-general of the 
departments, which, under the empire, were steadily 
advancing in the path of local self-government. It is a 
painful and discouraging fact, that none have shown 
greater hostility to republican institutions than the 
French " republicans." 

Upon the announcement of the .armistice by Jules 
Favre, Gambetta issued a very fiery proclamation, ur- 
ging France to improve the short armistice in getting 
ready to renew the fight. The dictatorial acts of L6on 
Gambetta were daily assuming an aspect of increasing 
audacity. As Bismarck utterly refused to recognize the 
irresponsible Government of National Defence, and de- 
manded the convocation of a National Assembly to 
or'T-anize a sfovernment which should have some claim 
to represent the French nation, Gambetta could not 


resist that demand. lie, however, issued a decree, de- 
claring that no man should be a candidate for that 
Assembly who was a member of any of the families 
which had reigned over France since 1789. This os- 
tracized all relatives of the Bourbon, the Orleans, and 
the Bonaparte families. He also declared all to be dis- 
qualified for election, who, under the empire, had held 
office, or been candidates for office, as ministers, sena- 
tors, councillors of state, or prefects of the depart- 

It was his object to limit the suffi'ages of the French 
people to republican candidates alone. It would be dif- 
ficult to find, under any regime^ more despotic decrees 
than were issued by Gambetta. The Assembly was to 
consist of seven hundred and fifty-three delegates for all 
of France. " All the detailed conditions," writes a cor- 
respondent from London, " laid down for the manage- 
ment of the elections, are grossly in favor of the re- 
publicans now in power." On the 2d of February, 
Gambetta caused a new Committee of Public Safety to 
be organized in Bordeaux, by which such extremists in 
the radical ranks as Rochefort, Loui^ Blanc, and Dupor- 
tal, Avere associated with him in power. 

The Paris government issued loud remonstrances 
against these despotic acts. In the midst of these ex- 
citing scenes of tumult and of woe, there were, every 
day, increasing indications that large numbers in France 
were earnestly desiring the return of the captive emper- 
or, under whose sway France had enjoyed twenty years 
of prosperity and happiness unparalleled in all her ancient 
annals. A correspondent from AVilhelmsh(ihe gives 
us the following glimpse of the ap})earance of the illus- 
trious prisoner during these days of trial : — 


" Ever since the first despatch announcing the com- 
mencement of the bombardment of Paris reached the 
imperial prisoner, he seems to have been overwhelmed 
with grief at the misfortunes of the fair city. How 
very deeply it moved him is evident from a remarkable 
change in his features ; their painful and melancholy 
expression indicating how he loved dear Paris, that city 
from which he has experienced so much wrong. 

" Of the millions in and outside of France mourning 
its terrible destruction, who has reason to be more dis- 
tressed than Napoleon III. ? Are its architectural splen- 
dors, and the beauty of its boulevards and noble streets, 
not a monument erected, as it were, to himself, and com- 
memorating a work, to the execution of which, during 
nearly twenty years, he has devoted untiring energy and 
pride ? The beautiful city would have been an imper- 
ishable monument, speaking to generations to come of 
the so well-abused empire in better and more truthful 
language than the journals and pamplilets of the present 

" Of the many who are discussing the probability of 
a return of the Napoleonic dynasty, none consider for a 
moment that the greatest of all obstacles has first to be 
overcome ; namely, that the emperor may refuse his con- 
sent. The possibility of such an occurrence may be 
doubted by those who have endeavored, for a series of 
years, to portray the Emperor of the French in false 
colors, and to caricature him before their contempora- 
ries. They may doubt that the prisoner of Wilhelms- 
hohe would reject that dignity of which he has been de- 
prived by a comparatively small number of demagogues. 
Let me endeavor to give you a few hints respecting the 
aforementioned obstacles. 


" At first, there is that sentiment expressed by the 
emperor, spoken of in a former letter to you, — that 
the u'hole people only, through their legal representatives, 
have a right to recall the emperor. Neither the army, 
nor the Prussian Government, nor the demands of party, 
could induce his return. The enth-e people are entitled 
to repair the great wrong perpetrated against his person 
by tliose political leaders who forced him into this war, 
and who profited Ijy the hour of misfortune to carry out 
th(;ir long-prepared and sinister designs." 

Each day brought increasing indications of the an- 
tagonism between Jules Favre with his associates at 
Paris, and Leon Gambetta and his associates at Bor- 
deaux. Messages of defiance passed between them. 
The following extracts from the public journals will 
show the state of affairs on the 7th of February, the 
day before the general election of members for the 
National Assembly was to take place : — 

" There is little -to be expected from the Bordeaux 
wing of the government. The very power at present 
wielded by tlie fire-eaters who control it is a usurpation 
of the legitimate authority which really belongs to 
the Paris government. Yet from this very hot-bed of 
the worst radicalism, misnamed republicanism, which tlie 
world has witnessed in this generation, the immediate 
destinies of a great nation must come forth. If the 
teachings of Gambetta and his followers prevail, the 
most direful results to the French peopla must follow. 

" Henri Rochefort is again coming to tlie surface 
from ih(; obscurity into whi(-h the startling events of 
the past year had cast him. Now he appears on 
the stage, if report speaks truly, as an advocate of 


assassination. Gambetta, Rocliefort, Flourens, — these, 
and men of like character and similar associations, are 
the men who propose to regenerate France, and found 
what they call a republic, but what sensible and think- 
ing people consider would prove a despotism far worse 
than that of the empire. 

" The situation to-day is pitiful, and in all respects 
unworthy of a great people. France herself is divided. 
The Imperialists are in bad repute ; the Orl^anists are 
of doubtful value ; the Legitimists are nowhere ; the 
Republicans — behold the situation of the hour ! " 

Feb. 8, 1871. — The news flashed across the wires 
from ill-fated France to-day was as follows : — 

" France presents the melancholy spectacle of a once 
proud and powerful nation at the mercy of a noisy, 
turbulent, and unprincipled crew of demagogues. Spe- 
cial despatches from Paris, Bordeaux, Lyons, and other 
points throughout the country, serve to show the 
wretched character of the majority of the men who 
are candidates for the National Assembly. It seems 
as though the very slums of Paris, Bordeaux, Lyons, 
and JNIarseilles, have thrown up their refuse to be used 
by the unprincipled demagogues who wield temporary 
power in France. While famishing people cry for 
bread in the streets of Paris, the mob yell for a 
Robespierre and the guillotine. In the agonj^ of their 
despair, the terror-stricken people suffer in silence, afraid 
to speak their thoughts, or raise their hands to save 
themselves from the tide of violence which threatens 
them with destruction. The mob rule, and despotism is 
the law. Truly France is suffering. Bleeding from 
every pore, paralyzed in every part, humiliated, cast 


down, and prostrate, she is even now, in this bitter 
hour, tormented by the dissensions and evil teachings 
of her children." '■ 

Jules Favre and his colleagues were in disfavor be- 
cause they liad agreed to an armistice. The feelhig 
against Gambetta was increasing. Red republicanism 
of the worst type began to show itself. One orator at 
a public meeting declared that a Robespierre was re- 
quired, and that the guillotine alone could save France. 
Tliis declaration, so bloodthirsty, was received with yells 
of delight. 

" In keeping with this atrocious sentiment, we have 
the fact that most of the Paris candidates for the As- 
sembly are men taken from the slums of Belleville and 
St. Antoine, — men notorious for their violence, reck- 
lessness, and lack of ability. . We have no doubt that 
these villains, madmen, and fanatics are a minority of 
the population : but, unfortunately, they are the party 
of action ; compact, and united against the party of 
order; divided, and irreconcilable in their division." 

.Tides Favre and his colleagues seem to dread ap- 
proaching anarchy. Already their arrest and trial were 
advocated; and one speaker (M. Gaillard) denounced 
them as twelve bandits who have sold Paris for gold. 
Rochefort's and Pyat's newspapers breathed nothing but 
revolution and vengeance. Wliile the political situa- 
tion was thus terrible, the horrors of starvation were 
commencing their reign. 

On the 8th of February, the election of delegates to 
the National Assembly took place throughout France. 

• Correspondence of the Now- York Herald. 


In view of this event, the Emperor Napoleon, from his 
captivity at Wilhelmshohe, issued the following procla- 
mation to the French people. The proclamation gave 
great satisfaction to his friends, and was reviled by his 

"Wilhelmshohe, Feb. 8, 1871. 

" Betrayed by fortune, I have kept, since my captivity, 
a profound silence, which is misfortune's mourning. 
As long as the armies confronted each other, I abstained 
from any steps or words capable of causing party dis- 
sensions; but I can no longer remain silent before my 
country's disaster without appearing insensible to its 
sufferings. When I was made a prisoner, I could not 
treat for peace, because my resolutions would appear to 
have been dictated by personal considerations. I left 
a regent to decide whether it was for the interest of 
•the nation to continue the struggle. Notwithstanding 
unparalleled reverses, France was unsubdued ; but her 
strongholds were reduced, her departments invaded, and 
Paris brought into a state of defence. The extent of 
her misfortunes might possibly have been limited ; but, 
while attention was directed to her enemies, insurrec- 
tion arose at Paris, the seat of representatives was vio- 
lated, the safety of the empress threatened, and the 
empire, which had been three times acclaimed by the 
people, was overthrown and abandoned. 

" Stilling jny presentiments, I exclaimed, ' What mat- 
ter my dynasty, if the country is saved ? ' Instead of 
protesting against the violation of my right, I hoped for 
the success of the defence, and admired the patriotic de- 
votion of the children of France. Now, when the strug- 
gle is suspended, and all reasonable chance of victory has 
disappeared, is the time to call to account the usurpers for 


tlie l)loo(lslie(l iind ruin and s([uandcred resources. It is 
impossible to aljandou the destinies of France to an uu- 
aulliDvizcd government to wliicli was left no authority 
emanating from universal suffrage. Order, confidence, 
and s(^lid peace, are only recoverable when the people are 
consulted respecting the government most capable, of 
repairing the disasters to the country. It is essential 
that France should be united in her wishes. For my- 
self, banished by injustice and bitter deceptions, I do 
not know or claim my repeatedly-conhrmed rights. 
There is no room for personal ambition. But till the 
people are regularly assembled, and express their will, 
it is my duty to say that all acts are illegitimate. There 
is only one government, in which resides the national 
sovereignty^ able to heal wounds, to bring hope to fire- 
sides, to re-open profaned churches, and to restore in- 
dustry, concord, and peace." 

The result of these elections proved that France was 
by no means disjwsed to intrust her destiny to those 
reckless men, who, by the aid of the mob of Paris, had 
usurped the government, and established a despotism 
which they dared not submit to the suffrages of the 
French people, and which they yet absurdly called the 
Repu])lic. Notwithstanding there were several hundred 
thousand imperial soldiers prisoners in Germany, and 
who consequently could not vote, France, by a vote of 
more than four to one, rejected the self-constituted 
government of Jules Favrc, Leon Gambetta, and their 
colleagues, and elected candidates pledged to some form 
of monarchy. Though the great cities chose as dele- 
gates the most radical of the red republicans, the depart- 
ments returned men of a very different character. 


" The loose materials of the great cities, which have 
nothing to lose and much to gain from a republic of 
the communist order, calling for a new division of all 
the lands and property in France among all the people, 
have gone for the Gambetta republicans. On the other 
hand, the property-holders, including the peasantry on 
their small estates, prefer things as they are to any 
cliange which threatens to dispossess them. And, again, 
the Catholic clergy in France see in Gambetta, Gari- 
baldi, and company, only the enemies of their church, 
aiming at its destruction ; and so the influence of the 
Church has been wielded against the republic." ^ 

On the 16th of February, reliable tidings were re- 
ceived in this country of the result of the elections, and 
of the probable character of the Assembly. In view of 
the facts announced, " The New-York Herald " makes 
the following remarks, which will commend themselves 
to the intelligent reader : — 

" To-day France presents a fresh spectacle for world- 
wide observation and study. No part of the world 
looks on more attentively, or questions more acutely, 
than the United States of America ; and it is not unfair 
to say that this people have ceased to have any faith in 

" This day, while we write, she is no longer the hope 
of Europe : what is worse, she is either the object of pity 
or the object of contempt. Republicans as we are, we 
have to confess it with sorrow, that we can no longer 
look to France as the possible regenerator of Europe. 
She had a glorious first opportunity. That first was 

1 Correspondence of the New-York Herald, Feb. 13, 1871. 


lost or flung away. The opportunity has been again and 
again repeated, but always with the same result. How 
can we longer hope or trust ? 

" We are now face to face with new facts. After a 
defeat which has no parallel in history, France has been, 
by the magnanimity of the conqueror, permitted to 
pronounce on her own destiny. She has had, perhaps, 
the fairest chance of speaking out the thoughts that are 
Avitliin her that she ever had in her whole history ; and 
she has once again, and most emphatically, spoken in a 
manner which is disappointing to all those who love 
republican institutions. 

" Tlie results of the recent elections are clearly, as all 
our readers must now be fully convinced, in favor of 
monarchy. It is not yet time to say what is the exact 
complexion of the Asseml^ly ; but if it be true that the 
house of Orleans has practically polled four hundred 
votes as against a hundred and fifty for the repubUc, 
fifty for the old Bourbons or Legitimists, and twenty for 
the Bonapartes, we have no choice but say France is 
not yet ripe and ready for citizen sovereignty. Look at 
the National Assembly to-day from what point of view 
we may, we can come to no other conclusion than this, 
— that France has heartily, and with not a little em- 
phasis, condemned the empire and the Bonapartes, 
condemned the republic and the infidels and the com- 
munists, condemned divine right and the old Bourbons, 
and gone in, if not for Phihp Egalitd, at least for the 
principles represented by his son, the citizen-king. No 
more empire, no more republic, but the constitution of 
1830, and a citizen-king, — that is the residt of the elec- 
tions which have just been finislicd in France, and wliicli 
are represented in the National Assembly o( to-day. 


" Why is it so ? Why are our republican hopes once 
more blasted ? Why is this fresh French opportunity 
lost to France and the world ? The answer to these 
questions is not far to seek. Under the bright sunshine 
of the empire, France indulged in proud memories, was 
happy and gay, despised all shadow, and dreamed of no 
sorrow. What had the empire not done ? It had made 
France the central, the pivotal power of Europe. For 
twenty years, the word of France, spoken by the em- 
peror, was a word of authority which no nation on the 
face of the earth could aiford to despise. Did not the 
empire humble Russia ? Did not the empire give Italy 
unity ? Did not the empire compel Prussia to halt at 
Sadowa ? Was not the empire the bulwark of the 
Papacy ? Was it not the hope of all struggling nation- 
alities ? Was it not, as it once had been, a match for 
the world in arms ? Was not Paris, adorned by the 
empire, the eye of the civilized world, even as Corinth 
was once said to be the eye of Greece ? 

" Since Sedan, the so-caUed republic, headed by men 
who dared not appeal to the French people, — because 
they knew that French Catholics could not and would 
not trust infidels, and that French proprietors could not 
and would not trust communists, — has had its chance ; 
but the failure of the so-caUed republic has been more 
complete, more disastrous, and, if possible, more igno- 
minious, than that of the empire. If France was hum- 
bled by the surrender of Sedan, France is squelched by 
the surrender and occupation of Paris. It is not for us 
to say whether France has been just or unjust to the 
empire, just or unjust to the republic. We must accept 
facts. The facts are represented in the National Assem- 
bly ; and the National Assembly is just as little imperialist 


or republican as it is legitimist. If the stars have any 
meaning, the star which France and the rest of the 
civilized world see rising out of this six-months' dark- 
ness shines benignantly on the house of Orleans." 

The victory of Prussia is complete. France is hum- 
bled and prostrate beyond all possibility of retrievement 
for generations to come. And Avhat has Germany 
gained? Upon tliis theme "The New-York World" 
makes the following sensible observations : — 

" But the most far-reaching consequence of this war 
is the unification of Germany. It brings under one gov- 
ernment a territory and population about equal to those 
of France at the beginning of the war. The area of the 
new German Empu-e is 20G,575 English square miles ; 
containing, in 1867, a population of 38,522,336. Both 
area and population will be somewhat increased by the- 
French provinces retained. The area of France, pre- 
vious to her losses, was 207,480 square miles; and her 
population, in 1866, was 38,067,094 : so she will hereafter 
be inferior to Germany both in territory and inhabitants. 
She will have the further disadvantage of a much heavier 
public debt. The national debt of France in 1869 was, 
in round numbers, $2,766,000,000 of our money ; wliile 
the aggregate debts of the several countries now united 
to form the German Empire amounted, in the same year, 
to only '$538,500,000, and bore quite as low a rate of 
interest. The public debt of France was five times as 
great as the collective debts which will be consolidated 
by German unity ; and the disproportion will be greatly 
increased by this terrible war, since France, besides de- 
fraying her own expenses, will liave to rc-imburse a part 
of the expenses of Germany. 


" What advantages, aside from national weight and 
importance, will attend the knitting-together of the Ger- 
man States into one emph-e, cannot yet be estimated. 
At present, the prospect looks unfavorable to the devel- 
opment of free institutions. The empire will be too 
powerful to be resisted by any of the small States which 
have been merged in it. None of the local governments 
will be any further respected than suits the convenience 
of the central authority for purposes of local administra- 
tion. The present rulers of Germany are the last men 
in Europe to make any voluntary concessions to popular 
rights ; and their power of repression is manifestly 
strengthened by the new ascendency which this war has 
given them over the national mind. But the Emperor 
William, who will complete his seventy-fourth year on 
the 22d of March must, in the course of nature, give 
place ere long to the Crown Prince, who may not 
inherit his father's narrow and bigoted notions and arro- 
gant temper. His education has been more liberal ; and 
his English marriiige would naturally have brought him 
into contact with some people who might give his mind, 
if it is at all open and receptive, some tincture of British 
pohtics. But, if the haughty and unscrupulous Bismarck 
should continue to be prime-minister, his stronger char- 
acter and astuter intellect would be Hkely to mould the 




'HE establishment of the great Germanic 
Empire, which is now un fait accompli^ 
has cost three sanguinary wars. First, 
there was the war with Denmark for the 
possession of Schleswig and Holstein. 
Next came the war with Austria, terminat- 
ing in the terrible slaughter of Sadowa, by 
which Prussia doubled her territory and population, and 
more than doubled her military power. Then ensued the 
war with France, by wliich Prussia consoHdated her new 
possessions, obtained both banks of the Rhine from Bel- 
gium to Switzerland, and, by depriving France of any 
natural frontier, left France entirely at the mercy of 
any Germanic invasion ; while Germany, with the broad 
Rhine and its impregnable fortresses in her possession, 
was effectually guarded against any approach from 
France. It is very seldom that any earthly plans ad- 
vance so triumphantly from the commencement to the 
conclusion as have these measures of Count Bismarck for 
the establishment of the German Empire. True, the ex- 
pense has been awful beyond all luunan estimation. 
The number of lives sacrificed in the carnage of the 
battle-field and in the wards of the hospital is to bo 



counted by hundreds of thousands. Other multitudes, 
which cannot be numbered, must pass through life with 
mutilated bodies, consigning them to hopeless impover- 
ishment. Germany and France have been literally filled 
with widows and with orphans ; and their silent woe, 
unheeded by men, will, through long years of suffering, 
ascend to the ear of God. The destruction of property 
in the bombardment and conflagration of cities, in the 
villages and cottages laid in ashes, the trampling of har- 
vests, and all the w!iste and ruin which accompany the 
march of hostile armies, it is scarcely in the power of 
human arithmetic to compute. The blessings which the 
Germanic Empire shall confer upon humanity ought to 
be very great indeed to compensate for the misery into 
which millions have been plunged. It is said, that when 
some one, in conversation with Count Bismarck, alluded 
to these woes which the establishment of the empire 
had cost, he replied, " Yes ; but, unfortunately, you can- 
not have an omelette without breaking the eggs." 

It is now obvious to every reflecting mind, that the 
overthrow of the French Empire after the disaster at 
Sedan, and the substitution of the irresponsible Com- 
mittee of National Defence, was an irreparable calamity 
for France. The Imperial Government, which had been 
established and sustained by the votes of the over- 
whelming majority of the people, had conferred upon 
France twenty years of prosperity, and was recognized 
and respected by all the governments of Europe, Asia, 
and America. 

, When such men as Favre, Gambetta, and Rochefort, 
taking advantage of an hour of terrible disaster and 
dismay, summoned the mob of Paris to their aid, and 
with dictatorial hands seized the sceptre of power, 

PEACE. 343 

France was bewildered, stunned, paralyzed. Catholic 
France would not listen to the voice of those whose cry- 
was " Down with the church ! " as well as " Down with the 
throne ! " Eugdnie, as regent, might have summoned all 
France to rise en masse to repel the invader. The pope 
would have contributed his powerful sjonpathy; and 
every ecclesiastic in France would have echoed the 
appeal. Thus, in an hour, seven millions of fighting 
men might have sprung to arms. The vast fleet of 
France, in perfect command of the seas, could have sup- 
plied them with weapons. There was thus a prohability 
of the calamity being mitigated ; and a i^ossihility^ even, 
that it might be repaired. But the pope, the cardinals, 
and the bishops all felt that they had no foes more to 
be dreaded than the democracy of Paris, Lyons, and 
]\Iarseilles. Thus, when Gambetta and Rochefort fran- 
tically shouted for all France to spring to arms, the 
priests were silent, and the peasants shook their heads. 
The energies of France were paralyzed, and her doom 
was sealed. 

The empire, under the regency, could have looked to 
the surrounding kingdoms with some hope, at least, 
of securing an alliance. These kingdoms all feared the 
enormous growth and military power of l^russia ; and 
none of them wished to see France trampled in the 
dust. They all maintained friendly relations with the 
empire. The pope wielded a moral power stronger 
than bayonets or batteries ; and the pope had ever 
found in the emperor a firm friend. Victor Emanuel 
owed his crown to the emperor ; and united Italy was 
one of the creations of tlio empire. Tin- daughter of 
Victor Emanuel, tlie Princess ('lutilde, had married the 
emperor's cousin, Prince IJoiiaparte ; and she was one 


of the most lovely and beloved of the inmates of the 
Tuileries. This rendered it not impossible that an alli- 
ance with Italy might soon have been formed. 

Spain had, with singular unanimity, voted against a 
republic, and had established a monarchy. Prhice Amo- 
deus, a son of Victor Emanuel and a brother of Princess 
Clotilde, was soon chosen King of Spain. This family 
alliance tended to unite Spain with Italy in strong sym- 
pathy with France. Hence it was by no means improb- 
able that SjDain might have been induced to send her 
armies across the Pyrenees to assist the French Empire 
in its deadly struggle with its foreign foes. Family 
alliance, religious faith, and harmonious institutions, 
would all have lent their aid. 

Austria, smarting beneath her terrible defeats, exas- 
perated by the loss of immense territory, trembling in 
view of the gigantic power which was overshadowing 
her, and grateful to Napoleon for having, after the dis- 
aster of Sadowa, prohibited the further encroachments of 
Prussia, — thus saving Austria from annihilation, — must 
have been in a position to listen to overtures which 
would enable her to strike back some revengeful blows, 
and perhaps to regain a portion of that which she had 
lost. ^ 

The British Government was in far more cordial sym- 
pathy with the French Empire than with any other 
government upon the continent. The alliance in the 
Crimean War had cemented the friendship of the gov- 
ernments and the armies of England and France. By 
friendly co-operation, the commerce of the two nations 
had been vastly increased ; and constant intercourse 
was fast uniting the two nations in sympathetic bonds. 

In April, 1855, the emperor, with Eugenie, visited 

PEACE. 345 

the Queen of England. The palaces of Victoria hlazed 
with regal fetfn in their honor. Their reception was 
alike enthusiastic by the court and by the populace. 
The Lord Mayor of Windsor, in welcoming the royal 
guests to Windsor Castle, said, — 

" We are sensible, sire, that to the wisdom and vifror 
of your imperial majesty's counsels, and to your unceas- 
ing endeavors to promote the true interests of the 
poVerful and generous nation which Providence Has 
committed to your care, may be attributed that pros- 
perity and happiness which your country now enjoys." 

" The London Times " of that date speaks as follows 
of the reception which England gave to her distin- 
guished guests : — 

" They were the associations connected with Napoleon 
III. — the remembrance of his deeds and the knowl- 
edge of his worth — which pressed along his progress 
the millions who this week have given to the world an 
imperishable testimony of their appreciation of forti- 
tude in troubles, energy in action, courage amidst dan- 
gers, and clemency amid triumphs. 

" They honored the wisdom and probity which occu- 
pied a mighty throne, and honored the thousand princely 
qualities whicli had won it. They honored the great 
man who had retrieved the prosperity and the power of 
France. They honored the good sovereign whose chief 
care is the welfare of his people. And, in the greeting 
offered to Napoleon, we may truly add, there was love 
for the nation which he had restored to its legitimate 
place amongst the powers of the earth at a moment 
most critical to its destinies, and to which he had given 
back, with the suddenness of enchantment, all its inter- 
nal prosperity, after convulsions which made the most 


sanguine despair of its future. Given back ! — he has 
opened for it a new career of unprecedented success." 

Addresses breathing the above spirit were showered 
upon the emperor from all quarters. On the 17th of 
April, the city of London offered a banquet to their 
Majesties. In the response of the emperor to the very 
complimentary address of the lord mayor, he said, — 

" As for me, I have preserved on the throne, for the 
people of England, the sentiments of esteem and sym- 
pathy which I professed in exile, when- I enjoyed here 
the hospitality of the queen ; and, if I have conformed 
my conduct to my convictions, it is because the interest 
of the nation which elected me, as well as those of 
general civilization, constrain me to do so." 

England needed an ally upon the Continent. France* 
was the only nation to which she could look for cordial 
alliance. Under these ckcumstances, the sympathies of 
England would have been with France, had the empire 
continued ; and it is by no means impossible that Eng- 
land might have been induced to contribute more to the 
empire than her moral support. 

. But the suicidal act of the democra<;y in Paris in 
seizing upon the moment of overwhelming disaster to 
overthrow by mob-violence the constituted authorities, 
and to establish a dictatorship which they absurdly 
called a repubhc, which they dared not submit to popu- 
lar suffrage, and which no government in Europe would 
recognize, left France, wounded and bleeding, at the 
mercy of her foes. There was no longer any hope of 
efficient aid from home or from abroad. Catholic 
France could not unite in measures which would place 
the sceptre in the hands of infidel communism and 
socialism ; and neither the governments of England, 

PEACE. 347 

Austria, Italy, or Spain, could think of aiding to estab- 
lish and consolidate the sway of the self-cortfttituted 
democratic committees of Paris and Bordeaux. Indeed, 
were a republic, distinctively organized, to be estab- 
lished in France, it would not enjoy the sympathy and 
friendship of a single monarchy in Europe. It would 
be simply tolerated ; while every neighboring power 
would strive to embarrass its operations, and would 
eagerly watch for its downfall. In this hostility, none 
would be more prominent than the majestic German Em- 
pire, which now, in possession of the most important 
avenues of entrance into France, holds France entirely 
at its mercy. 

One of the most untoward yet inevitable results of 
this conflict is, that it has irreparably impaired, through- 
out Christendom, confidence in the French people. 
They know not what they want. They are never 
united. Revolution follows revolution in endless suc- 
cession. The best friends of France have lost all hope- 
fulness in her future, and are in desj^air. In a terrible 
revolution of blood and misery, less than one hundred 
years ago, the old Bourbon monarchy was overthrown. 
They tried a republic ; it proved an utter failure : tried 
the consulate ; abandoned it for the empire : shouted, 
" Down with the empire ! " and took back the Bour- 
bons ; drove them ignominiously a second time from the 
kingdom, and reared the Orleans throne. After making 
Louis Phihppe their "target-king" for about a score 
of years, they drove him in shame and disgrace out of 
the kingdom, and tried a repuljlic again. After the lapse 
of two years, they repudiated the re[)ul)lic, and re-estal)- 
lished the empire ; and now tlie c'in])ire is in ruins, and 
the people of France arc asking, " Wiiat next? " 


There is no new form of government which, human in- 
geniiit|rcan devise. Shall they return to the old Bourbon 
monarchy ? Twice they have tried that, and twice re- 
jected it furiously. Shall they re-establish the repub- 
lic ? Twice they have abandoned that in disgust. Shall 
they attempt to rear again the throne of the empbe ? 
The first and second empire have been trampled with 
maledictions beneath the feet of the mob in Paris. 
Shall they invite the House of Orleans back to the 
throne ? Louis Philippe was, but a few years ago, 
literally pelted out of the kingdom, barely escaping 
with his life. 

Whatever excuses may be made for any or all of 
these events, the facts remain unchanged ; and they 
have created, universally, a profound sentiment of dis- 
couragement in reference to the future of France. Her 
best friends are in despair. They feel that it is of but 
little consequence what government the present Assem- 
bly may decide upon ; for they have no confidence that 
the government will last longer than a few years. 
There are in France five very decided and hostile par- 
ties, — Bourbonists, Orleanists, Imperiahsts, ^Moderate 
Republicans, and very emphatically pronounced Radi- 
cal Republicans. Whichever one of these five forms of 
government may be adopted, there will be four fierce 
assailants to fall upon it, obstructing its operations, and 
endeavoring by revolution to secure its overthrow. The 
world has lost faith in France. 

The writer has ever been in favor of the empire, be- 
lieving it to have been the choice of the majority of the 
French people, and, under the circumstances, the best 
government for France. He has thought, with nearly 
eight millions of French voters, that monarchical forms 

PEACE. 319 

would disarm the hostility of the surrounding monar- 
chies ; while a constitution under those forms, abolishing 
all hereditaiy privilege, establishing universal suffi-age, 
and recognizing the principle of equal rights for all men, 
might gradually lead the nation in the path of liberty, 
without the horrors of revolution. 

Very many of his fellow-republicans in America have 
been so far from agreeing with him in this opinion, that 
they have regarded its avowal as a crime demanding the 
severest denunciation. But the writer is constrained 
still to admit, that in his judgment, could the minority 
of the people of France have acquiesced in the decision 
of the majority, and accepted the empire, with its con- 
stitution purposely rendered so elastic that any reforms 
which the people might choose could be introduced by 
the peaceful operation of the ])allot-l)ox, the fort}^ mil- 
lions of the French people would be in a far happier 
condition and with brighter prospects than now. 

It is a remarkable fact, that the friends of human 
progress, at the present time, look rather to the empire 
of Germany with hope than to France. They cannot 
regard with approval many of the measures which have 
been adopted in the creation of this empire. They in- 
stinctively revolt from its absolutist political principles, 
fi-om its hereditary legislators, and from its openly- 
avowed hostility to popular reform. Still the empire 
will probably prove a stable government. The Germans 
are a stable and reliable people. It will be for the in- 
terest of that strong government to promote the pros- 
perity of the masses; and modern iulclligcnct', which 
teaches that the wealth of one nation is not increased l)y 
the impoverishment of others, will lead the t'inpire to 
seek, by commercial activity, to promote the industry 
and opulence of other States. 


The writer regrets to see that there are some Ger- 
mans in this country who are annoyed by the impartial 
statement of the facts involved in the creation of the 
new Germanic Empire. But it is of no avail to attempt 
to conceal these facts, or to ignore them. This thing has 
not been done in a corner. The eyes of the civilized 
world has been upon the movement. The successive 
steps by which this sublime creation has been accom- 
plished are known to all attentive observers ; and no one 
is ignorant of the fact, that neither Count Bismarck nor 
King William is the friend of democratic progress, and 
that this empire has been established as a check upon 
that progress. 

To attempt to conceal these facts would only expose 
these pages to contempt. The^ narrative here given is 
an impartial recital of facts known by all intelligent 
men. If this record be not substantially true, then is it 
impossible to obtain any truth of history. Never did 
events take place under a broader blaze of day. The eyes 
of the civilized world have followed these movements. 

At the present moment, such intense emotions and 
passions are excited by these tremendous events, that no 
one who attempts to record these scenes, no matter how 
candid, how impartial, can hope to escape obloquy. 
When forty millions of Germans upon one side, and 
forty millions of Frenchmen on the other, are arrayed 
against one another in the most deadly hostility, with all 
their passions roused to the highest pitch, he would be- 
tray a strange knowledge of human nature who should 
hope that he could give an impartial account of the con- 
flict in terms which would be satisfactory to either party. 
Under these circumstances, the writer has been only 
anxious so to state the truth as to win the approval of 

PEACE. 351 

all impartial minds, and to secure the final verdict of the 
antagonists, whose passions, now so fearfully aroused, 
will ere long subside into a calm more favorable for the 
contemplation of truth. Fortunately for the writer, 
there are thousands of liis countrymen, who have watched 
these events with the most intelligent and intense inter- 
est, who will be able, by their testimony, to substantiate 
the accuracy of this narrative. 

March 2, 1871. — The great conflict is ended. France, 
Ijeaten in every battle, and with her capital in the hands 
of the conqueror, has been compelled to submit to what- 
ever terms were proposed, and to drain to its dregs the 
cup of humiliation presented to her lips. She surrenders 
all of Alsace, one-fifth of Lorraine, and all the strong for- 
tresses which had been reared in those regions. Thus 
Prussia now holds both banks of the Rhine from Bel- 
gium to Switzerland, all the fortresses in the Rhine Val- 
ley, and commands all the passes of the Vosges Moun- 
tains. One million five hundred thousand Frenchmen, 
in the highest state of exasperation, are taken from 
France, and transferred to Prussia. Thus France lies 
entirely at the mercy of Germany, with no possibility of 
striking back any l)lo\vs which may be received. In addi- 
tion to this loss of territory, — which, in a strategic point 
of view, is of inestimable value, — France is compelled 
to pay the victor a thousand millions of dollars to remu- 
nerate him for the expenses he has incurred in making 
his magnificent conquest. This amounts to twenty-five 
dollars for every man, woman, and child in Frane(\ In 
addition to this, France has been compelled to submit to 
the humihation of having the German army, with uu- 
fui-led banners and jubilant trumpet-pcals, traverse lier 


avenues into the very heart of Paris, and pitch their 
tents in the Garden of the Tuileries and in the Elysian 
Fields ; and, hardest of all, there are but few voices to 
be heard, in England or America, speaking one word of 
sympathy for France in her utter desolation and woe. 
"The New- York Herald," which perhaps, as fully as 
any other paper, reflects popular sentiment, says, — 

" Very few who have been students of tliis war from 
its commencement until now will be sorry that "things 
are as they are to-day." ^ 

A correspondent of " The Herald," writing from Paris 
under date of the evening of March 1, 1871, says, " The 
dreaded hour has arrived. The German troops, with the 
iron determination which has distinguished them during 
the war, are at this moment carrying out their resolu- 
tion to enter the capital of France, conquered by them. 
Up to the last moment, it was hoped that the autocrat 
at the head of the German Empire would yield, and not 
be relentless in his purpose, but content himself with 
the dismemberment and beggary of France, without add- 
ing an apparently unnecessary and unprofitable humilia- 
tion to the already overwhelmed French." 

The scenes of grief and despair witnessed on the part of 
the implusive French when their triumphant foes marched 
exultingly into the city, with their batteries so arranged, 
that, at the slightest exhibition of hostilities, the whole 
city could be laid in ashes, cannot be described. 

Terribly severe as were these terms of the Germans, 
the French could not have resisted them even had they 
been more unendurable. France, bound hand and foot, 
was at the mercy of the conqueror. The terms of peace 

1 New-York Herald, March.2, 1871. 

PEACE. 353 

to which M. Thiers and M. Favrc had assented, in their 
conference with the Prussian court at Versailles, was 
ratified by the General Assembly at Bordeaux by 546 
yeas to 107 nays. These numbers, which have just been 
flashed over the wires, may not prove exact ; but they 
show the general unanimity of the vote. 

Thus the war terminates. This, however, may prove 
but the beginning of the end. German troops will hold 
portions of the French territory till the debt is paid. 
There may yet be many serious colUsions. What gov- 
ernment will France now establish ? It matters not 
whether it be Legitimist, Orl(5anist, Imperialist, or Re- 
publican : France is at the mercy of Germany. Should 
France now establish a republic in her friendlessness 
and her poverty, even could she establish such on the 
best and most orderly of bases, she would incur the 
hostility of every monarchy in Europe, and the especial 
hostility of that gigantic empii-e of absolutism now 
frowning down upon her from the north. 

Eiu'ope is bewildered by the suddenness of the change. 
The great northern empires of Prussia and Russia, now 
bound in closest alliance of governmental forms and 
political principles, hold Europe at theu' disposal. Prus- 
sia needs, for her full development, Belgium, Holland, 
and Denmark": she can now take them whenever it may 
please her to do so. Russia needs Sweden, and Turkey 
in Europe : she can have them both before the snows 
of another winter fall, if she think it worth while to be 
in haste, and to put her armies in motion. 

The fall of France is the fall of England. She has no 
longer an ally upon the Continent. Sir Robert Perl, in 
an impassioned speech in the English House of Commons, 
has recently given expression to his alarm. He mourns 



the downfall of France, whose independence he affirms 
to be essential to the tranquillity of Europe, — "a coun- 
try," he says, " which, for the last twenty years at least, 
on twenty battle-fields, has, iri unison with England, 
sacrificed her best blood and noblest sons ; " and he de- 
clares that " the unification of Germany under a military 
despotism cannot be for the good of Europe." 

There is the prospect of very serious trouble in Europe 
for years to come. The republican element in Germany 
will not long remain quiescent under the sway of heredi- 
tary princes. When we reflect upon the results of this 
conflict, it is difficult to conceive of any good which 
humanity has attained in the slightest degree commen- 
surate with the misery which has been inflicted. The 
human family might live in almost perfect happiness 
upon this beautiful globe which God has allotted us ; 
but the folly of wickedness has converted, and is stiU 
converting, our whole world into a field of blood and a 
vale of tears. The alike discordant shouts of the 
victors, and groans of the vanquished, are ever blending. 
Will the time ever come when kindly sympathies will 
reign in human hearts ? 

" O brother-man ! fold to thy heart thy brother : 
Where pity dwells, the peace of God is there. 
To worship rightly is to love each other, — 
Each smile a hymn, each kindly word a prayer." 


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Embracing a Record of nearly all the Important National Events which have 
occurred in Europe during the last half of a century. 



Aathor of "History of Napoleon I," "French Revolution," "Civil War In 
America," " Lives of the Presidents," &c., &c. 

" This work well becomes, in its size and mechanical execution, the subjects of 
which it treats. France of all countries, the French of all nations, and Louia 
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Nor will they be disappointed. The author has had access to all the facilities needed 
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France have been full of thrilling interest. The present emperor has become in six- 
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Life of George Peabody: 

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the land of his birth, and england, 

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Member of tlie Essex Institute, and author of " Life of Lincoln^'' (fc. 


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