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A SHORT 



BY 

ERNEST F. HENDERSON 



VOLUME II 
1648 A.D. TO 1914 A.D. 



NEW EDITION WITH ADDITIONAL CHAPTERS 



THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 

1919 

All right* renerved 







COPYRIGHT, 1902, AND 1916, 
BY THE MACMILLAN COMPANY. 



Set up and electrotyped. Published February, 1902. 



New edition with additional chapters, May, 1916; 
April, 1917. 



Xorfoooti 

J. 8. Gushing Co. Berwick & Smith Co. 
Norwood, Mass., U.S.A. 



CHAPTEB 



CONTENTS 

MM 

I. The Rise of the Prussian Monarchy 

II. The Turkish Campaigns, the Aggressions of Louis XIV., 

and the Spanish Succession War 

87 

III. The Father of Frederick the Great .... 

1QQ 

IV. The Wars of Frederick the Great . 

V. Frederick the Great in Time of Peace . 
VI. The French Revolution, the Disruption of Germany, 

219 
and the Downfall of Prussia .... 

VII. The Regeneration of Prussia and the War of Liberation 270 
VIII. The Struggle for Constitutional Government and the 

324 

Revolution of 1848 

370 

IX. The Reckoning with Austria . 

X The Reckoning with France and the Attainment of 

. 411 

German Unity 

XT. Political Developments from 1871 to 1914 
XII. Economic Progress between 1871 and 1914 ... 508 

542 
XT1I. Social Progress down to 1914 . 

. 579 
CHRONOLOGICAL TABLE 

. 591 
INDEX 



MAPS 

FACING PAGK 

Growth of Prussia to 1806 157 

Germany from 1815 to 1866 303 

Prussia, 1806-1871 359 

Modern Germany **' 



vfi 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

CHAPTER I 

THE RISE OF THE PRUSSIAN MONARCHY 

LITERATUBE : A storehouse of information for all that concerns Prus- 
sian history is the series known as Forschungen zur brandenburgischen 
und preussischen Geschichte. Eberty, Geschichte des preussischen Staates, 
must be used with caution. In Schmoller, Umrisse und Untersuchungen, 
are many valuable studies on economic matters. Tuttle's History of 
Prussia has its merits, but is partial and occasionally uncritical. Erd- 
mannsdorfer, in his Deutsche Geschichte, 1648-1740, is good but does not 
devote much space to Prussia. Pierson, Preussische Geschichte, is 
date with his facts. Waddington, ^acquisition de la couronne royale de 
Prusse par les Hohenzollern, is a valuable study. Dohna's Memoires are 
interesting. Varnhagen von Ense's Leben der Konigin von Preussen 
Sophie Charlotte is charming. 

LEAVING aside for a moment the general history of The early 
Germany, it becomes necessary to trace the steps by which %* 
one state rose so high above the rest that it finally became feurg< 
the acknowledged head and leader. Up to the accession 
in 1640 of that Frederick William who was later known 
as the Great Elector, the family of Hohenzollern could 
boast of no very distinguished members, and their territory 
consisted of scattered provinces with no real bond of union. 
The Mark Brandenburg had been in Hohenzollern hands 
for two centuries and a quarter, and the early margraves, 
save for fulfilling their occasional duties as electors of the 
Holy Roman Empire, had spent their time in conflicts with 
their own nobles and cities. Frederick I., on whom, at 



VOL. II B 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

the Council of Constance, the Emperor Sigismund had 
conferred the Mark, in recognition of his belligerent ways 
and administrative talents, had devoted his life and fortune 
to improving the land. He gained the upper hand of the 
Qmtzows, Rochows, Alvenslebens, and other independent 
minded noble families by the aid of " Faule Grete," or Lazy 
Peg," a very ordinary cannon to those who view it to-day 
outside of the Berlin Arsenal, but an instrument of coer- 
cion without its peer in the early fifteenth century. Mai- 
grave Frederick II. tried much the same kind of argu- 
ment against the citizens of Berlin, and finally built a 
strong fortress in their midst, which forms part of the pres- 
ent castle. This same Frederick II. it was who purchased 
from the insolvent Teutonic Order the province known as 
the New Mark, stretching from the Oder on the west, and 
the Warthe on the south, far north into Pomerania Thus 
was inaugurated that specially Hohenzollern policy of 
widening the inherited boundaries. From that day to 
this, with but one or two exceptions, each ruler in turn 
by inheritance, by purchase, by conquest, or by peaceful 
annexation has added something to his original domains. 

Brandenburg's attitude in the great religious conflicts of 
the sixteenth century, was dubious and unfortunate ; there 
was no attempt to take an independent stand, and there 
were times when, in the larger affairs of the empire, the 
electorate was merely the satellite of Saxony. At the time 
of Martin Luther's great activity the elector was Joachim 
I, astern just man, essentially of legal mind, -the same 
who introduced Roman law into the land, and established 
"1m the first general supreme court for all the marks 
or provinces. He travelled around to see that his cities 
were well governed reformed the weights and measures, 
tried to put down the all-pervading tendency to luxury in 
dress, and even organized an effective fire service For 



THE RISE OF THE PRUSSIAN MONARCHY 

theology he cared little ; astrology was far more to his 
taste ; and once, when the destruction of Berlin by light- 
ning had been foretold for a certain day, he drove out to the 
Tempelhof heights to witness the spectacle. If, therefore, 
in spite of the fact that many of his subjects cherished 
Lutheran sympathies, he emphatically declared for the 
Catholic cause, the grounds of his action were chiefly 
political. He feared that a change of religion would bring 
about a revolution, and, indeed, laid the whole blame of 
the Peasants' War to the new teachings. Having once 
taken his ground, he maintained it with great determina- 
tion, joining with those who urged Charles V. to break 
his safe-conduct to Luther, and threatening to put to death 
his own wife, the daughter of the Danish king, whom he 
one day discovered to have partaken of the Holy Com- 
munion in both forms. The electress fled to Saxony, 
where she spent three months under the humble roof of 
Luther and his wife, and then settled in a castle near 

Wittenberg. 

More important than the electress's own choice of a 1 
faith, is the fact that her eldest son shared her views ; and, ^^ 
in truth, four years after his accession, in 1539, Joachim II. 
formally and publicly threw off the mask by taking the 
Lutheran communion at the hands of the newly converted 
Bishop of Brandenburg. In the course of an additional 
three years all the necessary changes were made, the mon- 
asteries dissolved, the chief power in religious affairs placed 
in the hands of a consistory. Not that Joachim II. was a 
man who would have followed his religious convictions, had 
they not guided him in the line of his advantage; it was 
well known to him that a very large proportion of his sub- 
jects were by this time Lutherans, and that, by taking this 
course, he could induce the estates to assume the heavy 
debts of the crown. The steps by which Brandenburg 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

became the bulwark of Protestantism in the North were 
not, therefore, greatly to her credit. Nor even after mak- 
ing his choice could Joachim II. bring himself to abandon 
altogether the Roman Catholic ceremonial ; he loved the 
music, the incense, and the fine garments, predilections 
which brought him more than once into conflict with his 
own clergy. One of them, Buchholzer, complained to 
Luther, who laughed at him for his scruples, and bade 
him, so long as his master was firm on the main points, to 
wear as many surplices as the elector desired, whether of 
velvet, or of silk, or of linen, or of all three at once. "And," 
the reformer went on, " if it please his Electoral Highness, 
he may leap and dance with harps, cymbals, drums, and 
bells, like David before the tabernacle of the Lord." 

Thus far the possessions of the House of Hohenzollern 
had been very modest indeed ; but two generations after 
Joachim, under Elector John Sigismund, the grandfather 
of the Great Elector, there came a great change. Of the 
acquisitions to the eastward we shall speak in another con- 
nection ; for the present, it is enough to trace the steps by 
which Brandenburg achieved three Rhenish provinces. 

The territory known as the Duchy of Cleves was, in real- 
ity, a conglomeration of small states, extending along both 
sides of the Rhine from Remagen to Holland, and com- 
pletely surrounding the great bishopric of Cologne. In 
addition to Cleves proper, there were Julier, Berg, Mark, 
and Ravensburg, which had been in one hand for exactly 
a hundred years. The situation of these lands, so readily 
accessible from France, from the Spanish Netherlands, and 
from Holland, would have rendered them important, apart 
from the fact that they were naturally very fertile, and 
even then centres of a busy trade. Julier was and is 
responsible for much of the commercial product that is 
known to the world as "brown Holland." Already, for 






THE RISE OF THE PRUSSIAN MONARCHY 5 

many years before the death of the mad Duke of Cleves, 
John William, who was the last male of his line, there had 
been claimants to the regency, and ultimately to the crown, 
as numerous as the lauds which composed the heritage. 
Duke William, the father of John William, had tried to 
forestall the present difficulty by drawing up a document, 
accepted and sworn to by all of his children, which ap- 
pointed the eldest daughter, Maria Leonora, and her heirs, 
the rightful successors to the childish imbecile whose reign, 
it was assumed, would be but short. Maria Leonora her- 
self had no sons, but her daughter had married the young 
Brandenburg elector, and to him she delegated all her 
rights. Immediately on hearing of the death of John 
William, which took place at last in 1609, John Sigismund 
sent to take formal possession of the vacant lands, with all 
the pomp and ceremony that were known to the age. In 
the presence of a notary, his envoy seized the great ring 
on the gate of the chancery building in Cleves, opened it, 
entered, and laid claim to all the lands that could be seen 
from the windows, as well as to all that had been admin- 
istered from Cleves as a centre ; he then nailed up the 
Brandenburg coat of arms on the front of the great edifice. 
It had been arranged that the same proceedings should be 
gone through with in Diisseldorf for Berg and Julier ; but 
here, to his astonishment, John Sigismund's envoy found 
on his arrival that he was too late. Envoys of the Count 
Palatine of Neuburg, Wolfgang William, son of a younger 
sister of Maria Leonora, were already at work, Pfalz-Neu- 
burg's contention being that the whole duchy was a " man- 
fief," and that, in default of male heirs on the elder sister's 
part, the succession fell to himself. Thus was started a 
cause ctlebre of the seventeenth century, and one that was 
not to be entirely settled until the Congress of Vienna, in 
1815. In view of a common danger that threatened them 



6 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

from other powers, Pfalz-Neuburg and the elector came to 
a temporary agreement, by which the elector was to admin- 
ister the affairs of Cleves, Mark, and Ravensburg which 
he never after, as a matter of fact, let out of his hands 
and Pfalz-Neuburg was to administer those of Julier and 
Berg. 

The circumstance that both of these pretendants were 
Protestant, and that, by the provisions of the Peace of 
Augsburg the ruler of a land might impose his own reli- 
gion on his subjects, awakened a great fear in Austria and 
in Spain. The loss of this territory would be a serious 
calamity for the Catholic church; there was risk of the 
neighboring Cologne, which had once or twice wavered, 
becoming Protestantized, and of the Spanish Netherlands 
being completely cut off from the Westphalian bishoprics. 
The Hapsburg emperor, accordingly, Rudolph II., as a 
last resort brought forward a claim of his own : land, the 
title of which was in dispute, belonged for the time being 
to the crown. Rudolph sent as commissioner his own 
brother, Leopold, and bade him establish himself in Julier 
and carry on the administration. To no man could such 
an errand have been more agreeable than to this ambitious 
prince, who dreamed of an alliance with Spain, the Pope, 
and the Catholic League, which should enable him, after 
completing his present task, to march to Bohemia, stifle 
that discontent which, as we know now, was to culminate 
in the outbreak of the Thirty Years' War, and perhaps 
place the Bohemian crown on his own head. But the 
Protestant holders of Cleves and Julier could also boast of 
strong support. Henry IV. of France though mainly 
driven to make war on Spain by the mad desire to have 
back his mistress, whom her husband, the Prince of Conde, 
had placed under the care of the Spanish government in 
the Netherlands was able to bring about a league between 



England, Holland, Savoy, and the Protestant Union. By 
the summer of 1610, it was hoped, an army of thirty-three 
thousand men would be before the walls of the town of 
Julier. Young Christian of Anhalt was to be commander- 
in-chief of the combined forces, while Henry himself was 
to march at the head of the French troops. 

The dagger of Ravaillac frustrated all these plans ; the John Sigis- 
Catholics had raised an army against which Henry was on mund be - 

the point of marching, when this fanatic, incensed at the c , 

Calvmist. 

thought of a French king in league with heretics, put an 
end to the monarch's life. On Henry's shoulders had 
rested the burden of the war, his death betokened a com- 
plete change of policy in France. One by one the allied 
powers fell away, and Pfalz-Neuburg and Brandenburg 
were left in Cleves-Julier to their own devices ; they drove 
out the Archduke Leopold and administered the duchies 
themselves, though in no great mutual concord. One day 
Pfalz-Neuburg had the hardihood to suggest that he should 
marry a daughter of the elector, and that her dowry 
should be the disputed provinces. The result was a 
quarrel, fierce, sharp, and full of consequences. John 
Sigismund is said to have boxed the ears of the audacious 
youth, whom he considered far below himself in rank, and 
Wolfgang William soon afterward, by way of revenge 
and in order to gain the support of Spain and Bavaria, 
turned Catholic and married the sister of the Bavarian 
Duke. John Sigismund himself, ostensibly^ to gain rest 
for his conscience, but in reality, so far as can be judged, 
in order to stand well with the Dutch, went over to Cal- 
vinism. Here was a complication of vast importance for 
the future of the electorate : the ruling house pledged to a 
faith that was almost as much hated as Catholicism by the 
majority of the subjects. The bitter rivalry between the 
two denominations, the " reformed," as they were called, 



8 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



and the Lutherans, was to endure almost down to our own 
day. John Sigismund himself incurred the. unbending 
opposition of his more powerful estates. Whenever lie 
made a demand for money, his defection from the estab- 
lished religion was cast up in his face. At one local diet 
after another complaints and resolutions on the subject 
were brought forward ; while openly from the pulpit the 
elector was branded as an apostate. A tumult in Berlin 
ended in the storming of the houses of the Calvinistic 
preachers. But John Sigismund was fully able to hold 
his own. " A cow is liker to a windmill than your actions 
to your office," he wrote to the clergy of Kiistrin, " and 
your conscience shows such gaps that a coach-and-four 
could drive through ! " 

The reason for all this animosity was, that Calvinism 
and Lutheranism had come to be the banners under which 
liberals fought against conservatives, and the nobles of 
Brandenburg resented the alliance of their king with a 
religious party which so directly encouraged republican 
ideas. Just so the Calvinism of the " Winter King " had 
estranged the upper classes in Bohemia. The most favor- 
able ground that the new teachings encountered had been 
in the republics of Switzerland and Holland. Partly on 
account of her religious disunity, but also for many other 
reasons, the outbreak of the Thirty Years' War found 
Brandenburg utterly unprepared to play any r61e at all on 
the stage of general affairs. Her elector at the time, John 
Sigismund's son, George William, was one of the weakest 
to whom history can point. His panegyrists might say at 
the time that majesty "radiated from his face," but his own 
descendant, Frederick the Great, when drawing the sum 
of this life, knew better ; in his memoirs he calls his ances- 
tor " a sovereign incapable of governing, with a minister 
who was traitor to his country." This minister, Schwarz- 



THE RISE OF THE PRUSSIAN MONARCHY 9 

enburg, a Catholic supposed to have been in the bigoted 
Ferdinand II. 's pay, frustrated every good and progressive 
measure that was by any chance brought forward. He it 
was who, at the time of the terrible Restitution Edict, 
induced George William to dally so long with Gustavus 
Adolphus ; he it was who, in 1635, gathered the elector 
inte the fold 6f the Prague Peace. The shame of it all 
was that scarcely an effort was made to protect Branden- 
burg's boundaries ; every army in turn marched through 
the land unmolested, or went into winter quarters, as it 
pleased. There was some justification for neutrality, but 
this was a weak, nerveless neutrality, during which the 
country suffered the worst that unbridled enemies could 
inflict. The finances went from bad to worse, although the 
extravagance at court continued as before ; the elector, 
touched by no misfortune that did not immediately concern 
himself, showed and encouraged an unseemly levity when 
talking of the most serious affairs. 

George William's position, it must be acknowledged, 
could not well have been more difficult. Allied as he was 
by family ties to Gustavus Adolphus on the one hand and 
to the " Winter King " on the other, his own particular in- 
terests led him to the side of the emperor, a complicated 
state of affairs that caused him to follow his own natural 
bent and adopt no consistent policy whatever. At the 
time of his death, in 1640, the land was in such an utterly 
wretched and hopeless condition with untilled fields and 
great gaps of ruined houses in the towns and villages that 
the estates stormed the new elector with requests to put 
an end at all costs to the miserable war. This he did by 
abandoning his companions of the Prague Peace, and mak- 
ing his own agreement with Sweden. 

The young Frederick William, known as the Great 
Elector, was the greatest contrast to his father that could 



10 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



possibly be imagined. Strong, unhesitating, and clear- 
uiinded by nature, he had besides enjoyed the advantages 
of a liberal education in a foreign country. Sent at the 
age of fifteen to the university town of Leyden, he had 
remained in the Netherlands some four years, enjoying an 
intellectual atmosphere far different from that of his own 
impoverished, misgoverned, and uninspected land. These 
were the days of Peter Paul Rubens, of Rembrandt, and 
of Van Dyke ; of the great jurists who had worshipped at 
the feet of Hugo Grotius ; and of the philosopher Des- 
cartes, whose works were published in Holland when for- 
bidden in France. Here the young Hohenzollern had 
learned to know and appreciate a really flourishing state, 
where manufactures throve, and where every available piece 
of land was under cultivation, even if it had previously 
been a marsh or a fen. On his accession to the electoral 
throne of Brandenburg he was possessed of two clearly 
defined aims : to build up agriculture and trade, and to 
protect them with a strong army. If he progressed but 
slowly in both these matters, his success in another direc- 
tion, in that of diplomacy, was the more apparent. It was 
in part due to him that the minor German states had inde- 
pendent representation in the great peace congress at 
Miinster and Osnabriick, and almost wholly his work that 
Calvinists were allowed to partake of the blessings of the 
Westphalian Treaty. His efforts, indeed, at this congress 
to rescue Pomerania, Brandenburg's lawful birthright, from 
the fangs of Sweden, proved of no avail ; but by unfolding 
all the wiliness that was one of his chief characteristics, he 
obtained in compensation the bishoprics of Halberstadt, 
Minden, and Cammin, the county of Hohenstein, and the 
succession to Magdeburg, possessions which served as 
a bridge to Cleves, Mark, and Ravensburg, and made it 
easier to unite these alien districts into one great whole. 



THE RISE OF THE PRUSSIAN MONARCHY 11 

In the meantime, another Hohenzollern possession, lying Thesecular- 
entirely outside of the boundaries of the Holy Roman ization 
Empire, was beginning to assume immense importance. 1 
We must consider in some detail how it became finally order, 
so amalgamated with the Mark Brandenburg as to give its 
name to the whole new state. Prussia, or Bo-Russia, the 
once flourishing land of the famous Teutonic Order, had 
been, since the Treaty of Thorn, in 1466, completely under 
the heel of Poland. One half of it, West Prussia, had 
been actually incorporated in that land, while, with regard 
to the portion that remained, the grand masters of the 
order, each in turn, were obliged to take a humiliating 
oath of vassalage. To this state of affairs, after half a 
century of servitude, an effort was made by the order 
itself to apply a remedy. The cry was raised that the land 
so long subject to Poland was rightfully a fief of the em- 
pire. In their palmier days the knights would never have 
acknowledged it ; but now, in order to enforce their view, 
they determined to elect as grand master some German 
prince of influence, who would make it his chief care to 
free them from the Polish yoke. Their choice fell on 
Albert, head of the Culmbach-Baireuth line of Hohenzol- 
lern, and his first step was to refuse to Poland the customary 
act of homage. In the beginning all went well; Albert 
was encouraged by the Emperor Maximilian, by the other 
German princes, and by many of the knights themselves, 
who, grown rich and powerful, were scattered in different 
commanderies throughout the empire. But it soon be- 
came apparent that the promises had been but glittering 
generalities, and that of actual assistance little or none 
was forthcoming. For eleven years Albert labored con- 
scientiously, and even succeeded, largely by sacrificing his 
own private property, in raising an army of eight thou- 
sand mercenaries, with which he attacked the immeasur- 



12 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



ably greater forces of Poland. He failed signally, was 
reduced to great straits, and finally, after in vain storming 
the empire for aid, took a step that from many quarters 
drew down upon him bitter opprobrium. 

The Reformation had made great progress within the 
lands of the order; many of the knights had become con- 
vinced of the truth of its teachings, and Albert himself 
finally succumbed to the general trend. Appealing to 
Luther to know what he should do with the trust that had 
been imposed upon him, he was told that in its present 
condition the order was "a thing serviceable neither to 
God nor to man," and had better cease to exist. The out- 
come of it was that Albert pronounced the order's disso- 
lution, reorganized it into a secular duchy with himself at 
its head, made the ducal dignity hereditary in his own 
family, and eventually did homage, but in a purely secular 
capacity, to Poland, whose king agreed to defend him 
against all the world ; those of the knights who followed 
him were made feudal proprietors with subvassals. The 
German division of the order, indeed, under their own 
Teutschmeister at Mergentheim, raised a hue and cry at 
various diets, and caused Charles V. to threaten the author 
of such innovations with severe punishments, and even to 
put him in the ban of the empire a weapon, however, that 
by this time was well blunted. Albert lived down all 
opposition, and when he died his like-named son succeeded 
him without further disturbance. 

Brandenburg and Prussia were now alike in the hands 
of Hohenzollerns, though of different branches of the 
family. The next step was to gain from the king of Poland 
coenfeoffment, or the right of the two lines to enter into a 
mutual-heritage compact, by which, on the extinction of 
the house of Culmbach-Baireuth, Prussia was to pass to 
the electoral branch. It was Joachim II., the sponsor of 



THE RISE OF THE PRUSSIAN MONARCHY 13 

the Reformation, who at last succeeded in doing this. He 
had married a Polish princess, and he prevailed upon his 
father-in-law and suzerain, in 1568, to grant him the much- 
coveted reversion. Toward the end of the sixteenth cen- 
tury the long-looked-for contingency became more and 
more imminent. Albert II. of Prussia had no sons, but 
two daughters ; of these, to make matters doubly sure, 
Elector Joachim Frederick married one, his son John Sig- 
ismund, for his second wife, the other. Albert II., long 
a hopeless imbecile, died at last in 1618, and John Sigis- 
mund, only four years after securing Cleves, Mark, and 
Ravensburg, fell heir also to Prussia. It remained to be 
seen what his grandson, the Great Elector, could do in the 
way of lifting the ominous shadow of Polish supremacy. 

To this object, after the Peace of Westphalia, the Great The Polish- 
Elector devoted his chief attention. If he achieved it by Swedlsh 
a tortuous and somewhat equivocal policy, the only excuse 
is that duplicity was the key-note of seventeenth-century 
statecraft, and that the only difference 'between Frederick 
William and the princes with whom he had to deal, was in 
point of cleverness. Well, indeed, has this elector been 
likened to the old familiar Reinicke Fuchs ; at one moment 
in really desperate straits, the next moment we find him 
master of the situation. Nor does he ever relax his grim de- 
termination to make his land respected among the nations ; 
unmercifully does he tax his impoverished subjects to pay 
for his army and his state improvements. He is reduced 
at times to borrowing small sums right and left ; he even 
falls into the old and fatal error of inflating the currency. 
And with it all, through policy and not through love of 
luxury, he is obliged to keep up a magnificence at court 
out of all proportion to the resources of the land. Foreign 
princes are to be shown that an elector of Brandenburg 
and duke of Prussia is not in any way their inferior. In 



14 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

his designs for becoming free from the yoke of vassalage, 
Frederick William was assisted by a war that broke out 
between his liege lord of Poland and that Charles Gustavus 
of Pfalz-Zweibriicken in whose favor the daughter of 
Gustavus Adolphus had just abdicated the Swedish throne. 
John Casimir had disputed the new monarch's right, and 
had been told significantly that Charles Gustavus would 
prove it by no less than thirty thousand witnesses. Sweden 
was only too glad to employ in a foreign war her soldatesca, 
withdrawn from German soil by the terms of the Peace of 
Westphalia, and always troublesome. An army was soon 
despatched to Poland by way of Pomerania. The elector, 
across whose lands the Swedes passed without asking leave, 
was in a quandary ; as vassal of Poland he was bound in 
honor to give assistance to that power, but if he did the 
enemy would sack his towns. He tried to remain neutral, 
but that would not suffice ; Charles Gustavus, whose first 
campaign was phenomenally successful, returned with a por- 
tion of his troops, and demanded categorically whether the 
elector intended to be friend or foe. Having, in his efforts 
to gain, allies, met everywhere with a not-undeserved mis- 
trust, there was nothing left for Frederick William but to 
make what terms he could. He closed at Konigsberg, in 
1656, the first of his long series of treaties with regard to 
Prussia, repudiating the Polish suzerainty, but becoming 
on even harder terms the vassal of Sweden. All harbors 
were to be opened to Swedish vessels, tolls and customs 
were to be equally divided, a sum of money was to be paid 
at each investiture, and a contingent sent to the royal army. 
But suddenly the whole aspect of affairs changed, and 
Sweden was no longer in the ascendent. John Casimir, 
reenforced by the Tartars and Cossacks under the hetman 
Chmieliecki, succeeded in rousing the Poles to one last 
despairing effort. War to the death was declared against 



THE RISE OF THE PRUSSIAN MONARCHY 15 

this foreigner, this Charles Gustavus who blasphemed God 
by violating and plundering churches and monasteries; the 
Virgin Mary was solemnly proclaimed queen of Poland, 
and a day set apart on which to worship her in her new 
capacity. A great confidence of victory seized on the 
people ; John Casimir boasted that his Tartars would 
breakfast on Brandenburgers and Swedes. With an array 
of sixty thousand, he marched against Warsaw, drove out 
the hostile garrison, and possessed himself of the rich 
treasure accumulated by the enemy. 

By Frederick William the new crisis was welcomed as Battle of 
an opportunity for improving his footing with Sweden. In Warsaw 

the treatv of Marienburg he offered to take the field on the a J 

of Wehlau. 

Swedish side, if Charles Gustavus would guarantee to him 

Posen, Kalisch, and other Polish provinces. Then he set to 
work to show what his alliance was worth, and found his 
opportunity in the remarkable three days' battle waged for 
the recapture of Warsaw. Never did new troops more 
brilliantly sustain their baptism of fire ; by means of bold 
manoauvres, by changing the point of attack in the teeth 
of the heavy fire, the Swedish-Brandenburg army finally 
routed an enemy which outnumbered it four to one. 
Warsaw was taken and plundered, and many of its pictures 
and statues found their way to Berlin, not to speak of the 
rich columns that went to adorn the palace of the electress 
at Oranienburg. 

It did not suit Frederick William completely to annihi- 
late the Polish power. He prevented the Swedes from 
following up their victory, and himself withdrew to Prussia, 
under pretext of defending that province against the Lithu- 
anians. The Poles rallied once more, and while Charles 
Gustavus was absent, inflicting a severe chastisement on 
the Danes, retook Warsaw and Kalisch. The elector per- 
ceived how, in this emergency more than ever, Sweden 



16 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

would need his alliance, and took the opportunity of screwing 
his terms to the highest point. In the Treaty of Labiau, the 
third in this eventful year of 1656, he induced Sweden to rec- 
ognize him as "supreme, absolute, and sovereign" duke of 
Prussia. But he knew well that this guarantee alone would 
not suffice ; that the Poles, reenforced by Tartars and Rus- 
sians, were quite as much to be feared as the Swedes ; instead 
of going to war, however, he preferred to gain his end by 
peaceful means. Five days after the Treaty of Labiau he 
commenced secretly negotiating with the Poles for a similar 
acknowledgment on their part, offering to renounce, in re- 
turn, the Polish provinces which Sweden had assured to 
him by the Treaty of Marienburg. It was, of course, 
double dealing of the rankest kind. Of the new treaty, 
signed at Wehlau in 1657, Sweden was to be kept in igno- 
rance, until the elector could make sure that Austria would 
help him in the event of a war with his recent ally. The 
old Emperor Ferdinand III., had just died, and Frederick 
William's vote had promised to become the decisive one in 
the new election, for the reason that the electoral college 
would otherwise be evenly divided. It was his doing, 
then, that Leopold, who was to fill the imperial throne for 
the next half-century, was finally chosen, and, naturally, 
the favor was returned by a close alliance. 

The war with Sweden soon became an actuality. The 
elector welcomed it, for he well foresaw that it would 
prove the last step in securing the independence of Prussia. 
The emperor agreed to furnish 10,000 and Poland 7000 
men. A manifesto was issued, addressed to all Germans, 
urging them to rise and free the Rhine, Weser, Elbe, 
and Oder, which were nothing else than "prisoners of 
foreign nations." Frederick William himself led the com- 
bined forces to a series of brilliant victories. The Swedes 
were driven back from every one of their recently con- 



THE RISE OF THE PRUSSIAN MONARCHY 17 

quered positions in Denmark ; the whole of Pomerania was 
occupied; while at the same time the garrisons in Poland 
were forced to surrender. But, much to the elector's 
chagrin, a new power appeared upon the scene, and, osten- 
sibly as champion of the Westphalian Peace, ordered the 
cessation of hostilities. Louis XIV. and Mazarin, having 
by the Peace of the Pyrenees, in 1659, concluded their long 
war with Spain, were able to turn their attention elsewhere. 
It was intolerable to them that Brandenburg-Prussia should 
go on with its career of conquest, and they brought about 
a peace congress, which met at Oliva, a monastery near 
Danzig. Louis XIV. himself drew up an army of 40,000 
men on the French frontier, to emphasize his demand that 
all her former possessions in Pomerania should be restored 
to Sweden. Could Frederick William have trusted his 
allies, he never would have yielded; but Austria and 
Poland, too, were against his making territorial acquisi- 
tions. He was obliged to content himself, therefore, with 
the general acknowledgment by the congress of his free 
sovereignty over Prussia. In itself no mean advantage. 
The Peace of Oliva placed the claim of the Ilohenzollerns 
above assault; and it marks the raising of their united terri- 
tories to the rank of a European power. Not as yet, indeed, 
a power that was either greatly respected or greatly feared ; 
several architects were to work at the structure before it 
could reach perfection. 

As yet, too, the long-coveted sovereignty had only been The strug- 

secured in relation to foreign powers. Little could the gle with the 

, , . . , , estates of 

elector have imagined how fierce an internal struggle re- Prussia 

mained to be carried on. What he himself described as 
the hardest experiences of his life were still to be endured, 
for the Prussian nobles and burghers sturdily and stead- 
fastly refused to play the part assigned them in his general 
scheme of government. Little did they care for Frederick 

VOL. II C 



18 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

William's aspiration to shine in the concert of European 
rulers. They were now to learn, however, to their own 
unspeakable wrath and misery, the meaning of "absolut- 
ism" and "sovereign rights." In their new lord they 
found a man of iron, thoroughly determined to maintain 
the position he had taken. " I desire nothing unreason- 
able," he once told them, " but I mean to be master, and 
you must be my subjects ; then I will show you that I love 
you as a father loves his children." No sooner had Fred- 
erick William sent his stadtholder to Prussia than the con- 
flict broke out. The estates took the ground that the 
whole transaction with Poland was null and void, from 
the fact that their own consent had neither been asked nor 
given. Were, they to be bartered about like so many 
apples and pears? They had rather, enjoyed the former 
rule, which had left them much to their own devices ; be- 
fore they would consent now to do homage to their new 
head, they were determined to have a thorough under- 
standing with Poland, and also to obtain a guarantee that 
their rights and privileges should be respected. But these 
same rights and privileges were such as the elector neither 
would nor could grant ; his glance was fixed on the general 
good of the whole state, that of these Prussians on their 
own especial comfort and advantage. No taxes were to be 
levied, they claimed, no wars or alliances entered into 
against their will ; in fact, in all important matters they 
were to cooperate, and, in order that their position might 
be the stronger, they demanded the right to assemble of their 
own accord at stated intervals. For Frederick William, a 
standing army, supported by regular money contributions, 
was a prime necessity. The estates, on the other hand, 
fearing that such a force might be used for their own coer- 
cion, clamored for the dismissal of the troops, the razing of 
certain fortifications, and, above all, the abolishment of the 



THE RISE OF THE PRUSSIAN MONARCHY 19 

excise duties from which the military expenses were to be 

paid. 

This dislike to being taxed was a deep-rooted sentiment : 
among all the German nobles of the eighteenth century. s P iri 
The old feudal idea still survived, that it was dignified to 
fight for one's lord and master, but not to untie for him 
one's purse-strings except on extraordinary occasions. 
Characteristic on this point is the report of the elector's 
own privy councillors, who opposed his plan for a new 
property tax and a more rigid form of assessment in Prus- 
sia : " It is very hard," they say, " to treat a liberum et in- 
genuum hominem so roughly, and to force him ad pandenda 
patrimonii ma arcana" into opening up the secret places 
where he keeps his patrimony ! When, at the local diet 
which assembled at Konigsberg in 1661, it was announced 
that the elector would admit of no dispute concerning 
what he considered his sovereign rights; when he refused 
to disarm, on the ground that he would be crushed by 
other powers, the excitement of the people passed all 
bounds. Religious differences, Jesuit intrigues, and secret 
dealings with Poland, made the movement really danger- 
ous. This "reformed" elector, it was said, was going 
to reduce the Prussians to absolute servitude. Fanatics 
preached from the pulpits of Konigsberg that all Lutherans 
were to be driven from their churches in favor of Calvmists. 
Under the dread of such acts of violence, and under the lead- 
ership of the Konigsberg demagogue Roth, a conspiracy was 
formed to throw off the new yoke and return to the sheltering 
wing of Poland ; in an assembly held in the church at Kneip- 
hof a solemn oath to this effect was taken. The land was on 
the verge of civil war; the Kdnigsbergers planted cannon 
on their walls, while Prince Radzivill, the stadtholder, drew 
together what troops he could muster, and called on the 
elector to come at once if he would save his duchy. 



20 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

Roth and What the personal influence of one single, powerful man 

Kalckstem. cau ^ wag c i ear iy shown when Frederick William, in 
October, 1662, arrived in Konigsberg, and immediately or- 
dered the arrest of the agitator, Roth, whom, on account of 
his immense following among the citizens, Radzivill had 
not dared to touch. This man of the people was as cour- 
ageous and determined, in his way, as the elector himself. 
Seized in his own house whence he had scorned to flee, 
and carried on horseback at a gallop to the castle so as to 
avoid the chances of a rescue, he was tried for high treason 
and transferred secretly to the fortress of Peitz, near Col- 
berg, where he was kept under arrest to the day of his 
death. Years afterward, when present by chance in Peitz, 
the elector caused the prisoner to be told that if he would 
ask for pardon he might go free; but Roth answered 
proudly that he wanted justice, not pardon. On the 
whole, Frederick William seems to have feared Roth far 
less than he did Kalckstein, who now fled to Warsaw, 
joined the Jesuits, and was believed to be the promoter of 
every kind of treasonable plot. His person, too, was in 
time secured, by underhanded means indeed, which ran 
counter to the first principles of international law. A 
certain ruthlessness has always characterized these found- 
ers of powerful states. Kalckstein was enticed to the Ger- 
man embassy in Warsaw, was seized, gagged, rolled in a 
carpet, and placed in a wagon which drove him across the 
border. He was brought to trial, put to the torture, and 
finally executed in spite of the protests of the king of 
Poland, who would have made a casus belli out of the inci- 
dent had not other considerations rendered him dependent 
on the friendship of Brandenburg. Frederick William 
made a scapegoat of his envoy at Warsaw, and there the 
matter ended. 

These two men, Roth and Kalckstein, have received 



THE RISE OF THE PRUSSIAN MONARCHY 21 

much sympathy from later generations, and have been 
likened to Pym, Hampden, and other martyrs of English 
parliamentary history. It is true they received harsh 
treatment, but, according to every conceivable standard, 
they had committed high treason. If Roth stood out and 
suffered for popular and class liberties, it was for liberties 
that would have impaired the safety of the state. It is not 
always best for local patriots to have their way. For 
Kalckstein there is absolutely no excuse ; he had done his 
best to stir up Poland against the existing form of gov- 
ernment, and had repeatedly, in Warsaw, threatened to 
take the elector's life. 

It was a long and weary task, this restoring order in Restoration 
Prussia, but never did Frederick William display his of order in 

l^niss i ' i 

remarkable talents to better advantage. He knew well 
when to be severe of that there was no doubt ; but he 
now showed that he also knew when to persuade and to 
propitiate. Nor did he spare himself any unpleasant 
duties. " Since I have been here," he wrote to his gen- 
eral, Schwerin, " I have not enjoyed one healthful hour. 
The whole time I am inwardly enraged, and I swallow 
many bitter pills." But he had the satisfaction of coming 
at last to an agreement, by which the Prussians, in return 
for concessions more apparent than real, did him homage 
in the most splendid manner. Never had Konigsberg 
witnessed such a scene as on the day of the ceremony. 
A great platform, covered with a scarlet cloth and sur- 
mounted by a throne, was erected in the square ; coins of 
gold and silver, struck off for the occasion, were scattered 
among the people ; fireworks, processions, and feastings of 
all kinds signalized the important day. 

The yoke of the new ruler was still to bear heavily upon 
the Prussians; the foreign wars of the elector were fre- 
quently to tax his resources to the utmost, and heart- 



22 A SHOKT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

rending complaints often found their way to Berlin. A 
formal request was once sent that Frederick William 
would consider, not his own necessities, but the bare, 
actual possibilities of the province. If the elector was 
inexorable to such appeals, it was not from lack of 
sympathy. The founder of the greatness of the Prussian 
state knew well from personal experience what poverty 
and hardship meant. The revenues of the Mark, when he 
had first taken it in hand, amounted to a paltry thirty thou- 
sand thalers; while for the province of Cleves, there was 
a yearly deficit of ten thousand. During the later years 
of the Thirty Years' War the court had frequently been 
obliged to borrow sums as low as fifteen guldens, that 
there might be something to eat upon the table. " There 
is practically nothing left to pawn," wrote Schwerin, the 
master of the household, after the Swedish-Polish War. 
That same war had cost some eight million thalers, which 
the elector was obliged to wring from his reluctant people. 
Almost daily in Berlin one saw wagons passing through 
the streets filled with the goods that had been seized for 
unpaid taxes, and followed by the unfortunate owners, 
weeping and wringing their hands. 

Reforms The quiet interval that elapsed between the Peace of 

Oliva and the wars with Louis XIV. gave Frederick Will- 
of the Great * ara ^ rne ^ devote himself to the permanent welfare of 
Elector. his lands. Frederick the Great spoke the truth when he 
stood by the opened coffin of his ancestor, and, taking the 
dead hand in his own, said to those around him, " Gentle- 
men, this man did great things." New sources of income 
were gradually opened up, laws passed to govern exports 
and imports, factories and enterprises of all kinds started. 
In these enterprises the elector did not hesitate to risk his 
own private funds. Duties were charged on goods that passed 
in at the gates of the cities; and the cities, for the better pro- 



THE RISE OF THE PRUSSIAN MONARCHY 23 

tection against smuggling, were surrounded with palisades. 
Every encouragement, in the way of reduced taxation and 
free building materials, was offered to those who would 
restore ruined houses or cultivate waste fields. On the 
"domain" or crown lands no clergyman might perform the 
marriage ceremony, unless the bridegroom could furnish 
written proof that he had planted six new fruit trees and 
grafted six old ones. Colonists were called in from 
Holland and elsewhere, and everything done to induce 
them to stay. On the improvement of his capital city the 
elector expended much time and thought, devising means 
for replacing the thatched roofs by those of better material, 
and issuing orders to prevent the pigs, which abounded 
in the city, from running down the avenue where his wife, 
Dorothea, had planted her famous lindens. He succeeded 
so well in his various endeavors that a Frenchman could 
write, in 1673, " Everything seemed to me so beautiful 
that I thought there must be some special opening in the 
sky through which the sun made this region feel its favors." 
Before the end of Frederick William's reign Berlin had 
more than doubled the number of its inhabitants. Nor were 
greater projects lost sight of in the midst of minor affairs. 
An East India Company was formed, and colonies were 
established in Africa; but the gold dust from them, 
whence all the profit was expected to come, did not, 
according to the elector's own confession, furnish one- 
half the coin that was spent in the enterprise. A regular 
postal service was established between such distant points 
as Hamburg and Konigsberg, notwithstanding the oppo- 
sition of the great Thurn and Taxis monopoly, which had 
been richly endowed with privileges by the Hapsburg 
emperors. At the expenditure of much labor, the canal 
was put through which joins the Spree with the Oder 
near Frankfort, thus opening up an uninterrupted water 



24 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

course by way of the Havel and Elbe to the North Sea. 
It still bears the name of the Frederick William Canal. 
As the Spree is fifty feet higher than the Oder, it was 
found necessary to build a number of locks, and in the 
bed of one of these, on the day of the opening, the elector 
and his whole court dined in state. Then the gates were 
opened, the water flowed in, and the first ship was de- 
spatched on its course. 

For the improvement of the army neither effort nor expense 
was spared. The chief problem the elector had to cope with 
was the independent spirit of the officers, who considered 
their regiments as their own private property. By declaring 
that they had sworn allegiance to the emperor and could 
not serve two masters, they sought to escape from the 
elector's jurisdiction ; Colonel Rochow threatened to blow 
up Spandau on receiving a command that was not to his 
liking. Only with considerable difficulty did Frederick 
William manage to get rid of the worst elements in his 
army, and to fill their places with new men. By the year 
1646, he had eight thousand good soldiers under arms; by 
1655, more than three times that number. It is wonderful, 
considering the primitive weapons of the time, how much 
this army was able to accomplish, especially the cavalry, 
which learned to move with incredible swiftness, thus win- 
ning more than one battle over forces superior in number. 
The Great On the part played by the Great Elector in the wars of 
Elector ^and t he em pi re an d o f Holland with Louis XIV., on the in- 
glorious manner in which he was led about, on his humili- 
ating Peace of Vossem, and his subsequent quarrels with 
Montecuculi and Bourn on ville, it is not necessary here to 
dwell. It was while he was in winter quarters in Alsace, 
in 1674, mourning over the loss of his eldest son, who had 
just died of fever, that news was brought of an inroad of 
the Swedes into Brandenburg. Louis XIV. had stirred 



THE RISE OF THE PRUSSIAN MONARCHY 25 

them up to this undertaking, furnishing them with the 
necessary funds, and causing his resident envoy to stand 
over them and see them safely embarked. The elector, 
after in vain seeking immediate aid from The Hague 
and from Amsterdam, put his own little army in motion 
and advanced to Magdeburg, and thence, by stealthy and 
rapid marches, to Rathenow. In order to hasten their 
progress the foot-soldiers were crowded into wagons. 
At Rathenow he managed to cut the Swedish army in 
two, and when the sundered divisions tried to join, they 
were overtaken at Fehrbellin, a point some fifty miles 
to the northwest of Berlin. Here the elector fought one 
of his most famous battles, and won a victory so signal that 
his alliance was sought after in all directions, by Den- 
mark, by Holland, by Minister, and by Brunswick. Even 
the emperor, anxious to have a share in the profits of the 
war, sent him a few regiments. In the following years all 
Pomerania was cleared of the enemy; but the same 
Nemesis awaited the elector that had overtaken him nine- 
teen years before at the time of the Peace of Oliva. The 
congress that had assembled at Nymwegen, in order to 
settle the war of the empire with France, soon began to 
assume an ominously friendly tone toward Sweden. The 
Austrian minister announced the emperor's determination 
not to endure that " a new king of the Vandals [meaning 
the elector] should arise on the Baltic." Louis XIV. 
finally refused to consider any general peace that did 
not include the return to the Swedes of their portion of 
Pomerania, and then made a separate treaty with Holland 
and the emperor, leaving Brandenburg to continue a war 
from which he was determined she should reap no benefit. 
At the same time the Swedes made a bold effort to advance 
in the dead of winter through Livonia and Prussia, and to 
retake their lost German possessions. 



26 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

The winter Frederick William roused himself to do and dare the 
campaign utmost; at all risks the Swedes were to be prevented from 
m Sweden. reac hi n g Konigsberg, the temper of whose inhabitants could 
not just then be trusted. The elector, who was known to 
be suffering with the gout, spread the report that he was 
too ill to leave Berlin, and then set out at the most rapid of 
paces with what troops he had at hand. A part of the way 
lay across the ice of the Frischer Haff, but the.stadtholder 
of Konigsberg furnished twelve hundred sleighs into which 
the infantry were crowded. "It was a merry sight," says 
an old diary, " the more so as, the whole time, they kept 
playing the dragoon march." The elector himself, driving 
swiftly by on the ice, held a review of all his forces. Later 
the way was lost, the soldiers had to encamp in the open, 
food gave out, and the whole army threatened to become 
demoralized. But the Swedes were in a still worse plight, 
and, forced to retreat, arrived at Riga with but one thousand 
able-bodied men out of an original sixteen thousand. 

Brilliant as Frederick William's campaign had been, it 
helped him to no lasting benefits. His funds were ex- 
hausted, his army seriously crippled. Louis XIV. sent 
him an intimation that if he did not at once come to terms 
with Sweden a French army would be sent against him ; 
Cleves, indeed, was actually occupied. As no help could 
be expected from any quarter, even the elector's former 
friends, Minister and Brunswick, having become pensioners 
of France, there was no alternative but to sign the Peace 
of St. Germain. At the signing of the treaty, by which 
he gave up all his recent conquests, Frederick William is 
said to have cursed the day when he learned to write. To 
his friend Von Buch he made the ominous remark : " It is 
not the king of France who compels me to make peace, but 
the emperor, the empire, and my own relations and allies. 
They shall bitterly repent it, and shall suffer losses as great 



THE RISE OF THE PRUSSIAN MONARCHY 27 

as mine ! " He is said once to have quoted the verse of 
Virgil : " Exoriare aliquis nostris ex ossibus ultor ! " 

The conjecture seems warranted that from this time on The 
the elector was not wholly master of his own actions. His Electress 
wrongs preyed upon him, he was tortured by the gout, and Dorothea 
his wife, Dorothea, who tenderly cared for him, gained over 
him an undue influence. Things had been very different 
in earlier days ; much as he loved his first wife, the Orange 
princess, he would brook no opposition from her, and had 
been known to enter her presence, to throw down his hat, 
and call loudly for one of her nightcaps, as a symbol of the 
r61e she wished him to play. Now Dorothea could turn 
him around her fingers. She was a strange, violent woman, . 
bent on the advancement of her own children ; and her 
hostility to her stepsons, who stood in the way of their 
succession, was so strong that she was almost universally 
believed to have tried to poison them. The younger 
brother fell dead at a ball in her apartments after partak- 
ing of an orange that had been handed him ; whereupon 
the elder, the Crown Prince Frederick, immediately fled 
the court and went to Cassel, alleging that his life was no 
longer safe. A stern reprimand from his father brought 
him home. Dorothea's influence, as well as that of 
Frederick William's ministers, who are known to have 
been bribed by France, may account in part for the aston- 
ishing alliance into which the elector entered with his old 
enemy, Louis XIV., at a time, too, when Louis, on the 
most hollow of all pretexts, was annexing lands of the em- 
pire, summoning German princes to do him homage, and 
endeavoring in every way to prevent Austria's success in her 
efforts to meet those Turkish invasions which culminated 
in the siege of Vienna. 

This friendship cooled in consequence of the severe 
measures taken by Louis XIV. against the Protestants of 



28 



A SHOKT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



France. When, in 1685, the Edict of Nantes was revoked, 
when four hundred Protestant churches were torn down, 
when the punishment of imprisonment and the galleys was 
placed on the refusal to turn Catholic, Frederick William 
dropped all the etiquette natural to an ally, and published 
his famous free-hearted edict. He spoke of the " persecu- 
tions " that were going on in France, and offered a hearty 
welcome to all who might be fortunate enough to escape. 
Some twenty thousand answered the call ; they were 
splendidly received, and given every sort of aid and en- 
couragement. The old church of the Huguenots still stands 
in the principal square of Berlin ; their school still thrives ; 
while their civilization, their arts, and their literature have 
accrued to the lasting benefit of their hospitable enter- 
tainers. It is true, as Mirabeau once said, that the 
Germans would gradually have learnt of themselves to 
make hats, stockings, silk ribbons, and perfumery ; but the 
process might have taken a long time. And no one can 
deny the immense influence that the Huguenots exercised 
in bringing in practical comforts ; of gardening, for instance, 
to the elector's delight, they made a regular science. 

As the coolness with France grew more marked, Freder- 
ick William drew closer once more to the emperor, and 
sought in especial to settle an old dispute that had been 
going on between the two houses for half a century. The 
manner in which he did so was to be pregnant with results 
for the future of the Prussian state. During the Thirty 
Years' War Ferdinand II. had confiscated the Silesian 
duchies of Brieg, Liegnitz, and Glogau, as well as Jagern- 
dorf, which would have reverted to Brandenburg by Erb- 
verlruderung, or heritage treaty with an allied house. 
The Great Elector held out for the return of these lands, 
but was willing at last to compromise for the little prov- 
ince of Schwiebus. Even this Leopold refused until the 



THE RISE OF THE PRUSSIAN MONARCHY 29 

Crown Prince Frederick, taking matters into his own 
hands, and willing to sacrifice anything for the imperial 
alliance, signed a secret agreement to give back Schwiebus 
so soon as he should succeed to the electorate. How im- 
portant the matter was to prove will be shown in another 
connection. 

Frederick William died in 1688, leaving a will by which 
his territories were distributed among his numerous sons. 
So far had the electress brought the man whose whole life 
had given the lie to such a policy, and from whose own 
lips we have the positive statement that he considered sub- 
division the ruin of Saxony, of the Palatinate, of Hesse, and 
of Brunswick. The new heir, with the sanction of the coun- 
cil of state, suppressed the document, on the ground that it 
was counter to the fundamental laws of Brandenburg. 

Of the personality of this new ruler, the Elector Freder- The person- 
ick III., it is sufficient to say that, although somewhat de- alit y of 
formed, in consequence of a fall from his nurse's arms, he 
was very vain, very lavish, and exceedingly fond of play- 
ing a part in pompous ceremonies. His grandson, Freder- 
ick the Great, once said of him, epigrammatically, that he 
was great in small and small in great things ; and again, that 
he would probably have made a persecutor, had there been 
any solemnities attached to persecution. When still in 
the nursery he founded an order of knighthood, which not 
only he himself, but others also, took seriously, and with 
regard to which each detail was most punctiliously ar- 
ranged. The sums expended in a single year of his reign 
for the gold and silver lace on the court liveries amounted 
to forty-two thousand thalers, while his daughter at her 
wedding is said to have worn finery which cost some four 
millions. On the occasion of inaugurating the new Uni- 
versity of Halle, it was calculated that the expenses of the 
various festivities must have come to five times the amount 



30 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

of the endowment. The witty and intelligent Sophie 
Charlotte, the second of Frederick's three wives, once 
implied that she considered her husband a stage king, and 
could not refrain on her death-bed from saying, that now 
her lord would have an opportunity for one of his grand 
displays. In order to raise funds for such costly predilec- 
tions, it was necessary to resort to the most unique, and 
even petty, methods of taxation. Scarcely an object that 
was bought or sold escaped the eye of the watchful offi- 
cials, and people were obliged on demand to take off in 
the streets the very wigs on their heads, to make sure that 
the government mark was on the inside. It was the time 
when enormous wigs were a fashionable necessity ; they 
varied somewhat, according to the whims of Louis XIV., 
but were, on the whole, it is said, more enormous in Bran- 
denburg than elsewhere, because the elector thought to 
hide his deformity by the profuseness of his locks. In 
addition to the wig tax there was a heavy tax on carriages, 
on the pretext that the wheels wore out the costly pave- 
ments. Permits, to be renewed each year, were needed by 
those who intended to drink tea, coffee, or chocolate. No 
source of revenue was left unexploited ; a certain Com- 
merzienrath, or merchant prince, by the name of Kreuz, 
was intrusted with a monopoly for supplying hog bristles 
to be used in the manufacture of brushes. A general 
order was issued that when the swine were about to shed 
their coats the bristles should be collected, wrapped in 
packets as they came from each separate animal, and sent 
to Kreuz's clerks. It was the custom for each owner to 
mark his hog; but, under penalty of confiscation, this 
marking was to be so done as not to injure the particularly 
stiff hairs that grew along the spine. Witticisms at Kreuz's 
expense were declared punishable by imprisonment and 
mutilation. 



THE RISE OF THE PRUSSIAN MONARCHY 31 

There is a twofold marvel connected with Frederick's Frederick'-s 
extravagances and with his excessive demands on the peo- desire for 
pie. On the one hand, although in addition to money pay- 
ments constant contributions were required for his court 
festivals, his subjects were fond of him, and sincerely 
mourned him when he died. His very profusion endeared 
him to them, and many found occupation in carrying out 
his pageants and public works. But still more remarkable 
is the circumstance that at the end of his reign there was 
no very alarming deficit in the treasury. This is due to 
the fact that for his war expenses he had received large 
subsidies from Austria and other powers, while the regu- 
lar Brandenburg revenues, administered along the lines 
laid down by the Great Elector, had considerably increased. 
The most expensive of Frederick's hobbies, costing him in 
all some six million thalers, was the attainment of the 
royal crown. It opened up a chance for unfolding un- 
heard-of magnificence ; but for that very reason it called 
forth all his best efforts, and brought to the surface all his 
latent abilities. It was his own work from beginning to 
end ; his councillors and ministers were almost all against 
the project, and the difficulties in the way were very great; 
but he would not be daunted, and politically, as the event 
proved, he acted wisely and well. He joined at the right 
time in the upward trend of the minor European states. 
Hanover, in 1692, had risen to be an electorate, and her rul- 
ing house was soon to be recognized as next in succession 
to the crown of England ; Holland had already given a 
king to that land ; Bavaria was striving for the Spanish 
succession, and only the death of her electoral prince pre- 
vented her achieving it ; the House of Hesse hoped to suc- 
ceed to the throne of Sweden, and the Elector Palatine to 
become king of Armenia. 

Even the Great Elector had paid great attention to 



32 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

questions of precedence and etiquette ; carrying on long 
and wearisome negotiations in order to be called " brother " 
by the king of France, and "your Serenity " by the Spanish 
sovereign, and also to be allowed, like the states of Venice, 
Tuscany, and Savoy, to have his envoys put on their hats 
at the end of an interview with the emperor. If these 
matters were of importance to a man of action like Fred- 
erick William, they were doubly so to his punctilious and 
small-minded successor. Frederick declared, in 1697, at 
the time of the Ryswick Congress, that he had been out- 
raged in the eyes of all Europe because, of his two envoys, 
only one was given a hand-shake and the title of "your 
Excellency " by the imperialists, whereas, in the case of 
monarchies, this compliment was rendered to both. Only 
with difficulty, at this same congress, had the title of 
" Electoral Serenity " been conceded to himself. But an 
incident that left an even greater impression, and that has 
often been looked upon as the starting-point for the idea 
of becoming king, occurred to Frederick personally on the 
occasion of a visit to William of Orange. Just when and 
where is a matter of dispute, but various writers agree that, 
in his capacity as king of England, William occupied an 
arm-chair, giving to Frederick one with only a back. " Un 
fauteuil et une chaise a dos," writes Frederick the Great, 
" penserent brouiller ces princes d jamaig" 

The "grand project," as Frederick and his ministers 
always called the plan of gaining the crown, was met, 
when it first came up, in 1699, with objections of various 
kinds, the chief of which seems to have been that the 
assumption of the new title would bring more expense, 
but no real increase of power. Frederick drew up with 
his own hand an abstract of the reasons that led him to 
overrule such findings. The honor and utility of his house 
would be furthered. He already possessed the power; 



THE RISE OF THE PRUSSIAN MONARCHY 33 

why should he not have the name? He thought that he 
could reckon on the consent of his neighbors, as he desired 
no man's land. Now was the time, if ever, for the em- 
peror was old, and needed his assistance. Everything 
turned on this consent of the head of the House of Austria 
and of the Holy Roman Empire, but it was difficult to 
obtain. Emperor Leopold, a not unkindly man, given to 
" hunting, music, and devotional exercises," and possessed 
of fine eyes, a good nose, smooth chestnut hair, and a ruddy 
complexion, was not without the obstinacy and slowness of 
his race. This was exemplified by his feeble gait, and, to 
quote a contemporary, by " his extraordinarily large mouth 
and his lower lip, so thick that it spoils all the rest of 
his face." As far back as 1693, negotiations had begun 
with Vienna for the recognition of the elector's rights in 
Prussia. Austria had long refused him the title of duke, 
on the ground that the old act by which the Teutonic 
Order had been invested with these lands had never been 
formally abrogated. At last, grudgingly, he had been rec- 
cgnized as duke in Prussia, but " without prejudice to the 
rights of the worthy Teutonic Order." Then had come a 
promise that, at least, no other elector should obtain the 
royal dignity in preference to Brandenburg. 

The Austrian ministers were opposed to the project, The Jesuits, 
chiefly on the ground that the aggrandizement of an elector Wolf and 
would weaken the imperial authority; already electors 
were beginning to dispute with his Majesty on questions 
of etiquette. There was a religious side to the matter, 
too, which weighed heavily with Leopold. Should he, the 
natural defender of the Catholic church, help to set up a 
Protestant monarchy ? With regard to this latter point 
the emperor's fears were quieted in' a manner bordering on 
the marvellous. With his resident envoy in Vienna, 
Bartholdi, Frederick was in the habit of corresponding in 

VOL. II D 



34 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

cipher, names of persons especially being transmitted in 
numerals. Frederick received one day a message that 161 
(Bartholdi himself) had better be the one to insinuate the 
project of royalty to the emperor. He read instead 160, 
which indicated a Jesuit priest, Father Wolf, who had once 
been at Berlin as chaplain of an imperial envoy, and with 
whom Frederick had had various dealings. Not greatly 
surprised, therefore, the elector wrote off to Wolf, who, 
much flattered, brought the matter before Leopold, and was 
not ungraciously received. Whatever scruples arose were 
explained away, Wolf's own hope and trust being that the 
new sovereigns could be induced to turn Catholic, as 
Augustus the Strong had done on assuming the throne of 
Poland two years before, and as Ernest Augustus of Han- 
over had declared his willingness to do should other means 
fail. With this end in view, Wolf and his friend, Father 
Vota, laid regular siege, not only to Frederick, but to the 
electress as well, the latter entering with them into long 
theological discussions, and writing letters to Vota on so 
abstruse a subject as the " Authority of the Church 
Fathers." The hopes of the Jesuits ran high, although 
never for a moment did they have any chance of real suc- 
cess. Frederick told the English envoy that he had 
promised Vota " that he [Vota] should have the honor of 
converting him so soon as he should feel himself in the 
humor to become Catholic." At the cost of no greater 
concession than this he won two faithful allies, who did 
him much good service. 

But all this would have availed him nothing had it not 
been for the great straits in which Austria found herself, 
with the war for the Spanish succession becoming daily 
more inevitable, and without sufficient funds in the treas- 
ury to pay for the daily expenses of the imperial house- 
hold. So low did Leopold's credit fall that no Jew would 






THE RISE OF THE PRUSSIAN MONARCHY 35 

lend money to him at less than seventeen per cent interest. 
Several regiments of the army had to be suppressed for want 
of means with which to pay them. "If twelve angels of 
Heaven were to come and ask for money, none would they 
get from this court," wrote Bartholdi to Berlin. And here 
was a power which was ready, in return for a concession 
costing nothing, to furnish from eight to ten thousand 
men, to renounce subsidies due by a. former treaty, and to 
help secure the readmittance of Bohemia into the Electo- 
ral College. Leopold remained firm for almost a year ; 
the correspondence on the subject fills twenty-one folio 
volumes. The last straw that broke his resistance was 
the partition treaty of March 25, 1700, between France, 
England, and Holland, by which Austria considered her- 
self scandalously treated, not having been consulted on 
any point. Father Wolf was allowed to send a message 
to Berlin to the " most serene elector, and soon, soon to be 
most mighty king." The final treaty was signed only 
two days before the death of the childless King of Spain, 
an event that was to plunge Europe into a vortex of war 
for the next fifteen years. Much care and thought had 
been expended on the exact wording of the title ; Freder- 
ick was determined to be no mere vassal of the empire in 
his new capacity, but rather to take some such name as 
" King of the Vandals," " King of the Wends," or " King 
of Prussia." To the last form objection was made by 
the Poles, on the ground that the whole of West Prussia 
still belonged to them. The wording " King in Prussia," 
Avas finally adopted, and a special declaration signed that 
no interference was intended with Poland's rights. Once 
at the goal of his wishes, Frederick turned sharply on the 
Jesuits, paid the venerable fathers in hard cash for all 
their services, but made it very plain that he would make 
no single concession in the matter of the Catholic religion. 



36 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

Not even a church was handed over to them in Berlin, 
and so little regard was paid to the Pope that he was not 
even notified of what had taken place, or of the intended 
coronation. Clement XII. flew into a great rage, and wrote 
a circular note to the Catholic powers begging them not to 
approve the impious actions of the Marchese di Branden- 
burg. For nearly a hundred years he and his successors 
refused to address the Hohenzollerns by any other title, 
even by that of elector. 
The royal It remained to give an outward expression to the new 

coronation honor the emperor had " accorded," and to prepare a 

at Kb' nigs- -, -, , . 

berg grander and more sumptuous coronation than anything 

that had yet been seen. Frederick had been very impa- 
tient for this event, had "sighed for it ceaselessly and 
could not sleep," wrote the French ambassador, Des 
Alleurs. The crown, sceptre, and mantle had been made 
ready months before the time ; night after night one of 
the gates of the city of Berlin was left wide open for the 
courier 'who was to bring the emperor's final response 
from Vienna. All points of ceremonial had been care- 
fully studied from books of etiquette and from the usages 
observed in Denmark and Poland. A detailed description 
had even been sent from England of the coronation of 
Charles II. in Scotland. There are learned discussions in 
the Prussian archives as to how the new king should 
receive the envoys of foreign countries less important than 
his own standing, with his hat on, like the Emperor; 
or sitting, with his hat on, like the king of France ; or 
standing, with his hat off, like this same Charles. The 
procession that set out from Berlin to Konigsberg, in 
December 1700, was of great size and magnificence; it 
was obliged to move in relays, as the towns through 
which it passed could otherwise not have stood the bur- 
den. Thirty thousand horses had been requisitioned, in 



THE RISE OF THE PRUSSIAN MONARCHY 37 

addition to those from the royal stables. The journey lasted 
twelve days, and the ceremonies four more ; on the 15th 
of January four heralds-at-arms proclaimed through all 
the streets the elevation of Prussia to a kingdom. From 
this time on it was forbidden to speak of the elector save 
as "his Majesty"; and the English minister reports, "If 
any one forgets, and lets fall the words ' Electoral High- 
ness,' he is obliged to pay a fine of a ducat for the benefit 
of the poor." On January 16 came proclamations from 
all the pulpits ; on the 17th the founding of the order of 
the Black Eagle, membership in which forms to this day 
the greatest distinction in the gift of the Prussian mon- 
arch. In addition to princes of the blood, there were to 
be but thirty knights, well born, without reproach, and 
over thirty years of age. They were to wear as insignia: 
a band of orange color, in memory of the mother of the 
king ; a Maltese cross ; and a silver star, upon which was a 
black eagle holding in one claw a crown of laurel and in 
the other a thunderbolt, while beneath was a device, Suum 
cuique. 

On January 18 took place the coronation itself, the 
ceremonial of which was copied from that of the imperial 
coronation at Frankfort, with the exception, however, 
that the religious element was kept in the background. 
Frederick did, indeed, in order that he might be called 
" his sacred Majesty," create for the occasion two Protes- 
tant bishops, one Lutheran, one Calvinist; but he signifi- 
cantly placed the crown on his own head, and afterward 
with his own hands on that of his queen, the episcopal 
functions being confined to the consecration with the holy 
oil. On the splendid accessories of this whole demonstra- 
tion, on the rich robes and priceless jewels, on the baldachins 
carried by nobles, the salvos of artillery that accompanied 
the drinking of every toast, the oxen roasted whole and 



38 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



stuffed with animals dwindling in size, the fountains run- 
ning wine, the thousands of coins scattered among the 
people, it is not necessary to dwell. The house of the 
governor of Prussia was decorated so as to represent a 
temple of fame. The king himself composed a prayer 
thanking God for having accorded him the crown, and 
asking His blessing. It was characteristic of this Hohen- 
zollern to declare an amnesty for prisoners who hau not 
offended against divine or terrestrial majesty, and to cause 
a copperplate engraving to be made of the procession, in 
which he himself is represented as a tall and slender youth. 
The festivities lasted in all for several weeks, being renewed 
on the return of the royal pair to Berlin and Potsdam. 
An opera was performed called the " Struggle of the Old 
and New Century." To the latter was due the palm of 
victory, because it had actually witnessed the coronation ; 
the old century could merely make the weak defence that 
it had prepared the way for the great event. 

By a happy concatenation of circumstances Frederick had 
been able to raise the prestige of his state, and to perform 
a service for his house which laid the foundation for its 
future glory ; but there his merits ended. He lived 
merely for the present, was lamentably weak in his foreign 
policy, left the business of ruling in the hands of syco- 
phants, and spent what, funds he could lay hold of without 
attempting to organize the finances on a permanent basis. 
There was, indeed, a privy council, consisting of all the 
heads of the governmental departments, but it was there, 
as Leibnitz said, pour la forme et pour VJionneur. Its head, 
the grand president, held a position equivalent to that of 
prime minister in other countries. One faithful and 
capable president Frederick had found in Eberhard. von 
Danckelmann, who had been his tutor in his youth, and 
had served him with much devotion during a long series of 



THE K1SE OF THE PRUSSIAN MONARCHY 39 

years. But Danckelmann fell a victim to court intrigues 
and to the hatred of the electress, his chief sin doubtless 
being that he had opposed the idea of securing the royal 
crown. He was accused of not having stood up firmly 
enough for Prussia's interests at the Treaty of Ryswick, in 
1697, and was finally represented as wishing to usurp 
Frederick's prerogatives. "He would like to play the 
elector, would he ! I will show him that I am master!" 
cried the irate prince, and treated his former favorite with 
absolute ferocity, casting him in prison, and when no court 
could be found to condemn him, keeping him there on one 
pretext or another for ten years. Count Kolb von War- 
tenberg, Danckelmann's worst enemy, frivolous and uncon- 
scientious to the last degree, became his successor with 
almost unlimited, power, and with the promise that no 
inquiry should ever be made into his methods of adminis- 
tration. His wife at the same time enjoyed the peculiar 
distinction of being Frederick's official mistress, a post 
which the new king had found it necessary to establish in 
imitation of Louis XIV. All the paraphernalia of such a 
relationship were there, a secret staircase connecting the 
two apartments, a secluded garden, in which Frederick 
daily walked with his minister's wife. Yet both averred, 
under circumstances leaving no room for doubt, that their 
intimacy was purely platonic. The Wartenberg pair finally 
fell into disgrace ; the count by reason of an outrageous 
misappropriation of funds, in which he and his subordinates 
were concerned, the countess because of outbursts of tem- 
per and a jealous eagerness to maintain her position as 
first lady at the court, which led her into a hand-to-hand 
conflict and a literal tearing of the hair with the Dutch 
ambassadress. 

A wiser and a stronger man than Frederick would have 
managed to make more capital out of the wars in which, 



40 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

The French during almost every year of his whole reign, both as 
andTurkish e l ec tor and as king, his troops were engaged. On many 
a field, even according to the testimony of men like Eugene 
of Savoy and William of Orange, they had won the day 
for the allies ; yet at every peace conference Brandenburg- 
Prussia played an inferior, not to say humiliating, role, and 
came forth at the end with small rewards, which did not 
begin to compare in worth with the sacrifices made. With 
the exception of the tiny district in Guelders, given him 
at Utrecht, Frederick bought all his territorial acquisitions 
for hard cash ; Quedlinburg and Elbing from the impover- 
ished Augustus of Saxony, the small Westphalian county 
of Tecklenburg from the Count of Solms-Braunfels. Far 
from being the gainer, then, by the French and Turkish 
* wars, Prussia, bereft of her best soldiers, had been obliged 
to make great sacrifices in order to raise militia armies 
which should protect her boundaries against the overlap- 
ping waves of the Swedish-Polish struggle. The hand of 
the military recruiting officer rested like iron on the land ; 
many of the men who fell, bravely fighting, in Italy and 
Belgium had had to be regularly kidnapped into the ser- 
vice. The tone of the army was incredibly low and coarse, 
the punishments and general treatment such as would not 
now be inflicted on dumb beasts. Slitting of the nose and 
cutting off of ears were common penalties for desertion. 1 
Sophie In one respect, and in one only, can we give unqualified 

Charlotte. p ra i se to Frederick I. : he encouraged liberty of thought 
and literary and artistic endeavor in every way. How 
far this was owing to the influence of his second wife, 
the witty Charlotte of Hanover, who had been educated in 
three creeds so as to fit her for any husband, would be 
hard to establish. Frederick the Great says of his grand- 

a See Freytag's very interesting essay in Bilder aus der deutschen 
Vergangenheit, Vol. V. 



THE RISE OF THE PRUSSIAN MONARCHY 41 

mother in his memoirs, "She it was who brought true 
social refinement and love of art and science to Prussia, 
and inspired the etiquette on which her husband laid such 
stress with meaning and dignity." The Mercure Gralant, 
a newspaper of the day, gives an attractive picture of her 
personality, of her large, sweet blue eyes, the prodigious 
quantity of her black hair, her well-proportioned nose, 
bright red lips, and brilliant complexion. A medal struck 
in her honor declared that on one throne dwelt love and 
majesty. And she was more intellectual and witty, even, 
than she was beautiful. It was of this queen that Leib- 
nitz, who was like a son of the house at the Prussian 
court, once declared, that she would never be satisfied 
until she knew the " why of the why." " Leibnitz wishes 
to teach me the infinitely little," she wrote in one of her 1 
letters ; " has he forgotten that I am the wife of Frederick 
I.?" She spoke several languages, and her French, espe- 
cially, was so excellent that a Huguenot refugee once 
asked in all sincerity if she could also speak German. 
She did not dislike magnificence and display, but would 
like to have had it, to use her own words, " indpendant 
de la ggne" The story is told that at the coronation in 
Konigsberg she took a pinch of snuff at one of the most 
solemn moments, which proceeding so shocked her punc- 
tilious husband that .he sent a lackey to warn her against 
a repetition of the offence. She afterward wrote to a 
friend that the whole proceeding had bored her. 

Sophie Charlotte's palace at Lietzenburg, the name of 
which was afterward, to honor her memory, changed to 
Charlottenburg, became a rallying place for all the great 
men of the day : for the versatile Leibnitz, the " father of 
German philosophy and inventor of differential calculus," 
and for a host of others, philosophers and artists, Jesuits 
and Pietists. Among the latter were Spener, Francke, 



42 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

and Thomasius, all of them men who, for their freedom 
of speech, had been persecuted in other German states,. 
but at Frederick's court had found favor and an opportu- 
nity to teach in his new university. Thomasius, especially, 
is interesting as the bold and outspoken opponent of all the 
current nonsense of his day. He had made himself unpop- 
ular at Leipzig by laughing at what he termed the " wig- 
gery " of his legal confreres, at their belief in witches, in 
the divine right of kings, in the efficacy of torture, and in 
the necessity for clothing their barren thoughts in Latin 
instead of in German words. Frederick received Thoma- 
sius, who had been ordered to keep silence under pain of 
imprisonment, with every honor, bestowing upon him a 
court title and a yearly stipend. Francke was the founder 
of the famous orphan asylum in Halle,' which began with a 
capital of four and a half thalers, and grew to be one of 
the greatest institutions of its kind in the whole world. 

It was with the help of these, his paladins, and espe- 
cially of Leibnitz, that Frederick founded the " Academy 
of Sciences," which started out, among other advantages, 
with its own observatory. One of its first tasks was to 
introduce the reformed Gregorian calendar, which the 
Prussians, from hatred of the Pope, had in 1582 refused 
to accept. The discrepancy between the old reckoning 
and the new had by this time grown to eleven days, and 
this was remedied by making the first day of March, 1700, 
follow directly upon the 18th of February. 

Frederick died in 1713, of fright, it was said, at the ap- 
pearance of the " white lady," who is supposed to this day 
to appear whenever a great catastrophe impends for the 
Hohenzollern House. In this especial case the phenome- 
non was afterward explained. After Sophie Charlotte's 
death the old king, fearing that the crown prince, Freder- 
ick William, might leave no male heir, had taken to him- 



THE KISE OF THE PRUSSIAN MONAECHY 43 

self a third wife, Sophie Louise of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. 
She was always an intolerant Lutheran, and at last, being 
seized with religious mania, had to be confined under lock 
and key. She escaped one day, and passing a glass door 
in her flowing garments, gave her husband his death-blow. 



CHAPTER II 

THE TURKISH CAMPAIGNS, THE AGGRESSIONS OF LOUIS 
XIV. AND THE SPANISH SUCCESSION WAR 

LITERATURE: Erdmannsdb'rfer's great work in the Oncken Series, 
Deutsche Geschichte, 1648-1740, deals exhaustively with this period and 
is much better than Hitter. It received a prize as the best historical pro- 
duction of the year in which it appeared. 

Palsied IF from the newly founded kingdom of Prussia we turn 

state of the to the affairs of the empire at large, we shall find that, 
empire. contrary to expectation, the Peace of Westphalia by no 
means ushered in a long period of general repose. Of 
that empire there was by this time little left but its out- 
ward form. What could have been more harsh than the 
judgment passed upon it by the clearest head of the age 
the jurist and historian, Samuel Puffendorf: "It is no 
more a nation than was the league of Greek states which 
Agamemnon led against Troy ; it is not a monarchy, not 
an oligarchy, nor yet a democracy ; it is an abortion a 
certain irregular body like unto a monster." As Voltaire 
said of it two generations later, it was a Holy Roman 
Empire that was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire. 
Four folio volumes, indeed, were still needed to designate 
all the privileges and prerogatives of its head. He was 
still "fountain of justice," still the supreme feudal lord 
from whom all power emanated. Titles and other empty 
distinctions he might distribute to his heart's content. 
But his real influence on affairs, save as head of the House 
of Austria, was as scant as the purely imperial revenues, 

44 



THE TURKISH CAMPAIGNS 45 

which amounted in all but to thirteen thousand guldens ; 
not enough, Charles V. had once said, to pay the ex- 
penses of the imperial kitchen. The whole institution 
was worn out, and Puffendorf is not sure that even the 
extinction of the House of Hapsburg, devoutly prayed for 
by another writer, would afford the desired remedy. 

In the midst of this palsied state of affairs there came a 
series of Turkish attacks upon Hungary, as persistent, as 
violent, and as long-continued as those counter invasions 
of the Christians in the days of Godfrey of Bouillon 
or Richard III. That Diet of the Empire which met at 
Ratisbon in 1663, and which, almost from the force of 
inertia, remained in session until the end of all things, in 
1806, had been called together to take measures for defence. 
A panic had seized upon the whole of Western Christen- 
dom, and, by imperial decree, in all parts of Germany the 
so-called Turk-bell was tolled at twelve o'clock, that the 
people might assemble and offer up prayers for a speedy 
deliverance. From all the pulpits the preachers thun- 
dered forth their warnings, while innumerable pamphlets 
and treatises were spread abroad. 

It was no mere idle threat of the Grand Vizier Achmed The Turks 
Koprili, that, with an army of a hundred thousand men, under Ma- 
he would pay a visit to the emperor in Vienna. Since 
the year 1527, when, through the battle of Mohacs, it came 
into the possession of the Hapsburgs, three-fourths of Hun- 
gary had been lost inch by inch. Budapest had become 
the seat of a Turkish pasha, as had likewise Stuhlweissen- 
burg, the old coronation place of the Hungarian kings. 
The situation was the more perilous for the house of 
Austria from the condition of affairs in Transylvania, 
where the Turks were fostering anarchy in the well- 
founded hope that a prince might be chosen as ruler who 
would make the land tributary to the Sultan ; while, as 



46 A 

time went on, the stern truth was borne in upon the Ger- 
mans that their constant enemy, the "most Christian 
king," Louis XIV., did not disdain to send his agents 
among the infidels, inciting them, by bribes and other- 
wise, to make new attacks whenever Hapsburg victories 
threatened his own ascendency. 

It is a curious fact that the Sultan under whom the 
fiercest and most formidable attacks took place was one of 
the weakest that even Turkey had ever had. Mahomet 
IV., whose reign, like that of Louis XIV., of the Emperor 
Leopold, and of the Great Elector, fills practically the 
whole latter half of the seventeenth century, had come 
to the throne, in 1648, at the age of seven years. He grew 
up completely under the influence of women, especially 
of his grandmother, who was all-powerful in the palace 
until at last she was strangled by the party of his mother. 
One of the earliest sentences given to the boy by his writ- 
ing master was, "Obey, or I will cut off your head." 
Even when he grew older, Mahomet was singularly lack- 
ing in self-will and independence. In vain his mother 
urged him to assert himself; when he did so it was only 
to make himself ridiculous, as when once he forbade any 
of his subjects who were not Mussulmans to wear red caps 
and yellow slippers, and went around, sabre in hand, to 
see that his orders were executed. He never commanded 
an army, but contented himself with handing the green 
standard of the Prophet to the grand vizier, and attaching 
the heron's plumes to the turbans of his generals. When 
a battle was in prospect he spent his time in consulting 
astrologers on the probable outcome. His chief passion, 
or rather his craze, was for hunting. He is known in the 
ballads of the time as the mighty hunter, and employed 
from twenty-five thousand to thirty thousand men in beat- 
ing up his game. A propensity which cost him dear, for 



THE TURKISH CAMPAIGNS 47 

it formed one of the chief grievances of the insurgents who 
overthrew him, in 1687. 

How came it about that, with such an un warlike head, 
the Turks managed to gain such splendid victories ? The 
answer is that, just as the old Merovingian kings had 
their mayors of the palace, so the Sultan had his capa- 
ble grand viziers. These, during Mahomet IV. 's reign, 
were for the most part of the brave family of Kb'prili. The 
first of them only accepted his position on the condition 
of having almost absolute power, and with the express 
agreement that no report of evil was to be believed against 
him. He nominated all officials, and executed whom he 
pleased, the number of his victims amounting to some 
thirty thousand. But there was a limit to the influence 
even of men like these. It was absolutely necessary for 
them to achieve popularity by means of brilliant victories 
against foreign enemies, and that is what led them into 
their wars with the empire. Into the details of these 
different campaigns it is not possible here to enter. The 
Germans, with occasional scanty aid from other nations, 
fought in a number of bloody battles, often against over- 
whelming odds, but with such results, on the whole, that 
the museums of Vienna, Karlsruhe, and Dresden are full 
to-day of rich booty, of armor, of trappings, and of silken 
.hangings. 

It was found at the Diet of Ratisbon that, even in the The Peace 
face of the danger from the Turks, there was no unity of Vasvar. 
among the estates of the empire, each petty prince consid- 
ering his own real or fancied grievances as of more impor- 
tance than a foreign war. A levy of thirty thousand men 
was at last voted, but the contingents were apportioned 
according to the long-antiquated Reichsmatrikel, or impe- 
rial schedule, and, in reality, not two-thirds of that number 
ever came together. The Emperor Leopold was obliged 






48 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

to accept aid from the Rhine Confederation, which had 
been formed to keep a watch upon himself, and even from 
Louis XIV. allies whom he so hated and feared that, after 
they had helped him to win the battle of St. Gothard, in 
which three pashas and fourteen thousand other Moham- 
medans fell, he hurriedly closed with the Porte the Peace 
of Vasvar, in 1664. More properly speaking, this was a 
twenty years' truce, and during its continuance the empire 
engaged in French wars, with little molestation on its east- 
ern borders, except from Hungarian rebels, who, in 1677, 
entered into a formal alliance with France. The young 
pretender to the Hungarian throne, Emmerich Tokoly, in- 
scribed on his coins the name of his " Protector" Louis XIV. 
But more important for Tokoly was the winning over to 
his cause of Kara Mustapha, the then grand vizier, who, 
having been worsted at this time (1682) in a war with King 
John Sobieski of Poland, was thirsting for a new enterprise 
in order to maintain his tottering prestige. Now took place 
that march on Vienna which had been threatened so many 
years before. Not the one hundred thousand of Achmed 
Koprili, but a flood of twice that number rolled up to the 
walls of the Austrian capital, and seemed about to beat 
them down. Few sieges are more famous in history; few 
defences more worthy of praise. The emperor, indeed, 
was better able to meet the danger of invasion than he 
had been nineteen years before ; and this time he rejected 
the treacherous offers of Louis XIV. His warmest allies 
were John Sobieski and the Pope of Rome, the latter fear- 
ing for the safety of the Eternal City itself should Vienna 
fall a prey to the infidel. One friend, indeed, on whom 
he had counted, the Great Elector, sent him no aid at all, 
being fast in the toils of France, and having made his 
offer of sixteen thousand men contingent on shameful 
conditions. 






THE TURKISH CAMPAIGNS 49 

The garrison which, for two long months, aided by the 
students and guild merchants, defended Vienna, num- 
bered only eleven thousand men; but at the critical 
moment of the siege, when the subterranean mines of the 
enemy had already wrought much havoc, when night after 
night from the tower of St. Stephen's rockets of distress 
had been sent up in token of the last extremity, John 
Sobieski and the imperial commander, the Duke of Lor- 
raine, appeared without the walls, and, after a battle 
which lasted from dawn until late evening, put to flight 
the colossal army of the grand vizier (September 12, 1683). 
A rich booty was secured, including Kara Mustapha's own 
magnificent tent. It is the same enormous silken struc- 
ture which now, adorned with the weapons and other arti- 
cles that were in it at the time of its capture, stands in 
the Johanneum, a wing of the castle .at Dresden. The 
Sultan promptly ordered the strangulation of his unfor- 
tunate cominander-in-chief, and proceeded to organize a 
new army; but the emperor and his allies, encouraged by 
their success, determined at all costs to rid Christendom 
of this constant thorn in the flesh. At a great sacrifice a 
twenty years' truce was concluded with Louis XIV., and 
the latter was left for the present to enjoy the fruits of his 
new and unprecedented policy of aggression. 

All along the line now, by Austrians, Venetians, Poles, Jealousy of 
and by the mercenaries of the Pope, the struggle was taken Louis XIV - 
up against the Turk, and not only in Hungary, but also 
in Greece. It was in the course of this war that the 
Acropolis of Athens was made a ruin by a Venetian bomb 
falling into a Turkish powder magazine. A real enthu- 
siasm seized on Europe ; a new glory, even, shone around 
the old institution of the empire: was not a venerable 
emperor, for the first time in many centuries, at the head 
of a really grand undertaking? Louis XIV. alone looked 

VOL. II B 



50 



A SHOUT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



on askance, and punished French princes who took part in 
the war; for it was openly acknowledged at his court that 
the feebleness of the empire made the grandeur of France. 
Gradually almost the whole of Hungary was cleansed 
from the invaders; Budapest fell in 1686, and in the year 
following a victory at Mohacs rendered it possible to 
presage the end of the war. A few months later a Hun- 
garian diet, held at Pressburg, voted that the crown of 
St. Stephen should for all time be made hereditary in the 
house of Hapsburg; it was the birthday of the Austrian- 
Hungarian nation. The French king's jealousy rose to 
the highest pitch, and, isolated as he was at this time in 
Europe, and feeling that his only salvation lay in sudden 
action, he launched his forces on the borders of the empire 
and commenced his fierce devastation of the Palatinate. 
Thus Austria's old dread was realized, and she was in- 
volved in a double struggle that lasted for nearly a decade. 
On the eastern scene of war, which alone concerns us 
here, her fortunes varied with the character and daring of 
the heads of her armies. In Louis of Baden, who, in 
1691, won the bloody battle of Slankamen, she had found 
a general of the highest order; but his services were 
needed in the west, and his successor, Augustus the 
Strong of Saxony, who received the chief command only 
in consideration of the large contingent he had brought, 
fought two campaigns with very small results. For- 
tunately for Austria, fortunately, indeed, for every one 
but himself, a higher honor even than that of imperial 
generalissimo beckoned to him in the distance and led 
him to resign his position. This was the crown of Poland, 
made vacant, in 1696, by the death of John Sobieski. 
Countless candidates were in the field, the strongest a 
prince of Conde*, who was backed by all the might of 
Louis XIV. ; but by diplomatic skill, by bribery and in- 



THE TUKKISH CAMPAIGNS 51 

timidation, by abandoning the Protestant faith, which 
his own land had been the first to adopt, Augustus won 
the day, and was crowned at Cracow in the new year. 
The place of Augustus in the army was taken by the tal- 
ented Prince Eugene of Savoy, who thus inaugurated one 
of the great military careers in the world's history. A 
provider and husbander of resources, as well as a leader 
of armies, he set to work with a firm hand to organize the 
finances, which he found in the worst possible condition, 
with debts of enormous proportions, and with the whole 
task of provisioning in the hands of Jews, who had made 
their profit without fulfilling the conditions. In spite of 
all difficulties and drawbacks, Eugene soon gave an earnest 
of what might be expected of him, and set Europe ring- 
ing with the fame of his extraordinary victory at Zenta, 
where the Turks lost thirty thousand, the Austrians but 
fifteen hundred men. From the farther bank of the river 
the new Sultan himself witnessed this crushing defeat 
of his troops, and in a state bordering on madness fled to 
Temesvar. Even the great seal which the Grand Vizier 
wore around his neck fell into the hands of the Germans. 

By this time the inevitable and all-embracing struggle 
for the inheritance of the last Spanish Hapsburg was loom- 
ing nearer and nearer. The emperor needed his hands free 
for the new enterprise, and was glad, in 1699, to sign the 
Peace of Carlowitz, which ended the Turkish war for the 
time being, and insured him the possession of nearly all 
Hungary and Transylvania. In a later war, in 1718, 
Austria managed to extend her boundaries considerably 
farther to the eastward ; but, later still, in the unfortunate 
campaigns from 1736 to 1739, she lost all these hard- 
earned advantages, and the final Peace of Belgrade left 
her almost where she was at the time of Carlowitz. 

If from the Turkish wars we turn to the complications 



52 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

The "devo- with the "grand monarch" of France, we shall find that 
lution war" the key-note of the latter's policy was his claim to be right- 



of LOUI ^ k e i r ^ ^ throne O f Charlemagne ; he himself, in a 
series of instructions drawn up for the guidance of his son, 
declared that the Germans had unlawfully usurped that 
heritage, while, to be still more definite, one of his jurists, 
a member of the Parliament of Paris, showed that Hugo 
Capet should by rights have succeeded the last Caro-lin- 
gian. By fair means or foul Louis XIV. intended some 
day to become emperor of the Romans, and at the time of 
the Peace of Nymwegen he could definitely count on the 
votes of three electors ; in the meantime, on every possible 
pretext, he engaged in wars of conquest. His first aim 
was to secure the Spanish Netherlands under the pretext 
that, by an old law of inheritance, they had " devolved " 
upon his queen, the eldest daughter by the first marriage 
of King Philip IV. of Spain. This attempt was a failure, 
for Louis had to reckon with the coalition known as the 
Triple Alliance, and consisting of England, Sweden, and 
Holland; but he presently managed to sunder this union 
by bribes and by subtle diplomacy; to King Charles 
II. he promised such subsidies as would help him to 
realize his scheme of recatholicizing England, while in 
another direction, Austria, he secured neutrality and 
favor, in 1668, by a secret treaty, dividing up the great 
Spanish inheritance against the long-expected moment 
when the sickly young king, Carlos II., should breathe 
his last. Spain itself, as well as Milan and the West 
Indies and other important islands, were to fall to the 
share of the emperor, while Louis was to have Naples and 
Sicily, Franche Comte', Navarre, and the Philippines. 

The way being thus prepared, having succeeded, too, 
in bribing a number of German princes, like the dukes 
of Brunswick, and the bishops of Treves, Cologne, and 



THE AGGRESSIONS OF LOUIS XIV 53 

Miinster, Louis XIV. once more took the field, opposed Austria's 
only by Holland and by the elector of Brandenburg. To secret un - 

the head of Dutch affairs was now called that William der ^ ndin s 

with Louis 
III. of Orange who later became king of England. The X iv. 

brave little republic, which opened its dykes before the 
invading enemy, was not so easily crushed. Branden- 
burg, indeed, was a useless ally, for the Great Elector, 
himself an unsuspecting victim, was involved ia one of 
the most miserable games of intrigue and deceit that 
policy ever prompted. Very shame had driven the Em- 
peror Leopold to at least make a demonstration against 
an enemy that had wantonly broken the law of nations and 
disregarded the boundaries of his empire; but, mindful 
of his secret pact regarding the Spanish inheritance, he 
determined to do no real harm to his ally of France, and, 
while joining his forces to those of Frederick William, 
his general-in-chief, Montecucculi, was secretly ordered to 
avoid serious combat. As an Austrian minister expressed 
it, there was need of harnessing a tame and manageable 
horse to this wild and unbroken steed of Brandenburg. 
Foiled in every plan by which he had meant to circum- 
vent the enemy, looked upon with scorn by the Dutch, 
who withdrew their subsidies from so dilatory an ally, 
Frederick William withdrew from the struggle and entered 
into the inglorious Peace of Vossem with the French 
(1673). 

A year later, when events had caused Austria to renew Quarrels of 
the struggle with all seriousness, the elector once more B urn - 
took her side ; but the unaccountable conduct of the impe- ^ e e G a r " at 
rial general, Bournonville, deprived the campaign of all Elector . 
good results. Concerted action finally became impossible. 
"You are neutral," said Frederick William to the Spanish 
ambassador, who visited the camp, "and can tell the world 
what is going on here; I wish to be acquitted of all blame." 



54 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



The peace 
of Nym- 
wegen. 



At Marlenheim., through Bournonville's obstinacy, the 
elector lost a brilliant opportunity of surrounding the 
army of the French general Turenne, while the charge 
seems well founded that at Turkheim, contrary to agree- 
ment, the Austrian general drew off his forces, leaving 
those of Frederick William alone in a position of deadly 
peril. It was soon after this that the Great Elector was 
called away by the irruption of the Swedes into the Mark. 
During the next years, as we have seen, he was occupied in 
the north, making his brilliant but fruitless conquests. 

The war on the Rhine still went on for nearly four 
years. First came long manoeuvring between Turenne 
and Montecucculi. Then came a series of battles : at Sas- 
bach, where Turenne was killed; at the Conz bridge on the 
river Saar, where the dukes George and Ernest Augustus 
of Brunswick covered themselves with glory; and under 
the walls of Treves. The French recovered themselves 
for a while, but the marriage of William of Orange" to 
Mary of England, in 1677, proved to them a severe blow ; 
it was as bad for Louis XIV., said the English ambassador 
at the time, "as the loss of ten battles and fortresses." 
Yet none the less the Dutch people clamored for peace. 
Charles II. of England was as unreliable as a wavering 
reed; and the French king, appreciating the situation, 
offered to Holland an arrangement so advantageous, 
especially for its future trade, that the republic finally 
accepted, leaving the empire and Brandenburg to the 
French mercies. There were those who urged Leopold 
to take a manly stand and continue the war on his own 
account, among them the Great Elector, who hoped thus 
to secure his Pomeranian conquests. But the emperor, 
as has been said, hated the idea of a "new king of the 
Vandals on the Baltic," and signed for himself at Nym- 
wegen a peace with France and Sweden, the basis of which 



THE AGGRESSIONS OF LOUIS XIV 55 

was the condition of things in the year 1648. The wags 
of the time called this the peace of Nimm-weg^ inasmuch 
as here were taken away all the elector's recent acquisi- 
tions. He was forced, as we know, into the distasteful 
Peace of St. Germain. 

The French had reason enough to be proud of their 
diplomacy, seeing that out of a desperate military position 
they had known how to draw such gains. "German 
princes will make no more war on me," said Louis XIV. 
to Sophia of Hanover, who came to visit her niece, the 
Palatine princess who was the wife of Monsieur. Louis 
considered that now the time had come for making good 
those claims to the whole of Alsace which had never slum- 
bered since the Peace of Westphalia. 1 There had been 
an effort at Nymwegen to bring clearness into the matter, 
but the French had refused to reopen it, well knowing 
that the ambiguous wording of those old clauses would 
give them the best possible pretext for the annexations 
they were planning. 

By calmly taking possession of the defenceless lands he Louis 
claimed, and by propounding a new and startling theory, xiv/s ap- 
in defence of which he played off the Turks and the elector 
of Brandenburg against the emperor, Louis now gained an d 
more territory than in many wars, and stretched the raine. 
French boundaries to the Rhine. He declared that the 
Westphalian Peace had ceded to him certain districts with 
all their dependencies. Three " Courts of Reunion " were 
established, one at Metz, one at Breisach, and one at 
Vesanc,on, to determine what lands actually were, and 
ever had been, dependent on his new possessions. The 
cities of Metz, Toul, and Verdun, once important bishop- 
rics, were ordered to bring in lists of lands they had for- 
merly owned, and charters were consulted which reached 
i See Vol. I, p. 493. 



56 



A SHORT HISTOKY OF GERMANY 



Strassburg 
taken. 



The 

Laxenburg 

alliance. 



as far back as to Merovingian times. These so-called 
"dependencies " stretched far into the neighboring states, 
and men like the Elector of the Palatinate, the dukes of 
Baden and Wiirtemberg, and even the king of Sweden, 
who was of the Palatine line, were summoned to do 
homage to France. 

Even this hollowest of all pretexts was lacking for the 
French king's sudden descent on the free city of Strass- 
burg. That most important fortress, of which Charles V. 
once said that, if he had to choose between losing it and 
losing Vienna, he would relinquish the latter, had been 
expressly excepted when the ambiguous rights over the 
other Alsatian towns had been ceded to France by the 
Westphalian Peace. But no care had been taken to garri- 
son it, and only four hundred mercenaries were at hand to 
oppose a French force of thirty-five thousand men. After 
three days of negotiation the city capitulated (September 
30, 1681), and three weeks later Louis XIV., in royal state 
and accompanied by his whole family, held a triumphant 
entry. Elizabeth Charlotte, Louis's sister-in-law, fairly 
"howled," as she wrote to her brother, at having thus to 
accompany the French court into a conquered German 
city. Poor woman, she was soon to shed still bitterer 
tears at the wasting and ravaging of her Palatine home, 
ostensibly in her own interests ! For the present, Louis 
contented himself with the complete subjugation of Alsace 
and Lorraine, which were handed over to the Jesuits for 
the purpose of catholicizing. 

That more effective opposition was not offered by the 
empire was due, as we know, to the attitude of the Great 
Elector and to the exigencies of the Turkish wars. In 
the agreement entered into between Louis XIV. and 
Frederick William, in January, 1681, it had been ex- 
pressly stipulated that the elector was not to inquire into 



THE AGGRESSIONS OF LOUIS XIV 57 

the right or wrong of any of his new ally's actions. After 
the fall of Strassburg the status quo was again confirmed, 
Frederick William's pension being raised from one hun- 
dred thousand to four hundred thousand thalers in order 
to gild the bitter pill. 

After Strassburg's fall a demonstration at least was 
made in the shape of the Laxenburg alliance, an associa- 
tion of small German powers, headed by the Count of 
Waldeck, and finally joined by the emperor; its avowed 
object was to see that the peace treaties of Westphalia 
and Nymwegen were properly observed, for which purpose 
three armies were to be maintained, one on the upper, 
one on the middle, and one on the lower Rhine. Shortly 
afterward Bavaria formed its own defensive alliance with 
Leopold, while Saxony and Brunswick prepared to do the 
same. 

But the advent of Kara Mustapha and the siege of 
Vienna took away the last lingering thought of plunging 
into a French war. In order to have his hands free for 
his new undertakings against the Turks, Leopold, in 
1684, closed, as we have seen, 1 a twenty years' truce with 
Louis XIV., expressly guaranteeing to the latter Strass- 
burg and all the territories acquired through the decisions 
of the "Courts of Reunion." 

The French armies in the meantime had won Casale in A rallying 
Italy and Luxemburg in the Spanish Netherlands, for- < 
tresses which, with Strassburg, seemed to give them a vice- L ^ uis 
like hold on all Europe. One of Louis XIV. 's flatterers, 
in carving the pedestal of a column of victory, represented 
the German Empire in the form of a bound slave at the 
feet of the vir immortalis ! 

But gradually; as the Turkish war went on, and impe- 
rial victories succeeded each other, the French king was 
i See Vol. II, p. 49. 



58 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

obliged to confess to himself that a great change was 
coming over the political face of Europe. The young 
elector of Bavaria, Max Emmanuel, married the daughter 
of Leopold, and showed disquieting designs on the Span- 
ish inheritance, which Louis had come to consider so 
entirely his own perquisite. Carlos II. himself, the child- 
less king whose death had already been so many times dis- 
counted in the past twenty years, was enamoured of the 
idea of having Max Emmanuel as his successor, and openly 
declared in the young prince's favor; the Spanish people- 
treated him like one of the royal family. In the empire 
itself one prince after another went over to the Austrian 
side, while the Laxenburg alliance came to life again in 
the enlarged form of the Augsburg League. The Great 
Elector, too, as already shown, grew tired of the French 
alliance after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, and 
entered into negotiations with Leopold for the recognition 
of his Silesian claims ; while in England, James II., Louis's 
faithful friend, was displaced by William of Orange, his 
bitter enemy, who was already in constant communication 
with Frederick William. 

The devas- In the end Louis XIV., hoping to nip the coalition plans 
tationof the o f n j s enemies in the bud, proceeded in a perfectly ruth- 
less and unheard-of manner to strike terror into their 
hearts, and began a nine years' war that started with the 
terrible devastation of the Rhine Palatinate. He issued 
a manifesto accusing the emperor of intriguing against 
France, and launched his armies across the Rhine. The 
Germans, whose vast forces had gone to fight the Turks 
in Hungary, were surprised in an almost defenceless con- 
dition. The fortress of Philipsburg alone made a show 
of resistance, and in the course of a few short weeks four 
electorates, Mainz, Treves, Cologne, arid the Palatinate 
were in French hands. 



THE AGGRESSIONS OF LOUIS XIV 59 

Leopold answered by a counter manifesto, which the 
great Leibnitz is believed to have composed, and pro- 
ceeded to strengthen his alliances without abandoning 
the Turkish war. Some scruples he had about joining 
with a Protestant country like Holland against a Catholic 
monarch ; but his Jesuits drew up a remarkable document 
which quieted his conscience. " In a justifiable war," they 
said, "it is allowable to make use of horses and other 
beasts consequently, also, of unbelievers!" By the 
Treaty of 1689, the Dutch bound themselves not only to 
assist the emperor in the present crisis, but also to stand 
by him in the matter of the Spanish succession. But 
already the hand of the destroyer had fallen with all its 
weight on the fertile Rhenish lands; the order had gone 
forth to throw down all the forts of the Palatinate and to level 
some twelve hundred cities and villages with the ground. 

Louis's minister, Louvois, based his orders for destruc- The castle 
tion on purely military grounds. France was threatened of Heidel - 



on all sides from the Channel, from the Pyrenees, and ai 

from the Rhine. Her armies could not be everywhere, and 
her best defence against the empire, he argued, would be 
a long line of desert, with not roof enough to shelter a 
single German soldier. It is true the French commanders 
had first to be educated to this policy of annihilation. 
One of them, General de Tesse*, ordered the citizens of 
Heidelberg to set fire to their own houses, but promised 
to look the other way while they were putting out the 
flames. He was complained of, and received a severe 
reprimand from Paris. It was in these days that the first 
attempt at destroying the splendid Heidelberg castle was 
made ; its treasures were robbed, its columns thrown down, 
its walls undermined, and great masses of straw heaped 
up in its halls and set on fire. The former garrison 
watched mournfully in the courtyard while a part of the 



60 A SHOUT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

great roof fell in. A few days later the whole town of 
Mannheim went up in flames, and the destroyers passed 
on to the old, free, imperial city of Spires. Here the 
inhabitants were told that they might transfer their valu- 
able effects to the cathedral, which alone would be left 
standing; but this famous monument, too, by chance or, as 
many believed, by premeditation, was also burned. The 
vaults containing the bones of Henry IV. and of other 
emperors were opened and plundered. The turn of 
Worms came next; the same promise with regard to the 
cathedral was here given, but was expressly revoked by a 
command from Paris.* " To the inhuman delight of this 
mad monster" (Louis XIV.), says one of the emperor's 
officials in Worms, " the city was reduced to ashes within 
four hours. . . . Like a column of cloud the smoke rose up, 
wound slowly across the Rhine, and hid the light of day." 
The " war One can imagine the feelings of Elizabeth Charlotte at 
of the spade hearing of the devastation in her old home. In his mani- 
festo to the emperor, one of Louis XIV. 's grievances had 
been that his sister-in-law was not recognized as heiress 
to the Palatinate. "I cannot cease mourning and bewail- 
ing," writes "Madame" to her aunt, "that I have been, 
so to speak, the ruin of my fatherland. . . . Every night 
when I go to sleep I seem to be transported to Heidelberg 
or to Mannheim, and to see all the devastation; then I 
leap up in my bed and lie awake for two full hours. I 
call to mind in what a state it all was in my time, and how 
it is now; yes, what I myself have become and I cannot 
keep from weeping. . . . They take it ill here that I 
grieve over these matters, but truly I cannot do other- 
wise." Those who look on the long line of ruined castles 
along that part of the Neckar and Rhine, can sympathize 
with "Lise Lotta." 

Even from Louis XIV. 's own point of view, the devas- 



THE AGGRESSIONS OF LOUIS XIV 61 

Uition of the Palatinate proved a failure. He had hoped 
by this one bold stroke to crush the Germans, so that he 
might then turn and get the better of his other enemies ; 
he became involved, instead, in that long, dreary struggle 
along the whole length of the Rhine, which goes by the 
name of the "war of the spade and hoe," because of the 
insignificance of its actual engagements. The French, 
indeed, except in the first and last years of the war, were 
generally in the ascendent; they lost the towns of Bonn 
and Mainz, but won small battles at Mons, Namur, and 
Steenkirke, at Fleurus, Neervvinden, and Landen, not to 
mention Staffarda and Nice. These, however, were vic- 
tories which decided nothing, and their own land, mean- 
while, began to groan under its heavy burdens. A French 
army, too, which accompanied James II. to Ireland, was 
defeated in the great battle on the Boyne ; while the French 
fleet, in 1692, was fairly swept from the seas at Cape La 
Hogue by the English and the Dutch. 

In the imperial camp matters were in a wretched condi- 
tion, largely owing to the fact that the best officers and 
soldiers were needed in Hungary. Year after year, too, 
quarrels had arisen among the different German states 
with regard to subsidies, to the requisite contingents, and, 
above all, to the apportionment of winter quarters. 

A general sluggishness, much inefficiency, and, occa- The com- 

sionallv, glaring cases of cowardice and treason, came to mandant of 

.,,,., -, Ayr Heidelberg 

light even among those in the highest places. Max 

Emmanuel of Bavaria misappropriated Spanish funds; 
Amadeus of Savoy played a most deceitful r61e, and finally 
left the Germans and went over to the French with his 
whole army. Heddersdorf, the German commmandant of 
Heidelberg, pusillanimously allowed the French, in 1693, 
to complete the work of destruction they had begun four 
years earlier. The castle, to which the citizens had fled 



62 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



The estab- 
lishment of 
a ninth 
electorate. 



from their own flaming houses, might well have been held 
until the Margrave of Baden could come to its aid; but 
Heddersdorf, in an agony of fear, shut himself up in his 
own apartment, and took no measures whatever for defence. 
He atoned for his cowardice by the severest punishments 
that could possibly be inflicted on a soldier or a man of 
honor. The Teutonic Order, of which he was a member, 
had his cross taken off and flung in his face, and then lit- 
erally kicked him out of a door in token of expulsion. By 
order of the military authorities, he was then bound and 
thrown into a cart, and paraded before his own regiment as 
a common criminal. His sword was publicly broken, and 
he slunk into banishment, not to be heard of again until 
his death, thirty-five years later, in a nunnery at Hildes- 
heim! Such was the fate of the man to whose fault was 
attributable the completeness of that ruin, so famous for 
many generations, which has only now, within the last 
few years, been restored to its original form. 

A lasting memorial of the emperor's straits and diffi- 
culties at this time, was the establishment in the House of 
Hanover of a ninth electorate. How persistently had 
Leopold hitherto refused this favor ! He could not endure 
the thought of another Protestant vote in the body that 
had charge of the future of Jiis children. But Ernest 
Augustus of Hanover was master of a strong state and 
had, besides, warm friends at court. No one of the Ger- 
man princes beneath the rank of elector could begin to 
compete with him in the number of soldiers he could put 
in the field. He had brought it about that his own lands, 
which only a generation back had been in the hands of 
four different lines, should in the future be united; sealing 
his final compact with his brother, George William of Celle, 
by allowing his son, afterwards George I. of England, to 
" contaminate his ancestors " to the extent of marrying 



THE AGGRESSIONS OF LOUIS XIV 63 

George William's legitimatized daughter, Sophia Doro- 
thea. Of all unfortunate unions this was the worst, save 
in the- one particular of dynastic advantage. Treated from 
the first with cold, cutting contempt, detected in a plan 
to run away with the notorious Swede, Konigsmark, who 
was probably a spy of her husband's enemies, the princess 
was relegated to the castle of Ahlden, where she lived 
alone, under watch and ward, for thirty years. Ernest 
Augustus was ably seconded in his long struggle for the 
electoral dignity by his son-in-law, Frederick of Branden- 
burg; but he owed most to the skilful manner in which 
he played his own cards. He knew well how to draw 
every advantage from the emperor's critical situation ; and 
at last fairly stormed Leopold's defences by threatening 
to put himself at the head of an independent third party, 
to consist, in addition to Hanover, of Sweden, Miinster, 
and Saxony. The emperor yielded so completely that, in 
return for some eight hundred men and a general promise 
of support and friendship, he granted Ernest Augustus's 
wish in the teeth of a strong opposition, not only from the 
electoral college, but from the whole body of minor princes. 
The emperor's patent was dated 1692, but not until six- 
teen years later was Hanover formally recognized as having 
a full right to its new vote. 

As the years of the dreary war rolled on, matters began The Peace 
to wear a brighter aspect for the imperialists, and various of Ryswick 
considerations rendered Louis XIV. more inclined for 
peace. He lost Namur in 1695, and Casale in the same 
year; a plot of the Jacobins, under his auspices, to mur- 
der William of Holland and bring back the Stuarts on the 
English throne, was betrayed and failed; a severe illness 
of Carlos II. brought home the fact that the moment might 
be at hand when France would need every friend she 
could possibly make. Under these circumstances Louis 



64 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

determined to take a downward step from the pedestal on 
which he had placed himself, to abandon his Stuart pro- 
te'ge's, and acknowledge William as king of England. A 
congress, accordingly, was called to meet at Ryswick, a 
village between Delft and The Hague. The sessions 
were held in an old castle admirably adapted for the 
purpose in hand. This castle consisted of a great central 
building, which was given over to the Swedes as mediators, 
and of two wings, each with its own entrance, so that the 
Anglo-imperial and French envoys could pass in and out 
without meeting or greeting each other. Not until after 
two months had passed in indirect negotiation, and after 
the momentous question had been settled as to the order 
in which they should enter the neutral rooms, did they 
come face to face. 

Here at Ryswick, more cleverly even than at Nym- 
wegen, did Louis manage to circumvent the Germans. 
With mathematical accuracy he solved the problem of 
pacifying three opponents so as to reap every advantage 
over the fourth. Once more the Dutch were propitiated 
by favorable trading privileges; the English were won by 
the formal recognition of their king. The Spaniards, too, 
were rendered harmless by the return of Luxemburg and 
other places in the Netherlands. Louis knew well that 
no one of these powers would risk its newly acquired 
gains in order to hinder his designs on the empire. In 
fact, they all three signed their own agreements without 
waiting to see what would be done by Austria. 

The The negotiations at Ryswick had been entered into with 

Ryswick the assumption that the Peace of Nymwegen should be the 
basis of accord, that Strassburg and all the annexations 
made through the Reunion Courts should be returned to 
the empire, and that religious toleration should prevail 
in the restored lands. But France, as usual, had woven 



THE SPANISH SUCCESSION WAR 65 

around her concessions a web of saving clauses. She had 
promised Strassburg "or an equivalent," and even that 
arrangement was, after a certain date, declared to have 
lapsed. She had promised religious toleration " until the 
making of some other agreement"; but when no other 
agreement found her approval, she suddenly, with the 
treaty on the very point of being concluded, made the 
categorical demand that the Catholic religion should be 
upheld in whatever districts it had once been introduced. 
This was the famous " Ryswick clause " that settled the 
religious future of some two thousand towns and villages. 
It came like a thunderbolt out of a clear sky, but the luke- 
warm attitude of England and Holkuid, and the massing 

of 140.000 Frenchmen near the German border, made 

I 

resistance impossible. Some went so far, indeed, *as to 
say that the two Catholic sovereigns were in collusion 
on this point; yet this would seem improbable in view 
of the severit}- of the general terms imposed upon Austria. 
So humiliating were these terms that the news-leaves .of 
the day took up the old play upon words, and declared 
that this was no longer a cas.e of Nimm-weg, or "take 
away," but of Reiss-iveg, or " tear asunder. " The Peace 
of Ryswick was finally signed in 1697, but many believed 
that, at the time, it would not be permanent. It was 
pointed out that France had not dismissed her regiments, 
but, instead, was offering double pay to former mercenaries 
of the empire. Latet anguis in herba, "the snake still 
lies hidden in the grass," was the warning cry of an 
earnest patriot. 

For the present, indeed, in view of the exhausted state The 
of his finances, it was Louis XIV.'s intention to steer Spanish in- 
clear of war. He applied himself, instead, to so directing 
fhe politics of Europe that, when the long-expected crisis 
should come, his enemies would be disunited and he him- 

VOL. II F 



66 A SHORT HISTORY OP GERMANY 

self master of the situation. He was determined to have, 
if not the whole, at least a large part, of the rich inheri- 
tance of the last Spanish Hapsburg an inheritance em- 
bracing points as far distant as Cuba and the Philippines, 
and of which one could therefore truly say that on it the 
sun never set. But the difficulties in the way were very 
great. With the West Indies, for instance, England 
and Holland had developed an immense trade; should 
these islands, as well as the coasts of Spain and Italy, 
be appropriated by France, or should the exports to these 
havens, as well as the imports of precious metals and of 
the usual colonial products, be stopped, the Dutch and 
English commerce wuld be ruined. The only solutions 
of the question for these two maritime powers were the 
giving of the whole inheritance neither to Austria nor to 
France, but to some third power, or else a general divi- 
sion. This last alternative was accepted by Louis XIV., 
who saw that something must be sacrificed in order to 
prevent England and Holland, not to speak of Spain, 
from making common cause with Austria. He accord- 
ingly, after much negotiation, entered into the so-called 
first partition treaty with William of Orange. 

Austrian In order to find some thread through the intricacies of 

and French this Spanish succession question, it is necessary to hold 
in mind the Hapsburg genealogy back to the time of 
Philip II., in whose favor Charles V. had abdicated his 
Spanish, Italian, Netherland, and colonial claims. When 
Philip II. 's son, Philip III., died, in 1621, he left two 
children besides Philip IV., who died in 1665: Anna 
Maria, who became the queen of Louis XIII. of France, 
and Maria Anna, who married the Emperor Ferdinand III. 
Louis XIV. sprang from the one union, Leopold I. from 
the other. Nor was this the only tie that bound the 
French and Austrian monarchs to the Spanish house, foi 



THE SPANISH SUCCESSION WAR 67 

Louis XIV. had married the one daughter, Leopold the 
other, of Philip IV. It might be supposed that as both 
Louis XIV. 's mother and his wife were older than their 
respective sisters, their claim should have had the prefer- 
ence upon the failure of the male line; but to equalize this 
there came in formal renunciations of the throne, signed 
at the time of the French marriages, although Louis XIV. 
maintained that the dowry for which his wife had sold her 
birthright had never been paid. Philip IV., for his part, 
had always intended that his younger daughter should 
eventually inherit his crown ; he even left a provision in 
his will that on her decease her husband should be her 
heir. 

As now, with the waning century, Carlos II. drew near The 
to his end, the difficulty of settling the matter became partition 
more and more apparent. The Spanish people had wel- 
comed the candidacy of the Bavarian elector, Max Em- 
manuel, who had married Leopold's daughter; when, in 
1694, a son, Joseph Ferdinand, was born to this pair, he, 
in turn, became the hope, not only of Spain, but also of 
England and Holland. Here was a prince, neither Haps- 
burg nor Bourbon, on whom, as it seemed, all could unite. 
It was with reference to him that the first partition 
treaty was made ; he was to have Spain, the Netherlands, 
and the colonies, while France was to take Naples and 
Sicily, leaving for the emperor only Milan. But Louis 
XIV. and William of Orange had reckoned without their 
host. The dying king, Carlos, furious at having this 
disposal made of his land, mustered strength enough to 
appear in a council of state and to proclaim Joseph Fer- 
dinand heir, not of a part, but of the whole, of his domains. 
A fleet was ordered to Amsterdam to escort the seven-year- 
old boy to his new kingdom. But before either France or 
Austria could decide, under these changed circumstances, 



68 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



The death- 
bed of 
Carlos II. 



what course to pursue, the young prince sickened and 
died. It was widely believed, by his father among others, 
that he had fallen a victim to one of the famous poudres 
de succession, which Louis XIV. was supposed to have 
always on hand; but these rumors of poisoning all rest on 
too frail a basis. At any rate, his death was of great ad- 
vantage to Louis; by the second partition treaty, which 
was drawn up at his instigation, in March, 1700, and with 
regard to which Austria was not consulted, France was 
to have not only, as before, Naples and Sicily, but also 
Sardinia and the duchy of Milan. 

Agents had meanwhile been busy at Madrid, trying to 
accustom the mind of the king to the idea of deeding the 
whole of his possessions to a French prince. The Austrian 
party, on the other hand, of which the head was the Spanish 
queen, Leopold's sister-in-law, sough* to obtain a similar 
declaration in favor of Archduke Charles, the emperor's 
younger son. The death-bed of the poor monarch was 
made the scene of bitter strife and contention. The 
French party, headed by the Archbishop of Toledo and by 
Jesuit confessors, finally managed to remove the queen 
and her allies from the room, and half persuaded, half com- 
pelled Carlos, who died almost immediately after, to sign 
a will in favor of Philip of Anjou, grandson of Louis XIV. 

It remained to be seen what attitude would be assumed 
by the French king. The latest partition treaty, which 
left to Austria half of the inheritance, had been his own 
work; would he adhere to it, or would he be dazzled bv 
the prospect of the whole? In his own mind there was 
neither doubt nor hesitation: the partition treaty had been 
scarcely more than a ruse; he had been fully initiated into 
the plans of his partisans in Madrid, and was more than 
delighted by the latest turn of affairs. He declared that 
the Pyrenees had ceased to exist, and in the palace of 



THE SPANISH SUCCESSION WAR 69 

Versailles, in the presence of his whole court, proclaimed 
his grandson king of Spain. "Only remember," he said, 
in his address of congratulation, " that you are a prince of 
France." The worst fears of England and Holland, not 
to speak of Austria, were thus realized. Louis himself 
was confident that, with Spain a friend instead of an 
enemy, he could bid defiance to all Europe. 

In the beginning, indeed, the maritime powers showed The 
a dangerous apathy, out of which the Dutch were the first " Grand 
to be shaken by an attack of the French on the Belgian 
forts, for which Holland, by right of treaty, had provided 
the garrisons. Even then it cost William of Orange 
months of time and infinite pains to bring the English 
Parliament to a proper frame of mind. " The blindness 
of the people here is incredible," he wrote to Heinsius, 
the grand pensionary of Holland. His position was not 
easy, obliged as he was to humor the Tories in order to 
secure one of the chief aims of his life, the succession of 
the Protestant house of Hanover to the English throne. 
But with great skill he managed his affair, often conceal- 
ing his own ardent wishes under, a cloak of assumed cool- 
ness. In June, 1701, that final succession act was passed 
which made the Electress Sophia heiress to the throne of 
England; and, soon afterward, Parliament signed an alli- 
ance with the emperor " for the maintenance of the freedom 
of Europe, for the welfare and peace of England, and 
with the end in view of stemming the encroachments of 
France." Leopold was promised a " just and reasonable 
satisfaction concerning his pretensions to the Spanish 
succession." He was to have the Netherlands and the 
Italian possessions, while England and Holland were to 
keep whatever they should conquer in the colonies. 

Thus, in September, 1701, was formed what is known 
as the "Grand Alliance." William of Orange, its chief 



70 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

promoter, died before it was half a year old, but it proved 
the instrument that was to overthrow the French Colossus 
and reestablish the equilibrium of Europe. Twelve years, 
indeed, of* furious fighting were first to pass ; and, in the 
end, one of the very partition arrangements that had been 
discussed in the beginning was to be peacefully adopted. 
The Grand Alliance was joined, as a matter of course, 
by Hanover and also by Prussia, whose newly created 
king went far beyond his stipulated agreements with the 
emperor, being eager for the latter's good will in the 
matter of the Orange inheritance, lands which he 
claimed as heir to his mother, the Great Elector's first 
wife. One by one the other German powers came in, 
though, with characteristic tardiness, the Diet of Ratisbon 
did not declare war until the fighting had been fairly 
under way for nearly a year. , 

Renegade One striking exception was the elector of Bavaria, who, 
states. after wavering long and weighing well the advantages 

on both sides, went over to the French. This ambitious 
prince, bereft of his hopes of sovereign influence by the 
death of his son, was now deluded by Louis XIV. in 
every way. He was to have the Palatinate if he could 
conquer it, or perhaps the Netherlands; a royal and, if 
possible, the imperial crown. Lured by such prospects 
Max Emmanuel, assisted by his brother, the Archbishop 
of Cologne, made eager preparations to crush the House of 
Hapsburg. Another renegade, the Duke of Brunswick- 
Wolfenbiittel, who with French gold had raised an army 
of twelve thousand men, was surprised and fallen upon 
by his cousins of Celle and Hanover, who appropriated 
his mercenaries and made them fight on their own side. 
Even after signing the alliance, and after the Austrian 
armies had been long in the field, England was slow about 
opening hostilities, hoping still to accomplish something 



THE SPANISH SUCCESSION WAR 71 

by further negotiations. But when, on the death of The Duke 
James II., Louis XIV. ostentatiously treated James's of Marl- 
son with royal honors and addressed him as James III., 

placed in 

all the reluctance of the English people to the war sud- com mand. 
denly melted away. In the public squares of London a 
herald, to the sound of trumpets, formally summoned the 
king of France to mortal combat on the ground of "pre- 
suming to support the so-called Prince of Wales as king 
of England." Parliament granted forty thousand marines 
and an equal number of land soldiers. The chief com- 
mand was intrusted to Churchill, Duke of Marlborough, 
who, as the "handsomest man in the world," was all- 
powerful at court; while his wife, too, formerly plain 
Sarah Jennings, had gained a great influence over Queen 
Anne. Not that a better choice could at that time have 
been made ; no one had worked harder than Marlborough 
in bringing about the Grand Alliance, no one possessed a 
greater share of coolness, of daring, of all the qualities, 
in fact, that go to make up a perfect field commander. 

Meanwhile, the Austrians had been most fortunate in Prince 
finding a man of the same stamp, and one who proved 
able, eventually, to send new blood coursing through the 
flabby veins of the bodies politic and military. When the 
war was first decided upon, early in 1701, there was no 
doubt in any one's mind but that Prince Eugene of Savoy, 
the victor of Zenta, must be despatched to the scene of the 
first fighting. He, too, had spoken decisive words in favor 
of the war; and his initial march from the Tyrol to Italy 
showed the French that they had to deal with a genius of 
the very first order. One of Louis XIV. 's first cares had 
been to seize Milan, Mantua and other places in Lom- 
bardy ; and his general, Catinat, who felt assured of the 
route that Eugene intended to take, had posted his whole 
army near Monte Baldo, between the Lago di Garda and 



72 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

the right bank of the Adige. The Austrian general, in 
order to keep up the illusion, sent workmen to level the 
main road, and then, swiftly and secretly, led his army 
from Roveredo over paths that were considered so impas- 
sable that not even a picket had been stationed to guard 
them. He reached the Lombard plains without having to 
iire a shot, while Catinat, not recognizing his own numeri- 
cal superiority, remained on the defensive without daring 
to risk an engagement. The first skirmish came at Carpi, 
where the French, although their losses amounted to only 
350 men, became so disheartened that Catinat decided to 
venture upon no more actions, and wrote to Louis XIV., 
" We are compelled, sire, to await what steps the enemy 
shall decide to take." This, with an army of forty thou- 
sand, as opposed to twenty-seven thousand of the Austrians ! 
The latter were able, in sight of the French, to cross the 
river Mincio without molestation. Catinat was then de- 
prived of his command and replaced by Marshal Villeroi. 

To follow in detail Eugene's campaigns in Italy would 
lead us too far. Villeroy was defeated at Chiari and 
became an imitator of Catinat's timid policy; he was cap- 
tured at Cremona, and the French at home could only 
rejoice that they were well rid of him. He was succeeded 
by VendSme, "a wild, vicious genius in his personal 
habits, but also a genius in commanding; full of force, 
fire, and invention, and the very god of the French 
army." 1 He tried a bold attack on Eugene at Luzzara, 
but the latter held the field, although VendSme's forces 
outnumbered his own as three to one. 

But the Austrian army was greatly weakened, and re- 
enforcements were slow in coming. Eugene complained 
bitterly Jhat in four months he had received but one 
answer to his numerous despairing messages. Conclud- 

1 Erdmannsdorfer, II. 190. 






THE SPANISH SUCCESSION WAR 73 

ing that the most pressing need was a reorganization of 
the home war department, he gave his command to Guido 
Starhemberg, and hastened to Vienna, where, after months 
of labor, he revolutionized the military and financial man- 
agement, himself becoming president of the new war 
council. Starhemberg was for a while in great straits, 
and considered himself deserted, but VendQme gave him 
breathing space by turning off toward the Tyrol, for the pur- 
pose of effecting a union with Max Emmanuel of Bavaria. 

Meanwhile, on the other scenes of war, events had Bavarian 
turned out more in accordance with the usual course of victories. 
Austrian and imperial campaigns. The chief command 
on the Rhine had been intrusted to the Margrave of 
Baden, once a capable commander and one who had done 
good service against the Turks, but now grown old and 
timid, and a very drag on the wheels of Eugene's policy. 
During two years, the siege and capture of Landau, which 
was eventually retaken, was almost his only successful 
achievement. The same inactivity prevailed in the Neth- 
erlands, where Marlborough was hampered and constantly 
irritated by the senilities of the Dutch war council. In 
August, 1702, a Dutch-English fleet set out to take Cadiz, 
but contented itself with the capture of a few Spanish 
prizes. An army of mixed Prussian, imperial, and Pala- 
tine troops did, in course of time, succeed in driving the 
Archbishop of Cologne from all his domains. The greatest 
activity in these first years of the war was shown by the 
elector of Bavaria. Early in 1703 he marched on Ratisbon 
and rendered the members of the Diet virtually prisoners, 
refusing them pass and safe-conduct. Then he turned 
against the Tyrol, took Kuf stein, and made a pompous tri- 
umphal entry into Innsbruck, his head already full of plans 
for rounding off Bavaria with this splendid mountain prov- 
ince. He was preparing to cross the Brenner and join Yen- 



74 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



The battle 
of Blen- 
heim. 



dQme, in Italy, when a ferocious uprising of the Tyrolese 
peasants spoiled his plan of campaign. Driven back to Mu- 
nich, he was allowed, by the lethargic Margrave of Baden, to 
unite with the French marshal, Villars, with whose aid he 
defeated the Austrian general, Styrum, between Schwen- 
ningen and Hochstadt. Villars spoke in his report of this 
modest engagement as "the grandest victory of which 
it is possible to conceive," but soon quarrelled with Max 
Emmanuel and was replaced by Marshal Marsin. The 
latter assisted in the capture of Augsburg, which was 
forced to pay a high contribution, to throw down its walls 
and towers, and to furnish winter quarters. Maximilian 
was greeted on his entry as " Augustus, and soon to be 
Csesar "; while a medal struck in these days designated 
him already as "King of Bohemia." The days of the 
Hapsburg rule seemed numbered; early in 1704 Passau 
was taken, and threatening demonstrations were made 
before Linz. 

But a frightful Nemesis was pursuing the renegade 
Bavarian. The cause of the allies had been strength- 
ened, in 1703, by the accession of Savoy, and also of 
Portugal. The young Archduke Charles, Leopold's sec- 
ond son, was despatched to Lisbon, where he took the title 
of King Charles III., and, with Portuguese, English, and 
Dutch aid, prepared to march to Madrid and make good 
his claim to the Spanish throne. And in the meantime 
the Margrave of Baden had shown himself so supremely 
incapable in the operations before Linz, that even the old 
emperor Leopold was brought to ask him to resign the 
chief command, and appointed Eugene in his place. Last, 
but not least, Marlborough determined to quit the fields 
where he was reaping so little glory, and obtained per- 
mission to hasten to the German seat of war; he was 
hampered, indeed, by having to show consideration for 



THE SPANISH SUCCESSION WAR 75 

the Margrave of Baden, who had accepted a lower com- 
mand and who was to lead Marlborough's own army on 
alternate days. His tiresome objections to war d la Hus- 
sara drove both the English general and Prince Eugene, 
who now came up, fairly to desperation, and both were 
glad enough to give him twenty thousand men, and wish 
him Godspeed when he marched off to besiege Ingolstadt. 

The union of Eugene and Marlborough brought about 
some of the most brilliant military achievements that are 
recorded in all history. Here, in the vicinity of the 
Bavarian frontier, they won together the battle of Blen- 
heim, Hochstadt, the Germans called it, the greatest 
since the war began, and one in which clever reckoning 
and well-considered tactics played a more important part 
than in any battle since classic times. It was the begin- 
ning of a form of warfare that was brought to perfection 
by Moltke in our own day. 

In the midst of the battle Marlborough performed the 
remarkable manoeuvre of re-forming his troops under fire, 
and changing the brunt of attack from the village of Blen- 
heim, about which the French infantry was massed, to a 
point farther to the west, where he suddenly perceived 
that their cavalry was weak. The operation succeeded 
completely, the cavalry was put to flight, the infantry 
surrounded and forced to surrender. Marshal Tallard was 
taken captive, together with the cash-box, containing the 
pay for his troops ; twenty-eight thousand men were killed, 
wounded, or taken prisoner; included in the booty were 
fifty-four hundred provision wagons and thirty-four coaches 
filled with French courtesans. 

Among the results of Hochstadt were the occupation of Occupation 
the whole of Bavaria, the flight of Max Emmanuel, the * Bavaria 
arrest of his young sons, who were kept under Austrian 
tutelage for the next ten years, and, finally, the raising 



76 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

of Marlborough to the rank of a prince of the empire, with 
the little Bavarian principality of Mindelheim. A rebel- 
lion against the Austrian rule, which took place somewhat 
later, was successfully put down. In the presence of the em- 
peror, at Vienna, Bavaria's old charters were torn through 
the middle and thrown on the ground, the elector and his 
brother were put to the ban, while the arch-chancellor of 
the empire publicly proclaimed that Max Emmanuel's 
"miserable body" was at the mercy of every one to hurt 
or to harm with impunity. 

The battle of Blenheim was the only great engagement 
that took place on German soil during the whole of the 
succession war. In the period that followed, the Margrave 
of Baden was left to defend the Rhine, while Eugene 
resumed his command in Italy, and Marlborough, with 
some unwillingness, returned to Belgium. Archduke 
Charles, or, as he now called himself, King Charles III., 
succeeded in entering Madrid; but his position was preca- 
rious, and could only be maintained with the help of his 
army. 

Turin and Eugene, at first, was unfortunate in Italy, although sup- 
Ramillies. ported by his cousin, the Duke of Savoy. He lost the 
field of Cassano, and was so discouraged that he thought 
of resigning his command. But, in 1706, supplied with 
funds and reinforcements, he carried out a series of most 
brilliant movements against Duke Philip of Orleans, son 
of "Lise Lotta," and Marshal Marsin, neither of whom 
possessed the tete de fer which Vendome had declared to 
be absolutely needed in Italy. The battle of Turin, fought 
in September, 1706, was another of the giant encounters 
of this war. For a time the chances of the day swayed 
backward and forward; but at last Marsin was fatally 
wounded, and the Duke of Orleans so seriously injured 
that he had to leave the field. Within two hours the 



THE SPANISH SUCCESSION WAR 77 

French were in wild flight, and before evening Eugene 
and Victor Amadeus held a triumphal entry into the 
town of Turin. This battle determined the fate of north- 
ern Italy, and within six months the enemy had agreed 
to quit the land. 

No less brilliant had been the fortunes of Marlborough 
in Belgium, where the battle of Ramillies, fought against 
Marshal Villeroi and Max Emmanuel, saved the Nether- 
lands for Austria, and took away from the Bavarian his last 
hope of conquering a compensation for his lost electorate. 
Less successful was an expedition, undertaken in the in- 
terests of the English and at Marlborough's earnest wish, 
against the Mediterranean port of Toulon. In spite of 
the assistance of Eugene the attempt failed, and the allies 
retired to Italy with a loss of ten thousand men. 

Meanwhile the prospects were anything but bright for Joseph I. 
the emperor, Joseph I., who had succeeded his father, 
Leopold, in 1705, and who was personally one of the 
best and strongest of the Hapsburgs. Just as he lacked 
the protruding lip of his ancestors, so was his character 
free from the usual mixture of indecision and bigotry. In 
spite of the victories on distant fields, Joseph's position 
was highly precarious. Almost simultaneously with the 
Spanish Succession War there had broken out a fier.ce rebel- 
lion in Hungary ; and, in the North, the great struggle had 
begun of Denmark, Russia, and Poland against Sweden. 
From the year 1703 on, Rakoczy had been the soul of the m 
Hungarian revolt, and had been hand in glove with Louis 
XTV., who paid him enormous subsidies. A plan was on 
foot for giving the crown of St. Stephen to Max Emmanuel 
of Bavaria. 

The northern war had had the effect of withdrawing 
Augustus the Strong, the Saxon elector and Polish king, 
from the cause of the emperor. The fiery Charles XII. of 







78 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



Charles 
XII. of 
Sweden in 
Silesia. 



Sweden had proved a match for all his enemies, even, as 
yet, for Peter the Great. In 1702 he had conquered War- 
saw, and two years later had deposed Augustus the Strong 
and put Stanislaus Lescinsky on the Polish throne. In 
1706, he determined to invade Saxony and utterly humili- 
ate his old rival. So successfully did he carry out his plan 
that in the same year Augustus was forced to sign the Peace 
of Alt-Ranstadt; by which he abdicated his Polish claims, 
promised never to interfere with the Protestantism of his 
Saxon subjects, and agreed to give winter quarters to the 
Swedes, who then occupied his cities of Wittenberg and 
Leipzig. Here was a case where the emperor, had not his 
every nerve been strained to carry on the French war, was 
bound to intervene. A Swedish army in winter quarters 
on German ground, and a king who came forward Avith as 
lordly demands as though he had been Gustavus Adolphus 
in person ! In order to reach Saxony, Charles XII. had 
passed through Silesia without so much as asking leave. 
He found there that Austria had been oppressing her 
Protestant subjects, and he now insisted on a number 
of reforms. For one whole year he remained in Saxony, 
keeping Joseph on tenter-hooks, lest he, Charles, should 
hearken to the alluring voice of Louis XIV., whose mar- 
shal, Villars, sought Charles out and is said to have 
proposed a common march on Vienna. But the Duke of 
Marlborough proved of use at this juncture, not only as a 
general, but also as a diplomat. He visited Charles XII. at 
Alt-Ranstadt, and flattered him by the prospect of having 
Sweden chosen as intermediary in the peace negotiations 
that were expected shortly to take place. On his bond, 
indeed, Charles XII. insisted; and the emperor was forced, 
in the face of an ultimatum, to sign a convention by 
which he conceded to the Silesian Protestants a number of 
religious reforms, which, strangely enough, proved perma 






THE SPANISH SUCCESSION WAR 79 

nent, more so than the glory of the Swedish king, who, 
soon afterward, in the battle of Pultava (1709), received a 
severe punishment at the hands of Peter the Great. 

Joseph I. must indeed have possessed considerable Anew 
bravery not to despair utterly among the dangers and quarrel 
difficulties that beset him at every conceivable point. etv 3n , 
Louis of Baden, partly through his own failure to come ern peror. 
to any rational agreement with Marlborough, had been 
left, in 1706, with insufficient forces on the Uppej Rhine. 
He had been driven out of Alsace and across the river; 
and in the following year, while the stubborn old general 
lay dying at Rastadt, the whole Swabian circle was rav- 
aged by the French. In the meantime an entirely new 
and unexpected enemy had arisen in Italy. Once more 
the world saw the spectacle of a Pope and an emperor in 
arms against each other; once more the ban was hurled 
against the godless invaders of church lands, while, in the 
Square of St. Peter's, there floated a banner with the device, 
Domine defende causam tuam. A coolness had existed 
between Joseph and Clement, owing to the hitter's out- 
spoken French sympathies and to the emperor's claim of 
the right to fill one vacant place in each German cathe- 
dral chapter. But when, in 1707, Joseph conceived the 
idea of installing Charles III. on the throne of Naples, and 
quartered troops in the old imperial fiefs of Parma, Pia- 
cenza, Ferrara, and Commachio, matters came to a climax. 
Clement raised an army and begged for assistance from 
France ; while his adversary restored the fortifications of 
Commachio, and is said to have placed an inscription over 
one of the gates, " To Joseph the emperor, who seeks to 
regain the ancient rights over Italy." At Joseph's request, 
the king of Prussia, mindful of the Pope's refusal to 
recognize him, sent reinforcements, at the same time 
ordering his general to secure some of the larger cannon, 



80 A SHORT HISTORY OP GERMANY 

with the papal arms if possible, for the new Zeughaus 
in Berlin. There resulted the occupation of more papal 
territory; a threat of sending General Daun, at the head 
of his troops, against Rome itself; and, finally, an ulti- 
matum which brought Clement to his knees one hour 
before midnight on the day on which the term expired. 
The Pope agreed to disband his army, and to recognize 
Charles III. as king of Naples. 

As for Eugene and Marlborough, the best field for their 
united efforts now seemed to lie in Belgium. It is true 
they had formed a different plan of campaign with the 
elector of Hanover, who had taken the Margrave of Baden's 
place on the Rhine ; and so disgusted was the future king 
of England with their change of mind, that he threw down 
his command. But the two great generals, as usual, were 
in the right; the French had concentrated all their forces 
in Flanders, and were able, in 1708, to take the towns of 
Bruges arid Ghent. But the allies in the same year gained 
the victory of Oudenarde, a victory so signal that Marl- 
borough for a time could think of marching direct upon 
Paris. Other counsels prevailed, indeed, and it was de- 
termined instead to lay siege to Lille, which, since its con- 
quest by Louis XIV., in 1668, had been turned into the 
strongest fortress in northern France. In vain Vend6me 
and the Duke of Burgundy sought to bring help to the 
heroic Marshal Boufflers, who defended the town to the 
last moment, and who, even after the outer works were 
lost, retired to the citadel. From here, too, he was at last 
driven; while, at the same time, Max Emmanuel of Ba- 
varia, who had made a dash for Brussels, was forced back, 
and Belgium thus cleansed of the French. Vendome fell 
into disgrace, and the new armSe de Flandres was given to 
Villars ; while so desperate was the general situation 
the prospect of a famine in the following summer having 



THE SPANISH SUCCESSION WAR 81 

also to be faced that Louis XIV. sued for peace, and a 
conference of all the powers concerned was called together 
at the Hague. Here the proposals, not unnaturally, were 
humiliating enough for France: England demanded the 
recognition of the Hanoverian dynasty, and the razing of 
the fortress of Dunkirk ; Holland, the right to garrison a 
belt of fortresses in Belgium ; Austria, the whole of the 
Spanish inheritance; the empire was to recover its old 
boundaries, including not only Alsace with Strassburg, 
but also Metz, Toul, and Verdun. 

Almost all of these conditions Louis XIV. was willing Malplaquet. 
to accept; he agreed to renounce the Spanish inheritance 
and even to give up Strassburg, but when, in the pride of 
victory, the allies insisted that, in case Philip of Anjou 
and the people of Spain should offer opposition, he should 
assist in driving out his own grandson, his cup of wrath 
flowed over. Neither now, nor in the following year, in 
the conferences at Gertruydenberg, would he treat on such 
a basis. "The French would be no longer French," wrote 
Madame de Maintenon, " if they accepted an insult like 
this ; " while " Lise Lotta " declared that the allies had 
made " barbaric propositions." The conference was broken 
up and the war renewed. 

The bloodiest of all the battles of this long struggle, and 
the one which, in point of the numbers participating, out- 
ranks any action of the eighteenth century, -still remained 
to be fought. Louis XIV. roused himself to his last and 
most desperate effort, while the French people stood by him 
to a man, and many sold the silver from their table to fur- 
nish him with funds. At Malplaquet, fought in Septem- 
ber, 1709, ninety thousand Frenchmen, under Villars, stood 
over against one hundred thousand of the allies, com- 
manded by Eugene and Marlborough. With the latter 
were Frederick William, the crown prince of Prussia, 

VOL. II G 



82 

Schwerin the future victor of Mollwitz, and Maurice, the 
later Martchal de Saxe. 

The battle raged from early morning to late evening, 
with the final result that the allies maintained the field, 
but lost twice as many in dead and wounded as their con- 
quered opponents. The French were not so wholly to 
blame for 'ascribing the victory to themselves: it was in 
these days that in all the streets of Paris one could hear 
the mocking song, "Marlborough s'en va-t'en guerre!" 
At all events, Malplaquet practically finished the war. 
France was on the verge of bankruptcy, and, although 
numerous small engagements still took place, they were 
only the running commentary, as it were, to the long 
negotiations for peace. 

Death of That these negotiations lasted as long as they did was 

Joseph. largely the fault of Marlborough. The Whig party lived 
by war, and to it the great general was riot above catering. 
But now a new event occurred, which changed the aspect 
of affairs and acted like an explosive in sundering the 
Austrian and English interests. In the tide of Louis 
XIV.'s fortunes, and not through any victories of his 
own, there came a wonderful rise. 

In April, 1711, the young Emperor Joseph fell sick 
with the small-pox and died. The next of kin, and the one 
to whom the throne of the empire would be likely to fall, 
was none other" than that Charles III. who was struggling 
so hard for the crowns of Spain and Italy. But could Eng- 
land and Holland now, any more than in the beginning, 
submit to the union of all these territories in one hand? 
The wheel had swung round to Avhere it had stood eleven 
years before. In London, at the Hague, and in Berlin, 
there was but one thought, that a new Charles V. could 
never be tolerated; far better that France should enjoy a 
part of the Spanish inheritance. 



THE SPANISH SUCCESSION WAR 83 

Altogether, in England, a strong contrary wind was England 
blowing. For the first time in many years the Tory party deserts her 
gained the ascendency. Marlbo rough soon found that his 
influence was gone ; his enemies even dared to accuse him 
of taking a percentage from the Jews who supplied bread 
for his army, and of appropriating funds that were in- 
tended for the foreign troops. Queen Anne dismissed the 
Duchess of Marlborough from her presence, while, in the 
country at large, all the landowners clamored for peace at 
any price. Thus was England hurried into one of the most 
disgraceful acts in her history. Without a word to the 
allies, at whose side she had fought for so many years, she 
entered into private negotiations with France, and assured 
Spain to Philip of Anjou. Austria was left completely 
in the lurch; her minister, Count Gallas, was snubbed 
and boycotted in London, ostensibly on personal grounds. 
No other than Prince Eugene, whom the English had 
hitherto fairly idolized, was sent to take his place. He 
arrived only to learn that Marlborough had been driven 
from all his offices, and his command in the Netherlands 
given to the Duke of Ormond. After a stay of two 
months, Eugene was obliged to confess that for once he 
had lost a campaign. The command to the English army, 
to desist from fighting, reached it on the eve of an expected 
engagement on the river Scheldt, which the allies felt sure 
of winning. England's own soldiers all but mutinied 
when told to withdraw^ and refused the usual cheer to 
their officers as they were marched off to Dunkirk. A 
number deserted on the way. Although fifty thousand 
Germans, who had been in the English pay, scorned the 
new orders and joined Eugene, the general discourage- 
ment was so great that Villars easily gained a succession 
of small victories. 

The final arrangement between England, Holland, and 



84 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



The Peace 
of Utrecht. 



Austria 
continues 
the war. 



France was completed at Utrecht, in 1713. Portugal, 
Savoy, and Prussia joined in signing the treaty of peace. 
Philip of Anjou was acknowledged as king of Spain, but 
was forced to renounce any rights of eventual succession 
to the French throne ; while the younger Bourbons signed 
a similar agreement with regard to Spain. England her- 
self secured the invaluable Mediterranean stations of Port 
Mahon and Gibraltar; and in the New World at the cost 
of France the island of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, 
as well as Hudson's Bay Territory. Max Emmanuel of 
Bavaria and his brother were reinstated in all their rights 
and possessions, even Marlborough's little principality of 
Mindelheim being suppressed without equivalent. On 
the part of Max Emmanuel a struggle was made, in addi- 
tion, for the Spanish Netherlands ; but this neither England 
nor Holland would allow. It was much more agreeable 
to them that the Bavarian elector should have Sardinia, 
which they were willing to slice off from the share they 
had intended to allot to Austria. To Victor Amadeus 
was given Sicily; to Portugal lands on the Amazon River; 
and to Prussia, part of Guelders, with the recognition of 
her right to Neuchatel, which had belonged to the Orange 
inheritance. 

Charles VI., as the new emperor called himself, had 
sent an envoy to Utrecht, but received such treatment at 
the hands of Louis XIV. that he refused to sign the peace. 
The French king sent demands, in the form of an ultima- 
tum, which, as Charles said himself, were such as should 
only have been presented to a subjugated enemy. He was 
not to be acknowledged as emperor until he should have 
reinstated the two Wittelsbachs ; and a whole list of charges 
and damages on their account was to be paid by him. He 
was to give a pledge never to attempt to acquire more land 
in Italy than the congress at Utrecht should have assigned. 



THE SPANISH SUCCESSION WAR 85 

In spite of his complete isolation and of the general 
hopelessness of his cause, Charles determined to continue 
the war. He would rather, he said to Lord Peterborough, 
whom in his excitement he seized by the coat-button, 
he would rather risk and lose all, than have laws dictated 
to him in this fashion. The Diet of Ratisbon also was in 
favor of resistance, and thanked the emperor for refusing 
such " despicable and unworthy " proposals of peace, the 
acceptance of which would have led to inevitable slavery. 

In the campaign that followed, the French, as may be The treaties 
imagined, were uniformly successful. For the fourth time in of R as tadt 
this war, Landau underwent a siege and was captured, and 
a like fate befell Freiburg. But Louis XIV., whose life 
and strength were now ebbing away, was heartily anxious 
for peace, and was willing, eventually, to make further 
concessions than at Utrecht. It was finally agreed that 
the two commanders-in-chief, Eugene and Villars, should 
come together at Rastadt and discuss the question of pre- 
liminaries. The course of these negotiations was by no 
means smooth. For three months the two generals, who 
held their meetings in the splendid castle built by the 
Margrave of Baden, wrangled as to terms. Eugene far 
outmatched his opponent in the field of diplomacy, and at 
last, by laying down an ultimatum and ostentatiously pre- 
paring for further hostilities, gained for Austria more 
than she could have hoped. Her chief gains were the 
Netherlands and, practically, all that Spain had possessed 
in Italy, including Sardinia, which was taken away from 
Max Emmanuel. Three years later Austria exchanged 
this latter island with the House of Savoy for Sicily. 

It remained for the empire, as a whole, to make its 
peace with France. For this purpose plenipotentiaries met 
at Baden, and, with characteristic slowness, spent three 
whole months in drawing up a document which, when it 



86 A SHORT HISTORY OP GERMANY 

was finished, differed scarcely in a single word from the 
Peace of Rastadt. Altogether, the part played by the 
empire had been one of sacrifice and self-effacement. Two 
questions that were vital to her were scarcely even touched 
upon at Baden: the rectification of the western boundary, 
and the repeal of the "Ryswick clause." Germany came 
forth from the war exactly as she had gone into it, except 
that she was poorer in men and money. 

As for France, though defeated in every great battle, 
she stood there strong and aggressive as ever, having 
placed a Bourbon on the throne of Spain and compelled 
the emperor to reinstate, without punishment, his rebel 
vassals. Her various attempts, however, to cast a yoke 
upon Germany had proved a failure, and had to be 
postponed for nearly a century. 



CHAPTER III 

THE FATHER OF FREDERICK THE GREAT 

LITERATURE : In addition to the general works mentioned under Vol- 
ume II., Chapter I., see the memoirs of the Margravine of Baireuth, the 
admirable biography by Forster, Friedrich Wilhelm /., and also Koser, 
Friedrich der Grosse als Kronprim. 

WHILE the empire was being defrauded at Utrecht, Ras- The vir- 
tadt, and Baden of the just fruits of its long war with Louis tues of 

XIV., the state on which the hope of the future rested was Fredenck 
.... r . William I 

entering into a new and distinct phase of its history. Ihe 

process of training had begun that one day was to justify 
Prussia's mission as head of a regenerated Germany. Her 
army was to grow to be the first in Europe ; her financial 
administration the most economical and the least corrupt; 
her kings were to become the most absolute, but at the 
same time to interest themselves most deeply'in the affairs 
of the lowest of their subjects. 

Frederick William I., who came to the throne on the 
death of his father in 1713, is a man whose character has 
been grossly misconceived by posterity. What happened 
on three or four famous and widely exploited occasions, 
when an irritable man completely lost his temper, has been 
made to outweigh the record of a life devoted to the in- 
terests of his people, of a phenomenal energy that never 
flagged from the day of this king's accession to the day 
of his death, of a talent for administration such as few 
other crowned heads have ever possessed, of a regard for 
rectitude and for morality that transformed the whole tone 
of his surroundings. For each of those violent outbursts, 

87 



88 

which were seldom completely unjustified, for each 
time that his cane fell on the backs of his servants or of 
his very provoking children, one might chronicle a hundred 
wise measures for the comfort and welfare of his people. 
The Mar- There is a very evident reason for the misconception of 
gravine of ftiis monarch's true worth, for to no other ruler has the 



Lt ' lot fallen of having nourished in his own bosom so witty 
s spiteful and so unconscientious a biographer. From 
behind the closed doors of his own palace, from one who 
was with him day by day, from a daughter who professes 
to have loved and honored him, we have one of the most 
malicious pictures that was ever drawn of any man. 
The only excuse is that the Margravine of Baireuth could 
never have intended her memoirs to be published, if indeed 
she ever meant them to be taken seriously at all. Droysen 
has proved that the letters reproduced at length are not 
genuine, while the memoirs themselves teem with self- 
contradictions. Was the whole thing intended as a mere 
literary exercise ? Wilhelmine herself speaks of a talent 
for pitiless satirizing very much in vogue in her century ; 
she tells how she once read the comic novels of a certain 
Scarron, and with the aid of her brother applied the satires 
*' to persons at court, not sparing even the king. " I dare 
not even say what a role he played," she writes ; " we 
showed them to the queen, who was vastly amused." 
Again she relates how frightened she was at losing some 
letters that spoke of the king in " pretty strong language," 
how deeply she regrets her disrespectfulness and her evil 
tongue ; and she ends up with what gives us the keynote 
to the whole mystery: "I did it," she says, "more to show my 
cleverness and my good ideas than because I had a bad heart." 
The Frederick William of Wilhelmine's pages is a be- 
ing who carouses until four o'clock in the morning ; who 
starves his children, and even expectorates into their food 



THE FATHER OF FREDERICK THE GREAT 89 

to make it the more unpleasant ; who tries to strangle his Wilhel- 
son with the curtain rope, and knocks his daughter sense- mine ' s 
less by striking her " three tremendous blows in the face." f 
Yet even if all this were true, it seems almost pardonable an( j O f 
in view of the pictures the margravine unconsciously herself, 
draws of herself and of the queen her mother. At the age 
of ten Wilhelmine knows all the worst court scandal, and is 
told by the queen to be rude to "three-quarters of Berlin." 
The two women, later, manage to write in lemon juice 
which can only be read when held to the fire nearly fifteen 
hundred letters to the young crown prince ; in a moment 
of danger they purloin the casket in which these are con- 
tained, forge a whole series of new letters, and counterfeit 
the seal. Their own correspondence is carried on by notes 
concealed in cheeses. Both constantly simulate illness, and 
Wilhelmine holds balls of hot lead under the coverlet to 
make it appear she has a fever. Spies and villains, plots 
and intrigues, swoons and violence, hidings behind screens 
and in cupboards, meet us at every turn. 

The real Frederick William was a rugged genius with The real 
strongly marked peculiarities and with a determination to *""* 
carry absolutism to its logical conclusion. He intended, 
he once declared, to establish Prussian sovereignty on ^ 
" rock of bronze " ; and he considered himself accountable 
for his actions to God alone. " I have no money," was his 
usual answer to towns that petitioned for unnecessary 
improvements ; and he once wrote to an official, " Salvation 
belongs to the Lord, and everything else is my affair." 
Strangely enough, he was unaware that his temper was 
violent. " God knows I am entirely too tranquil," he once 
declared ; " if I were more choleric, I think things would go 
better." In addition to his children and his servants, his 
cane fell upon negligent soldiers and upon those of his 
subjects whom he discovered in idleness or wrong-doing. 



90 



A SHOKT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



More serious punishments he inflicted, too, which were out 
of proportion to the nature of the offence. He was eco- 
nomical to a degree that was often branded as penury, knew 
how to drive a hard bargain, and often insisted on his 
bond when common humanity would seem to have called 
for leniency. His manners were rough, his vein of humor 
coarse, his sense of the beautiful decidedly limited. Yet 
often we find an underlying principle of good in his acts of 
harshness and severity; far better err on the wrong side 
than fall into the spendthrift laxness of a Charles VI. or 
an Augustus the Strong. Frederick William's personality 
is constantly cropping out through the driest of his state 
papers ; his marginal notes to the daily reports of his min- 
isters mount up into the thousands and are a running 
commentary on his character. They show an industry, an 
attention to detail that is fairly phenomenal. 

Quidquid vult vehementer vult, writes a Saxon envoy of 
Frederick William, atid this quality of impetuosity he showed 
from the very first moment of his accession. His fixed idea 
which had come to him, doubtless, in the camp at Mal- 
plaquet where he had sharply resented the imputation that 
without foreign subsidies his father could not maintain a 
respectable army was the necessity of making Prussia into 
a strong military power. For this, money was required; 
and the first step in the way of procuring it was economy. 
The old king had not been dead for half an hour when the 
young heir, whose pink and white complexion and friendly 
blue eyes had given no reason to expect such a sternness 
of character, called for the household accounts and drew 
a line through the whole list of court lackeys and pages. 
They appeared for the last time at the gorgeous funeral 
which was the final concession of a good son to the weak- 
ness of his father ; they formed part in a rich tableau that 
represented the end of a whole era in Prussian history. 






THE FATHER OF FREDERICK THE GREAT 91 

They then vanished into thin air, as did Frederick William's 
own great French wig and long mourning garments. The 
court poet, the upper master of heraldry, the twenty-five 
trumpeters, went the same way ; while the jewels that had 
ornamented the late king's pall, and the countless trinkets 
and gewgaws that he had collected, were sold to pay his 
outstanding debts and to support new regiments. The 
household was reorganized on the simplest possible basis : 
three pages at ten thalers a month on which they had to 
board themselves ; thirty riding horses instead of one 
thousand. The table was to be simple but good ; and over 
against Wilhelmine's calumnies in this regard, we must 
place the explicit orders, preserved in the archives, that 
the queen and her children were to have private dishes 
" according to their gusto." We know of the crown 
prince, on good authority, that he loved les petits plats et 
les Jiauts gotits. Queen Sophie Dorothea was given a 
yearly allowance of eighty thousand thalers for living ex- 
penses and for the clothing of herself and ten children ; 
while from the former privy purse, which was turned over 
to the general state-fund, the king reserved for himself but 
fifty-two thousand thalers. This beginning of a reform 
with his own person was characteristic of him throughout 
his reign ; he held his officials to exact punctuality under 
penalty of heavy fines, but he himself was busy hearing 
reports at five o'clock in the morning. The excise duties 
were very onerous; but goods purchased for the royal 
household were not exempted, and the king's wagons were 
searched at the gates like those of any commoner. By 
medical advice, it was customary to bleed the whole army at 
least once a year ; when the time came round, Frederick 
William sat out on his porch within view of his soldiers 
and was the first to bare his arm. 

The reforms begun in the royal household were carried 



92 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

Centraliza- out through the whole length and breadth of the land , 

tion of the although the task was Herculean because of the many 

s ra ~ forces that were pulling: in different directions. The more 

tlOD. 

recently acquired provinces had never been brought into a 
firm relationship with the Mark Brandenburg : under the 
lax rule of Frederick I., Cleves, Magdeburg, Halberstadt, 
Prussian Pomerania, and East Prussia had retained their 
old faulty local administration, and the proud, narrow- 
minded nobility still exercised considerable influence. 
The cities enjoyed a large measure of autonomy, the chief 
magisterial positions remaining, by tacit consent, in the 
hands of a few influential families. The reforms of the 
great elector, indeed, had not been entirely without 
result : the people knew the value and need of a standing 
army, and had come to see that certain public burdens 
must of necessity be borne. But the control had been 
insufficient ; the competency of the numerous bureaus, ex- 
chequers, and governing boards had not been clearly fixed 
there was no economy of forces, no discipline, no routine. 
What was most needed was a caste or class of trained 
officials, and to procure this, the king's service had to be 
made more honorable and more desirable, but at the same 
time more rigid. The first years of Frederick William's 
reign mark an era in all of these matters. The young 
monarch's leading thought was so to centralize and sys- 
tematize all things that he himself, as from a coin of van- 
tage, could at any time cast his eye over the whole field. 
He believed that a king, who " wished to rule with honneur 
in the world," must do everything himself, for " rulers are 
put there for the purpose of working." And he fully lived 
up to his creed. " No one who has not seen it can believe," 
writes Seckendorf, the Austrian envoy, "that one single 
man, be he ever so intelligent, could do so much and settle 
so many matters in the progress of a day." 



THE FATHER OF FREDERICK THE GREAT 93 

* 

In the course of a few months, the army was reorganized Frederick 
on a new basis and with seven new regiments ; old feudal Wllliam ' s 
military services, which could no longer be literally per- 
formed, were commuted for a fixed yearly sum of money 
which went to the paying of recruits ; a revision of the 
whole legal system was ordered. The king said in his edict, 
" one month is already gone, in eleven more the Landrecht 
(or code) must be ready for the whole land " a command 
which it proved impossible to strictly carry out. The civil 
administration was simplified by cashiering several of the 
many boards. The question of taxation was next taken in 
hand, and it was found that, particularly in East Prussia, 
fraud and concealment had long been rampant many 
of the nobles paying but the sixth part of what was really 
due on their lands. A whole new assessment for the prov- 
ince had to be made ; and on such sound and thorough prin- 
ciples was this done, that the same schedule was adopted 
fifty years later for the new acquisitions of Silesia and 
West Prussia. It met all the same, at the time, with fierce 
opposition ; and the king's own official sent a protest to the 
effect that the whole country would be ruined. '" The 
whole country ruined ! " ran the marginal note to the 
report in a hideous mixture of languages. " I don't believe 
a word of it, but I do believe that, as to the squires, their 
authority and their liberum veto will be ruined ! " l 

Not the least important of the reforms was the require- 
ment of a budget, or previous estimate, for all public out- 
lays in all parts of the kingdom. Not a penny was to be 
spent for which the king had not given his express consent ; 
and he remorselessly cut down all demands by about one- 
third. He wrote on the edge of a ministerial report, which 

1 Tout le pays sera mine ? Nibil kredo, aber das kredo, dass die 
Junkers ihre Autoritat Nie pos volain (Polish) winl ruinirt werden. Ich 
stabilire die Souverainete wie einen Roclier von Bronce. F. W. 



94 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

asked for three hundred and fifteen thalers to repair a 
toll-house in Frankfort, "Is it a castle? Twenty-four 
thalers ! " To the governing board in the new Mark, which 
had petitioned for a building in Ciistrin to hold the public 
documents, he sent word, " There is room enough in the 
castle for all the archives of London, Paris, and Berlin." 
The " In- In spite, however, of all that was done in the first ten 
struction" years of this reign, these were but the period of gestation 
for the great measure that was passed in the first days of 
the year 1723. The " Instruction for the General Upper 
Finance, War and Domain Directory " was the crown of 
all Frederick William's administrative endeavors, the 
crunching of the heel on all the "Schlendrian" or laxness 
of former days. It was a codification of life principles, 
such as only a St. Benedict, a Calvin, or an Ignatius Loyola 
had hitherto accomplished ; and it continued to be used as 
a rule for Prussian officialdom until the end of all things in 
1806. It was Frederick William's own most private work : 
he went into seclusion in his hunting-box, at Schonebeck, 
until he had thought it all out, then called in one of his 
privy councillors to put it in shape, and prepared to im- 
pose it on his unwary ministers. When his " thunder-bolt," 
as he called it, at last fell, he requested his friend and 
general, Prince Leopold of Dessau, to write him " what 
kind of faces the gentlemen made and whether they were 
confus or calm." 

This splendid monument of absolutism bears the effigy 
of its founder in every one of its lines. The monarch 
himself is the apex of everything, " We are lord and king, 
and can do what we will." All the same, " We wish that 
any odium, however undeserved, should fall not on us, 
who are chary of the love and devotion of our subjects and 
the friendship of our neighbors, but on the General Upper 
Finance, War and Domain Directory, or on one or other of 



THE FATHER OF FREDERICK THE GREAT 95 

the members of the same, unless it shall prove possible to 
make the public change its bad opinion." 

Under the king, is the new central governing board con- The new 
sisting of five ministers each of which is head of a depart- g vernin g 
ment and of a number of councillors and secretaries. 
Under this board, again, are the local and provincial boards 
and exchequers. This new General Directory replaces the 
old war commissariat as well as the former Finance Direc- 
tory, with both of which Frederick William by this time 
was completely out of conceit : " for one board is always 
trying to abstract from the other some of its special rights 
and revenues in order to make a parade before us and to 
cause us to think that our revenues are being increased by 
so much, when in reality we have lost just as much on the 
other side." And further on : " The war-exchequer belongs 
to no one else but the king in Prussia ; item the domain- 
exchequer. We hope that we are he and that we have no 
need either of a guardian or of an assistant."" The new 
directory is to avoid everything that has to do with Wind 
und blaue Dunst with "wind and blue vapor" ; in modern 
parlance, with the " green table " or with " red tape." The 
old disputes, that took up so much time under the former 
boards, are to cease forever, and the new members are to 
live together in harmony. If they keep their minds and 
faculties on the king's service, they "will all have their 
hands full and will not need to campaign with lawsuits 
against each other. But the poor lawyers, poor devils, 
will be as inutil as the fifth wheel on the cart!" 

The system of control inaugurated by the " Instruction " The system 
was one of the most elaborate ever invented, even when of control, 
compared with that of the Jesuits. Its weakness was, 
that it stood or fell with the character and predilections 
of the head of the state. It worked well under Frederick 
William I. who was determined, as he said, that all oppor- 






96 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

tunity should be taken away from " imdutif ul rogues " ot 
" blowing into one horn " to deceive him. The members 
of the General Directory were to assemble daily, in sum- 
mer at seven, in winter at eight o'clock in the morning. 
A minister or councillor who should be an hour late was 
to pay a fine of a hundred ducats ; for an unexcused absence 
of a whole day, six months of his salary. On the occasion 
of a second offence he was to be cashiered : " for that is what 
we pay them for, to work. " Every evening a protocol of the 
day's proceedings was to be drawn up and submitted to the 
king, and every week reports were to be laid before him 
from all the provinces. Personal questions might be asked 
on doubtful points, provided they were couched in few 
words and "nerveus" or sinewy. The ministers, who are 
warned " not to be sleepy, as it were, and not to act as 
if they had no inquietude," were to be held responsible, not 
so much for what had been reported to them by the pro- 
vincial officials as for the actual facts of the case. They 
were to know the minutissima of what went on in all parts 
of the kingdom, and in order to obtain this knowledge they 
were not only to send commissioners to supervise the work 
of the officials, but also to employ a large number of spies 
among all classes of the population, and, if need be, to send 
secret agents from Berlin. The provincial reports were to 
be carefully audited, not only by the minister whose depart- 
ment might happen to be concerned, but also in pleno ; and 
a sharp lookout was to be kept in order to ascertain " if 
human intrigues and passions have not something to do 
with the case." Should there be a stoppage in any source 
of revenue, and the cause be not discernible as "plainly 
as the sun in the heavens," a member of the Directory was 
to repair at once in person to the spot. 

The provincial officials themselves were to be most care- 
fully chosen from thoroughly trained men with "open 



THE FATHER OF FREDERICK THE GREAT 97 

heads," and they were to know their districts " even as we The re- 
pretend that a captain of our army knows his company and 
the inward and outward qualities of each soldier that be- 
longs to it." Every attempt at peculation was to be mer- 
cilessly struck down, death being the penalty even for 
comparatively small thefts. Frederick William knew well 
what was the cancerous evil of his day ; it has been carefully 
reckoned that in Austria in 1700, out of revenues amount- 
ing to fourteen million guldens only four million ever found 
their way to their proper destination. As a particular safe- 
guard, the " Instruction " provides that officials are not to 
serve in the town or province in which they were brought 
up ; this will give them fewer " inducements to fraud and 
deceit," and remove them from the baneful influence of 
their " G-evatterschaften and Connoissancen" their gossips 
and acquaintances. This king is rigidly determined that 
a summary end shall be put to alle Sudeleien, to all dirty 
and underhanded work. All irregular expenses too, and 
all sudden calls on the treasury, are to be stopped : " We 
are as tired of them as though they had been shovelled 
with spoons into our mouth." To cover these fluc-flac 
items, a sum of two hundred and fifty thousand thalers 
is set aside, and the Directory has to see that it does not 
spend a Pfennig more. The strictest possible thorough- 
ness and punctuality is to be observed in making up the 
budgets, which are infallibly to be ready by a certain day : 
" The gentlemen will say it is not possible, but they shall 
put their heads down to it, and we herewith command them 
emphatically, that they shall make it possible sonder 
Raisoniren" without any attempt at argument at all. 

No monarch since Charlemagne had personally worked Efforts to 

>ut as did Frederick William, not merely the broad out- increase the 

, 1,1 n L revenue, 

lines of a great administrative system, but also the smallest 

details, such as the way to find a market for the butter of 



98 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



Intro- 
duction of 
colonists. 



East Prussia ; how the beer of twenty-seven other towns, 
which are mentioned by name, might be made as good as 
that of Potsdam ; how foreign weavers might be brought 
to Prussia by the bait of a loom, a wife, and an advance 
of raw material. Many of the articles of this very lengthy 
document are filled with a careful explanation of how in- 
vestments, which show an apparent profit, may turn out to 
be no real improvement keine Besserung, Ergo Wind. 

In two great departments, the exploitation of the crown 
lands and the training and equipment of the army, Fred- 
erick William outdid all the other European monarchs of 
his day. The so-called royal domains consisting of origi- 
nal grants, of lapsed fiefs, of purchases, secularized benefices, 
and heritages of all kinds amounted in all to nearly one- 
third of the territory of the Prussian state. The revenues 
from them were equal to those from all other sources com- 
bined, but, like private estates, they needed care and atten- 
tion. In the forests the wood must be carefully cut and 
not squandered, the fields were to be kept well fertilized, 
the meadows drained and protected by dikes. When 
Frederick William took them in hand, he found them 
heavily mortgaged, and occupied by a poor class of tenants ; 
during his whole reign he devoted himself to making them 
flourishing and profitable. And so well did he succeed 
that he raised the yearly income from them by two million 
thalers. The system that he adopted of farming them out 
in large districts, or (imter, is the one that is in vogue at 
the present day. 

And not only did he pay off the debts and burdens, but 
he settled the waste places with thrifty colonists at an 
enormous outlay, which returned to him later, in the form 
of taxes and excise duties, not to speak of stalwart men for 
his army. Such wholesale damage had war and pestilence 
done, especially in East Prussia where the plague of 1709- 



THE FATHER OF FREDERICK THE GREAT 99 

1710 destroyed between a third and a half of the entire 
population that the colonization had to be conducted on 
a very extensive scale. Before the end of his reign this 
thrifty monarch was able to look down proudly on thou- 
sands of colonists, the great majority of whom had come 
to Prussia under special contract with the government. 
The sums expended in the venture are calculated to have 
averaged six hundred thalers for each family ; while in East 
Prussia alone six millions were spent in draining and other 
improvements. For a monarch whose chit of a daughter 
has dubbed him parsimonious, this was a pretty fair show- 
ing. On the occasion of his first journey through these 
rescued provinces, Frederick the Great wrote to Voltaire 
that there was something grand and poetical in the thought 
of it; and again, "Just as the all-shadowing oak springs 
from the power in the acorn, so does all my later good for- 
tune proceed from the toilsome life and the wise measures 
of Frederick William." 

Of all single transactions in the way of colonization, none Persecution 
was more famous at the time, and none has left pleasanter of the 
memories, l than that by which nearly the whole of a per- 
secuted community, driven from the archbishopric of Salz- 
burg, was received into East Prussia and allowed to found 
six new towns and many villages. For two centuries, half 
overlooked and half silently tolerated, the Protestant Salz- 
burgers had lived in peace with their Catholic rulers and 
neighbors ; but in Archbishop Firmian, who was raised to 
the see in 1727, the church found a defender of the stern 
old mediaeval type. The Jesuits were called in to reclaim 
the lost sheep ; they decided that all the orthodox should 
know each other by the greeting, "Praised be Jesus 
Christ," a formula in favor with Pope Benedict XIII., who 

1 Goethe's Hermann und Dorothea deals with this episode. 



100 



A SHORT HISTORY OP GERMANY 



had promised absolution of sins to all who should answer 
" Forever and ever, Amen." Against those who would not 
be converted the strongest measures were employed, and 
banishment and imprisonment became the order of the day. 
Some of the exiles repaired to Ratisbon to complain to the 
Diet of the breach of the Peace of Westphalia ; but that 
cumbrous body, as usual, was slow to act. Better fortune 
attended two who appeared in Berlin. They refuted, by 
submitting to be catechized, the calumny that they were 
heretics, and managed to arouse general sympathy and in- 
terest. When, in 1731, a comprehensive edict of banish- 
ment was issued by the ferocious archbishop, and soldiers 
proceeded to drive out the nonconformists in crowds, 
Frederick William stepped forward as their protector, sent 
commissioners with money to pay the journey of as many 
as would come to him, and intimidated the archbishop 
with threats of reprisal. From the moment, he declared, 
that the exiles accepted his offer, they were to be treated as 
his subjects ; and he even obtained for them several million 
thalers in compensation for their lands and houses. 

The journey of the fugitives was soon transformed into 
a triumphal progress. The burghers of the towns near which 
they passed came out in crowds to meet them, bearing food 
and presents of every kind ; men and women high in rank 
delighted to serve them with their own hands. The king 
received them in person at Potsdam ; the queen invited 
hundreds at a time to her little toy castle of Monbijou. 
The royal painter, Pesne, was ordered to make a portrait 
of one of the maidens; while an antiquary avers that the 
Berlin fashions were suddenly influenced to a remarkable 
degree, little pointed Salzburg hats and other character- 
istic objects coming into high favor. 

It was not unnatural that, after being so feted on the 
way, many found it difficult to come down to the hard 



THE FATHER OF FREDERICK THE GREAT 101 

realities of East Prussian life, especially as they arrived 
there at the beginning of a hard northern winter. In the 
next few years were heard much murmuring and bitter 
complaints to the effect that things were not as they had 
been represented. After a time, however, the friction sub- 
sided, and the Salzburgers showed in many ways that they 
were not only good citizens, but even more intelligent than 
the great majority of their neighbors. 

In entering upon the closer consideration of Frederick The 
William's military reforms, we come to the field in which, cantonal 

taken all in all, he felt himself the most at home, and in 8ys 

recruiting 

which, ill the end, he was able to show the most tangible t he army. 

results. Despite his untiring industry in other regards, it 

is easy to see that his heart was all the while with his 

army : here he was not only king, but a soldier to the core. 

From 1725 on, he never appeared in public, save in his blue 

uniform. He was determined that the soldiery should no 

longer be looked down upon as they had been since the days of 

the Thirty Years' War : if he showed them unwarranted favor 

as opposed to civilians, it must be remembered that he had 

a needful mission to perform, the reconciling for all time 

of the military and the national ideal. The soldiers were 

to be made to feel that the country they were defending 

was their own ; the citizens, that there was no higher duty 

than that which the soldier was performing. 

It is true, during the first half of Frederick William's 
reign, two-thirds of the army consisted of foreigners ; there 
were times when nearly a thousand recruiting officers were 
busy beyond the boundaries, engaging men for high pay 
and, as often as not, kidnapping those who would not 
come of their own accord. But time showed the impera- 
tive need of a new system. The expense was enormous, the 
violence of the press-gangs led to reprisals and to inter- 
national complications ; while, in spite of the heavy punish- 



102 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



ments, the number of desertions was ruinous. In 1733, 
accordingly, the king passed a measure which has been well 
termed the first step on the way to general compulsory 
military service. The whole land was divided into districts 
called cantons, each one containing some five thousand 
hearths or families ; each regiment had its own canton 
from which to draw its recruits, keeping a roll of the young 
men from whom it was to choose. It was a levelling process 
of very great importance, and some of the nobles opposed it 
bitterly ; for their serfs, instead of remaining blindly obedient 
to them, had now other interests and other ideals: It is true 
there was a liberal system of furloughs, but the men who 
came back, wearing the king's collar and the king's cockade, 
were a different class of beings from the sons of the soil 
who had marched out. It was Frederick William's out- 
spoken aim to make things more comfortable for them in 
their regiment than they were at home ; they were taught 
to read and write, and were well fed, clothed, and lodged. 

An important levelling process in the opposite direction, 
yet one that worked equally astounding results, was the 
forcing of the sons of nobles to accept military commands ; 
they had held aloof hitherto from a service which promised 
little honor or emolument. In his usual radical manner, 
Frederick William changed all this, dismissing officers of 
low birth or mean sentiments, and gradually filling their 
places from the best elements of the population. A cry of 
indignation went through the land when it was found that 
he had sent his police and under-officers to gather in the 
sons of the old country families for his Cadetten-Anstalt, or 
training-school at Berlin. Many of the parents in their de- 
spair tried to prove that they were not noble at all. But the 
king remained firm, and continued on his Avay. We have a 
letter that he sent to the nobles in East Prussia, telling them 
that their sons were being brought up on Christian principles 



THE FATHER OF FREDERICK THE GREAT 103 

and instructed in all the necessary branches, not excepting 
fencing and dancing : " Twenty -four of them at a time are 
taught to ride free of charge ; besides, they are lodged in 
clean rooms and have good healthy food and drink." 

It was the last step in the subjugation of the old stubborn 
estates ; they were not only rendered docile and harmless, 
but they gained a new occupation, and became of the 
greatest service to their country. Accustomed to com- 
mand at home, they easily fell into the habit of command- 
ing in the field their 'separate interests vanished, and 
they have remained to this day the strongest pillars of the 
Prussian throne. 

Apart from his efforts toward strengthening the broader Frederick 
framework of his army, Frederick William devoted himself William's 
to the minor details with unswerving perseverance. His ,,. 
right-hand man was Prince Leopold, the " old Dessauer," 
who taught him much in the way of tactics and evolutions. 
He it was who introduced the custom of marching in step, 
the fixed bayonet, the iron ramrod, the quick fire. His 
regiment at Halle and the king's at Potsdam were the 
models for the whole land. Frederick William drilled his 
grenadiers in person, and allowed not the smallest irregu- 
larity, not even a tarnished button, to escape his notice. 
The men were drawn up on parade in such a way that he 
could pass in and out among them and bring down his cane 
on the shoulders of any unfortunate delinquent. Yet his 
" dear blue children," as he called them, were the apple of 
his eye ; he was willing for their sake to make any kind of 
sacrifice, even to turn a deaf ear to manifest cases of in- 
justice and lawbreaking. His chief pride was to have the 
men of the largest possible size ; and every court in Europe 
knew that the way to gain his heart was to send him lange 
Kerle. We have the letter in which Count Seckendorf 
writes that the Prussian officers are not open to money 



104 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



Frederick 
William's 
first war. 



bribes, but that he must have more big men than the em- 
peror has seen fit to send him. It was Frederick William's 
one folly, his one decided extravagance ; he is known to 
have paid as high as seven thousand thalers for one fine 
specimen. He went so far as to try by forced marriages to 
influence the next generation ; tall men and women were 
sent to the altar, by command, who had never seen each 
other the day before. How he loved these giants ! He 
talked to them personally and listened patiently to their 
complaints and desires ; to many of 'them he gave houses and 
fixed incomes. It was believed that Me could never refuse 
a single one of their requests, and he was obliged, at last, to 
make it a law that outsiders should not employ them as 
mediums in handing in petitions. He was a little ashamed 
of the sums they cost him, for on his death-bed he took the 
trouble to destroy the records of his different purchases. 

Viewed in the light of his administrative reforms, the 
military and political events of Frederick William's reign 
seem few and unimportant. Once at the beginning of that 
reign, and once at the end, Prussian troops saw active ser- 
vice ; the period between, for all Europe, was a time of 
negotiations that led to nothing, of unfruitful congresses, 
of treaties and leagues made only to be broken. The king's 
first war, the only one in which he personally played an 
active part, lasted but a few weeks, and scarcely rose above 
the level of an execution on mortgaged property. The 
breakers of the great northern struggle, which Charles XII. 
of Sweden was waging against Peter the Great, had dashed 
over into Swedish Pomerania, and, in 1713, Stettin had 
fallen into Russian hands. By the treaty of Schwedt in the 
same year, Frederick William induced the victors, in return 
for the costs of the siege some four hundred thousand 
thalers to withdraw, and to leave Stettin, with the adja- 
cent territory, in his hands. The rightful owner, Charles 



THE FATHER OP FREDERICK THE GREAT 105 

XII., had been an exile in Turkey since the disastrous battle 
of Pultava, live years before. He returned now, after a wild 
and adventurous journey, and ordered the Prussian king to 
vacate the premises, but the latter, as a prime condition, 
demanded the repayment of the money advanced to Russia. 
Refusing to treat on this basis, and perhaps divining the 
eagerness with which Frederick William looked forward to 
annexing his territory, the impetuous Swede threw him- 
self into a struggle with an army of Russians, Danes, and 
Prussians, three times the size of his own. Frederick 
William himself appeared in camp; and assisted in the 
siege of Stralsund; while Prince Leopold of Dessau com- 
manded a force of twenty thousand men which landed on 
the island of Rugen. With a loss of four thousand in 
killed and wounded, the Swedes were defeated, and Charles 
fled for his life. By the final peace, which was not con- 
cluded until 1720, Prussia became the richer by the 
coveted Stettin, which controlled the mouth of the Oder, 
and by that part of Pomerania south of the river Pesne. 
The rest was restored to Sweden, which was forced, how- 
ever,- to cede to Hanover the bishoprics of Verden and 
Bremen. Frederick William had played a r61e which, as 
he confessed himself, was " not fit for an honest man," but 
it doubtless salved his conscience that he was obliged by 
the other powers to pay to Sweden an indemnity of two 
million thalers. 

It is not too much to say, that for the remainder of his The claim 
reign, the leading thought of Frederick William's foreign to Ber S- 
policy was to secure for Prussia the reversion of the 
Rhenish duchy of Berg a part of that ancient Cleves 
inheritance which had caused so many pangs in the pre- 
ceding century. By the last settlement, made in 1666, the 
house of Pfalz-Neuburg, which had since inherited the 
whole palatine electorate, was to hold Julier and Berg 



106 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

until the extinction of its male line. That contingency 
was now in prospect ; but the house of Pfalz-Sulzbach, to 
whom the rest of the inheritance would naturally fall, was 
not minded to let slip this fairest part of it. It proved in 
the end a phantom that Frederick William was chasing ; 
the last of the Pfalz-Neuburgers outlived himself, and his 
son and successor renounced this modest prospect in favor 
of larger game. But it influenced Frederick William's 
attitude at many an important crisis, and the failure of 
his plans and prospects embittered his last days. 
Charles VI. During the same period of time, the house of Austria was 
and the chasing a similar phantom, in its desire to secure the recog- 

ragmatic n jt| on o f a j] Europe for its so-called Pragmatic Sanction. 
Sanction. 

The difference is that the pursuit of his dream only acted 

on Frederick William as an incentive to strengthen and 
unify his state, whereas Charles VI. neglected everything 
save the one matter in hand. With a heavy heart this 
prince had left Spain on the death of his brother Joseph, in 
1711. He loved the stiff Spanish ceremonial, he delighted 
in being knelt to and treated like a demigod, and he is said 
once to have remarked that when he died the word " -Bar- 
celona" would be found engraved upon his heart. He 
had fondly hoped that he might be allowed to keep both 
the Spanish and the imperial crown, but that delusion had 
been destroyed by the peace of Utrecht. On the whole, he 
had not proved a bad emperor; but he possessed the tradi- 
tional faults of his race, was weak and vacillating and 
afraid to speak his mind, conferring even with his own 
ministers by letter and not by word of mouth. He squan- 
dered his resources right and left, and never looked at his 
household accounts, which, after his death, were found to 
be full of imaginary items : twelve buckets of the best 
wine for the empress's bath ; two casks of old Tokay for 
her Majesty's parrots, and more of the kind. 



THE FATHER OF FREDERICK THE GREAT 107 

Given such an unpractical character, it is easy to under- 
stand how Charles could waste his life in seeking to gain 
written guarantees for his pet project, instead, as Prince 
Eugene advised him, of seeking the best of all guarantees 
in a strong and efficient army and a well-filled treasury. 
His aim was on the whole a just one, to prevent the sub- 
division of his lands at his death and to have them pass in 
their integrity, in default of male heirs, to his eldest living 
daughter. This was the sum and substance of the Prag- 
matic Sanction, first drawn up in 1713, but not made public 
until 1720, when his only son had died and there seemed 
no prospect of another male heir. Had he been contented 
with gaining the acquiescence of his own dependencies, of 
Bohemia, Moravia and Silesia ; of the Tyrol, Croatia, and 
Transylvania; of Hungary, and the former Spanish Nether- 
lands, one could only have looked on the Sanction as a 
great gain for Austria ; for, in the years that followed, all 
these different states fully accustomed themselves to the idea 
of having Maria Theresa as their future ruler. But when 
Charles began to beg at the door of every government in 
Europe, when he made and broke treaties, sacrificed com- 
mercial interests, and engaged in war as a mere act of 
servility, then his policy became suicidal. 

With Frederick William, Charles VI.'s relations went Suspicions 
through extraordinary phases. One can imagine the king's a S aini 
feelings when, in 1718, a secret political agent by the name 
of Clement laid before him what appeared to be conclusive 
proofs of a dastardly plot, on the part of Austria and 
Saxony, to fall upon him in Wusterhausen and carry him 
off to Vienna. The crown prince, too, the future Fred- 
erick the Great, was to be seized and brought up as a 
Roman Catholic ; while the royal treasure in Berlin was to 
be laid hold of and carried away. The whole conspiracy 
was a fiction of Clement's, who hoped to extort money for 



108 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

his revelations ; but the manuscripts were so well forged 
that Frederick William was completely duped. Even after 
Clement had confessed his share in the matter, the poor 
king could not be convinced of its entire groundlessness. 
Prince Eugene had been mentioned as one of the conspir- 
ators ; to sound him, Frederick William sent a special 
envoy to Vienna. " I am head of the imperial arniy, not 
a chief of bandits," was the great leader's exclamation on 
perceiving the drift of the envoy's words ; though the future 
was to show that Eugene could condescend to leave his 
pedestal. Clement was sentenced and hung; but with 
Frederick William the wound remained behind. He veered 
round to Austria's enemies, concluded the treaty of Her- 
renhausen with England; and, even after he had returned 
to his allegiance and signed the treaties of Wusterhausen 
and Berlin, great efforts were needed to keep him in the 
toils and to ward off the English influences. 

Grumbkow Now began a game of deceit and intrigue which lasted 
and f or several j^ears, and which finds no parallel in history. 

31 ' Were it not for the evidence of his own letters one would 
never believe that a man like Eugene of Savoy, who man- 
aged this affair in Vienna, could have lowered himself to 
such depths. Count Seckendorf, whom Frederick William 
had known and liked since the days of Malplaquet, was 
sent to Berlin as a sort of perpetual envoy, and was given 
funds with which to bribe the king's councillors and 
attendants. He kept strict account of his outlays and laid 
each item before Eugene : a yearly pension to Grumbkow, 
whose voice had more weight than any other at the Prussian 
court ; the same to the minister resident in London, and to 
the Saxon envoy at Berlin. The sums descend to mere 
pourboires to the servants, and later even Wilhelmine and 
the crown prince were supplied with pocket-money. Seck- 
endorf was a man of consummate ability, and, save where 



THE FATHER OF FREDERICK THE GBEAT 109 

his main object was concerned, neither bad nor cruel. He 
became a constant member of Frederick William's famous 
tobacco parliament, where, to an accompaniment of drink- 
ing and rude practical joking, affairs of great seriousness 
were often discussed and decided. Grumbkow was another 
member, not utterly a villain either; but his soul belonged 
to Seckendorf. The two watched their prey with feline 
eagerness. He has not much time, Seckendorf writes to 
Eugene, to attend to other matters, "for one is obliged to 
be in the king's company from ten in the morning till 
eleven or twelve at night, in order not to lose the chances 
of insinuating into his mind what is right and proper." 
Every now and then he enlarges his sphere of bribery ; he 
writes to the Chancellor Sinzendorf that his next batch of 
supplies must include "some big useless giants or other 
baggage of the kind . . . since from Moscow, England, 
France, Denmark, and Sweden the king's good will has 
been secured in this way." A medal must be sent to the 
learned Gundling, who, though nothing but a court fool, is 
always with the king and is apt " to instil false principles." 

It must not be supposed that Seckendorf spent his time Sophie 
in fighting mere phantoms of his imagination ; he had a Dorothea, 
constant and determined enemy in the queen, " My face," 
he writes, " is so hateful to her that she will hardly answer 
me at table," and a cause and aim, in preventing the plan 
of an alliance by marriage with England, which would 
have given Prussia a natural place among the enemies of 
Austria. Sophie Dorothea was a strong-minded, domineer- 
ing woman, greatly embittered at not being allowed to 
make the display and to play the rdle in the world for which 
her early training at the Hanoverian court had so well 
prepared her. The foreign ambassadors at Berlin call her 
" Olympia," in their reports, because of her high and mighty 
bearing. She is responsible, in the last resort, for much of 






110 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

the misery in the royal household, setting herself like a 
wall of iron against some of her husband's projects, and, 
worst of all, estranging from him the hearts of his children. 
Well might her great son later set down his foot and de- 
clare, that with his politics women should have absolutely 
nothing to do. 

The double- The great double-marriage project, by which Wilhelmine 
was to become Princess of Wales, and the English Amalia 
Crown Princess of Prussia, was first seriously considered in 
1725, at the time of the treaty of Herrenhausen. Through 
evil and through good days the queen could never let it out 
of her mind, and there were times when even Frederick 
William looked upon it with favor. But George the First 
he had mildly disliked, and George the Second he utterly 
despised. Points of difference would come up, occasionally, 
which would render the mere thought of a union absolutely 
abhorrent : a dispute over the will of the unfortunate cap- 
tive of Ahlden, who was the mother of Sophie Dorothea 
as well as of George II., and who died in 1726 ; a quarrel as 
to the Prussian-Hanoverian boundaries ; a refusal to allow 
Hanover to be a happy hunting-ground for Prussian re- 
cruiting officers. Things had come once to the very verge 
of war, and once to a challenge for a personal duel. After 
this great outburst in 1729, the atmosphere suddenly cleared, 
and a message of the queen to London led to the sending 
of a special envoy, Sir Charles Hotham, with conciliatory 
proposals and with power to arrange the two contracts of 
marriage the two, but on no account either one singly. 
Frederick William was ready enough to have Wilhelmine 
marry the Prince of Wales, but Hotham's proposition that 
Frederick should wed Amalia, and be made stadtholder of 
Hanover, filled him with alarm ; he feared the luxury and 
the laxness of the Hanoverian court, and mistrusted with 
good cause the steadfastness of the crown prince. And 



THE FATHER OF FREDERICK THE GREAT 111 

Grumbkow and Seckendorf had been working on him to 
good effect, moving heaven and earth against the English 
party. England wished to make a cat's-paw of him, they 
said; and of all things on earth that was what Frederick 
William most dreaded. At last, after weeks of deliberation, 
he answered Hotham that he considered himself honored 
by the prospect of Wilhelmine's marriage, but that Frederick 
was too young ; in ten years he should like above all things 
to have him wed an English princess. 

So far the relations with Hotham had been all that could The insult 
be desired ; although nothing was decided, and it was not to Hotham. 
likely that England would accept these last 'proposals, the 
door was still open for further negotiations. But, in the 
moment of taking leave, Hotham produced an intercepted 
letter of Grumbkow's tending to prove that the latter was 
an Austrian spy. Then Frederick William boiled over with 
rage, threw the letter on the ground with a forcible ex- 
pletive, and declared that he had had enough of such 
interference. Out of the personal discourtesy, for which 
the king tried to atone by inviting him to dinner, Hotham 
made a great affair of state and departed abruptly from 
Berlin. Conciliatory conduct on Frederick William's part 
might still have bridged matters ; it was not as though the 
letter he had so scorned had been a communication from 
the English court.' But just at this time a long-ripening 
tragedy in his own household, in which England played 
* a part, came to its climax, and cast a never-to-be-lifted 
shadow on the whole double-marriage project. 

Frederick William's relations to his eldest son form an The an- 
important chapter in Prussian history ; it is not too much 
to say that to the harsh discipline of his youth Frederick 
owed much of his later greatness. He learned reticence 
and self-command, he was forced to apply himself diligently 
to tasks which he at first despised ; but above all, he learned 



112 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



Iniquities 
of the 
crown 
prince. 



to admire and to follow a system which originally seemed 
to him wrong. His directions for the education of his suc- 
cessor are not so different from those given by his own 
father; many a curb at which he himself had chafed, which 
he even at the time had declared intolerable, was retained 
in all its force. 

It is a mistake to attribute Frederick William's harshness 
to a mere unreasoning personal antipathy or, on the other 
hand, purely to a contempt for the finer sides of life which 
the young prince loved to cultivate. What wounded and 
terrified the king was the thought of the shipwreck his own 
life-work seemed destined to endure, so soon as Frederick 
should come to the throne. We, who know now the true 
stuff of which the latter was made, are too apt to look upon 
him in his youth as a misunderstood genius, whose way was 
beset by unnecessary obstacles ; as a matter of fact, he was 
like a wild stallion, with everything depending on the man- 
ner in which he should be tamed and broken. Without the 
frightful experience at the window of the Kiistrin fortress, 
it. is doubtful if we should ever have had the desperate 
fortitude before a world in ruins at the end of the Seven 
Years' War. 

On the whole, it seems not unlikely that the un- 
reasoning antipathy had begun on the side of the son. 
Frederick William had at first fairly sued for the love of 
this boy ; and we still have the instructions providing that , 
in his childish delinquencies the latter should always be 
threatened with the wrath of his mother, never of his 
father. In all the king's plans for the improvement of the 
state, the thought of " Fritz " was paramount ; his son at 
his death must find whole vaults of gold in the treasury, 
he once said. There were times when, for hours snatched 
from his toilsome days, he devoted himself personally 1<> 
the child's education ; his threefold aim was to make him 
a good manager, a good soldier, and a good Christian. 



THE FATHER OF FREDERICK THE GREAT 113 

But the pupil proved singularly refractory. Was it that 
the blood of the Georges was struggling for the mastery? 
or was it that the carping jealousy of the mother instilled 
a contempt for all of the father's ideals ? Sophie Dorothea 
made no secret of her dislike for her husband's Spartan 
surroundings, and it was not in her nature to dissimulate 
before her children. 

Frederick began to seek flighty companions of both 
sexes, to commit acts of vandalism, to make debts, and to 
spend his money upon fripperies. Strange as it may seem, 
the future great commander showed a detestation for 
things military, and indeed, for vigorous pursuits in gen- 
eral. When his father took him hunting, he would hide 
behind a tree and bury himself in a book. His greatest 
delight was to put on gay clothes, to play the flute, and 
to write satirical French verses. He once spoke of his 
soldier's uniform as a shroud, and Frederick William retali- 
ated by burning one of his gaudy dressing-gowns. But 
what most angered the father was a want of frankness, a 
tendency to conceal the true extent even of a half-dis- 
covered offence. Once by a public show of affection he 
fairly delighted the king. " That is good," the latter said, 
as he stroked the lad's hand, " only be an upright fellow, 
only be upright." Yet soon he had cause to think that 
during the whole scene Frederick had been playing him a 
comedy, and all the harshness of hia nature rose in revolt. 

One further point must be taken into consideration Severity to 
before joining in the unqualified condemnation to which th f crown 
Frederick William has too often been subjected in this p 
matter. There was a certain purpose and policy even in 
the king's acts of most outrageous violence. " I have done 
everything in the world," he said, in one of the most affect- 
ing moments of their common lives, " by good means and 
by bad, to make you an honest man." 

VOL. II I 



114 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

Yet with all that can be said on the other side, enough re- 
mains in the prince's favor to insure him, for all time, a 
goodly meed of the world's sympathy. The father's tongue 
was a stinging lash ; there were times when even the most 
harmless incidents were interpreted to the disfavor of the 
" evil wight " ; there were terrible moments, such as the one 
on the parade ground at Potsdam, where the boy was buffeted 
and caned and forced to walk off with soiled garments and 
dishevelled hair before the eyes of the common soldiers. 
The same scene was reenacted in the camp at Miihlberg 
during the splendid festivities at which the pair were the 
guests of the king of Poland; and from that time on, the 
plan of flight was never absent from Frederick's mind. 
Who can blame him for not weighing carefully the conse- 
quences of such a move, for choosing ways and means that 
bordered on high treason, and even for involving others in 
a ruin that in calmer moments he would have seen to be 
inevitable ? Desertion and abetting desertion were crimes 
which the codes of all Europe in the eighteenth century 
punished with death, and when had Frederick William 
been known to show mercy in such a case ? 

The at- Immeasurably, beyond a doubt, did the crown prince 

tempt at aggravate his offence by his dealings with England. In 
flight. t h e f ace O f hj s father's refusal to hear any more of the 

double marriage, he had written to London, with his 
mother's connivance, to protest that, so long as he lived, 
he would take no other wife than the Princess Amalia ; he 
had sought to gain a promise from the envoy in Berlin 
that England would grant him an asylum should he flee 
from his father's court, and had negotiated for the pay- 
ment of his debts by George II., placing the sum many 
thousand thalers too high, that he might have funds for his 
undertaking. 

" In your blind obstinacy you thought to escape me," 



THE FATHER OP FREDERICK THE GREAT 115 

Frederick William said, long after the catastrophe, to his 
son ; " but listen, my good fellow, if you were to live to be 
sixty or seventy, you would not get the better of me. 
Sis data, up to date, I have held my own against every 
one ! " Suspecting Frederick's intention, he surrounded 
him with watchful guardians, bound, under peril of their 
lives, to cut off the first attempt at flight. The golden op- 
portunity seemed to have come when, on a journey through 
the empire, but a few hours' ride intervened between the 
camp near Mannheim and the French frontier; but in the 
faint glimmering of that August dawn in which Frederick 
awaited the page, Keith, with his horses Lieutenant Catte, 
in Berlin, having agreed to meet him in the Hague, with 
his papers and other valuables, he came face to face with 
Colonel Rochow, his warden-in-chief. The latter would 
not have betrayed him, but Keith, in an agony of repent- 
ance, confessed all to the king. Rochow was ordered to 
bring the prince, living or dead, within the limits of Prus- 
sian territory. Frederick was slow in realizing the future 
that awaited him ; to the commissioners sent to examine 
him he kept saying mockingly, " Is there anything else you 
would like to know ? " Only gradually, too, did Frederick 
William come to see the true bearing of the case. "I 
thought you were in Paris," was his caustic remark at the 
first sight of the would-be fugitive ; but each new tidings 
filled him with greater alarm. The dealings with England 
seemed to him particularly heinous because of the conse- 
quences that would have been involved had Frederick's 
request for asylum been granted. " I should have invaded 
Hanover," he said later, "and burnt and devastated every- 
thing, even though it had cost me my life, my land, 
and my people." 

That Frederick William ever thought seriously of put- 
ting his son to death is not likely ; yet the queen feared 






116 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



In fear of 
the death 
sentence. 



The execu- 
tion of 
Catte. 



the worst, and bent her pride to the extent of entreating 
her old enemy, Seckendorf, to obtain from the emperor a 
letter of intercession. And Frederick himself could scarcely 
be persuaded that a clergyman who visited him in his 
prison at Kiistrin, was not there for the purpose of prepar- 
ing him for his last hour. At the best, he could hardly 
have hoped, now, ever to succeed to the throne ; he had been 
repeatedly interrogated as to whether, from a sense of his 
own unworthiness, he would not resign his claims. 

As for the king, it must be said that there was nothing 
in his conduct, at this juncture, of blind rage or vindictive- 
ness. He himself suffered intensely, and at night walked 
the floor in sleepless wretchedness, wrestling with the prob- 
lem of how to make his son ein honnete homme. He felt 
that the mocking spirit, of which Frederick was even yet 
possessed, must be subdued at any cost, and a sense borne 
in upon him of the earnestness of life. The boy needed, 
Frederick William wrote a little later to Leopold of Dessau, 
to have a taste of real danger, to perform reconnoitring duty 
where war was going on, to work in trenches or on re- 
doubts : " Should he do this with a good grace and remain 
steadfast, I would pardon him fully," he said. 

As a present means of discipline, the king contrived an 
ordeal, compared to which any conceivable danger in the 
field must have seemed a welcome alternative. The cases 
of all persons directly concerned in the plan of flight had 
been submitted to a court-martial of higher officers. They 
had pronounced the heir to the throne beyond their juris- 
diction, but had sentenced Lieutenant Catte to life-long 
imprisonment. This verdict Frederick William changed, 
with full right as chief justice of his land, to death on the 
scaffold. To Catte he sent expressions of regret, but de- 
clared it better that he should die, than that justice should 
perish in the land. Then came the day when the young 



THE FATHER OF FREDERICK THE GREAT 117 

Frederick was informed that in two hours his friend must 
be beheaded before his own eyes. " What awful news is 
this you bring ? " he cried ; " Lord Jesus, rather take my 
own life ! ' But no one listened to his prayers, and soon 
the gloomy procession turned the angle of the fortress wall. 
The escort drew up in a circle with Catte in their midst, 
and Frederick had only time to rush to the window and 
throw a despairing cry for pardon to his unfortunate accom- 
plice. The latter, full of love and devotion to his prince, 
answered that he had nothing to forgive ; later a writing of 
his was brought to Frederick in which the latter was urged 
to give his heart to God and not to bear malice against the 
king. As the blow fell, the prince lost consciousness, then 
stood for hours with his eyes glued to Catte's corpse, which 
Frederick William, as an aggravation of the punishment, 
had ordered to be left where it fell, from eight in the morn- 
ing until two o'clock in the afternoon. 1 

It speaks well for the penetration of Frederick William The disci- 
that not only did his rough experiment do Frederick no P hne at 
harm, but that it really seemed to strengthen and steady his 
character. The same may be said, in a still higher degree, 
of the year of probation that the prince was obliged to 
pass through in order to regain his father's favor. " The 
school of misfortune," he once himself declared, "makes 
one circumspect, discreet, and sympathetic. One carefully 
weighs the possible consequences of each smallest step." 
Three days after Catte's execution, Frederick was given 
the freedom of the fortress and town of Kiistrin ; tmt was 
not to be saluted by the guards, nor even by the officers 
of the garrison. He was to work daily in the War and 
Domain office as Auscultator or assistant clerk, the king 
commanding that " on a lower level there should be placed 

lu Cruel as the grinding of human hearts under millstones," writes 
Carlyle of this episode, " but was it only that ? " 






118 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

for him a little table and a chair, and on the 'table ink, pen, 
and paper." Here, month after month, the prince worked 
not only faithfully but cheerfully ; learning the lesson of 
governing in all its smallest details, and often luring a 
smile from the friendly judges and councillors by the wit 
that would flash out from his legal reports. He bore no 
malice to any one, and, strange to say, Grumbkow, whose 
machinations against the English marriage had largely 
contributed to his misfortunes, became, to all outward 
appearances, his warmest friend. The king persistently 
refused to see him, or to grant him the right to wear his 
uniform. " Had I done what he has," Frederick William 
wrote to Wolden, the young man's special mentor and 
guardian, " I should be filled with a deadly shame, and 
never allow myself to be seen at all." 

Therestora- But at last Wolden received a message to say that the 
tion to king was coming to see the culprit. " So soon as I look 
him in the eyes," he declared, " I shall know whether or 
not he has really improved." On the day of the visit 
we have Grumbkow's protocol of all that took place 
Frederick was called to strict account for every one of his 
past sins ; but his eyes told the tale that his father wished 
to read. Frederick William began to relent, and the 
interview at last grew extremely affecting. The king 
ended up with a declaration of forgiveness, and Frederick, 
dissolved in tears, knelt and kissed his feet. Then, as 
Frederick William was about to enter his carriage, he turned, 
and embraced his son before the eyes of an eager throng. 
"I never believed before," said Frederick, when he was 
gone, " that my father cherished for me the least spark of 
affection." A few weeks later came another affecting scene 
in the ball room of the Berlin castle, where the king, who 
had arranged that the crown prince's coming should be a 
complete surprise, led him by the hand through the crowded 



THE FATHER OF FREDERICK THE GREAT 119 

hall straight to the queen, " See, madam, here is our Fritz 
again ! " Soon afterward, on petition of all the generals 
who were present in Berlin, he was reinstated in the army, 
and promised the command of a regiment in Ruppin. 

Even now it was only by walking the narrowest of paths 
that he could keep his father's favor. He often fretted 
and chafed, and once, on the occasion of the king's illness, 
wrote ugly words to his sister to the effect that " the Turk " 
had no intention of dying. But he had learned to bow to 
a will that was stronger than his own, and he thought no 
more of open insubordination, not even when a question 
arose which concerned nobody so much as himself, affecting 
as it did his whole future. The crown prince's dealings 
with England had put a final end, in Frederick William's 
mind at least, to the double-marriage project. " In all my 
days, neither single nor double," he declared ; " I will not 
have their princesses in my house, nor will I give them one 
of mine, even under the best of conditions." The outcry 
over Catte's judgment and execution had widened the 
breach. " Had I a hundred thousand such Cattes I would 
behead them all together," was the message he sent to the 
English people through his ambassador. He meant, he said, 
to souteniren himself as Herr despotique, and the English 
were to know that he would suffer no co-regent at his side. 

The men who had most reason to rejoice at this attitude The forced 
were Seckendorf and Grumbkow. Fully in possession of marriage, 
the ear of the king, they now arranged a marriage between 
Frederick and the Princess Elizabeth Christine of Bruns- 
wick-Bevern, a niece of the empress. Grumbkow, for 
his services in the matter, received a present of forty 
thousand guldens, in addition to his yearly stipend, from 
the Austrian court : " for if ever any one in the world de- 
serves favors, it is this man," wrote Seckendorf to Vienna. 
It mattered little that Elizabeth Christine was person- 



120 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

ally distasteful to Frederick ; he felt indeed that any 
marriage would be a relief from the strict discipline and 
supervision under which his father still kept him ; but he 
declared from the first that there never could be any sym- 
pathy between this woman and himself. "I pity the poor 
thing," he wrote to Grumbkow, "for now there will be one 
more unhappy princess in the world." His letters grew 
more and more desperate. "My God, is not one such case 
enough ? " he cries, referring to the unfortunate marriage of 
his younger sister with the Margrave of Ansbach. And 
again, " I would rather marry the commonest piece of 
female baggage in all Berlin than this praying nun, with a 
face like a half-a-dozen flies all rolled into one." Finally, 
" I will keep my word, I will marry her ; but then, enough : 
Bonjour, Madame, et bon chemin ! " 

The futility Nor was there to be spared to the young bridegroom the 
of the saddest and bitterest of all considerations the needless- 

ness of the whole sacrifice. The marriage had been brought 
about chiefly for the sake of Austria ; Frederick William's 
policy for years had been that of absolute trust in the em- 
peror. " He will have to spurn me from him with his feet." 
he once said ; " I am his unto death, faithful to the last drop 
of blood." But that spurning process had already begun. 
England's guarantee of his Pragmatic Sanction had al- 
ways seemed. to Charles VI. one of the most necessary to 
obtain. After years of enmity, he had achieved his wish, in 
1731, at the sacrifice of his Ostende Company, Austria's 
one great commercial enterprise, which interfered with the 
English trade in the East Indies. Surely complaisance to 
a new ally never went further than when now, just before 
the wedding with the Prussian crown prince, Seckendorf 
was instructed to break the match he had so carefully 
arranged and to bring about that old, so often mooted 
union between Frederick and the English Princess Amalia. 



THE FATHER OF FREDERICK THE GREAT 121 

He received his instructions and acquitted himself of his 
mission only twenty-four hours before the ceremony was 
to be performed, and after the guests had already arrived. 
Frederick William was unnaturally calm; he thought 
Seckendorf must be dreaming, he said, and refused utterly 
to besmirch his honor and his parole by countermanding 
the festivities. So Frederick went to the altar to no one's 
benefit; while Frederick William was hurried along from 
one bitter experience with Austria to another. 

More and more it became evident that Charles had no Austria's 
intention of keeping the agreement with regard to the treachery, 
duchy of Berg, which he had made in 1728. We know 
now, that he was bound by contrary promises to the other 
party, the house of Pfalz-Sulzbach. He began, soon after 
the entente with England, to declare that the town of Diis- 
seldorf must be excepted in any case; and finally tried to 
force Frederick William to accept the intervention of a 
congress of nations. This proved in the end a foolish policy, 
which freed Prussia from the trammels of the Berlin treaty. 
Frederick William was deeply pained, too, by the manner 
in which the emperor treated his offers of aid in the war 
that broke out with France, in 1735, with regard to the 
Polish succession. Louis XV. fought for his son-in-law, 
Stanislaus Lescinsky; Austria and Russia for Augustus 
III. of Saxony, who finally won the day. But the cam- 
paign on the Rhine, though led by the old Prince Eugene 
with the young Frederick in his camp, was a series of 
wretched blunders. Frederick William would gladly have 
sent fifty thousand men; but Austria feared that he would 
seize Berg, and required him to send no more than his 
bare contingent. The emperor made light in every way 
of the value' of Prussia's aid. A common indignation 
against Austria seems to have broken down the last barri- 
ers that remained between the father and son. Frederick 



122 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

William was repeatedly heard to remark, " There stands 
one who will avenge me!" Once he poured out in writing 
his wrath at the emperor's ingratitude and ended up with, 
"The reflections which must result from what I tell you may 
give you an opportunity to be on your guard in the future;" 
while Frederick himself, as far back as 1737, prophesied, in a 
letter to Grumbkow, that pride in Austria was going before 
a fall: "Should the emperor die to-day or to-morrow, what 
Father changes will not the world experience!" "The king treats 
and son. me now as j always wished he would," writes Frederick in 
1739. It was in these days that his eyes were opened as to 
the magnificent results achieved by his father in the work of 
reclaiming East Prussia. One painful scene still took place 
when, a few weeks before his death, the old king was holding 
his tobacco parliament, and, on the entry of the crown prince, 
every one in the room rose and saluted him. It had always 
been a principle that no ceremony of the kind should be 
observed. Full of bitterness of heart, the old invalid caused 
his chair to be wheeled into another room, and sent back 
the command, that those who had " worshipped the rising 
sun " might disperse to their homes. 

In his last days Frederick William summoned strength 
to review for Frederick's benefit his whole foreign policy, 
and to warn him against Austria's invariable efforts to hold 
down Prussia. He had again grown very loving, very 
tender. Once, in the presence of the crown prince, he turned 
to a number of officials and cried out, " Has not God shown 
me too much favor in giving me so strong and worthy a 
son ? " and again, locking him in a warm embrace, his voice 
choked with sobs, " My God, I die happy in leaving so 
worthy a son and successor ! " The Nemesis of the past had 
been propitiated, and, in the account which Frederick wrote 
of his father's life, there is not a word of blame save in the 
one point, that he had forced him into an unhappy marriage. 



CHAPTER IV 

THE WARS OF FREDERICK THE GREAT 

LITERATURE : Schaefer, Der siebenjahrige Krieg, is still the great 
authority for the Seven Years' War. Longman, in the Epoch Series, is 
simply a condensation of Schaefer. Tuttle, Frederick the Great, extends 
only to 1757. Koser, Konig Friedricli der Grosse, is also incomplete, 
but excellent as far as it goes. Koser is the greatest living authority on 
Frederick. 

WHEN first confronted with the prospect of his father's Frederick's 
death, young Frederick of Prussia complained bitterly firm ^^P 

that he was being thrust out into the midst of storm, that c 

of govern- 

a relentless fate was forcing him to mount Fortuna's car, men t. 
that the peaceful, pleasant, and industrious days he had 
latterly been enjoying at Rheinsberg, his small palace near 
Ruppin, were at an end forever. Not that he meant to 
make any radical change in the system of administration ; 
with the old king's methods he had of late become com- 
pletely reconciled, with his economy, his attention to de- 
tail, his diligent care for the army. But events were to 
assume a quicker tempo, the instruments at hand were 
to find their use, the millions lying idle in the vaults 
of the treasury were to be put into circulation, the ninety 
thousand soldiers were to show of what deeds and what 
exertions they were capable. In his very first address to 
his officers, Frederick told them that their regiments were 
expected to be useful as well as ornamental ; immediately 
after his father's funeral he dismissed the tall, showy gren- 
adiers, and formed new regiments of better and less costly 
material. To the surprise and disappointment of many he 

123 






124 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



proved as stern, decisive, and absolute as ever Frederick 
William had been ; haughtily reprimanded the Prince of 
Anhalt, the " old Dessauer," who spoke of " exercising 
authority"; and sent General Schulenburg, who had come 
to Berlin to congratulate him on his accession, flying 
back to his regiment with instructions not to leave it 
again without permission. Yet Schulenburg, if any one, 
deserved well of his new master, for he had been president 
of that court-martial which had, eight years before, firmly 
declared the case of a crown prince to be beyond its 
jurisdiction. 

In the matter of a dispute with the Bishop of Liege con- 
cerning the little Prussian principality of Heristal, a part 
of the Orange inheritance, Frederick in these days called 
for the advice of his ministers ; but, angry at their pacific in- 
junctions, and at their evident awe of the Emperor Charles 
VI., who was ready to take the bishop's part, he wrote on 
the edge of their formal report : " When the ministers talk 
politics they are clever men, but their ideas on war are like 
the opinions of an Iroquois on the subject of astronomy." 
By marching three battalions of grenadiers and a squadron 
of dragoons into the bishop's territory he brought the latter 
to terms ; while Charles VI., struck by the young king's 
perfectly fearless attitude, thought best to suppress a de- 
hortatorium, or formal admonition, that was already under 
way. Podewils, Frederick's minister of foreign affairs, 
declared to Charles's envoy, that his master considered 
himself fully on an equality with his Imperial Majesty, who, 
he would have him understand, was only primus inter pares. 

A few weeks later, while Frederick himself was lying 
sick of a fever, a messenger brought the news of Charles's 
sudden death. The very same day Frederick wrote to 
Voltaire : " The time has come for an entire change in the 
old political system, the stone has again broken loose which 



THE WARS OF FREDERICK THE GREAT 125 

once descended on the four-metalled image of Nebuchad- 
nezzar and destroyed it utterly. ... I have cast off my 
fever [with the aid of quinine, which had hitherto been 
considered too dangerous a remedy], for I shall need to put 
my body to every conceivable use." Yet, as Frederick 
said himself two days later, there was no reason why a 
bagatelle like the death of the emperor should greatly 
excite him ; " It is only a matter of carrying out plans 
which I have long had in my head." 

Almost immediately, the army was commanded to hold 
itself in readiness ; by November 15, Frederick was able to 
write from Rheinsberg to his minister, that he had given 
his Berlin regiments a false order of march in order to 
throw the "tattlers " off the scent, and that Podewils must 
keep his eyes open. "If heaven is not absolutely against 
us, we have the finest game in the world. ... I think of 
striking my blow on the 8th of December, and thus inaugu- 
rating the boldest, most rapid, and grandest undertaking 
in which a prince of my house has ever been engaged." 

To the last moment Frederick kept his plans secret. The 
First at Rheinsberg, then at Berlin, he filled the palace descent on 
with guests, for whom he arranged comedies and balls. The 
very evening before his departure for the army, was filled 
till far into the night with a double entertainment a mas- 
querade and a supper. The next morning at nine he 
mounted his coach and drove off to Frankfort-on-the-Oder, 
and three days later wrote to Podewils : " I have crossed 
the Rubicon with banners waving and to the sound of 
trumpets ; my troops show the best of wills, the officers 
are full of ambition, and the commanders thirst for fame. 
. . . Either I die or I reap honor from this enterprise." 
To Jordan he wrote : " Be my Cicero and show the justice 
of my cause. I will be thy Csesar and carry the matter 
through." 



126 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



No act in history has been more variously judged than 
the sudden descent of the Prussian king on the Austrian 
province of Silesia; apologists and accusers at once sprang 
up, and the dispute thus inaugurated never has been, and 
never can be, entirely laid at rest. Undoubtedly, it was 
barbarous practice to thus invade a friendly country with- 
out so much as a declaration of war, unchivalrous conduct 
for a strong king to throw down the gauntlet to a young 
queen struggling, in the midst of bereavement, to maintain 
her endangered inheritance ; and all this out of motives in 
which, as Frederick confessed himself, ambition and the 
"desire to make a name " played a conspicuous part. On 
the other hand, Frederick had long known that the death 
of the last male Austrian Hapsburg would be the inevi- 
table signal for just such a struggle as had followed on 
the extinction of the Spanish line. In spite of the Prag- 
matic Sanction, the succession of a woman was likely to 
be disputed by no less than four rulers : by the kings of 
Spain, Sardinia, and Poland, and the elector of Bavaria. 
Frederick's own house had claims against the greater part 
of Silesia, which had been hoarded up for three genera- 
tions against this very day; the old Chancellor von Lude- 
wig, in Halle, had for forty years been collecting proofs 
on the Prussian side, while, before him, Ilgen, minister 
to the Great Elector, had warned his master to be on the 
lookout for a favorable opportunity. A plan for the con- 
quest of Silesia had been drawn up at that time ; it was 
once shown to Frederick William I., who declared that it 
was worth to him a hundred thousand thalers; its exist- 
ence was well known to the young Frederick. 

There is no need here to recapitulate the grounds upon 
which Prussia based her claims; even Austria had, to 
some extent, acknowledged their justice by agreeing, 
before the Great Elector's death, to give up Schwiebus in 



THE WARS OF FREDERICK THE GREAT 127 

return for a safe title to Brieg, Liegnitz, Wohlau, and 
Jagerndorf. It is true the emperor had stipulated in 
secret, with the then electoral prince, that Schwiebus 
should be returned to him without equivalent so soon as 
the old elector died; but Frederick I., when later fulfill- 
ing this condition, laid stress on the advantage taken 
of his youth and inexperience, and expressly refused to 
ratify that former renunciation of his father to the larger 
duchies. Frederick II. maintained that by the retro- 
cession of Schwiebus those older claims had regained 
their former force and vigor. 

Apart from the justice of the claims themselves, it is 
urged that Frederick should first have tried the path of 
peaceful negotiation ; but here Austria reaped the harvest 
of her own previous perfidy. When had negotiations with 
her ever led to tangible results ? when had her means been 
anything but false and underhanded ? Frederick was 
willing enough to negotiate, but he wished to do so from 
a coign of vantage, and for that reason he threw his armies 
into Silesia. More than this, the result proved that he 
was stronger than his antagonist; but who at the time 
could have foreseen this? Austria was three or four 
times the size of Prussia, among her troops were veterans 
of two wars, and she had numerous allies ; nor was Maria 
Theresa personally so helpless and alone as many have 
supposed. Her strength of character brought her to the 
fore and made her a redoubtable enemy for Frederick; but 
the latter could not know that her husband, Francis of 
Lorraine, would prove so complete a nonentity. It was 
with him that all Frederick's thoughts were at first busy, 
with him that negotiations were carried on. The tragedy 
of Maria's situation lay not in the fact that she was a 
beautiful young woman thrown entirely on her own re- 
sources, but in the circumstances that her country had been 



128 



A SHORT HISTOKY OF GERMANY 



Pleasure 
of the 
Silesians 
in being 
conquered. 



Entry into 
Breslau. 



wretchedly mismanaged, that of the list of soldiers on 
paper not half were fit to take the field, that luxury and 
extravagance had emptied the treasury, that rottenness 
and corruption ruled in all the public offices. A state that 
has thus sown to the wind is sure to reap the whirlwind. 

Frederick's task was rendered immeasurably easier 
from the fact that the Silesians, groaning under bad 
government and religious persecution, showed very little 
aversion to being conquered. With the exception of the 
three fortresses of Brieg, Glogau, and Neisse, in which 
the regular Austrian troops took refuge, the whole land 
submitted without a blow. When the Austrian minister, 
Bartenstein, confessed that "an excessive zeal in religious 
matters had made the number of malcontents very large," 
he was stating the case far too mildly. The Treaty of Alt- 
Ranstadt, by which Charles XII. of Sweden had wrested 
a promise of toleration for the Protestants from the Em- 
peror Charles VI., had been robbed of all its value by the 
intrigues of Jesuit confessors. Under the head of "apos- 
tates " were included many whose only sin consisted in 
having Protestant relatives. Frederick, at his coming, 
found the prisons full of those who were suffering for 
their faith ; and one of his first and most popular acts was 
to send to Berlin for a batch of preachers. 

With the citizens of Breslau, the capital of Silesia, 
Frederick treated as with an independent power, securing 
their neutrality and promising not to burden them with a 
Prussian garrison. Then he held an entry into the town 
the like of which, under similar circumstances, has rarely 
been seen. A company of militia received him at the 
gate; the garrison formed in two lines, down which he 
rode on horseback, followed by a long train of officers, 
pages, and lackeys. His coach of state, empty save for 
his ermine and velvet mantle, preceded him; even the car 



THE WARS OP FREDERICK THE GREAT 129 

containing his belongings was drawn by gayly decked 
mules. No lord returning to his own could have been 
greeted with more enthusiasm; never-ending cheers fol- 
lowed him to his quarters, and he was finally called out 
to his balcony to bow his thanks. All the chief officials 
and grandees accepted his invitation to a dinner, at which 
he drank to the town's prosperity, his soldiers the while 
moving peacefully about the streets as objects of admira- 
tion to every one, especially, writes a Breslau diarist, to 
"our Silesian womankind." A few days later came a 
grand ball, and the civic chroniclers took the trouble to 
note the names of each and all of the ladies whom the 
handsome young king favored with a dance. 

Far from joyous, as may be imagined, were the feelings Personality 
of the queen of Hungary and archduchess of Austria at of Maria 
being robbed of the province which she considered the 
"fairest jewel in her crown." Maria Theresa was not the 
woman to take lightly a blow like this ; piety toward her 
father's memory, if nothing else, made it a sacred duty to 
her to maintain his possessions intact. And she was pos- 
sessed of every quality that could rouse her people to risk 
all in her defence ; men praised her lovely voice, her dra- 
matic abilities, her grace, her tact, her skill with the bow 
and arrow, her horsemanship, her fluency in languages. 
" Oh, if she were only a man, with just the qualities she 
actually possesses," sighed old Chancellor Sinzendorf to 
the English envoy, Robinson. On two occasions the 
Hungarians were roused by her to a perfect fervor of enthu- 
siasm : once when she appeared in their Diet, accompanied 
by her child, and pleaded for their aid ; and again when, 
at her coronation, she rode up the Mount of Defiance and 
swung her sword to the four winds of heaven as a challenge 
to all her enemies. 

Her husband, on the other hand, was almost universally 

VOL. II K 



130 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



Francis of 
Lorraine. 



Failure of 
negoti- 
ations. 



despised. Four years before, as generalissimo of all the 
Austrian forces, he had failed to gain credit or renown in 
the Turkish war that had ended so miserably with the 
Peace of Belgrade; the bitterest and most hateful com- 
plaints were later brought against him. His wife, though 
devoted to him, was not blind to his faults ; there were 
times in these wars with Frederick when she begged and 
pleaded with him not to take a command. " I at last took 
refuge," she once wrote to her sister, "in our .usual re- 
sources of caresses and tears ; but of what effect are they 
on a husband of nine years' standing? ... At last I 
became very angry, which served me so well that both he 
and I were taken ill." 

Almost immediately, on her own accession, Maria had 
insisted that Francis be declared coregent; and it was to 
him, as we have seen, that Frederick's envoys directed 
themselves. In return for the coveted province, they 
offered every advantage of alliance and friendship sup- 
port against all enemies, the Prussian vote at the impend- 
ing imperial election, even a large sum of money. The 
grand duke on the whole was firm, and took a lofty tone. 
"Rather the Turks before Vienna," he cried out, "or the 
surrender of the Netherlands to France, or any concession 
to Bavaria and Saxony, than the abandonment of Silesia." 
On two separate occasions, however, when Francis had 
just made utterances that sounded somewhat more con- 
ciliatory, there came a light knock at the door, and the 
queen appeared with an innocent question. The envoys 
were at last dismissed with the haughty remark, "Go 
home to your master and tell him that, so long as a single 
one of his soldiers remains in Silesia, we have not a word 
to say! " It was in vain that Frederick finally offered to 
content himself with a part, instead of the whole, of 
Silesia ; in vain that he tried to win the support of the 



THE WARS OF FREDERICK THE GREAT 131 

Austrian councillors by th'e promise of enormous bribes. 
All offers were scornfully and categorically refused. The 
" woman with the heart of a king " remained obdurate, in 
spite of her desperate circumstances. 

For the present, Austria's expected allies had failed to Austrian 
make their appearance. In Russia, indeed, amid palace sympa- 
revolutions like those of the most benighted Oriental fc lzers ' 
monarchy, a party came to the fore that was distinctly 
hostile to Prussia; and Podewils, when he heard of the 
fall of Frederick's friend, the prime minister, Miinnich, 
wrote to his master, "Pandora's box is opened; we are 
entering into the most terrible crisis that ever impended 
over the house of Brandenburg." But Podewils was 
always over anxious. "Gently, gently," Frederick had 
been obliged to say to him shortly before, "you are get- 
ting too excited." Again, on another occasion, "I am 
sorry to have to tell you that I don't know a more chicken- 
hearted man than you." Russia, as it turned out, had 
enough to do to attend to her own troubled affairs, and 
the same was true of England, which had more real sym- 
pathy with Maria Theresa, and, on account of Hanoverian 
jealousies, more real hatred of Frederick than any other 
power. " We must clip this prince's wings," said George 
II. to the Polish-Saxon envoy; "he is too dangerous for 
both of us ; " but there were more factors to be reckoned 
with in England than the mere will of the king. And 
Saxony, though dreading above all things the aggrandize- 
ment of her Prussian neighbor, and in every way secretly 
conspiring against Frederick, was in too weak hands to 
accomplish much ; her elector, from the first, offended Aus- 
tria by his rapacious demands for eventual compensation. 

Frederick's own determined attitude did as much as 
anything to keep outsiders at bay and to give his first 
encounter at arms the form of a gigantic duel with Aus- 



132 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

tria. "I shall perish rather than give up my project," he 
said to the English envoy, Guy Dickens; "the other 
powers need not think that I am to be intimidated by 
threats. ... If the worst comes to the worst I shall 
join with France and beat and bite and devastate in all 
directions ! " 

As for Maria Theresa, many a weary day passed before 
she was able to despatch an army to Silesia; she could do 
nothing to hinder the fall of Glogau, which surrendered, 
after a desperate storm, to young Leopold of Dessau. 
Frederick in the meantime had had harrow escapes from 
attempts on his life; once, when he himself chanced to 
have ridden ahead, his carriage was shot at and two per- 
sons in it killed. An Austrian who was captured declared 
that he had been hired by the Grand Duke of Lorraine to 
assassinate the king ; and Frederick, though not in the 
least believing this assertion, was not above making use of 
it for political purposes. For the world's benefit Podewils 
was ordered to "paint the unworthy proceedings of the 
Vienna court in suitable colors." The risks that he was 
constantly running caused the young king at this time to 
issue directions for the eventuality of his death or cap- 
tivity. " Should I have the misfortune to be taken alive," 
he wrote to Podewils, "I command you unconditionally 
and your head shall answer for it that during my 
absence you obey none of my orders ; that you serve my 
brother with your counsels; and that no unworthy step be 
taken by the state to secure my release. ... I am only 
king so long as I am free." In case of his death his body 
was to be burned after the manner of the Romans, his 
ashes to be deposited in a vase at Rheinsberg, and a 
monument to be raised to him like that of the Horatii at 
Tusculum. 

When the Austrians did at last cross the Giant Moun- 



THE WAKS OF FREDERICK THE GEEAT 133 

tains, their coming was in the nature of a surprise. Their The battle 

commander, Neipperg, in so far justified his boast of of Mo11 - 

having learned the art of war under Prince Eugene, as to Wltz> 

succeed in conducting his army quickly and safely over 

an unguarded pass ; but soon he was obliged to send word 

to Vienna that " to tell the truth he had not yet decided 

whether to turn to the right or to the left." He could 

not know that Frederick was obliged to make superhuman 

efforts to bring together his troops, which were scattered 

in half a dozen different camps. The Silesians proved 

bad informers, and Neipperg, stationing his army at Moll- 

witz and the neighboring villages, was forced to remain 

on the defensive and await the course of events. Here 

at Mollwitz, Frederick determined to attack him, although, 

in spite of its being the month of April, the snow lay two 

feet deep upon the ground. His infantry was superior in 

numbers to that of the Austrians, whose cavalry, on the 

other hand, was stronger. 

Mollwitz was one of those battles on the result of which 
everything depended; not only did alliances hang in the 
balance, but the enemy, if successful, could have barred the 
way to Breslau and Berlin, which were Frederick's bases 
of supplies. And the result seemed very doubtful. The 
Prussian troops, thoroughly as they were exercised in all 
the arts of the parade ground, were utterly unused to real 
war; before the crashing cavalry charge of the Austrian 
generals, Romer and Berlichingen, their line was pierced 
in several places, and Schulenburg, whose slowness in 
taking his position had given the enemy their advantage, 
was mortally wounded while trying to retrieve his error. 
To add to the confusion the second battle line, seeing 
nothing but Austrian cavalry before them, fired into the 
rear of their own first line. On the verge of despair, 
Frederick sent one of his lieutenants to the old Dessauer 



134 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



Victory 
snatched 
from de- 
feat. 



The French 
alliance. 



with the news that the battle was lost; he himself, by the 
advice of Schwerin, who, indeed, had not yet aban- 
doned hope, left the field with a few followers and rode 
through the gathering darkness to Qppeln. Here he fell 
in with Austrian hussars, and nothing but the extraor- 
dinary speed of his horse saved him from capture. 

Not until two o'clock the next morning, did Frederick 
learn that he had fled from the most brilliant of victories. 
Schwerin, after a peremptory order to young Leopold of 
Dessau to stop the suicidal firing of his men, had ridden 
up to the standard of the first battalion of the guards, had 
ordered the music to play for an attack, and then, with 
the whole right wing, had fallen upon the Austrian infan- 
try. His muskets were better than those of the enemy, 
while the iron ramrods enabled his men to load and fire 
more quickly. The Austrian foot-soldiers were soon taking 
refuge one behind the other; while the cavalry skulked far 
in the rear, refusing to advance even though General Ber- 
lichingen, in his rage and despair, clove the skulls of two of 
his men and swept several from their horses with his sword. 
The last great act of the battle of Mollwitz was an advance 
of the whole Prussian left wing, at double-quick time and 
with an absolute precision that would have gladdened the 
heart of Frederick William I. and justified all his minute 
care. Never in his life, wrote one of the enemy's own 
officers, had he seen anything so superb. The tables were 
completely turned, and Neipperg was soon in full retreat. 
In his own account of this battle, Frederick speaks of his 
infantry as "Caesars and heroes," but of his cavalry as 
"not worth the devil's taking"; while his own absence 
from the field is too bitter a memory even to find mention. 

While Austria was recuperating her bruised and beaten 
forces, Frederick had time to attend to the matter of alli- 
ances. His camp at Mollwitz was sought out by envoys 



THE WARS OP FREDERICK THE GREAT 135 

from all the powers; it was immediately evident how 
much higher he had risen in the general scale of estima- 
tion. The fate of Europe hung on his decision ; for Belle- 
Isle, the French envoy, had appeared, with all the pomp 
and magnificence of a reigning prince, to advocate a 
scheme for the thorough despoliation of Austria. Her 
provinces were to go to pay the electors for discarding 
the traditions of three centuries and putting a Wittels- 
bach 011 the throne of the empire. Frederick wavered 
long, coquetting with England; but at last, by a treaty 
signed at Breslau on June 4, 1741, accepted the French 
programme. In a number of secret articles, France guar- 
anteed to him Lower Silesia, with Breslau, and prom- 
ised not only to vigorously prosecute the war on her own 
account, but to assure the non-interference of Russia by 
stirring up Sweden to war against her. In spite of dis- 
sensions between Belle-Isle and his chief, Cardinal Fleury, 
an allied French and Bavarian army was soon in the field, 
and succeeded in taking Linz, the capital of Upper Aus- 
tria. It would have been easy to fall upon Vienna, which 
was ill garrisoned and ill fortified ; and Frederick did his 
utmost to induce the French to undertake the task. He 
burned with impatience, he wrote to Belle-Isle, to embrace 
him as victor before the gates of the city. " This Austria 
must be struck to earth," he said to Valory; "incurable 
wounds must be inflicted upon her before she is in a con- 
dition to parry the blows ! " But Belle-Isle preferred to 
march on Prague ostensibly from military considerations, 
but in reality because the French feared to do too much 
for their emperor elect, Charles Albert of Bavaria. "If 
we make the elector master of Vienna, we shall no longer 
be master of the elector," a French diplomat is said to 
have remarked. Frederick found that his own counsel 
weighed for nothing. 



136 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



The truce 
of Klein- 
Schnellen- 
dorf. 



The 

Emperor 
Charles 
VII. 



Prague fell through the tardiness and bad generalship 
of the Grand Duke Francis; and Maria's situation was 
growing more and more desperate, when a voice called to 
her, as it were, from the deep, and a hand was stretched 
out from the least expected of quarters. Frederick had 
once said to Podewils, "If honesty will help us, we will 
be honest men ; if duplicity is needed, then let us be 
rogues." Now, discontented with the French proceed- 
ings, aware that it was to his advantage not to have a pro- 
tracted war, anxious, above all things, to get Neipperg's 
army, which was safely under the shadow of the fortress 
of Neisse, out of Silesia, he closed, through the me- 
dium of the English Hyndford, the secret agreement 
with Austria, known as the truce of Klein-Schnellendorf 
(October 9, 1741). Everything was done to deceive the 
French. Valory, who was in the Prussian camp at the 
time, knew nothing of what was going on. A number of 
articles concerned themselves with measures by which 
appearances were to be preserved: there were to be several 
skirmishes and a sham siege of Neisse, which was to 
capitulate at the end of fifteen days. 

Comment is superfluous when delving into this slough 
of intrigue; many a diplomatic move, especially in the 
eighteenth century, will not bear the test of plain morality. 
Small consolation that in this matter one country was as 
bad as another! But, even from a political standpoint, 
the truce of Klein-Schnellendorf was a false move on 
Frederick's part ; for the benefit to Maria Theresa of having 
Neipperg's army for use against the French, far outweighed 
the disadvantage of losing the one fortress of Neisse. 
Frederick, indeed, on the pretext that the promise of 
secrecy had been violated, soon repudiated his agreement 
and occupied the Austrian province of Glatz ; but from this 
time on the fortunes of Maria Theresa were on the mend. 



THE WARS OF FREDERICK THE GREAT 137 

The French were dislodged from Linz ; the Austrians were 
able to carry the war into Charles Albert's own dominions, 
and, in the very days when, as Charles VII., the elector 
was being crowned emperor of the Romans at Frankfort, 
his Bavarian possessions were wrested from him. A 
witticism against his field marshal, Count Torring, to the 
effect that he was like a drum because only heard from 
when beaten, went the rounds of friend and foe. A 
medal was struck with two images of Charles himself, 
the one as elector, with " Aut Caesar aut nihil," the other 
as emperor, with "Et Csesar et nihil." 

Meanwhile the Austrian commander, Prince Charles of The 
Lorraine, had come upon the Prussians at the village of battle of 
Chotusitz, not far from the Bohemian town of Czaslau; Cbotusltz - 
but, through an error of judgment, had allowed Frederick 
time to unite with the young Dessauer and to draw up his 
army in good order. Then, indeed, the Austrians fought 
like tigers and carried the struggle into the narrow village 
streets, from which, by setting fire to the straw-roofed 
houses, they finally dislodged the Prussian occupants. 
Twice Frederick's wavering troops had to be urged back 
to their duty : once by a brave officer, who seized a banner 
and threw himself into the breach ; again, " in the name 
of God and of the king," by a fiery young field chaplain. 
The Austrians attributed their own final defeat to the fact 
that their cavalry had stopped to plunder the Prussian 
camp. 

" Who could have foretold," wrote Frederick a few days 
later to his friend Jordan, "that Providence would choose 
a poet to overthrow the European system and cross the 
calculations of kings ! " Yet in reality there was little of 
pride or exultation in his heart. He had once more de- 
termined to make a private peace with Austria, even on 
less advantageous terms than he had demanded before the 



138 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

battle. At that time, he had asked for two Bohemian 
counties; these Maria Theresa still refused to relinquish, 
preferring, as she said, to perish in the ruins of Vienna. 
"If the gates of hell should open," she would not give up 
Koniggratz. By the treaty of Breslau, signed in July, 
1742, she saved for herself not only these districts, but 
even a small part of Upper Silesia. 

The Peace The reason for Frederick's second defection from the 
of Breslau. French was? as before, their arrogance and uselessness 
as allies; in these very days the Duke of Broglie's in- 
capacity had brought about a disastrous defeat a new 
"imbroglio," said his enemies. But the young king's 
conscience was not clear; it was in vain that he armed 
himself with a sardonic smile when talking to Valory, and 
spoke of the "little goading speeches" of the Parisians 
as parrot-like utterances which they themselves did not 
understand. He really did feel sore and sensitive, espe- 
cially when the sentiments once expressed in his writing 
against Machiavelli were ruthlessly submitted to the 
test of his own conduct. He went so far as to write a 
pamphlet in self-defence which Podewils would not 
allow him to publish and a letter to Fleury, in which 
he threw the whole blame upon Broglie. He likened him 
to a Penelope, who was undoing all his, Frederick's, 
work: "Can I be held responsible for Broglie's not being 
a Turenne? Out of a night owl I cannot make an eagle." 
Having secured by the Treaty of Breslau a territory 
equal to one-third of the whole former Prussian state, and 
having been recognized by the voice of his people as "the 
Great," Frederick could afford to stand aside and watch 
the European war. With feelings far from pleasurable 
he saw Austria extricate herself from her difficulties, make 
favorable treaties and alliances, and gain military advan- 
tages. His contempt for the French grew to withering 



THE WARS OF FREDERICK THE GREAT 139 

scorn when he heard that Maillebois had abandoned an 
attempt to relieve Prague ; that Belle-Isle, in consequence, 
had been obliged, in the dead of winter, to make a disas- 
trous retreat; and that the main French army of seventy 
thousand men had been pushed out of Bavaria almost 
without striking a blow. "I must confess," Frederick 
wrote, " that bad as was my opinion of old Broglie, his 
present conduct exceeds .all expectations in the way of 
cowardice and folly." After the battle of Dettingen, in 
which the so-called Pragmatic army, consisting largely of 
English, defeated the Duke de Noailles ; and which was 
considered in London so brilliant a victory that Handel 
composed a Te Deum in its honor, Frederick declared that 
he never again wished to hear the name of a Frenchman. 

England, on account of her own enmity to France, had The second 
become the stanchest supporter of Maria Theresa. The Silesian 
"firebrand," Lord Carteret, had introduced an entirely new' War ' 
spirit into her polic} 7 , and showed activity in all directions. 
It was largely his doing that Austria, in September 1743, 
signed with the king of Sardinia the Treaty of Worms, by 
which, in return, for land cessions in Lombardy, Charles 
Emmanuel agreed to fight the French with forty-five thou- 
sand men. Frederick noted with alarm that this Worms 
agreement, which guaranteed Austria's possessions on the 
basis of former treaties, passed over in silence the recent 
Breslau provisions. Maria Theresa was becoming aggres- 
sive ; she spoke openly of " the unfree election by which 
the elector of Bavaria (Frederick's prote'ge') is said to have 
become emperor," and sent a protest to the Diet to the 
effect that the Bohemian vote belonged to her and had 
not been properly cast. The interference of the English, 
too, seemed to Frederick full of menace. He wished, he 
declared to Podewils, that the devil would take his uncle, 
George II. "Listen, my lord," he said to Hyndford, "I 



140 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



don't care what happens to the French, but I shall not 
allow the emperor to be ruined or dethroned." A treaty, 
concluded between Saxony and Austria, in January, 1744, 
finally determined him to reenter the arena; and, what 
was more, not to withdraw from it empty-handed. By 
an agreement made at Frankfort he secured the help of the 
young Elector Palatine and the Landgrave of Hesse-Cassel, 
and then so far conquered his own repugnances as to sue 
for an alliance with France, even condescending to 
write a personal letter to the Duchess of Chateauroux, 
the all-powerful mistress of Louis XV. Largely by her 
influence, a treaty was drawn up by which the prospective 
spoils were apportioned between Prussia, France, and the 
emperor. Louis XV. 's share was to be some coveted 
fortresses in the Netherlands ; Frederick's, three Bohemian 
counties, in addition to the whole of Silesia; Charles 
Albert's, the rest of Bohemia. 

Thus the struggle began anew. As general of the 



Failure of 

Frederick's em p erO r, Frederick demanded and enforced the right of 

Bohemian 

campaign. 



free passage through Saxon territory; made a dash for 
Prague, which he captured without difficulty; and then 
pushed farther south, with some thoughts of reaching 
Vienna. Maria's army was in the midst of a victorious 
advance into Alsace when the news came of the fresh 
invasion. Prince Charles hastily recrossed the Rhine, 
and now all the worthlessness of the French as allies once 
more came to light. Regard for one of the first rules of 
joint warfare should have led them to hold fast the Aus- 
trian army, which was retreating from them and which 
their own forces outnumbered as two to one ; instead, they 
allowed it to return unmolested, while their own troops 
marched off to the Netherlands. Frederick, as may be 
imagined, was soon in sore straits the more so as 
twenty-two thousand Saxons marched to Maria Theresa's 



THE WARS OF FREDERICK THE GREAT 141 

aid. Far from carrying out his threat of " setting his foot 
on the throat of his enemy " in Vienna, he was reduced to 
a strict defensive and was compelled to retreat to Silesia 
as best he could. Gladly enough would he have risked 
an engagement; but the policy of the Austrians, now led 
by the gifted Traun, whom even Frederick acknowledged 
as at this time his own superior, was to delay and to 
annoy. As post after post was relinquished, as pro- 
visions became scarcer and scarcer on account of the 
hostile attitude of the Bohemian peasants, a demoraliza- 
tion spread among the soldiers such as a royal Prussian 
army had never yet known. The Austrians maintained 
that they had actually counted nineteen thousand de- 
serters ; and certain it is that the army of eighty thousand 
men soon dwindled to half its original size. Maria Theresa 
felt sure of the future, and issued a proclamation to thje 
Silesians, promising them speedy liberation from the "un- 
bearable yoke " under which they were languishing. 

As for Frederick, who blamed himself greatly for many 
of the misfortunes that had occurred, and confessed frankly 
that "no general had ever committed so many blunders in 
a single season," he was determined to strike some signal 
blow, to risk le tout pour le tout, and to return to Berlin 
as victor or not at all. Strangely enough, the image of 
Maria Theresa, fearless among overwhelming dangers, 
rose before him and steeled him to new efforts : " Think 
of this woman who did not despair when the enemy stood 
before Vienna and flooded her richest provinces," he wrote 
to Podewils. 

Frederick had purposely left the passes of the Giant The battle 
Mountains unguarded, in the hope that the enemy would of Hohen- 
cross them and attempt to recover Silesia; but he was f 
hardly prepared for the haste with which the Hungarian 
pandours and hussars swarmed into the land. He was 



142 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

completely cut off from a part of his forces, which the 
Margrave of Schwedt commanded in Jagerndorf ; and 
only a desperate ride of General Ziethen to bring Schwedt 
his instructions, and a splendid return march of Otto 
Schwerin through the midst of the enemy, prevented a 
grave catastrophe. "Kiss Schwerin for me a thousand 
times," wrote Frederick to the margrave, "and tell him 
that as long as I live I will never forget his bravery and 
steadfastness." 

The Austrians had underrated the Prussian forces. 
Taking the failure to guard the passes for a sign of weak- 
ness, they determined to attack Frederick at Hohenfried- 
berg, not far from Schweidnitz. " There can be no God in 
heaven if we do not win this battle," said Prince Charles 
of Lorraine to one of his adjutants. Free from anxiety, 
the Austrian leader the man who had felt so superior to 
Traun that he had forced him out of the command lay 
quietly down to sleep within sight of the Prussian camp, 
having been assured by his scouts that the attack might 
safely be postponed until the following day. But, leav- 
ing his fires burning and his tents standing, Frederick, 
with his whole army, stole softly out into the night and 
took up a more favorable position. At early dawn the 
Saxon contingents were attacked and put to flight be- 
fore the Austrians were ready to begin their fire; Prince 
Charles's right wing was easily thrown into confusion, 
and a magnificent charge of the Baireuth dragoons, under 
Gessler, completed its ruin. Sixty -six standards were 
captured and twenty-one battalions routed numbers 
which, by Frederick's command, were later incorporated in 
the Gessler coat of arms. The rest of the beaten army re- 
treated as best it could, leaving sixteen thousand men on 
the field and losing nearly nine thousand stragglers and 
deserters. "Never did the old Romans do anything more 



THE WARS OF FREDERICK THE GREAT 143 

brilliant," wrote Frederick to Podewils; and then set to 
work to compose a commemorative march, which is played 
in the Prussian army to this day. 

Frederick hoped to have achieved from Hohenfriedberg The battle 
"a good peace and a long rest," but he was doomed to dis- of Sohr - 
appointment. Maria Theresa was by no means reduced 
to desperate straits. She still had the Saxons, English, 
and Dutch on her side ; and when, in these days, the Em- 
peror Charles VII. died, she came to terms with the new 
Bavarian elector by the Treaty of Fiissen. The French 
conveniently confined their efforts to the Netherlands; 
where, indeed, they had succeeded in winning the brill- 
iant victory of Fontenoy. Maria's own courage was as 
unbroken as ever; even, she declared, though she were 
sure of making peace with Frederick on the following 
morning, she would risk a battle the evening before. 
The satisfaction was hers of having her husband declared 
emperor at Frankfort ; and, in the festivities that followed, 
she remained in the background and refused to be crowned, 
that he might have the more honor. With Saxony, she 
formed a bold plan for striking a blow at the heart of 
Frederick's possessions and for despoiling him of parts 
of Brandenburg. Russia, too, was to be included in the 
arrangement, and to be allowed to cede to Poland certain 
provinces of East Prussia. 

New victories of Frederick frustrated the tempting 
plan. He had been attacked at the village of Sohr, not 
far from the Bohemian border, by an Austrian army nearly 
double the size of his own the enemy trying the same 
manoeuvre that he himself had so successfully executed at 
Hohenfriedberg, and taking a new position under cover of 
the night. Only with the rising sun did he see the extent 
of the danger, and the impossibility either of retreating or 
of remaining in camp. , There was no alternative but to 






144 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

form in line of battle under the heavy fire of the Austrian 
batteries, and then to storm the heights on which they 
stood. The deserted camp was plundered by hordes of 
Hungarians, Frederick's horses and dogs, his clothes, his 
books, and even his flute were carried off; but none the 
less his courage and coolness won the day. The enemy 
were driven from height to height with terrific losses. 
He was "beaten, yes, well beaten," Prince Charles con- 
fessed in a letter to his brother. The prophecy of King 
George of England that, "the king of Prussia would do 
more in one day than Prince Charles in six months," had 
been richly fulfilled. 

The battle But still more decisive than Sohr, was an action that 
of Kessels- took place a few weeks later at Kesselsdorf, near Dresden. 
On hearing of the plan to dismember Brandenburg, Freder- 
ick had sent an army into Saxon}', intrusting the supreme 
command to Leopold of Dessau who undertook it unwill- 
ingly, complaining of his age and infirmities. The old 
companion in arms of Marlborough and Prince Eugene, 
himself the hero of twenty-one battles and twenty-seven 
sieges, had been out of conceit with the whole Silesian 
war, in which his advice had not been freely asked. But 
Frederick urged him on to his duty; and when his move- 
ments seemed too slow, did not hesitate to reprimand him 
in the sternest manner. "My field marshal," he wrote, 
" is the only person who either can not, or will not, under- 
stand my plain commands." He fairly goaded him into 
an engagement, knowing that all depended on frustrating 
a union between the Saxons and the Austrian army that 
had been defeated at Sohr. The "old Dessauer" did 
finally rise to the occasion ; his last fight was one of the 
grandest he had conducted in all his half-century of ser- 
vice. With 22,000 men, he stormed the heights at Kes- 
selsdorf, on which stood 34,000 Saxons while Prince 



THE WARS OF FREDERICK THE GREAT 145 

Charles's army of 46,000 men had advanced to a point 
only five miles off. As Frederick was ready by this time 
to unite with his victorious general there was nothing for 
the Austrians to do but to sue for peace. They expected, 
indeed, a hard diplomatic struggle ; Maria's envoy, Har- 
rach, had, he said, " wished to tear out his eyes because, 
through negotiations with this Tamerlane, he would be 
compelled to forge for his mistress chains of everlasting 
servitude." 

But Frederick showed himself remarkably lenient; by The Peace 
the Dresden Peace, which was signed on Christmas morn- of Dresden - 
ing, 1745, he gained neither more nor less than he had 
enjoyed by the Peace of Breslau, except that Saxony had 
to pay a war indemnity of a million thalers. 

For Maria Theresa, indeed, although Frederick acknowl- 
edged her husband as emperor, this second renunciation 
was more painful than the first had been, and would never 
have been signed had her instructions reached her envoy, 
Harrach, in time. In 1742 she had seen her way to wrest- 
ing Bavaria from Charles VII. ; now, while abandoning 
Silesia, she had to be content to part with a million and 
a quarter of Germans with no compensation to balance the 
preponderating Slavic elements in her heterogeneous do- 
mains. Austria's r61e as the first German power had been 
played to the end. 

"Happy are they," wrote Frederick a few weeks after 
the conclusion of the Dresden Peace, "happy are they 
who, having secured their own safety, can tranquilly look 
upon the embarrassment and anxiety of others." And 
again, in the following year, "I continually bless my 
present situation, hearing the storm rage and seeing the 
lightning split the finest oaks, without being myself 
affected. It is a sensible man who keeps quiet and learns 
moderation by experience. Ambition in the long run is 

VOL. II L 



146 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



The Con- 
gress of 
Aix-la- 
Chapelle. 



Maria 
Theresa and 
Elizabeth 
of Russia. 



a virtue for fools, a guide that leads us astray and lands 
us in an abyss hidden by flowers." 

Once more a peace with Frederick meant anything but 
a season of quiet for Maria Theresa. For two years and 
more her war with France continued, and Marshal Maurice 
de Saxe, one of the numerous irregular progeny of Augus- 
tus the Strong, succeeded in wresting from the incapable 
Charles of Lorraine every single stronghold in the Nether- 
lands, save Luxemburg and Limburg. Even the presence 
in camp of Louis XV. himself could not, as Frederick 
with biting sarcasm declared, prevent the progress of the 
French arms. The pitched battle of Rocoux, fought in 
October, 1746, ended in the total defeat of the allies. In 
Italy, it is true, the Austrians were more fortunate ; while 
the English were able, in America and on the ocean, to 
find vulnerable points in the armor of their enemies. 
For the campaign of 1748, preparations had been made on 
a hitherto unheard-of scale. The forces in the Netherlands 
Vere to be raised to a total of 156,000 men, while 90,000 
Austrians and Sardinians were to operate in Italy, and a 
corps of 50,000 Russians in the English pay was to ad- 
vance to the Rhine. But, before all these armies could 
come into action, the general desire for peace and the 
progress of diplomacy had led to the summoning of the 
Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle ; where, in spite of the reluc- 
tance of Austria, which alone was called upon to make 
serious sacrifices, a peace was finally arranged. The 
French gave up their conquests in the Netherlands, and 
Maria Theresa ceded to Don Philip of Spain, Louis XV. 's 
nephew, the duchies of Parma and Piacenza. 

Although a separate clause in the Treaty of Aix forced 
through by England and France in the hope of securing 
the future peace of Europe guaranteed to Frederick the 
possession of Silesia, it is doubtful if in her heart of hearts 



THE WARS Otf FREDERICK THE GREAT 147 

Maria Theresa ever really for a moment acquiesced in her 
fate. " She forgets that she is queen, and breaks into tears 
like a woman, whenever she sees a Silesian," an English 
envoy had written in 1743. Of the efforts she now made 
to increase her revenues and to place the administration 
of her lands on a firmer basis we cannot here speak. Her 
surest hope for the future seemed to lie in the acquisition 
of strong allies, and in this she was helped by the natural 
isolation of Prussia and by the personal unpopularity of 
Frederick. France could not forgive him for twice desert- 
ing her cause and making his own advantageous terms with 
the enemy; at the Congress of Aix the French envoy-in- 
chief, Severin, had spoken of him as a "filigree king," as a 
regular fripon; and, on his return to Paris, had refused to 
visit the Prussian ambassador. As for Russia, the Czarina 
had been on the point of invading Frederick's lands when 
the battle of Kesselsdorf turned the scale in his favor; even 
after the Peace of Dresden Elizabeth had offered to furnish 
ninety thousand men if Austria would resume the war. 
This wild, passionate Czarina, who spent her nights in 
drunken orgies, and who was egged on by Frederick's bitter 
enemy, Bestucheff, hated the Prussian king with an un- 
holy hate. Sarcastic and malicious enough were the re- 
marks he had often made about her; and Bestucheff, who 
was at the same time her prime minister and the father- 
in-law of her unacknowledged daughter, found it to his 
interest to have his agents carefully retail them in her ear. 
Two lackeys who had left Frederick's service for that of 
the Russian court were among the tale-bea'rers, as were also 
the English and French ambassadors. More self-respect- 
ing men, indeed like Count Kayserling, the Russian en- 
voy to Berlin would not be concerned in the foul business, 
and flatly refused to obey the orders which bade them act 
as scavengers for stray bits of personal gossip and slander. 



148 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



Danger for 
Frederick. 



Traditional 
alliances. 



In the year after the Treaty of Aix, an attempt, on Bes- 
tucheff's part, to set aside the succession of Frederick's 
brother-in-law, the crown prince of Sweden, who, in- 
deed, under altered circumstances, had had Russia herself 
to thank for his elevation, led to the very verge of a Prus- 
sian-Russian war. "My Swedish sister awaits a visit this 
year which will not be very agreeable to her," wrote Fred- 
erick in the spring of 1749; and again, to Frederike Ulrica 
herself, "We must do our best to keep on our guard and 
to be prepared for the worst that can happen." His energy 
in mobilizing his forces did much to avert the catastrophe ; 
and Elizabeth, finding that France was inclined to help 
Sweden, and that Maria Theresa would only join in the 
struggle on conditions dictated by her own interest in 
Silesia, desisted from her warlike plans at the eleventh 
hour. But Frederick knew well that the danger was only 
temporarily averted; four or five years of peace, he de- 
clared, and he should find himself once more attacked. He 
little knew what a general avalanche the Russian-Austrian 
intrigues aided by that French-English struggle which 
had started with the American boundary disputes and was 
resolving itself, in Europe, into a fight for Hanover 
were to bring down about his ears. 

In the interval the world was to see a shifting of alli- 
ances which belongs to the seven wonders of diplomatic 
history. Austria, for two hundred years, had been the 
constant enemy of France. The Emperor Charles V. had 
fought against Francis I. and Henry II. ; Ferdinand II. 
and Ferdinand III. against Richelieu's generals; Leo- 
pold I., Joseph I., and Charles VI. in repeated wars 
against Louis XIV. ; Maria Theresa herself, for seven 
years, against the present king. To Prussia, on the other 
hand, from the days when Frederick William I. broke off 
the double marriage project and expressed his opinions 



THE WARS OF FREDERICK THE GREAT 

so freely about George II., England had been an object of 
hatred. In the Austrian succession War, George's subsi- 
dies, his armies, even his own mediocre military talents, 
had been at the service of Maria Theresa. Even after the 
Peace of Aix it had more than once come to the verge of 
a rupture with Frederick : the latter, in 1751, in spite of 
Podewils's frightened "What will your uncle say?" had 
chosen one of the heads of the Jacobites, a man whom the 
English government had pronounced a rebel and an out- 
law*, to be Prussia's official representative in Paris. And 
when England, which, in the previous war, had captured 
Prussian vessels carrying French merchandise, persist- 
ently refused compensation, Frederick, in 1752, retali- 
ated by retaining the interest on the Silesian debt, which 
an English syndicate had assumed. In London the excite- 
ment was intense ; the wildest rumors gained ground, and 
active preparations were made for the defence of Hanover 
which, it was believed, would be immediately attacked. 
Indeed, in the following year, when, after the defeat of 
George Washington at Fort Duquesne, the prospect of a 
long and bitter struggle between England and France 
became assured, Frederick urged this very measure on the 
French ambassador, Latouche. " That is the surest means 

of making this [George II.] change his tune," he 

said; employing a "cavalier-like epithet," with regard to 
his uncle, which Latouche found too strong to report to 
his own government. 

And yet, after all, toward the autumn of 1755, Freder- The Con- 
ick began to veer round to the side of England: his mention of 
reasons for so abrupt a change of policy being, firstly, m i nste r. 
that the French expected too much of him that, in fact, 
they wished "to pile upon their allies the whole burden 
of the war and keep their own hands free " ; and, secondly, 
the circumstance that Russia was making dangerous over- 






150 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

tures to England. The time had not yet come when 
Frederick could fa6e the idea of having Prussia, with its 
scanty population of five millions, carry on a war against 
three great powers, with only one single slippery ally 
like France. It was probably true, what Lord Hyndford 
had once said, that he feared Russia more than God. In 
proportion, therefore, as the Russian-English relations 
grew warm or cold, he regulated his conduct toward 
George II. ; well knowing that, by her position, Prussia 
was better able than any other power to accomplish the 
English king's desire, and insure the safety of his Hano- 
verian possessions. 

Finally, early in 1756, after Russia had already agreed 
to furnish seventy thousand men, who were to be sup- 
ported by English subsidies, Frederick closed an alliance 
with George. The Convention of Westminster provided 
for firm peace and friendship between Prussia and Eng- 
land, and stipulated that each should turn against any 
enemy attacking the lands of the other. A united army 
was to oppose any foreign power that should presume to 
force its way on to German ground. This agreement, 
this one little stroke of the pen, Frederick hoped, would 
reduce "the queen of Hungary to madness, Saxony to 
insignificance, and Russia to despair." 

Parallel with these English-Prussian negotiations had 
gone those of Maria Theresa with France. The bait 
offered to the latter power was a part of the Austrian 
Netherlands for Louis XV. 's nephew, who would then be 
asked to renounce Parma and Piacenza, and the support 
of another relative of the French king, Prince Conti, as 
candidate for the Polish throne. In return for these favors, 
the French court was to help the empress to gratify the 
ruling passion of her life, and reduce Prussia to the limits 
it had occupied before the Thirty Years' War. The hated 



THE WARS OF FREDERICK THE GREAT 151 

king was to become once more a mere margrave. All that 
was needed was French subsidies ; fighters enough could 
be gained by allowing Frederick's natural enemies to rend 
and rive at the body of his doomed state. Saxony was to 
have Magdeburg; Sweden, Stettin and Further Pome- 
rania; the Palatinate, Cleves and Mark; the Franconian 
Circle, Ansbach and Baireuth. 

The news that Frederick had signed the Treaty of West- 
minster found France still undecided, but soon weighed 
down the balance in Austria's favor. Kaunitz, the dash- 
ing new minister, whose progressive policy was so hated 
at Vienna by all save the empress herself, had done his 
work well at the Parisian court. No means had been left 
untried of influencing the weak voluptuary who sat on 
the throne of the Bourbons. Kaunitz and his successor in 
Paris, Starhemberg, had succeeded in winning the favor of 
Madame de Pompadour, the graceful and beautiful, but 
coarse-minded and unscrupulous, mistress of the king. It 
is not true at least the empress herself indignantly 
denied the rumor that Maria Theresa 'went so far as to 
write to the Pompadour a personal letter and to address 
her as "sister" and "cousin"; nor is it true, in spite of 
anecdotes which seem to prove the contrary, that Freder- 
ick had systematically neglected this person of ignomin- 
ious birth. But certainly the empress had sent presents 
and polite messages, while Frederick in some way or other 
had incurred the Pompadour's dislike. The latter boasted 
herself, and probably with right, that the preliminary 
treaties signed at Versailles, in May, 1756, were essen- 
tially her own work. To be sure, Austria had not as yet 
gained all that she desired. The treaty was merelydefen- 
sive; and Louis XV. objected to depriving Prussia of 
more than Silesia, besides desiring the whole of the 
Netherlands for France. 



152 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

Frederick Frederick had hoped that her own treaty with England 
learns the W ould prevent Russia from making war on a power that 

had iust become the closest ally of the English, but he was 
his enemies. 

mistaken. Elizabeth was more eager to attack him than was 
even Maria Theresa. When the latter 's envoy broached 
the subject the Czarina replied that she had been on the 
veiy point of suggesting an offensive alliance. Her dis- 
appointment was great when Austria, for the reason that 
France had not yet been won for an aggressive policy, 
determined to postpone the campaign until the following 
spring. Bestucheff, indeed, was not so warlike as his 
mistress. Elizabeth was ill with strange maladies. It 
seemed not unlikely that she would soon die ; and regard 
for the "rising sun" prompted the wary minister not to 
strike too hostile an attitude either toward Prussia or 
toward England. 

Frederick was well informed of all the schemes that 
were being forged against him: he had in his pay a mem- 
ber of the Saxon chancery a trusted member, who sup- 
plied him with copies of the most secret documents. From 
various directions, too, he received words of warning and 
advice; nor did he scruple to have the Berlin post-office 
open letters on their way from St. Petersburg to England 
and Holland. At last a Dutch ambassador, whose cor- 
respondence had been read, but only half understood, 
volunteered the positive information that Austria was 
preparing to put eighty thousand, Russia one hundred 
and fifty thousand, men in the field. On one point at 
least Frederick was fully determined: he would not meet 
his fate like a lamb led to the slaughter. When hos- 
tilities* should open he meant to make the first move. 
"There is no help for it," he declared to Mitchell, the 
English envoy ; " if this lady " pointing to a portrait of 
Maria Theresa which hung on the wall " wishes war, she 



THE WARS OF FREDERICK THE GREAT 153 

shall have it soon." "Look into my face," he had said a 
moment before to the same personage ; " does my nose look 
like one at which fingers can be wagged? By God, I will 
not stand it! " Mitchell had answered, in a manner not 
displeasing to the king, that indeed patience and submis- 
siveness were not exactly to be counted among the qualities 
for which he was distinguished. 

In order to bring matters to a climax, Frederick de- An ultima- 
spatched one messenger after another to Vienna with cate- tum sent to 
gorical questions. First, what was the meaning of the 
movements of the troops in Bohemia and Moravia; were 
these preparations being made with a view to an attack 
upon himself? Maria's answer was purposely evasive 
and unsatisfactory; she wished to provoke Frederick and 
make him the aggressor ; only then could she hope for the 
full benefit of her treaty with France. Hard and fast on 
the heels of the first envoy, came a second, requesting a 
straightforward answer as to whether the empress intended 
to attack the king of Prussia either in the present or the 
following year. A few days later, Frederick wrote on the 
margin of his military instructions to Duke Ferdinand of 
Brunswick : " The answer has come and is good for noth- 
ing." For the third time, he sent to say that he was cer- 
tain now of the evil intentions of the Vienna court; his 
troops were already on the march, but he would order them 
to turn back if the empress would give him the assurance 
he had latterly demanded. 

One imperative duty Frederick felt called upon to per- Frederick's 
form before throwing his forces against the main Austrian occupation 
army : the Saxon court which, as he knew from the testi- 
mony of its own archives, had tried to egg on all the other 
powers against him, and which, beyond a doubt, meant to 
follow Bestucheff's advice and take part in the struggle 
"so soon as the rider should begin to waver in the saddle," 



154 



A SHOUT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



Capitula- 
tion of the 
Saxons. 



was first to be rendered harmless. Only by occupying the 
electorate could proper communications be kept up with 
Berlin ; in no other way could the forces Frederick meant 
to throw into Bohemia and Moravia be secured from ugly 
surprises. The only misfortune was that the cowardly 
king, Augustus III., did not succeed in making his escape 
from the land. The commander of the body-guards had 
been asked if he could guarantee that no spent ball should 
strike the royal person; and, on his giving a negative 
answer, the attempt was abandoned, and Augustus, with 
his army, withdrew to an almost impregnable position in 
Saxon Switzerland, between Pirna and the Konigstein. 
Prussian troops inarched into Dresden, and, in spite of the 
fierce resistance of the queen, Maria Josepha, who actually 
threw her person in the way, forced open the door of the 
room in the palace where the archives were kept, selected 
three bags full of compromising documents, and sent them 
off to Berlin to be published for the benefit of Europe. 
An ultimatum was sent to the commanding general, Ar- 
nim, to the effect that the whole Saxon army must take 
the oath of allegiance to the Prussian king. To Arnim's 
objection that no example of such a thing could be found 
in history, "Oh, yes, there can," Frederick answered; 
"and even if there could not, I would like you to know 
that I pride myself on being somewhat original." 

An Austrian army, under General Browne, who pro- 
posed to relieve the Saxons in Pirna, was met on the left 
bank of the Elbe, at Lobositz; and a battle took place 
among the steep vine-clad hills (October 1, 1756). The 
Prussian troops, to use Frederick's own expression, per- 
formed "miracles of bravery," but the enemy, too, proved 
that they were "no longer the old Austrians." The 
chief advantage of the slight victory was that the be- 
leaguered army lost hope and was soon brought to sub- 



THE WARS OF FREDERICK THE GREAT 155 

mission, the capitulation being signed on the 15th of 
October. The officers were released on parole and the 
common soldiers incorporated in the Prussian army, 
whereby the fatal mistake was made, as Frederick him- 
self confessed, of not dissolving the regiments and appor- 
tioning the men among loyal battalions, but of simply 
placing them, as they were, under Prussian commanders. 
No wonder they deserted by thousands, and thus belied 
the expectation that, being Protestants, they would serve 
more willingly under Frederick than under their own 
Catholic king! On the whole, this Saxon campaign had 
been unfortunate. Seven precious weeks had been wasted 
in starving out a camp that could only have been taken 
with great loss of life ; and the great advantage of keeping 
the me'mbers of the coalition as far apart as possible had 
thus been forfeited. Now, the season was so advanced and 
so uncommonly cold that nothing remained but to go into 
winter quarters, Saxony, meanwhile, being placed com- 
pletely under Prussian administration, and the taxes of 
her subjects going to the uses of her conqueror. 

The king of France had heard the news of the humilia-* The second 
tion of his friend, the king of Poland, with rage and with Treaty of 
oaths of vengeance. Yet Louis XV. wavered long before 
committing himself finally to Maria Theresa's scheme of 
destruction. It was one year to a day from the signing 
of the first Versailles Treaty, before the second, offensive, 
one was concluded. Then, indeed, greed of Belgian land, 
the Pompadour's intrigues, and Louis's own ridiculous 
pretension to be the champion of the true religion against 
the assaults of a heretic and madman, induced France to 
go to the greatest lengths that even Austria could have 
desired. Instead of mere subsidies, Louis was to furnish 
one hundred and fifteen thousand men. Prussia was to 
be dismembered and the spoils divided in all directions. 



156 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

The very least of the demands of the allies were to include 
the whole Cleves heritage, Silesia, Crossen y Magdeburg, 
Halberstadt, and the share of Swedish Pomerania ac- 
quired a generation before by Frederick William I. 
Maria Theresa and Elizabeth had arranged, in addition, 
that Frederick should lose the very nucleus of his royal 
power, the province of East Prussia ; it was to go to 
Poland, which, in turn, was to cede to Russia Courland 
and Semgallen. To be sure, Maria's envoy, Esterhazy, 
was reminded in St. Petersburg of the homely proverb, 
" Catch your hare before you skin him " ; but so completely 
did Frederick seem to be rushing into the toils that a little 
confidence was pardonable. Russia was not only to send 
an army through Poland, but her fleet was to operate in 
the Baltic; while Sweden, Frederick's only hope 'in the 
North, was now drawn into the alliance against him, and, 
in return for French subsidies, agreed to furnish twenty 
thousand men. Moreover, Austria, at the Diet of Ratis- 
bon, succeeded in drawing over to her side sixty out of 
eighty-six of the estates of the empire, by which majority 
the Diet voted " imperial execution " against the wanton 
invader of Saxony. 

Frederick Prussia's only hope seemed to lie in the prospect of 
isolated. English aid, a prospect which, for the present at least, 
proved completely illusorj'. England had wars to wage 
in all parts of the world ; and in this very year was hard 
pressed both in India and in America. Frederick was 
keenly alive to the perils of his situation. He likened 
himself to a stag on which a " pack of kings and princes " 
had been let loose, or to Orpheus pursued by Msenads 
represented by the two empresses and the Pompadour. 
Once more, as in 1740, he issued the most stringent com- 
mands as to what should happen should he die or fall 
into captivity; in the latter case even his own letters and 






HKAM>KM',UHG- PRUSSIA 1415 1806 



aACQUISITONS OF THE GREAT ELECTOR 
1640-1686 



1713-1740 
I I ACQUISITONS OF FREDERICK THE GREAT 



I I ACQUISITONS OF FREDERICK WILLIAM II 

I I 1786-1797 




Olmutz 

GROWTH 

OF 

PUUSSIA 

TO 1806. 



JPKl'SMA UHclVr HiKDKliK It llll' IIE~A 
' 1 At t'oi-piiation I I I At Deal 




157 

entreaties were to be disregarded. But his danger height- 
ened instead of dulling his intelligence, and he well de- 
served what Napoleon Bonaparte considered " the highest 
praise that one can pay to his character," namely, that 
he "was especially great in decisive moments." In pub- 
lic he never repined; "the whole army reads the face of 
its commander," he once wrote; "a general must be like 
an actor." But even in his heart of hearts he seems to 
have possessed a steady beacon-light of hope. " Un certo 
non so che," he wrote to the Margravine of Baireuth, 
"seems to tell me that all will go perfectly well." And {I 
again, at the time of the last visit he was destined to 
make to his own capital for the space of more than six 
terrible years : "I have a presentiment that I shall neither 
be killed nor wounded; I confess, however, that, should 
things turn out badly, I should a hundred times prefer 
death to the fate that would await me. You know my 
enemies ; you can judge what I should have to swallow 
in the way of humiliations ! " 

One great advantage Frederick possessed which out- Advantages 
weighed much numerical superiority: he was absolute lord of abs - 
and master, not only of his army, but also of the resources 
of his land. He could, and did, make forced loans, antici- 
pate taxes, and even inflate the currency to meet immedi- 
ate needs. Every plan of the Austrians, on the other 
hand, had to be made with reference, not only to Charles 
of Lorraine, the incompetent commander-in-chief, but also 
to Maria Theresa, to her husband, and to a permanent war 
council in Vienna. And at the side of the Prussian king, 
himself assuredly no mean general, there stood the brav- 
est and most experienced commander in Europe, Curt 
von Schwerin, the victor of Mollwitz, once the companion 
in arms of a Marlborough, a Eugene, and a Charles XII. 
The queen' of Hungary will have two "nice boys " to deal 



158 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

with, Frederick had said, meaning himself and Schwerin. 
So widespread was the latter's fame that, in 1745, Louis 
XV. had offered to place him in command of one of his 
armies. Not the least of Schwerin 's merits was his zeal 
in attending to the needs, wants, and comforts of his sol- 
diers, while at the same time preserving the strictest order 
and discipline. " Never will the army forget," wrote Fred- 
erick, sixteen years after his great general's death, "that 
it has been under the command of a Marshal Schwerin." 

In the enforced idleness of the winter quarters in Dres- 
den, Frederick spent his time in studying the great cam- 
paigns of Turenne, Eugene, and Marlborough ; he visited 
the field of Liitzen, where Gustavus Adolphus had found 
his death. All his thoughts and energies were bent on 
how to abimieren the Austrians to drive them into an 
abyss of ruin and despair before the advent of the French 
and the Russians. After long consultations with Schwerin 
and with one whom he esteemed almost as highly, Winter- 
feldt, he determined to make a dash at the enemy's camp 
near Kb'niggratz, a daring resolve considering that the 
supplies were insufficient and that, on account of the 
eaiiiness of the season, not even grass could be obtained 
for the horses. 

The Austrians had received warning of Frederick's in- 
tention, but, in their blindness, had held the report for a 
ruse of war. Now, their sole alternative was to retreat to 
the hills near Prague, leaving behind them stores of ines- 
timable value. They took up a strong position on the crest 
of the Ziscaberg, the approach of the Prussians being ren- 
dered more difficult by the steepness of the ascent, on the 
one side, and by the slimy and treacherous nature of the 
ground upon the other. But on they came, floundering 
through the beds of empty fish-ponds; and finally, with 
desperate bravery, they put the enemy to flight, mortally 



THE WARS OF FREDERICK THE GREAT 159 

wounding the most capable Austrian general, Browne, 
and driving Prince Charles into such a panic that he fell 
unconscious with a spasm of the heart. But the Prussian 
losses, too, were terrific : fiery old Schwerin himself,, who, 
with a cry of "This way, my children! " had seized a flag 
and ridden in front of his battalion, was fatally pierced 
by a bullet a costly sacrifice that filled Frederick with 
pain, and that, to use his own words, "withered the 
laurels of victory." Rather, he declared, would he have 
lost ten thousand men. 

Had the old hero lived a few days longer, he would The defeat 
doubtless have hindered his beloved king from one of the at Kolin - 
most disastrous steps of his life. Leaving the bulk of his 
army to coop up the Austrians in Prague, Frederick 
moved, with a small detachment, to join the Duke of 
Bevern, and cut off General Daun, who was marching to 
the city's relief. He would not believe the reports as to 
the strength of Daun's army, and determined to give him 
battle at once. When he drew up against him, near the 
small town of Kolin, he found himself outnumbered by two 
to one. Even then, the Austrians were all but driven to 
retreat ; the day would not have been lost but for dis- 
obedience to Frederick's distinct command that one whole 
wing should remain in reserve. "With four fresh bat- 
talions," he declared later, "I could have won the engage- 
ment." As it was, out of all his flying soldiers he could 
only rally some forty men, with whom he attempted to 
make a charge. "Will your Majesty try to take the bat- 
tery alone?" cried one of his adjutants, inducing him 
finally to desist from the attempt and to give the order for 
a general retreat. Nearly two-thirds of his infantry were 
dead or wounded, or prisoners in the hands of the enemy. 

Never were hopes more completely crushed than by the 
outcome of this battle. The army before Prague would not 






160 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



believe the news, until they saw the dejected bearing and 
sunken eyes of their king. Well might the victorious 
enemy chant their Ambrosian hymns; and well might 
Maria Theresa decree rewards to her soldiers and found an 
order, in her own name, of which her successful general 
was the first recipient. Kolin decided the whole Bohe- 
mian campaign. Crestfallen to the last degree, Frederick 
determined to retire to Silesia; and when, at last, he 
rallied his army in a place of safety, some 40,000 men 
failed to answer to the roll-call. A corps, which he had 
intrusted to his brother, Augustus William, the heir 
apparent to the Prussian throne, had suffered terrible 
losses on account of the indecision and incapacity of its 
leader: stinging and cruel were the rebukes that Fred- 
erick administered ; he could be as harsh as ever his own 
father had been when occasion demanded. "You may, 
if you like, command a harem," he wrote, "but so long 
as I live I will never trust you with the command over 
ten men ! " He bade his own soldiers hold no intercourse 
with those which his brother had been leading. Fairly 
crushed, mentally and physically, the poor prince wasted 
away, and died broken-hearted within a few months. 

It was, indeed, no time for- lenienc}', for the general 
situation seemed absolutely hopeless. "In these unhappy 
times," wrote Frederick to D'Argens, "one needs entrails 
of iron and a heart of bronze." To meet nearly 100,000 
Russians in East Prussia only 24,000 men were available; 
Marshal Lehwaldt gave battle at Gross-Jagerndorf, but 
his defeat was a foregone conclusion. It was much to his 
credit that he was able to beat an orderly retreat, and 
Frederick had nothing but praise for his endeavors; to 
reenforce him in any way was beyond his power. Against 
the Swedish battalions that gathered in Stralsund, some 
22,000 strong, there could only be opposed some few vol- 



THE WARS OF FREDERICK THE GREAT 161 

unteers. The fortress of Peenemiinde was soon forced to 
surrender, while the fate of Stettin hung wavering in the 
balance. Thus from all quarters the tide of invasion rolled 
relentlessly in. The enemy could recruit its armies from 
a population of some 60,000,000, while 4,500,000 was all 
that Prussia could boast. England, indeed, was Freder- 
ick's ally; but no British soldiers were despatched to his 
aid. An army of nearly 50,000 Hanoverians and Hessians 
had been placed under the Duke of Cumberland for the 
sake of protecting the electorate against the attack of 
three times as many French; but this favorite son of 
George II. was absolutely lacking in military talents, and 
withdrew, in a panic, from his only serious engagement, at 
Hastenbeck, at a time when the advantage was all on his 
own side. Driven from point to point, he finally ran his 
army into a regular cul de sac, where he was forced to 
surrender and to sign the disgraceful Convention of Klos- 
ter-Zeven. Fortunately, to spare his feelings, the French 
commander had called it a convention, and not a capitula- 
tion, the difference being that the one required ratifica- 
tion, the other not. 

It was in Frederick's favor that, although the empire, Sym- 
as a whole, had brought some 60,000 men into the field, pathy of 
these forces were of the worst possible material, and not German 
over loyal to their cause. Large as was the majority of the erick 
delegates that had voted for imperial execution, the people 
of Germany, as a whole, sympathized with Frederick. 
The latter's envoy at the Diet, Plotho, became a popular 
hero for the courageous manner in which he received the 
imperial notary who tried to serve upon him the formal 
citation by which his master, the " Margrave of Branden- 
burg," was bidden to appear within two months and show 
cause why he should not be placed in the greater ban of 
the empire and lose all his fiefs, privileges, liberties, and 

VOL. II M 



162 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



The great 
battle of 
Kossbach. 



expectations. The notary himself has left a description 
of how Plotho seized him by the robe, stuffed the citation 
"between his coat," forced him backward out of the room, 
and called to two of his lackeys to " pitch him down the 
stairs." Goethe has told how, seven years later, at the 
coronation at Frankfort, Plotho was still the cynosure of 
all eyes, and how respect for the Hapsburgs could scarcely 
prevent the murmurs of approbation from breaking out 
into open applause. The ban against Frederick was 
never formally published, nor was the emperor even in a 
position to procure Plotho's removal. 

Frederick, in the meantime, leaving the Duke of Bevern, 
with the bulk of the army, in Silesia to keep the Aus- 
trians in check, had marched off to Thuringia. He tried to 
entice Soubise, who commanded a second French army, 
and Hildburghausen, under whom were the contingents 
of the empire, to give him battle. He would gladly in 
these days have made peace with the French on any honor- 
able terms, and his agents were instructed to offer Madame 
de Pompadour half a million thalers, or even the princi- 
palities of Valengin and Neuenburg, if she would use her 
good offices in Prussia's favor. But nothing came of the 
endeavor, as Louis XV. refused to treat without his allies. 
Soubise and Hildburghausen kept out of the path of 
Frederick, who was forced to waste his time in marches 
and countermarches, while one piece of bad tidings after 
another rained upon him. In a skirmish near Gorlitz, his 
best-loved general, Winterfeldt, was killed; while a small 
corps, under the Austrian Haddik, entered Berlin and laid 
it under contribution. A mere fleeting visit, indeed, 
in which little damage was done. From some unknown 
cause, Haddik refrained even from blowing up the Prus- 
sian powder magazines, and his withdrawal the next day 
furthered Frederick's cause in an unexpected manner. 



THE WARS OB" FREDERICK THE GREAT 163 

The latter's endeavor to intercept Haddik was looked 
upon as a retreat by Soubise and Hildburghausen ; they 
came out from among the Thuringian hills, intending to 
liberate Saxony. Then Frederick turned, eager to give 
them battle, and took up a strong position at Rossbach 
not far from the great Leipzig plain, where the battles of 
Breitenfeld and Liitzen had been fought. From a hole in 
the roof of the town hall, made on purpose by removing 
pieces of slate, he watched the enemy's movements for 
hours. Confident in their overwhelming numbers, some 
43,000 against 20,000, the combined army tried the dar- 
ing mamjeuvre of marching completely around the Prussian 
flank; their one dread and fear was that Frederick might 
escape. But, for him, one of the great chances of his life 
had come; under the shelter of the Polzenberg and Janus- 
berg he changed his whole position, and, when thought 
by the enemy to be in full retreat, swept down upon them 
from the crest of the hills. Those were a kind of tactics 
of which the world till then had little dreamed. In the 
course of an hour the battle was decided, at a sacrifice 
in all of 530 men. Frederick killed and wounded 3000 
and took 5000 prisoners. The rest Bed precipitately, and 
the mere rumor, "The Prussians are coming," was enough 
to make them march the whole night through. The roads 
were strewn with hats, cuirasses, and heavy riding boots ; 
while the Thuringian peasants earned handsome sums by 
dragging fugitives from the villages and forests and deliv- 
ering them up at so much a head. Voltaire, in far-off 
Ferney, was in despair. " This is. no favorable time for 
Frenchmen in foreign lands," he wrote; "they laugh in 
)ur faces as though we had been adjutants of M. de Sou- 
)ise." As for Frederick, he poured out his heart in re- 
joicing to the Margravine of Baireuth: "Now I can 
descend to my tomb in peace, for the fame and honor of 



164 ' A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

my people are saved ! " He wrote grotesque odes to the 
" perfumed heroes " and to the ecraseurs, who had them- 
selves been crushed. 

Austria Yet one such victory was not enough; still another 

nearly fierce encounter was needed to equalize the earlier losses 

of this wonderful year of warfare, and to extricate the 

GjlpeiQ 

caged lion from his perilous position. And the bright- 
ness of Rossbach was to prove the merest foil to the 
splendors of Leuthen. 

The scale in the meanwhile had leapt up in favor of the 
Austrians. Far from being daunted by the defeat of the 
French and of the troops of the empire, Maria Theresa is 
thought to have heard of it with a certain satisfaction. 
These allies had been difficult to manage of late and had 
followed too much their own purposes and inclinations. 
And Silesia, in spite of Rossbach, was in a fair way of 
being won back. The Duke of Bevern was proving too 
timid ; he hung on the commands of Frederick and waited 
for the royal approval of measures which could only be 
successful if carried out at once. Thus Schweidnitz, 
Frederick's new fortress, fell, after a siege of seventeen 
days, without a battle' having been offered to the besiegers ; 
and 5800 Prussians were made prisoners of war. When 
finally an engagement did take place, near Breslau, the 
circumstances were far less advantageous ; and the de- 
feated Prussians were obliged to retreat into the town. 
Bevern himself was taken captive, voluntarily, as 
Frederick at first believed, and when, soon afterward, 
Breslau fell, the fate of Silesia seemed sealed. Some 
4000 men who had fought on the Prussian side went over 
to the empress. Charles of Lorraine was instructed to 
hasten and give the coup de grdce to Frederick's dis- 
organized army. 

But the latter had become a new man since the battle of 



THE WARS OF FREDERICK THE GREAT 165 

Rossbach. He steps forward now, at the very height of The battle 
his extraordinary genius, full of self-confidence, the in- of Leuthen - 
spirer of others, the very God of his troops. " His heart 
is torn, but his head is clear and cool," declares his secre- 
tary, Eichel. He found the Silesian army in an incredible 
state of demoralization, but his presence in camp worked 
a marvellous transformation. The sight of his determined 
face, which had taken on entirely new lines in the course 
of this awful war, the glance of the great, earnest eye, the 
sound of the sympathetic voice, did as much to restore order 
as the brief, emphatic words with which he addressed his 
officers. Whoever wished to abandon him might go at 
once without fear of punishment; the situation was des- 
perate, a battle must be risked at any cost. The enemy 
favored him by quitting a strong position in order the 
more quickly to dispose of this " Potsdam parade guard " 
this tiny force from one-half to one-third the size of their 
own. " The fox hag crept out of his hole," cried Frederick, 
in boundless glee; "now I will punish his audacity." 

Here at Leuthen this royal commander tried, with phe- 
nomenal success, his most famous devices; he played 
with his army as though it had been some instrument, 
some carefully graduated machine. Making a feint against 
the enemy's right wing, he hurried the bulk of his forces 
obliquely across their whole line of battle, and fell with 
terrific impetus upon their more exposed left. No clever 
pugilist ever more completely broke down the guard of his 
unwary antagonist. The slaughter was appalling; the 
retreat so disastrous that only 35,000 starving and ill men 
out of an original 60,000 or 70,000 found refuge in Bohe- 
mia; while, by the capitulation of Breslau, 18,000 more 
became prisoners of war. Napoleon Bonaparte said of 
this battle: "It was a masterpiece in the way of evolu- 
tions, manosuvres, and determination, and would alone 



166 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

have sufficed to make Frederick immortal and to rank him 
among the greatest generals. He attacked a vastly supe- 
rior and victorious army, already drawn up in line of 
battle, with an army consisting in part of troops that had 
just been beaten, and carried off a great -victory with 
comparatively small losses." 

English aid. With the exception of the fortress of Schweidnitz, all 
Silesia was once more in Frederick's hands. The Rus- 
sians, too, on the strength of a report that the Czarina 
Elizabeth had died, or possibly because their leader, 
Apraxin, was mixed up in a conspiracy to supplant her, 
had already turned homeward; and Lehwaldt, thus set 
free, had practically purged Pomerania of the Swedes. 
England, moreover, had awakened to her responsibilities, 
had repudiated the Convention of Kloster-Zeven, and 
voted four million pounds sterling in the way of subsidies ; 
besides placing the control of the Hanoverian forces under 
a general in whom Frederick had the 'fullest confidence, 
Ferdinand of Brunswick, who had served from youth up 
in the Prussian army. New indeed was the spirit which 
William Pitt had infused into the government of the Eng- 
lish nation ; he it was who had cried out in Parliament, " I 
feel the most grateful sentiments of veneration and zeal 
for a prince who stands, the unshaken bulwark of Europe, 
against the most powerful and malignant confederacy that 
ever yet has threatened the independence of mankind." 

But Frederick had gained a breathing space only to be 
plunged more deeply into a sea of dangers and difficul- 
ties. He had hoped for peace after his great victories, but 
he soon realized, as he wrote to his brother Henry, that he 
must "continue his rope-dancing." Year after year he 
was to experience more bitterly what it meant to sus- 
tain a war against enemies on all of his boundaries ; year 
after vear he was to find it more difficult to raise men 



THE WARS OP FREDERICK THE GREAT 167 

and money. Nor was it a question of numbers alone; 
the material, too, of his army was rapidly degenerating. 
The recruits were less well trained, while no suitable 
officers could be found to take the place of the devoted men 
who had fallen at their posts. It could not be otherwise, 
when the Prussian state was so infinitely smaller in area 
than the domains of any one of its principal antagonists. 

In the spring of 1758, Frederick managed to take 
Schweidnitz; while Ferdinand of Brunswick, with great 
energy, forced the French to evacuate Minden, and drove 
them across the Rhine. They had suffered much, these 
.troops of Louis XV. ; badly cared for, sickness had broken 
out in their camp, and, in the month of January alone, some 
ten thousand had died in hospital. Later on in the sum- 
mer, Ferdinand defeated Clermont, who, to repeat a Paris- 
ian witticism of the time, "preached like a soldier and 
fought like an apostle "; and took Diisseldorf. 

But the Czarina Elizabeth had meanwhile discovered Frederick's 
and put down the conspiracy against her, Apraxin had retreatfrom 
been removed from the command, and Bestucheff dis- 
graced, threatened with the knout, and even sentenced to 
death a penalty which was then commuted to banish- 
ment. With more determination than ever the campaign 
was carried on in East Prussia; and General Fermor, 
Apraxin 's successor, brought the whole land into his 
hands. All the cities, as well as the chief nobles, were 
forced to swear allegiance to Russia; they did it with an 
apparent willingness that the Prussian king never forgave. 

Frederick himself had marched into Moravia intending 
to reduce the fortress of Olmiitz ; but his engineers mis- 
calculated the proper distance at which to throw up their 
intrenchments, and, while they were making good their 
fault, some four thousand valuable transport wagons fell 
into- the hands of the Austrian general, Laudon. Fred- 



168 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY ' 

erick, short of ammunition and in every way crippled by 
the loss, was nearly hemmed in between two formidable 
armies. Daun had some seventy thousand men, while in 
Laudon, whose services he had once rejected when offered 
to himself, he found the most formidable general with 
whom he had ever yet had to contend. 

His own determination was now quickly made. Calling 
"ffis officers together, he appealed to their loyalty and 
bravery, threatened to cashier any one of them who should 
say that all was lost, or even show a crestfallen counte- 
nance, and then, abandoning the field, made one of the 
memorable retreats of history, and reached Silesia with his 
army safe and sound. From here, after only two days' 
rest, he started off with fourteen thousand picked men to 
give battle to the Russians, who had advanced as far as 
the river Oder and were threatening to overwhelm the 
whole Mark Brandenburg. "Say to all your officers," lie 
wrote to Dohna, to whom he had intrusted the defence of 
the Mark, "that my device is 'conquer or die,' and that, if 
any one thinks otherwise, he can stay on this side of the 
Oder and go to the devil ! " 

The battle In ten days, through the hottest of August weather, 
ofZorn- Frederick marched 150 miles to Frankfort on the Oder; 
then he joined forces with Dohna before Kiistrin, obliging 
Fermor to abandon the siege of that fortress. Soon after, 
at Zorndorf, was fought one of the bloodiest battles of the 
whole war, if not, indeed, of the whole century. Frederick 
had been sadly mistaken in these Russians ; he considered 
them bad fighters and he was right as regarded their 
capacity for executing swift manosuvres. But they stood 
their ground in the grim jaws of death as well as any troops 
in Europe. Frederick conquered them here at Zorndorf - 
conquered them so completely that they could not make 
their projected junction with the Swedes, and were obliged 



THE WARS OF FREDERICK THE GREAT 169 

soon to abandon the campaign. But the fierceness of the 
ten-hour fight had been unprecedented ; maddened by the 
cruelty and wild excesses of these half-barbarians, Fred- 
erick, for the first and only time in his life, had com- 
manded that no mercy be shown, no quarter given. When 
ammunition grew scarce, the fight was continued with 
bayonets, sabres, and the but-ends of muskets; dying 
men clasped each other in a last hostile embrace, and a 
Russian, mortally wounded, was found gnawing the flesh 
of a Prussian. Frederick's losses were about eleven 
thousand, those of Fermor nearly twice that number. 

Twice during this battle, the dashing cavalry general, 
Seydlitz, had saved the wavering fortunes of the day by 
unexpected charges. At first Frederick had been alarmed 
at his unwonted independence and had sent him a com- 
mand, followed by a stern warning that he must answer 
for his actions with his head. But Seydlitz had seen his 
opportunity, and sending word, "After the battle my head 
is at my king's service," had gone his own way. His 
head was safe enough when, later, at the door of his tent 
Frederick received him with a warm embrace and acknowl- 
edged him the real victor. 

If any one advantage could outweigh the numerical The defeat 
superiority of the allies, it was Frederick's capacity for at Hoch - 
swift movement and sudden action. The dead that fell 
at Zorndorf could scarcely have found burial before he 
started off for Saxony, the defence of which he had left in 
the hands of Prince Henry of Prussia that one of all his 
brothers in whom, in spite of the difference of their char- 
acters, and, on Henry's part, of a lack of sympathy and 
comprehension, he placed the most confidence. And here 
in Saxony, Henry had fully justified it. Daun had taken 
advantage of Frederick's absence to invade the land, and 
Henry had held him at bay and avoided disaster, although 



170 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

the different forces against him outnumbered his own by 
four to one. 

For the present, indeed, the days of signal victories 
were over; and, for the three defeats which followed, Fred- 
erick had no one but himself to thank. At Hochkirch, 
near Bautzen, he had encamped in a position which he 
knew to be dangerous, seeing that a vastly superior force of 
Austrians held the hills all around. Marshal Keith had 
said to him, " If the Austrians leave us unmolested in this 
camp, they deserve to be hanged ; " but Frederick had 
merely answered, "It is to be noped that they fear us 
more than the gallows." He despised this Daun, this 
Fabius Cunctator, who always remained on the defensive. 
But in the present case Daun listened to good advice and 
made a night attack upon the Prussians. The latter 
rushed to arms half-naked and confused by the din and 
uproar; so dark it was that they could only distinguish 
friend from foe by feeling for the fur caps of their antago- 
nists. For five hours they made a stubborn resistance, and 
then retreated, beaten, and with losses much greater than 
those of the Austrians, but in good order. Frederick, 
who fortunately had not yet received the news of the death 
of his favorite sister, Wilhelmine, which took place in 
this very night of Hochkirch, remained calm and cheerf ul. 
He did indeed write to his brother Henry, " Unhappily I 
am still alive ; " but on the very same day he also wrote to 
Schmettau, the commandant of Dresden, "I am deter- 
mined not to retreat a single step, but rather, standing 
firm, to await the enemy and give him battle a second 
time." 

The battle But Daun furnished him with no opportunity; intrench- 

of Kuners- j n g himself with as much care as though he had never 

won a victory, the Austrian commander considered that 

he was doing enough for his mistress by guarding the road 



THE WARS OF FREDERICK THE GREAT 171 

to Silesia, where a second Austrian arr.y was besieging 
Neisse. Frederick slipped by him, relieved Neisse, and 
was soon back in Saxony. 

In the following summer the Russians again advanced 
to the Oder. Elizabeth's zeal had slackened after Zorn- 
dorf, but the courts of Vienna and Paris had taken care 
that she should see an official report in a Berlin newspaper 
in which the Russians were spoken of as "barbarians." 
She had fallen into a violent rage, and informed Maria 
Theresa, through Esterhazy, that she would risk her last 
rouble and her last man for the sake of annihilating the 
king of Prussia. Her own guard regiments had been 
despatched from St. Petersburg, and, in July, 1759, the 
reenforced army won the battle of Kay, near Ziillichau, 
and took the important town of Frankfort-on-the-Oder. 
For the first time in the war, a supplementary corps of 
Austrians, under none other than Laudon, was sent to 
Prussia, and Frederick's downfall seemed assured. 

Nothing daunted, he attacked the combined army, nearly 
double the size of his own, on the heights of Kunersdorf, 
routed the Russian left wing, and took seventy guns and 
several thousand prisoners. Had he been willing to rest 
on his laurels and to give a breathing space to his army, 
which had been marching and fighting for twelve hours, 
he would have saved himself the most awful, the most 
overwhelming, of all his defeats. But he wished to anni- 
hilate the Russians by cutting off their retreat; and, failing 
.in this, drove them to make a last desperate stand. They 
held the Spitzberg against all his assaults ; although the 
Prussian infantry stood there, hour after hour, suffocated 
by the heat and tortured by the thirst which they had 
been unable to quench on their long, dusty march. They 
hoped to the last that Seydlitz would sweep down to their 
rescue as he had done at Zorndorf; but Seydlitz was 



172 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



Frederick's 
despair. 



The battle 
of Minden. 



lying wounded and could bring them no help. A right in- 
stinct had led him to delay carrying out one of Frederick's 
commands, but when the order came a second time he 
had fallen in attempting to obey. 

The king himself had shown a never-failing courage, 
and at the last could scarcely be drawn from the lost field. 
Two horses had been shot under him; his clothes were 
riddled with bullets, one of which would certainly have 
wounded him had it not flattened against a golden tui. 
The outcome of the battle procured him the darkest 
moments of despair that he had ever known in his 
whole life. "Of an army of 48,000, there are not at 
this moment 3,000 left," he wrote to Finkenstein. "The 
consequences of the battle will be worse than the battle 
itself; I have no more resources, and, not to hide the 
truth, I consider that all is lost. I shall not survive 
the ruin of my country. Farewell forever!" So com- 
pletely did he consider his career ended that, under pre- 
tence of illness, he resigned the command to General 
Finck, bidding him make a last effort to save Berlin 
should Laudon march in that direction. But, a few days 
later, he was able to write to his brother Henry : " You may 
reckon upon it that so long as my eyes can open I shall 
do my duty and serve my state." And again, after the 
lapse of a fortnight, overjoyed at hearing that the Russians 
had retired from the Mark: "I have to announce to you 
a miracle that has happened in favor of the House of 
Brandenburg ! " 

Frederick found that his losses were not so great as he 
'had feared some 18,000 or 19,000 against 16,000 of the 
enemy; and in this same month Ferdinand of Brunswick 
had won the great battle of Minden against the new French 
commander, Contades. Here at Minden, the enemy would 
have been as completely routed as was Frederick's army at 



THE WARS OF FREDERICK THE GREAT 173 

Kunersdorf, had it not been for the cowardice and folly of 
the English Lord Sackville, who, at a decisive moment, 
refused to join in the engagement. "For God's sake," a 
lieutenant colonel had said to Ligonier, Ferdinand's aide- 
de-camp, " repeat your orders that that man may not pre- 
tend he does not understand them ; for it is now over half 
an hour since we received orders to march, and yet we are 
still here. For you see, sir, the condition he' is in." 
Sackville was later court-martialled, and declared "unfit 
to serve his Majesty in any military capacity whatever." 

There is no doubt but that, had Daun and the Russian The sur- 
general, Soltykoff, acted in concert, Frederick's worst fears render at 
would have been realized. But the Russians were angry 
because, save for sending Laudon's corps, the Austrians 
had done little to support them. They themselves had 
lost 27,000 men since reaching the Oder; it was time, 
Soltykoff thought, that Daun should bear more of the bur- 
den of the war and allow his, Soltykoff s, army to rest. 
Moreover, the Austrian field marshal, instead of furnishing 
long-promised provisions and supplies, now offered a 
mere money payment. "My soldiers do not eat money," 
answered Soltykoff, in a rage; and the friction at last 
precluded all common action. 

For Frederick, indeed, fate still had blows enough in 
reserve. Immediately after Kunersdorf, he had ordered 
Schmettau to make what terms he could for Dresden. 
The commandant surrendered within a fortnight, con- 
vinced that without hope of succor a garrison of 4000 
could accomplish nothing against six times that number. 
The first fruits of the war, the Prussian centre of supplies, 
was lost; and soon came the surrender at Maxen of 
12,000 men under General Finck, who, in too literal 
obedience to commands, had allowed himself to be sur- 
rounded, and then, instead of fighting his way out, had 



174 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



Frederick's 

dwindling 

resources. 



laid down his arms. "That cuts me to the marrow," 
Frederick said when he heard of the disaster; and, a whole 
year later, he declared: "If we are conquered, we shall 
have to date our ruin from the day of that wretched occur- 
rence at Maxen." Finck was disgraced and placed under 
arrest. 

It seemed, indeed, in the two years that followed, as if 
even Frederick's superhuman efforts must meet with fail- 
ure. With breathless interest all Europe watched him 
extricate himself from one hopeless situation after another. 
What saved him was his own activity and courage ; the 
capability and bravery of generals like Ziethen, Seydlitz, 
Ferdinand of Brunswick, and Prince Henry of Prussia; 
and, lastly, the fact that at home the affairs of the allies 
were managed, in the final instance, by three capricious 
women. How long had Maria Theresa > clung to Charles 
of Lorraine after all the world knew that he was nothing 
of a general! It was the same with Elizabeth and Fermor. 

All the same, the iron ring was being drawn closer and 
closer around Frederick. In the spring of 1760 he could 
oppose but 90,000 Prussians to 200,000 Austrians; for 
the first time since the war began, Laudon could open a 
campaign on Prussian territory. He took Glatz and ap- 
peared before Breslau, after having fairly annihilated a 
corps under General de la Motte Fouque* at Landshut. 
Fouque* himself, the Prussian Bayard, was wounded and 
taken prisoner, but not until the bravery of his resistance 
had filled even the enemy with admiration. One of the 
Austrian colonels, Voit, would have lent him his own 
horse: "I should only soil your fine trappings with my 
blood," he said, refusing the offer. " My trappings will 
be worth infinitely more," was the generous response, "if 
they are spattered with the blood of a hero." 

Frederick himself, after bombarding Dresden to no 



THE WARS OF FREDERICK THE GREAT 175 

effect, marched to Silesia, where he found himself sur- The battle 
rounded by no less than three Austrian armies : those of of Liegnitz. 
Lacy, Daun, and Laudon; while a large Russian corps 
was not far off. These, according to his own verdict, 
were the most perilous days through which he had ever 
passed ; only the most extreme wariness and agility saved 
him from destruction. Night after night, he changed his 
camp after the enemy had already made their dispositions 
for an attack. At Liegnitz, at last, they felt sure of 
securing him; Daun and Lacy were to fall upon him 
simultaneously, while Laudon was to cut off his retreat. 
He was told of the Austrian boast, "The sack is open, 
we need only to pull the string and the king and his army 
are caught! " " They are not so wrong," was his comment, 
"but I hope to slit their sack! " Under cover of the night 
he caught Laudon on the march before the latter could take 
up his appointed position. Daun, with his usual inde- 
cision, did not come to the rescue until the last moment; 
and Ziethen received his advance guard with a volley from 
the heaviest guns. Lacy was held back by swampy ground, 
though Laudon believed that he had purposely left him 
in the lurch. The latter's losses were nearly 11,000 as 
compared to 3500 of the enemy. 

As for Frederick, he evaded the Russian general, Czer- 
nitscheff, and threw him into a panic by the simple sub- 
terfuge of allowing one of his own letters, with a greatly 
exaggerated account of the victory of Liegnitz, to fall, as 
if by chance, into Russian hands. But Czernitscheff, 
later joining with Totleben, appeared before Berlin, and 
forced it to capitulate and to pay a heavy ransom. Lacy 
occupied Potsdam and Charlottenburg, in which latter 
place much wanton damage was done. On the news of 
Frederick's approach, the Russians withdrew to the Oder, 
and Lacy to Torgau, where he joined Daun. The circle 



176 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

had narrowed until it enclosed the very heart of Frederick's 
own domains. 

The battle Here at Torgau, Frederick, with 44,000 men, stood over 
ofTorgau. a g a i ns t the 60,000 of Daun, determined, as he wrote to 
his brother Henry, "to conquer or die." He had called 
his generals together and told them that he "did not 
wish the opinion of any one of them, but would merely tell 
them that Daun must be attacked on the following day." 
Ziethen was intrusted with the whole right wing, and 
was ordered to outflank the enemy and cut off their retreat 
to the south. The strength of the Austrians lay in the 
number of their heavy guns, which almost doubled those 
of the Prussians; and Frederick's first attack was greeted 
by the most murderous fire he had ever experienced. 
Indeed, the Prussians soon found that they had before 
them a task of unwonted seriousness. In the midst of 
the engagement Frederick himself, who had hitherto 
borne such a charmed existence, was struck in the breast 
by a bullet and fell unconscious from his horse; for- 
tunately, the ball was almost a spent one, and during a 
part at least of the remainder of the battle, he was able 
to retain the command. Wearied, indeed, and weakened, 
he at last repaired to a little church near by to have his 
wound bound and to formulate his plans. Darkness had 
come on and no one knew which side had won. Austrian 
and Prussian soldiers sat down peaceably together, after 
mutually agreeing to surrender themselves the next day to 
the army which should prove to have been victorious. The 
Austrian commanders, indeed, considered the field theirs, 
and sent off the news to Vienna; where it was proclaimed 
in the streets and imparted by special envoys to the foreign 
powers. But they had counted without Ziethen's hussars. 
From the opposite side, after night had already fallen, he 
had started to storm the heights of Supitz, which the 



THE WARS OF FREDERICK THE GREAT 177 

Austrians had maintained the whole day; and by midnight 
had forced Daim to order a retreat. 



Except for the fact that defeat would have meant ruin, Frederick 
Frederick gained little by dearly bought victories like on the de ' 
Torgau. Ten thousand more of his sadly dwindling army 
were incapacitated for fighting. He himself was growing 
very bitter and savage against those who forced him to 
continue the war, and who had just plundered his capital. 
He sanctioned now so merciless a sacking of the castles of 
Torgau and Hubertsburg, that one of his generals, Saldern, 
refused to carry out his commands. 

In the following spring, Frederick was able to oppose 
only 96,000 men to three times that number of Aus- 
trians and Russians ; while Ferdinand of Brunswick had 
to contend as usual with a French army nearly double 
the size of his own. The war enters now into a some- 
what slower tempo; the year 1761 is the year of sieges 
and camps, and, on the Silesian scene of war at least, is 
not marked by a single pitched battle. For the first time 
in the course of the war, Frederick devoted his whole ener- 
gies to intrenching himself as strongly as possible; and 
his camp at Bunzelwitz, north of Schweidnitz, proved 
marvellously strong and effective. The Austrians, on the 
other hand, besieged and took Schweidnitz, while, at the 
same time, Colberg, after a long and glorious resistance, 
fell into the hands of the Russians. 

Thus again the field of action was narrowed; thus again Lord Bute' 
Herculean efforts were needed to raise the Prussian army, abandon- 

which had shrunk to a meagre 60,000, to its normal \ 

. Frederick. 

size. Any other man than Frederick, indeed, would 
have been completely brought to bay by the sickening 
news that now came from England: how the courageous 
and warlike Pitt had fallen and been replaced by the 
favorite of the new king, the pacific Bute; how the mili- 

VOL. II N 



178 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

tary convention with Prussia had not been renewed, and 
the English subsidies, which of late years had been very 
considerable indeed, were henceforward- to cease ; how 
Frederick was advised to make peace, even at the price of 
some of his lands. So far did Bute go in his desire for 
peace and quiet, that he was willing to renounce New- 
foundland and other English conquests in North America; 
and drew down upon himself, in consequence, in his own 
land, a flood of satiric sheets, in which he was most un- 
favorably compared to the idolized Pitt. Nay more, Bute 
so far forgot the long Prussian friendship as to send an 
envoy to urge the Russian court to continue its armies in 
the field against Frederick, on the ground that otherwise 
Frederick would have free play against Maria Theresa, and 
thus the war might be prolonged indefinitely! The Eng- 
lish treason to the German cause at Utrecht was nothing to 
this base attempt at crippling a former ally. Bute's own 
envoy, Mitchell, was outraged at such conduct and at his 
chief's whole attitude. He begged Frederick not to con- 
found the English nation with a madman, who was rush- 
ing to his own destruction and would surely end upon the 
scaffold. "I am tired of my accursed trade," Mitchell 
wrote to Keith, the envoy at St. Petersburg. 

To Bute's surprise, Frederick accepted the withdrawal 
of the subsidies with a certain equanimity; the demand 
that he should rush head over heels (a r hurlu-burlu) into 
a peace he declared impossible of fulfilment. " The Eng- 
lish thought," he wrote later, "that money did everything 
and that there was no money except in England." But 
he never forgave this desertion ; one of his favorite horses, 
which he had named after Bute, was condemned to haul 
wood with base mules. When England's war with her 
American colonies broke out, all Frederick's sympathies 
were with the latter; and on the Hessian soldiers who were 



THE WARS OF FREDERICK THE GREAT 179 

sold to fight across the water he placed the same tax, when 
they crossed his domains, as on cattle going to slaughter. 

Frederick was kept from despair and, so far as human Russia 
judgment reaches, from utter ruin, by events which were changes . 
occurring simultaneously in Russia. His old, indefatiga- 
ble enemy, Elizabeth, died on January 5, 1762; and Avas 
succeeded by her Holstein nephew, Peter III., who had 
always cherished a romantic attachment for Frederick. 
In the very night after the Czarina's decease, couriers were 
sent off to the army, bidding it advance no farther into 
Prussian territory and to refrain from all hostilities ; 
within a week, a secret messenger had been despatched to 
Frederick himself, assuring him of the new Czar's firm 
friendship. The Prussian king answered by freeing 
Peter's little German principality of Zerbst from all levies 
and imposts, and by returning all the Russian prisoners 
of war. In the month of May, a formal peace was signed 
at St. Petersburg; and the event was celebrated with the 
utmost rejoicing in every city of the Mark. " Heaven 
still stands by us," wrote Frederick to Ferdinand of 
Brunswick, "and everything will turn out well." He 
had grown as tired of this struggle, as tired of life, to 
use his own favorite simile, as the Wandering Jew him- 
self; but now the end was in sight. The peace with 
Russia was followed by one with Sweden, with which 
power, indeed, Frederick said contemptuously that he 
was scarcely aware of having been at war: one of his gen- 
erals, Belling, had had a little trouble with these Swedes, 
but would probably settle it by himself. 

Peter III.'s enthusiastic demonstrations of friendship The battle 
went so far, that he had himself chosen colonel of a Prussian of 
regiment, and that he also sent Czernitscheff back with eigh- 
teen thousand men to fight on the side of this former enemy. 
The Russian general joined Frederick when the latter was 



180 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

preparing to fight a battle for the rescue of Schweidnitz; 
but the brave Prussian king was none the less destined to 
finish this war without the aid of foreign troops. Just as 
the attack was about to commence against the Austrians, 
who were posted on the heights of Burkersdorf, news came 
that Peter III. had been deposed by Catherine II., who, 
though willing to ratify the recent peace, was not minded 
to shed the blood of her Russians in an indifferent cause. 
So much was gained by Frederick, that Czernitscheff agreed 
to keep secret from the Austrians the order for his recall ; 
his soldiers, though lay figures in the battle of Burkers- 
dorf, helped greatly to decide the day in favor of the 
Prussians. 

The long struggle of years was ending where it had 
begun, as a stern duel between Austria and Prussia. 
George III. of England, in November, 1762, closed the 
treaty of Fontainebleau with France on the understanding 
that each power should abandon its former ally. 
The peace But how could even a Maria Theresa hope to compete, 
of Huberts- alone, with an enemy whom she had failed to crush when 
in bond with nearly the whole continent of Europe? She 
offered to accept the mediation of the electoral prince of 
Saxony ; and, when Frederick refused, sent her own envoy 
direct to the castle of Hubertsburg with directions to 
agree to a peace on the basis of a return to the condition 
of things before the war a solution of the difficulties 
which Frederick himself had proposed. Yet, even then, 
the negotiations, which were conducted on the Prussian 
side by the minister, Hertzberg, occupied a full seven 
weeks, many of the questions raised being merely inci- 
dental. The Viennese envoy insisted, for instance, that 
in both copies of the treaty the name of Maria Theresa 
should come first; and negotiations had to cease until 
word came from Frederick that the matter was wholly 



THE WARS OP FREDERICK THE GREAT 181 

indifferent to him. The peace was signed on the 15th of 
February, .1763, a status quo in every particular. 

This, then, was the end of the great struggle that had 
cost a million lives and loaded every state of Europe, save 
Prussia, with such a national debt as they have never yet 
been able to liquidate. Unlike the majority of peace 
treaties, it seemed to satisfy every one ; although the un- 
doubted victor was Frederick, who retained Silesia, after 
having warded off from the Prussian state an almost cer- 
tain destruction. The English envoy, Mitchell, immedi- 
ately on the receipt of the news, wrote to the Prussian 
king that he had long considered him the first of warriors, 
but must now admire him as the most able negotiator that 
had ever lived. 



CHAPTER V 

FREDERICK THE GREAT IN TIME OF PEACE 

LITERATURE : Koser has excellent chapters on various phases of Fred- 
erick's reign. See also the learned biography by Preuss. Reiuiann, 
Neuere Geschichte des preussischen Staates, deals exhaustively with the 
period from 17(53 on. Dohm's Denkwurdigkeiten are an interesting 
treatment of the last twenty-five years of the eighteenth century, by a 
contemporary. Tuttle is at his best when treating of Frederick in time 
of peace. Oncken's Friedrich der Grosse is not remarkable for any 
merits. See also Pierson and Eberty. Some of Schmoller's excellent 
studies include Frederick's time. 

Frederick a IF the happenings in Prussia occupy considerable space 
in our pages, it is not merely because these matters are 
intrinsically of great interest, but also because that state 
was now actually assuming the leadership in Germany. 
When once an elector of the empire, in a seven years' 
struggle, had succeeded in defeating, not merely the house 
of Austria, with four times the territory and six times the 
population, but, at the same time, the might of Russia and 
France combined, not to speak of the whole of the rest 
of Germany, there was no doubt as to where lay the 
centre of national gravity. Frederick the Great is looked 
upon to-day, not as the special hero of the Prussians, but 
as the hero of the whole German people. His portrait was 
hung in the huts of peasants all over the land, and was sold 
in so many impressions that at this day contemporary 
copies can be obtained in the print shops for a mere song. 
In person, Frederick was a typical German, fair-haired 
and with blue eyes of wonderful brilliancy we are told 
by one who saw him often, that none of the portraits could 
do justice to those eyes. In stature he was very short, 

182 



FREDERICK THE GREAT IN TIME OF PEACE 183 

measuring not more than five feet five. In his personal Personal 
appearance, as well as in all his habits and ways of character- 

thought, he changed greatly in the course of the Seven !f ic f ? , 
XT- TTT i -i Frederick. 

Years War; one has only to look at the engraving by 

Wille, taken in the year of his accession, and to compare 
it with one of the later ones, like that of Bartolozzi, to 
appreciate the difference. In the one the features are 
well rounded, handsome, radiant, and rather pleasantly 
arrogant; in the other they are grim, determined, foxy, 
and deeply lined with care. He writes himself in one of 
his letters about those wrinkles and their cause, and we 
can trace the change in other ways. No more striking 
contrast can be imagined than that which appears in the 
whole tone of his correspondence. "My youth, the fire 
of passion, the longing for fame," he writes to Jordan, in 
1740, "yes, to be frank, curiosity and, in the last instance, 
a secret instinct, have driven me from my quiet rest ; and 
the wish to see my name in the news-leaves and in history 
has led me astray. Come to me here, philosophy main- 
tains its rights, and I assure you I would think only of 
peace and quiet had I not this accursed desire for fame." 
"Yes, experience is a fine thing," he wrote in 1762; "in 
my youth I was buoyant as a foal that springs around a 
meadow without a bridle, now I have grown as cautious 
as old Nestor. But more than that, I am gray, furrowed 
with grief, bowed with bodily ills only fit, in short, to 
be thrown to the dogs." 

The price of this king's victories had indeed been a ter- Terrible 
rible one to pay. No language can do justice to the stead- strain of 
fastness with which he had met every kind of onslaught; * e l e , vei 
but the man within was filled with thoughts of bitterness 
and despair. " Death is sweet in comparison to such a 
life," he wrote in 1760. "... Never will I outlive the 
moment that obliges me to sign a disadvantageous peace. 



184. A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

... I have lost all my friends and my dearest relations; 
my unhappiness has reached the limits of possibility; I 
have nothing left for which to hope." 

As early as 1758, he had written that he had lost every- 
thing he loved and honored in the world. It would be 
hard to equal in bitterness and cynicism the terms in 
which he speaks of his prospects in 1761: "Next year, too, 
*I shall have to go on rope-dancing and making dangerous 
bounds whenever it pleases their very apostolic, very 
* Christian, and very Muscovitic majesties to call, 'Jump, 
Marquis!' . . . Ah, how hard-hearted men are! They 
say to me, 'You have friends.' Yes, fine friends, who 
cross their arms and tell me, 'We really wish you all suc- 
cess! ' 'But I am drowning; throw me a rope! ' 'Oh, 
no, you will not drown. ' k Yes, 1 must sink the next 
moment.' 'Oh, we hope the contrary. But if it should 
happen, be convinced that we shall place a fine inscription 
on your tomb! ' Shortly before the end of the war he 
wrote to Frau von Camas, " You speak of the death of 
poorJT. . . . Ah, dear Mamma, for six years now it is 
no longer the dead, but the living I bemoan." 

Frederick's Beyond a doubt, the halcyon days of Frederick's life 
coldness to f e ii i n the period between the Peace of Breslau, in 1745, 
and the beginning of the Seven Years' War, in 1756. It 
is true that his marriage had turned out fully as unhappily 
as he had prophesied. He had declared, at the time, that 
he would put away his Brunswick bride on the day of his 
coronation ; but there was no formal proceeding of the kind. 
There had been a period, indeed, when, at Rheinsberg, they 
had lived together quite happily. When he first went off 
to the Silesian wars he wrote to her, if not warmly, at least 
in a friendly strain; he counts on the pleasure, he de- 
clares, of seeing her again after the peace. But he gradu- 
ally grows colder and colder; and when her brother dies 






FREDERICK THE GREAT IN TIME OF PEACE 185 

he waits a long time before sending her a word of regret. 
Their relations were at last established on the most distant 
and formal of footings. Frederick always insisted, indeed, 
that she should receive to the full the honors due to a 
c x ueen ; and her court, at Berlin in the winter and at Schon- 
hausen in the summer, was the centre of considerable 
activity. Ambassadors were punctilious in paying their 
respects; her birthday was a brilliant festival; while 
parades and other expressions of rejoicing were inaugu- 
rated in her honor. The king made her formal visits at 
long intervals ; but to Potsdam, where he resided for half 
the year, she might never come not even when her hus- 
band was desperately ill. It is doubtful if she ever even 
laid eyes on Frederick's exquisite little palace of Sans 
Souci. Once when her brother Ferdinand came to Berlin 
and Frederick was absent in the wars, the latter wrote to 
Ferdinand that he would be pleased to have him visit the 
palace, and, if the queen should choose to accompany him, 
everything would be ready for her reception. But Eliza- 
beth Christine proudly refused. She would not choose the 
time of her husband's absence to visit his abode. 

Frederick was right when he said, at the time, of his Unhappi- 
marriage, "There will be one more unhappy princess in ^J^ 
the world." Elizabeth Christine would have liked noth- 
ing better than to be a faithful, loving, and devoted wife. 
She repeatedly declared that she was ready to die for the 
king, and she waited in hope and expectation that time 
might bring a change. Once, when she knew that he was 
coming to Berlin, she rose from a bed of sickness, declar- 
ing that, living or dead, she must be there to receive him 
on his arrival. Yet all this devotion and humilitj never 
softened the heart of the man who was its object. Fred- 
erick had once said of his intended bride, " Let her be as 
frivolous as' she pleases, only not simple;" perhaps all 



186 



A SHOUT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



Death 
of Wil- 
helmine. 



Frederick's 
guests at 
Sans Souci. 



this affection bordered on simplicity. Yet there were 
other, worse qualities, such as a proneness to suspicion, 
a moodiness of temper, a certain discontent. At all 
events, Frederick thoroughly detested her. Once, when 
he had arranged a little journey and a festival for his 
mother, Elizabeth Christine sent word through her brother 
that she would like to take part ; but Frederick refused, 
on the ground that she was a simpering marplot and would 
spoil the whole occasion. 

Thus it came about that Sans Souci was scarcely ever 
graced by the presence of a woman. With his sister 
Wilhelmine, Frederick had quarrelled at the time of the 
election, as emperor, of Maria Theresa's husband. The 
Margravine of Baireuth had not been able to refrain from 
paying her respects to the new empress and from taking 
part in the Frankfort gayeties. But the breach had been 
healed and Wilhelmine for a time had been her brother's 
guest at Potsdam. Her death, on the night of the battle 
of Hochkirch, was one of the most terrible blows of these 
terrible times. 

Frederick found consolation for the lack of a normal 
household in his dumb beasts and in his literary men. 
To his dogs he was perfectly devoted; they were allowed 
the utmost liberty, were fondly inquired after when the 
king was absent, and were finally buried in the tomb he 
had intended for himself. With his horses it was the 
same; some of them were allowed to roam about at will, 
and one, the famous Cond^, was even invited into the 
hall of Sans Souci, where, according to tradition at least, 
he wrought havoc to the pavement with his heavy feet. 
The broken tile was long shown to visitors, until, in 
common with the chair-cover torn by the dogs, it was 
repaired by the present ruler. 

One of the first acts of Frederick's reign' had been to 



FREDERICK THE GREAT IN TOIE OF PEACE 187 

issue invitations to foreign celebrities to come and grace 
his court. Many, like Vaucanson and Gresset, had been 
obliged to refuse, but Maupertuis at the height of his 
fame as Arctic explorer and discoverer of the flattening of 
the poles of the earth had accepted the presidency of the 
Berlin academy. Many of the newcomers received sti- 
pends, and had, therefore, to be at the king's beck and call. 
A constant guest for a time was the Scotchman, James 
Keith, who had been a general in the Russian service and 
was now made Prussian marshal. He writes to his brother, 
in 1747: "I enjoy here the distinction of eating with him 
[the king] almost every afternoon and evening. He has 
more intelligence and wit than I can describe, and speaks, 
with thoroughness and technical knowledge, about the 
most varied matters. He has surrounded himself w 7 ith 
men whom he treats perfectly informally, almost like 
friends, yet there is no favorite." Keith praises the king's 
habitual politeness, but finds him somewhat inscrutable. 
In this familiar circle Frederick passed merry evenings, 
playing the flute and reading aloud his own odes, satires, 
and epistles. The want of restraint, however, was not 
allowed to turn into license once Voltaire was roundly 
snubbed, but wittily turned it off with a " Silence, gen- 
tlemen; the king of Prussia has just come in." Fred- 
erick's confidence in these friends went so far, that he had- 
twelve copies struck off for their benefit, by his own se- 
cret press, of a somewhat scandalous production, entitled 
Works of the Philosopher of Sans Souci> which ridiculed 
the church and caricatured half the crowned heads of 
Europe. Voltaire's criticism was, that the king had 
worked too fast to have created a real work of art ; that 
while he, Voltaire, was trying to better some fifty old 
lines Frederick had composed four or five hundred new 
ones. 



188 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



First meet- 
ing with 
Voltaire. 



Voltaire 
at Rheins- 
berg. 



Frederick's first meeting with the great French poet, 
wit, and historian had been in the year of his accession, 
although letters had previously been interchanged. The 
3'oung king had written that he could neither live happily 
nor die quietly until he should have embraced this friend ; 
while Voltaire had answered: "Simeon shall behold his 
salvation ; the French are Prussians one and all ; my heart 
proclaims to me that the hour is nigh when, from the lips 
of the crowned Apollo, I shall hear speeches which would 
have been admired by the wise men of old." It would 
have been hard for even a crowned Apollo to continue on 
such a level, and it is no wonder that there was disap- 
pointment on both sides at the first interview. Frederick 
was suffering from a violent fever, yet, as he wrote him- 
self afterward, "with people of that stamp one has no 
right to be ill." Voltaire was fatigued from his journey, 
the meeting took place in Cleves, he had expected 
more magnificence, and he adopted an unpleasant tone. 
Yet his Mahomet, which he read aloud, pleased the king 
greatly; it seemed to him scintillating with ideas. 

Voltaire was invited to Rheinsberg, where the two 
made verses, feasted, gambled, and danced together; yet 
here, too, there was a slight trail of the serpent over the 
whole. A witticism at the expense of his dead father 
was taken very ill by the king; Frederick gained the 
impression that his guest was collecting material with 
which to make the Berliners ridiculous; lastly, the bill 
for travelling expenses, three thousand thalers, seemed 
exorbitant, a good deal to pay for a court fool, wrote 
Frederick in wrath. But, worst of all, the man of letters 
had agreed to play the political spy for the French king; 
though to worm a secret from this } 7 oung Hohenzollern 
was more even than a Voltaire could accomplish. 

In spite of all this, we see Voltaire frequently receiv- 



FREDERICK THE GREAT IX TIME OF PEACE 189 

ing and refusing invitations to the Prussian court, the 
secret of the refusal being, however, that the "divine 
Emily," the Marquise du Chatelet, had not been invited 
to accompany her famous adorer. To a hint in that direc- 
tion Frederick had answered, that two such divinities 
would dazzle his eyes out. He had once sarcastically re- 
marked of this woman's literary efforts, that she always 
started to write, the moment she began her studies ; and 
that her friends should advise her to educate her son and 
not the world. 

But in 1749 Emily died in childbirth; Voltaire's posi- Voltaire at 
tion as regarded the French court was not all that he could Sans Souci 
have wished, and, after some hesitation, he accepted Fred- 
erick's renewed offer. The latter was too shrewd not to 
know by this time with what kind of a man he had to 
deal; in a letter he calls Voltaire an ape who deserves 
to be chased from the temple of the Muses. But he longed 
to have this acknowledged master of the French language 
correct his own verses. "I need his French," he wrote; 
" why should I trouble about his morals ? " Moreover, he 
really worshipped Voltaire's genius, which, he was sure, 
would prove immortal. He burned to be able to catch from 
his very lips the words that must seem so much colder 
when transferred to paper. 

At a hint concerning the travelling expenses, Frederick 
sent a poem to announce that a golden shower was about 
to descend upon his Danae; and was told in return that 
this special, antiquated Danae loved her Jupiter and not 
his gold. All the same, the travelling expenses were 
reckoned at four thousand thalers, and a salary accepted 
of five thousand more besides board and lodging, and the 
ordre pour le merite. Further advantages not to speak 
of the joy of living in such a lovely jewelled nest as 
Sans Souci were the king's delight in prose and poetry; 



190 j 

his friendly attentions, "which were enough to turn one's 
head ; " and the perfect freedom of intercourse. " I am so 
presumptuous as to think," Voltaire exclaims, "that 
nature created me for him." " I forget," he goes on, "that 
he is the ruler of half Germany and that the other half 
trembles at his name ; that he has won five battles and is 
the greatest general in Europe. . . . The philosopher 
has reconciled me to the monarch." 

" // est grand roi tout le matin, 

Apres diner grand Scrivain ; 
Tout le jour philosophe humain 
Et le soir convive divin" 

Voltaire's Others received Voltaire well beside the king. As he 
escapades, walked to the royal box on the occasion of a great run- 
ning at the ring, held in the square before the Berlin 
castle, the Frenchman could hear the murmurs of admira- 
tion, and his own name passing from lip to lip. Well 
might he write home that he seemed to have reached port 
after thirty years of storm. That this idyllic state of 
things did not continue longer was the poet's own fault. 
He was like a kangaroo (the simile was Frederick's) : 
there was no knowing where his next leap might land 
him. One of his escapades was to employ the pawnbroker 
Hirschel to buy up bills in Saxony against the Saxon 
exchequer the Peace of Breslau having provided that, 
when owned by Prussians, these notes must be honored in 
full. To make the affair still more scandalous, there fol- 
lowed a lawsuit with Hirschel, in the course of which 
Voltaire -was generally believed to have falsified records, 
and to have substituted paste for real diamonds left with 
him as security. "Voltaire is outswindling the Jews," 
wrote Frederick, and bade him have no more dealings of 
the kind " either with the Old or the New Testament." If 



FREDERICK THE GREAT IN TIME OF PEACE 191 

he is to continue at Sans Souci he must control his passions 
and live more like a philosopher. 

The jealousies of the coterie of learned men made Jealousies 
matters more than lively at the Prussian court. Voltaire at Sans 
had procured the banishment of a certain D'Arnaud, 
whose only apparent crime was, that Frederick had saluted 
him, in a poem, as the rising sun that was to take the 
place of the waning Apollo of France. The scientist La 
Mettrie caused that same waning Apollo moments of the 
bitterest anguish, by declaring that the king had com- 
pared him to an orange, which, in another year, he would 
squeeze dry and throw away. Voltaire comes back to the 
matter again and again ; he broods over it, he writes about 
it; and, when La Mettrie unexpectedly dies, his one grief 
is, that now the truth about the orange will never be fully 
known. 

The crisis was brought about by a quarrel between 
Maupertuis and one Konig, in which Voltaire was the 
violent partisan of the latter. Konig maintained that 
one of the vaunted discoveries of the scientist it con- 
cerned the minimum of force was one that the great 
Leibnitz had written about, only to show its hollowness. 
His authority, he said, was a private letter of Leibnitz ; 
which, however, though it really did exist, he was unable 
to produce when called upon, and was, accordingly, ex- 
pelled from the academy. Voltaire upheld him with fiery 
enthusiasm and perpetrated a number of scurrilous satires 
against the " globe-flattener, " Maupertuis, which culmi- 
nated in the famous Diatribe du docteur Akakia. 

Furious at having one-half of his intellectual household Arrest of 
thus arrayed against the other to the delight of the outer Voltaire, 
world, Frederick ordered the edition of Dr. Akakia sup- 
pressed ; and when another appeared in Dresden, com- 
manded that the volume should be burnt by the common 



192 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



Frederick 
as a 

musician 
and as an 
author. 



hangman in front of the door of its author. This was too 
much even for the small-souled Frenchman, and Voltaire 
tendered the resignation of all his dignities. The king 
finally let him go, but requested him to leave behind that 
pledge of a former intimacy, the (Euvres du Philosophe de 
Sans Souci. Whether by accident or by design the order 
was not obeyed; and Frederick, just starting off for East 
Prussia, ordered his representative in Frankfort to seize 
the favored son of the Muses, and take the book from his 
baggage. The order was too literally obeyed. The volume 
was among the effects that Voltaire had left behind him 
in Leipzig ; it was weeks before it could be procured, and 
even then the poet was held still longer on a charge of 
attempt at flight. A trying ordeal indeed for a fiery char- 
acter like Voltaire! All his pent-up bitterness finally 
found vent in the Vie prive du roi de Prusse, a writing 
well designated as " one of the most malignant and men- 
dacious, yet one of the most deadly, satires in the whole 
range of literature." 

That Frederick, in spite of such episodes, found time 
and inclination to attend to his own musical and literary 
labors argues well for his powers of concentration. He had 
learned to play the flute under the famous Quantz ; a part 
of his morning was regularly devoted to practising, and 
nearly every evening he played in concert. He has left 
behind him 121 flute sonatas of his own composition, 
beside a number of military marches, which are so tuneful 
as immediately to attract attention when played by mod- 
ern bands. Besides this, Frederick's literary works of 
different kinds fill twenty large printed volumes. His 
Histoire de mon temps, written, like all his other produc- 
tions, in French, is considered the most remarkable pro- 
duction of its kind since CsBsar wrote his commentaries. It 
is partisan, of course ; from first to last Frederick is writing 



FREDERICK THE GREAT IN TIME OP PEACE 193 

a sort of glorification of himself, his house, and his work. 
But, apart from this, Frederick writes as only a chief 
participant ever can write, and tells us much that could 
never otherwise have become known. Within his general 
limits, he is just, fair, frank, and outspoken. 

Nor must it be imagined that these matters took up Frederick's 
even the principal part of the time of this most indefati- 
gable of all monarchs. By rising at three and four o'clock, 
he was able to transact the current affairs of a great and 
important state and to receive each day a number of humble 
petitioners, whose cases were almost always disposed of 
within the twenty-four hours. "You are correct," he 
writes to Jordan in 1742, " in thinking that I work hard ; 
I do it to live, for nothing is more like death than idle- 
ness." . "The people are not there for the sake of the 
rulers, but the rulers for the sake of the people," he writes 
in one of his essays ; nor was it a figure of speech when he 
declared that the king Avas merely the first servant of the 
state. He objected at all times to being placed on a 
higher plane, and caused the prayer for himself in the 
church service, which asked favor for "his Majesty," to 
be changed to: "O Lord, we commend to Thee, Thy 
servant our king." 

This man was the very incorporation of the German Frederick's 
" Pflicht." Among the effects of one of his cabinet coun- councillors, 
cillors, and only for the years 1746 to 1752, there were 
found some twelve thousand royal decisions. The posi- 
tion of these councillors, as may be imagined, was no 
sinecure ; obliged to appear at five and six in the morning, 
they remained standing until the last bit of business was 
transacted. One of them fell down dead in this fatiguing 
exercise of his duties. Ministers, councillors, and officials 
of all kinds were, to a large extent, automatons, and were 
often treated and scolded like children. " You are all of 

VOL. II O 



194 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

you first-rate cheats, and not worth your bread," Frederick 
writes to a board of magistrates. " You ought to be driven 
out; just wait till I get to Prussia! " He calls his gen- 
eral directory impertinent, corrupt, ignorant, even out and 
out canaille; he threatens to cut off Podevvils's head. An 
official who wished for leave of absence in order to go to 
a watering-place, is told that he is a fool to throw away 
his money. 

When it so pleased him Frederick transacted the most 
important business issued manifestoes or treated con- 
cerning war and peace without consulting or even 
informing his ministers. It was paternal government 
carried to its utmost lengths; every official knew that at 
any moment the king's sharp glance might be prying into 
his affairs and detecting the weak points of his adminis- 
tration. There was no mere routine work about it, for 
Frederick was a born reformer, never contented with ex- 
isting conditions. His activity extended in all directions 
to criminal and civil justice, to the army, to the finances, 
to the betterment of sociaj. conditions, to the improvement 
of agriculture and trade. 

Humane But four days had elapsed after his father's death, 

measures, before he had issued an edict to his judges that torture 
was no longer to be employed in criminal investigations 
though, strangely enough, he considered it more salu- 
tary for the people not to know of the change. Judges 
were instructed, always to weigh the question as to 
whether this form of proof should be resorted to, but 
always to decide in the negative. Frederick abolished, 
too, the barbarous custom by which women convicted of 
slaying their offspring were to be drowned in leather 
sacks of their own sewing. Certain arbitrary hindrances 
to marriage were also to be laid aside. At the same time 
religious toleration was enjoined in the strictest terms : 



FREDERICK THE GREAT IN TIME OF PEACE 195 

"If Turks and heathen should come to populate the land, 
we would build them mosques and churches ; " and again, 
" All religions must be tolerated . . . here every one shall 
get to heaven in his own fashion ! " Catholics were told that 
they could build their churches "as high as they pleased 
and with as many towers and bells." Yet, in practice, 
against the Jews Frederick made an exception : not because 
of their beliefs, but because of qualities that he considered 
inherent in the race. Each head of a family was obliged to 
have a written permit to live in his district, and a given total 
was never to be exceeded. The poor wretches were pushed 
about, expelled from this or that locality, encouraged 
where it was thought they might prove useful, and bur- 
dened with a number of galling conditions. Each new 
settler was made to buy a certain amount of porcelain 
from the royal manufactory; nor might he use his own 
judgment, but must needs take what was allotted to him, 
and at a fixed price. Even then, he might not enjoy his 
own purchase, but was bound to send it out of the country. 

In the matter of civil lawsuits Frederick employed the Reform in 
learned Coccei to make a clean sweep of abuses that had law P ro * 
turned the Prussian courts into a perfect Augean stable. 
Barristers, advocates, and notaries had been fattening on 
the fees of cases that had been allowed to drag along for 
ten, twenty, yes, for two hundred years. The acts in a 
dispute concerning one little village boundary filled 
seventy folio volumes. Coccei was sent from town to 
town and from district to district, and in Pomerania 
alone, in the course of eight months, had settled some 
twenty-four hundred old cases. No case,, in future was to 
occupy, at the utmost, more than one year. 

Uniike his father, Frederick made it a rule not to in- 
terfere with sentences passed by the regular courts; he 
had once declared that no one was to obey him should he 



196 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

The case of take such liberties with the law. He was rather pleased 
Miller when a man, whose mill adjoined Sans Souci and who had 

refused to sell at the king's price, told him to his face, in 
answer to his half threat of dispossession, that there were 
courts of justice in Berlin. But in one famous case, 
that of the miller Arnold, Frederick, suspecting that 
a bench of aristocratic judges were denying justice to a 
poor man, threw himself heart and soul into the cause 
and constituted himself supreme judge. The judges 
of the New Mark, by whom the case had first been 
decided, were told that they were not worth a charge of 
powder and that they might all go to the devil. When 
the Berlin court rendered a similar decision, the grand 
chancellor and three of his associates were summoned to 
the palace, where they found themselves in the path of a 
cyclone. How in the world, thundered the king, could a 
miller earn his living if the water was shut off from his 
mill? When the canaille, as he called them, tried to 
explain that no possible injury had been done to Arnold, 
they were told to hold their tongues; while the grand 
chancellor was suddenly dismissed from the office he had 
held for years with a curt " Get out ! Your place has been 
given to another." Cruel indignities were then inflicted 
on all concerned. 

In all this Frederick was absolutely and entirely in the 
wrong, although he would never publicly acknowledge it. 
That was his way; it would be bad for the people to think 
him capable of error. But in private he wrote, " I have 
been too hasty curse the fellow!" 

Healing the The country benefited indirectly from the incident from 

wounds of the fact that the expelled chancellor's successor was that 

Carmer who codified the Prussian common law, giving it 

the form it was to retain until the introduction of the 

German common law in the year 1900. This matter, as well 



FREDERICK THE GREAT IN TIME OF PEACE 197 

as Frederick's other endeavors for the good of his people, 
had been sadly interrupted by the Seven Years' War. 
The country had been at the mercy of invading armies; 
anarchy had taken the place of order; whole cities had been 
plundered and burned. Frederick himself reckoned that 
thirteen thousand houses had vanished without leaving a 
trace. He likens his land to a man covered with wounds 
and exhausted from loss of blood. The condition of the 
people was indeed appalling how appalling may be 
gathered from the fact that in the city of Berlin, which 
had scarcely been touched by the enemy, one-third of the 
inhabitants were forced to live on the charity of the 
rest. 

But paternal government has its advantages ; never did 
any man more thoroughly accept his responsibilities than 
did Frederick at this crisis. He set himself the definite 
task of freeing his country, within two years, from every 
trace of the war; even before he reentered his capital, 
after an absence of six years, he had made arrangements 
for the provinces through which he passed. With an iron 
determination never to cease fighting until an advanta- 
geous peace should have been secured, he had made himself 
entirely ready for a new campaign, and had in hand a fund 
of 20,000,000 thalers, besides thousands of horses, and 
stores of provisions and grain. Right and left, now, he 
distributed this wealth never rashly, never thought- 
lessly, but always after the most searching inquiry into 
the nature of the needs. "I must look through and cor- 
rect still more accounts," he writes to his brother in July, 
1763. "... It has been going on like this without 
interruption for four months. ... I have also to pro- 
vide Berlin with wood for the coming winter." In Sile- 
sia, where the ravages of war had been most constant, he 
freed the people from their taxes for six months, rebuilt 



198 A SHOUT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

8000 houses, and gave 17,000 horses for agriculture, 
besides an immense amount of grain for seed. Appli- 
cants who seemed to Frederick undeserving went empty 
away. "I won't give the low-lived rabble a groschen," he 
said of the burghers of Potsdam ; and to a landrath who 
wanted compensation for personal losses : " At the day of 
judgment each man will regain what he has been deprived 
of in this life." One of his most salutary acts was to dis- 
miss to their homes some 30,000 soldiers, that they might 
aid in the cultivation of the fields. 

Frederick's Xhe most arbitrary, and perhaps the most characteristic, 
inflation of Q F re( j er i c k' s measures at this time, was his treatment of 
the coinage. -,?,-,-, 

the currency and of the obligations of the state toward its 

creditors. His strategy in this respect was as brilliant, 
and involved as much immediate suffering, as in the case 
of any of his battles. It is surely an all but incredible 
record for Prussia to have emerged from this unequal war 
practically freed from debt; at the very darkest hour the 
taxes had not been raised, no loan negotiated. Yet almost 
as incredible were the means that had been employed to 
achieve this end. The war fund left by Frederick Will- 
iam I., the English subsidies, even the heavy contribu- 
tions levied on the conquered lands and provinces, had 
not nearly sufficed for the never ending outlays ; the re- 
mainder had to be raised by holding back the salaries of the 
civil officials and paying them in promissory notes, and 
by inflating and adulterating the coinage to the last 
degree. And when the moment for redemption came the 
doors were closed. Simple edicts restored the coinage to 
its normal basis ; the promissory notes were paid in the 
old currency ; but that currency itself was redeemed at but 
one-fifth of its face value. The hard- worked servants of 
the state were those on whom the heaviest burden fell. It 
was cruel and unjust, a practical declaration of bankruptcy ; 



FREDERICK THE GREAT IN TIME OF PEACE 199 

yet Prussia stood thereby at an immense advantage over 
her debt-laden rivals. 

To bettering the general conditions of his lands Fred- The favor- 
erick now bent every energy. Those gay suppers in Sans ir ' of im - 
Souci had ceased forever; it was even noticed that the mi & ra1 
king showed less care for the neatness of his person. His 
head was full of plans for draining and settling new lands, 
and for furthering agriculture and commerce. The num- 
ber of colonists that were induced to come to Prussia 
during his reign has been carefully estimated at nearly 
300,000; 900 new villages were founded. Add to this, 
that the army contained some 80,000 to 90,000 foreigners, 
many of whom remained permanently in the land. This 
so-called colonization was carried on with the utmost sys- 
tem and regularity. Frederick followed every rise of 
taxes, every national calamity that occurred in neighbor- 
ing lands ; when the town of Grossenhain burnt down, his 
agents were sent to the spot to lead the sufferers to the 
land of promise. The underlying idea of all this was, that 
Prussia must be made to produce at home all, and more 
than all, that the people needed; if artisans of a certain 
kind were wanting search was made for them far and wide. 
Butter-makers from Holland were in great demand, as were 
also persons who had had experience with the manufacture 
of silk. 

This latter industry, the most exotic that Prussians had The manu 
ever undertaken, was actually made to flourish ; although facture of 

sillc 

but one-sixth of the raw material could be grown in the 
land itself. Frederick tried to make it a part of the occu- 
pation of preachers and sextons, in their cemeteries, and 
schoolmasters, in their yards, to grow mulberry trees for 
the cultivation of the worm; and he issued comprehensive 
edicts on the subject. It would be so simple, he declared, 
if only the wives and children would look after the cocoons. 



200 



A SHORT HISTOKY OF GERMANY 



Reclaiming 
of waste 
lands. 



Protective 
duties. 



In spite of the rivalry of France, where climate and the 
price of labor were far more favorable, it was calculated 
that, in 1796, no less than 12,000 Prussians were engaged 
in the manufacture of silk. Colonists were paid so much 
for every loom they set up, and were protected, besides, 
by heavy duties placed on foreign importations. Fred- 
erick considered every penny that went out of the land 
as wasted. "If a man has a purse of five score ducats," 
he wrote, " and draws one out every twenty-four hours, 
without putting anything back, at the end of a hundred 
days he will have nothing left." 

The greatest privileges and inducements, indeed, were 
offered to all these newcomers, Frederick expending on 
them directly some 25,000,000 thalers. A part of the 
travelling expenses, proportioned to the distance and to 
the size of the families, was regularly paid; aid in the 
shape of building materials, or even of money, was fur- 
nished; while exemptions were granted from customs 
duties, from state and communal taxes, and from liability 
to military service. The farmer received his cattle, his 
seed, and his tools ; the manufacturer was encouraged to 
start new industries. 

On the fertile land along the Oder, which was reclaimed 
by draining and by building dams, some 1200 families 
were established. "I have won a province," Frederick 
exclaimed as he gazed on the 225,000 acres that were thus 
rescued from the waters. Along the Warthe, the Vistula, 
and the Netze operations were undertaken on the same 
gigantic scale; and it may be roughly estimated that, in. 
all, from 1500 to 2000 square miles were thus recovered. 

The desire to protect home industries and to cut off 
every chance of competition from foreign markets, led 
Frederick into passing the most unpopular measures of 
his whole reign. Heavy duties were placed upon almost 



FREDERICK THE GREAT IN TIME OF PEACE 201 

every article, and the pettiest means resorted to in order to 
prevent smuggling. People were stopped, not only at the 
city gates, but also in the streets; their houses were 
entered at will and every corner searched; while the bur- 
den of proving that the goods were not contraband rested 
with the owners. Moreover, when the duties, although 
levied on some 3000 articles, failed to produce the expected 
revenue, Frederick chanced on the evil idea of putting 
the direction of the whole matter into the hands of a board 
of Frenchmen. With a horde of subordinates, they fell 
upon the land ; in addition to their salaries they were to 
have five per cent of all profits which should exceed the 
estimates of 1765 and 1766. Their official title was, 
administration genrale des accises et pSages, and they un- 
folded a system of espionage which was perfectly odious 
to the Germans. Coffee was one of the articles most gen- 
erally used and most frequently smuggled : Frederick, in 
his paternal fashion, told his subjects that it was not good 
for them to drink it; that he himself had been raised on 
beer soup ; that if they would persist he should feel obliged 
to impose a duty of 250 per cent. In order more absolutely 
to control its use, it was decreed that no one should burn 
it or grind it at home, but only in the royal mills ; where, 
as a matter of fact, it was sold at treble its worth. Regu- 
larly appointed " coffee-smellers " went from house to 
house, to see that the command was obeyed. Nor did the 
new system help matters in the least: as nearly as we can 
estimate, two-thirds of the coffee used in Prussia was 
brought in by unlawful means; and disorders of every 
kind resulted, culminating in violence and murder. 

Only the boundless love and devotion the people felt for 
the person of their "Fritz" prevented more serious out- 
breaks. Once, on an afternoon drive, he came upon an 
excited crowd grouped around a caricature of himself 



202 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



Frederick 
as drill 
master. 



in which he was represented as holding a can of coffee on 
his knee. Stopping his horses he bade them lower the 
picture that it might be the better seen whereat the 
scowls melted into rapturous approval. 

Frederick would not have been a Hohenzollern had not 
the army, in the ultimate instance, been his chief care. 
Like his father, he managed everything about it in person, 
himself training and drilling the troops that he led to 
battle; he caused minute reports to be drawn up, from 
which he learned the capacities and the special good and 
bad qualities of every regiment. Officers and soldiers alike 
were subjected to hard, serious work, and were given but 
small pay. Nor were there any regular pensions even for 
those who had distinguished themselves, or been wounded, 
in the field. The king's chief device was, to appoint his 
retired subalterns to positions as country schoolmasters, 
irrespectively, it would seem, of their qualifications. Here 
they would be sure, at least, of a beggarly pittance for the 
rest of their days. The common soldier, under this reign, 
was a mere part of the machine ; and, being usually of poor 
stuff at the outset, had too often to be flogged into shape. 
The discipline was extraordinarily severe; running the 
gauntlet proved fatal in dozens of instances, and it was 
expressly made known that a certain amount of harshness 
was considered no discredit to an officer. It was the king's 
wish that the rank and file should dread those in command 
more than they did the enemy. 

Frederick spared himself as little as he did his men ; 
during the manoeuvres he would rise at two o'clock. 
Before the end of his reign he had increased the total of 
his soldiers to two hundred thousand, an enormous ratio 
to the small number of Prussia's inhabitants. Going the 
rounds of his provinces every year, he inspected each sepa- 
rate regiment, introducing a number of reforms such as 



FREDERICK THE GREAT IN TIME OF PEACE 203 

lightening the cavalry and infantry, 'and providing a new 
trigger that enabled the men to shoot as often as six times 
in the minute. 

The officers of the Prussian army were almost exclu- Nobles as 
sively nobles ; they alone were supposed by the king to officers, 
have a well-developed sense of honor. Frederick believed, 
and said openly, that on them depended the security of the 
state. All able-bodied nobles were, therefore, practically 
obliged to become officers; and there were times in the 
Seven Years' War when, even then, there were not enough. 
Commoners were taken in, but were dismissed or degraded 
as soon as the war was over. This sacred caste of men of 
high birth was to be fostered in every way. Frederick 
gave millions to pay their debts and prevent the alienation 
of their lands ; he exempted them from the excise taxes 
and from the odious presence of the coffee-smellers. On 
the other hand, the noble was never to disgrace his rank 
by engaging in trade, nor might he marry out of his own 
sphere. Hussar officers were never to marry at all ; while 
others had to beg permission, which was not always 
granted. The king did not wish, he said, to see a regular 
"weepy weep " every time the troops marched out to war. 
The observance of the difference in rank went so far that 
a noble might never acquire a farm or peasant estate ; he 
alone was entitled to wear a feather in his cap ; at public 
festivals his end of the room was barred off from the com- 
mon herd; while, at masquerades, he alone might wear 
the pink domino. 

The peasants, who formed the bulk of the army, were Hardships 
not exactly slaves ; for they could not be arbitrarily bought of the 
and sold, except as a part of the lands on which they pea 
dwelt. But they still had to give to their lords a very 
large proportion of their time and of their produce; while 
the lords, in turn, had many ways of inflicting hardships 



204 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

and punishments upon them. Their children were forced 
to be household servants for the term of five years, and 
without pay. Frederick recognized the existence of great 
evils in this regard, but tried in vain to remove them. A 
decree abolishing serfdom in Pomerania was rescinded be- 
cause of representations on the part of the nobles ; and the 
matter remained in abeyance until the days of Baron Stein. 

The first Although the first half of Frederick's reign was almost 

partition of wholly warlike and the last half almost wholly peaceful, 
the amount of territory acquired in each was very nearly 
equal : fierce struggles against a world in arms had gained 
and kept Silesia, while, eleven years later, a stretch of 
land of similar dimensions was won by purely diplomatic 
arts. By the first partition of Poland, in 1772, there came 
to the share of Prussia that portion of the land of the 
Teutonic Order which had fallen absolutely to its Slavic 
conqueror by the Treaty of Thorn, in 1466. This territory 
had been known by the name of West Prussia in con- 
tradistinction to East Prussia, which, though in feudal 
dependence to Poland, had yet remained the property o: 
the order, and had eventually found its way into the hands 
of the Hohenzollerns. On the whole, it may be doubted 
whether, for Frederick the Great, West Prussia was not a 
more valuable acquisition than even Silesia. To be sure, 
the natural resources of the land were infinitely inferior, 
and the important towns of Danzig and Thorn were ex- 
cepted from the cession. But West Prussia had hitherto 
completely cut in two the possessions of the Hohenzollerns, 
which now stretched in an unbroken line from the borders 
of Hanover to the river Niemen. And the new lands 
along the rivers Netze and Vistula were capable of great 
improvement ; for, when properly drained and protected, 
the soil was extremely fertile. 



FREDERICK THE GREAT IN TIME OF PEACE 205 

This division of parts of Poland by the mere right of The Polish 
the strongest has been generally cried down as one of the nobility, 
most iniquitous acts in history; a satiric artist of the 
time has drawn an apt picture of the poor Polish king 
tearing his hair, while Frederick, Catherine, and Joseph 
coldly point to the map of Europe, which they are cutting 
up to suit themselves. But it must be said, on the other 
side, that if ever a people had been proved incapable of 
self-government it was these Poles. Frederick was not 
exaggerating when he declared, on his first visit to these 
parts, that Canada was in a better state of cultivation, and 
that he had acquired "a piece of anarchy." A nation of 
savages could not have acted more lawlessly or taken less 
heed to their own advantage than did the Poles. For 
more than a century the cruelest kind of civil warfare had 
been the order of the day; and even such national institu- 
tions as there were, could at any moment be put out of joint 
by the nie pos walam, or liberum veto, of a single noble in the 
Diet. One-fourteenth of the whole population belonged to 
the nobility, for all children inherited the title alike ; and 
it was, furthermore, the custom to create new nobles en 
masse. After the relief of Vienna, in 1683, John Sobieski 
had conferred this distinction on the whole of his cavalry. 
These Szlachcicen, as they were called, held all the public 
offices, and ground down the lower classes who often lived 
in earth huts and were little better than brutes. The busi- 
ness of ruling was ostensibly performed by an elected king 
and by a Diet of some two hundred members ; but, year 
after year, there were bitter conflicts of interest, which 
not infrequently ended in the formation, all over Poland, 
of confederations for mutual aggression. Incredible as it 
may seem, it has been reckoned that, out of fifty-two diets 
held between the years 1652 and 1704, no less than forty- 
eight broke up in disorder. At the Diet of 1746, one party 



206 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



Degeneracy 
of the 
Poles. 



Stanislaus 
Poniatow- 
ski. 



refused to allow the signing of the very laws it had just 
helped to pass, and, throughout one whole evening session, 
lasting several hours, blew out the candles every time they 
were brought in. 

No wonder Jean Jacques Rousseau could say of the 
Polish nation, " It is a body that has a stroke of apoplexy 
every time it moves." Even the loyal primate, Lubienski, 
in summoning to the election of 1764, declares that the 
laws are disregarded, that commerce has ceased, that the 
boundaries are unprotected, and the treasury empty. " In 
all history," says his proclamation, "no example can be 
found of such disorders ; " and again, " A kingdom so mis- 
erably constituted must of necessity either become the 
prey of an enemy or relapse in time into Tartar steppes." 
King Stanislaus Lesczinsky had once written, " Our turn 
will surely come, and we shall be the prey of a great con- 
queror ; perhaps the neighboring powers may decide to divide 
our territory." It is evident that, whatever fate was to 
strike Poland, her condition could not have been changed 
for the worse ; moreover, if an excuse is needed for Fred- 
erick the Great, it is to be found in the fact that Russia 
would have absorbed the whole had he refused to take his 
share, and that, by accepting this solution of a difficult 
problem, he averted a general European war. 

The Polish question had just become important at the 
time of the death of Augustus III., in 1763. Frederick, 
isolated, and estranged from all the other great powers, 
had determined to cultivate the friendship of Catherine II., 
and aided her in bringing on the vacant Polish throne her 
former lover, Stanislaus Poniatowski. To him it was 
roundly intimated that he never could have become king 
by his own efforts, and that he would be expected to show 
his gratitude by subserviency to Russia. The utmost 
pressure had, indeed, been exercised upon the electors: 



FREDERICK THE GREAT IN TIME OF PEACE 207 

the Russians had camped before Warsaw and had sent 
bands of Cossacks at intervals to parade the streets ; the 
primate, Lubienski, had been bribed by the gift of a splen- 
did piece of fur worth twenty-four thousand roubles and 
by the promise of eighty thousand more after the election. 
At Catherine's request, Frederick had sent Prussian troops 
to Poland; and, on the news of the success of Poniatowski, 
he congratulated his ally in the most glowing terms. " God 
said, Let there be light, and there was light," he wrote; 
" as far as the Ottoman Porte your Majesty forces from all 
a recognition of the excellency of your system. You 
speak, madame, and the world is silent before you." 
Frederick might well express his admiration for Catherine, 
inasmuch as, in the treaty signed with himself shortly 
before the election, she had secured all the advantage for 
herself, he promising to interfere in Poland for the sake 
of purely Russian interests. It had been hinted, indeed, 
even then, that in case of war he might hope for 
compensation. 

The Poles rushed blindly on to their own ruin. This The Polish 
forcible imposition of a king did not seem to greatly non< 
worry them, but they could not be brought to keep peace 
among themselves. The main body of the people, fanatic 
and Jesuit-ridden to the last degree, would grant no con- 
cessions whatever to the so-called dissidents, members 
of the orthodox Russian and of the Lutheran church. Not 
only might they hold no office, but they might not even 
partake of their own communion or bury the bodies of their 
own dead without first receiving permission of the Catholic 
authorities. Forbidden to build new churches, or even 
to repair the old ones, their schools, too, were shut up and 
their children lured into Catholic establishments; while, 
over the dying, the Jesuit priests hovered, trying to make 
converts at the last moment. 



208 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

Here was a matter that gave Prussia and Russia constant 
pretexts for interference ; while Austria, becoming alarmed 
. for the very existence of Poland, began to assume a threat- 
ening attitude toward these two powers. By a new treaty, 
in 1767, Frederick promised Russia that, under certain 
circumstances, he would throw an army into Austrian ter- 
ritory; but, in such a case, he fully intended to compen- 
sate himself at the cost of Poland. 

From this time on, Frederick's thoughts were constantly 
busy with the project of acquiring West Prussia; though 
the actual suggestion seems to have come from Russia, 
and the actual impulse did certainly come from Austria. 
The affair of the dissidents involved the Czarina in a 
war, not only with the Poles, but also with the Turks 
whose territory had been inadvertently violated by the 
seizure of Polish refugees. Moldau and Wallachia were 
soon in Russian hands'; Austria, greatly alarmed, made ad- 
vances to Turkey and also to Prussia an interchange of 
visits taking place between Frederick and Maria Theresa's 
son and coregent, Joseph. 

Folly and The Poles, meanwhile, acted more and more like irre- 
oUhf iti<m s P nsible childf en. In 1768, they had made concessions 
Poles. and s ig ne( i agreements which they later refused to carry 

out. They were perfectly blinded in their hatred of the 
Russians, and, in the face of the tremendous superiority of 
the latter, pinned their faith upon the supernatural ; they 
believed that the halos from the heads of the risen dead 
would blind their enemies, and that the Mother of God 
would direct the bullets of a people that had chosen her 
to be their patron saint. It was seriously reported that 
Joseph and Mary, together, had stocked the Cracow arsenal 
with much-needed ammunition. 

A Russian-Austrian war was now on the very point of 
breaking out; and Austria, in 1771, signed an alliance 



FREDERICK THE GREAT IN TIME OF PEACE 209 

with the Turks. Frederick by the terms of his treaty was The con- 
bound to aid Russia. But Austria's occupation of the science of 
Polish district of Zips on the ground of an old mortgage 
which she meant now to redeem and her subsequent seiz- 
ure of adjoining territory, brought about a solution of the 
difficulties which was unexpected to the party most con- 
cerned. Catherine's remark to Prince Henry, Frederick's 
representative, on hearing of this action, was a seemingly 
innocent question as to why others, too, should not do the 
like. The result was a race for gain and a staking out 
of ever increasing claims, which culminated in the famous 
Treaty of Partition of 1772. Of all the contracting par- 
ties, Austria seems to have had the least right on her side; 
and, had it rested with Maria Theresa alone, the transaction 
would never have been consummated. But Joseph II. was 
the incarnation of greed, and Kaunitz well supported him. 

The poor empress, though she eventually consented 
to everything, was more unhappy than ever in her life 
before. "I have but a very poor opinion of our right," 
she declared. And indeed Russia and Prussia had at least 
the excuse, that the Polish war had caused them heavy 
losses, for which they were now seeking indemnity. In 
February, 1771, Maria Theresa wrote : " When claim was 
laid to all my lands I buoyed myself up with my good right 
and with the help of God ; now, when not only is the right 
not on my side, but obligations, justice, and fairness are 
against me, I have no peace left." She could not bear, 
she said, the reproaches of a heart unaccustomed to deceive 
itself or others. When the Swedish envoy, Count Barck, 
once tried to comfort her by declaring that she was account- 
able for her actions only to God: "Yes," she cried, sol- 
emnly raising her hands to heaven, " that is the very judge 
I fear!" 

Yet, all this time, her government was fairly insatiable 

VOL. II P 



210 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

Austria's in its demands. Frederick the Great, who complained 
greed. bitterly that Austria was acquiring so much more terri- 

tory than himself, remarked of Kaunitz that he was pretty 
well imitating the greed of the double eagle on the coat 
of arms of his court; and, in talking to Zwieten, the Aus- 
trian envoy, he suddenly broke out with: " Potztausend ! 
you have a good maw! " 

In the final settlement Austria's share was, as a matter 
of fact, three times the size of Prussia's, and much more 
fertile and populous; although, as Kaunitz pointed out, it 
was less favorably situated, being separated from the rest 
of the monarchy by the Carpathians. The Russian portion 
was larger still ; but contained only half the number of 
inhabitants and consisted mainly of woods, marshes, and 
barren stretches of sand. 

Despair and Poland herself had less than no voice in this whole 
levity of matter of partition. When the grand chancellor, Czarto- 

the Polish r j s kj told the Russian envoy that, in the forty years of his 
patriots 

administration, he had never dreamt of such a possibility, 

"Yes," was the insolent answer, "the older one grows, the 
more one learns ! " The Diet was commanded, in the most 
peremptory manner, to assemble to begin deliberations 
on the 19th of April and to end them on the 7th of June. 
The annexed districts were allowed no representation, 
while many other provinces, in despair, refused to send 
delegates at all. Those who did come together to this 
most maimed of assemblies, were obliged to sign allegiance 
to a "confederation" before being allowed admittance to 
the hall; it was made generally known that the least 
opposition would cause the allies to increase their de- 
mands ; while Prussian and Russian soldiers were drawn 
up in rank and file, ready to be quartered on the recalci- 
trant. The Bishop of Luck but narrowly escaped being 
made to share his sleeping apartment with twelve hussars. 



FREDERICK THE GREAT IN TIME OF PEACE 211 

The poor king of Poland was in the depths of despair. 
"I am completely in the hands of the three courts," he 
wrote to a lady in Paris. "I am dying of hunger; they 
have attacked all that I hold most dear." He cursed the 
day that had brought him to this unhappy spot, which he 
nevertheless was debarred from leaving. The treaty was 
ratified in September, 1772, after Frederick and Joseph 
had made unworthy attempts still further to increase their 
holdings. The Polish delegates signed with actual tears 
and wailings ; before he could be prevented, one of them had 
written the word "farewell" opposite to his name. Yet 
the childishness of these patriots was simply unconquer- 
able. The papal nuncio is authority for the statement that 
frivolity, corruption, and unbridled extravagance were 
displayed as never before. On the night before handing 
in the formal renunciation of thousands of square miles 
of their territory, many took part in a great festivity at the 
Bruhl palace. Fireworks were set off and King Stanislaus 
Augustus Poniatowski himself opened the ball with the 
Princess Sapieha! 

For Frederick, the acquisition of West Prussia was the Frederick' 
incentive to unprecedented efforts in the way of reclaiming reforms 
waste lands and of regenerating a fallen people. His first Prussia 
visit to his new territory had not disappointed him. "It 
is a very good and very advantageous possession," he 
wrote to his brother Henry; "but in order that fewer per- 
sons may be envious, I say to every one who will listen, 
that I have seen nothing but sand, pines, moorland, and 
Jews." On September 27, 1772, the estates did him 
homage in the great hall of the ruined Marienburg; they 
were feasted at his expense, and gold and silver medals 
were distributed among them ; while coins to the amount 
of 2000 thalers were flung to the people. From now on, he 
exchanged the old title of " king in Prussia " for the fuller 



212 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



The 

Bavarian 
succession 
war. 



"king of Prussia"; and ceased to complain that his king- 
dom was an anomaly, belonging neither to the small nor to 
the great powers. He drew colonists by the thousands into 
poorly settled districts; spurred the farmers on by setting 
prizes on the best results of agriculture ; founded public 
schools, and did away with the superabundant Catholic 
holidays that had done so much to encourage idleness. The 
whole apparatus of a well-ordered administration was in- 
troduced : military divisions, judicial courts, rapid postal 
communication, commercial regulations. The Bromberg 
Canal between the Netze and the Brahe, constructed at a 
cost of 740,000 thalers, opened up a direct path of trade 
to the Elbe and to the Oder. The revenues from the new 
province soon rose to 5,000,000 thalers; besides which, 
25,000 men were added yearly to the Prussian army. 

The military establishment went on increasing until 
the day of Frederick's death, and, at the last, numbered 
nearly 200,000 in all an enormous total for a state with 
a population of but little over 5,000,000. One small dis- 
astrous war came to mar the end of a glorious reign a 
war, as usual, with Austria, and one in which, although no 
battle was fought and no siege undertaken, some 20.000 
Prussian soldiers succumbed to sickness and the treasury 
was depleted by 17,000,000 thalers. This Bavarian suc- 
cession war is one that historians delight to ridicule, and 
that contemporaries nicknamed the "potato war," because 
the chief occupation of the troops was hunting for food in 
the fields. Frederick's military reputation suffered, too, 
inasmuch as he failed to accomplish what he attempted, 
and showed, in general, the effects of old age and of a 
broken constitution. Yet if Austria was to be prevented 
from holding the leadership of Germany, the war was 
necessary and, indeed, unavoidable. With the Emperor 
Joseph II., the acquisition of new lands had come to be an 



FREDERICK THE GREAT IN TIME OF PEACE 213 



inveterate passion; he had taken all that he could pos- 
sibly lay hands on in Poland; he had wrested the province 
of Bukovina from Turkey ; and now he was lusting for the 
whole of Bavaria. One is tempted to think that he had 
learned his lesson from Frederick the Great; for his 
methods were very similar. Old claims to Bavaria, dat- 
ing back to 1426, were raked out; and, before they could 
be acknowledged, armies were sent to enforce them. It 
mattered little that the claims were baseless, and that the 
very emperor, Sigismund, who had made the grants in . 
question, had reversed them in 1429, with the consent of 
the parties concerned. 

The family of Wittelsbach, divided into three lines, Austria 

held at this time Bavaria, the Palatinate, and the Duchy lustin for 

Wittels- 
of Pfalz-Zweibriicken. The Elector Maximilian Joseph, bach land& 

however, and the Count Palatine Charles Theodore were 
both childless and together had signed an instrument the 
names only being left blank by which, when one died, the 
other was immediately to be proclaimed heir to his lands. 
United, this would make a territory nearly equalling 
Prussia as it had been at the time of the accession of 
Frederick 'the Great; and Emperor Joseph had once said 
of Charles Theodore, " God grant that he do not also in- 
herit the mind of a Frederick, for to him alone will he be 
second in power and possessions in Germany." 

The sequel showed that on this point at least there was 
no ground for feai\ On the death of Maximilian Joseph, 
in 1777, Charles Theodore, far from displaying the mind 
of a Frederick, proved as clay in the hands of Austria. 
Only let him have peace and quiet, and comfortable pos- 
session of what was left, and he was willing to sign away 
almost any part of his inheritance. He was afraid, indeed, 
to show the agreement with Austria to his heir, Charles 
of Zweibriicken, and tried to obtain the latter's signature 






214 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

without having him read the document; Austrian troops 
in the meantime had taken possession of Lower Bavaria 
and the Upper Palatinate, and were encroaching in all 
directions. It was at this juncture that Frederick the 
Great awoke to a sense of what a preponderance in Ger- 
many success would give to Austria. Moreover, in thus 
trying to absorb an electorate, Joseph II. was acting con- 
trary to the Golden Bull, to the Westphalian Peace, and 
to his own electoral concessions. Yet it seemed to Fred- 
erick that the impulse should come from the injured par- 
ties, and he tried to galvanize the person most concerned, 
Charles Theodore, into a posture of resistance. Failing 
in this endeavor, he sought to prop up Charles of Zwei- 
briicken, who needed much encouragement. The only 
manly member of the family was the Princess Maria Anna, 
a sister of the dead Maximilian Joseph, who of her own 
accord appealed to the Prussian king. " Ah, why were 
not you elector ? " Frederick wrote to her ; and together 
they did finally induce Duke Charles to send a formal 
appeal for aid to Prussia and to France, and, in March, 
1778, to bring the matter before the Diet at Ratisbon. 
Prussia and Frederick was now in a position of great strength. For 
Russia cry ne g rg fame p russ i a headed a movement for the protec- 
Austria ^ on ^ a m i nor German state against Austrian aggression : 
the emperor was to learn that he could not rule like a 
Turkish sultan and break all privileges and compacts. 
Saxony, too, had well-grounded claims to a small part 
of the Bavarian inheritance, the Saxon electress having 
been a sister of Maximilian Joseph. It was likely that 
Catherine of Russia, being Frederick's ally, would inter- 
fere in his behalf; while Maria Theresa, grown old and 
timid, was openly out of sympathy with her ambitious son, 
whom she warned against irritating Frederick for, from 
this "monster," the worst was to be expected. The armies 



FREDERICK THE GREAT IN TIME OF PEACE 215 

had been in the field some months when, without consult- 
ing Joseph, she sent Baron Thugut to the "monster " with 
overtures of peace ; this led to long negotiations, during 
which military operations were carried on without spirit, 
the hardships of the approaching winter compelling Fred- 
erick at last to beat an inglorious retreat into Silesia. 

A word from Catherine of Russia proved more decisive 
than arguments or manoeuvres in other directions. In the 
spring of 1799, she declared that she considered Austria's 
claims groundless, and that, should the emperor persist in 
his designs, she would feel compelled to fulfil the terms 
of her alliance with Prussia. Unable to resist such a com- 
bination as this, the emperor consented to the calling of a 
congress at Teschen, where peace was finally signed on the 
13th of May, 1779. A miserable war and a miserable 
peace ! Whereas Frederick had fought for the principle 
that Austria had no right to an inch of Bavarian territory, 
he was obliged to consent to the cession of the rich dis- 
trict, between the Inn, the Danube, and the Salzach, con- 
taining some sixty thousand inhabitants. His own reward 
was nominal : the right to incorporate Ansbach and Bai- 
reuth as a part of Prussian territory a right which had 
never been seriously disputed. To accomplish this small 
result, he had submitted to the calling in of Russia in a 
purely German question a precedent for the future of 
which that power was often to take advantage. 

The future proved that a simple treaty of peace was not Joseph 
sufficient to bar the progress of the " Csesar possessed by de- I 
mons," as Frederick affectionately denominated Joseph. 



No emperor since Charles V. had shown such activity both 
for good and for bad. In his own Austrian lands Joseph 
established religious toleration, abolished all the harder 
features of serfdom, took away all inquisitorial power from 
his criminal courts, dropped from the code such crimes as 



216 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

magic, apostasy, and marriage with infidels, and intro- 
duced compulsory education. But, in the empire at large, 
he encroached more and more on the liberties and on the 
possessions of the estates, proving himself, by his methods, 
apolitical Ignatius Loyola, with spies everywhere and 
with complete carelessness as to the means by which his 
good ends were to be accomplished. The Westphalian 
bishoprics were his first object of attack. His brother 
Maximilian was elected coadjutor of Cologne and Miins- 
ter, and, like that Ernest of Bavaria of Reformation times, 
sought to bring adjacent sees into his own hands. From 
the Catholic clergy in general an attempt was made to raise 
obsolete revenues ; the Austrian police interfered beyond 
their own boundaries; claims were laid to Wiirtemberg 
and an exchange proposed with Baden. 

ine league Most serious of all, was a new attempt to gain Bavaria, 
of princes. ma de in 1784, this time not by war or by encroachment, 
but by diplomacy. Charles Theodore was invited to re- 
nounce his electorate, in return for the Austrian Nether- 
lands and the title of king of Burgundy. To Austria, this 
meant the control of all South Germany and the absorp- 
tion of an important electoral vote. And Charles Theo- 
dore was not unwilling to make the exchange, although 
the Duke of Zweibriicken declared that he preferred to be 
buried under the ruins of Bavaria. This answer, said 
Joseph, "smacked chiefly of Potsdam," nor was he far 
wrong. Frederick by this time had completed a long 
projected Fiirstenbund, or close association of princes, for 
mutual protection. The confederates were to act as a unit 
^ ^ "' at the diets, to strive for a reform of the imperial Chamber 
Court, to guarantee to each other the safety and inviola- 
bility of their territories. As there were three electors, 
Hanover, Saxony, and Brandenburg, in the league, and 
as all agreed to act in unison at a future election, an enor- 



FREDERICK THE GREAT IN TIME OF PEACE 217 

mous pressure could be brought to bear upon the Haps- 
burgs. 

This first confederation of German states, under the 
leadership of Prussia, was temporary in character and 
looked to the attainment of a single object the frustra- 
tion of the Austrian designs on Bavaria. This object it 
achieved, but it played no further rQle. Yet the Fiirsten- 
bund has its great importance as the presage of what was 
to come ; and, also, for two other reasons : for the first time 
Germans tried to settle their own affairs without calling 
in foreign aid, and, for the first time, in the composition 
of such a league, religious differences played absolutely 
no part. "It is time to get out of the old rut," a warm 
defender of the project had written ; " be you Catholic or 
Protestant, you are a free German man whose forefathers 
would rather have died than serve ! " 

The Furstenbund was the last political achievement of Death of 
Frederick the Great; the time had come for him to throw Fredenck 
off what he himself called "the worn-out cover of his 
soul." His last years seem to have been miserably 
unhappy : all his pleasures and resources had come to an 
end, and the loss of his front teeth prevented him even 
from playing the flute ; while oppressive taxation had cost 
him much of his popularity. "Old sour-mug" was the 
nickname given him even in his own family. For the 
person of his heir, his nephew, Frederick William, 
he had neither love nor respect; he doubtless felt a pre- 
sentiment of the coming wreck and ruin of his country. 
The "wonderful man of war," as Pitt once called him, 
had become a sad misanthrope. "I am tired of ruling 
over slaves ! " he once said ; and he interrupted a peda- 
gogue, Sulzer, who was telling him didactically that 
man inclined rather to the good than to the bad, with: 
"Inclines more to the good? Ah, dear Sulzer, you don't 
know this damned race as I do ! " 



218 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

More and more he withdrew into himself, working the 
more feverishly the nearer he saw his end approaching. 
Though racked with pain he continued to receive his 
councillors at four o'clock in the morning. When, indeed, 
he appeared at parade, everything else was forgotten but 
the former military glory, and wave after wave of applause 
was wont to greet the old hero. It was a rare occasion 
like this that hastened his death ; six hours in the saddle, 
with no protection from the rain, proved too much for the 
broken septuagenarian. On the 17th of August, 1786, 
he passed away in his arm-chair, at Sans Souci, and a new 
era broke over the Prussian state. 



CHAPTER VI 

THE FRENCH REVOLUTION, THE DISRUPTION OF GER- 
MANY, AND THE DOWNFALL OF PRUSSIA 

LITERATURE : In addition to the general histories of Prussia we have 
Treitschke's Deutsche Geschichte im XIX Jahrhundert, the most brill- 
iantly written history in the German language. It does not altogether 
supersede Hausser, Deutsche Geschichte, 1786-1815. Fyffe's Modern 
Europe is based largely on the latter work for this period. Boyen's Erin- 
nerungen is a contemporary source of high value. We have also a number 
of splendid biographies which partly fall into this period : Seeley's Stein, 
Droysen's York, Delbriick's Gneisenau, Lehmann's Scharnhorst. The 
Countess Voss, mistress of ceremonies of Queen Louise, has left famous 
memoirs which, however, display a certain aridity of mind. Nettlebeck's 
Lebensbeschreibung is very interesting. Fournier's Napoleon is good. 

AT the end of the eighteenth century there were in Germany a 
Germany no less than three hundred independent sever- conglom- 

eignties, ecclesiastical states, or free cities ; not to speak era ! 

small prin- 
of fifteen hundred imperial knights with jurisdiction over c j pa iiti e s. 

their subjects. The territory of modern Wiirtemberg 
alone, was divided among seventy-eight different rulers, 
under the almost nominal headship of the emperor. Some 
of these principalities were infinites! mally small, even 
when compared with domains like those of a modern 
prince of Waldeck, which one can traverse in the course 
of a morning's stroll. The abbess of Gutenzell was down 
in the Reichsmatrikel, or military schedule of the empire, 
for one-third of a horseman and three and one-third foot 
soldiers ; the barony of Sickingen for two-thirds of a horse- 
man and five and one-third foot. The burgravate of 
Reineck could boast of one castle, twelve poor subjects, 
one Jew, and a couple of farms and millwheels. 

219 



220 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



The 

bishoprics 
and ab- 
bacies. 



The free 
counts of 
the empire. 



The rulers of these petty states wasted little thought on 
problems of good government. The bishoprics and ab- 
bacies, not being hereditary, were subject to a total change 
in the methods of administration with every change of 
incumbent; there was no temptation to introduce far- 
reaching reforms, to further industry, to secure colonists. 
If by chance, as occasionally happened, one of these princi- 
palities came into the hands of a really progressive man, 
his work was almost invariably undone by his successor. 
The great majority of the bishops settled down to the en- 
joyment of the moment, and their lands became the para- 
dise of idlers; of the population of Mainz one-quarter 
were priests or beggars. The bishops themselves were as 
worldly as any secular princes, and spent, in drinking, 
most of their time, and a good part of their revenues. 
During a week that he spent at the court of Wiirzburg, 
Pollnitz, the memoirist, declares that he never once left 
the table in a conscious condition ; yet he innocently gives 
the palm in these matters, not to Wiirzburg, but to Fulda. 
A whole string of these bishoprics, Mainz, Cologne, 
Treves, Worms, Spires, and others, extended along the 
Rhine, forming the boundary against France: a weak 
bulwark they were now to form when the waves of the 
French Revolution came surging into Germany. 

As to the free counts of the empire, who were also par- 
ticularly numerous on the Rhine and in Westphalia, it 
would seem as if no effort of satire or caricature could 
approach the sober reality. Never in all history have 
pretensions so vast been coupled with territories so small. 
Dozens of states were able to boast of not more than seven 
or eight square miles apiece, yet their rulers invariably 
spoke of themselves as " we, so and so, by the grace of 
God"; and the number of "excellencies," of ministers, of 
marshals, of privy councillors, of real privy councillors, 



THE FRENCH REVOLUTION 221 

and of chamberlains, would seem almost to outnumber the 
male population, did we not know that many of these 
pompous offices could be held by one and the same man. 
To hide the paucity of subjects heroic efforts were often 
made: in one principality we find a law reducing the 
salary of any chancery official who does not appear at the 
carnival with his wife and grown-up daughters ; in another, 
we learn that the prince provided three uniforms for his 
guards, so that at different times of the day they might 
appear as cuirassiers, as grenadiers, or as Uhlans. 

There is a darker side, too, to the goings-on of these 
proud but impecunious lords, whose finances were often 
in such condition that a chief source of revenue was the 
lottery. Their subjects were treated like abject slaves and 
money wrung from them under every possible pretext. 
The great jurist, Moser, who has left us the best contem- 
porary picture of constitutional matters, speaks of the code 
of laws of one principality as a " text-book of Christian 
sultanism." Resort was had to the pettiest oppressions, 
as when, in Wittgenstein, each house-owner was obliged 
to catch twenty sparrows a year and to pay a forfeit for 
every one short of that number. The prince of Arihalt- 
Zerbst made it a penal offence for any of his subjects 
to annoy him with complaints. There seems to have 
been no depth, even of crime, to which these free counts 
would not descend. In extreme cases the emperor's court 
mustered up energy to interfere; and we hear, among 
others, of a Count of Leiningen who was arrested and 
deposed on a charge of "horrible sacrilege, attempted 
murder, poisoning, bigamy, high treason, oppression of 
his subjects, unpardonable mishandling of strangers and, 
also, of clerical personages." A Count of Wolfegg was 
banished for "deceptions practised against widows and 
orphans." 



222 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

Free The free knights of the empire, descendants of the 

knights and jj} r j c h von Huttens, Franz von Sickingens, and Gotz von 
Berlichingensof Reformation times, differed from the free 
counts in not having a seat in the Diet, and in not being 
obliged to aid the empire save with their/ own good swords. 
The emperors were usually their friends, and Ferdinand 
III. had caused to be inserted in the Westphalian Peace 
an acknowledgment of their freedom from other jurisdic- 
tion than his own, besides other privileges that made them 
hated and envied by the counts. On the other hand, their 
voluntary subsidies were the largest single item of the 
emperor's scanty revenues. Their character, as a whole, 
was bad; and we have remarkable compacts, entered into 
by whole bodies of them, for the observance of the most 
elementary laws of good conduct, such, for instance, as 
the non-committing of forgery! By the more advanced 
estates of the empire they were hated for their unprogres- 
siveness, being only outdone in that respect by the de- 
generate free imperial cities. These latter, of which there 
were still some fifty, had been on the downward path ever 
since the fifteenth century; at the end of the eighteenth 
they entered a protest against the broader postal system 
that the larger states were trying to introduce, on the 
ground that their local messengers would lose their em- 
ployment! It may be said here, with regard to all these 
little anachronisms in the wa} r of ecclesiastical and lay 
sovereignties, that, even before the French Revolution 
and the power of Napoleon gave the final impetus, the 
idea of secularization and annexation had long been in 
the air. When that time did come, there was very little 
sympathy for them in any part of Germany. 

The im- The only institutions reflecting what still remained of 

penal Diet, fae unity of the empire were the Reichstag, or Diet, the 

imperial Kammergericht, or Chamber Court, and the em- 



THE FRENCH REVOLUTION 223 

peror's own Austrian court, the Reichshofrath, at Vienna. 
The first of these, the Diet, had its headquarters at Ratis- 
bon and formed, since 1666, a permanent or perpetual 
body. Moser thinks it fortunate in having sat so long, as 
a new one could never have been brought together. Vastly 
it differed, indeed, from those famous old assemblies of 
Hohenstaufen or of Reformation times, when .the emperor 
and his princes rode in with such retinues that the walls 
could not contain them. So low had the prestige of the 
empire now fallen that its chief business was in the hands 
of half-paid underlings ; scarcely one of the states had an 
envo}' entirely its own, but rather banded together with 
eight or nine others to save expense and trouble. There 
were years when all three colleges combined the elec- 
tors, the princes, and the free cities could boast of but 
twenty-nine delegates among them. Even then the 
machinery of government was uncommonly slow and 
unwieldy ; each imperial proposition had first to be agreed 
to in each of the three colleges, which then negotiated one 
with the other; while in default of unanimity no conclu- 
sion was arrived at at all. This frequently happened, for 
the interests represented were often European rather than 
German. The envoy from Hanover voted in the interests 
of England; Brandenburg signified Prussia; Saxony, 
Poland; Austria, Hungary and Flanders ; Alsace, France; 
and Oldenburg, Russia. 

But what most hindered the progress of affairs at Ratis- Attention 
bon and what made the assembly the laughing-stock of to etl( l uette - 
Europe was the extreme sensitiveness with regard to eti- 
quette and precedence. Once or twice such matters almost 
led to war between small states, and an incident with regard 
to the taking in to dinner of the wife of the Austrian envoy 
was not settled until after ten formal writings had been 
drawn up and published. If this same Austrian commis- 



224 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

sioner was to be visited by the envoy of an elector, it 
was immutably prescribed just what courtesies should be 
rendered, and just how far the legs of the electoral repre- 
sentative's chair should be placed on the red carpet where 
sat the emperor's agent. The envoys of the ordinary 
princes had advanced a claim that the front legs of their 
chairs should at least be allowed to rest upon the fringe. 
Once, when, after a dispute as to who should sit on green 
and who on the more august red chairs, it had been decided 
that all should sit alike on green, one of the electoral 
members brought in a red cloak and placed it so as to cover 
the whole seat, considering that thus, as he wrote to 
his home government, he had vindicated the honor of his 
master ! It was the same with regard to eating off gold 
or silver plate, and particularly with regard to the liveries 
of the servants. 

The im- With the imperial Chamber Court matters were worse if 

perial possible than with the Diet ; from the beginning, in 1495, 

the emperors had looked upon this institution as a curtail- 
ment of their own prerogative and had drawn all the cases 
they could before their own Austrian court, the ReichsJiof- 
rath, of which the members were imperial satellites. Long 
without a fixed abode, the Chamber Court had, in 1576, 
settled at Spires, whence,' in 1689, it had fled from the 
armies of Louis XIV. It was four years more before it 
could find a town to harbor it; and, when insignificant 
Wetzlar at last opened its gates, it remained there con- 
tentedly to the end of its existence, although for more 
than fifty years there was no building large enough to 
hold its records, which were stored in other towns. If 
the members of the Diet quarrelled about precedence and 
etiquette, still more did this highest court in the land 
wrangle over form and procedure : a quarrel begun in 
1704 hampered the transaction of business for seven 



THE FRENCH REVOLUTION 225 

years, while another, fifty years later, caused a suspen- 
sion of all activities. The want of a fixed income was 
so serious that, out of the fifty judges originally con- 
templated, but seventeen could be employed ; and the pro- 
posal was made to raise revenues by lottery. The number 
of unsettled cases was very great : Goethe, who was em- 
ployed in his youth at this court, speaks of twenty thou- 
sand and declares that they are yearly increasing at the 
ratio of two to one. No wonder, when we hear that a 
single suit had been going on for 188 years, and that, in 
another, 684 witnesses had been heard, whose testimony 
filled no less than 10,864 pages ! The Emperor Joseph 
II. had tried to cope with these magnificent arrears of 
injustice and had established a revisory committee ; but, 
after nine years of labor, the members had gone apart in 
despair, and, we are told, " with mutual bitterness." 

The old empire of Charlemagne, of Otto the Great, and No 
of Frederick Barbarossa was paralyzed to its very marrow, patriotism 
and the best minds of the age had no sympathy or loyalty ' 
left for it. " I have no conception," writes Lessing, " of the 
love of fatherland, and it seems to me at best a heroic 
weakness which I can very well do without." Goethe 
was made happier by an interview with Napoleon than 
by any victories of German arms. The most real patriot 
of the day was Baron Stein, the last and best of the imperial 
knights ; but even his loyalty was not to a present but to 
a future Germany, that he himself was to help to build. 

Over against all this disruption there might, at any time Decline of 
up to the death of Frederick the Great, have been placed Prussia - 
the power of the Prussian state. Here at least it seemed 
as if a great integral part of the empire had been built up 
upon a rock of bronze. How else could a Prussian king 
have so long held at bay the rest of Germany and the 
whole of northern Europe? And when Frederick founded 

VOL. II Q 



226 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

his Fiirstenbund, it seemed as though a bulwark had been 
set up that would withstand almost any possible shock. 

Yet scarcely had this iron-sceptred rule come to an end 
when the state for which the watchful old king had done 
and suffered so much, began a surprisingly rapid down- 
ward career ; within a period of ten years it had engaged 
to maintain a dishonorable inactivity, within twenty it 
had to face, not only financial bankruptcy, but moral and 
intellectual, political, and military ruin. How Frederick 
would have writhed in his coffin to see the Prussian 
government conducted on sentimental-mystic principles, 
and to find a grand commander of the Rosicrucian Order 
consulting images in magic mirrors as to future policy ! 
Frederick Even outside of Prussia, the end of the eighteenth cen- 
William II. tury was a halcyon time for spiritualists, alchemists, and 
Rosicru- a ^ sor t s of secret and mysterious associations. Free- 
cians. masonry flourished in various forms, and one outcome of 

it was this Order of the Rosicrucians, in the ninth or high- 
est degree of which, a brother became as wise as Moses or 
as Aaron, and could command implicit obedience from all 
underlings. The occupation of the brethren was the mys- 
tic interpretation of the Bible and of natural occurrences, 
and the communing with spirits. Attempts were also 
made to create men by chemical processes, to find the 
philosopher's stone that would turn everything to gold, and 
to provide an elixir of youth. A professed object of the 
Rosicrucians in Prussia was " to further the honor of the 
Almighty in a fallen world as a means to the happiness of 
the human race " ; and all this was to be done " by means 
of the exalted knowledge and powers bestowed by divine 
mercy on the highest officers [of the order] and on them 
alone." A severe reprimand was bestowed on a sceptical 
brother who refused to believe that his superiors could 
hatch chickens from boiled eggs. 



THE FRENCH REVOLUTION 227 

It was into such an order as this that the Prussian 
king caused himself to be initiated as Brother Ormesus 
Magnus; and one of the "highest officers," Wollner, 
almost immediately recommended himself to him as " an 
unworthy instrument by which to save millions of souls 
from ruin, and bring back the whole land to faith in 
Jesus." Wollner gradually made himself head of various 
departments, and declared war on the old system of en- 
lightenment. When Ministers Herzberg and Hoym op- 
posed a certain taxation project, Wollner complained 
sadly that they "still had Satan in their hearts." In 
1788, he succeeded in ousting the old minister, Zedlitz, 
and himself assumed the whole direction of Prussia's spir- 
itual affairs. The king declared his intention of no longer 
permitting " that the religion of Christ be undermined, the 
Bible made a laughing-stock to the people, and the ban- 
ners of infidelism, of deism, and of naturalism be openly 
set up." Candidates for the ministry were put through 
most rigid tests ; a censorship was established forbidding 
all discussion of religious or dogmatic questions ; and even 
the great philosopher Kant was taken to task for one of 
his writings, and warned either to make a better use of 
his talents or to suffer the consequences. 

Such measures were unwise enough in themselves ; but Immorality 
when it was found that behind it all there existed in the of the 
royal household an almost unparalleled immorality, the re- 
sult was disastrous alike to the prestige of the throne and 
to the good conduct of the people. Frederick William 
had not only divorced one wife, Elizabeth of Brunswick, 
and kept a second, Louise of Hesse-Darmstadt, in seclu- 
sion ; but there was no secrecy about his connection with 
the wife of his chamberlain, Rietz, whom he raised to the 
rank of Countess Lichtenau, and who influenced him 
throughout his whole reign. Moreover, on the plea that 



228 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

Martin Luther had excused such conduct in Philip oi 
Hesse, he contracted bigamous marriages, sanctioned by 
unworthy priests, first with the charming Julie von Voss, 
niece of the old countess ; then, on her death, with Sophie 
Donhoff. 

For a time, Frederick William had made a successful 
bid for popularity by reversing many of the more hated 
measures of his predecessor. The French tax-gatherers 
and coffee-smellers were packed off in disgrace without 
even the salaries they had well earned ; life was made 
more easy for many citizens, and particularly for the wid- 
ows and orphans of soldiers. The Miller-Arnold decision 
was reversed, and Blucher and York, officers who had been 
under Frederick's displeasure, were reinstated in the army. 
Frederick Real wrongs may thus have been righted, real gener- 
William's osity exercised ; there is no doubt but that Frederick 
William sought the happiness of his subjects, but his ten- 
der-heartedness did them more harm than good. The 
taxes abolished were not replaced by other revenues ; 
aged officers were left in the army, when, for the sake of 
the service, they should have been placed on the retired 
list; land grants were recklessly made. Frederick the 
Great had left an accumulation in the treasury of more 
than fifty million thalers : it took but nine years to ex- 
haust this, and a debt was begun which soon ran up to 
fifty millions more. 

It is difficult to name a department in which there was 
not some break with the former policy. The minutiae of 
drill wearied the king, so he handed over the direction of 
military matters to a newly constituted board. Frederick 
had allowed outsiders to have little infiuen.ce either on his 
internal or his external policy ; his* successor was in the 
hands of Wollner and of another Rosicrucian, Bischoffs- 
\verder, who had once cured him of a disease, and with 



THE FRENCH DEVOLUTION 229 

whom he spent much time in calling up the spirits of the 
dead. 

Frederick had made it a principle not to thrust himself A weak 
into European politics where the interests of Prussia were foreign 
not directly concerned. " Were I to interfere in the case pollcy> 
of every tiff in my family," he once said, " I should soon 
be at odds with half of Europe." His successor, on the 
contrary, almost immediately became involved in a struggle 
between the patriotic and the aristocratic parties in Hol- 
land, for no other reason than that the wife of the Prince 
of Orange was his own sister. Twenty thousand Prussians 
marched into the country, and, almost without bloodshed, 
restored order ; but no effort was made to recover even the 
actual costs of the expedition, which amounted to six mill- 
ion thalers ; while soldiers and officers alike, having to 
face but small opposition, gained an exaggerated idea of 
their own prowess. 

The same inability to make capital out of a favorable Prussia, 
situation showed itself in a more serious degree with re- Austria 
gard to Austria. The past had proved conclusively that k 
here for all time was Prussia's natural enemy and rival in 
Germany ; even a tyro could have seen that the only 
proper policy was to strengthen and extend that Fursten- 
bund which had cried halt to the house of Hapsburg in 
the matter of the Bavarian succession. There were golden 
opportunities only waiting to be seized; for Joseph II.'s 
reign was ending in fiasco and revolt, and the Fiirsten- 
bund possessed a majority in the electoral college sufficient 
to altogether exclude the old imperial line. Moreover, 
Joseph's latest acts might well be regarded as a challenge 
to Prussia ; for his friendship with Russia had culminated 
in a common attack upon Turkey which was intended as 
a preliminary to further aggressions in the empire itself. 
This threatening of the balance of power led to an alliance 



230 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

between Prussia, England, and Holland, and to a demand 
that Austria should cease hostilities in Turkey. Fred- 
erick William was eager for war, and drew his troops 
together ; but his minister, Hertzberg, thought to achieve 
his ends by a series of diplomatic moves, and by changes 
of territory that would have given Moldau and Wallachia 
to Austria, Galicia to Poland, and Danzig and Thorn to 
Prussia. 

In the end Austria was compelled to cease hostilities in 
Turkey and to render back her conquests ; but Prussia 
once more reaped nothing for herself but a harvest of 
debts. Leopold was allowed to succeed Joseph without 
any counter concessions being asked or offered ; the new 
emperor was most adroit in appeasing the wrath of the 
truculent Prussian king ; and, although the Treaty of Rei- 
chenbach, signed in 1790, was an apparent humiliation for 
Austria, it was in reality a brilliant victory. The Turkish 
conquests that were abandoned could never have been 
maintained without great difficulty ; while Prussia's new, 
peaceful attitude allowed Austria to settle her own diffi- 
culties with the rebels in her Belgian provinces and in 
Hungary. 
The Con- Moreover, in the midst of the negotiations, Frederick 

William had shown his weakness of character to the whole 
Reichen- 
bach. world ; at the congress that was held in the little Silesian 

town of Reichenbach one set of demands was on the point 
of being acceded to, after long deliberations, when others 
of a quite different nature were suddenly brought forward. 
These, too, Austria was obliged for the moment to accept, 
but she neither forgave the insult nor did she ultimately 
fulfill her agreements. Prussia had been wasting her 
forces ; she had gained no material advantages, she had 
exacted no valid pledge for the future. Worst of all, a 
recognition of the Furstenbund had not been made a con- 



THE FRENCH REVOLUTION 231 

dition of the peace ; and the one chance of forming a 
permanent counterpoise to Austrian aggressions had been 
weakly forfeited. 

Meanwhile, to the Prussian state, the French Revolution Theoretical 
h'.id brought new dangers and difficulties, to its head, new enthusi^ 111 
opportunities of squandering treasure and prestige ; while ^ 
the stirring events that were going on in Poland caused Revolution. 
Frederick William's attention to oscillate between his 
eastern and his western boundaries, with the result that 
little was accomplished in either direction. 

The earlier events of the French Revolution had aroused 
a certain amount of enthusiasm in Germany, though not 
of the kind that leads to action. Philosophers like Kant 
and Fichte imagined they were witnessing a practical 
working out of their own teachings, the triumph of the 
sovereign ego. The former is reported to have cried out, 
" O Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, 
for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation " ; while the latter 
openly defended the right of a people to change its form 
of government, when necessary, by violence. The poet 
Klopstock wrote an ode to the Revolution and dressed 
himself in mourning when Mirabeau died. In Mainz, in 
Hamburg, and in a few other places, liberty poles were 
erected and celebrations held in honor of the storming of 
the Bastile ; in Berlin women wore in the streets the tri- 
colored badge of liberty, equality, and fraternity. There 
were few actual disturbances, and it mattered little to 
Germany at large that an abbess of Frauenalp was driven 
from her tiny domains. Moreover, when blood began 
to flow so freely in Paris, all other feelings gave way 
to horror and disgust. " Cancers are not cured by rose- 
water," wrote one apologetic news-leaf of the day ; but, 
fortunately, in Germany, the more radical remedy was 
not popular and was not employed. 



232 



A SHOKT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



Friction The Revolution could not be kept within the boundaries 

caused o f France for several reasons ; in the first place the rights 
of the empire had been infringed upon when, on August 
4, 1789, all feudal, and, in June, 1790, all ecclesiastical, 
jurisdictions were sweepingly abolished. Much of the 
land in Alsace belonged to German bishops and princes ; 
their rights had been acknowledged by the Peace of 
Westphalia, as well as by later treaties, although their 
status had never been clearly established. France was 
willing now to pay some indemnity, but not to restore the 
confiscated territory. The Diet of Ratisbon made recrimi- 
nations, but, with characteristic dilatoriness, allowed the 
matter to drag on for two years. A further leaven of 
discontent lay in the fact that the dispossessed French 
nobles sought refuge on German territory, notably at 
Coblenz, in the archbishopric of Treves, where it soon 
became evident that they had forgotten none of their 
extravagances and follies. Upheld by the archbishop, 
they set up a gay, dissipated little court and commenced 
to muster and drill an army, using the public buildings, 
and even the weapons from the arsenals, for their own 
purposes. Naturally, such doings aroused the wildest 
indignation in France and made matters ripe for war. 

But the chief cause of Germany being drawn into the 
maelstrom, was the sympathy of the Emperor Leopold and 
of Frederick William for the luckless king and queen of 
France. Leopold was the brother of Marie Antoinette, 
and, though long deaf to her prayers and entreaties, pre- 
pared for emergencies by forming an alliance with Prussia 
an alliance for which Bischoffswerder was responsible 
and in which all the advantage was on Austria's side. 
This Treaty of Vienna was signed in July, 1791, contrary 
to instructions and contrary to the trend of opinion in 
Prussia ; but the Rosicrucian knew his royal master and 



The decla- 
ration of 
Pillnitz. 



THE FRENCH REVOLUTION 233 

easily procured his sanction. In an encyclic letter, dated 
at Padua, Leopold had already called upon the powers of 
Europe to prepare to avenge any insult that might be 
offered to Louis XVI., and to refuse to recognize any 
French constitution not voluntarily accepted by the 
crown. The emperor and the king of Prussia then met 
at Pillnitz, in Saxony, and issued the meaningless decla- 
ration that they considered the affair of Louis XVI. the 
common concern of all sovereigns meaningless because 
all action was to be unanimous, and it was known before- 
hand that England would not act at all. 

The excitement was quelled for a time by the reinstate- The 
ment of Louis XVI. in his dignities, and by his voluntary Girondins 

oath to observe the constitution. Leopold modified his 

* war. 

demands with regard to the confiscated lands in Alsace, 
and joined with Prussia in ordering the Archbishop of 
Treves to desist from favoring the emigres. But, by this 
time, the wilder Girondins had gained the upper hand in 
the French assembly ; men like Brissot and Condorcet 
were convinced that war alone, by making the republic 
acceptable to a reluctant majority and by filling the 
empty coffers with booty, could save France. To this 
end they exerted all their eloquence : " A people that 
Has conquered its freedom after ten years of servitude 
must have a war," cried Brissot in a Jacobin gathering. 
The designs of the foreign powers were painted in the 
blackest colors ; and whereas, at Padua and Pillnitz, the 
emigres had in reality been pushed aside, they were now 
declared to be at the bottom of a great conspiracy. A 
demand, in the form of an ultimatum, was put to Leo- 
pold ; under penalty of immediate war he was to promise 
to renounce his plan of a European alliance and to show 
his readiness to support France. In answer to his digni- 
fied reply, war was declared on the 20th of April, 1792, 



234 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



The march 

of the 

allied 

armies 

under 

Brunswick. 



Valmy and 
Jemappes. 



the unfortunate Louis XVI., already more a corpse than 
a man, being forced to appear in the legislative assembly 
and read the fateful words. The terrible era of bloodshed 
began, that was not to end for twenty -two years. 

In spite of occasional small victories like those which 
led to the composing of " Heil Dir im Siegerkranz " in 
1793, and to the erection of the Brandenburg gate as an 
arch of triumph, the next three campaigns were in reality 
full of disasters for Germany. The reasons of this are to 
be found in the misconception of the strength and determi- 
nation of the French, in the unfortunate choice of a com- 
mander-in-chiefj and, finally, in the differences of aim and 
policy between Prussia and Austria. In this latter coun- 
try Francis II., a man of the feeble stamp of Charles VI., 
had succeeded the capable Leopold. 

At the beginning there had been real enthusiasm for the 
war : " To Paris, to Paris ! " was the cry of the Prussian 
officers ; " a mere hunting party ! Rossbach ! Rossbach ! " 
"Don't buy too many horses," Bischoffswerder said to 
Colonel Massenbach, " the comedy won't last long ! " But 
it soon became evident that the emigres had told out- 
rageous lies about the numbers, discipline, and spirit of 
the French army ; as a matter of fact there were in 1793 
nearly a million sturdy men voluntarily in arms, among 
them dozens of the future generals and marshals of France 
while, from the people at large, instead of the expected 
cries of vive le roi, the advancing army heard everywhere 
libert^ et egalite, varied by the mocking fa ira ! 

The forces of the allies, numbering a hundred thousand 
men, were ridiculously insufficient for the invasion of a land 
like France. The Austrians had sent but a corps where 
they should have sent an army ; the arrangements for pro- 
visioning were so poor that halts were made for no other 
purpose than to bake bread ; while the commander, Duke 



THE DISRUPTION OF GERMANY 235 

Charles Ferdinand of Brunswick, who was hampered 
besides by the presence of Frederick William II. in camp, 
displayed an unparalleled hesitancy and want of daring. 
One who was under his command at this time accords him 
" great talents, deep insight, but, at decisive moments, a 
total want of character." He inaugurated his first expe- 
dition by one of the most blatant and unwise manifestoes 
that ever was devised ; in it the inhabitants of Paris were 
ordered to show due respect to the king and royal family, 
else the members of the assembly, of the municipality, and 
of the national guard would answer with their heads, with- 
out hope of pardon, while the city of Paris itself would be 
delivered over to military execution and total overthrow. 
This from a man who turned his back and withdrew from 
renewing the charge, when on the heights of Valmy there 
offered itself a first great chance of an almost certain vic- 
tory ! His own excuse for retreating was that he feared 
lest Frederick William, with insufficient forces, should 
insist upon inarching on Paris ! Almost contemporaneously 
with this shameful episode at Valmy, of which Goethe 
said that night, "to-day begins a new era in the world's 
history," came the defeat of the Netherland army 
of the Austrians, at Jemappes, and the rounding of the 
Prussian flank by Custine, who fell on the defenceless 
Rhine bishoprics. The elector of Mainz and his nobles 
instantly took to flight with all their treasure, "for once," 
writes a contemporary, " our beautiful, venerable Rhine 
furnished a pleasing spectacle of busy traffic,'' but to the 
lower classes there was issued an archiepiscopal edict order- 
ing them to stay where they were under pain of the high- 
est displeasure ! 

The year 1793 was marked by the death on the scaffold 
of Louis XVI., and by the formation of the first great coa- 
lition of the indignant powers. Prussia accomplished the 



236 A SHOBT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

Frederick reconquest of Mainz ; but, in the midst of the campaign, 
William events in Poland brought about a great division in Fred- 

esitates er j c jj William's interests, and fanned the iealousy of Aus- 
between J 

France and tna to a white heat, t rom now on, neither on the eastern 

Poland. nor on the western frontier, were matters pushed with suf- 
ficient emphasis. At the end of his own resources, the suc- 
cessor of Frederick the Great begged in vain for subsidies 
from the other German states, and finally entered his whole 
army into the pay of the English ; but, according to their 
notions at least, fulfilled his part of the contract so badly 
that the supplies suddenly ceased. He had thought to 
accept their money while yet retaining his position as 
head of a great power and choosing his own scene of war ; 
whereas Pitt treated the Prussians as the Hessians had 
been treated in the Amerioan war, and ordered his new 
hirelings off to Belgium. 

The In Poland, in 1791, a liberal' constitution had been set 

"dumb U p that had the disadvantage, from a Russian and Prussian 
point of view, of promising to make the country strong and 
united ; on the plea that the dangerous ideas of the French 
Revolution were here taking root, Catherine II., with the 
help of the confederation of Targowicz, overthrew this 
constitution and prepared for a second partition. Austria 
was not consulted at all, and Frederick William was forced 
to take what was offered, or see the whole absorbed in 
Russia. His thoughts had been busy in this direction far 
more than with France, and his armj^ pressed in to com- 
plete the iron chain around Grodno, where the Diet was 
ordered to meet. Then followed the famous " dumb ses- 
sion," where absolute silence followed each demand to 
sign the Prussian title-deeds. After midnight had passed, 
the presiding officer, Count Ankwicz, declared that silence 
gave consent ; and, when silence still followed a threefold 
putting of the question, Marshal Bielinski pronounced 



THE DISRUPTION OF GERMANY 237 

the motion passed. We know now, in the light of new 
evidence, that the whole was a concerted comedy, designed 
to protect the members, who had all been bribed, from the 
wrath of their constituents, Ankwicz and Bielinski both 
accepted rich rewards from Russia. But the falseness and 
levity of the Poles themselves does not alter the shameful- 
ness of the entire proceeding. Prussia's share of the 
robbery consisted of Danzig and Thorn, besides Posen, 
Gnesen, Kalisch, and other districts, containing in all 
some twenty-five thousand square miles and one million 
inhabitants. The whole was given the name of the prov- 
ince of South Prussia, and filled up a great gap between 
Silesia and West and East Prussia. To Poland there was 
still left about one-third of her territory ; but her tenure 
of that was none too secure. 

The second partition of Poland still further widened the The second 
breach between Frederick William and Francis of Austria ; and third 
all the more as the latter's counter demand of the right to 
exchange the .Netherlands tor Bavaria a demand encour- 
aged so long as it suited Prussia's interests was now 
refused. As a result of all this hostility, the war on the 
Rhine was conducted with more laxness than ever ; the 
generals, Kalckreuth and Mollendorf, remained inactive at 
important moments ; and, in July and August, 1794, Jour- 
dan, Michaud, and Moreau were able to conquer Aix-la- 
Chapelle, Coblenz, and indeed the whole left bank of the 
Rhine with the exception of Mainz. 

Meanwhile the curtain had risen for the last act of the 
Polish tragedy. Russian oppression led to a final strug- 
gle for freedom, of which Kosciusko was the intrepid hero. 
Frederick William's troops had a chance to quell the re- 
volt before the Russian troops could come up. At the 
head of his army he did conquer Cracow and turn against 
Warsaw; but his evil genius, Bischoffswerder, urged him 



238 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



Bad ad- 
ministra- 
tion of the 
new 
provinces. 



not to risk his forces in an attack ; and it was reserved for 
the Russian Suvarov to defeat Kosciusko's army and carry 
off its leader. It was Russia and her new ally, Austria, 
that now dictated the terms of the final partition, forming 
in January, 1795, a secret compact with regard to Prussia, 
which was to be given Warsaw and a strip adjoining East 
Prussia, but this, only in the event of her acquiescing in 
Russian and Austrian aggrandizement at the expense of 
Turkey. At the risk of losing the share that he already 
possessed, Frederick William was forced to submit and 
to sign the treaty. 

It may be thought that, having by these two partition 
treaties of 1793 and 1795, nearly doubled its territory, he 
had not done badly for the Prussian state ; yet nowhere 
is the contrast to the policy of Frederick the Great more 
clearly to be seen. The province of West Prussia, all 
surrounded by Prussian territory, had been a great gain ; 
and by Frederick's wise and liberal measures had been 
raised to the level of the rest of the kingdom. The two 
new provinces of South Prussia and new East Prussia, on 
the other hand, introduced a thoroughly discordant ele- 
ment and one that could not be assimilated. The masses 
continued priest-ridden and ignorant, and contributed 
nothing to the common store ; nor was Frederick William 
the man to carry out the needed reforms. On the con- 
trary, he regarded these lands merely as a means of en- 
riching his faithful supporters ; and he deeded away vast 
estates, right and left, without care or thought for the 
future. While other countries, in these troubled times, 
were doubling their military forces, he contented himself 
with a very slight increase of the army. 

As a matter of fact his resources were at an end, his 
friendship with Austria broken, his zeal for the French 
campaign extinguished. He could not even say with 



THE DISRUPTION OF GERMANY 239 

truth, " all is lost save honor," for that, too, was seriously The sepa- 

compromised. Prussia had become the least respected of rate Peace 

states, and it is scarcely to be considered a step downward of Basel> 

when now, at Basel, she made a separate peace with France, 

one secret clause of which boldly faced the prospect of the 

left bank of the Rhine remaining in French hands. It is 

true, Frederick William hoped that the rest of Germany 

would follow his example ; indeed, as it was, the Peace of 

Basel was to apply to all the states behind an imaginary 

line of demarkation, including Hanover and Saxony. But 

the fact remains that he left others to fight his battles, and 

that he was willing to sacrifice German lands, merely 

stipulating that, if Prussia should lose her own outlying 

provinces, she should be indemnified at the expense of 

some power or powers on the right bank of the Rhine. 

There is a great difference of opinion between the con- The Treaty 
temporary observer and the modern historian as to the of Basel a 
merits of this treaty. Frederick William wrote to Cath- 
erine that he considered himself as merely following in 
the footsteps of Frederick the Great, by first securing his 
territory, and then preserving it in peace. Hardenberg, 
the future reformer, approved the step ; and Kant was 
moved by the news to write his treatise on perpetual 
peace. A transient era of commercial prosperity beguiled 
the masses. But, seen in its right perspective, this peace 
unmasks itself as the beginning of the end, as an abdica- 
tion on the part of Prussia of all her rights and privileges. 
Her most passionate lover and advocate of to-day, the late 
court historian, Von Treitschke, considers that no defeat in 
battle could have humbled this state as she now humbled 
herself, that an open alliance with an enemy would have 
been preferable to this pusillanimity, that here at Basel 
was committed the most serious political error of modern 
German history, an error that had to be atoned for through 
two decades of unparalleled miser}'-. 



240 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



Napoleon 
Bonaparte 
in Italy. 



The Treaty 
of Campo 
Formio. 



Prussia stood aside, now, while Austria continued the 
war, continued it, with little help from the empire, against 
live French armies, one of which was commanded by the 
rising genius of the age, Napoleon Bonaparte. The latter 
was sent to Italy in the spring of 1796, and soon began 
to display his marvellous abilities, showing to the world 
a new and wonderful kind of strategy that required no 
base of supplies, and, indeed, that bade defiance to all 
the old rules of warfare. He attached his soldiers to his 
own interests by furnishing them with booty in plenty : 
" I will lead you into the most fruitful plains in the 
world," he had said to them; "flourishing provinces, 
great cities, will be at your disposal." In return, he de- 
manded courage and steadfastness and a willingness to die 
by thousands in pursuit of great objects. His design was 
to master Mantua and control the passes of the Tyrol ; 
then to join with the Rhine army under Moreau and 
Jourdan and completely crush the enemy. As far as the 
Italian scene of warfare was concerned, he was successful : 
making a separate peace with the emperor's Sardinian 
allies, taking and holding Mantua against four attempts 
to relieve it, gaining the battles of Arcola and Rivoli, and 
bringing Lombardy, Venice, and the papal states to terms. 
But Moreau and Jourdan, after achieving several victo- 
ries, were forced back across the Rhine by the brave young 
Archduke Charles ; and the principalities of Wiirtemberg 
and Baden, which had gone over to the French, thought 
best to renew their allegiance to the empire. 

Napoleon, from political motives and from a desire to 
have the peace all his own, had made overtures to Austria 
even while preparing to deal further blows. Professing 
to be animated by the most humane of motives, he wrote 
that he would feel prouder of the humble crown to be 
earned by saving a single human life, than of all the 



THE DISRUPTION OF GERMANY 241 

mournful glory that could come of success in war. He 
was willing that Austria should emerge from the long 
conflict no poorer in territory than she had entered it ; 
but the map of Europe was to be cut according to his 
own pattern, and Austria was to definitely abandon the 
cause of the empire. Baron Stein, with whose grand 
character we shall soon become familiar, calls the treaty 
that was signed on October 17, 1797, "the black and 
complete treachery of Campo Formio " ; yet it was scarcely 
more black than the Peace of Basel of 1795, or than a 
subsequent treaty of August, 1796, that gave Prussia 
definite compensation in case of the sequestration of Cleves 
and Guelders. In the new treaty of France with Austria, 
as well as in that with Prussia, the clauses regarding the 
left bank of the Rhine were secret; in both cases the 
leading powers in Germany promised to abandon to their 
fate provinces that contained the coronation place as well 
as the first archiepiscopal see of the old empire. Austria's 
reward was to be the dismembered republic of Venice, 
for which she had long lusted, the archbishopric of 
Salzburg, and, possibly, Bavaria as far as the river Inn. 
Belgium, on the other hand, was to fall to France; while 
Lombardy was to be allowed to join the Cisalpine Repub- 
lic, one of Napoleon's new vassal states. The conqueror 
himself has said of this Treaty of Campo Formio, that he 
considered it one of the most advantageous that France 
had signed for centuries ; while the emperor, too, had 
every reason to be satisfied, although, by secularizing 
Salzburg, he gave the signal for a descent upon the lands 
of the clergy in Germany. 

As Austria had no possible right or authority to deed The Con- 
away territory of the empire, it was necessary to call a gr ess of 
congress for that purpose. With characteristic duplicity 
the summons invited the different states to send repre- 

VOL. II K 



242 



A SHORT HISTORY OP GERMANY 



Weakness 
of the 
empire. 



sentatives to the town of Rastadt who should treat of 
constitutional affairs on the basis of the integrity of Grer- 
many. Matters pertaining to the public weal were to be 
settled so as to conduce for centuries to the lasting joy 
of peace-loving humanity. 'The withdrawal of the em- 
peror's forces from Mainz, of which the French were 
allowed to take possession, and the simultaneous entry 
of the Austrian troops into Venice, gave the first official 
betrayal of the whole scheme. France's plenipotentiaries 
at the congress now came out with their unvarnished 
demand for the left bank of the Rhine, and the German 
princes whose lands were to be taken began to clamor for 
compensation and to throw themselves upon the gener- 
osity of the national enemy. It was the beginning of 
an ignoble race for gain, inasmuch as each power, Prussia 
included, thought by French influence to greatly better 
its previous condition. Even the Poles when robbed of 
their fatherland had acted with more dignity. It AYUS 
during a hasty visit to this congress that Napoleon Bona- 
parte gained his first insight into German politics and 
German character, which may well account for the con- 
temptuousness with which he always treated this people. 

And, indeed, the empire of Charlemagne was nearing 
the last stages of paralysis. In January, 1798, the witty 
publicist, Gorres, drew up its last will and testament, rec- 
ommending that its latest committee or deputation, here at 
Rastadt, should become permanent and conclude a per- 
petual peace, each article of which should be discussed in 
at least fifty thousand sessions ; that its army be handed 
over to the Landgrave of Hesse to be sold out to the 
highest bidder, and its archives turned into smelling-salts 
in 'case the heirs should be attacked with faintness. 
Although the Congress of Rastadt continued in session 
for more than a year, the last months were spent in fruit- 



THE DISRUPTION OF GERMANY 243 

less controversy, and Austria was already treating with 
England and Russia for the formation of a second great 
coalition. The conduct of the French had become un- 
bearable to Austria ; instead of assisting the emperor to 
his promised portion of Bavaria, instead of excepting Prus- 
sia's provinces from the general annexation of the left 
bank of the Rhine so that she might have no claim to 
compensation, they were growing more and more friendly 
to this arch-enemy. And their demands at the congress 
kept increasing beyond rhyme or reason. Germany was 
to assume all debts of the annexed districts and pay them 
out of the revenues of ecclesiastical territory ; the islands 
of the Rhine were to be included in the cession. What 
good, it was finally argued, would the left bank prove to 
France if controlled by forts across the river ? Kehl and 
Castel must be handed over, and the impregnable Ehren- 
breitstein completely demolished. Hostilities were pre- 
cipitated by the action of Bernadotte, who was acting as 
envoy in Vienna. In scorn of a local military celebration, 
he threw out a great tricolored flag from his balcony, and 
when it was torn down demanded his passports and re- 
turned to Paris. 

The time for a general attack by the other great powers The second 
of Europe on France and her daughter republics seemed coalition 
well chosen : Napoleon Bonaparte was absent, having been 
sent to Egypt to strike a blow at England in the East; 
Hoche, the next commander in ability, had just died ; the 
new Czar, Paul, was as much in earnest as his mother had 
been the contrary. It is true, Prussia held aloof entirely, 
but Prussia was now regarded, even by her own new 
ruler, as an unimportant factor. 

The hero of the first period of this second coalition war Suvarov. 
was undoubtedly the Russian, Suvarov ; in a series of 
brilliant marches and actions he recovered nearly the 



244 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

whole of Italy ; while Archduke Charles, by the battle of 
Stockach, stopped Jourdan and drove him back across the 
Rhine. Meanwhile the French envoys at Rastadt, who, 
even after the coalition had begun its military operations, 
had continued to treat with the minor German powers, 
were ordered to withdraw, and then foully set upon, by 
order, it is believed, of the Austrian prime minister Thu- 
gut, whose object was to procure certain valuable state 
papers of which they had possession. The outcome of 
the melee, fatal in the case of two of the envoys, increased 
the hatred felt by the French, who, however, as yet were 
powerless to requite such evil. It was the good fortune 
of France, however, that in not one of these great coali- 
tions was any single power willing to subordinate its own 
interests to those of the common cause. Austria expected 
Suvarov to lay Italy at her feet ; Russia desired to reestab- 
lish the sovereignties that Napoleon had abolished, and 
her general, at last, thwarted at every point, downrightly 
refused to besiege Genoa, which was the last stronghold 
of the French. At England's suggestion, and hoping to 
be more free from restraint, he left the scene of his vic- 
tories and started through Switzerland to meet additional 
Russian forces that were coming from the North, but as 
he himself believed, through Austrian treachery accom- 
plished nothing beyond a series of phenomenal Alpine 
marches. Toward the end of the year 1799, in deep dis- 
gust, the Czar, who fully shared Suvarov's suspicions 
as to Austrian duplicity, called home his forces. 

The peace At the same time Napoleon Bonaparte returned from 
of Lune"- Egypt, joined with Sieyes in a successful attempt to over- 
throw the existing constitution in France, and then, as 
First Consul, clothed with absolute power, prepared by a 
theatrical march across the St. Bernard to alter the com, 
plexion of affairs in Italy. The unrivalled victories of 



THE DISRUPTION OF GERMANY 245 

Marengo and of Hohenlinden soon brought Austria back 
to the position she had occupied at the time of the Treaty 
of Campo Formio ; and the Peace of Luneville, signed in 
February, 1801, was a practical repetition of that earlier 
agreement, except that the last veil of secrecy was with- 
drawn from the cession of the Rhine provinces, and that 
France was conceded a voice in the matter of compen- 
sation. Moreover, in accordance with Napoleon's peremp- 
tory demand, the agreements were signed by the emperor 
not merely in the name of Austria but also of the whole 
empire ; the cession of land which, including Belgium, 
aggregated some twenty-eight thousand square miles and 
contained three and a half million inhabitants, was thus 
finally consummated and the Rhine became the boundary 
between France and Germany. The new acquisitions were 
divided into departments after the manner of the rest of 
the territory of the French republic, while the question of 
the indemnities was reserved for further negotiations. 

Meanwhile, in Prussia, soon after the peace of Campo Death of 
Formio, there had been a change of ruler ; for Frederick Frederick 
William II., in spite of the aurum potabile, or liquid gold, 
administered by his Rosicrucian brethren, had died of enthusiasm 
dropsy. The hearts of the people had gone out to his for the 
virtuous young successor, and especially to the latter's new kin s- 
beautiful and charming wife, Queen Louise, a Mecklen- 
burg princess, who rewarded their adoration in this very 
year, 1797, by giving birth to that William who was one 
day to become the consummator of German unity. So 
good were Frederick William III.'s intentions, so free 
and liberal his promises, that nothing but plaudits were 
heard on all sides. "This prince spoils our revolution," 
a French Jacobin complained ; while an eloquent German 
exclaimed joyfully, " Pure reason has descended from 
heaven and taken its seat upon our throne." An enthu- 



246 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



Incapacity 

of 

Frederick 

William 

III. 



Division of 
the spoils of 
Germany. 



siastic band of admirers founded a set of Prussian year 
books in which to chronicle the expected reforms. 

But if Frederick William III. possessed all the piety, 
all the morality, and all the sense of duty that could be 
required from any Christian man, he was, nevertheless, 
absolutely incapable of guiding a state like Prussia 
through a period of storm and stress. Timid, ill-trained, 
and inexperienced, a mere pygmy compared to Frederick 
the Great, he was yet called upon to govern a greatly 
enlarged state and to face an enemy like Napoleon Bona- 
parte. With his full share of Hohenzollern obstinacy, 
he clung to his absolutism and refused to set up compe- 
tent ministers ; the consequence was that his cabinet 
secretaries, petty men like Lombard, Beyme, and Haug- 
witz, assumed undue influence, insinuated where they had 
no authority to advise, and finally landed the ship of state 
on the rocks of Tilsit. 

The worst of the political faults was the continued com- 
plaisance shown to France. The scheme of that power 
for compensating with ecclesiastical lands on the right 
bank of the Rhine those princes who had lost possessions 
on the left, was not only acquiesced in but warmly advo- 
cated ; indeed, Prussia went so far as to accept for her- 
self five times the amount of territory she had forfeited. 
Although nominally in the hands of a committee of the 
Diet known as the Imperial Deputation, the work of divid- 
ing the spoils was really carried on at Paris. Thither, as 
suppliants, went the dispossessed in person: the Solms, 
Laubachs, the Leyns and Leiningens, the Isenburgs and 
Hechingens, and a number of others. Treitschke calls 
them a swarm of hungry flies feasting on the bloody 
wounds of their fatherland. Gagern, the envoy from 
Nassau, relates how unworthily they sued for the favor 
of Talleyrand and of his secretary, Mathieu; how they 



THE DISRUPTION OF GERMANY 247 

caressed the minister's little poodle and played blind- 
man's-buff and drop-the-handkerchief with his favorite 
niece. It rained snuff-boxes, rising in value to 20,000 
guldens, while Hesse-Darmstadt offered a bribe of a round 
million. 

When all had been happily arranged, the act which is The Princi- 
known as the Principal Decree of the Imperial Deputa- P al Decree 
tion (February 25th, 1803) annihilated 112 German ^J L 
states, in addition to the 97 ceded to France, and divided Deputation, 
up 50,000 square miles of territory with more than 
3,000,000 inhabitants. When the decree was referred 
to the Diet for ratification, that body acted with char- 
acteristic regard to ceremonial : in order to make the 
vote valid, the dispossessed members were ordered to be 
present, but, as each answered to his name, he was for- 
mally entered as " absent " in the roll. By this exten- 
sive confiscation of church and civic property, the 
number of ecclesiastical princes was reduced to three, 
that of the free cities to six. Mainz retained the arch- 
chancellorship, but was forced to exchange its lands; 
in place of Cologne and Treves four other principalities 
were raised to the rank of electorates: Salzburg, Wiir- 
temberg, Baden, and Hesse. Upon the last-named three 
states, as well as upon Bavaria, it had been Napoleon's 
policy to heap all the benefits in his power, in order to 
have a " Third Germany " to make use of against Prussia 
and Austria. For that reason Baden was given in com- 
pensation for her lost territory ten times as much as was 
her due ; Prussia's acquisitions, on the other hand, though 
not inconsiderable, were to be as far as possible away 
from France. 

After the passing of the Principal Decree of the Im- 
perial Deputation, the events that led to the ending of 
the Holy Roman Empire and to the extraordinary catas- 



248 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

Napoleon's trophe of Prussia, followed each other in rapid succession. 

occupation Frederick William had been in the enjoyment of his ill- 
gotten gains but a few months when he was awakened 
from his dream of being the protector of North Germany 
by the announcement that Napoleon meant to strike Eng- 
land "wherever he could reach her." Soon afterward, 
French forces under Mortier were entering Hanover. It 
cannot be said that there was much love lost between the 
Prussian and Hanoverian, or between the Prussian and 
English governments, but every instinct of self-preserva- 
tion should have driven the king to an energetic protest, 
and, if necessary, to war. Even Haugwitz recommended 
the immediate despatch of an armed force. Here was 
the enemy whom Prussia had most reason to dread at 
her very throat ; Hanover almost cut her domains in two, 
and the French army was encamped close to the walls 
of her chief fortress of Magdeburg. Yet Frederick Will- 
iam remained inactive while the whole Hanoverian army 
capitulated, while all the wealth of the land was appro- 
priated, and even the forests were cut down and carried 
off to France to furnish masts for the conqueror's ships. 
Even when Napoleon proceeded to block the mouths of 
the rivers Elbe and Weser, and thus strike a deadly blow 
at Prussian commerce, this king could think of no other 
expedient than to send to Brussels the self-sufficient Lom- 
bard with a few sentimental reproaches. He was sure, 
Frederick William wrote, that in occupying Cuxhaven 
Napoleon's general had exceeded his commands. Lom- 
bard was delighted with the suavity of his reception by 
the powerful First Consul. " What I cannot reproduce," 
he wrote in his report, " is the tone of kindness and open 
frankness with which he expressed his regard for your 
rights." Dazzled, blinded, by Napoleon's greatness, he 
could not praise enough the truthfulness, the loyalty, the 



THE DOWNFALL OF PRUSSIA 249 

friendship that rang out in every word, and he returned 
from his mission without having obtained the fulfilment 
of one single demand. 

And Frederick William had no wrath to vent upon The murder 
this empty head. " The king is determined once for all," of the 

wrote Haugwitz, who himself was soon to emulate the " , e . 

Enghien. 
conduct of Lombard, " to show to all Europe in the most 

open manner that he will positively have no war unless 
he is himself directly attacked." Yet the time was not 
unsuitable ; the political constellation was favorable, while 
Napoleon was too full of his intended invasion of Eng- 
land, for which he was massing his troops on the Bou- 
logne shore, to wish for a struggle with Prussia and 
Hanover combined. 

Following quickly on the occupation of Hanover came 
the outrageous violation of German territory involved in 
the murder of the Duke of Enghien, a member of the 
House of Bourbon, who was declared to have taken part 
in a royalist conspiracy against the life of the First Con- 
sul. Enghien was seized in his own house, at Ettenheim, 
in Baden, by bands of French soldiers, who had marched 
up in the silence of the night ; he was dragged to Vin- 
cennes, and, within the shortest possible space of time, 
tried before a court-martial, sentenced, and shot by his 
own open grave. Scarcely an attempt was made to ex- 
cuse such conduct, though Baden and the empire were at 
peace with France ; and Germany had sunk so low that 
there was no remonstrance at the flagrant breach of inter- 
national law. The servile elector of Baden, when driven to 
the wall, pretended that Napoleon had asked his consent. 
When Russia tried to stir the Diet to action, the elector 
wrote, at his master's dictation, that he thanked the Czar 
for his interest, but had full confidence in the friendship 
and good sentiments of the French court. And the Diet 



250 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

itself escaped responsibility by flight, entering upon its 
holidays before it was time. In the popular mind, in- 
deed, the incident engendered intense bitterness ; Beetho- 
ven turned the slow movement of his new symphony into 
a funeral march, and dedicated it to the dead hero, rather 
than exalt, as he had intended, the great conqueror. 
Servility of To Frederick William's tender heart the murder of the 

111 Duke of Engfhien was such a blow that it put an end for 

German 

states. tne time being to the project of a Franco-Prussian alli- 

ance ; although Napoleon of late had been overflowing 
with kindness, and had significantly hinted at a plan of 
forming a North German empire with the Hohenzollem 
at its head. The South German states, indeed, did not 
waver in their subserviency -, and when, on May 18, 1804, 
their patron was proclaimed emperor, they outdid the 
French themselves in the warmth of their congratula- 
tions and in the fulsomeness of their flattery, declaring 
that this new Csesar was most like to their own first em- 
peror, Charlemagne, and recommending themselves for 
further favors, should there be any more lands to divide. 
Nothing could have exceeded the jubilation with which 
Napoleon was greeted on the occasion of a journey 
through the Rhine provinces. 

Austria Austria at this juncture considered it time to get to 

becomes an cover? as ft were, well knowing that at the next election a 
Protestantized and secularized electoral college would not 
be likely to favor the Hapsburg dynasty. With the con- 
sent of Napoleon, and after having, in return, recognized 
the latter's new dignity, Francis II., in this same year 
1804, adopted the title of hereditary emperor of Austria, 
without as yet formally divesting himself of that of em- 
peror of the Romans. He grounded his action on the 
greatness of his house, which, as he declared, although 
divine providence and the vote of the electors had 



THE DOWNFALL OF PRUSSIA 251 

brought it to such a pitch of glory that its head person- 
ally needed neither added title nor prestige, ought not 
to be behind any European power in outward rank. 

Meanwhile, Alexander of Russia, still indignant over The form- 
the murder of the Duke of Enghien, for whom he ordered in S of the 

his court to wear mourning, and displeased with the i ir ,. . 

,. i-T coalition, 

result oi his protests in Paris, convinced, too, that 

Napoleon was cogitating a general European war, had 
begun to treat in London and Vienna for the formation of 
a third coalition. In November, 1804, Austria closed with 
him a defensive alliance in the event of the French en- 
deavoring to extend their sphere of influence in Italy. In 
April, 1805, England agreed to aid Russia in raising a 
European army of half a million of men with which to 
restore the threatened balance of power. Napoleon in the 
meantime had demeaned his greatness- so he wrote to 
the Czar to the extent of accepting the Italian crown. 
The incorporation of Genoa in the French empire, and the 
excessive jubilations over former French victories in Italy, 
then forced Austria into open hostility. 

Both France and the coalition worked hard to secure an 
alliance with Frederick William III., whose army of two 
hundred thousand men was likely to be an important factor 
in the struggle. William Pitt suggested as as inducement 
to Prussia the proffer of the left bank of the Rhine, and, 
if need be, of Belgium ; while Napoleon held out the bait 
of Hanover, which, however, could. only have been main- 
tained at the cost of a war with England. Yet between 
these two possibilities, Frederick William wavered and 
pursued a zigzag policy ; and finally, angered at the Rus- 
sian threats of violating his territory, sought his usual 
refuge of feeble neutrality. Out of this he was roused 
by the news that France had actually committed the act 
that Russia had only threatened; full of righteous indig- 



252 



Napoleon 
and Mack. 



The sur- 
render at 
Ulm. 



nation he mobilized his army, yet, even then, sent Haug- 
witz to carry on further negotiations with Napoleon, and 
allowed his commander-in-chief, the Duke of Brunswick, 
to fix the latest date possible for effecting his junction 
with the Austrians. 

To Napoleon the news of the arming of the coalition 
came very opportunely ; for two years he had been per- 
fecting and drilling his army for the ostensible purpose of 
crossing the channel and "avenging the disgrace of six 
centuries" against England. His admiral, Villeneuve, had 
succeeded in luring Nelson's fleet to the West Indies, but 
not in keeping it there ; and the prospect for Napoleon of 
achieving his design of invasion, if he really ever seriously 
cherished it, must have seemed more distant than ever. 
Instead, that alternative which had always been present in 
his mind now presented itself with redoubled force. He 
knew the Austrians better than did Pitt, although the 
latter had complained of these " gentlemen in Vienna " 
that they were always one year, one army, and one idea 
behindhand. Napoleon had even had personal dealings 
with the general-in-chief, Mack, who in 1799 had been a 
prisoner in Paris. The opinion there formed had been 
extremely unfavorable ; this was just the kind of enemy 
the French Emperor longed to have his generals meet. 
" He is certainly one of the most incapable men in exist- 
ence," he declared; "and, moreover, he has bad luck." 

Mack had been chosen for his present position, to the 
detriment of the Archduke Charles, not because of any 
achievements in the field, but rather by reason of the 
fertility of his brain in making brilliant plans. Unfor- 
tunately there was wanting a basis of caution and foresight. 
While Napoleon was informed of every slight move of his 
enemies, while his spies circulated freely in the Austrian 
camp in the guise of wine-dealers, Mack did not have the 



THE DOWNFALL OF PRUSSIA 253 

least conception that already, for three weeks, armies had 
been marching from all directions to surround him. He was, 
to use his own subsequent words, in a " complete dream " ; 
he had expected to meet thirty thousand men, when, in 
reality, there were nearly seven times that number against 
him: all within the space of one short week, Marmont 
nad crossed the Rhine at Frankfort ; Bernadotte at 
Wiirzburg ; Ney, Lannes, and Murat at Kehl ; Soult 
and Davoust at Spires, and Napoleon himself at Strass- 
burg. " Soldiers," cried the latter to his army, " your 
emperor is in your midst ! You are now the vanguard 
of the grand nation." 

How different was the spirit in the army of the coalition ! 
When Mack drew his forces together at Ulm everybody 
but himself saw that he was recklessly perilling their 
safety ; and the next in command, Archduke Ferdinand of 
Modena, withdrew with twelve battalions in disgust, and 
made his way through, though with heavy losses, to 
Bohemia. But Mack was blinded by the delusion that 
the rumored landing of the English in Boulogne, the 
expected joining of the coalition by Prussia, and an 
imaginary insurrection in Paris, would require the em- 
peror's presence, and that Napoleon was even now beating 
a retreat. There were persistent reports at the Austrian 
court that the "star of the tyrant was waning"; that, 
after all, he was merely a stage -monarch ; and that 
adulation and luxury had weakened his powers. The 
rude awakening from the " complete dream " came on the 
20th of October, 1805, when Mack, almost immediately 
after having exhorted his troops to hold out to the last 
man, surrendered them all, to the number of twenty-three 
thousand, without striking a blow. " The shame that 
oppresses us," wrote an Austrian officer, "the filth that 
covers us, can never be wiped away ! " It made no differ- 



254 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

ence in the struggle on the continent that, four days 
later, Nelson, at Trafalgar, obliterated the sea power of 
France for a generation to come. 

The Treaty As Napoleon swept on, accompanied by his German 
of Potsdam. vassa j Si an d making, as was his wont, straight for the 
enemy's capital, the Russians and the remnant of the 
Austrians withdrew to Moravia. All was not yet lost, for 
the French were moving farther and farther from their 
base of supplies ; while, for the allies, reinforcements were 
on the way from the northeast, and there was every 
reason to hope that Prussia, whose armies had quickly 
been mobilized, would now definitely declare for the 
coalition. The news of Bernadotte's march through the 
Prussian territory of Ansbach, by which, as the allies 
claimed, Mack's surrender was effected, had roused 
Frederick William to unwonted energy, and he is said 
to have cried out, " I will have nothing more to do with 
the man ! " meaning Napoleon. He had at once notified 
the Czar that the Russians might cross Silesia ; within ten 
days after Mack's capture Alexander had come to Berlin, 
and on November 3 had signed the Treaty of Potsdam, 
by which Prussia agreed to throw an army of 180,000 
men into the field should Napoleon not agree, within 
four weeks, to relinquish all his conquests in Holland, 
Switzerland, and Naples. On the whole transaction the 
seal of sacredness had been set by a midnight' visit of the 
Czar, the king, and the beautiful Queen Louise to the last 
resting-place of Frederick the Great, and a kiss imprinted 
on his coffin. 

The Napoleon, meanwhile, had taken Vienna and* sent off her 

battle of works of art to enrich his collection in Paris ; as he 

advanced into Moravia, however, the position of affairs 

became less encouraging. Every day that passed meant 

a gain to the allies, a loss to himself, a fact of which 



THE DOWNFALL OF PRUSSIA 255 

Kutusoff, the Russian general, was well aware. But a 
rash decision of the Czar, impelled, it is said, by the sight 
of his own splendid regiments marching in review, gave 
to the French emperor the longed-for chance of gaining 
what proved to be his most splendid victory. He could 
not believe his ears when the report reached him that the 
enemy had left a strong position to try and cut him off 
from Vienna ; one who was with him reports that, trem- 
bling with joy and clapping his hands, he cried out to 
those around him : " That is a wretched move ! They are 
going into the trap ! They are giving themselves up ! 
Before to-morrow evening this army is mine ! " And 
after the battle to his soldiers, " Soldiers, I am satisfied 
with you ! " As well he might be, for the losses of the 
allies at Austerlitz were twenty-six thousand, not to speak 
of nearly all the guns, all the ammunition, and all the 
baggage. 

A few days before this battle of the three emperors, Themis- 
Haugwitz had arrived in Napoleon's camp at Briinn with sion of 
the demands of the Prussian king. He had travelled as Hau S witz - 
slowly as possible, he allowed Napoleon to dally with him 
and send him from pillar to post, and finally, after Aus- 
terlitz, ended up a course of the most incomprehensible 
behavior by concluding a treaty of alliance instead of 
presenting an ultimatum. By the Treaty of Schonbrunn, 
Prussia was to receive Hanover, and, in return, to cede 
the remainder of Cleves, the fortress of Wesel and the 
principality of Neuchatel to France, as well as Ansbach to 
Bavaria. On the surface, it seems incredible that any man 
on his own- responsibility should have dared such action 
as that of Haugwitz ; still more incredible, that Frederick 
William should have ratified these engagements and treated 
their sponsor with respect and consideration. But under- 
neath it all, as a recently discovered letter has proved, 



256 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



The Peace 
of Press- 
burg. 



The Rhine 
confedera- 
tion and 
the end of 
the Holy 
Roman 
Empire. 



lay the bitter fact that the king's own courage had given 
out at the last moment, and that he had secretly instructed 
Haugwitz on no account to let it come to war ! 

Truly, with all sympathy for Prussia, with a knowledge 
of all the good forces that were even now slumbering 
within her, one can only say that she richly deserved her 
fate. Now that time has cleared the mists away and given 
us a larger point of view, it seems incomprehensible that 
this Hohenzollern should have failed so utterly to recog- 
nize where his true interests lay. Even after Austerlitz 
there were enough Russians at his disposal to bring the 
total of his army up to 300,000 men. But instead of 
fighting France, he deliberately agreed, in a supplementary 
treaty signed at Paris with Napoleon, to expose himself to 
a war with England for the sake of Hanover ; and then, 
as a climax of folly, reduced his army to a peace footing ! 
Austria, in consequence of Prussia's action, was driven to 
sign with France the Peace of Pressburg (December 26, 
1805), by which she was divested of 28,000 square miles 
of territory, 3,500,000 inhabitants, and 14,000,000 guldens 
of yearly revenue. On the east, on the south, and on the 
west her provinces were cut from her ; and the man who 
was still head of the Holy Roman Empire was forced to 
acknowledge the kingship and full sovereignty of Na- 
poleon's satraps, Wiirtemberg and Bavaria. These par- 
venu kings now set the crown on a long succession of 
misdeeds, by forming, with fourteen other princes, the 
Rhine confederation and repudiating the jurisdiction of 
the empire. At the Diet, eight envoys handed in the 
declaration that their masters saw fit, " commensurably 
with their dignity and the purity of their goals," to re- 
nounce allegiance to an organization that had practically 
ceased to exist, and to place themselves under the protec- 
tion of the great monarch " whose views had always shown 



THE DOWNFALL OF PRUSSIA 257 

themselves in accord with the true interests of Germany." 
As for Francis II., one of the least sympathetic scions of 
an unlovely race, he took occasion to write to Count Met- . 
ternich, whom he sent to Paris to bargain with Napoleon, 
" The moment for resigning the imperial dignity, is that 
when the advantages which accrue from it for my mon- 
archy shall be outweighed by the disadvantages that 
might arise from its further retention." Metternich is 
to place the price of imperial dignities very high in the 
market, and to show " no disinclination to the resignation 
of the said dignity, but rather a readiness but only in 
return for great benefits to be acquired by my monarchy." 
" With such sentiments," writes the scourging pen of 
Treitschke, "did the last Roman-German emperor bid 
farewell to the purple of the Salians and the Hohenstau- 
fens ! " The formal abdication was drawn up on the 6th 
of August, 1806, and the chief ground assigned was the 
defection of the Rhine princes. 

Swiftly and heavily Prussia's retribution for all the Napoleon's 
faults and errors of the past now fell upon her. Through perfidy with 
Napoleon's intrigues, she failed in her effort to found a ^nover* 
North German confederation and thus collect the last 
Germans under her banner ; while, as was to be expected, 
her dealings with regard to Hanover involved her in a 
war with England. Hundreds of her merchant vessels 
were captured in British harbors and her commerce ruined. 
For Hanover she had suffered all this, for Hanover she 
had violated every precept of consistency and of political 
probity. And now, casually, at a dinner, her envoy learned 
from the British envoy, Lord Yarmouth, that Napoleon, 
who was treating for peace with England, had offered, as a 
basis of negotiation, the retrocession of this same Hanover ! 
The English negotiations failed and Pitt's dying prophecy, 
" Roll up the map of Europe, it will not be needed these 

VOL. II 8 



258 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



Enthusiasm 
for the 
war. 



Unpre- 
paredness 
of Prussia. 



ten years ! " eventually proved true. But the perfidy of 
the man whom he considered his ally, and the final con- 
viction that Napoleon really intended Prussia's ruin, in- 
duced Frederick William to listen to the war party at 
Berlin, to which his courageous wife and even Haugwitz 
belonged. He mobilized his forces, entered into an agree- 
ment with Russia by which the Czar was to furnish him 
with 70,000 men, and, finally, sent an ultimatum to the 
effect that the French must retire entirely from Germany 
and place no hindrance in the way of the projected North 
German confederation. In a proclamation to his people 
he declared that he was taking up arms to free unhappy 
.Germany from the yoke under which she was languishing, 
for: "over and above all treaties nations have their rights! " 

The war was sure to be popular, for the weight of Na- 
poleon's tyranny was beginning to be widely felt ; shortly 
before, he had again shocked all Germans by the execution 
of Palm, a bookseller of Nuremberg, whose only crime was 
having sold a patriotic pamphlet called G-ermany in the 
Depths of her Humiliation the most revolutionary advice 
in which seems to have been, "lift up your voices and 
weep ! " It has been said of this murder of Palm, that its 
effect on the people at large was like that of the Enghien 
tragedy on the crowned heads. In Berlin there had 
already been demonstrations ; young officers had sharpened 
their swords on the window-sill of the French ambassador, 
and had joined in the theatre in the chorus in Schiller's 
Wallenstein, " Up, comrades, up ! to horse, to horse ! " 

But a campaign on which the very existence of a nation 
depended should have been inaugurated with more care 
and caution. Frederick William III. has justly been 
blamed for not entering the war before ; now he entered 
it too soon. Thousands of his soldiers had been granted 
leave of absence ; whole regiments had been sent back to 



THE DOWNFALL OF PRUSSIA 259 

their distant garrisons; while, on the other hand, large 
French forces had remained stationed in South Germany. 
And the condition of the army was deplorable, its general 
spirit un warlike to the last degree. The chief commands 
were in the hands of self-satisfied old graybeards, who had 
done good service in the time of Frederick the Great, but 
had since grown weak and pampered on account of the 
comforts that their sinecures offered. It would be hard 
to imagine a more baneful arrangement than that which 
allowed officers to reap advantage from issuing leave of 
absence to their men ; the sums economized from food and 
maintenance flowed in such streams into the pockets of the 
captains, that their income in time of peace was double 
what it was in time of active service. The forms of the 
past had survived, but not the spirit ; even on the march, 
the most promising young officers were held down to 
clerical work when they should have been scouring the 
country for information. The importance attributed to 
minor matters, to the length of the pigtail, to the manner 
of giving out the parole, bordered on the ridiculous if not 
on the insane. Just before the battle of Jena, Frederick 
William met Captain Boyen, who all the morning had 
been engaged in desperate efforts to clear an obstructed 
road for the troops, and sent word to him that his hair 
was out of order. 

It is doubtful if too much blame for the catastrophe of Folly and 
his country can be thrown on the shoulders of this weak weakness 
king. His lovable personality, his perfect uprightness, 
his mart}^r-like attitude in misfortune, the final triumph 
of his cause, endeared him to his subjects and have blunted 
the pen of censorious historians ; yet, as head of a nation 
rigidly trained for nearly a century to look to its king for 
everything, he had proved a most lamentable failure. 
At each critical moment he wavered like a broken reed. 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



His own last ultimatum to Napoleon is a marvel of feeble 
self-exculpation, full of allusions to France's glory and 
to his own good services on her behalf. " I was the first 
to recognize you," he wrote. " I have been insensible to 
threats as well as to promises when it was a question of 
making me false to our good relations." Sentimental 
reminiscences at a moment like this when the stake was 
nothing less than national existence, and when most posi- 
tive proofs had been furnished of the enemy's perfidy ! 
Others saw what Frederick William could not even yet 
be brought to see, that nothing whatever was to be hoped 
for from this man, that the wheel of destruction was re- 
lentlessly advancing, that the sins committed ten and five 
years before were to be bitterly atoned. Ernst Moritz 
Arndt, the inspired prophet of liberty, draws a frightful 
picture, at this time, of the ruin to come, of the terrible 
destroyer hurling his legions from the ocean to the Rhine, 
of the soil stamped by the feet of hundreds of thousands, 
of the plunder, the starvation, the shame : " Unhappy 
princes, could you suffer more than you now suffer? 
Certainly you could not suffer more unworthily." And 
Jena was not yet fought, Tilsit not yet signed ! An 
incredible blindness prevailed among the officers of the 
army as to the shortcomings of that institution. General 
Ruchel on the public occasion of a parade declared that 
Prussia had " several commanders equal to General Bona- 
parte"; Bliicher, even, expressed his perfect satisfaction 
with the present condition of the military forces. After 
the campaign had already begun, a certain Captain Lieb- 
haber was heard to say at mess : " As yet the enemy has 
taken no step that we had not previously prescribed to 
him. . . . Napoleon is as certainly ours as though we had 
him in this hat," whereupon many officers rose on tiptoe 
and looked into the hat. 



THE DOWNFALL OF PRUSSIA 261 

Of all Frederick William's faults and imperfections The king 
none proved more fatal than his inability to recognize and and the 
make use of great men. He clung to his Beymes, his B U e . , 
Lombards, and his Haugwitzs to the very last moment; 
his chief military adviser, General Kockeritz, once con- 
fided to General Boyen that he did not like to have two 
opposing parties approach him on a matter at the same 
time, "for they always know enough to put the case in 
such a form that I cannot tell which is right ! " With 
the Duke of Brunswick, commander-in-chief of all the 
forces that were to fight against Napoleon, matters were 
still worse. Brunswick in his youth had been a brave 
leader, fearless of danger. Frederick the Great had once 
likened him, in verse, to the Turennes, the Weimars, the 
Condes. His reputation had extended beyond Germany, 
and, at the outbreak of the French Revolution, the Jacobins 
had wished him for their own commander. His achieve- 
ments, indeed, on the German side had, as we have seen, 
been far from glorious. He was still brave in battle, but 
weak as his master when it came to making a decision. 
When the army started out in September, 1806, to meet 
the French in the Weimar- Jena-Erfurt region, Frederick 
William accompanied it. " What shall we call headquar- 
ters, royal or ducal ? " wrote Scharnhorst, the only thor- 
oughly trained soldier of them all. . No single step was 
taken without hours of polite discussion Frederick Will- 
iam and Brunswick both shunning responsibility and at 
last taking refuge in frequent councils of war. Had it not 
been for one of these latter, that lasted for eight priceless 
hours, Prussia might still have escaped the catastrophe of 
Jena. There was no concealment of the dilemmas of 
those highest in authority. Boyen tells of a door left 
open, so that a room full of young officers could hear 
Brunswick and the king declare their total ignorance as 



262 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

to the enemy's position. All trust, all confidence, in such 
leadership was gone. A deputation of officers appeared 
before Kalckreuth and urged him to save what was still 
to be saved and himself take command. 

Jena and As at Ulm, the French came upon their enemy utterly 

Auerstadt. unawares and found them in a long, straggling line. On 
one and the same day, Hohenlohe was defeated at Jena, 
and Brunswick himself, twelve miles north, at Auerstadt. 
Hohenlohe succumbed to superior numbers and to his 
own folly in camping on a plain without attempting to 
seize the adjoining heights, up which, torch in hand, 
Napoleon himself had led his troops under cover of the 
night. At Auerstadt, Brunswick's forces actually out- 
numbered the French by several thousands ; but early in 
the fight he himself was blinded and mortally wounded, 
and could no longer direct the battle. The other generals 
were ignorant of what plan of operations he had intended. 
Frederick William, though present, could neither make 
up his mind to take command himself, nor did he appoint 
another general-in-chief. The different divisions of the 
army waited in vain for their orders, and Kalckreuth's 
sorely needed reserves were not called up. Scharnhorst 
led a forlorn hope, and almost succeeded in saving the 
day. Forced at last to retreat, he drew out his right 
wing in some order ; but as fate would have it, the two 
simultaneously defeated armies pursued the same line of 
retreat; and unexpectedly, in the darkness of the night, 
came upon each other. All discipline was at an end. 
Baggage, artillery, horses, and men, all were involved in 
one horrible moving snarl. The king himself, with 
Bliicher at his side, rode for fourteen hours in momen- 
tary danger of capture. 

The worst result of the battles of Jena and Auerstadt 
was the sudden revulsion that they brought about, from 



THE DOWNFALL OF PRUSSIA 263 

the most arrogant over-confidence to the most extreme The fall 
despair and discouragement. After one single day of of the 
battle, all power of resistance was at an end. To use the fortress 
language of Napoleon's own twenty-second bulletin, the 
great beautiful army of the Prussians had vanished like 
an autumn mist before the rising of the sun. But most 
astonishing of all, was the manner in which one fortress 
after the other, hitherto deemed impregnable, fell like 
a house of cards. Two days after the battle of Jena, 
Erfurt, with eleven hundred men and great stores of pro- 
visions, capitulated ; nine days later, Spandau followed 
suit ; then Stettin, then Kiistrin. Great hopes had been 
placed on Magdeburg, in which was stored a million 
pounds of gunpowder, and which sheltered twenty gen- 
erals, eight hundred officers, and twenty-two thousand 
soldiers; yet this great fortress, though besieged by a 
force less in numbers than its own garrison, surrendered 
after the twelfth shot. The blame for such occurrences 
falls almost directly upon the king, in whose hands had 
lain the appointment of the chief officers. The com- 
mandants of Magdeburg and of Kiistrin were both men 
who had previously been punished for cowardice before 
the enemy ; while the commandant of Stettin had frankly 
told Frederick William that he was too old and too feeble 
for the position, and had only accepted it as a sort of 
sinecure. 

Meanwhile, Hohenlohe, with some twelve thousand men, The resist- 
surrendered at Prenzlau, in the Ukermark, to a much smaller ance of 
force. He was deceived by the false assertion of Murat 
that he was opposing him with sixty-four thousand men. 
Bliicher, York, and Scharnhorst, who had intended to join 
Hohenlohe, cut their way through to Liibeck, where, after 
desperate fighting, and after food and ammunition had come 
to an end, they were taken captive. Boyen had been seri- 



264 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

ously wounded. Only in Silesia, and in one little Baltic 
fortress, was there any thoroughly successful resistance 
west of the Vistula; when the commandant of Colberg, 
Lucadou, spoke of surrender, the brave old sailor, Nettel- 
beck, defied him to his face, and organized a band of citizen 
defenders. The country around was flooded, the walls 
strengthened, and supplies ordered by sea from England 
and Sweden. An eloquent letter from Nettelbeck induced 
the king to recall Lucadou, whose place was given to 
Gneisenau. These two heroic men, Gneisenau and Nettel- 
beck, played well into each other's hands, and each has 
done full justice to the merits of the other; each was tire- 
less in his activity, wonderful in his courage and pa- 
triotism. To both in common it is due that Colberg held 
out though, after superhuman efforts, on the very point 
of falling until peace was at last declared. 

Napoleon Napoleon had so well appreciated the meaning of the 
in Berlin. victory at Jena that, only a few hours later, he imposed a 
contribution of one hundred fifty-nine million francs on all 
the Prussian provinces west of the Vistula ; within a week 
he had incorporated those to the left of the Elbe in the 
French empire. He himself had begun a triumphal prog- 
ress toward Berlin ; while Frederick William and his 
court fled to the extreme northeastern part of Prussia. 
Baron Stein, who for a short time had been minister of 
finance, managed to secure the money boxes of the state 
and convey them to a place of safety a wise precaution if 
a new army was to be raised. In Berlin, Napoleon gave 
full swing to the dictates of his thoroughly vengeful 
nature. On the walls of her own palace he wrote insults 
against Queen Louise, whom he considered largely respon- 
sible for Frederick William's declaration of war ; from the 
grave of Frederick the Great he carried off the scarf and 
sword and presented them to the Invalides in Paris; he 



THE DOWNFALL OF PRUSSIA 265 

caused the obelisk on the battlefield of Rossbach to be 
broken in pieces and thrown in the dust; the figure of 
victory with her prancing -steeds was lowered from the 
top of the Brandenburg gate and relegated for the next 
eight years to a shed on the banks of the Seine. Down 
the broad avenue Unter den Linden was driven like a herd 
of cattle the famous gens d'armes regiment, whose officers 
had been the gilded youth of the town, had engaged in 
wild notorious escapades like that summer sleighride over 
salted roads, or that chase of Catholic priests after one 
disguised as Luther, had graced the salons of those in- 
tellectual Jewesses, Rahel and Henriette Herz. It was to 
be many a long day now before a Prussian officer might 
dare even to show himself upon the streets in his uniform. 
The frivolous, self-conceited Berliners had a hard lesson 
to learn; the better-minded among them had to struggle 
not merely with misfortune, but also with shame, treason, 
and disgrace. Frenchmen themselves turned away in 
disgust from the cringing fear with which they were 
met. "Let it lie," said one of them, to whom had been 
officiously pointed out a goodly supply of timber; "let it 
lie, that your king may have something on which to hang 
you rogues ! " Low-minded men were found who were will- 
ing to edit the newspapers in the interests of the French, 
and to cover with insults the Prussian royal house ; a 
considerable number of Frederick William's old- officials 
worked quietly on under the new regime. Even dis- 
tinguished scholars like Johannes M tiller and the philos- 
opher Hegel were willing to bend their knee to the hero 
of the age. 

For a while, even after the battle of Jena, Frederick Napoleon' 
William III. had retained his optimistic view of Napo- demands, 
leon's character. On the day following that event, he 
had sent to the emperor and asked for a truce and for 



266 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

conditions of peace ; he was sure, he wrote, that a man so 
loyal, with such nobility of soul, would demand nothing 
against his, Frederick William's, honor and the security of 
his territories. Napoleon refused the truce, and his condi- 
tions for peace kept growing more severe with each new 
capture and surrender. After the fall of Stettin he de- 
manded, not merely the cession of all Prussian lands west 
of the Elbe, but also an abandonment of the alliance with 
Russia, and an agreement in certain contingencies to go 
to war against her ; after the disgraceful capitulation of 
Magdeburg, nothing would satisfy him but the withdrawal 
of the last remnants of the Prussian troops beyond the Vis- 
tula, and the abandonment of the forts that still stood firm 
in Silesia, as well as Thorn, Danzig, Graudenz, and Col- 
berg. A treaty to this effect had already been drawn up, 
and a majority of the council called to debate upon the 
matter at Osterode had voted to ratify it, when the king, 
supported by Stein and Voss, found the courage of des- 
peration and determined to fight to the death. Particu- 
larly horrible to him had been the thought of abandoning 
this faithful Russian ally, this Czar to whom he felt 
bound by the most intimate ties of personal friendship. 
Servility of Napoleon had experienced in this campaign the value 
Saxony. o ^ e Rh en j sn p r i nce s as allies ; their soldiers had fought 
as bravely as the French themselves, and are said to have 
acted with even greater brutality. Their confederation 
was now joined by Saxony, which was forever estranged 
from Prussia by the promise of Prussian land and the 
gift of a royal crown. The new king, Frederick Augus- 
tus, who, shortly before, had been treating with Frederick 
William III. for entry into the proposed North German 
confederation, now outdid even Bavaria and Wurtem- 
berg in cheerful submissiveness.. While Prussia was in 
the last agonies, a great festival was held in Leipzig, where 



THE DOWNFALL OP PRUSSIA 267 

the sun, the emblem that Napoleon had borrowed from 
Louis XIV., was the most prominent decoration. An 
inscription over the anatomical room in the university 
proclaimed that " The dead, too, cry long life ! " " Saved 
is the fatherland " was the favorite refrain. In Poland, 
too, Napoleon fostered a revolt, causing weapons to be 
distributed among the insurgents and expressing his deep 
interest in their aims. 

Prussia's one friend, drawn closer by these very Po- The battle 
lish troubles, was the handsome, blue-eyed young Czar ofEylau. 
Alexander ; his forces under Benningsen joined the last re- 
maining Prussian corps, that of Lestocq, in which Scharn- 
horst was the leading. spirit; and together they prepared 
for Napoleon the first check that he had ever experienced 
in his victorious career. . The battle of Eylau was bloody 
in the extreme, some forty thousand men are said to 
have fallen in all, and, though not entirely defeated, 
the French were forced to retire into winter quarters. 
The emperor made overtures of peace which Frederick 
William in turn refused. The prospects seemed brighter, 
though still far from encouraging. The Czar treated 
the Prussian king with the utmost friendliness, and 
once exclaimed fervently, "Is it not true, neither of 
us two shall fall alone ? " In a treaty signed at Bar- 
tenstein, April 26, 1807, the two powers bound them- 
selves not to lay down their arms until Germany should 
have been freed and the Frerfbh driven back beyond the 
Rhine. 

But the battle of Friedland entered into reluctantly by Friedland. 
Benningsen after months of delay, during which Napoleon 
was ree'nf orcing his army proved a second Austerlitz ; 
without even notifying his ally, the frightened Alexander 
accepted his defeat as final, and promised to sign a truce. 
From an enemy of Napoleon, he became his warm and 



268 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



The three 
monarchs 
at Tilsit. 



The Treaty 
of Tilsit. 



affectionate friend, revelling in the thought of sharing 
with him the rule of the Western world. 

The final doom of Prussia was spoken at Tilsit, where 
interviews between Napoleon and his two royal antagonists 
were held in the most romantic of trysting places, a 
pavilion erected on a raft in the river Niemen. The 
whole scene was well calculated to work on the impres- 
sionable spirit of the young Czar ; he was lured, not torn, 
from his loyalty to Frederick William. Napoleon made 
it appear, and indeed it was true, that only as a favor, 
and out of regard for the emperor of all the Russias, were 
any of his territories at all to be returned to the Prussian 
king; the latter was not called in until after two days, 
when he was treated with contempt and covered with 
reproaches. Frederick William had spared himself no 
personal humiliation that could better the terms for his 
country ; he had even induced the beautiful queen to pay 
her humble respects to the man whom she regarded as the 
incarnation of the devil. She was treated politely, and 
returned under the impression that her visit had done 
some good ; but, as Napoleon himself later wrote, her 
entreaties slid off him like water from oiled cloth. 

In the formal document of the Peace of Tilsit the clause 
regarding the favor to the Czar was inserted a wanton 
insult such as is rarely to be found in a great treaty. 
But, worse still, Alexander did not scruple, to accept part 
of the spoils, the Polish-Prussian district of Bialystok. 
An English cartoon that is said to have been much 
enjoyed in Leipzig, and that well characterizes the situa- 
tion, shows " Bony " and the Czar embracing so violently 
that the raft takes to rocking and throws Frederick 
William into the water. 

The poor Prussian king lost all the districts west of the 
Elbe, and almost all that had been acquired from the last 



THE DOWNFALL OF PRUSSIA 269 

two Polish partitions, not to speak of isolated provinces 
like Baireuth and East Friesland. In actual square miles, 
as well as in population, there was taken away from him 
more than half of his possessions. These went to form 
the kingdom of Westphalia for Jerome Bonaparte, and 
the duchy of Warsaw for the faithful king of Saxony. 
What was left . was spread out in the form of three 
clover leaves, at the mercy of every enemy; while for 
Frederick Augustus there was reserved in addition a 
right of way, a via regis, straight across Silesia. 

Forced to accept this complete maiming and mutilation The lost 
of his fatherland, Frederick William, in a formal procla- P rovinces - 
mation, released his lost subjects from their allegiance. 
" That which centuries and worthy forefathers," he wrote, 
"that which treaties, love, and confidence once bound 
together, must now be sundered. Fate commands, the 
father parts from his children ; no fate, no power, can 
tear yo*ur memory from the hearts of me and mine." 
The peasants of the county of Mark wrote back in their 
coarse dialect : " Our hearts almost broke when we read 
your message of farewell; so truly as we are alive it is 
not your fault I " 



CHAPTER VII 

THE REGENERATION OF PRUSSIA AND THE WAR OF 
LIBERATION 

LITERATURE : Same as for previous chapter. 

Therealiza- THE unparalleled misfortunes which had fallen upon 
tion of the Prussia, paired as they were with shame, cowardice, and 

dishonor, had worked at least one salutary result : the 
Prussia. 

eyes of the king and of those around him were opened, 

the era of complacency and self-satisfaction was at an end. 
Soon after the events at Tilsit, Queen Louise wrote to her 
father that what had happened had been inevitable, that 
the old order of things had outlived itself and crumbled 
of its own weight. " We have gone to sleep," she de- 
clared, " on the laurels of Frederick the Great, the lord of 
his age, the creator of a new era. With that era we have 
not progressed, therefore it has outdistanced us. From 
Napoleon we can learn much, and what he has accom- 
plished will not be lost. It would be blasphemy to say, 
' God be with him,' but evidently he is a tool in the hand 
of the Almighty with which to bury what is old and life- 
less, closely as it may be welded with the things around us." 
So firmly was reverence for monarchical rule still grafted 
on the Prussian people that reform without the king's 
assistance would have been impossible ; of the greatest 
importance it was, therefore, that Frederick William took 
up the work bravely and conscientiously. He could not, 
indeed, entirely conquer his ingrained faults of character; 
his indecision, his bluntness of perception, were still to 

270 



THE REGENERATION OF PRUSSIA 271 

drive the best of his advisers almost to despair ; the state, 
before it could rise, was to sink to even lower depths. 
But, all the same, the king dimly saw the right path ; and 
he held to it until his good fortune, finally, led him into 
the open. 

The fate of all Germany hung on this regeneration of Prussia still 
Prussia: low as that power had sunk, there was no other the natural 
to assume the leadership. Austria, indeed, under the 
guidance of Stadion, was to make the attempt; and the 
year 1809 was in many ways to prove the most brilliant in 
her whole history. But she was to fail after staking her 
all, and her collapse was to be final. The kingdoms of 
Bavaria, Wiirtemberg, and Saxony, and the grand duchy 
of Baden, were utterly lacking in national patriotism; 
they continued to bask 'in the sunshine of Napoleon's 
favor until the storm-clouds rolled up and forced them 
to ignominiously run elsewhere for shelter. 

One of Frederick William's most praiseworthy acts was Baron 
to send for a man whom, just before Tilsit, he had loaded Stein, 
with reproaches and dismissed from office for having re- 
fused to compromise in any way with the old evils of cab- 
inet government. Baron Stein one of the last remaining 
free knights of the empire, with estates and a rained castle 
on the Rhine had been a trusted servant of Frederick the 
Great, and, in 1804, at the age of forty-seven, had become 
minister of trade and commerce. A stern, terrible, yet very 
just official, he had never learned to cringe to royalty, and 
felt himself fully the equal of any of the petty princes. 
Better than most men he knew the evils of divided rule; 
from the bridge over the Lahn, near his own home, he 
could look into the territories of eight different potentates. 
His own political views had become broad, liberal, and 
essentially national. "I have but one fatherland," he 
once wrote, "which is called Germany. . . . With my 



272 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



The matter 
of the 
Prussian 
indemnity. 



whole heart I am devoted to it, and not to any of its 
parts." 

Ruthlessly outspoken where he scented evil, Stein had 
doubtless gone too far in his denunciation of the king's 
favored councillors. Immediately after Jena, he had drawn 
up a memoir which was laid before the queen, and in which 
those in power were savagely and relentlessly criticised. 
Beyme was treated more leniently than the others, but 
was spoken of as totally lacking in the knowledge requi. 
site for his position. Lombard was called a French 
poetaster, who idled away his time in play and debauchery 
with empty-headed people. Haugwitz's life was declared 
to have been an unbroken series of disorders and corrup- 
tions, that of a shameless liar and enfeebled rou4. Soon 
afterward, Stein had joined with the king's own brothers 
in a new remonstrance, which accused the cabinet of play- 
ing into Napoleon's hands; but, when Frederick William 
had tried to compromise and to retain both Stein and 
Beyme, a misunderstanding had arisen which caused the 
king's wrath to completely boil over, and led him to write 
his opinion, as he expressed it, in plain German. He 
drew the pen, indeed, through certain passages of the 
letter relating to possible imprisonment ; but he had used 
the words insolent, obstinate, refractory, and disobedient, 
and when Stein wrote back that a man with all those 
blemishes was not likely to be of much service to the 
state, he had received answer, " Baron Stein has passed 
judgment on himself." 

Now, at the king's call, acknowledged as the only man 
who could save the state, Stein came without hesitation 
disdaining to make conditions like Wallenstein of old or 
even like Hardenberg to come. He had a most thankless 
task to perform, and he himself did not as yet know the 
worst. Never was a state to be so badgered and tortured 



THE REGENERATION OF PRUSSIA 273 

as Prussia during the next two years. The amount of 
the indemnity had not been fixed at Tilsit ; Daru, Na- 
poleon's representative in Berlin, had mentioned one hun- 
dred million francs, which Frederick William had declared 
it a physical impossibility to pay. A month later, Napoleon 
demanded, not merely the original hundred million, but 
also a sum equivalent to all the state revenues for the 
eight months preceding the peace. The negotiations on 
this matter, as well as on the manner of payment, went on 
until September 8, 1808, when a supplementary treaty 
was signed at Paris. The exhausted land in the mean- 
time the revenues of which for 1808 were 386,000 thalers, 
the necessary expenditures 2,200,000 had been forced to 
submit to the presence of 160,000 Frenchmen, and had 
been torn by doubts whether it would not have to sacri- 
fice Silesia, or cede to France the royal domains. Extor- 
tionate charges of every kind had been trumped up and 
sources of revenue sequestered ; Napoleon had even seized 
a fund set aside for the support of widows and orphans 
which act greatly incensed against him the women of the 
land. More than a billion francs in all flowed into the 
French treasury, and many a bitter experience was thrown 
into the scale. Prince William, the brother of the king, 
felt obliged to appear in Paris to haggle for better terms. 
He offered himself as hostage if only the troops might be 
removed : ". Very noble, but impossible," was Napoleon's 
reply. A proffered alliance .was scorned until full pay- 
ment should have been made. To all complaints the 
emperor invariably answered, "The king has money 
enough, why does he need an army when no one is at 
war with him ? " 

The Paris Treaty was even more galling than the forced The Treaty 
agreement at Tilsit. The amount of the indemnity had of Paris - 
again been increased; the fortresses of Glogau, Kiistrin, 



274 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

and Stettin were still to be held by French garrisons ; 
rights of way were to be granted in all directions ; for the 
next ten years the Prussian army was not to number more 
than forty-two thousand men, and, in case of a war with 
Austria, sixteen thousand men were to fight on the side of 
the French. Frederick William would never have rati- 
fied such engagements had there been the least hope of 
support from the Czar, who might well have protested 
against this aggravation of the Peace of Tilsit. But 
Alexander, although at this time he visited the royal pair 
in Konigsberg, on his way to the brilliant congress at 
Erfurt, was fast in the. toils of Napoleon, whose favor he 
needed in his designs on the Danubian principalities. He 
promised to do what he could for his luckless friends, but 
Napoleon at his only sincere advice was submission. In Erfurt, Na- 
Erfurt. poleon received the Czar with the utmost magnificence ; 
though he did. not grant his desires, and more than once 
offended him by a total want of tact as when, for in- 
stance, he invited Prince William of Prussia to join in a 
hare-hunt on the battlefield of Jena, or again, when he 
decorated with the Cross of the Legion of Honor soldiers 
who had especially distinguished themselves against the 
Russians. Doubtless Napoleon's real motive at Erfurt was 
to show himself in all his magnificence as the equal of the 
Czar ; and for that reason he summoned his German satel- 
lites, without, however, granting them a voice in the serious 
deliberations. The actor Talma could boast that he had 
played to a parterre of kings, though very new and very 
timid and very badly treated kings : " Taisez-vous ce nest 
qu'un roi" .said the master of ceremonies to the chief 
trumpeter, when the latter was about to strike up in 
honor of one of them. The princes of the realm of lit- 
erature fared better. "You are a man," Napoleon said 
to Goethe, with whom he talked about the sorrows of 



THE REGENERATION OF PRUSSIA 275 

Werther, and whom he requested to write a tragedy on 
the theme of how happy Caesar would have made his 
people if they had only given him time. Wieland, too, 
was urged to implant in the public mind a more favorable 
opinion of the Roman emperors. As for the Czar Alex- 
ander, all that he accomplished for the Prussian king was 
to gain a rebate of twenty million thalers from the total 
of the indemnity, half of which Napoleon made up by 
charging four per cent interest on what remained. 

Meanwhile the great reforms in Prussia were well Stein and 
under way ; they were to fall into four great categories : his fellow - 
social reforms, administrative reforms, reforms in the army, r 
and reforms in public sentiment. What the French Revo- 
lution had done by force and by shedding rivers of blood, 
was now to be accomplished by the magic of strong men's 
names and the issuing of a few edicts. Feudal tyranny 
was to be done away with, the spirit of caste exorcised, 
local self-government introduced, the army to be cleansed 
and rejuvenated ; a wave of patriotism, finally, was to be 
aroused, that would sweep away all the sins and errors of 
the past. 

Immediately on receiving his summons, Baron Stein had 
hastened to Memel, where, to quote his own words, he had 
found the king " deeply depressed, believing himself pur- 
sued by an inexorable fate, and thinking of abdication." 
The queen was "gentle and melancholy, full of anxiety 
but also of hope." Stein soon discovered that his own 
position was as nearly that of a dictator as was possible 
under a monarchical form of government. Yet he did 
not stand alone, for ready to help him was a devoted band 
of earnest, talented, and progressive men, who had come 
to the front in this time of dire need. Strangely enough, 
almost all of them, like himself, had been born and brought 
up outside of Prussian territory : Scharnhorst and Har- 



276 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



The eman- 
cipation of 
the Prus- 
sian serfs. 



denberg were Hanoverians, Bliicher a Mecklenburger, 
Arndt from the island of Riigen, Gneisenau and Fichte 
from Saxony, the gentle, scholarly Niebuhr a Dane. The 
latter, together with Schon, Stagemann, and Altenstein, 
was a member of what is known as the Immediate 
Commission, in which, with Hardenberg's aid, there had 
already been worked out a scheme for an entire change 
in social relationships and in the manner of landholding 
in East Prussia. Within a week after his arrival, Stein 
applied this to all Prussian territory, and published his 
famous emancipating edict. 

Difficult as it is to realize, up to this moment two-thirds 
of the population of Prussia had consisted of unfree per- 
sons, not slaves in the full sense because protected by 
law from" many acts of oppression, yet unable to leave 
their homes of their own free will, and bound to personal, 
often menial, services. The evils of the system had long 
been apparent, but Frederick the Great, as well as his 
successors, for fear of disorganizing the army, had shrunk 
from violent interference. Now, by the edict of October 9, 
1807, which was recognized at the time as comparing in 
importance with Magna Charta and the Habeas Corpus Act, 
all this was changed : " From Martinmas, 1810, ceases 
all villainage in our entire states. From Martinmas, 
1810, there shall be only free persons, as this is already 
the case upon the domains in all our provinces ; free 
persons, however, still subject, as a matter of course, to 
all the obligations which bind them as free persons by 
virtue of the possession of an estate or by virtue of a 
special contract." 

Other paragraphs of the edict, those relating to freedom 
of exchange in land, and to free choice of occupation, are 
almost equally important, and aided equally in trans- 
forming a ground-down nation into one of joyous patriots. 



THE REGENERATION OF PRUSSIA 277 

Every pressure had hitherto been brought to bear that Removal of 
could keep a man in the station of life to which he had class and 
been born. It was against the law for a noble to become ~j. t ? .. 
a citizen, or to hold citizen or peasant lands ; equally 
against the law for a peasant or citizen to purchase or 
assume mortgages on the estates of nobles. As a con- 
sequence, bankrupt nobles had almost no market for their 
lands, and could raise no capital with which to cultivate 
them. Forbidden to engage in trade, their only alternative, 
their only hope, was in the capricious bounty of their 
sovereign. 

It betokened indeed a great social revolution when 
now, in the king's name, Stein declared, " Every inhabit- 
ant of our states is competent, without any limitation on 
the 'part of the state, to possess, either as property or 
pledge, landed estates of every kind " ; and again, " Every 
noble is henceforth permitted, without any derogation 
from his position, to exercise citizen occupations ; and 
every citizen or peasant is allowed to pass from the 
peasant into the citizen class, or from the citizen into the 
peasant class." An ordinance concerning the cities, a few 
months later, bestowed practical self-government, with 
merely a right of oversight reserved for the crown. 

Such radical changes as these presupposed and rendered The char- 
absolutely necessary corresponding changes in the whole acter of 
-,, i. j Scharn- 

military system ; and here Scharnhorst, as head ot a re- horg( . 

organization committee, played, and with equal success, 
the part of Stein. The same object was kept constantly 
in view : the army was to consist no longer of slaves kept 
in order by fear, but of devoted, enthusiastic patriots ; 
it was to be the "uniting point of all the moral and 
physical powers of all the citizens of the state." First, 
a signal example was to be made of all who had been 
to blame for the recent disasters, then a thorough inquiry 



278 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

instituted into the causes of weakness and inefficiency, 
and the proper remedies applied. 

Both Stein and Scharnhorst were fortunate in having a 
definite end for their reforms in view. The land was to be 
liberated as soon as possible from under the heel of the 
oppressor. In everything else indeed, save in their devo- 
tion to a common cause, the men were as different as pos- 
sible : Stein, of commanding presence and aristocratic 
ways, sudden, impulsive, fearless of consequences ; Scharn- 
horst, unmilitary, almost slovenly in appearance, with no 
objection to munching his evening meal in the streets or 
parks of Hanover, yet, by virtue of necessity an ideal con- 
spirator, with as many folds in his conscience, Treitschke 
has said, as wrinkles on his simple face. He became, 
eventually, a master in the art of throwing people off the 
scent, and reminded his contemporaries of that William of 
Orange who earned the name of the Silent by dissimulat- 
ing his knowledge of the devilish plots of the Spanish king. 
So simple was his manner that even the king was at ease 
with him, a distinction of which no other really great man 
could ever boast. 

Gneisenau. Associated with Scharnhorst in the work of reforming 
the army were Gneisenau, Boyen, Grolman, and Clause- 
witz, the first-named of whom had offered the only heroic 
and successful resistance of the campaign. His defence of 
Colberg had been of far more than momentary importance ; 
he had kept open to the last the only means of communi- 
cation by sea with England and with Sweden ; he was the 
first to make systematic use of the weapon that was to 
overthrow Napoleon a citizen army with courage to fight 
to the death. His methods in Colberg had been counter 
to all military precedent ; he, the head of a besieged 
garrison, had been the constant aggressor, not confining 
himself to protecting his own walls, but throwing up 



THE REGENERATION OF PRUSSIA 279 

in the open field earthworks that took the enemy many 
weeks to storm. These doings had been watched with 
breathless interest throughout Prussia ; and Gneisenau was 
already the hero of the hour when he was called to act 
on the new committee. Boyen, too, was a man of great 
ability, and was later to become famous as the founder of 
the modern Prussian army organization. 

These men went about their task with an inspired zeal Punish- 
that was to recoil before no personal considerations what- ment of the 

ever. An investigation was begun into all the surrenders 

corn- 
that had taken place, either in the field or behind the walls ma nders. 

of fortresses. In order to find a severe enough punish- 
ment recourse was had to the statute of the Great Elector: 
" When a fortress is given up to the enemy without ex- 
treme necessity, its governors and commandants shall be 
punished with death ; " and seven officers were condemned 
to the severest penalty of the law. The king pardoned 
them, indeed, doubtless realizing how much of the unreadi- 
ness of the fortresses was his own work, and how often he 
had implied to the old generals that their positions would 
be sinecures. In general, for the future, the burden of 
proof was to rest with the officers ; they might receive no 
position, enjoy no pension, without bringing testimony as 
to past good conduct. Age and incapacity were not 
spared. Here the gentle Scharnhorst was stern and im- 
placable : of the 143 generals belonging to the army in 1806, 
but two served seven years later in the war of liberation. 

The old life of ease for the officer had become a thing Curtail- 
of the past. He might no longer take with him from one ment of 
to five pack-horses to carry his tent, his bed, his table, his 
chair, and a hundred other luxuries ; of the thirty-two 
thousand extra horses five-sixths were now discarded and 
the number of servants reduced by one-half. Nor were 
the nobles, for the future, to have the exclusive right to 



280 A SHOUT HISTORY OP GERMANY 

all the commands ; in time of peace technical knowledge, 

in time of war bravery, activity, and circumspection were 

to be the criterions of advancement. As a matter of fact 

the nobles continued and still continue to hold the chief 

positions, but their training has become rigid and thorough. 

.The treat- Above all, there was need that the calling of a soldier 

ment of the 3^^ b e ma d e respected and desirable ; that the old 

common .. 1-111 i i 

soldier. system of recruiting, which had gathered m thieves and 

cut-throats by the hundreds, should be abandoned ; that 
respectable parents should be proud to have their sons in 
the ranks. Infamous indeed, and suitable only for an 
army of convicts, had been the old manner of cursing and 
whipping the troops into shape. It had been in the power 
of each insolent young ensign of sixteen to flog old sol- 
diers half to death for the slightest involuntary breach 
of discipline ; the common punishment for more serious 
offences had been the horrible running the gauntlet, 
which brutalized alike those who received, those who in- 
flicted, and those who witnessed it. With his hands 
bound so that he could do no harm, with his feet ironed 
so that he should proceed but slowly, with a ball of lead 
in his mouth that he might not bite off his tongue for 
agony, the culprit was driven again and again down the 
line of two hundred men, who beat him with rods of birch 
or hazel that had been steeped in salt ! When too weak 
to proceed he was bound to a stake and the whipping 
continued, and not rarely, but frequently, the punishment 
proved fatal. The chief innovation of the committee of 
reorganization was to form what we may call a moral awk- 
ward squad for the incorrigibles, who might still on occasion 
be flogged. The rest were to be treated as self-respecting 
men, and minor breaches of discipline were to be pun- 
ished with detention in barracks under word of honor. 
This new army was to be essentially for use and not for 



THE REGENERATION OF PRUSSIA 281 

display. The tricks of the parade ground were now aban- The 
doned, and serious work and target shooting took their " 
place. Wigs and pigtails were discarded, the uniforms 
made more comfortable, the amount of baggage decreased. 
Every regiment that had been concerned in a surrender 
had been permanently disbanded, so that no old preju- 
dices or traditions stood in the way. The Treaty of Paris, 
of September, 1808, had required that the numbers of the 
army should never exceed forty-two thousand ; a poor 
showing if we think of the six hundred and fifty thousand 
men that Napoleon was able to lead against Russia. But 
the fertile brain of Scharnhorst had evolved a plan by 
which the letter of the law might be kept, but the spirit 
evaded. By his famous crimper system, so called from 
the spare horse that was kept in reserve, recruits were 
given leave of absence after a month of rigid drilling in 
the most essential points. While the army at any given 
time might not exceed in numbers the allotted figure, 
there were thus trained in all some one hundred and fifty 
thousand men ; when the troops marched out to parade, a 
number of them invariably remained behind in the bar- 
racks, so that there might be the less ground for suspi- 
cion and inquiry. 

In other fields besides the administration and the army, The rousing 
men were busily working for the regeneration of Prussia. of P ubli c 
The so-called Tugendbund was a widespread secret soci- 
ety with the object of inculcating patriotism. Some of 
the great men of the time belonged to it; others made use 
of it without joining; others, still, held entirely aloof. 
Stein condemned it as a sort of modern Vehmgericht. 
There was, all in all, a considerable amount of conspiracy 
in progress secret buying and transporting of weapons, 
meetings of patriots in the woods at night, travelling 
under false names and in disguise, writing of letters with 



282 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



'ie effect 

the 

.panish 
_ uprising. 



sympathetic ink. The idea of murdering Napoleon was 
in many minds ; the poet Kleist carried it around in his 
disordered brain. The Countess Voss, court mistress of 
ceremonies, was reported to have formed a definite plot; 
and actual attempts at assassination were made. Poets, 
preachers, and philosophers kept urging the inner revolu- 
tion that alone could save the state. Old Father Jahn 
invented modern gymnastics ; apparatus was put up in 
parks and public places ; moral and political teaching ac- 
companied the exercises, and a most wholesome change 
was immediately apparent in the youth of the land. Ernst 
Moritz Arndt, the most stirring poet of the time, threw 
all his talents into furthering the cause ; while John 
Gottlieb Fichte held discourses in the Academy, in the 
same building as the French garrison, and dwelt upon the 
oppression of the foreign yoke and the shame of the pres- 
ent situation. So lofty were his ideas, indeed, and 
clothed in such philosophical language, that the French 
censor saw in them no harm, and allowed the lectures to be 
published. The stupid man never dreamt what a bugle 
call they were to prove to national revolution, nor to what 
depths they were to stir the German nation. It was a 
campaign of education that Fichte advocated ; and he 
looked for results at the end of twenty-five years. " No 
man, and no God, and no possible event can help us," he 
declared ; " we must help our own selves if we are to be 
helped at all." And in similar strains Schleiermacher 
talked to the crowded congregations in his little church 
in Berlin. 

Both Stein and Scharnhorst were eager to start an 
uprising of the whole people at the first favorable oppor- 
tunity ; that opportunity seemed to them to have arrived 
when, in 1808, the Spaniards began to show what a purely 
national, as opposed to a royal, army could accomplish. 



THE REGENERATION OF PRUSSIA 283 

The effect of this Spanish rebellion was incalculable; here 
was a people weaker, more demoralized, than the Prussians 
themselves, holding their own against the world-conqueror 
and requiring his presence with three hundred thousand 
men. It is no exaggeration when Seeley calls this, " the 
greatest European event which had happened since the 
French Revolution, the beginning of a new and grand 
chapter in European history." On England, which was 
already helping Spain, Prussia could have relied for aid ; 
also on Austria, which was on the verge of her own des- 
perate revolt, and which could now boast of a general sec- 
ond only to Napoleon himself. But Frederick William 
would call no levee en masse so long as Russia would not 
help him; and Alexander, though beginning to detest 
Napoleon, still hoped to make use of him against Turkey, 
having already, by his countenance, acquired Finland. 
The question has often been raised whether the Prussian 
king was right or wrong in his firm, not to say obstinate, 
attitude. As events turned out, he gained more by wait- 
ing; but only because a miracle happened. What human 
intelligence could have foreseen the ruin of Napoleon's 
army in the Russian campaign ? What statesman in his 
senses should have counted upon it ? Stein was perfectly 
right when he argued that Prussia had little to lose and 
everything to gain by acting at once. 

But Stein's own days' in office were now numbered. By Stein's in- 

an incomprehensible lack of caution on the part of a con- tercepted 

, , , , letter, 

spirator who stood so high, and on whom so much depended, 

in September, 1808, a most compromising letter had been 
intercepted and forwarded to Napoleon, who published it 
in the Paris Moniteur. The missive, not even written in 
cipher, was addressed to Count Wittgenstein at the court 
of the elector of Hesse ; Wittgenstein himself was none 
too reliable, and Stein's messenger, Koppe, seems not to 



284 



A SHOKT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



Timid 
counsels. 



Stein goes 
into exile. 



have used even ordinary care. Yet the prime minister of 
Prussia spoke openly of fanning the spark of revolt, of 
spreading the news of the Spanish successes, of forming 
connections in Hesse and Westphalia. 

Napoleon had referred directly to this letter when increas- 
ing the severity of his terms in the Treaty of Paris : could 
Frederick William have taken a firm attitude, acknowl- 
edged the discontent that was rife among his subjects, and 
made the most of it, all the advantage would have been on 
his own side. Napoleon was in no condition to cope with 
two popular insurrections at the same time ; he was even 
now withdrawing his troops from Prussia. But the king, 
as usual, pursued a half-hearted policy, neither boldly 
resisting nor frankly conciliating the French emperor. 
Stein's position became untenable, not so much because 
of the threats from France, as of the bitter opposition of 
the anti-reform party at Berlin, a party to which not only 
the contemptible Kalckreuths and Kockeritzs belonged, 
but even a man like General York, who was in the end to 
prove himself capable of a grand and patriotic act. York's 
present attitude was supremely pessimistic. " The French 
have Argus eyes," he wrote. " For a Sicilian Vesper or for 
war in the Vendee fashion the German is not at all suited. 
Besides, in our flat land how could anything of the kind 
be possible ? In our present circumstances, the wisest and 
safest course is quietly to watch the progress of political 
relations, and it is real folly to provoke the enemy at our 
own risk." Such language was in keeping with Comman- 
dant Schulenburg's famous remark when the French 
entered Berlin: "To be quiet is the citizen's first duty ! " 

When, by ratifying the Treaty of Paris, the king sided 
with this more timid party, Stein's retirement was inevi- 
table. Men of good judgment believe that he would have 
been forced to go even if the famous letter had not been 



THE REGENERATION OF PRUSSIA 285 

intercepted. It was three months after that event before 
Napoleon proscribed him and confiscated his property ; 
but the estrangement with the king had been increasing 
from day to day. The poor queen, too, was bitterly 
disappointed at Stein's opposition partly on political, 
partly on financial grounds to a projected journey to 
St. Petersburg, whither the royal pair had been invited 
by the Czar. In short, by the end of November, Frederick 
William had decided to part with his minister, first de- 
claring himself, indeed, in full sympathy with his scheme 
of administrative reform. On the day of his dismissal, 
November 24, Stein drew up a programme for still 
further changes, many of which did not go into opera- 
tion until years had rolled by among them the recom- 
mendation of a universal national representation. A few 
weeks later, he was fleeing through the winter night, with 
a price set on his head, for the Austrian frontier still to 
work for his adopted country and to witness its redemp- 
tion after four more years of enslavement. But the 
interval was very bitter ; during his three years' stay in 
Austria he was allowed to play no part in public affairs, 
and he thought seriously of emigrating to America 
Kentucky and Tennessee attracted him most; there, he 
considered, were to be found the finest climate and the 
finest soil, as well as glorious rivers like his own Rhine. 
There he would find rest and pleasant intercourse. 
Stein's successor in office was Altenstein, a man of 
feeble powers and not likely to oppose the king. The 
journey of the royal pair to St. Petersburg took place; 
the Czar's hospitality was lavish, his personal attentions 
sincere and well meant, and, moving about in his splendid 
drawing-rooms, the poor crushed Louise felt herself once 
more a beauty and a queen. It was the last gleam of 
sunlight that was to fall into her life ; she died in the 



286 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



Napoleon 

invades 

Austria. 



following year of a broken heart, if ever such a thing is 
possible. 

Without Prussia's aid, Austria entered upon her 
momentous struggle, driven to it, not so much by any 
one act of Napoleon against herself, as by indignation at 
the French emperor's doings in Spain, and by fears for 
the future. She was better equipped than four years pre- 
viously, having found in Stadion and Archduke Charles 
her Stein and Scharnhorst, and having already organized 
a Landwehr, or professionally trained reserve. For once, 
too, the emperor assumed a really patriotic tone, point- 
ing out, in his war manifesto, the difference between the 
Spaniards dying for their country and the Germans 
acting as vassals to the French oppressor. 

Had the Danube become a river Lethe, Napoleon asked, 
that the people of Vienna should so soon have forgotten 
their former disasters? He now sent one large army from 
the direction of France, while another, under Davoust, 
descended from Prussia. He himself waited at Paris 
until the sun-telegraph brought him word that the Aus- 
trians had crossed the Inn ; and then, travelling night and 
day, made his way to Bavaria. In a week of skirmishing, 
he inflicted such injury on the army of Archduke Charles 
that the latter abandoned the offensive, beat a retreat 
toward Vienna by the roundabout way of Bohemia, and 
counselled the Austrian emperor to begin negotiations 
for peace. These operations at Abensberg, Landshut, 
Eggmiihl, and Ratisbon are among Napoleon's supreme 
achievements. On arriving at Douauworth he had found 
the position of his own troops very unfavorable, the 
enemy well concentrated ; in a few days he had not only 
changed all that, but was able, unmolested, to march on 
Vienna. There is no doubt but that the troops of the 
Rhine Confederation had been of the greatest assistance 



THE REGENERATION OF PRUSSIA 287 

to him in gaining this series of victories ; it was their 
doing that he won this campaign, the last in which he 
was ever to enjoy continuous success- 
It may be said, on the whole, that the Austrian people Dornberg 
fought with the utmost bravery and that the entire fault and Schi11 - 
lay with their leaders. The Archduke Charles, especially, 
disappointed all hopes. He had had a chance to cut off 
Davoust's army, but had failed to make use of it ; he had 
taken six days to perform a march which the French 
afterward accomplished in two ; he had given Napoleon 
all the time he needed to reconcentrate his forces. One 
of the worst results of his defeats, worse even than his 
loss of fifty or sixty thousand men, was the discourage- 
ment that spread through Europe. There were parts of 
Prussia where, with or without the king's sanction, a little 
success would have provoked a general uprising of the 
people. As it was, there took place in these days two 
notable attempts, foredoomed, however, to -utter failure : 
that of Dornberg, who tried to raise an insurrection in 
Westphalia; and that of Major Schill, one of the heroes 
of Colberg, who induced some five hundred peasants to 
follow him, and set forth from Berlin to "win back for 
his beloved king his last village." He had meant to join 
with Dornberg, but arrived too late, and expiated his act 
of madness by a brave death in the streets of Stralsund. 
His head was severed from his body and was made to 
grace an anatomical museum; his officers were shot, his 
men sent to the galleys to labor in chains, in common with 
French robbers and murderers. 

In the valleys of the Tyrol, meanwhile, there had actu- The upris- 
ally taken place just such a popular uprising as Stein and in o{ 
Scharnhorst had desired for Prussia. This strong and yrc 
sturdy, but narrow and superstitious, people had been 
forced, by the Treaty of Pressburg of 1805, to transfer 



288 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

their allegiance from Austria to Bavaria; their revolt 
now had nothing of a German national character, but was 
directed against these new masters, and especially against 
a number of innovations that in themselves were not 
at all unsalutary. Such were the conscription, the 
restriction of the number of church holidays and the 
secularization of church property. It was the clergy 
whose liberties were most attacked, and it was the clergy 
who poured the flame of sedition into the hearts of these, 
their blind followers. 

From the first, Austria had fostered and stirred up 
this revolt ; Archduke John, particularly beloved by the 
Tyrolese, kept closely in touch with the patriot leaders; 
Austrian troops moved to join them, and Andreas Hofer, 
the brave innkeeper of Innsbruck, was honored with 
a golden chain from the emperor. The fighting was 
carried on with unexampled bitterness. Hofer, Peter 
Mayr, Speckbacher, and Haspinger showed themselves 
heroic leaders; and the town of Innsbruck was three 
times captured and three times lost. In this part of the 
world men were doing their duty, no matter what might 
be happening on the larger field of war. 

The battle Meanwhile, at Aspern, on the northern bank of the 
of Aspern. D anu l)e, four miles below Vienna, Napoleon suffered a 
defeat such as had never yet been inflicted upon him. 
With a loss of fifteen thousand men he was forced to 
retreat to the little island of Lobau, where his troops 
passed two days in abject misery, with no food and only 
the polluted waters of the river for drink. Such was 
the real course of events ; officially it was different. 
"The enemy withdrew within its lines," ran Napoleon's 
bulletin, "and we remained masters of the battlefield." 
It was a golden opportunity to trap the whole French 
force ; but the Austrians, too, had suffered heavily and 



THE REGENERATION OF PRUSSIA 289 

did not return to the attack with sufficient energy ; indeed, 
Archduke Charles hoped now that diplomacy would take 
the place of further battle. The victory of Aspern 
undoubtedly made a deep impression on Europe, as did 
also the bravery of the exiled Duke of Brunswick, who 
of his own accord raised a little band, fought at the side 
of the Austrians, and eventually cut his way to the sea, 
and took ship with his men for Helgoland. It is thought 
that even Frederick William would have allowed himself 
to be carried away by the current of enthusiasm if only 
Austria had been willing to grant his reasonable terms, 
to promise to make no separate peace, and to engage 
to help Prussia to secure her former boundaries. But 
with the blindness of the Hapsburg court there was no 
reckoning. 

The battle of Wagram, which proved a defeat, though The 
not an overwhelming one, for Austria, was like Austerlitz coll apse of 
before the Treaty of Pressburg or Friedland before Tilsit. 
The emperor was tired of the war, the more so as an in- 
tended English expedition to the Baltic coast proved a 
miserable failure. The armistice of Znaim was followed 
by the Treaty of Vienna which brought Austria, compara- 
tively speaking, almost as low as Prussia ; she lost terri- 
tory containing nearly four million souls and was thrust 
far back from the Adriatic. In some ways, her position 
was even worse than that of her rival, for, as has been well 
said, she had played her last card and failed. She had had 
her Stein and Scharnhorst, had tried regeneration, reor- 
ganized her army, and passed liberal measures. Now, all 
was changed ; she had fallen forever from her high ped- 
estal, and there followed the most complete reaction. 
Stadion resigned, and Metternich, the incarnation of con- 
servatism, took his place. One of his first acts was to bring 
about the union of Napoleon with Marie Louise, the 

VOL. II U 



290 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

daughter of the Emperor Francis. The emperor's admirers 
compared him to the Deity who had given His only begot- 
ten Son for the good of His people ; but there was in 
reality little that was divine about this cold-blooded Haps- 
burg. It was once said of him that he had perfectly polit- 
ical bowels. If there was one man .who had deserved well 
of him it was Andreas Hofer, the brave leader of the Tyro- 
lese ; yet Francis abandoned him to his fate. Between 
the time of the betrothal and the wedding-day Andreas 
was court-martialled and shot. As for Marie Louise her- 
self, she needs little sympathy ; there was nothing in the 
conduct of this frivolous woman to remind one of a sacri- 
ficial victim. 

Napoleon's One great result of the new policy of Napoleon toward 
breach with Austria, was to drive into the camp of his enemies the power 
that was destined at last to bring him to his knees. Napo- 
leon had negotiated for the hand of a Russian princess, and, 
when Alexander temporized on account of the youth of the 
lady in question, had abruptly let the matter drop. Indeed 
the French emperor's only intention seems to have been to 
frighten Austria into the more desired match. But, apart 
from this blow to the Czar's amour propre, there were causes 
enough to foment dissension. Alexander was not suffi- 
ciently pliant in the matter of the continental blockade by 
which Napoleon was endeavoring to destroy the commerce 
of England ; he would not agree to seize neutral ships that 
came near his coasts, and thus defeated the whole of Napo- 
leon's gigantic scheme. Negotiations on the subject only 
led to more friction. Then, too, the French were encroach- 
ing more and more along the Baltic, and had driven out 
the Duke of Oldenburg, who was a relative of the Czar. 
But what touched the latter most nearly, was the fact that 
Napoleon, by his treaty with Austria, was bestowing more 
territory on the duchy of Warsaw, with the intent of mak- 



THE REGENERATION OF PRUSSIA 291 

ing it fully subservient to himself. The French emperor 
refused to ratify an agreement drawn up by his own 
envoy, Caulaincourt, to the effect that the dead Polish 
kingdom was never to be resuscitated, and that even the 
word Poland was to be carefully avoided in public docu- 
ments. The idea of a Russian invasion had now taken 
shape in Napoleon's mind, and to Alexander's accusation, 
that he was plotting to restore Poland, he simply answered, 
" I do not intrigue, I carry on war with four hundred thou- 
sand men." By 1811, the Czar had expressed his fear to 
the French envoy that the world would not be large enough 
for himself and the emperor ; and in that same year Napo- 
leon declared the alliance at an end, writing with unusual 
frankness, " Your Majesty has no more friendship for me." 
His last step, his usual method in prefacing a war, was to 
publicly insult the Russian ambassador. 

There was no question but that, in the pending struggle, Napoleon 
all the newly made kings, indeed all the members of the intimidates 

Rhine Confederation, would remain on Napoleon's side. l e " 

mans. 
The latter wrote, in April, 1811, to Frederick of Wiirtem- 

berg : " If the allied princes shall inspire me with even 
the slightest doubt of their inclination for a joint defence, 
I freely declare that they are lost. For I prefer enemies 
to uncertain friends." Austria, too, so recently allied by 
marriage with the great emperor, and at odds with the 
Czar on* various grounds, agreed to furnish the grand 
army with thirty thousand men. As for Prussia, wedged 
in between the. hostile powers, her position was fairly piti- 
able. At best her land was to be trampled over by im- 
mense armies, and requisitions to- be imposed upon an 
almost starving people. Her sympathies, naturally, were 
all with the Czar, but her momentary interests drove her 
to the side of the French. And Napoleon, although he 
adopted a friendly tone, would stand no trifling; when 



292 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



Harden- 
berg's ad- 
ministra- 
tion. 



the Prussians, not yet certain of the future, commenced to 
mobilize their forces, and to double the permitted num- 
bers, he sternly bade them halt and keep within bounds. 

After the fall of the feeble Altenstein, there came to the 
head of affairs the second of the two men whose names are 
chiefly connected with great legislative reforms. Harden- 
berg differed from Stein in almost every particular, and 
his character as a whole is less admirable. In curious 
contrast to his devotion to the state, and his willingness to 
accept responsibility, was a youthful frivolity that caused 
him to chase forbidden pleasures and adventures, even in 
old age. His knowledge of the world stood him in good 
stead; he was more affable, more diplomatic, than Stein, 
and he won, occasionally, where the latter would assuredly 
have failed. The great problem of his administration was 
to stave off the bankruptcy that so constantly threatened 
the state ; and, though many of his separate measures failed 
througlv inherent weakness, in the main he fulfilled his 
task. In the spring of 1812, there were, indeed, some 
thirty-seven million thalers still due to France, but no 
province had been forfeited, nor had the royal domains 
fallen into French hands. 

While taxing them very heavily, Hardenberg had, in 
other respects, done what he could to improve the condi- 
tion of the people. At the cost of the nobles, the liberated 
serfs were fitted out with small farms of their own. The 
Jews, for the first time in centuries, were given equal legal 
rights with Christians. They were no longer to be known 
as the Jew Isaac or the Jew Abraham, but were ordered 
to provide themselves with, second names. Those that 
they chose reflect the romantic spirit of the early nine- 
teenth century ; the mountain, the valley, the rose, the 
lily, the lion, the wolf, the golden stars, were all called 
into requisition in countless combinations. 



THE REGENERATION OF PRUSSIA 293 

But all the struggles with adversity, all the reforms since Prussia 
Jena, seemed now to have been made in vain. Though forced into 
Napoleon might spare Prussia in his hurry to strike Russia, an * 
there was ever}'' chance that, on his victorious return, he France, 
would obliterate her territory from the map of Europe. 
Many considered it the duty of the nation to fight to the 
death and fall with honor. Even Frederick William 
turned longingly to Russia and prayed for a close alliance. 
The Czar, however, announced his intention of fighting as 
Wellington was fighting in Spain, and avoiding close con- 
tact. Space, illimitable space, was the chief weapon at his 
command, and he meant to use it to the utmost. He 
agreed that Prussia would necessarily be submerged for a 
time, but declared his hope that, in the end, all would turn 
out for the best. 

Thus, driven by force of circumstances, Frederick Will- 
iam began to negotiate with France. He hoped, since he 
had been so near joining Napoleon's enemies, that he 
would be able to obtain favorable conditions; he even found 
courage to utter a few threats. But the emperor, in his 
blunt, characteristic manner, made no concessions at all; but 
laid down a hard and fast ultimatum, and gave but twenty- 
four hours for its acceptance or rejection. The Prussians 
were to owe military service to Napoleon everywhere save 
in Turkey, Spain, and Italy; twenty thousand of them 
were at once to join with him in fighting their former best 
friend; twenty thousand more were to garrison Prussian 
fortresses in the interests of France ; requisitions of forage, 
bread, etc., were to be made at once, but payment was to 
be a matter of future agreement, such were the galling 
terms by which this thoroughly isolated government was 
forced to bind itself over. The work of the patriots was 
undone, and nearly all of them, with sorrowing hearts, 
asked for and received their dismissal. Gneisenau, Scharn- 



294 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



horst, and Boyen all resigned, but still labored in secret 
for the cause ; some twenty-one officers entered the Rus- 
sian service. 

Stein in St. Stein himself, at this time, received a summons to St. 

Petersburg. Petersburg. Alexander's first act was to apologize for the 
shameful Treaty of Tilsit ; already, in his summons, he 
had invited the great political reformer to aid him in the 
struggle against the enslavement of Europe. Stein's defi- 
nite task was to win over Germans for the Russian 
alliance. Aided by Ernst Moritz Arndt he inaugurated a 
regular campaign of enlightenment ; a German commission 
and a German legion were established in Russia; bands 
of men were detailed off to intercept Napoleon's couriers;" 
journals were established and pamphlets struck off from 
secret presses. 

Once more, as at Erfurt, 'the French ernperor held 
brilliant court on German soil, and the Austrian emperor 
and the Prussian king came to Dresden to do him honor. 
The customary salute of cannon was omitted in Frederick 
William's case, and Hardenberg tells in his diary how 
Napoleon's first words were a gruff "You are a widower ? " 
Francis was invited every day, Frederick William, as a 
person of less distinction, only every other day, to the 
imperial table. 

Meanwhile the grand army, the largest that had ever been 
mustered since the days of Xerxes it is computed to have 
numbered six hundred and fifty thousand men came 
rolling on, and a large part of it soon crossed the Russian 
frontier. The colossal failure of this campaign was due to 
two causes : first, to a slackness of discipline arising from 
the youthfulness of the recruits, and to their having been 
allowed to plunder on the way; and second, to the difficulty 
of procuring supplies* in these new and strange surround- 
ings. A sufficiency of stores had been gathered together, 



Napoleon's 

Russian 

campaign: 



THE REGENERATION OF PRUSSIA 295 

but the arrangements for carrying them were inadequate ; 
through the death of horses and the breaking down of 
wagons immense quantities were lost, and hunger and 
thirst began their fatal work. Long before the winter 
set in, thousands were dying every day. Then came the 
usual dash for the enemy's capital, the bloody battle of 
Borodino, the entry into silent Moscow. Napoleon 
carried off the great cross on the Kremlin because he 
thought it was gold ; just so the brilliancy of this easy 
victory was to turn to dross. Flames broke out, and, 
when engines were sought with which to quench them, 
none could be found. So far as is known, it was the 
Russian commandant himself who set fire to the houses 
in Moscow, liberating prisoners for the special purpose. 
On the dreadful retreat, the ghastliest in all recorded 
history, there is no need to dwell ; but seven thousand of 
the original advance army ever returned to the frontier,- 
to be joined by twelve or fifteen thousand more who had 
been stationed nearer home. Napoleon had the courage 
to instruct General York, in command of a Prussian 
force near Riga, to ^protect the retreat of the French ; and 
to write to Frederick William from Riga to increase his 
stipulated contingent. He himself hastened to Paris to 
raise fresh troops. Inexhaustible were the resources of 
this man, who could almost immediately replace an 
annihilated army of half a million men; it is true the 
majority of the new soldiers were half-fledged boys whose 
natural term of service would not have begun until two 
years later. 

While hurrying homeward from Moscow, Napoleon had The return 
given out that the grand army was returning at his heels of the 

in vast numbers ; but the whole extent of the terrible catas- * 

Napoleon's 

trophe became apparent to the Germans when the fugitives army, 
began to pass through their cities without the least vestige 



296 A SHORT HISTOEY OF GERMANY 

of organization. It was hard to believe that these were 
the allies that had marched out with drum and trumpet 
but a few months before, haughty and insolent in all their 
ways ; it seemed rather a procession of penitents, silent, 
in sackcloth and ashes. They were hollow-eyed with 
suffering, disfigured with frostbites, and they wore, for 
the most part, only such garments as the peasants, and 
even the women, could furnish them. Around their 
shoulders hung pieces of carpet, old shawls, even skins of 
cats and dogs ; on their feet were every kind of substitute 
for shoes. The vastly greater number of those who had 
fallen in battle or by the wayside seemed more to be 
envied than such survivors ; yet these poor remnants of 
humanity were soon to be driven into new wars, being 
almost the only veterans capable of drilling and com- 
manding the young recruits. Frederick William had 
been advised not to harbor them in Prussia, but to such 
severity he could not bring himself ; the French were 
nursed in Prussian houses, and suffered nothing worse 
than that an occasional schoolboy tried to frighten them 
with shouts of " The Cossacks are coming ! " Besides they 
were Prussia's allies, and Frederick William could not 
make up his mind to renounce them ; if he hated Napoleon, 
he also distrusted the Russians and Austrians. It is also 
to be feared that he distrusted himself and his own 
people. 

The treason There was one man whose dilemma was even worse than 
of General that of the king, because immediate action was needed. 
General York, in command of the only Prussian army in 
the field, not yet knowing the extent of the disaster, 
but ordered by Napoleon to protect his fleeing forces, 
was at the same time approached by the Russians, who had 
never really looked upon him as their enemy. The Czar 
himself sent a promise not to desert Prussia till her old 



THE WAR OP LIBERATION 297 

boundaries should have been fully restored. York, a 
rough character who said that he never could feel at home 
with the " damned michs and mirs " of his own language, 
was personally one of the most upright of men, with the 
strictest ideas of military duty ; he was the officer of a 
king who was bound by a solemn treaty and who seemed 
inclined to keep it. Yet the trained eye of the observant 
general saw that now, if ever, was the time for breaking 
loose from an unbearable yoke. He fought and wrestled 
with himself, entered into negotiations with the enemy, 
and at last said to Clausewitz, who came to meet him at 
Tauroggen in the name of the Russian general Diebitsch, 
" You have me ! Tell General Diebitsch that to-morrow 
morning early I will come within the Russian lines. Time 
and place I leave to him." Assembling the officers of his 
corps, he asked those to join him who were willing to risk 
their lives for freedom and for fatherland ; and, when the 
shouts of joy and acquiescence had died away, he said sol- '. 
emnly, " Then with the help of God may the work of our 
liberation begin and be carried to a finish." To the king 
he had already written, " If I am doing wrong, I will lay 
my old head without a murmur at your Majesty's feet." 
On the 30th of December, 1812, he signed the famous 
Convention of Tauroggen, according to which his whole 
force was to remain neutral until further commands 
should arrive from the king, and in no case to fight against 
Russia during the next two months. 

Exactly what view Frederick William took of York's Frederick 
action is impossible to determine ; there is reason to William 
believe that his feelings and his actions were at variance. !f k e 
He repudiated the Convention of Tauroggen and dismissed 
York from his service, but the messenger who bore the 
order was apparently instructed to fall into the hands of 
the Russians, and even to encourage the latter. If such 



298 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



Frederick 
William at 
last gives 
way. 



was the case, York himself was not in the secret ; deeply 
depressed, he wrote to General Biilow to know if those in 
power in Berlin had sunk so low as not to dare to burst 
the chains of slavery they had worn so long. " With 
bleeding heart," he continues, " I tear away the bonds of 
obedience and wage war on my own account. The army 
wishes war with France, the people wish it, the king wishes 
it ; but the king's will is not free." Frederick William's 
upholders maintain that he was absolutely forced into 
double dealing from the fact that the French troops on 
German soil still outnumbered the Prussians by five to 
one, and that in Berlin itself he was helpless in the midst 
of a large French garrison. The king certainly desired the 
alliance with Russia, but, as Hardenberg wrote to Stein 
d propos of " dear Amalia's marriage " : " Father wishes 
everything to remain secret until uncle has settled mat- 
ters properly," wherein, of course, " Arnalia " stands for 
Prussia, " father " for the king, " uncle " for the Czar. 

Frederick William, in short, was going through another 
of his terrible crises of indecision. On the one hand, he 
seems to have hoped that by remaining friendly to Na- 
poleon he could procure a remission of the remainder of 
his debt and the removal of all French troops; on the 
other, Russia threatened, in case of the refusal of an 
alliance, to practically annihilate Prussia and merge it in a 
new kingdom of Poland. England, too, alternately urged 
and warned. At home, petitions from the people poured 
in from all sides ; and conservatives and liberals alike 
joined in the cry. Once, Hardenberg, after a long con- 
ference at Potsdam, in which he urged Frederick William 
to strike, went down on his knees and wetted the king's 
hand with his tears. Stein, in East Prussia, as agent of 
the Czar, was moving heaven and earth to provoke a rup- 
ture. Calling together the provincial estates, he induced 



THE WAR OP LIBERATION 299 

York to appear and propose a scheme, which was adopted, 
for calling out the Landwehr. Frederick William began 
to cower before this new Simon de Montfort, who sum- 
moned parliaments without his leave. Almost worse than 
the French he hated these strong men who seemed to be 
shaking at the prerogatives of his throne. At Scharn- 
horst he scolded behind his back ; Boyen he caused to be 
watched by the secret police ; once, when Stein lay at the 
point of death, he failed to visit him. So much the war 
party at last accomplished partly, indeed, by spreading 
a report that the French intended to seize the king's per- 
son that Frederick William consented to leave Berlin, 
where he was surrounded by hostile influences, and take 
up his residence in Breslau, where he would be nearer 
to the Czar. Here, at Breslau, he at once began to show 
more spirit and determination ; all exemptions from mili- 
tary service were declared removed, and for the first time 
in Prussia's history men of gentle birth served in the 
ranks, regiments of chasseurs being formed for them, 
in which, indeed, they were treated with leniency and con- 
sideration. Soon, by Stein's mediation, the Treaty of 
Kalisch was arranged with Russia ; and the Czar agreed 
to continue in arms until Prussia should have regained 
her former possessions or their equivalent. 

Finally, on March 16, 1813, war was declared against Wild 
the French. On the following day the king issued a stir- enthusiasm 
ring call to his people. Article 8, of a convention signed ^ ^ e . th 
on March 19, decreed that there should at once be estab- France, 
lished an army of the line (armSe de ligne), a Landwehr 
(une milice), and a Landsturm (levee en masse). Now at 
last people and king were united; the long period of 
mutual doubt and suspicion was past, and the Titanic 
struggle for liberation had begun. A wave of enthusiasm 
like to that at the time of the crusades swept over north- 



300 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

ern Germany; honest peace or glorious death was the 
watchword, and more answered the call than could be 
accepted. Nothing could exceed the spirit of self-sacri- 
fice shown by the masses; even a Frenchman wrote that 
the Prussians had restored the human countenance to 
honor. Women were busy night and day turning their 
husbands' blue Sunday coats into the simple uniform re- 
quired for the Landwehr ; mothers allowed their young 
boys to leave school and enlist; and nine of the scholars of 
the " gray cloister " in Berlin found death on the field of 
battle. Young men who sought excuses for not serving 
were flouted by their girl friends. Whole classes from 
the universities, professors at their heads, adjourned in a 
body to the recruiting ground ; Fichte and Schleiermacher 
drilled in the same company of the Landsturm, and the 
author of the Vocation of Man, when they would have 
made him an officer, refused with a simple, " Here, I am 
only fit for a private." To supply the exhausted state 
with funds for its military needs, voluntary gifts of every 
kind were made ; it was a disgrace after this war to be found 
in possession of jewelry or of silver plate. One hundred 
and fifty thousand persons exchanged their wedding rings 
for rings of iron with the inscription, " Gold I gave for 
iron"; there were maidens who sold the very hair from 
their heads, others who marched off to battle in male attire. 
The The Landwehr especially consisting of some one hun- 

Landwehr. d rec [ an d fifty thousand men, between the ages of seventeen 
and forty, each of whom wore the device, " With God for 
king and country" did excellent service, the worst result 
of their want of proper training being shown in the terrible 
death-rate, in hard-fought battles, compared with the regi- 
ments of the line. General York, at first an opponent of 
the whole institution, lived to take off his hat to a battalion 
of the Silesian Landwehr, declaring that it had fought like 



THE WAR OF LIBERATION 301 

a battalion of old grenadiers. Many of its members, from 
generals down to privates, won the iron cross, that spe- 
cial mark of distinction, bestowed for the first time in this 
war, and intended to symbolize the bitter hardships of the 
time as well as the holiness of the uprising. Stein's sug- 
gestion for furnishing an incentive to great deeds, had 
been to abolish altogether the old nobility of birth and 
establish a new one founded on military achievement. 

The Landsturm, as originally planned, was to offer a The iano- 
last desperate resistance, on the part of all who could sturm - 
brandish a weapon, against an invading enemy. Its mem- 
bers were to wear no uniform, but to arm themselves as 
they could, even with pikes, axes, scythes, and pitchforks. 
Should the enemy fall upon their towns, they were to 
destroy their flour, pour out their wine, burn their mills, 
choke their wells with rubbish, and shake the fruit from 
their trees. The unfortunate district that should fall 
into the hands of the enemy was to be under an interdict, 
as it were, with deep mourning, no festivities, not even 
a marriage ceremony, without express permission. In 
the first enthusiasm, more was expected of the Landsturm 
than old age and unwarlike habits could possibly accom- 
plish ; its real province was eventually found to lie in 
police and guard duty that set free the Landwehr, and 
in furnishing reserves to the latter body. One indispu- 
table benefit of the whole institution was the spreading 
broadcast of the sentiment, that this war was directly the 
affair of every person in the land. In Berlin, not only 
men, but even women of position, aided in building in- 
trenchments. Never had Napoleon been more mistaken 
than when he spoke with scorn of this people, calling 
them the Gascons of Germany, and declaring that they 
would never fight. He had a plan all in readiness for 
dividing up the weak state ; he was scathing in his denun- 



302 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



Bliicher. 



Saxony the 
centre of 
operations. 



ciations of its ungratefulness, and spoke of "the Tilsit 
Treaty which had restored the king to his throne," and 
the Paris Treaty which "permitted it [Prussia] to become 
a French ally." 

Commander-in-chief of the allied forces was the old hero, 
Kutusoff ; while the divisional commanders were the Rus- 
sian Wittgenstein and the Prussian Blucher. The former, 
to whom Blucher voluntarily subordinated himself, was in 
no way a remarkable general ; nor were the Russian con- 
tingents kept to their work by rigid discipline. Gneisenau 
writes, that he visited the Russian camp at Borna three 
separate times, once in the morning, once at noon, and 
once at night, and that each time he found the command- 
ing generals in bed. As for Blucher, he was seventy 
years old and for decades at a time had lived the life of 
a private citizen ; of late he had been very ill, even out of 
his mind. During the winter of 1810 and 1811 he had 
had all sorts of strange fancies, among them that he had a 
live beast in his body. But Scharnhorst had once said 
that he would prefer Blucher in a litter to any other able- 
bodied man ; Blucher must command, Scharnhorst now 
declared, "even though he have inside of him a hundred 
elephants." Certain it is, that Bliicher's soldiers idolized 
him, although on occasion he could be severe enough. 
Napoleon spoke of him as the vieux renard, and respected 
him more than any other of his antagonists. 

The object of the French emperor was to unite all his 
forces, and, hurrying through Germany, to begin his cam- 
paign on the Vistula ; that of the allies was to strike him 
as swiftly as possible, and, at the same time, to make the 
states of the Rhine confederation throw out their true 
colors to the wind. The natural meeting-point for the 
two hostile armies was Saxony, whose frightened king, 
accordingly, fled with the contents of his green vault, and 



S -5 /. C~> ,-, CV" -">\.-r '. ' -I 




THE WAR OF LIBERATION 303 

had the rarest pictures of the Dresden gallery transferred 
to the impregnable Konigstein. With characteristic du- 
plicity, his minister, Count Sennft, expressed friendship 
for Prussia, but at the same time negotiated secretly with 
Napoleon. It was, in fact, here in Saxony that the main 
battles of the campaign took place, Liitzen and Bautzen, 
Dresden and Leipzig, while four separate attempts on the 
part of Napoleon to take the Prussian capital resulted in 
as many minor battles in that direction. 

Liitzen, or Gross Gorschen, and Bautzen, were French Ltitzen and 
victories, valuable in so far as they kept alive the tradi- Bautzen, 
tions of Napoleon's invincibility. He made the most of 
them in his bulletins to Paris, comparing them to Auster- 
litz, Jena, Friedland, and Moscow. It was now that 
Saxony threw aside the veil, and declared openly for her 
old protector, her king severely punishing those who had 
been friendly to the Prussians. Yet never were victories 
bought more dearly. " What ! " cried Napoleon himself, 
" no result, no trophies, no prisoners, and such a butchery! " 
Forty thousand men had fallen in the two engagements ; 
and where were more to come from now that France was 
using up the last of her three million recruits called out 
since 1793? The issue of Liitzen had long been exceed- 
ingly doubtful. " Do you think my star is sinking ? " 
Napoleon had seriously asked General Berthier ; and once 
he called out angrily, " These beasts have learnt something ! " 

After Bautzen, Napoleon made what he himself later The two 
designated as the greatest mistake of his life, by entering months ' 
into the armistice known as the truce of Poischwitz. He 
desired to strengthen his cavalry, which was relatively 
very small ; but he thought, also, to break down the coali- 
tion by tempting offers to the Czar. He would give up 
Poland ; he would renounce his European blockades. And 
against Austria, which was now demanding back the 



304 A SHOUT HISTORY OP GERMANY 

provinces wrested from her in 1809, and threatening to 
join the coalition, he would have time to call up an army 
from Italy. He despised this power that he had twice so 
thoroughly humbled. " If you want war you shall have 
it," he said to Metternich ; " au revoir in Vienna ! " By 
the Treaty of Reichenbach, Austria had agreed, should 
Napoleon refuse her terms, to join the allies with 150,000 
men. England now promised to send subsidies ; while 
Sweden, in return for freedom of action as regarded 
Norway, also joined in the war. Reinforcements arrived 
from Russia ; while Prussia, in the course of these two 
precious months, was able to complete the training of her 
Landwehr and send them to the front. The grand total 
of the allied forces now amounted to 800,000 men, that 
of Napoleon's army to 500,000 ; but, owing to the neces- 
sity of defending many vulnerable points, the superiority 
of the coalition on the actual scene of war was not more 
than 52,000. Prussia, in this matter of raising troops, 
had made a splendid, almost unequalled, showing ; with a 
population of but 4,500,000, and with resources wretchedly 
crippled since Tilsit, she furnished in all nearly 300,000 
men. 

Scharn- Scharnhorst, indeed, the indefatigable organizer, the 

horst's only man of his time who can worthily be compared to 
the American Washington, did not live to see the fruits 
of his silent and self-sacrificing labors. Wounded at 
Liitzen, he still continued to spare himself no fatigues; 
and a journey to Vienna and Prague, undertaken in order 
to hasten the new alliance, proved fatal to his shattered 
constitution. Not altogether appreciated even in his own 
day, those best able to judge regarded him almost as a 
deity. Ten years later Gneisenau wrote to Clausewitz, 
" You were his John, I only his Peter ; yet I never played 
him false as the latter did his Master ! " 



THE WAR OF LIBERATION 305 

At the end of the truce Napoleon's forces stood in the The distri- 
centre of a half-circle, on the circumference of which were bution of 
Bernadotte's army near Berlin, Bliicher's in Silesia, and 
that of the commander-in-chief, the Austrian Schwarzen- 
berg, in Bohemia. In the latter camp were the three 
crowned heads, the Czar, the emperor, and the Prussian 
king. Bliicher, with the smallest of the three armies 
against the largest force of the enemy, had been told to 
avoid battle unless the chances should be all in his favor. 
Napoleon's plan was to burst through the barrier on the 
north and come in touch with the fortresses on the Vistula 
and the Oder, which still held French garrisons ; that is 
why, apart from his natural predilection for taking the 
capitals of his enemies, he made such repeated attempts 
to occupy Berlin. He was thwarted by the necessity of 
remaining on the defensive against the Silesian and Bohe- 
mian armies, and of keeping them from uniting with 
Bernadotte's forces. That the allies from the first had 
followed the consistent plan of drawing the enemy into 
their net by concentrating around Leipzig, is a mistaken 
supposition; some such idea had influenced them in the 
beginning, but circumstances had greatly modified their 
proceedings. 

By the terms of the armistice, a strip of neutral territory The battle 
had been left between Bliicher's army and the French ; on the 
this the latter had been the first to violate, and Bliicher, 
in turn, pressed forward, the enemy retreating before 
him. Napoleon himself marched up with his guard to 
deal a decisive blow at this audacious pursuer, but hastily 
returned to Dresden on learning that Schwarzenberg was 
threatening that city. Bliicher, with his hundred thousand 
men, unfolded an unheard-of activity, now pursuing, now 
withdrawing, turning day into night and night into day, 
but always keeping close to the enemy. Each march and 

VOL. II X 



306 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

each countermarch cost him many lives ; the Landwehr 
suffered terribly in the rain-sodden, shelterless camps; 
and, worst of all, some of those in the lesser commands 
lost faith in their superiors. General York, the hero of 
Tauroggen, burst into the room at Jauer, where Bliicher 
and Gneisenau were dining with their officers, and cried 
out, " You are ruining the troops ; you are marching 
them to no purpose ! " In scathing terms York wrote and 
denounced to the king the whole plan of operations. 
But on the very day after this scene the French marshal, 
Macdonald, walked into the trap, and gave the longed-for 
opportunity for the great battle on the Katzbach, which, 
though fought in pouring rain and mainly with bayonets 
and the ends of muskets, inflicted on the French such a 
defeat as they had never yet suffered in any one engage- 
ment : as Macdonald reported to his emperor, a whole 
army had ceased to exist. A noble woman wrote to 
Gneisenau that this one achievement had wiped out years 
of shame and sorrow, and, indeed, a very long time it was 
since the Prussians had come out of a battle with fifteen 
thousand prisoners. 

Berna- In seven minor skirmishes, fought in the space of one 

dotte's dis- wee k 5 Silesia was then cleared of the French ; while an 
onslaught of the latter, in the direction of Berlin, had 
brought down upon them the defeat of Gross Beeren at 
the hands of General Billow a defeat which would have 
been still more severe but for the indecision and timidity, 
if not the masked treason, of the Swedish crown prince. 
Bernadotte had wished Biilow to evade the corps of the 
French marshal, Oudinot, by retreat; but the Prussian gen- 
eral had cried out to his soldiers, " Our bones shall bleach 
in front of, not behind, Berlin ! " and, at the decisive mo- 
ment, had directly disobeyed the orders of his superior 
commander. Yet Bernadotte, in his report of the battle, 



THE WAR OF LIBERATION 307 

claimed the full credit for himself, and accepted the ova- 
tion of the Berlin magistrates ! This former marshal of 
France, who had been elected successor to the Swedish 
throne, had strange and wonderful projects in his head ; 
and his reason in sparing the French is said to have been 
a desire to one day occupy their throne ! A fortnight 
later, at Dennewitz, in spite of continued friction, Biilow 
and Tauentzien routed the forces of Ney with vastly in- 
ferior numbers, the total loss of the enemy being little 
less than twenty-four thousand men. Bernadotte, as be- 
fore, claimed the honors of this most important victory, 
gained in spite of his express commands. 

For the last time in this campaign of 1813, fortune The battle 
smiled upon the French emperor when, at Dresden, with of Dresdea 
one hundred thousand men, he put to flight the army of 
Schwarzenberg, with half again that number. The allies 
lost the battle through the incredible slowness and incom- 
petency of their leaders, Schwarzenberg having delayed 
his attack until Napoleon himself, who was miles away, could 
comfortably reach him. The disheartening news from 
Gross Beeren and from Silesia had alone prevented Napo- 
leon from following up his advantage ; indeed, the allies 
had looked for the worst, and Gneisenau had taken the 
precaution of establishing a camp of possible refuge, far 
back in Silesia. The Austrians considered the campaign 
at a close, and began to talk of the invincibility of this 
enemy, who had until so recently been their own ally. 

But the moral effect of the victory was soon effaced by Kulm and 
a brilliant achievement of the Prussian Kleist, who, while Nollendorf. 
the Prussians engaged the enemy in the valley near 
Kulm, mounted the heights of Nollendorf, in the rear of 
Vandamme's corps, and descended upon it to such pur- 
pose that nine thousand French were made prisoner. 
Within the space of one single week Napoleon had lost 



308 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

nearly eighty thousand men ; while, in addition, his ally, 
Bavaria, trimming her sails to the wind, had gone over to 
the enemy. The Treaty of Ried, concluded with the allies, 
was all to the advantage of Bavaria, guaranteeing her 
practically all that she had gained by the grace of Napo- 
leon, and, unfortunately, rendering impossible such a re- 
construction of Germany as Stein, for instance, deemed 
indispensable. 

The closing These were ponderous blows that were falling upon the 
m on French emperor ; this time his star was indeed sinking. 

^ n( j now, most fatal of all, Bliicher had revived the old 
plan of closing in upon Leipzig, and had set to work with 
an energy that carried along even such dead weights as 
Schwarzenberg and Bernadotte, neither of whom, for 
political reasons, particularly desired a decisive battle. 
Almost simultaneously, in the early days of October, 
Bliicher crossed the Elbe at Wartenburg, and Bernadotte 
near Wittenberg; while Schwarzenberg, with the main 
army, descended from the Metal Mountains. At Warten- 
berg the resistance was very stubborn, and had it not 
been for the wonderful courage and perseverance of Gen- 
eral York's corps, the attempt would have failed. This 
general, as usual, had demurred at his orders. "It is 
hard to bring the old grumbler York into action," 
Bliicher said of him ; " but once there, he is surpassed by 
no one." As for Napoleon, his first feeling on seeing the 
enemy assume the offensive was one of satisfaction ; so 
little did he realize the desperateness of Ms position that 
he determined to prevent the capture of Dresden, and, for 
that purpose, left behind him thirty thousand men, which, 
as the event proved, he could ill afford to spare. 

Between Bliicher and Bernadotte the friction continued 
to the end; but old Marshal Forwards, as he had been 
called since the battle on the Katzbach, whatever violent 



THE WAR OF LIBERATION 309 

expressions he might have used in private, showed the Blucher 
utmost self-restraint. When the Swedish crown prince and 
objected to the danger of the position near Halle that 
Blucher would have had him take, the latter changed 
places with him ; later, when still greater danger threat- 
ened him in his new position, Bernadotte had the assurance 
to demand to be put back in his original place. His evi- 
dent desire to keep his precious Swedes out of action gave 
rise to one of the most remarkable protests that has ever 
been penned : on October 15, the headquarters of the Sile- 
sian army joined with the headquarters of Bernadotte's 
own army, and with the ministers or military representa- 
tives of England, Russia, Austria, and Prussia in a per- 
emptory demand "to take part in an event which must 
decide the fate of Europe." It was, even then, too late to 
join in the first great day of the battle of the nations, 
though by doing so York's devoted corps might have 
been saved from terrible slaughter at Mockern. It must 
be said that when, on October 18, Bernadotte did at last 
fall into line, his army was of great service, completing the 
iron chain that was drawn so closely around Napoleon. 

All in all, the fighting on that first day of Leipzig, Octo- The three 
ber 16, was far from decisive; there were skirmishes at days' battle 
Mockern, to the northwest, and at Connewitz and Wachau 
to the southeast. Neither in the totals of the forces en- 
gaged, nor in the separate skirmishes, was there a great 
numerical difference. At Wachau, Napoleon considered 
that he had won the day, and ordered that the bells of 
Leipzig should ring out a peal of triumph ; he sent a mes- 
sage of congratulation to his ally, the king of Saxony, who- 
was found skulking in his cellar for safety. But something 
more than a half-victory was needed to extricate the caged 
lion from his dangerous position ; for, the next day, the 
allies were reenforced to the extent of nearly one hundred 



310 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

thousand men. In vain Napoleon, on October 17, attempted 
to open negotiations for peace ; his messenger was not re- 
ceived. On October 18, fell the great decision. The allies 
pressed closer and closer around Leipzig, the army of 
Schwarzenberg passing over the field of Wachau, where 
but two days before so many had fallen. The corpses lay 
there unburied still, and the bones crunched as the heavy 
carts and cannon passed along. In the midst of the battle 
a number of Saxon soldiers went over to the side of the 
allies, and, as the French at least maintained, decided the 
fate of the day. They were received with no enthusiasm 
and were relegated to the rear. That night and the next 
day, Napoleon carried on his retreat, in the course of which, 
prematurely, the bridge on the Elster was blown up, leav- 
ing some twenty thousand to become prisoners in the 
- hands of the allies. Of the French emperor's last half 
million men only ninety thousand accompanied him across 
the Rhine. Meanwhile, the Czar and the king of Prussia 
rode proudly into Leipzig, passing without a greeting the 
Saxon king, who had stationed himself bareheaded to re- 
ceive them at his palace door. In the market-place, the 
Czar was seen to embrace sturdy old Bliicher, and was 
heard 'to say, "You, my dear general, have done the most; 
you are the liberator of Germany." 

Horrors of The battle of the nations had been fought and won, but 
Leipzig. a j. a cos ^. t s trik e terror into the hearts of the victors. 
Strong men to the number of nearly one hundred thou- 
sand enough to people a great city lay dead or 
wounded; so many corpses had fallen into the Elster 
that the current was turned aside. The peasants had fled 
the neighborhood in a panic, and could not help in bury- 
ing the dead ; the bodies were left in great naked piles to 
be gnawed by dog and raven. We hear of 174 wounded 
placed in a barn and then forgotten; of 20,000 more without 



THE WAR OF LIBERATION 311 

bed or covering of any kind ; of corpses thrown from upper 
story windows on to the heaped-up carts below ; of arms 
and legs seen to move amid the sickening mass ; of their 
owners mercifully clubbed into quietude ; of steady streams 
of filth and blood flowing down the steps of the improvised 
hospitals into the streets. 

Yet, terrible as this all was, it would have been better The 
in the end if the victory had been followed up with more battle f L: > 
emphasis ; it would have been perfectly possible to have 
inflicted such ruin on this army that the campaign of 1814 
could never have been fought. But disunion reigned in 
the camp of the allies. Schwarzenberg had taken but few 
precautions for cutting off his great enemy's retreat; 
Russia and Prussia wished to pursue Napoleon up to the 
walls of his own capital; England and Austria thought 
that already his punishment had been sufficient. Metter- 
nich, the new Austrian minister, was afraid the balance of 
power would be overthrown in Europe were Napoleon to 
be completely ruined ; he mortally dreaded liberal princi- 
ples, and was opposed to the Czar's Polish plans. It was 
only by Stein's urgent advice that the war was continued 
at all, and, even then, many months were lost in slow and 
purposeless evolutions, which gave Napoleon the needed 
time for rest. At the battle of La Rothiere, Schwarzenberg, 
with two-thirds of the total forces, remained inactive while 
Bliicher did the fighting. Yet, for the first time in cen- 
turies, a French army was beaten on French soil ; for the 
first time, too, Napoleon and Bliicher were directly pitted 
against each other. The former was so completely dis- 
couraged that he consented to the calling of the Congress 
of Chatillon. 

Austrian negligence, if not actual Austrian treason, 
robbed Bliicher of all his advantage. Schwarzenberg 
had arranged that Wittgenstein's corps should cover the 



312 



A SHORT HISTORY OP GERMANY 



Bliicher's 
army 
in great 
3r. 



Napoleon's 
crest rises. 



country between the right bank of the Seine and the line 
of march of the Silesian army, but -then obeyed a secret 
command of the Austrian emperor to remain on the left 
bank of the river, lest a victory of the allies should disturb 
the proposed negotiations for a peace. Napoleon, in con- 
sequence, fell upon detached corps of Bliicher's ail-too 
unsuspecting army, and at Montmirail and Chateau-Thierry 
inflicted crushing blows. In a skirmish near Vauchamps 
the field-marshal himself, Gneisenau, Prince Augustus, 
Kleist, and Grolmann were surprised, and on the point of 
being captured, when they were saved by the presence of 
mind of the last-named, who organized a successful rally 
of the exhausted troops. Old Marshal Forwards had 
already sought death, determined never to be taken alive. 
All that brave and desperate men could do these Prussians 
had done : " even that dumb lean Englishman," writes 
Treitschke, "who was wont to trot by Gneisenau's side, 
always with the same tiresome, stiff expression of coun- 
tenance, lashing the air with his stick even Hudson 
Lowe could hardly find words enough to praise the leonine 
courage of these ragged, half -starved heroes." 

Bliicher's army was reduced to such a level that Na- 
poleon disdained to follow it. To show what he had done, 
he sent long trains of captives to Paris and had them 
marched by the Vendome Column. These Prussians were 
the most hated of all the allies ; it was they who were 
supposed to have done the most in plundering and burn- 
ing villages. According to the popular Parisian gibe they 
were les plus chiens, worse than the rustres and les autri 
chiens. The old national pride in Napoleon, so nearly ex- 
tinguished, now flamed up anew. The emperor himself, 
humble enough but shortly before, had now recovered all his 
assurance and spoke of returning to the Vistula. He sent 
word to his envoys at Chatillon to listen to no proposals of 



THE WAR OF LIBERATION 313 

the allies. He looked upon the latter as actually beaten : 
" With my captives I am not in the habit of negotiating," 
he declared. And, indeed, at this very time the different 
powers were quarrelling so fiercely, that Schwarzenberg 
had entered into correspondence with the French, and 
was already withdrawing his troops, when the king of 
Prussia in person induced him to countermand the order. 

As had happened before in Silesia and at Leipzig, it Bar-sur- 
was Bliicher's energy that stemmed the ebbing tide. Aube. 
He grasped at a suggestion of Grolmann's, that an end 
should be put to all this disorder by leaving the army 
of Schwarzenberg to its own devices, marching north to 
unite with the corps of Billow and of Wintzingerode, 
which were advancing from Belgium, and then descend- 
ing in a straight line upon Paris. Even before the grudg- 
ing consent of the allied sovereigns could reach him, his 
army, rested and reenforced, was on the march, with 
Napoleon in pursuit. After the latter's departure, Fred- 
erick William fairly forced Schwarzenberg, who had 
fought no engagement since entering France, to take 
part in a battle at Bar-sur-Aube ; at his father's side the 
future emperor, William I., a boy of seventeen, rode into 
the first military action of his life, and acquitted himself 
with distinction, inaugurating his glorious record of vic- 
tories untarnished by defeats. 

When Bliicher joined forces with Biilow, the latter was Bliicher's 
horrified at the wretched appearance of the much-tried march on 
troops. But at Laon, where Napoleon at once attacked 
them, and where the battle was fought in the darkness of 
the night, a signal victory was gained. It is true, dis- 
cords like those before the battle on the Katzbach pre- 
vented pursuit, and robbed the victory of much of its 
importance. Bliicher had fallen sick from over-exertion, 
and sat in a dark room a prey to delusions ; it was with 



314 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

difficulty that he was prevented, in the very moment of 
his triumph, from laying down the command. York, 
Kleist, and Billow refused to obey Gneisenau ; and the 
first-named threatened to leave the army. Gneisenau 
himself was afraid that, after such constant fighting, by 
the time they reached Paris there would be no Prussian 
army left, and that the Austrians would be able to twist 
the terms of peace to suit their own needs. 

But an unsatisfactory answer of Napoleon's to an Aus- 
trian ultimatum, infused new unity into the army of the 
allies ; it was too apparent that nothing was to be gained 
by sparing this man, and the Congress of Chatillon was 
abruptly closed. The great army set out for Paris, while 
Napoleon tried the desperate manoeuvre of frightening its 
leaders by cutting off their line of retreat. With eighteen 
thousand men he expected, thus, to paralyze the action of 
more than one hundred thousand. The Czar almost fell 
into his trap, consenting finally, however, to detach a small 
force of ten thousand to keep the French emperor in check, 
while, with the rest, the union was made with Bliicher's 
army. A French division that stood in the way at La Fdre 
Champenoise was cut to pieces with horrible butchery. One 
last struggle before Paris with Marmont's and Mortier's 
corps, where the combatants penetrated to the Bois de Vin- 
cennes, to PeTe la Chaise cemetery, and to the hill of Mont- 
martre, ended the French resistance ; Bliicher had looked 
on, having donned a woman's hat and veil to protect his 
eyes, which were badly inflamed, and thus, to the very last, 
had remained the central figure in the campaign. The fall 
of Paris meant, that the one hundred and seventy thou- 
sand Frenchmen left in German fortresses must wait in 
vain for relief; and, indeed, in the course of the winter 
and spring, garrison after garrison surrendered. 

In Paris itself, the spell of Napoleon's ascendency was 



THE WAR OF LIBERATION 315 

broken, and the day of reckoning had come for the millions The allies 
of stout lives sacrificed to one man's ambition. The crowd in Paris, 
surged around the Vend6me Column, eager to tear down 
the image of its fallen emperor. Officers of the national 
guard tied the star of the Legion of Honor to the tails of 
their horses ; and many displayed the white cockade of the 
Bourbons. The allies were greeted as deliverers, and 
Madame de Stael relates, that Frederick William was aston- 
ished at finding what a pleasure it was to these people to 
be conquered. The handsome Czar was grossly flattered 
by all kinds of persons : the head of a madhouse for 
females one day told him that, since his entry into the city, 
the number of those who had gone insane from unrequited 
affection had greatly increased. In consequence of all this 
friendliness, the terms imposed by the allies were far too 
lenient; and Prussia was looked upon as something of a mar- 
plot for demanding sterner measures. When Louis XVIII. 
came in, he took the attitude of rightful ruler, and in his 
own palace, as the most august prince of Christendom, de- 
manded precedence over the three monarchs who had just 
regained him his throne. France, on which no indemnity 
was imposed, was given all of Alsace and a million more 
inhabitants than she possessed in 1789. Prussia, which had 
borne the brunt of the war, could not even obtain payment 
fofthe unjust contributions that had been imposed upon 
her from 1808 to 1812 ; and it was with difficulty that she 
regained possession of the sword of Frederick the Great, 
and the figure of Victory, with her four great horses, that 
had been taken from the Brandenburg gate. The return of 
the latter work of art, indeed, was a tangible proof of liber- 
ation, and the whole city of Berlin streamed out to meet 
the great wooden chest as it was drawn by twenty horses 
along the Charlottenburg Chausse*e. 

But the worst act of folly on the part of the allies, was 



316 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



The calling 
of the Con- 
gress of 
Vienna. 



The 

congress 
dances. 



to leave Napoleon sovereign prince of Elba, with the title 
of Emperor, with a retinue of officers, and with a standing 
army of four hundred men. 

In the moment of victory, a congress had been called to 
mee t a t Vienna for the sake of making changes in the map 
of Europe such as had not been known since the Peace of 
Westphalia ; there was scarcely a country the boundaries 
of which were not to be fundamentally altered. The brill- 
iancy of the assembly corresponded to the importance of 
the occasion ; and the Turkish Sultan was the only Euro- 
pean potentate who was not represented. Even France 
was allowed to send Talleyrand, the famous turncoat, who 
had sacrificed on the altar of liberty at the feast of brother- 
hood on the Champ de Mars, had served Napoleon in the 
days of his glory, had directed the compensation of the 
servile German princes, and who now came as envoy of 
the Bourbon king ; wily and clever to the last degree, he 
took such advantage of the dissensions of other powers that 
at times his single voice was almost decisive. 

Since the Council of Constance there had been no such 
assembly as this great congress, where for a period of nine 
months the fate of nations was discussed. It was the policy 
of the Emperor Francis to play the part of genial host; and 
he expended in all some sixteen million guldens on his vari- 
ous entertainments. Balls and masquerades, card parties 
and exhibitions of tableaux vivants, followed each other in 
quick succession. Francis reaped his reward, for some of 
the most important business of the council was transacted 
on such occasions. " At a ball," writes a contemporary, 
"kingdoms were enlarged or sliced up, at a dinner an 
indemnity granted, a constitution sketched while hunting ; 
occasionally a bon mot or a witty idea brought about an 
agreement where conferences and notes had failed." It 
was not quite true, therefore, that remark of witty old 



THE WAR OF LIBERATION 317 

Prince de Ligne : "Le congres dance, mais ne mar eke pas." 
It was said of Metternich that he understood most admira- 
bly how to entertain a foreign diplomat and show him most 
enchanting friendliness, when all the time he was prepar- 
ing a fatal blow. Among the other attractions of Vienna 
in those days, was a concert given by Beethoven, for which 
the old blind king of composers sent personal invitations 
to all the great people. It is worthy of note, that ques- 
tions of precedence at this congress played but a very little 
part; important acts were signed in alphabetical order, or 
else, to use a German term, in bunter Reihe, or by rotation. 

In addition to general debates on international law, on The Polish 
the rules of navigation, on slavery, three cardinal matters question, 
known as the Polish, Saxon, and German questions occu- 
pied the time. The Czar wished to abrogate the former 
partitions of Poland and reestablish that power with him- 
self as king, and with liberal institutions. He considered 
that the Empress Catherine had committed a crime in 
dividing Poland; but, as Seeley remarks, the only crime 
for which Alexander really blamed her, was that of allow- 
ing others to share her booty. Stein, as well as other 
patriots, were much opposed to these Polish plans ; but 
here Frederick William asserted himself and committed 
what has been rightly called the most independent and 
fortunate act of his whole reign. He told the Czar that he 
might have the greater part of Prussian Poland ; he did 
not tell him that these vast tracts, peopled by an alien race, 
had always been to him more of a burden than a benefit. 

In this way, one great dispute was ended, but at the The Saxon 
same time an infinitely greater one begun. If Russia was q ues ^ on 
to have the Polish provinces, where was Prussia to find r ^ nd , g 
indemnity ? The most obvious answer was, in Saxony diplomacy. 
an adjoining, Protestant, conquered country, whose king 
had acted in a despicable manner. Anticipating no oppo- 



318 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

sition, Frederick William had the king sent off to Berlin 
and a Prussian administrator put in his place. But of 
all the mainsprings of action during these excited days, 
Austrian jealousy of Prussia was among the foremost ; by 
annexing Saxony, this dreaded rival would push her boun- 
daries right up to the Bohemian frontier. There was no 
length to which the emperor would not go to prevent such 
a contingency to which England also was opposed ; and 
in the background was the tempter,Talleyrand, whose chief 
argument was, that Prussia was acting counter to the whole 
principle on which the war against Napoleon had been 
waged the principle of legitimacy ; it was Napoleonic, 
not legitimistic, to depose the king of Saxony. It mat- 
tered little that Talleyrand's premises were utterly wrong ; 
that war had been waged against Napoleon for far other 
reasons than that he was not legitimate ruler ; that the 
king of Saxony, as king at least, was even less legitimate 
than his imperial creator. The wily Frenchman's absurd 
reasonings fell on willing ears ; his influence grew from 
day to day, and on January 3, 1815, was formed the most 
preposterous of all alliances, that of England and Austria 
with the very power against which they had just been 
so bitterly warring. For six days,. until the English Par- 
liament repudiated the action of its minister, there was 
imminent danger of an outbreak. The Czar knew noth- 
ing of what had occurred until Napoleon, having re- 
turned from Elba, and finding the treaty of alliance in 
Louis XVIII. 's desk, sent it to him in order to disgust 
him with his allies. 

After agitating Europe for four months, the Saxon ques- 
tion was settled by compromise ; Frederick Augustus was 
shorn of half his dominions, but left with the other half 
and with his royal title. In order to complete Prussia's 
indemnity, the Czar relinquished Thorn and Danzig; while 



. THE WAR OF LIBERATION 319 

Aix, Cologne, Coblenz, and other territory on the left 
bank of the Rhine brought her boundaries up to almost 
their extent in 1806, and her population to half a million 
more. Throwing into the scale the wealth and industry of 
these provinces, her gain was infinite ; while her proximity 
to France made her the natural guardian of German inter- 
ests in that direction. 

Talleyrand's triumph was one day to cost his country Napoleon's 
dear; but for the moment he had managed to interfere sue- return from 
cessfully in German affairs; and there is no knowing what Elba " 
he might still have accomplished, had it not been for 
Napoleon's return. The whole congress was thrown into 
confusion, and into a transport of excitement, by the news 
of that dramatic landing at Antibes, of the Bourbon 
troops, which at sight of their old commander lost all 
control of themselves, and joined his standard; of the entry 
into Paris, the reinstatement in power, the expulsion of 
Louis XVIII., and the granting of a new constitution. 
The man for whom so many Frenchmen had already died 
was able to secure 200,000 new victims, and to organize 
them with a skill and rapidity that .even he had never 
equalled. He ordered, besides, the leve en masse ; which 
called out the whole male population of France. The 
congress stopped all business, and solemnly pronounced 
Napoleon an outlaw and an enemy of mankind. His 
envoys were not received. The powers agreed to fur- 
nish each 150,000 men; and four great armies, under 
Wellington, Bliicher, Schwarjzenberg, and the Czar, 
prepared to invade France; the two former by way of 
Belgium, the two latter by crossing the middle Rhine. 

Bliicher met the French at Ligny, and once more and Bliicher at 
for the last time an army of Napoleon conquered an enemy, Waterlo - 
and even one that was its superior in numbers. The Prus- 
sians lost some 12,000 in dead and wounded. At the same 



320 A SHORT HISTOEY OF GERMANY 

time, Wellington won the day at Quatrebras; and then 
moved to the field near Brussels where was fought the 
most famous battle of modern times. Bliicher was not 
far from right when he wrote from Waterloo, " Our vic- 
tory is the most complete that has ever been gained ; " or 
Gneisenau when he declared that the enemy was anni- 
hilated as never an enemy before. If the brunt of the 
fighting had been done by the English, the Prussians had 
arrived at a moment so critical as to make k doubtful 
what might have happened had they come an hour later. 
Bliicher's march from Ligny had been a wonderful achieve- 
ment; when Wellington sent to ask him for a single 
corps he had answered proudly that he would be present, 
not with a corps, but with his whole army. On the day 
after his defeat, without pausing for rest, and suffering 
personally from the effects of a fall from his horse, he had 
proceeded twelve miles to Wavre. On the day following, 
the famous June 18, his half -fed troops had hurried for 
eight hours through rain and mud before plunging into 
the thick of battle. When the men despaired and declared 
that they could go no further, the determined old man 
had said to them : " Boys, we must I I have pledged my 
word to my brother Wellington, and you would not have 
me break it!" The brave English commander, in the 
meantime, having withstood for hours the most murderous 
fire of which history bears record, when approached by 
Lord Hill, and asked his intentions, had answered simply: 
" Hold fast to the last man ! " Later, he was heard to 
murmur to himself: " Bliicher or night! " 

The question as to the relative merits of the achieve- 
ments of these two commanders has much agitated pos- 
terity; it did not greatly trouble the persons most 
concerned. Wellington, in his formal despatch, ascribed 
the fortunate conclusion of the day to Bliicher's advent 1 



I 

THE WAR OF LIBERATION 321 

while the Prussian general's own son wrote from the scene 
of battle, " Father Bliicher embraced Wellington in such 
a hearty manner that everybody present said it was the 
most affecting scene imaginable." 

For the first time in his career, Napoleon was personally The flight 
forced to take to mad flight ; as he sprang from his car- from 
riage, defending himself with his pistol, he left behind him te loo> 
his hat, sword, and field-glass, which fell into Bliicher's 
hands. The carriage itself, which Bliicher sent to his 
wife as a trophy, was found stuffed with valuables ; dia- 
monds the size of peas were thrown round among* the 
soldiers, and sold for the immediate enjoyment of a few 
francs. Gneisenau carried off the fallen emperor's seal. 
The work of pursuit was left to the Prussians, who, wearied 
though they were, kept up the chase for five hours; after 
which a single drummer mounted on a horse managed to 
keep thousands in front of him in a state of panic. 

The carnage at Waterloo, if not equal to that at Leipzig, 
was yet a worthy holocaust even to the fallen greatness of 
a Napoleon. The losses of the allies were 21,400, those of 
the French, including prisoners, 25,000. Of heartrending 
scenes there was no end. An English resident of Brussels 
has recorded how a transport wagon stopped before his 
door, and how, when he went to carry nourishment, he 
found the wagon filled, exclusively, with men who had lost 
all four of their limbs. 

With Napoleon once more defeated, forced to abdicate The second 
by his own Parliament, and sent off to eat his heart out p eace of 
on his desolate island near the equator, a second Peace of 
Paris was arranged with France which was not so favorable 
to that power as the first. It is true, in spite of the pro- 
tests of Prussia, which government would gladly have 
seen its enemy deprived of Alsace and Lorraine, the boun- 
daries of 1792 were left to the Bourbon dynasty; but this 

VOL. II T 



322 



The settle- 
ment of the 
German 
question at 
the Con- 
gress of 
Vienna. 



Short- 
comings of 
the "Act 
of Confed- 
eration." 



time an indemnity was required, the stolen works of art were 
to be restored to the various capitals, while the land was 
to support a force of one hundred and fifty thousand men 
until the terms of peace should have been carried out. 

With the sudden storm-cloud thus dispersed, the Con- 
gress of Vienna was able to renew its deliberations and to 
embody in its protocol, or final act, some one hundred and 
eighty measures passed. The most important question of 
all, the reconstruction of Germany, was solved in the least 
satisfactory manner, and only after nine different schemes 
had "been brought forward. One was, to make Stein presi- 
dent over kings and emperor; another, to have Austria 
nominal head, but Prussia to control the armies. Stein 
himself had desired an empire with Austria at its head, 
but the Emperor Francis had refused ; moreover the minor 
states were unwilling to give up one jot or tittle of their 
sovereignty. The result was the passing of a mere Act of 
Confederation, with Austria as presiding power and with 
a Diet that was to meet at Frankfort-on-the-Main. The 
different states were left with much independence and 
might form their own alliances ; they were all to send 
delegates to Frankfort ; and it was one of the peculiarities 
of this political monstrosity, that/a combination of the small 
states, representing one-sixth of thlTpopulation of Germany, 
could nearly doubly outvote the seven larger states, with 
the remaining five-sixths/ 

Nor was this the worst: Saxony and Bavaria proved 
themselves far more dangerous as friends than they had 
ever been as enemies ; the former managed to pass a 
motion that no change should be made in this most in- 
complete of all constitutions, save by unanimous vote ; 
the old liberum veto of the Polish diets was revived for the 
benefit of the German princes. And Bavaria blocked all 
proceedings, until an act providing for a general federal 



THE WAR OF LIBERATION 323 

council had been let fall. As a result there was no cea^ 
tral authority with any real coercive power. The Diet of 

^^ " ^___^^^^^^^^ J ^^^*^ M *"*^^^^^^^^^^^**^^^^^ 1 ^ 

FranKort had no army and no funds ; and its only means 
of punishing a recalcitrant state was to vote federal exe- 
cution, which meant that individual states were to be 
deputed to exercise armed pressure. The net result of all 
these wars for the internal affairs of Germany, was a worse 
state of things than before ; but the very weaknesses of 
this German confederation were to conduce to the aggran- 
dizement of Prussia and lead to her final triumph. 



CHAPTER VIII 

THE STEUGGLE FOR CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT 
AND THE REVOLUTION OP 1848 

LITERATURE : Treitschke's work extends to 1847, but is too detailed 
for the purposes of the ordinary student. Stern, Geschichte Europa's, 
1815-71, is also incomplete, but promises to be a clear and forcible state- 
ment of facts. Constantin Bulle, Geschichte der neuesten Zeit, is excel- 
lent. Biedermanu, who was in the thick of the constitutional struggle in 
1848, has left two well-written and reliable works, 25 Jahre deutscher 
Geschichte, 1815-40, and 30 Jahre deutscher Geschichte, 1840-70. Of 
contemporary memoirs, those embodied in Seeley's Life of Arndt are 
most interesting. See, also, the Life of Bunsen, edited by his widow, 
and Bunsen's Correspondence with Frederick William, edited by Leo- 
pold von Ranke. The most complete history of the Revolution of 1848 is 
that by Hans Blum. See, also, Fyffe's Modern Europe. 

The THE three monarchs who at last, by the aid of England, 

Mettermch succe eded in overthrowing Napoleon were in reality men 
of only mediocre ability. Francis of Austria was the in- 
carnation of selfishness and narrow-mindedness. From 
the first he had scented danger to himself in the popular 
nature of the uprising in Prussia, for liberal ideas of 
every kind were a bugbear to him. " Omnes mundus stul- 
tizat et vult habere novas constitutiones" " The whole world 
is foolish and wants new constitutions," he cried angrily, 
in bad Latin, to a delegation of Hungarians. Hand in 
hand with Metternich, a minister after his own heart, he 
inaugurated a system of persistent political repression 
that reminds one of the religious tyranny of his bigoted 
ancestors. Under the remainder of his own reign, and 
under that of his son, enlightenment was simply crushed 
out in Austria. The votaries of literature and art went 

324 



STRUGGLE FOB CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT 325 

elsewhere, and even the teachings of learned scientists 
were subjected to rigid censorship. A copy, of Copernicus, 
De revolutionibus orbium celestium, was confiscated in 1848, 
because of the dangerous sound of its title. 

The best and most intelligent of the trio was doubtless The Holy 
the Czar Alexander, in spite of his fickleness and vanity. Alliance - 
He asserted himself on all occasions and posed everywhere 
as the real liberator of Germany, having come to consider 
himself an instrument chosen by Providence for the resto- 
ration of law and order. But his mind was no better 
balanced than in those early days, when he had sworn 
such loyalty to Prussia, only to desert her at Tilsit ; or 
when, in reality autocrat of autocrats, he dreamed of be- 
coming constitutional king of Poland. After the victories 
over Napoleon, he developed a religious enthusiasm, dis- 
cussed dogmas and methods of doing penance with Frau 
von Krudener at Paris, and, at last, surprised his royal 
allies by laying before them the draft of a treaty, which 
provided nothing less than that the world should hence- 
forward be ruled by the principles of common Christian 
brotherhood. A new alliance is to be formed, the writing 
declares, founded on the glorious truths of the religion of 
the Divine Saviour ; the guiding threads of policy are to 
be the precepts of this same religion, justice, love, and 
peace ; the monarchs are to regard themselves as brothers, 
as fathers of their people, as " Plenipotentiaries of Provi- 
dence," as rulers over three branches of one and the same 
people ; the nations are exhorted to stand fast in the prin- 
ciples taught by the Saviour ; and all powers that do so 
shall be worthy of reception into this Holy Alliance. 
Frederick William signed at once. Francis and Metter- 
nich, with scorn and mockery in their hearts, followed 
suit for fear of offending the Czar. Wellington refused, 
on the part of England, as did also the Pope, who sent 



326 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

word that " from time immemorial he had been in pos- 
session of Christian truth and needed no new interpre- 
tation of the same." The smaller powers of Europe all 
handed, in their allegiance ; while the Sultan of Turkey, 
who scented in this outburst of Christian sentiment the 
preliminaries of a crusade against himself, had to be paci- 
fied by an express declaration to the contrary on the part 
of Alexander. The chief trouble with the Holy Alliance 
was, that it regarded the people as senseless flocks to be 
driven by whatever measures the allied rulers might sug- 
gest. The treaty proved practically to be a dead letter ; 
nor was even the brotherly concord of long duration. 
/The Holy Alliance is responsible in a measure for the?" 
[unanimity of the powers in the repression of liberal ideasj 
A con- But liberal ideas were in the air now, and the strivings 

of the German people, for a generation to come, were to 
Frederick Y ^ e toward their realization. The first draft of an article 
William III. m the protocol of the Congress of Vienna had read: "In 
every state of the German Confederation there shall' be 
a constitution in favor of the local estates"; but, by 
Austrian influence, the " shall " had been changed to a 
feeble " will," and no punishment placed on disregard of 
the provision. While the Congress of Vienna was still 
in session, at a time when there was immediate need of 
raising a new army on account of Napoleon's return, 
Frederick William had promised a constitution to his 
Prussians. As a pledge of his confidence in the nation, 
there was to be established a sort of parliament. Repre- 
sentatives appointed by the local assemblies of the estates 
were to meet at Berlin; but they were to deliberate 
and advise, not to vote. Small as these concessions were, 
they were never fulfilled. Frederick William could not 
trust his five and a half million new subjects, who had 
belonged to as many as a hundred different states, to 



STRUGGLE FOR CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT 327 

exalt the Prussian monarchy : he was seized with the 
same dread of an all-engulfing liberalism which filled his 
companions of the Holy Alliance. It was two years 
before the necessary commission was instructed to take 
the matter in hand ; six years more before the preliminary 
local assemblies were organized on a common basis. Not 
until seven years after Frederick William's death, was a 
united Diet to be called to Berlin ; and then it was to be 
of no use, as the country was on the brink of revolution. 
In other ^tates of Germany, the course of events was 
similar, ^n 1818, the only sovereigns who had granted 
constitutions, were Bavaria, Baden, and the Grand Duke 
of Weimar ; the latter the patron of Goethe and lord of 
the famous Wartburg. 

That the progress of liberal institutions was not more Mettemich 
rapid, is largely owing to the influence of the Austrian PP sed to 

chancellor who, for nearly a generation, stood over the 

Si>it> u.1 ions* 

kings of Europe, and forced them into the narrow path 
of his own policy. The name of Metternich has beupme 
a synonym for reactionaTMlr'coSsef^^^m^ NotcontenT' 
with surrounding Austria by a Chinese wall,\he made it 
his life-work to prevent Prussia and other German states 
from introducing constitutional government^ well knowing 
that, if the spirit of nationality should invade the many- 
tongued Austrian dependencies, there would be an end of 
the recently formed empire. Over the king of Prussia, 
he not only exercised the ascendency of a stronger and 
more determined mind making use of every little popu- 
lar disturbance, every outspoken paragraph of the news- 
leaves, to terrify the timid ruler , but he even threatened 
to withdraw from the Holy Alliance, should Frederick 
William refuse to take steps against the progress of 
revolution. 

On the brilliant period of the war of liberation, was 



328 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



Ingratitude 
of Fred- 
erick Will- 
iam III. 



The found- 
ing of the 
Burschen- 
schaft. 



following one of petty suspicion and persecution. The 
days of absolute monarchy were counted, but the sover- 
eigns could not and would not accept their doom. 

All the wonderful services rendered to him by his people, 
all the blood shed in war by men of peace, all the sacri- 
fices made to raise the necessary funds, were now for- 
gotten by the Prussian king ; and he gave full credence to 
Metternich's devilish insinuations that the land was seeth- 
ing with sedition, concerned in which, were men like 
Arndt and Jahn. When Councillor Schmalz, the rector 
of the Berlin University, wrote an elaborate pamphlet 
to prove that the uprising of 1813 had not been the work 
of the people, but that the latter had simply streamed to- 
gether at the king's summons as firemen obey an alarm bell : 
Frederick William saw fit to decorate him with an order, 
and to command his literary opponents to keep silent. 

It is safe to say, that at no time in these earlier years was 
there any conspiracy which hazarded the king's safety or 
that of existing political institutions. But in one quarter 
there was a great deal of zeal for reform, a certain amount 
of incendiary eloquence, and two isolated cases of shock- 
ing crime, enough, and more than enough, to focus Met- 
ternich's attention on the secret societies in the German 
universities. These Burschenschaften, as they were called, 
had been founded in 1815, with the noblest purposes, 
and in patriotic antagonism to the Landschaften, which 
represented the separatism of the various petty states. 
The originators of the association were eleven students 
of Jena, all of whom had learned the more serious side 
of life on bloody battle-fields, and had come home with 
a loathing for the shallow, vicious ideals of the ordinary 
student societies. Sobriety and chastity were conditions 
of entrance, and the silly twaddle of the Commers was con- 
demned ; while each member was admonished to attend his 



STRUGGLE FOR CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT 329 

lectures regularly and to show industry in his work. The 
watchword of the Burschensehaft was "honor, liberty, 
fatherland"; and the academic, was to be a model of the 
larger national life, every moral and physical faculty being 
trained for the country's benefit. Fichte and Schleier- 
macher, Jahn and Arndt, were chosen as examples and 
leaders ; and a song of the last-named, " Sind wir vereint zur 
guten Stunde" became the hymn, as it were, of the fraternity. 
Jahn, who had been given a degree from Jena, and who 
had established there one of his gymnastic training grounds, 
had been indirectly concerned in founding the Burschen- 
schqft. The glowing patriotism of this exalted and rather 
ill-balanced man who seriously suggested allowing a strip 
of wilderness to grow up between France and Germany 
and peopling it with wild beasts found a ready echo in 
these fiery young hearts. 

From the beginning, it was designed to make the organ- The Wart- 
ization of the Burschenschaft as widespread as possible; ^ ur g 
and within two years it had found footing in sixteen festlval - 
different universities. A common flag had been adopted, 
made up of the red, black, and gold, which were errone- 
ously supposed to have been the colors of the old Holy 
Roman Empire. In 1817, it was determined to cement 
the union of all the chapters by holding a congress, or 
festival, which should, at the same time, be a memorial of 
great national events. The day chosen was the anniversary 
of the battle of Leipzig, and the Landsturm of Eisenach 
were to join in the celebration ; while the place was to be 
the Wartburg, so memorable in the history of the Refor- 
mation, of which this was the three hundredth anniversary. 
There was a peculiar fitness, moreover, in this young band 
of patriots holding their assembly within the territory of 
the Grand Duke of Weimar ; for, as was repeatedly em- 
phasized during the proceedings, Charles Augustus was 



330 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



The demon- 
strations on 
the Wart- 
burg. 



Excitement 
at the 
different 
courts. 



the only prince who up to that date end of 1817 had 
kept his promise and given his people a constitution. 

^The Wartburg festival has become famous in history, 
not because of anything really remarkable in the rather 
harmless and boyish proceedings, but because of the effect 
that the report of those proceedings had upon Metternich 
and the sovereigns of Europe) In some of the speeches 
at the Wartburg it was, indeed, declared that the hopes of 
the war of liberation had not been realized ; but, on the 
whole, the official program of the 18th and 19th of October 
was carried through with dignity and moderation. Ad- 
dresses were made by professors of Jena ; and, before part- 
ing, some two hundred delegates consecrated the closer 
union of their organizations, by partaking together of the 
Lord's Supper. But, on the evening of the 18th, some 
wilder spirits in memory of Luther's burning of the 
Pope's bull inaugurated an auto-da-fe on the little hill 
that faces the castle. Into the flames, with disquisitions 
on their demerits, were thrown a number of books; among 
them the writing in which Schmalz belittled the work of 
the patriots of 1813, a history of Germany by one Kotzebue, 
who was hated as a Russian spy, a Code Napoleon, and 
several writings against the new gymnastics. As emblems 
of the old military tyranny, there were also burned a cor- 
poral's staff, a pigtail, and one of the wonderful inventions 
by which officers prepared their figures for their fault- 
lessly fitting uniforms. 

On receipt of greatly exaggerated accounts of what had 
taken place at the Wartburg, Prussia and Austria sent 
special envoys to the Grand Duke of Weimar ; who, after 
investigation on the part of his ministry, failed to find 
that the students had committed any grave fault. But 
the Prussian minister of police denounced this " band of 
demoralized professors and corrupted students," and de- 



STRUGGLE FOR CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT 331 

clared that such "vandalism of demagogic intolerance" 
had dishonored the classic Wartburg. It was widely be- . 
lieved that, among the books burned, had been the act of 
confederation of the German states. Metternich saw in 
the festival the beginning of a widespread conspiracy, 
which, he declared, was not confined to students ; and it 
was reported that the members of the Burschensehaft had 
sworn to die, if need be, for their organization. 

At a meeting of sovereigns, which took place at Aix- Repressive 
la-Chapelle, Metternich found an opportunity to work measures of 
directly on the feelings of Frederick William III., who, 
indeed, was already half beside himself with fear. He 
had investigated the case of every Prussian who had been 
present at the festival, and had set a watch on the Bursch- 
enschaften as well as on all the Turnvereine, or gymnastic 
associations in Prussia; and had threatened to suppress 
any university where the spirit of disobedience should be 
found. Metternich persuaded him, that the granting of 
a constitution would only increase the impending dangers. 
Had not this very festival taken place in the dominions of 
a too liberal-minded prince? When, therefore, in these 
days, a delegation from the Rhine provinces came to ask 
for the carrying out of those former promises, the Prussian 
king turned them ungraciously away. He lent a willing 
ear to Metternich's attacks on the freedom of the press 
and on the want of supervision over the teachings of pro- 
fessors in the universities. The Austrian recommended 
the strictest kind of investigation into everything pertain- 
ing to student life. 

Meanwhile, through this policy of repression, and through 
the failure of the sovereigns of Germany to keep their 
promise of granting constitutions, the Burschenschaften 
really were becoming dangerous ; not because of any 
widely organized conspiracy, but because, in all such asso- 



332 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

ciations, there are sure to be extremists ready to draw the 
full consequences from inflammatory talk. Here and 
there, it had actually been debated whether it was wrong 
to kill a prince for the good of his people ; whether, indeed, 
a political murder would not be the best way of stirring 
men up to great deeds. A party had been formed at Jena 
called the Unbedingten, or unconditional, which had in 
mind a radical reform of the whole German system. The 
sovereigns were to be reduced to the condition of elected 
officials responsible to the people. The head of the 
" unconditional," Augustus Follen, was credited with the 
design of calling a mass meeting on the battle-field of 
Leipzig, for the purpose of proclaiming a German republic. 
The murder A special object of hatred was the publicist Kotzebue, 
of Kotzebue wno furnished the Czar with political reports of what went 
on in Germany, and who was looked upon by the students 
as the " paid spy of despotism." Jena was, finally, made too 
unpleasant for him as a place of residence, and he removed 
to Mannheim. 

But in the heart of one exalted and not altogether 
responsible student, Karl Sand by name, the conviction 
had grown up, that the only way of saving the fatherland 
was to rid it forever of such a traitor as Kotzebue. Sand 
was a gentle youth, who, according to his own confession, 
had long thirsted to show his devotion to his country by 
one decisive deed. There was something fantastic in his 
nature: he loved to go round in old Germanic costume, to 
drink out of oak-crowned goblets ; while the place where he 
met with his student friends he had named the " Riitli." As 
far as Kotzebue was concerned, Sand did him far too much 
honor in regarding him as a dangerous enemy. But all 
the rulers of Europe were now thrown into inconceivable 
excitement by the news of a crime, that seemed to them 
but one demonstration of the whole Bursclienschaft spirit: 



STRUGGLE FOR CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT 333 

how Sand had journeyed to Mannheim, and been admitted 
to Kotzebue's house; how, as the old man walked unsus- 
pectingly to meet him, the student had thrown himself upon 
him and stabbed him to the heart. Sand had then tried 
to kill himself, but, his wound not proving fatal, he was 
brought to trial, judged guilty of murder, and executed. 
The trial took the form of an inquiry into a supposed 
conspiracy, the belief in which was strengthened by the 
enthusiasm shown for Sand. Many of his fellow-students 
looked upon him as a second Mutius Scsevola, or William 
Tell. They had at one time contemplated marching upon 
Mannheim for the purpose of setting him free. As his 
head fell upon the scaffold many stepped up and dipped 
their handkerchiefs in his blood, as in the blood of a 
martyr. Even older men of good standing approved of 
the motive, if not of the means, and wrote letters of con- 
dolence to Sand's mother ; while, blasphemous as it may 
sound, in the mouth of the people the spot where his head 
had fallen came to be known as Ascension Meadow ! 

The rulers of the Holy Alliance looked, not unnaturally, Terror of 
upon the murder of Kotzebue as a manifestation of the the rulers - 
same spirit that had inaugurated the Wartburg festival. 
This Eurschenschaft seemed to them a revival of the old 
Vehmgerieht, the members of which had been told off by lot 
to commit bloody deeds. Its ultimate object was thought to 
be the overthrow of all monarchical institutions : this mur- 
der was but one of a series, and others might presently be 
expected. And, sure enough, within a few weeks, an apoth- 
ecary at Schwalbach, Lohnung, attempted to stab and shoot 
the president of the government of Nassau ; and, on being 
carried to prison, ended his life by eating broken glass. 
An Austrian minister received a letter of warning. These 
were unhappy days for the Czar, whose own father had 
been murdered ; for the autocrat in Vienna, but, most of 



334 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



Petty 
oppression 
in Prussia. 



The perse- 
cution of 
Ernst 
Moritz 
Arndt. 



all, for the timid Frederick William. The latter recalled 
all Prussian students from Jena, and deprived them of 
the chance of holding state offices. Extraordinary powers 
were given to the police, and students' letters were inter- 
cepted and opened. Great excitement was aroused be- 
cause one such missive was found to contain a quotation 
from Goethe's Egmont, " Whenever I see beautiful, proud 
necks, I think how fine it would be to run them through 
with my sword." Other expressions led to the conclusion 
that an attempt was intended on Frederick William's life ; 
while, at the same time, an agent of the government re- 
ported from the University of Giessen, that a plot had been 
detected to murder all the princes and to unite Germany. 
All this explains, if it does not justify, the severity of the 
reaction that now set in. In July, 1819, the gymnastic 
establishments in Prussia were closed. Father Jahn was 
seized and dragged off to Spandau, and then to Kiistrin. 
A watch was set on the university professors ; while many 
innocent persons were persecuted and their houses searched, 
their papers read. Even Gneisenau was surrounded by 
spies, and Schleiermacher placed oil parole. Stein, who 
had founded a society for German history, and was about 
to start the great collection known as the Monumenta 
Rerum Germanicarum, was suspected of a design to prove 
that, in the Middle Ages, princes had no real supreme power 
over their subjects. Perhaps the worst sufferer of all was 
Ernst Moritz Arndt, the man who had been untiring in 
helping to rid his country from French tyranny, and who 
had been rewarded by a professorship at Bonn. Early in 
1819, he had been informed that " his Majesty could not 
have any teachers in the Prussian universities who laid 
down principles such as those contained in the fourth part 
of the Spirit of the Age [which had just appeared]," and 
that, on the next occasion of the kind, he would be removed 



STRUGGLE FOR CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT 335 

from his post. After the murder of Kotzebue and the 
attempt of Lohnung, Arndt's house was searched and his 
private papers were carted off in great sacks. In spite of 
his protest to Hardenberg that he " hated all secret intrigues 
like snakes of hell," he was treated as a suspect, and re- 
peatedly examined by commissioners, who happened to be 
low, ignorant fellows. The charges against him were: 
secret conspiracy, corrupting of youth, and planning to 
form a republic. The investigation dragged on for years, 
and the inquiries extended to the pettiest conceivable 
matters. Chief Commissioner Pape once pointed out a 
passage in a letter, written twelve years before, in which 
Arndt had said that his head was full of so many things 
he could write no more : Just what things, asked Pape, 
was Arndt's head full of at that time ? and witnesses were 
summoned to elucidate the point. For twenty years, so 
long as Frederick William III. lived, Arndt was refused 
permission to lecture ; although, on the accession of Fred- 
erick William IV., in 1840, he was made rector of the Uni- 
versity of Bonn. He reopened his courses, at the age of 
seventy, amid demonstrations of the wildest enthusiasm. 

This narrow-mindedness at the Prussian court was to The Carls- 
no one more welcome than to Metternich. He kept his bad decrees, 
agents at Berlin, constantly egged Frederick William on, 
and finally, in the so-called " Teplitz Punctation," came to a 
secret agreement as to the policy to be pursued throughout 
Germany. Moreover he exacted a pledge that it should 
be carried out. Frederick William was to do nothing in 
the way of granting a constitution until the " inner and 
financial affairs of his state should have been brought 
into perfect order," which was equivalent to relegating 
the whole matter to the Greek Calends. Minister of 
Police Kamptz, after publishing a definition of high 
treason, which made a crime of every expression of a desire 



336 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

for a constitution, joined with Austria in calling a minis- 
terial congress at Carlsbad to take further steps against 
the spirit of revolution. The decrees there passed were 
then made law by action of the Frankfort Diet ; and Met- 
ternich's followers could boast that they had gained a 
battle greater than that of Leipzig. If the Burschen- 
schaft which was now declared dissolved could be 
compared to the Vehmgericht, the new Central Investi- 
gation Commission, that was established at Mainz, was a 
second Spanish inquisition. It was to be ever on the 
scent for " revolutionary practices and demagogic associa- 
tions," and, though without power to impose sentence, 
could and did, as in the case of Arndt, make a man's life 
miserable for years. Hundreds of innocent persons were 
arrested, on no stronger ground than an incautious remark 
or a passage in a private letter. As red, black, and gold 
were the colors of the JBurschensckqft, they might no- 
where be displayed, not even in the popular combination 
of yellow straw hats, black coats, and red waistcoats. 
Every writing under 320 pages in length was subject to 
censorship ; while government officials were to watch the 
. professors in the universities, and see that they taught no 
evil. No wonder a man like Stein was unsparing in his 
blame of Metternich and Hardenberg. To the former he 
applied the adjectives "empty, ignorant, blatant, and con- 
ceited " ; to the latter, " frivolous, licentious, arrogant, 
false, afraid-of-losing-his-place." In Prussia, there was a 
ministerial crisis ; and Humboldt, Boyen, and Beyme re- 
ceived their dismissal. 

The Vienna Yet Metternich went his way, called a conference to 

Final Act. Vienna, and, in the so-called Vienna Final Act, crystallized 

all his reactionary measures. According to Article 57, 

" the entire power in state affairs must rest unimpaired 

with the head of the state." In certain matters no consti- 



STRUGGLE FOR CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT 337 

tution might bind him, in no parliament were the " lawful 
limits of free utterance to be exceeded." The federal Diet 
was to watch for dangerous expressions of opinion on 
the part of the state assemblies. On May 15, 1820, the 
" Final Act " was adopted by the Diet ; " worth more than 
the battle of Waterloo " was the verdict of Metternich's 
henchman, the Prussian Gentz. 

The Mainz commission continued its activity for seven The Central 
years. According to one of its own reports it endeavored Commis- 
to establish the degree of certainty, or of greater or less ^ | ? 
probability, not according to the rules prescribed by any 
special legislation, "but according to the principles of 
historic belief and its own subjective conviction ! " Among 
those who are mentioned as having " caused, encouraged, 
and furthered revolutionary strivings, though possibly 
without intent," are mentioned Arndt, Stein, Gneisenau, 
Bliicher, York, Schleierniacher, and Fichte ! 

The dissolution of the Burschenschaft took place, but The disso- 
with results directly opposite to those intended. Far and lutionof the 
wide was sung the famous song of Augustus Binzer, " Wir schaft 
hatten gebauet ein stattliches Haus," in which he tells of 
the happy, free, idyllic student life which has been drushed, 
like young green shoots of grass, by wicked men : - 

" Das Band ist zerschnitten, war schwarz, roth und gold, 
Und Grott hat es gelitten! wer weiss, ivas er gewollt? 
Das Haus mag zerf alien, was hat's dennfur Not? 
Der Greist lebt in uns alien, und unsere Burg ist Grott." 

On the ruins of the Burschenschaft, arose associations 
which really were political and revolutionary, and which 
were modelled on the Italian Carbonari and similar organi- 
zations in Spain, France, Russia, and Greece. The watch- 
word of one of them was the seemingly innocent question : 
"Have you been on the Johannisberg to-day?" with the 

VOL. II Z 



338 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

answer, " Yes, I was there in May," or " I shall go there in 
May." The doings of another of these secret leagues were 
exposed in 1824, and some of the members were condemned 
to death, others to imprisonment ; while Metternich, tak- 
ing advantage of the general alarm, caused the Carlsbad 
decrees to be renewed, and a stricter watch to be kept on 
the different parliaments. 

The Ham- The revolution of 1830 in France gave new stimulus to 
bach ne discontented elements in Germany, and, in several states 

where crying evils existed, these were summarily swept 
away. Duke Charles of Brunswick, a bad character who 
nearly ruined his state by arbitrary taxes and inflation of 
the currency, was driven out. The same thing happened 
in Hesse, where the elector, William II., had been in the 
habit of using his cane, and even his knife, too freely, and 
was accused of combining with the bakers to raise the 
price of bread. In Saxony and in Hanover, concessions 
were demanded and obtained ; while in Bavaria there took 
place a demonstration more serious than the much-decried 
Wartburg festival. In an immense gathering in the 
Palatine Castle of Hambach, inflammatory addresses were 
made, vengeance vowed against tyrants, and the sentiment 
uttered that " the best prince by the grace of God is a born 
traitor to the human race ! " Metternich brought forward 
a motion in the Diet, which was passed in an amended 
form, to the effect Miat all concessions won from a sov- 
ereign by violent means should be null and void ; while 
another decree declared that, if a parliament should refuse 
taxes to the head of a state, it might be intimidated by 
troops of the Confederation. 

But these repressive measures led to an exasperation on 
the part of the radical elements such as had not yet been 
known. The Hurschenschaft awoke to new life, and two of 
the boldest projects were formed : one to march on Stutt- 



STRUGGLE FOR CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT 339 

gart and take prisoner the king of Wiirtemberg, who had The at- 
revoked his constitution ; the other to raise in Frankfort tem P l <*> 

a revolt which, it was believed, would spread all over 

* revolution 

South Germany ; and to capture the federal Diet. Both j n Frank- 
attempts proved ridiculous failures ; in vain the great bell fort, 
of the city of Frankfort tolled the signal for uprising ; in 
vain four hundred students marched in behind their black, 
red, and golden banners. They had miscalculated their 
own influence, and the citizens would not be roused. The 
whole extent of the damage was nine killed, twenty-four 
wounded, and thirty students taken prisoner. But, even 
had it been much greater, the authorities could scarcely 
have resorted to severer retaliatory measures. A com- 
mission like that of Mainz was once more established, and 
eighteen hundred cases were tried. A stricter censorship 
was introduced, and the system of passports carried to 
such an extent that no one could enter a hired carriage 
without producing such a paper. In Bavaria, those con- 
victed of treasonable intents were forced to kneel before 
the picture of the king, which was now set up in every 
court room, and to sue for mercy. In Prussia, thirty- 
nine students were condemned to death, their sentences 
being afterward commuted to long imprisonment. 

On the whole, the revolutionary propaganda was con- General 
fined to the students, and the dread and terror to the commercial 
supreme rulers. The main body o/ the people were not 
discontented with their lot ; and many agreed with Hegel 
that "whatever is is sensible and whatever is sensible is." 
Frederick William III., with all his faults, was much 
beloved. He had shared the darkest imaginable days with 
his subjects and was now sharing their peace and pros- 
perity. It was recognized that his refusal to grant liberal 
institutions was not for the purpose of cloaking bad 
government, but rather from deep conviction. His 



340 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

general policy with regard to trade and commerce was 
wise, and the country was growing rich. Taxation was 
moderate, justice was fairly administered, educational 
reforms were introduced, and large sums were spent on 
public works. The first railway was opened in Germany 
in 1835, between Fiirth and Nuremberg, and Prussia se- 
cured her full benefit from the change. 

The found- A peculiarly beneficent institution, and an important 
ing of the s tep in developing Prussia's political as well as her mer- 
Zollverein. can ^j] e ascendency, was the Zollverein, or Customs Union, 
established in 1833. It showed what immense benefits 
in every field could be expected from cooperation. When 
Prussia reorganized her territory, in 1815, she had found 
no less than sixty-seven different tariff schedules in oper- 
ation in her various provinces ; while, for one travers- 
ing Germany at large, there were thirty-six different 
boundaries, each with its own custom-house. Nor at 
any single one of these frontiers, was the coin of the 
neighboring state accepted, or were the postal arrange- 
ments the same. Prussia's first step, in 1818 A.D., was 
to establish a single tariff for all her own lands ; her next 
to declare her willingness to accept neighboring princi- 
palities as partners in her new system. Her policy was 
not to urge and not to use force. But the advantages 
were so apparent, the profits so enormously increased, that, 
by 1842, all the states of Germany, save Mecklenburg, 
Hanover, and Austria, had been absorbed. Austria, in- 
deed, was not desired, for the reason that no reliance could 
be placed on all her heterogeneous dependencies. One 
great result of the Zollverein was, that the smaller states 
were now bound, by strong ties of interest to Prussia. 

The question of a constitution was allowed to slumber 
during the last years of the reign of Frederick William III. ; 
but it was revived at the moment of his death, and Frederick 



STRUGGLE FOR CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT 341 

William IV., when he went to receive homage at Konigs- The open- 
berg, was met by a petition that those earlier promises in s of the 
might be fulfilled. The matter was assuming larger and ^ lg " , 
larger proportions; for the sentiment was gaining ground williamlV. 
that Prussia was the natural leader of Germany, and that, 
in order to fulfil her mission, she must have liberal institu- 
tions. All depended on the character of the new Prussian 
king : did he have the strength and the tact to hold the 
loyalty of a united German people ? 

The reign opened well. In a series of brilliant speeches 
the king let it be known that he meant to make great 
changes, and he began by pardoning political prisoners. 
Arndt was reinstated in all his university dignities. Jahn 
was released from surveillance, and treated with respect 
and consideration. The brothers Grimm, belonging to 
the famous "Gottingen seven," who had given up their 
professorships and gone into exile rather than submit to 
an arbitrary abrogation of the Hanoverian constitution, 
were welcomed in Berlin and given chairs in the univer- 
sity. But, popular as these single measures were, a counter 
current soon set in. Men began to perceive that the prom- 
ises so abundantly offered by the new king were nothing 
but glittering generalities. After listening to eloquent 
speeches that seemed to portend a constitution, they found 
that nothing of the kind was meant. 

The people were very much in earnest if the king was 
not. Their leading-strings had grown unbearable, and, as 
year after year went by without their obtaining those 
liberties which now seem a necessary adjunct of civiliza- 
tion, political representation, freedom of the press, trial 
by jury, it was evident that a struggle must come which, 
as likely as not, would be a bloody one. It is surprising, 
indeed, to see how loyal the Prussians remained to the 
House of Hohenzollern, even while they criticised its 
momentary representative. 



342 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

Dissatisfac- Brilliant as were some of his attainments, there is no 
tion with doubt but that from the first Frederick William IV. was 

F 1*6 d 6 rick 

Willi miv kicking in mental balance. He would shift at random 
from one policy to the other, would one day pass a liberal 
measure and the next go to the opposite extreme. He 
would publicly profess to despise criticism and then try 
to stop it by unjust means ; even going so far as to sup- 
press all the publications of a printing-house that had 
displeased him. To a certain poet, Herwegh, who had 
written against him, the king said affably, " I love a can- 
did opposition"; but later proscribed and banished him, 
his ire having been aroused by a caricature in which his 
love of a candid opposition was contrasted with the heap 
of books and newspapers confiscated by his orders. Once 
thoroughly gauged, his very wit and eloquence told 
against him, and his every action was submitted to a fire 
of criticism. It was taken ill that he set up his abode in 
Sans Souci, the little castle at Potsdam so full of memo- 
ries of Frederick the Great ; and he was thought to wish 

to copy him in other ways. A famous caricature of the 
time represents him as following in Frederick's footsteps 
in the snow, but always a little to one side. The great 
Heinrich Heine wrote of him, with caustic severity : 

" Ein Konig soil nicht witzig sein, 
Ein Konig soil nicht hitzig sein, 
Er soil nicht Alten-Fritzig sein." 

The tendency to be " hitzig" or vehement, is shown in 
almost every letter that Frederick William wrote; there 
being no end to the passionate interjections, the under- 
scoring of words, the multiplication of exclamation points. 
Even a Frederick William IV., overflowing as he was 
with belief in the divine right of kings, could not close his 



STRUGGLE FOR CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT 343 

eyes to the discontent and want of confidence shown by his The sum- 
people. In 1842 he tried to stop the clamor for a general monin s o: 
Prussian parliament by calling together a committee from Diet 
the local assemblies. Such a committee, consisting of 
ninety-eight delegates, actually came together in Berlin; 
only to find that on all? matters of real interest to them the 
king had already " made up his mind." Five years later, 
he took a great step in advance by summoning a Verein- 
igter Landtag, or united Diet, including all the members 
of all the local assemblies. The issue of the royal patent 
of February 3, 1847, caused great surprise and joy, until it 
was found that the king's main object was to secure a loan 
for a much-needed railroad between Berlin and Konigsberg. 
For his own part Frederick William meant to grant as 
little as possible. The Diet was there, he declared, to repre- 
sent interests, not to offer opinions. When the delegates 
spoke of vested rights of the people he told them that the 
assembly had no rights other than those granted by the 
patent of February 3. When the question of a constitution 
came up he made one of his usual speeches and gave vent 
to the famous peroration : " No written sheet of paper 
shall ever thrust itself like a second providence between 
the Lord God in heaven and this land." Members of the 
opposition were treated to petty slights, such as not being 
invited to court festivities. 

The whole progress of the Diet was very unsatisfactory. Results 
The delegates strove in vain to have their own position fr m the 
defined, and the temper of the house was such that the 
government's demand for a loan was rejected. In itself 
the demand was timely, just, and reasonable ; but even the 
delegates from East Prussia, which province would Have 
gained most by the proposed railroad, voted against it. 
The "united Diet" was dismissed with apparently no 
results; but in reality the gains were important. In the 



344 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

first place, the differences between the crown and the people 
had come to a head. This king had been given a last 
opportunity, which he had failed to improve. No one 
doubted now that revolution alone would bring him to 
terms. Then, too, a hitherto unheard-of publicity had 
been given to all the proceedings; and the London Times 
had had a regular correspondent in the assembly, so that 
the eyes of all Europe were on this state struggling for 
liberal institutions. Finally, this gathering had brought 
into prominence a number of men who were to be the leaders 
in the great national crises that were impending among 
them Otto von Bismarck, as yet in the ban of narrow social 
^prejudices, and therefore a violent conservative. 

The out- It was an unfortunate time for Frederick William to 

break of f a u ou ^ w ith his people; for Europe was on the eve of the 



most stirring events that had occurred since the fall of 
Napoleon. France was throwing over, not merely her old 
dynasty, but the very principle of monarchy as well ; and 
her example reacted on every state of Germany as rapidly 
as a spark ignites tinder. The unwieldy Diet at Frank- 
fort flew into a panic, and thought, when already too late, 
to regain its influence by revoking all the objectionable 
measures it had ever passed in the whole course of its 
existence. It declared for freedom of the press, voted to 
modernize its own organization, and asked for delegates 
from all the states to help it in its good Avork. The body 
that had once accepted the Carlsbad decrees now adopted 
the revolutionary colors of red, black and gold, and the 
revolutionary emblem of a gold eagle on a black ground. 
The new flag was soon floating over the hall of assembly in 
Frankfort. But reform in the government of Germany 
as a whole, was as much desired by the excited people as a 
reform in the government of each individual state. One of 
the common demands of all the revolutionary parties was 



STRUGGLE FOR CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT 345 

for a really German parliament as opposed to the slack, 
inemcient^Diet. 

In almost all of the smaller German states the revolution 
was accomplished without bloodshed. The movement was 
so irresistible that the petitions for a constitution, for free- 
dom of the press, for trial by jury, for the right of the 
people to bear arms, were almost immediately granted; 
while a body of fifty-one men, informally constituted, met 
at Heidelberg and nominated several hundred delegates 
to form a preliminary or ante-parliament, which should see 
to the calling of a really national assembly. The govern- 
ments were preparing to call a separate assembly of their 
own for the purpose of revising the articles of confedera- 
tion, when the radical course of the revolutions in the 
larger states put a stop to their endeavors. 

In Bavaria, the disorders were complicated by the in- Lola 
fatuation of King Louis I. for the famous dancer Lola Montez in 
Montez, a woman who, to gain notoriety, had once taken 
off her shoe on the stage of the Paris opera house and 
thrown it at the men who would not applaud her. After 
dancing in the capitals of the Old and the New World, she 
had settled down in Munich, and induced the king to make 
her Countess of Lansfeld and give her a share in public 
affairs. She gained such ascendency in time, that minis- 
tries were dismissed to please her, and the university, the 
better-minded students of which had attacked her infa- 
mous bodyguard, the "Alemannia," was declared closed. 
It was said that all Munich was divided into two parties- 
the ultramontanes, or clerical-conservatives, and the Lola 
montanes, or adherents of Lola. The immediate effect of 
the French Revolution was to give the ascendency to the 
reform party; and the university was declared reopened, 
the " Alemannia " dispersed, and Lola told to quit Munich 
at a day's notice. A story is recorded that shows, in an 



346 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



The revo- 
lution in 
Austria. 



almost ridiculous way, how little of the true revolutionary 
spirit was present in the hearts of these Bavariaijs. After 
Lola's hasty departure, the crowd was engaged in sacking 
her villa when the king appeared, and in a loud voice said, 
" Spare my property ! " Then all were silent, bared their 
heads, and joined in the song : " Hail to our king, all hail ! " 
When, shortly after, Louis foolishly called out the military 
to protect him, the crowd surged before his palace and 
forced him into calling an assembly of the estates, and 
making great concessions, the chief of which was minis- 
terial responsibility to the people. The desire to be near 
Lola and the fear of an inquiry into his disposal of state 
funds, then forced him to the great step of abdicating the 
throne; and with sentimental, hypocritical assurances he 
took leave of his subjects. 

By the rushing tide of revolution that spread so rapidly 
all the way from Paris to Warsaw, Austria and her de- 
pendencies were struck with peculiar violence. On the 
3d of March, the Hungarian patriot, Kossuth, delivered a 
fiery speech in the Pressburg Diet, declaring that only a 
free constitution could ever bind together the scattered 
provinces of the monarchy. The present state of things, 
he cried, was unendurable; from the charnel house of the 
Vienna system was rising a pestilential vapor that para- 
lyzed the nerves and banned the intellect; the future of 
the dynasty was being compromised, the foundations of 
the edifice were crumbling, and its fall imminent. In 
Vienna, police and censorship were openly defied, and 
Kossuth's speech was widely read. As the news came in 
of concession after concession granted by the smaller 
states, and of the complete change of front of the Frank- 
fort Diet, the excitement grew to fever heat. Petitions 
poured in upon the Emperor Ferdinand, who, however, left 
all responsibility in the hands of the state conference, of 



STRUGGLE FOR CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT 347 

which Metternich was the leading spirit. The estates of 
Lower Austria, called to meet in Vienna on March 13, 
drew up in the form of an address the moderate demands 
they intended to make; while the students of the univer- 
sity, who were destined to play a large part in this whole 
movement, followed suit, sending a deputation to the 
emperor himself. 

The 13th of March, 1848, forms a sharply defined The fall of 
date in the annals of Austria, for it marks the fall of a Metternich. 
system that had lasted a generation. On that day, the 
assembly of the Lower Austrian estates was declared 
opened; and an immense crowd of citizens and students 
thronged round the hall of meeting. A student read 
aloud Kossuth's speech. Wild with excitement, the multi- 
tude demanded admission to the hall, and six students 
and six citizens were allowed to enter. But soon came 
the rumor that these twelve had been arrested, and that 
the troops were approaching. The crowd burst into the' 
assembly room, and compelled the members of the Diet to 
send a deputation to the emperor. In front of the chan- 
cery cries of " Down with Metternich! " were heard. As 
the report that the soldiers were advancing became a 
verity, the mob within the hall of assembly took to throw- 
ing down broken bits of furniture on the heads of their 
assailants, and even wounded one of the archdukes. 
Then two sharp volleys rang out, and many were killed 
and wounded; which gave the signal for a general arming. 
Everything depended on the attitude of the state confer- 
ence, which had been in session in the castle for hours. 
Metternich tried to persuade the spokesmen of the people 
that the whole was merely a street riot, but was told 
proudly, " This is not riot, but revolution ! " Asa sop to 
the excited crowd, it was voted to revoke the censorship 
of the press, and Metternich withdrew to draw up the act. 



348 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

But, from the adjoining room, he heard how one of the 
deputies demanded his resignation, and how no one spoke 
in his defence. With a certain dignity the apostle of re- 
pression bade farewell to his office, and to the scene of his 
labors. He declared that, from his own standpoint, he had 
always labored for the weal of the monarchy. If it was 
the general opinion that that monarchy would be endan- 
gered by his remaining, it was no sacrifice for him to go. 
" Your Highness, we have nothing against your person, but 
everything against your system," said a civic deputy, 
" and we must repeat, your abdication alone can save the 
throne and the monarchy." Metternich's house on the 
Rennweg was stormed, and he went off in exile to Lon- 
don; whither he had been preceded by Louis Philippe, 
and where he was to be followed in a few days by the 
brother and heir of the king of Prussia. 

A constitu- The state conference then granted all that the citizens 
tiongranted Demanded. A national guard and a student legion were 

established; and the Emperor Ferdinand, who so hated the 
Austnans. . L . 

very word constitution, that he is said to have forbidden 

his physician to employ it, was forced not only to grant 
one for his whole monarchy, but to stand at the window 
of his palace, waving a banner of black, red, and gold. 
Frederick Even more memorable than these happenings in Vienna 
William IV. were the events that were taking place almost simulta- 
neously in Berlin. Never before nor since has a Hohenzol- 
cessions. J 

lern played such a miserable role and been obliged to 
submit to such insults from his own people as Frederick 
William IV. in these tumultuous days. Cringing in his 
attitude and liberal with his promises when the mob 
seemed in the ascendant, he adopted the haughtiest tone 
when sure of his own safety. 

Although perceiving, as did every other sovereign of 
Germany, the absolute need of making concessions, Fred- 



STRUGGLE FOR CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT 349 

erick William lingered and affixed conditions. His grant 
of freedom of the press was so in the spirit of Metternich, 
that the latter had been in the act of transcribing it ver- 
bally, for the benefit of the clamoring Austrians, at the 
moment of his downfall. The Vienna revolution brought 
matters to a climax. Tumultuous assemblages of the peo- 
ple were held daily in that corner of the Thiergarten 
known as the "Zelten"; and, at last, the king promised 
everything that had been demanded, including a written 
constitution. The so-called " Patent of March 18th " 
called together the united Diet for April 2; and this and 
the other concessions were announced in the newspapers 
and by placards on the wall. The people thronged the 
streets and crowded into the square of the castle, raising 
cheers for the king, who appeared twice on his balcony and 
acknowledged them with thanks. 

Just how much sincerity there was on both sides is hard The shots 
to establish. The crowd took it ill that the castle was in the 
strongly garrisoned by troops from other places than Ber- 
lin, there were cries of " Back with the military!" As for barricade 
Frederick William, he tried in vain to get rid of his count- fights, 
less guests : it was announced that the king wished to 
work and desired quiet. One of the ministers and the 
governor of the castle appeared at the gate, and bade the 
people disperse. At last Frederick William gave the com- 
mand of his troops to the determined General Von Pritt- 
witz, and bade him put an end to this " scandal " in the 
courtyard. Assisted by Major Von Falkenstein, he had 
almost cleared the square, when the sound of two shots, 
accidentally discharged as is now believed, threw the 
people into a fever of excitement. With cries of "Treason !' 
" Vengeance ! " " Barricades ! ", the varied elements of the 
Berlin population took to arms. The pavings were torn 
up and the streets rendered impassable; and, from the roofs 



350 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

and windows, missiles, and even vitriol, were thrown down 
on the heads of the soldiers; while wires were drawn so as 
to trip them up, and glass strewn to wound them as they 
fell. For a day and a half, the reign of violence lasted. 
It was in vain that the king caused a white banner to be 
raised with the word " misunderstanding " in great letters ; 
in vain that he issued a proclamation " to his dear Ber- 
liners," representing the revolution as the work of foreign 
agents. A wag placed the inscription " to his dear Ber- 
liners " under a piece of a bomb, fired by his own soldiers, 
that had struck into one of the public fountains. Nothing 
would satisfy the people but the withdrawal of the troops; 
and this at last the king ordered intending them to re- 
turn to the palace, but so wording his command that, at a 
moment when the tide was turning in their favor, they felt 
obliged to retire from the city. 

The corpses The king was completely in the power of the populace, 
in the No attempt was made on his own person, but a spectacle 

cas e yar . wag p re p are( j f or hi m j n t] ie courtyard of his own palace 
such as few civilized monarchs have been called upon to 
witness. Bedded in flowers and wreathed with laurel, but 
with their wounds laid bare to the utmost, the most muti- 
lated corpses of those who had fallen in the barricade war 
were borne under his very window. As the litters were 
laid down in the presence of an immense crowd, the names 
and circumstances of the victims were called off : " Fifteen 
years old, shot at my side, my only son ! " ; or again, " a 
widow, mother of seven orphans ! " The cry was raised, 
that the king must come and see his work; and as Fred- 
erick William delayed, the bearers started up the winding 
stairs with their ghastly burdens and threatened to enter 
his apartment. At last, half dead with fright, the king 
appeared on the balcony, at his side his invalid queen, a 
nonentity in history save for this one trying experience. 



STRUGGLE FOR CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT 351 

" Take off your hat ! " was shouted from below; and as the 
Hohenzollern bared his head the corpses were thrust up- 
ward toward him. Bidden to come down, he obeyed and 
bowed before the dead; while at last, content with their 
punishment, the crowd joined in the solemn strains of 
"Jesus, Lover of my Soul." 

No further violence was attempted, save an attack on the 
palace of Prince William of Prussia, who was falsely sup- 
posed to Rave given the signal to fire. In danger almost 
of his life, the object of general execration, the future idol- 
ized emperor of united Germany fled in disguise to England, 
and took up his abode with the Prussian ambassador, Bun- 
sen. The palace on Unter den Linden was only saved 
from destruction by the presence of mind of some one who 
wrote upon it: "property of the nation," and by a student 
who pointed out that the royal library would be in danger. 

The last and most extraordinary act in this tragedy of The ride 
humiliated royalty began with the posting of placards " To through 
the German Nation," which announced that, for the salva- 
tion of Germany, Frederick William had placed himself at 
the head of the whole fatherland, and, on that very day, 
March 21, would appear on horseback in the midst of his 
people, bearing the " old revered colors of the nation." It 
was the culminating triumph of the red, black, and gold. 
One of its banners waved from the castle top, another was 
borne before the king; who, as did also his princes and gen- 
erals, wore a band of the same colors on his. arm. As he 
rode through the city, Frederick William stopped at various 
points and made enthusiastic addresses in favor of the 
national movement. " I wish no crown, no sovereignty," 
he cried, alluding to the proposal to make him emperor of 
Germany; "I wish Germany's freedom, Germany's unity. 
I wish order, that I swear to God ! " and he solemnly raised 
his right hand. A proclamation that same evening asked 



352 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



The burial 
of the 
corpses. 



The ante- 
parliament 
in Frank- 
fort. 



for the confidence of the people, declaring that Prussia 
would henceforth be merged in Germany. Frederick Will- 
iam later described this ride through Berlin as " a comedy 
which he had been made to play,"- one is tempted rather 
to regard it as a symptom of that want of balance which 
ended with insanity and death. 

This first exciting period of the Prussian revolution 
closed on the 22d of March, with the burial of those who 
had fallen on the side of the people. The city was decked 
in mourning; while black flags waved from the city gates and 
from the roof of the castle. The two hundred or more 
bodies were borne in procession past the balcony on which 
stood the king with bared head. Bells were rung and 
anthems chanted ; and, inasmuch as the bodies of the fallen 
soldiers were not included, the whole ceremony resolved 
itself into a triumph of the revolutionary party. It re- 
mained to be seen how the Prussian national assembly, 
called to meet on May 22, would acquit itself of the difficult 
task of drawing up a suitable and acceptable constitution. 

Meanwhile, a few days after the stirring scenes in Ber- 
lin, the preliminary Parliament had met in Frankfort, in 
the old church of St. Paul's, to settle the question of a 
constitution for all Germany. They were prepared to go 
very far, these five hundred delegates or appointees of 
the self-chosen committee of fifty-one, and to decide 
whether Germany should be a republic or an empire. 
The ante-parliament was made up, for the most part, of 
men who had been before the public eye ; and counted 
many members of local assemblies. Among them, were 
martyrs to the cause of liberty, like the Bavarian Eisen- 
mann, who had spent fifteen years in undeserved impris- 
onment, and was now honored with a torchlight procession. 
As a body representative of all Germany, the Parliament 
was a failure ; seeing that Austria furnished but two 



STRUGGLE FOB CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT 353 

members, tiny Baden seventy-two, and Hesse-Darmstadt 
eighty-four. But more serious than this was the sharp 
antagonism that developed between the monarchical and 
the republican parties. Scarcely had the ante-parliament 
assembled in the venerable church of St. Paul's, in Frank- 
fort, when a certain Hecker came forward with a number 
of articles, the fifteenth of which demanded abolition of 
hereditary monarchy and the formation of a confedera- 
tion after the model of the United States of America. 
Foiled in his radical plans on this arena, Hecker became a 
regular demagogue. He raised a revolt in Baden which 
cost several hundred persons their lives or their liberty. 

The ante-parliament kept to its programme, declared for The 
a national assembly to be formed by direct popular election, nation al 

and appointed a committee to take the matter in hand. It f 

in Frank- 
did indeed make the important pronouncement that the f or t. 

decision regarding a constitution for Germany was to be 
the affair simply and solely of the national assembly. It 
would have been wiser, as the future showed, to pay some 
regard to the actual governing powers in the separate 
states. As yet there was no conflict. The governments 
showed no hostility to the national assembly, which met in 
Frankfort on May 18 ; while the Diet even sent it greeting. 
The members this time had been chosen from all Ger- 
many theoretically one from every fifty-five thousand of 
the population. They considered themselves empowered 
to make great and permanent changes. They were, for the 
most part, men of ability, among them venerable figures 
like Arndt and Jahn, who were the objects of enthusiastic 
ovations. In the first session Arndt was called to the plat- 
form, and a motion passed that, in the light of recent events, 
he should be invited to write a stanza to his famous old song, 
"What is the German's Fatherland?" On the whole, the 
tone of the assembly was moderate, and, in a time of great 

VOL. II 2 A 



354 A SHOKT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

ferment, much was hoped for from its action. Its choice as 
first president of Heinrich von Gagern, a famous minister 
of Hesse-Darmstadt, was generally approved. 

Initial Unfortunately, no draft of a constitution had been pre- 

errorsofthe p are d, an( j the assembly lost five valuable weeks before it 
Parliament cou ^ take ^ ne ma ^ter in hand at all, the only important 
vote being one in favor of a national fleet, for which six 
million thalers were appropriated. Then came the unfor- 
tunate choice of the Austrian Archduke John as provisional 
head of the nation. There were legends of his great devo- 
tion to the cause of a common German fatherland. He was 
quoted as having once proposed the toast : " No Prussia, 
no Austria one united Germany!" He was believed, 
because he had married the daughter of a Styrian postmaster, 
to be democratic in his views. As a matter of fact, in his 
insincerity, his intolerance, his one-sidedness, he was a 
true scion of the Hapsburgs ; and the mere fact that an 
Austrian had been chosen to the highest office, if only a 
temporary one, of the German nation, was a blow to the pride 
of Prussia, which might be pardoned but not forgotten. 

But the greatest error of the Frankfort assembly was to 
begin its debates on the constitution with a discussion of 
the fundamental rights of the German man, a list of which 
had been drawn up in a hundred paragraphs. Days passed 
into weeks and weeks into months, while the Parliament 
was still busy with underlying principles, and with disputed 
points of political economy ; and while enemies within and 
without were rising against it. The iron that might once 
have been readily tempered was rapidly growing cold. 
Moreover, various factors came in to distract attention from 
the matter in hand, a war with Denmark, an uprising in 
Frankfort itself, increased rivalry between Austria and 
Prussia, and bloody happenings in both of those states. 
It was now that the question of Schleswig-Holstein, which 



STRUGGLE FOR CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT 355 

was later to be so interwoven with the most fateful events The begin> 
of German history, first began to assume importance. ning of the 
These two provinces in the extreme northwest of Germany HolsteirT 
belonged, one to Denmark, the other to the German Con- difficulties, 
federation, and yet for centuries had been considered 
indivisible. Efforts on the part of successive kings to incor- 
porate them in Denmark, in spite of the fact that the vast 
majority of the inhabitants were German, led to a revolu- 
tion, in which Prussia, at the bidding of Archduke John, 
took the side of the insurgents. Her general, Wrangel, 
stormed the Danewerk, penetrated into Jutland, and could 
have brought the Danish king to terms but for a change in 
the policy of Frederick William IV., whose feelings had 
been worked upon by the Czar, as well as by England. The 
leading minister of the latter country, Lord Palmerston, 
had declared that, were he to meet the red-black-golden flag 
at sea, he would treat it as the flag of a pirate. Frederick 
William was fast receding from his recent liberal position. 
He was tired of this alliance with revolutionists ; and he 
finally consented to the seven months' truce of Malmo, in 
which the advantages were overwhelmingly on the side of 
Denmark. 

The Parliament of Frankfort felt outraged by this act, as Riot in 
well as by the fact that its envoy had not been admitted to Frankfort 
the conferences ; and only refrained from refusing to ratify 
the truce, from the consideration that, with Prussia as an 
enemy and Austria cool and indifferent, the Parliament 
would have no forces at its disposal at all, save the con- 
tingents of the minor states. The people of Frankfort 
were less philosophical. In the abandonment of the 
duchies they saw the holy cause of liberty betrayed. 
Representatives who had preached moderation, among 
them old Father Jahn, were chased, insulted, and even 
struck. One session of the Parliament was interrupted 



356 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



and barricades arose in the streets. Troops were called 
in, and the authorities remained masters of the situation ; 
though at the cost of many lives. Foul and dastardly 
was the murder, by citizens, of two men of eminence, the 
Silesian representative, Prince Lichnowsky, and his friend 
and companion, General von Auerswald. Lichnowsky had 
been tied to a tree, and made the target for all sorts of 
missiles. 

It was under the gloomy shadow of these events that 
the Frankfort assembly, at last, proceeded to the actual 
task of debating upon a constitution. The very first arti- 
cles, concerning the territory to be included in the new 
political creation, involved the assembly in a nest of diffi- 
culties : Should Austria be allowed to join the proposed 
empire with all her non- German dependencies ? Would 
Italians, Croatians, Hungarians, and Czechs be likely to 
obey, or even to understand, laws made for them in Frank- 
fort by a German assembly ? Must the Diet interfere in 
every small Slavonic quarrel ? Austria's alternative was- 
te abandon the idea of her own unity, and enter the new 
organization for a part only of her lands, on the adoption 
of this alternative Prussia insisted. 

The fall of Metternich was far from ending the dis- 
turbances in Austria. The government was able in June, 
1848, to put down the revolution in Prague, the imperial 
general, Prince Windischgratz, having bombarded the city. 
Against the Hungarians, Jellachich a Croatian noble- 
man was intrusted with the command ; while in Austrian 
Italy, Radetzky gained the victory of Custozza. Every- 
where the star of the Hapsburgs seemed in the ascend- 
ent ; and, in the capital itself, the inexcusable violence of 
the rabble gave occasion for successful interference. 
The constitution promulgated almost immediately after 
Metternich's fall had not been satisfactory. During the 



STRUGGLE FOE CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT 357 

month of May, riots and tumults occurred ; the emperor 
fled from the city, and, for a time, the students of the 
university had practical control of the government. 
Early in October, Hungarian sympathizers murdered 
General Bredy and hung the minister of war, Baron 
Latour, to a lamp-post, after inflicting upon him forty 
wounds. The Emperor Ferdinand, who had taken refuge 
in Olmiitz, endowed Prince Windischgratz with extraor- 
dinary powers, and sent him against Vienna, where the 
new constitutional Diet was in session. " I do not treat 
with rebels," Windischgratz declared, from the begin- 
ning, and he gruffly repulsed two members of the Frank- 
fort Parliament who came to mediate. Before the end of 
October, the city was taken by storm and treated as con- 
quered territory. Countless arrests were made and a 
number of persons were executed, among them Robert 
Blum, one of the envoys of the Frankfort Parliament, 
who had, indeed, done his best to further the opposition 
to the government. The Frankfort Assembly entered its 
protest against the act and demanded reparation, but with 
no result. It is believed, indeed, that the very fact of 
Blum's belonging to that body, had made Windischgratz 
the more bitter against him. The hey-day of the revolu- 
tion was already past. 

If the course of the Frankfort national assembly and Radical 
the Austrian constitutional assembly had not been smooth, measures 
still less so had been that of the Prussian national Parlia- p rusg e ian 
ment, which met in Berlin two months after the barricade parliament 
fights. The government treated the assembly with re- 
spect, and laid propositions before it as to the nature of 
the proposed constitution. The fact that the new head 
of the ministry, Cainphausen, and the new minister of 
finance, Hansemann, were liberals, seemed to augur well 
for the success of the deliberations. But, if ever a move- 



358 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

merit failed through the folly of its own promoters, it was, 
from first to last, this revolution of 1848. What was the 
need of continually reopening the wounds caused by the 
barricade fights ? Yet, in July, a motion that " those who 
had fought for liberty on the 18th and 19th of March de- 
served well of their country " aroused intense excitement, 
and only by a very narrow vote escaped being passed. A 
month later, it was decreed that the minister of war 
should be instructed to issue an order, forbidding officers 
to enter into conflicts of any kind with civilians, and com- 
manding them to show their sympathy for constitutional 
government or else leave the army. When the minister 
of war refused to pass such a decree, the whole ministry 
fell. The assembly grew more and more radical. In 
drafting the constitution, in the very first article, which 
concerned the title of the king, it was voted to leave out 
the old customary "by the grace of God." By a vote of 
200 against 153, nobility was declared abrogated ; titles 
and orders were no longer to be bestowed. Members 
who voted contrary to the radical element, were repeat- 
edly ill-treated by the mob that surrounded the place of 
meeting. Once, the crowd penetrated into the hall of 
meeting itself ; once, they stormed the arsenal, and car- 
ried off the more valuable guns. 

One cannot blame Frederick William IV. for turning 
his eyes to the old safeguard of Hohenzollern prerogative, 
the Prussian army. The truce of Malmo had just been 
Parliament, closed with Denmark, General Wrangel and his troops 
were free. They were ordered to draw closer to Berlin. 
The half-liberal ministry that had followed that of Camp- 
hausen was replaced by a conservative one, under Count 
Brandenburg, an illegitimate son of Frederick William II. 
A protest of the assembly against this nomination gave 
rise to a stormy scene. "We are here to give your 



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STRUGGLE FOR CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT 359 

Majesty oral information about the true condition of the 
land ; will your Majesty hear us? " cried one of the dele- 
gates sent to Potsdam. As Frederick William walked 
away, he cried after him, " That is just the misfortune of 
kings, that they will not hear the truth ! " At last, on 
November 8, a royal decree prorogued the assembly, and 
ordered it to meet again in the town of Brandenburg. 
Berlin was declared in a state of siege. The assembly 
pronounced such acts unlawful ; but, two days later, was 
expelled from its hall by Wrangel. To a deputation 
from the so-called citizen guard, which declared that it 
would yield only to force, the rough old general, sitting 
on a chair in the street, had merely answered : " Tell your 
citizen guard that force is no.w there." He had given the 
Parliament exactly fifteen minutes in which to vacate the 
premises. At a hasty meeting, held in another place, 
the ministers were forbidden to dispose of state funds or 
to levy taxes. But the king was determined now to carry 
the fight to the bitter end, even if it were to cost him his 
throne. Fortunately for him, the better elements of the 
population were now on his side. When, on the day ap- 
pointed, the Parliament, in great minority, met in Branden- 
burg, it was declared dissolved ; and the king announced 
that he would impose his own constitution upon the people. 

This, to the joy of all moderate men, proved to be more Frederick 
liberal than any one had expected so liberal, indeed, that William's 
Frederick William wrote characteristically to Bunsen, it . . 
made his own stomach ache. The separate clauses were to 
be revised by the representatives themselves ; and not until 
January, 1850, was the work completed and the constitu- 
tion as a whole adopted. The more radical elements had 
been kept in check by the so-called three-class system of 
voting at parliamentary elections : the small body of the 
large taxpayers could choose the same number of electors 



360 



'A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



The 

Austrian 
question at 
Frankfort. 



as the larger body of moderately rich persons, or as the 
largest body of the lower classes. On the other hand, a 
number of personal liberties and checks to tyranny were 
assured. A reaction, indeed, soon set in, and, during the 
next few years, under one pretext or another, the king 
managed to pursue a most repressive policy. Nor was the 
Prussian court alone in this matter, Austria going so far 
as to entirely abrogate her newly granted constitution. 

Meanwhile at Frankfort, in the matter of pairing German 
unity with liberal institutions, the hopes of the patriots 
had been sadly dashed ; the blame for the failure of the 
long negotiations falling, mainly, upon Austria and Prussia. 
It was, indeed, one of the most difficult of all political 
problems to which the formulation of the second article of 
the Frankfort constitution gave rise, declaring, as it did, 
that a power might not enter the German empire save with 
its German provinces alone. This meant, for Austria, either 
national disruption, or total exclusion from the new organ- 
ization. Yet the standpoint of the Frankfort assembly was 
more than comprehensible. It was the only rational one 
possible of adoption. Here was Austria, with a population, 
largely un-German, of thirty-eight millions, demanding en- 
trance into an empire which, without her, would number 
but thirty-two millions. It meant an absolute Austrian 
majority in the parliaments ; it meant that the most vital 
questions of German policy must be voted upon by strange- 
tongued peoples on the banks of the Theiss, the Moldau, or 
the Po ; it meant the renunciation of every hope of real 
German unity. 

Austria, though vague in her utterances and dilatory in 

takes a high h er tactics, and though offering no solution of the real prob- 
lem, was very tenacious of her position. At Kreinsier, in 

Frankfort. J 

November, 1848, her ministers formulated the sentiment: 
" The continuance of Austria's national unity is a necessity 



Austria 



361 

for Germany as well as for Europe." In December came a 
threatening note from Olmiitz declaring that: "Austria will 
know how to maintain her position in the projected Ger- 
man body politic." The Austrian delegates at Frankfort 
founded a party known as the Grrossdeutsche, or advocates 
of a greater Germany; and allied themselves with those 
liberals who were opposed to any monarchical state at all. 
There is little doubt but that, in secret, the court of Vienna 
favored an Austrian empire, of which Germany should be 
merely an appendage. 

The general sentiment of the least prejudiced minds at 
Frankfort was in favor of a narrower association, in which 
Austria should have no part ; and, at the same time, of 
another, broader union which should assure her all possi- 
ble safeguards and privileges. They were growing very 
tired, these reformers, of having their earnest work per- 
yistently ignored. " Waiting for Austria means death to 
German unity," declared one of the ministers, Beckerath. 
Gagern finally procured a vote, authorizing the ministry 
to treat with Austria, as with an extraneous power, by 
means of envoys. 

The second important question : What, with or with- Republic 01 
out Austria, should be the form of the new political empire ? ^ 
creation, and what the nature of its head ? gave rise to 
equally divergent views, and to equally violent opposition. 
Should there be an emperor, a directory, or a president ? 
If an emperor, should his dignity be hereditary or for 
life, or for three or six or twelve years, or should it be 
shared in rotation by Austria and Prussia ? The vote to 
confer the headship of the nation on one of the ruling 
German princes was finally passed, the vote to make the 
dignity hereditary, rejected. In February, 1849, a note 
from the Austrian government formally protested against 
the notion that an Austrian emperor and his government 



362 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



The crown 
of the 
empire to 
be offered 
to Fred- 
erick 
William. 



Frederick 
William 
and the 
German 
question. 



should subordinate themselves to a central power wielded 
by any other German prince. Soon afterward, the feeble 
and yielding emperor, Ferdinand, who had made promises 
he could neither keep nor well revoke, resigned in favor 
of a youth of eighteen, that Francis Joseph who still, in 
ripe old age, holds the throne. 

Behind Francis Joseph was a government determined 
to fight the revolution to the very utmost. In March, 
1849, a new constitution, which centralized the adminis- 
tration to the last degree, was imposed upon all Austrian 
lands. This was the crisis, this Austria's answer and 
final challenge to the Frankfort assembly : she would 
enter the Confederation with all of her provinces or not 
at all ; and the new empire, if empire there was to be, must 
take its measures accordingly. Representative YVelcker 
up to this moment one of the heads of the Austrian or 
" greater German " party now made a motion, that the 
constitution, as it stood, should be adopted by a single 
vote, and the hereditary imperial dignity be offered to 
the king of Prussia. The motion as offered was defeated 
by a slight majority ; but by sacrificing the clause relat- 
ing to the power of absolute veto, the rest of the section 
concerning the headship of the empire was passed. It 
was a solemn moment when the result was announced. 
" May the genius of Germany preside over this hour," Avas 
the invocation of the Parliament's president ; and, when 
three cheers were given for the " German emperor," they 
were taken up by the dense crowds in the streets, and all 
the churches rang out their chimes. 

The deputation that left Frankfort for Berlin, on March 
30, 1849, had a most important mission to perform. 
Could Frederick William be induced to subscribe to the 
Frankfort constitution and accept the imperial crown, 
the future of Germany was assured ; though, possibly, at 



STRUGGLE FOR CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT 363 

the cost of a war with Austria. Twenty-eight of the 
minor states had already promised their sanction to the 
new constitution. Others would be likely to follow Prus- 
sia's lead. And Frederick William had at various times 
so acted as to strengthen the hopes of the liberals. They 
could not know of his frequent changes of mind, of his 
weak susceptibility to new influences, of the incipient 
disease that was preying upon his brain. 

In 1847, Frederick William had been ready to settle the 
German question " with Austria, without Austria, yes, if 
need be, against Austria." In March, 1848, he had pro- 
claimed his intention of placing himself at the head of the 
movement for a united Germany, and had ridden around 
under the shadow of the revolutionary banners. But, soon 
afterward, he declared to a deputation from the Rhine prov- 
inces: " I am only the second in Germany;" and wrote to the 
historian Dahlmann, that none other than the " archhouse of 
Austria " could ever be at the head of the united fatherland. 
He meant to retain for himself, indeed, the command over 
the German military forces, failing to see how impossible 
of acceptance such a proposition would be to Austria. 

With the Parliament of Frankfort, his relations had Frederick 
been similarly undetermined. "Do not forget, gentle- Wllliam 
men," he had cried to a deputation sent to assist at the 



opening of the Cologne cathedral, "do not forget that p ar iia- 
there are still princes in Germany, and that I am one of ment. 
them ! " On the following day, however, he had drunk 
a toast to " the builders of the great work, the present 
and the absent members of the Frankfort national assem- 
bly." His enthusiasm had then received a rude shock 
through the September uprising and the murder of the 
deputies, Lichnowsky and Auerstadt ; and more and more 
there settled down upon him a horror of revolution, and 
of everything therewith connected. 



364 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



Frederick 
William's 

thToffer of 
the im- 
perial 
crown. 



He stood very much alone at this time, except for a 
faction of insignificant flatterers. His ministry, at the 
head of which was still Count Brandenburg, was in favor 
of conciliation, and received the Frankfort deputation 
with warmth. His friend and confidant, Bunsen, who was 
filling the post of ambassador to England, had urged him 
continually to accept the crown whenever it should be 
offered ; and had prevailed upon him, in January, to send 
a note to Frankfort, which showed him in sympathy with 
the plans under consideration there. Three weeks later, 
Austrian influences had completely changed the king's 
mood ; and a second note showed an entirely different 
standpoint. In one of his pessimistic attacks, Frederick 
William had written to Bunsen a letter which well shows 
the hysterical, extravagant side of his character, as well as 
his bitter hatred of everything republican. Bunsen had 
assured him that, although the offer of the crown might 
come originally from a popular assembly, the princes and 
governments of Germany would be sure to sanction its 
acceptance. But Frederick William wrote back, that he 
wanted neither the crown itself nor a subsequent consent 
of the princes. The kind of crown he would be willing 
to wear was not such a one as a revolutionary assembly 
could give, not picked from the gutter like that of 
Louis Philippe, but carrying God's mark and making its 
bearer king by His grace : " The crown which the Ottos, 
the Hohenstaufens, the Hapsburgs have worn, a Hohen- 
zollern can naturally also wear ; it does him unspeakable 
honor with its thousand-year halo. The one which you 
mean, alas, dishonors him unspeakably with its carrion 
odor of the revolution of 1848." With floods of invective, 
the king goes on to castigate this " imaginary crown, 
wrought of filth and mire." " I speak plainly," he writes : 
"if the thousand-year crown of the German nation, in 



STRUGGLE FOR CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT 365 

abeyance now these forty-two years, is again to be given 
away, it is I and my likes who will give it." 

His reception of the Frankfort deputation was cool in The recep- 
the extreme. An audience was granted, but no court car- tion of the 
riages were sent to bring the members to the palace^ an. , 
omission which the city of Berlin hastily supplied. The 
very lackeys in the anteroom were insolent, one of them 
refusing to bring a glass of water for the president, until 
ordered imperatively to do so. The king delivered his 
address very formally, standing, in uniform, surrounded 
by the princes, ministers, generals, and court functionaries. 
He had carried his conscience to the King of kings, he 
declared, and had decided that, not only must he await the 
consent of the princes, before accepting the crown, but, 
also, must determine with them whether the present form 
of the constitution was acceptable to one and all. With 
actual tears in their eyes, the deputation withdrew; these 
men knew well that, if thirty-six different autocratic gov- 
ernments might pick and tear at their work, not much of it 
would survive. Before taking their departure, they framed 
a writing which declared that, since his Majesty denied 
all right of existence or binding force to the national con- 
stitution, he must be considered as having refused the 
proffered election. 

Frederick William still dallied for a while with the Austria and 
national assembly, and summoned all the governments to Prussia 
send plenipotentiaries to Frankfort to discuss the matter Frankfort 
a summons which not one of them obeyed. Austria, parliament, 
meanwhile, had withdrawn her delegates ; declaring that 
never would she bow to foreign legislation, never would 
her emperor subordinate himself to another prince. " For 
us, the national assembly no longer exists," so wrote her 
ministers in an official note to Berlin. At this very time, 
the Prussian lower house voted to accept the constitution. 



366 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



Rebellions 
in Saxony, 
Baden, 
and the 
Palatinate. 



Saxony. 



Saxony and Wiirtemberg seemed wavering; while the 
national assembly sent out its demand for recognition 
almost in the form of an ultimatum. Frederick William 
came forward now with a categorical refusal of the im- 
perial dignity. He had already sent an adjutant to the 
king of Saxony to harden the latter's heart against the 
adherents of the Parliament, and to offer armed assistance, 
should such be needed. He summoned a conference to 
Berlin of such governments as might care, in view of the 
mistaken steps that the national assembly had taken, and 
seemed inclined still to take, to deliberate concerning 
the needs of the nation. " The Prussian government," so 
ran the circular note, " cannot conceal the scantiness of 
the hope, that the national assembly will lend its hand to 
altering the constitution on which it has determined." 
The official Staatsanzeiger began openly to speak of the 
parliament as of a " revolutionary " assembly. 

All this reacted violently upon the Parliament itself, and 
gave rise to factions which were its final ruin. The "left" 
was in favor of encouraging an armed uprising among 
the people. The " right," determined on using a purely 
persuasive means, put through a vote to hold elections for 
a new constituent assembly, which should confer the crown 
upon the king of Prussia so soon as he should have recog- 
nized the constitution. Not unnaturally, the political 
agitation spread to the constituents of the members of 
Parliament. Addresses, words of advice, of encouragement, 
of blame, poured in upon the different rulers ; and at last, 
in three states, in Saxony, in the Rhine Palatinate, and 
in Baden, the flames of discontent broke out into actual 
rebellion. 

In Dresden, where the dissolution of the chambers and 
a ministerial crisis had brought excitement to the highest 
pitch, the government, on the third of May, forbade a 



STRUGGLE FOR CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT 367 

projected parade in honor of the national constitution. 
The crowd surrounded the arsenal and the palace, and the 
king fled to the impregnable Konigstein. His ministers 
accompanied him ; but returned, the same evening, to find 
a provisional government set up, the head of which was 
an extreme radical, Tzschirner. The advent of Prussian 
troops at once put a stop to the movement, and the ring- 
leaders were punished with long imprisonment. 

In the Palatinate, and in Baden also, the existing gov- Prince 
ernments were displaced. In Baden the military were William's 

drawn into the vortex, and the most republican designs Campaign 

in Baden. 

were cherished ; the neighborhood of two popularly gov- 
erned states like France and Switzerland being of especial 
influence. Recognition of the imperial constitution, was 
written on the banner of the insurgents, but " without the 
hereditary head." It was in this struggle that the then 
crown prince of Prussia, later Emperor William I., gained 
his spurs as a leader of armies. In response to a call 
for aid from Bavaria and Baden, Frederick William sent 
two army corps under William's command. The revo- 
lutionary forces, which combined against the Prussians 
and took numerous foreigners into their service, numbered 
between thirty and forty thousand men. Commander-in- 
chief was Mieroslawski, a famous Polish refugee. It 
needed many skirmishes, and a regular bombardment of 
the fortress of Rastadt, before this perfectly hopeless and 
meaningless rebellion could be put down. Many lost 
their lives on these petty battlefields ; many were after- 
ward sentenced to death or imprisonment. The poet 
Kinkel was given a life sentence; but was rescued from 
the fortress of Spandau by Carl Schurz, who afterward 
became a shining light in the political firmament of the 
United States of America. 

If the cause of the Parliament of Frankfort had long 



368 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



Secessions 
from the 
Frankfort 
Parliament. 



Expulsion 
and end 
of the 
Frankfort 
Parliament. 



been losing ground, these revolts and their successful sup- 
pression gave it its coup de grdce. Prussia withdrew her 
delegates, after a vote had been passed that her interfer- 
ence in Saxony had been an unwarrantable breach of the 
peace. The conduct of affairs came more and more into 
the hands of the radicals. The feeling gained ground, 
among the more moderate elements, that they had no 
longer any positive policy to defend. On the 20th of 
May, 1849, sixty-five members, including in their number 
almost all whose names had given brilliancy to the as- 
sembly, seceded in a body declaring their unwillingness 
to sunder the last legal ties between the governments and 
peoples of Germany, and to foster civil war. Among them, 
was old Ernst Moritz Arndt, who for nearly half a century, 
had sung of a united Germany which he was never to see. 

Bereft of its sanest members, the parliament ran riot with 
its revolutionary ideas. The number necessary for a quo- 
rum was reduced from one hundred and fifty to a hundred. 
The place of meeting was moved from Frankfort to Stutt- 
gart, for no other apparent purpose than to be nearer to 
the disaffected district. The " centre " party had already 
left because of the refusal to declare roundly, that the only 
object now aimed at was the furtherance of the constitu- 
tion, and that all interference on the part of foreign coun- 
tries was to be deprecated. It had come to be called the 
rump Parliament, this survival of a once important body. 
It now elected a " regency for the empire " ; and this " re- 
gency " proclaimed to the German people that, in the 
struggle against absolutism, they were to accept no om- 
mands save from itself and its plenipotentiaries. It called 
for a general arming, and for a credit of five million thalers. 

But the "rump" had overestimated its strength. It 
was fain to obey the commands of the Wiirtemberg gov- 
ernment, which first ordered it to vacate the assembly hall 



STRUGGLE FOR CONSTITUTIONAL GOVERNMENT 369 

of the estates ; then to hold the sessions of the " regency " 
beyond the state boundaries ; and, finally, to move away 
altogether under pain of "suitable measures." It was given 
its quietus by being forced to disperse by soldiers with 
drawn swords. Thirteen months had the Parliament as a 
whole been in session, and its immediate results were abso- 
lutely nil ; though it is safe to say that its deliberations, 
and even its mistakes, made it easier for the next genera- 
tion to realize the dream of national unity. 



VOL. II 2B 



CHAPTER IX 

THE RECKONING WITH AUSTRIA 

LITERATURE : In addition to the general treatments by Bulle, Bieder- 
mann, Pierson, and Fyffe, see the monumental work of Sybel, Grundung 
des deutschen Reiches, and, almost more important still, Friedjung, Kampf 
um die Vorherrschaft in Deutschland. Marcks's Kaiser Wilhelm is a 
biography of the highest order. Bismarck's recently published memoirs 
should be read as a whole ; they are made use of in a convenient compila- 
tion by Liman, Bismarck's Denkwurdigkeiten. The most comprehensive 
biography of Bismarck is that by Hans Blum, with no charm of style. 

The WHEN, at the beginning of the eighteenth century, the 

Prussian Emperor Leopold would scarcely consent to the raising of 
Prussia among the monarchies, it was because he feared 
the rivalry of this new, wholly German state. That fear 
was now to be realized, and the result was to be a deadly 
war for supremacy. Austria's old prestige had carried her 
safely through the trying time of the Congress of Vienna ; 
while Metternich's ability had caused her still to retain the 
leadership for more than a generation. But the revolution 
of 1848 had been the beginning of the end. The Parliament 
of Frankfort, representing the people of all Germany, had 
had no room in its new political creation for the Croats, 
Poles, Magyars, Czechs, and other strange nationalities 
that went to make up five-sixths of Austria's population. 
After the rupture with the Frankfort Diet, Prussia took 
upon her own shoulders the task of uniting Germany, and, 
on May 17, 1849, a conference to which all the German 
powers had been invited was opened in Berlin. But only 
Austria, Bavaria, Hanover, and Saxony responded to the 

370 



THE BECKONING WITH AUSTRIA 371 

call, and the envoys of the two former, powers withdrew 
almost at once; while Saxony and Hanover joined in the 
so-called League of the Three Kingdoms, merely to gain 
time until Austria should have put down revolts in Hun- 
gary and in northern Italy. On the other hand, the idea 
of this union appealed to the former Prussian imperial 
party of the Frankfort Diet. One hundred and fifty of the 
ex-members met at Gotha and voted to seize this new op- 
portunity of healing the wounds of the fatherland. They 
urged their respective governments to join the cause, and 
soon twenty-eight of the small states had handed in their 
allegiance, Austria, Bavaria, and Wurtemberg being the 
only important powers to remain aloof. It was determined 
to adopt the Frankfort constitution, but to change the 
mode of elections to the three-class system. A Union Par- 
liament was called to meet at Erfurt and came together in 
March, 1850 ; by which time, indeed, Saxony and Hanover 
had shown their true colors. To the last these governments 
had duped their own people with an apparent interest in 
German unity. 

The Prussian programme had been to form a greater and The plan of 
a lesser union. Into the former Austria was to be received, restoring 
the closest of alliances formed with her, her territory pro- e 
tected, agreements formed for the furtherance of trade and 
intercourse. With the latter, consisting of purely German 
elements, she was to have nothing whatever to do. But 
this did not suit the views of the Vienna court ; and, as a 
counter move, its ministers summoned an assembly to 
Frankfort to debate on the question of reviving the old 
Diet. The princes belonging to the Union were willing to 
send delegates, provided the matter could be discussed in 
free conferences ; but denied that the convention itself 
in any way represented the old Diet. 

Had Frederick William IV. been possessed of a firmer 



372 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



The 

amended 
constitution 
of Prussia. 



character, some good result might have come of the Prus 
Union. But his heart was only half in the work. 



sian 



The affair 
of Hesse. 



With his own local Parliament he had been engaged in 
revising the recently granted Prussian constitution, and 
his success in that direction had turned his head. Every- 
where he had caused offensive clauses to be modified: in- 
troducing the three-class system of voting, retaining for 
himself the right to pass decrees if not contrary to the 
constitution in the absence of the chambers, freeing 
the army from the obligation of swearing to the consti- 
tution, and restricting the Parliament's right of abolishing 
taxes. The upper house was to consist of hereditary and 
of life members, not of those elected by the people ; and a 
special court was to be established for political offences. 
No wonder the liberals were furious ; no wonder they 
called this Parliament a law-taking, not a law -giving 
assembly. The constitution, in its amended form, was 
finally promulgated on January 31, 1850 ; and the king, 
when taking oath to it, declared that it had come into 
being in a year which the loyalty of generations to come 
would wish with tears to see obliterated from Prussian 
history, and which still bore the broad stamp of its origin. 
But, under its amended form, it would at least be possible 
for him to continue to rule, though his people must beware 
and not use it as a cloak for their wickedness, or a sub- 
stitute for divine Providence. This achievement reacted 
forcibly on the Erfurt Union Parliament ; and the Prussian 
ministers took the extraordinary step of demanding reac- 
tionary alterations in the very draft of a federal consti- 
tution which they themselves had shortly before presented, 
a step which lost them the sympathy of all the national 
liberal elements in Germany. 

Austria was growing more and more insistent that the old 
Diet should be restored, and that the whole Austrian-Hun- 



THE RECKONING WITH AUSTRIA 373 

garian monarchy should be allowed to enter the Confedera- 
tion. She proposed to alter the method of representation so 
that all the minor states together, which were Prussia's 
firmest allies, should have but one vote. " It is necessary 
to avilir, or abase, Prussia," was a reported saying of the 
Austrian minister, Schwarzenberg. 

And abase Prussia Austria did, so completely, that the 
journey of Frederick William's prime minister to Olmutz, 
the temporary residence of the emperor, has often been 
compared with the famous pilgrimage of Henry IV. to the 
feet of Gregory VII. at Canossa. 

The immediate occasion was a common claim to the 
right of interfering in the affairs of a minor state. In 
the electorate of Hesse, which belonged to the Prussian 
Union, a fierce struggle was waging between a reactionary 
minister, Hassenpflug, and a Parliament that refused him 
taxes. Hassenpflug whose enemies called him Hessen- 
Fluch appealed to the Diet of Frankfort, which was 
finally declared reestablished in September, 1850. Prussia 
prepared to maintain the rights of the Union. Austria 
held a meeting with the kings of Wiirtemberg and Ba- 
varia, during which the former declared at a banquet that 
a soldier must follow his emperor, wherever he might 
lead. It was determined to raise an army of two hun- 
dred thousand men. Austrian and Prussian forces 
entered Hesse. Frederick William in vain sought the 
mediation of the Czar, while Schwarzenberg came out 
roundly with demands, in the form of an ultimatum, 
to the effect that the Prussian Union should be dis- 
solved, that the federal Diet should be recognized, that 
Hesse be evacuated, and that the Austrians be not inter- 
fered with in Schleswig Holstein, where Prussia had 
been pursuing a policy weak in itself and unpopular with 
the rest of Germany. Austria desired that this matter, 



374 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



The jour- 
ney to 
Olmiitz. 



Bismarck 
in the 
Union Par- 
liament at 
Erfurt. 



as well as the Hessian dispute, should be handed over to 
the federal Diet. 

There were not wanting indignant men, like Crown 
Prince William, like Bunsen, like Pourtales, who were 
ready for anything rather than lick the dust from the 
feet of a boastful enemy. But this was practically the 
course advocated by the band of intriguers who just then 
held the king's ear. Radowitz, in favor of resistance, 
resigned. Manteuffel, with no other thought than sub- 
mission, took his place. He made, indeed, an outward 
show of mobilizing, but told the Austrian ambassador it 
was merely to calm the rabble, and ordered the troops to 
avoid real hostilities. This they did with such good effect 
that the only casualty in the one skirmish at Bronzell was 
the death of a white horse. At Olmiitz, finally, Man- 
teuffel laid Prussia prostrate at Austria's feet, as few 
unconquered states have ever been humiliated. The Union 
was abandoned, the Diet acknowledged, the troops, save 
one battalion, ordered from Hesse. Austria might even 
have entered the Confederation and formed her longed- 
for " seventy million " empire, had not England peremp- 
torily interfered on the ground that the balance of power 
in Europe would be destroyed. The Schleswig-Holsteiners 
were ordered to submit to Denmark, and Prussian officials 
aided the Austrians in forcing these former allies to lay 
down their arms. 

There were those who considered that Olmiitz was un- 
avoidable, that in her then condition Prussia could not pos- 
sibly have taken up the struggle against Austria and her 
allies: among them was Otto von Bismarck-Schonhausen, 
the future imperial chancellor, at that time a strong con- 
servative. His long term of devoted service to the royal 
house of Prussia had begun in 1847, as a member of the 
Prussian Landtag. When, in the following March, he 



THE RECKONING WITH AUSTRIA 375 

first heard of the bitter humiliations to which Frederick 
William was subjected by the revolutionists, of the ex- 
traordinary scenes in the courtyard of the palace at 
Berlin, of the flight of the heir apparent to England, he 
had written to the king to offer his sympathy ; and, shortly 
after, had presented himself in person. He was at this 
time thirty-three years of age, had seen many sides of life, 
had administered his father's estate of Kneiphof with 
considerable success, and had served as a local magistrate. 
He was strongly against liberal concessions and considered 
that in making them the crown " had thrown earth upon 
its own coffin." Yet he soon reconciled himself to the 
irrevocable, though seeking to save what could still be 
saved of the royal prerogative. In numerous assemblies 
which he instigated he goaded on the nobles and the 
country gentry. He opposed the acceptance of the 
Frankfort offer of the imperial crown, mainly because 
the new emperor would have no veto power, an objection 
which he later let fall when it came to framing the present 
constitution. As a member of the Erfurt Parliament, he 
often caused the liberals to writhe under his utterances. 
His every action was bold and decided : wheii he first 
entered the assembly he is reported to have torn from 
the chairs of the Prussian conservatives the black, red, 
and gold ribbons, and to have replaced them with black 
and white. But he could not save the dignity of the 
Prussian crown when the man who wore it was a Frederick 
William IV. 

After Olmiitz, Bismarck was sent to represent Prussia Bismarck 
in the restored Diet of Frankfort, first as a subordinate of as envoy to 
Herr von Rochow, but soon as minister plenipotentiary in * 
his own person. There were many who thought him too Fran kf rt. 
inexperienced for the position ; but those who knew him 
best argued strongly in his favor, knowing his coolness, % 



376 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

his cleverness, and his courage. The Frankfort news- 
papers spread abroad the squib that, if asked to command 
a frigate or to perform an operation in surgery, he would 
doubtless declare that he had never done it, but that he 
would gladly try. 

Bismarck's first journey to Frankfort, as a member of 
the Diet, has been likened to that pilgrimage of Martin 
Luther to Rome which opened the eyes of the reformer to 
the evils rampant in the church. Hitherto he had been 
more or less Austria's friend. Now he found that her 
settled policy was never to recognize Prussia as her equal. 
The Austrian envoy, Count Thun, who presided over the 
sessions of the Diet, treated the other states as subordi- 
nate powers. His manners were lordly, his actions arbi- 
trary. In drawing up the protocols, he inserted or 
omitted what pleased himself. He required a unanimous 
or a majority vote, according as Austrian interests de- 
manded ; and, in the same way, hurried through or post- 
poned meetings. It may seem a small matter, that at 
formal committee meetings he would be the only one to 
wear negligee costume and to indulge in a cigar; but it 
marked a tacitly acknowledged superiority that galled 
and irritated Bismarck. The latter has related how, on 
one such occasion, he himself astonished the count and the 
assembly by coolly walking up and demanding a light. 
So seriously was the matter taken that the envoys of the 
smaller states wrote home to know if they might allow 
themselves the same privilege ; and, as the answers came 
in, one cigar after another was ostentatiously lighted. It 
was hard on the Wiirtemberg envoy, who disliked to- 
bacco ; but for the honor of his state he was compelled to 
smoke. 

Bismarck's impressions as to a deep hostility to Prussia 
found confirmation in a curious way. Prokesch, who was 



THE RECKONING WITH AUSTRIA 377 

Austrian envoy in 1854, sold an old desk in Frankfort Bismarck 
which eventually found its way to Berlin ; in one of the u P h l ds 
drawers he had accidentally left a complete correspond- d rUbS ' a S t 
ence, drafts of his own letters and originals of the Frankfort, 
answers, in which members of the press were urged to 
foster an anti-Prussian sentiment in Germany. When 
this damning evidence was placed in his possession, Bis- 
marck could readily have obtained the recall of Prokesch ; 
but he refrained from doing so on the ground that he pre- 
ferred an incautious to a cautious adversary. For their 
own parts, the Austrians hated the wary Prussian minis- 
ter with a deadly hatred, and did not spare him actual in- 
sults. An archduke asked him sneeringly at a ball if 
certain medals, which were in reality tokens of valuable 
diplomatic services, had been won before the enemy. 
" All won before the enemy, all won right here in Frank- 
fort," was the ready answer. The eight years spent at 
the Diet were mainly devoted to raising the sunken pres- 
tige of Prussia, to seeing that no slight should go una- 
venged ; that was the first step in the task of transferring 
the balance of power from Austria to his own state, and 
placing the latter at the head of Germany. By holding 
his own he paved the way for the final reckoning. 

At the time of the Crimean War, Bismarck's advice Prussia 
maintained Frederick William in the path of neutrality, and the 
even though the king's dearest friend, Bunsen, urged him 
to join with England and France ; and though his brother, 
the Crown Prince William, was very zealous for war. 
Bismarck pointed out, that Prussia had everything to lose 
and nothing to gain, that there was no casus belli with 
Russia, that it was the height of political folly to provoke 
this "perpetual neighbor." In an interview with the 
Crown Prince, who strongly opposed him on this point, 
he protested against playing the role of an Indian vassal 



378 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



Prussia 
and the 
Franco- 
Austrian 
War. 



prince, and fighting England's wars under England's 
patronage. This policy toward Russia, which prevailed 
in the end, and which was to be repeated at a later date, 
stood Prussia, at the last, in good stead. Bismarck was 
the first of her statesmen to look far ahead on the polit- 
ical horizon and reckon with every possible disadvan- 
tageous element. 

For a time, during the early stages of the Crimean War, 
Austria and Prussia had gone hand in hand. They had 
joined with the Western powers in presenting the famous 
four demands : abolition of the Russian protectorate over 
the Danube principalities, and of the Russian preponderance 
in the Black Sea ; free passage of the Danube, and a gen- 
eral, not a particular, protectorate over the Christian sub- 
jects of the Porte. But, when these demands had been 
accepted by Russia as a basis for negotiation, and Austria 
joined with England and France in asking for still more, 
then their ways parted. Prussia had nothing to do with 
the war and barely secured representation in the peace 
congress at Paris. Only on the ground that she had signed 
a former maritime treaty that had now to be abrogated was 
she finally admitted. 

When, in 1859, Austria's war with France and Sardinia 
broke out, the first-named power assumed, as a matter of 
course, that Prussia would stand by her, notwithstanding 
the fact that purely dynastic interests were at stake. Even 
in other parts of Germany, there was a great outcry that 
the Rhine must be defended on the Po ; that in case of Aus- 
tria's defeat this new Napoleon would turn upon Prussia, 
as his namesake had done in the days of Jena. But Prus- 
sia could not accept the conditions which Austria imposed. 
She was willing to aid her if treated as a great power, but 
not to subordinate the direction of her armies to commis- 
sioners from the federal Diet. Rather than yield the 



THE RECKONING WITH AUSTRIA 379 

point, Austria preferred to lose the main part of her prov- 
inces in Italy. When signing the Peace of Villafranca the 
Emperor Francis Joseph declared, in a manifesto to the 
powers, that he did so because he had been deserted by his 
nearest and natural ally; and it was long before the wound 
ceased to rankle. 

Frederick William IV., at this time, was passing into the Prince 
entrance of the valley of the shadow of death. Earlj r in 
1857 his intellect gave signs of clouding, wild excitability a ^ 
alternating with mute despair. His brother William was 
named his vicegerent ; and, after nine painful months of 
subserviency to the old policy and to the old advisers, was 
formally declared regent. Already sixty years of age, the 
prince, whose one opportunity of distinguishing himself 
had been the insurrection in Baden, had come to consider 
his career at an end. When answering the congratulations 
of the future Field-marshal Roon, on the occasion of his 
birthday, he declared that he had reached the age when 
men continued to live only in their children. He spoke of 
himself as an old man, little dreaming that he was merely 
on the threshold of a new era which was to bear his own 
name. Thirty years later the writer saw him strong and 
erect, the idol of enthusiastic crowds. 

Yet in these earlier years popularity was the last trib- King 
ute that was paid to this king. Frederick William died William's 

in 1861, and by that time there was culminating a P r P s 

J ' army re- 

struggle, in which William's opinions were so diametri- form 

cally opposed to those of the majority of his srbjects, so 
severe were the measures to which he . lent his support, 
that, when he drove through the streets of Berlin, men 
passed him in stubborn silence, without raising their 
hats ; and once, when a member of his family died, the 
most ordinary condolences were omitted. 

The levies which Prussia had made, against the possi- 



380 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

bility of becoming involved in the Italian war, had shown 
forth all the weakness of her military system, which, 
based on laws and regulations passed in 1814, when the 
population was very much smaller, no longer corresponded 
to the needs of the time. While, in theory, every sound 
man in the kingdom was bound to do military service, in 
practice there was only room in the existing regiments for 
two-thirds of the recruits. In time of war, in order to 
increase the army to the proper size, it would have been 
necessary to call out the Landwehr, which consisted largely 
of men burdened with the care of families; while some 
twenty-five thousand younger men remained idle. The 
essence of the reform that William proposed was to spare 
the Landwehr and to throw the burden of service on the 
regiments of the line, the numbers and efficiency of which 
he intended to increase. 

Opposition It is not apparent, at first, why these propositions should 
to the pro- have evoked such stubborn and unrelenting opposition on 
refo" ^ *^ e P ai> t of the Prussian Parliament. As a matter of fact, as 
in most conflicts on special points, there were deeper 
principles involved than appeared on the surface. Prussia 
had become a constitutional monarchy ; did this mean 
that, as in England or in Belgium, the sovereign had 
practically renounced all political power ? It was the 
service of William I. to his country to answer this ques- 
tion in the negative. He admitted the legislative func- 
tions of the Parliament, he reserved the executive for 
himself ; and he was ready to resign the office rather than 
not wield it as his fathers had done. 

The change in the army presupposed an expense of only 
about nine million thalers. The country was prosperous, 
and the additional taxation was not likely to be felt. 
But the party of opposition, which possessed a clear 
majority in the House of Representatives, was determined 



THE RECKONING WITH AUSTRIA 381 

to make its grant contingent on various concessions, 
among them the shortening of the term of service from 
three to two years. They attacked the policy of the 
feeble Hohenzollern ministry, and asked, why should they 
place forty-nine new regiments at the service of a govern- 
ment too weak to use them? It was whispered that the 
chief object was to supply young nobles with positions as 
officers, and the whole movement was cried down as a 
reflection on the Landwehr, which had done such glorious 
service in 1813. 

There is no doubt in the minds of men to-day but that The refusal 
there were serious errors on both sides. The government of the arm y 
obtained its grant for the first year under something like grailt> 
false pretences, the finance minister, Patow, explaining 
that the definite settlement of the army question would 
not be prejudiced by the provisional granting of the sum 
required, and hinting that the desired concessions might 
later be made. At all events, the regiments were formed, 
the officers appointed, the men enrolled, and the flags con- 
secrated. 

The weakness of the position of the liberal party rests on 
the fact, that it had authorized acts which could not well be 
undone, however much it might regard them as provisional. 
Indeed, in the following year, 1861, the parliament 
repeated its grant of nine millions, though placing it in 
the budget among the " once-recurring and temporary ex- 
penses." The trouble began in September, 1862 ; the elec- 
tions to the new Dit had fallen out most disadvantageously 
for the government, there had been a ministerial crisis and 
a dissolution of the Parliament. In spite of pressure, fair 
and unfair, the opposition in the new house was stronger 
than ever. The majority had determined to take the last 
and decisive step. In the most abrupt and insulting man- 
ner every penny was refused for the support of the new 



382 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

regiments, notwithstanding the fact that money was due 
for the payment of officers' salaries. No greater blow had 
ever been struck at the prestige of the Prussian king. 
These were men whom he himself had appointed, who 
wore his uniform and carried his ensigns. They were dis- 
missed against his will and without pay. In the most 
conservative state of civilized Europe, forty-five regiments 
were told to strike their colors at the voice of the democ- 
racy. 

The inter- It was at this juncture that Bismarck first entered the 
view at stage as a leading character, not to leave it until, a genera- 
Babelsberg. ^ Qn j ater ^ a new? young impresario saw fit to dispense with 
his services. He was well known to William, who had 
often had interviews with him in Frankfort; but passed for 
too violent, too reactionary. The idea had often been 
broached of making him prime minister, but he had been 
appointed instead as ambassador to St. Petersburg sent 
to cool on the banks of the Neva, as he himself expressed 
it, like champagne for future use. His name had always 
stood for a strong progressive policy; and to him William 
turned, at a moment when his people, and even his own 
wife and son, were against him, and when the very 
foundations of his throne were tottering. 

Bismarck was summoned to Babelsberg, and held a pri- 
vate interview with the king in the park of the castle. 
He found William dejected and discouraged : between his 
desire not to break the constitution and his conviction of 
the need of a strong army, there seemed nothing left but 
abdication ; and he had the document before him, already 
drawn up and signed. " To that let it never come," urged 
Bismarck ; and then and there he undertook the task of 
ministerial government without a majority, without a bud- 
get, and without a programme at the same time giving a 
promise that he would never renounce the army reform. 



THE RECKONING WITH AUSTRIA 383 

The main question, he declared, the one on which all oth- 
ers hinged, was whether in Prussia the crown should gov- 
ern, or a majority of the House of Representatives. And, 
indeed, looking back, it is impossible to overrate the im- 
portance of the four years' struggle that now began. Had 
Bismarck been driven by the overwhelming majorities 
against him to resign, had the king abdicated, had that 
army which at the crucial moment proved strong enough 
to defy the rest of Germany been reduced to its earlier 
level : it is hard to see how German unity could ever have 
been established. 

It was an up-hill fight that had to be fought by the new Drastic 
president of the ministry. His first step was to withdraw al- measures of 
together the budget the House had failed to approve, and to * 
carry on the business of governing paying the regiments 
as well without giving an account of his expenditures. 
He found a technical excuse in the wording of the consti- 
tution which declared, that " the amount of the budget shall 
be fixed yearly by a law; " but which also provided, that "to 
pass any law the consent of the king and of both Houses 
of Parliament is needed." That there was real danger in 
the game they were playing both Bismarck and William 
were aware : the latter* once looked out upon the square 
before his palace, and expressed his dread lest the minis- 
ter's head might fall, and his own after it. Bismarck 
replied with words to the effect, that there were worse 
deaths than those that had been inflicted on Stratford and 
Charles I. 

At all events the game was played with the greatest 
boldness. The press was gagged, unfriendly government 
officials deprived of their places, political discussions for- 
bidden at public meetings, and even freedom of speech in 
the House itself interfered with by the police. The climax 
was reached, when the bayonets of the king's soldiers were 



384 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



Alterca- 
tions in the 
House of 
Repre- 
sentatives. 



literally turned against the breasts of members of Parlia- 
ment, who had accepted an invitation to the city of Cologne 
to a festival on the Rhine. 

In the House, in spite of the harshest criticism, in spite 
of the remark of the presiding member, that " the country 
was tired of having a mountebank at its head," Bismarck 
held his ground unmoved. He thundered, he bullied, he 
threatened ; he let loose the immensely powerful weapon of 
his wit. One day, in committee meeting, he drew forth a 
little twig from his pocket, and exclaimed to a progression- 
ist member: "This olive branch I plucked in Avignon, to 
offer to the people's party as a token of peace : I see that 
the time has not yet come." " Prussia's kingship," he 
once exclaimed, "has not yet fulfilled its mission. It is 
not yet ripe enough to form a purely ornamental trimming 
of your constitutional structure, not yet ready to be inserted 
as a dead piece of machinery in the mechanism of parlia- 
mentary rule." And Jigain,^ " Germany does not look to 
Prussia's liberalism, but to her power. . . . The great ques- 
tions of the day are not decided by speeches and majority 
votes, therein lay the weakness of 1848 and 1849, but 
by blood and iron ! " When Virchow accused him of 
"downright dishonesty," he rose tc-ask if political differ- 
ences were to be settled after the manner of the Horatii 
and Curiatii, and sent a challenge to a duel. There 
were times when the personalities grew fairly Homeric. 
When the king was asked to restrain his ministers, he 
replied that he shared their views. A convention signed 
with Russia for putting down the Polish insurrection added 
fuel to the flames. The sending of soldiers to the boundary 
was likened to the selling of Hessians to England. Repre- 
sentative Twesten declared, " The honor of the present 
government is no longer the honor of the state a-nd of the 
land!" 



THE RECKONING WITH AUSTRIA 385 



To add to his other difficulties, Bismarck was obliged to Bismarck 
contend with adverse influences at court. The sympathies and the 
of the queen and of the crown prince were openly on the " n ^ 
side of the House: "Two weeks of Baden-Baden and of court . 
Augusta," writes Bismarck in one of his letters, "had 
almost shaken the courage of the king." Bismarck 
was greatly hated at the court of London. Queen 
Victoria felt that her daughter's interests demanded her 
intervention in Prussian affairs, but could not but see 
that her advice was unwelcome. Once, indeed, she went 
so far as to hold an interview with the Emperor Francis 
Joseph, and to implore him not to ruin the prospects of 
her daughter's husband. The story is told of Princess 
Beatrice, that when asked what she would have for her 
birthday, she demanded the head of Bismarck on a charger. 
The crown prince himself, in a public, speech, branded a 
measure of Bismarck's as "criminal"; and, on another oc- 
casion, formally asked to be allowed to give up his offices 
and dignities and retire into private life. He complained 
bitterly, as late as during the Franco-Prussian War, that 
he was being dragged against his will from one scene of 
carnage to another, and made to wade through blood to 
the throne of his fathers. 

Into the conflict in the Prussian House, a new element Genesis 
was introduced by a revival of the Schleswig-Holstein of the 
difficulties, which gave Bismarck the opportunity he had 
been waiting for of testing the reorganized army, and troubles, 
which furthered his schemes for uniting Germany under 
Prussia's leadership. The turns and intricacies of this 
most involved of questions need not concern us here 
Lord Palmerston once said that only three persons had 
ever understood the matter : one was dead, one crazy, and 
he himself, the third, had forgotten what it was all about. 
Prussia had fought first for, then against, the insurgents, 

VOL. II 2 C 



386 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



The prince 
of Augus- 
tenburg. 



the Czar having upbraided Frederick William for joining 
hands with revolution. The last peace with Denmark, in 
1850, had left the provinces to their own devices ; but the 
London protocol of that year and the London Treaty of 
1852, signed by all the great powers, had declared for the 
integrity of the Danish kingdom. It stipulated, however, 
that Schleswig-Holstein should retain its separate political 
organization, even though under the same ruler as Den- 
mark ; and that the rights of the Germans, who formed 
five-sixths of the population of the duchies, should be 
respected. In order to provide against future dangers, 
the protocol had further arranged that, contrary to the 
rule of succession in Holstein at least, the heir to the 
duchies should be a prince of the house of Gliicksburg, 
who was also heir to the Danish crown. The Duke of 
Augustenburg, the nearest of the other claimants, had 
resigned his pretensions in return for a large sum of 
money. 

The "protocol prince," Christian of Gliicksburg, suc- 
ceeded, in 1863, to the throne, and immediately crowned 
a decade of Danish oppression by publishing a constitu- 
tion which treated Schleswig as an integral part of the 
monarchy, disregarding its union with Holstein, which 
had lasted for five hundred years, and defying the very 
protocol to which he owed his own accession. In his 
defence it must be said, that the powerful, so-called Eider- 
Danish, party had driven him to this step, under threat of 
revolution. But the news of his act roused a flood of in- 
dignation in Germany. When the son of that Augusten- 
burg who had sold his claims in 1852, came forward with 
the assertion that he had never, consented to the act of 
renunciation, he was received with enthusiasm by the 
people of Germany as the rightful heir; and the various 
parliaments voted him their support. 



THE RECKONING WITH AUSTRIA 387 

But Prussia and Austria had signed the Treaty of Lon- Bismarck's 
don as independent European powers, not as members of plans with 



to 



the German Confederation, which organization, indeed, 

' Schleswig- 
had not even given its sanction, t or a moment they for- Holstein. 

got their own rivalries, which had become so bitter, of late, 
that Austria had been categorically refused admission into 
the Zollverein. William, ostensibly because of a slight 
implied in the manner of the invitation, had not attended . 
a meeting of the princes held at Frankfort, under Austrian 
auspices, for the sake of settling the German question. 
Even now, in this matter of Schleswig-Holstein, although 
the immediate interests of the two powers were the same, 
their ultimate aims were very different. Francis Joseph 
would have liked a return to the basis of the London pro- 
tocol; while to Bismarck the whole incident was simply a 
step to greater things to the annexation of the duchies to 
Prussia, to the assumption by Prussia of the supremacy in 
Germany. Only a few months previously he had written : 
" War alone can solve the Danish question in a sense favor- 
able to us ; provocation to such a war can be found at any 
moment in which our relation to the great powers is favor- 
able for military operations." He would go hand in hand 
with Austria. He would uphold the London protocol, until 
some open act of hostility on the part of Denmark should, 
by the very principles of international law itself, render all 
treaties null and void, and give him free play. Then, if 
obtainable, he would achieve the annexation; if not, he 
would be content to see the duchies under an independent 
prince. From the very first, he had urged the appropriation 
of the prize, whereat, as he writes in his memoirs, " his 
Majesty seemed to think I had spoken under the bacchana- 
lian influences of a breakfast party," and the crown prince 
had "raised his hands to heaven, as if he doubted the 
soundness of my senses." 



388 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



Austrian- 
Prussian 
ultimatum 
to Den- 
mark. 



Initial 
events of 
the Danish 
War. 



When the Diet, in its enthusiasm, voted federal execution 
in Holstein, and sent an army of Saxons and Hanoverians 
against Christian IX., Austria and Prussia, although they 
had voted for the execution, held their armies aloof. It 
vexed them that the young Augustenburg took the whole 
demonstration as in favor of himself ; that he formed a little 
court at Kiel, chose a cabinet, and began to exercise influ- 
ence in public affairs. Bismarck, especially, objected to 
binding his hands by acknowledging this new candidate ; 
and the two powers at last determined to checkmate the 
pretender by occupying Schleswig themselves. The Diet 
was informed that Austria and Prussia, having seen their 
wishes persistently thwarted, intended to act alone in the 
matter by virtue of their position as European powers. 
An ultimatum was sent to Denmark, and Prussia and Aus- 
tria came to an agreement to determine the future of the 
duchies not otherwise than by mutual arrangement and 
common consent as if mutual arrangement and common 
consent were ever likely to be obtainable where one of the 
parties had the preconceived idea of appropriating the 
whole ! 

During all this time, in the Prussian House of Represen- 
tatives the bitter contentions continued. Virchow declared 
that, through Bismarck's policy, Prussia was becoming a 
mere satellite of Austria; that the very existence of the 
state was being threatened ; that the president of the min- 
istry had no conception of a national policy. The desired 
loan of twelve million thalers was refused ; and Bismarck 
thundered out that he would make war with or without 
the consent of the Diet, and would take the money wher- 
ever he could lay hands upon it. 

The great trio that were to lead Prussia through im- 
measurably greater wars were already beginning their 
activity. It was Roon, then minister of war, who had 



THE RECKONING WITH AUSTRIA 389 

warmly recommended the calling of Bismarck to the min- 
istry. It was Moltke who drew up the plan of campaign, 
which, however, was modified in practice by the com- 
mander-in-chief, Wrangel. The latter, already eighty 
years old, and lacking in vigor and decision, needlessly 
protracted the war. 

As it was, the army, about sixty thousand strong, crossed 
the Eider, on the 1st of February, 1864 ; and, by the 20th 
of July, the final truce had been declared. The great 
events of the war were the capture of the Danewerk, the 
storming of the redoubts of Diippel, and the clearing of 
the Danish islands. 

The Danewerk was a line of fortresses, extending for 
fifty miles or more, between the town of Sehleswig and 
the source of the river Reide. All that nature and art 
could do had combined to strengthen this line of de- 
fence ; and the Emperor Napoleon III. was of the opinion 
that, by it, the advance of the Germans migl.t be checked 
for a space of two years. Within five days, on the con- 
trary, the Danish army had been dislodged, or, rather, had 
dislodged itself from its strong position. It was bitterly 
cold, and the marshes, which were otherwise a great pro- 
tection, were frozen over. General de Meza, the com- 
mander-in-chief, dreaded a long bivouac in the snow. He 
might have taken the offensive, but feared to risk all on 
the result of a pitched battle his orders being to avoid 
running Denmark's one available army into unnecessary 
danger. He preferred, instead, to retire to the heights of 
Diippel, facing the island of Alsen. 

Great as was the triumph of the Germans, it would have The re- 
been greater had Wrangel followed Moltke's plan and, in doubts of 
the beginning, cut off the retreat of the Danes by sending a 
part of his forces across the lower Schlei, and around the 
Danewerk. One of Wrangel's colonels wrote to Moltke : 



390 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

" Few men are capable of carrying out a simple idea in an 
equally simple manner. . . . The Danes were cleverer on 
the 4th of February than we. We were two days late 
in surrounding them." The capture of the redoubts of 
Diippel, which was undertaken by Prince Frederick 
Charles of Prussia, was a longer affair, and required weeks 
of active preparation. The storm itself was the matter of 
half an hour, the Danes having taken refuge in impro- 
vised earthworks, a short distance away, from an incessant 
cannonading. At a given signal the cannon ceased, and 
the Prussian storming columns rushed upon the redoubts. 
A few hours more of fighting, and the Danish army had 
suffered a signal defeat, their guns being captured and 
many prisoners taken ; although the losses in dead and 
wounded were about equal on both sides. The whole of 
Schleswig now lay open to the conquerors ; and King 
William of Prussia came himself to the scene of war, to 
express his thanks to his brave army. The Danish forces 
withdrew to the islands of Fiinen and Alsen, and the 
German troops proceeded to Jutland. 

The Lon- The next link in the chain of events was a European 

don Con- congress, held at London, under the auspices of England 
and France. It Avas an assembly full of peaceful intents ; 
but, as Sybel has said, there was the wish among the 
powers concerned to take as little as possible from Den- 
mark and to give as little as possible to Germany. Every 
plan imaginable was discussed : Schleswig-Holstein was 
to be politically independent, but joined by a personal 
union with Denmark ; Schleswig was to be divided be- 
tween Prussia and Denmark and any number of division 
lines were suggested; the Prince of Augustenburg was 
one moment to be recognized, the next he was not. Rus- 
sia thought of reviving an old claim of her own Czar, and 
of transferring it to the Duke of Oldenburg. Prussia 



THE RECKONING WITH AUSTRIA 391 

was willing that the people of Schleswig should vote to 
what nation they should belong; but the conference refused 
to consider such a plan. Now that blood had flown, Bis- 
marck considered himself no longer bound by the agree- 
ments of 1852. England and Russia, and even Denmark 
herself at the last, wished the maintenance of those trea- 
ties. After two months of negotiation, during which 
time hostilities had been suspended, the conference sepa- 
rated. 

During the sessions of the London Conference, the Bismarck 
king of Prussia received an address from the people of interviews 
the duchies, with thirty thousand signatures, begging , 
that Schleswig-Holstein might be freed from Denmark, 
and might become either an independent state, or, if need 
be, a part of the Prussian monarchy. The idea of Prus- 
sian annexation had by this time been freely discussed in 
more than one direction. Austria was naturally alarmed 
at such a possibility, and had tried at the conference to 
make propaganda for a personal union of the duchies 
with Denmark, a proposition which Denmark herself had 
scornfully rejected. Austria had then turned to the oft- 
discarded idea of acknowledging the Prince of Augusten- 
burg ; but Prussia had felt bound to require certain 
assurances as to what policy that candidate would be 
likely to pursue as regarded herself. Bismarck had him- 
self looked into the matter, had tried the prince in the 
balance, and had found him wanting. Augustenburg 
was too sure of his position, backed as he was by public 
opinion both in the duchies and in Germany.' He was 
unwilling to submit to any trammels. "It would be 
better to try and win my heart," he said, " than to bind 
me fast with paragraphs." " We had hoped," Bismarck 
answered dryly, " by driving out the Danes, to have won 
your heart already." 



392 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



The land- 
ing on 
Alsen. 



The peace 
with Den- 
mark. 



Hostilities were reopened within three days after the 
closing of the conference. The outspoken goal of Austria 
and Prussia now was the definite separation of the duchies 
from Denmark ; it was to depend on circumstances what 
should happen after that. Wrangel had resigned the 
chief command, and his mantle had descended on the 
shoulders of Prince Frederick Charles. The latter had 
intrusted General von Bittenfeld with the task of land- 
ing his army on the shores of Alsen, which was garri- 
soned by ten thousand Danes. The manosuvre was carried 
out with perfect success, batteries on the shore protecting 
the troops, as they crossed over, from the attacks of the 
Danish war-ships. Seven hundred of the Danes were 
killed and wounded ; twenty-five hundred were taken 
prisoner; and the rest were driven to an extremity of 
the island, whence they were allowed to escape to their 
fleet. The blow was a final one for Denmark; and the 
German army pressed forward unopposed, in Jutland as 
well as on the islands. 

It was the Eider-Danish party that had brought Den- 
mark to such a pass by plunging her into this unhallowed 
war. In dismissing his cabinet, King Christian covered 
his departing prime minister with bitter but well-merited 
reproaches. The new ministry at once sent to Berlin and 
Vienna, to ask for a truce and for proposals as to the 
grounds of a final peace. According to the preliminaries 
drawn up in August, and definitely accepted in October, 
Denmark was to surrender unconditionally to her two 
enemies: Holstein, Lauenburg, and almost the whole of 
Schleswig, and was to accept any arrangement as to the 
future of the duchies that Austria and Prussia might 
make. The sundered provinces were to be saddled with 
their due proportion of the Danish national debt, and 
were also to bear the costs of the war. On this latter 



THE RECKONING WITH AUSTRIA 393 

point, Denmark was inflexible. The country was on the 
verge of ruin, and, bereft of nearly half its territorial pos- 
sessions, could never have borne a great financial burden. 
The Danish commissioner, Quade, refused to sign the 
peace rather than comply with such a demand. 

The Danish War had been brought to a final, and, for 
Germany, happy conclusion. It was Bismarck whose policy 
had effected such brilliant results. He later declared re- 
peatedly, that he considered the diplomatic moves of the 
year 1864 as the most difficult and the most successful of 
his life. 

' After the war, the court of Vienna did its utmost to Irrecon- 
vsome to a lasting understanding, and to form a lasting cilable 
treaty, with Prussia. The old question of entering_jhe Au&tria 
Zollverein or Custonis__Union, was revived ; and the p ru ssia. 
Austrian minister, Rechberg, tried every means to induce 
Bismarck to relent in the matter. The latter considered 
that a treaty of close alliance between the two powers 
would answer all necessary purposes ; that a unity of 
mercantile interests did not exist ; and that the plan of 
entering the Union was simply a political move. The 
matter led to a ministerial crisis in Vienna; and Rechberg, 
reproached with the futility of his previous policy, and 
with having brought about the isolation of Austria in 
Europe, lost his place. Had he remained in office, it is 
probable that the Austrian-Prussian War would have 
been greatly delayed ; for a close alliance was his constant 
goal. However, as Bismarck once said, " Sooner or later 
it had to come to war, and it is, perhaps, fortunate that it 
happened then, under comparatively favorable circum- 
stances." Already, in the Frankfort days, he had written 
home, " I foresee that one day we shall have to fight for 
our very existence with Austria." 

More and more the designs of the two powers showed 



394 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

themselves absolutely irreconcilable. William made hiss 
recognition of Augustenburg contingent on conditions 
that would have reduced Schleswig-Holstein to a vassal 
state : her commerce was to be restricted, her strong 
places occupied, and even her armies placed under Prus- 
sian leadership. Austria, on the other hand, 'was willing 
to support Augustenburg, if the latter would engage to con- 
clude no private treaty whatever with Prussia. Her minis- 
ters declared the formation of a half-sovereign state the 
most incomplete of all possible solutions of the difficulty. 
To the military suzerainty she never would and never could 
give her consent. On the receipt of this answer, Bismarck- 
called upon Moltke to calculate just what forces Austria 
would be able to muster in case of war. From being 
indifferent to the person of Augustenburg, the king began 
to regard him with great aversion ; while Austria came 
more and more to espouse his cause. 

The Treaty From now on, the breach between the two powers 
of Gastem. widened relentlessly. When King William issued an order 
transferring Prussia's marine station from Danzig to Kiel, 
a stern protest was sent to Berlin which was answered 
politely but equally firmly. In June, 1865, on the other 
hand, King William complained to the emperor of Augus- 
tenburg's conduct, declaring it to be a derogation to his 
own royal dignity. Pending the answer, which was evasive 
when it came, an inquiry was made into the military 
resources of Prussia ; and the plan was discussed, in a 
ministerial conference, of carrying off the prince on a 
Prussian war-ship. Bismarck was already negotiating 
with Italy for an alliance which should gain Venice for the 
latter power, and should draw off to the southern frontier 
a larger portion of the Austrian forces. Steps had also 
been taken to render amicable the Emperor Napoleon, who 
desired a free Italy, and, beyond that, some little compen- 



THE BECKONING WITH AUSTRIA 395 

sation for his own kindness some " trinkgeld," as his 
enemies called it. The Treaty of Gastein, brought about 
by Austria's internal troubles and King William's sincere 
desire for peace, proved but a momentary obstacle to the 
warlike current. It was agreed that Austria should 
administer Holstein, and Prussia, Schleswig, until a 
better arrangement could be made ; that Kiel should 
be a federal harbor, Rendsburg a federal fortress. Lau- 
enburg was sold outright to Prussia for two and a half 
million thalers. 

Again the brand of discord was the Prince of Augus- Annoying 
tenburg. His party continued to make propaganda in demonstra- 
Holstein, and Prussia considered that the Austrian gov- tlons m 
ernor, Gablenz, did too little to stop the public demon- bl ^g 61 
strations. Newspapers spoke of "his Highness, the favor. 
Duke." In many of the churches prayers were made for 
" Duke Frederick of Holstein " instead of for the em- 
peror. The Princess of Augustenburg travelled from 
Altona to Kiel as only royal personages are accustomed 
to travel past gayly decorated stations, and greeted 
everywhere by deputations and by maidens in white gar- 
ments bearing gifts of flowers. The climax was reached, 
when Gablenz permitted the holding of a huge assembly 
which gave cheers for the " lawful, beloved prince, Duke 
Frederick." Bismarck at once told his ambassador to 
demand redress in Vienna, and to inform that court that 
" a negative or evasive answer to our request would con- 
vince us that the imperial government has no longer the 
desire to proceed with us along a common way." The 
answer came, sharp and clear : " The emperor's minister 
must decidedly disavow the claim of the royal Prussian 
ambassador to receive a justification for an act of the 
administration of Holstein." 

Even this did not necessarily mean war, but the situa- 



396 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



Austria 

threatens 

federal 

execution 

against 

Prussia. 



tion had become so tense that the wildest rumors as to 
mobilization of forces were believed on both sides, and a 
mere playful remark of Bismarck's to a lady at a dinner 
party was magnified into a declaration of intended hostili- 
ties. " Is it true," asked the Countess Hohenlohe, " that 
you are going to fight Austria and conquer Saxony ? " 
" Of course," was the answer, " that has been my object 
since I 'first became minister." Strangely enough, the 
minister's laughing prophecy, that the Austrians would be 
defeated near the countess's own estates in Bohemia, was 
to prove almost literally true. 

Prussia struck a new blow at the party of Augusten- 
burg by decreeing, that any attempt to undermine the 
provisional government in the duchies would be punish- 
able by house of correction. Austria inquired officially if 
Prussia still considered herself bound by the Gastein 
Treaty; and informed the German courts that, should the 
answer prove unsatisfactory, she would submit the whole 
matter to the decision of the federal Diet, and move the 
mobilization of a federal army. This mere threat set 
Prussia to arming in furious haste, brought about the 
consummation of the Italian alliance, and caused Bismarck 
to make one of the master moves of his career by bringing 
into the discussion a plan for reorganizing the whole con- 
stitution of Germany. He was determined, should Austria 
find it possible to pass such a vote of federal execution, 
that Prussia should no longer belong to the German 
Confederation. He would found a confederation of 
his own, which the other states, should they not do so 
voluntarily, must be forced into joining. He, the ultra- 
conservative of 1848, was willing now that the German 
people should have a general parliament chosen by pop- 
ular election. If war was to come, posterity should not 
say that the cause was a trivial dispute regarding the 



THE RECKONING WITH AUSTRIA 397 

ownership of a province. It was to be a fight rather 
for the holiest privileges of man for nationality, for 
free government. 

Early in June, Austria carried out her threat of bringing The voting 
the Schleswig-Holstein matter before the Diet, and what of federal 
Prussia deemed a direct breach of the Gastein Treaty exe cution. 
ordered Gablenz to call together the Holstein estates, 
thus conjuring up the spirit of revolution. Manteuffel, 
the Prussian governor of Schleswig, announced that, since 
a return had been made to the condition of things before 
the Treaty of Gastein, he must once more place garrisons 
in Holstein. As his troops advanced, Gablenz retreated, 
complaining loudly, for his own part, of the breach of the 
treaty. The fateful vote in the Diet -the most fateful, 
doubtless, in all German history took place on June 14, 
1866. By a majority of three, the mobilization of the 
federal forces was decreed, Austria's chief supporters 
being Bavaria, Hanover, Saxony, Wiirtemberg, Nassau, 
electoral Hesse, and the free city of Frankfort. The 
original form of the motion had had to be changed, as the 
kind of execution that Austria wanted was unknown to 
the Act of Confederation. It was this earlier form be- 
traying, as it did, Austria's real intent that the Prussian 
envoy referred to when, rising from his chair, he declared 
that the law and the federal constitution had been broken. 
His Majesty, the king, he proceeded, should consider the 
treaties of confederation at an end ; but intended to hold 
fast to the principles of national unity. He then laid before 
the assembly the programme of a new confederation, which 
excluded Austria, divided the highest military command 
between Prussia and Bavaria, and arranged for a German 
parliament to be chosen by popular election. The German 
states were invited to join. Refusal meant war. When the 
president of the Diet inveighed against Prussia's conduct, 



398 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

and declared the confederation indissoluble, the majority 
did refuse. 

Prussia and The whole machinery for starting the great war had 
Austria at been so perfected on the Prussian side that, before four 
days were over, King William could issue a stirring mani- 
festo to his people : " The fatherland is in danger," it 
began ; " Austria and a great part of Germany stand in 
arms agaiiist it. ... Austria will not forget that her 
princes once ruled Germany. In the younger but power- 
fully developing Prussia she will not acknowledge a 
natural ally, but merely a rival and an enemy." " The old 
unhallowed jealousy," the writing continued, " has flared 
up anew into blazing flames. Prussia must be weakened, 
annihilated, dishonored. . . . We are surrounded by ene- 
mies whose battle-cry is, down with Prussia ! " " Should 
God lend us the victory," was the solemn and prophetic 
conclusion, " then shall we also have strength to renew, 
in a firmer and more hallowed form, the loose bond which, 
more in name than in deed, holds together the German 
lands, and which now is being torn asunder by those who 
dread the might and right of the national spirit. May 
God be with us ! " 

In numbers the Prussian and Austrian armies were not 
unequal, the scale being rather in Austria's favor. But 
that was a mere fortuitous circumstance. In everything 
where human foresight was concerned, Prussia had im- 
measurably the advantage. A great part of the Austrian 
soldiers were enjoying leave of absence ; and, as a matter 
of principle, on account of conflicts of nationality, their 
regiments were quartered far from their homes. The Prus- 
sians, whose breech-loading needle-guns could fire three 
shots to one of the Austrian muzzle-loaders, had been trained 
in intricate evolutions ; the Austrians pinned their whole 
faith on weighty onslaughts. Prussia had reserves and 



THE RECKONING WITH AUSTRIA 399 

a trained Landivehr ; while Austria, for want of funds, 
had exempted hundreds of thousands of soldiers from 
their longer term of service in the line, and had no 
organized forces from which to draw. 

Under capable leaders a little enthusiasm might have Benedek 
nullified these evils; but Benedek, the commander-in- commands 

chief on the northern scene of war, a man of tried and the 

Austrian 
proven personal bravery, went into the struggle with army< 

a despondency and a dread of the worst that never left 
him. Against his own will he was withdrawn from Italy, 
where he knew every inch of the ground, to a field where 
- to use his own simile he felt like an ass, and did not 
even know which way the Elbe flowed. He well knew 
the evils of the military system of Austria, and had often 
spoken of them with bitter mockery. He had long utterly 
refused to accept the command, and had urged the emperor 
to give it to another. Only after a remarkable interview 
with the Archduke Albrecht who solemnly adjured him 
to accept the position as a sacrifice to the imperial house, 
which could not afford to have one of its own members 
suffer the odium that would come from defeat had he at 
last relented. He knew, as he declared a few weeks later, 
that Austria was playing va banque; that he was staking 
his own civil and military honor. And to add to his mis- 
fortunes, he chose as military adviser a man whose repu- 
tation stood very high, Major General Krismanic, but 
whose counsels proved most faulty. 

While Austria labored under the disadvantage of having Overthrow 
a double line of boundary to protect, it must not be for- of Saxony, 

gotten that Prussia had against her the greater part of Hesse > 

Hanover, 
Germany. By rapidity of movement, however, she pro- and 

posed to prevent a union of the forces of the small states ; Nassau. 
and, with forty -eight thousand men which was. all she 
could spare from the main army to hold one hundred 



400 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

and nineteen thousand in check. The definite problems 
of the campaign were four in number: Saxony, Hesse, 
Hanover, and Nassau were first to be overcome ; then the 
same army was to be sent against Bavaria and the other 
South German states ; nearly a quarter of a million men 
were to oppose the main Austrian army in Bohemia ; while 
Italy, with some one hundred and sixty thousand more, 
was to invade Austria from the south. 

Saxony and Hesse were disposed of immediately. 
Within a space of three days, King John and his son 
were exiles, and the elector was a prisoner in one of his 
own castles. The conquest of Hanover was marked by 
painful incidents. The land itself fell an easy prey, but 
the army of eighteen thousand men was allowed, through 
carelessness, to march away to the south. Moltke at 
Berlin, having ordered Falkenstein to cut off its re- 
treat, supposed that he had done so, which was not 
the case. He informed King George accordingly, thus 
inducing him to capitulate. Injured in his feelings and 
considering himself betrayed, the king ordered an attack 
on Eisenach, which was countermanded by the Duke of 
Coburg and a Hanoverian major, under the impression 
that George had not received the latest despatches from 
Berlin. A skirmish at Langensalza ended favorably for 
the Hanoverians ; but the Prussian troops soon closed in 
on them, relentlessly, from all directions, and they were 
obliged to surrender. The king and his son were for- 
bidden to enter the confines of Hanover. Falkenstein 
pressed forward almost unopposed, but had scarcely 
entered Frankfort in triumph, when, on account of his 
earlier disobedience, he was superseded by Manteuffel. 

From Frankfort Manteuffel led his forces, which were 
greatly augmented, to one victorious field after another. 
At Bischofsheim, on the Tauber, the federal troops were 



THE RECKONING WITH AUSTRIA 401 

repulsed ; and, after several successful encounters near 
Wiirzburg, the Prussians drove an army nearly double the 
size of their own across the river Maine. They remained 
in this region until the truce of Nikolsburg put an end to 
hostilities. 

On the extreme southern field of war, in the meantime, The 
the Italians had allowed themselves to be defeated by Italian field 
forces vastly inferior in numbers to their own. Never was 
the science of dallying carried to such perfection, and never 
was a commander torn by more conflicting interests than 
the chief of the general staff, La Marmora. About two 
hundred and thirty thousand regular soldiers had been 
brought together, and Garibaldi had raised a troop of thirty- 
five thousand volunteers; in addition to which one hundred 
and fifty thousand men guarded the fortresses and stood in 
reserve. Yet this immense force accomplished less than 
nothing, although the Austrians only opposed it by one 
hundred and forty thousand men, nearly thirty thousand 
of whom were stationed far apart from the rest in the Tyrol, 
in Istria, and in Friaul. La Marmora was, unfortunately, a 
politician as well as a leader of armies. He had learned 
that Austria did not lay much stress on the possession of 
Venice, and that Italy was likely to secure it whatever the 
outcome of the struggle. Napoleon had hinted that Aus- 
tria's honor required her to strike a few blows, but that the 
Italians had better not make war too seriously. There is 
scarcely a doubt but that La Marmora hoped and expected 
to carry through the campaign without any serious encoun- 
ters. He found it most inconvenient to treat with the 
Prussian envoy, Bernhardi, who had been sent to discuss 
with him the plan of campaign: Bernhardi's suggestion 
that the Italian army should fight its way to the Danube 
and effect a junction with the Prussians, was received as an 
attempt at witticism ; while the Prussian plan of sending 

VOL. II 2 



402 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

Garibaldi to raise a revolt in Hungary was most distaste- 
ful, the ruin of Austria being the last thing the Italian 
politicians desired. 

The When, on the 23d of June, La Marmora crossed the 

battle of little river Mincio, which formed the western boundary of 
the Austro-Venetian territory, he did so in the belief that 
no Austrians would oppose him this side of the Adige. 
But he soon found that he was greatly mistaken. Early 
on the morning of June 24 the Italian army, the divisions 
of which were widely scattered, was forced into a desperate 
struggle with a large Austrian force, under the cautious 
'and determined leader, Archduke Charles. The battle of 
Custozza was a long and hard -fought one, and individual 
Italian regiments did brave and brilliant service. By 
midday, the result was by no means decided, and the 
crown prince, Humbert, who had thought of a mano3uvre 
by which the enemy could be attacked in the flank, and its 
line of retreat cut off, sent to submit his plan to La Mar- 
mora, and to ask his consent before executing it. Strange 
to say, the commander-in-chief was nowhere to be found. 
He had already given up the day for lost, had left the 
battlefield, and had hastened in person to the headquarters 
of General Cucchiari, who was miles away, asking him to 
come to the assistance of the oppressed army. Cucchiari 
informed him that it would be nightfall before the com- 
mand could even reach his different brigades. La Mar- 
mora broke into a fit of weeping, and threatened to shoot 
himself. No wonder the day at Custozza proved dis- 
astrous. The Sardinian crown prince and the other 
generals waited in vain for their commands. Each 
brigade fought where it stood. There was no one to 
order a retreat, no one to summon the reinforcements, al- 
though regiments enough were at hand which had hardly 
engaged at all in the fray. For ten hours the brunt of 



THE RECKONING WITH AUSTRIA 403 

the attack had been borne by sixty thousand men ; while as 
many more had stood idle in the immediate neighborhood, 
or, at all events, within a few hours' march. It is surpris- 
ing that the troops did as well as they did; surprising, too, 
that the Austrian losses outnumbered, if anything, those 
of their antagonists. 

But all the military operations that had as yet taken The 
place were small in comparison with what was occurring at skirmish at 
this time in the hilly districts of northern Bohemia. Here 
it was that Benedek had decided to strike a blow with 
his full and undivided forces either against the army of 
Prince Frederick Charles, which was advancing from the 
north toward the Iser, or, as the case might be, against 
that of the Prussian crown prince, which was moving 
westward from Silesia over the Sudeten Mountains, and in 
the direction of the Elbe. The Prussian armies that 
of Frederick Charles had been joined by the troops with 
which Herwarth von Bittenfeld had occupied Dresden 
had been ordered to unite in the neighborhood of Gitschin. 
It remained to be seen whether or not the Austrians could 
prevent this junction. 

Gitschin forms the middle point of the irregular quad- 
rangle formed by the bending Elbe, the Sudeten, and the 
Iser. It was in this quadrangle that, in a quick succession 
of conflicts, the fate of Germany was to be decided. The 
first fighting took place at Podol and Miinchengratz, 
points on the Iser which had been reached, separately, by 
divisions of Frederick Charles's and of Herwarth's armies. 
The Austrians were worsted in both skirmishes, their total 
losses being about six times as great as those of their 
antagonists. 

At Gitschin itself a deadly struggle took place. The 
Prussians had been obliged to advance between towering 
and wooded heights, which were crowned by the batteries of 



404 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

some Austrian divisions. But the latter were hampered by 
orders from headquarters, which reached the troops after 
the fighting had already begun, but which instructed them 
to avoid a contest with forces numerically greater than 
their own. The result was a disastrous retreat, which 
ended in panic and confusion ; and Frederick Charles's 
army was soon in possession of Gitschin. The Prussian 
losses amounted to fifteen hundred, the Saxon- Austrian to 
five thousand men. 

The battle The army of the crown prince, meanwhile, had crossed 
of Komg- thg Sudeten Mountains by three different passes, and had 
met with serious opposition. Near Trautenau, at the foot of 
the northernmost pass, the Prussians had been defeated, 
with the unusual result, indeed, that the losses of the 
Austrians were three times as great as their own. At 
Nachod, Skalitz, Burkersdorf, and Schweinschadel, they 
had been successful. Their losses during the whole march 
had amounted to about five thousand men; those of the 
Austrians, to twenty-one thousand. 

By the 30th of June a regiment of Frederick Charles's 
army was able to join the crown prince on the Elbe. The 
first great task of the Prussians, that of uniting all their 
armies, had been accomplished. It remained, with the com- 
bined forces, to deal a crushing blow to the enemy. That 
blow was struck between Sadowa and Koniggratz on the 
3d of July. King William, Bismarck, Moltke, and Roon 
had left Berlin four days before, and were there to see the 
result of all their plannings, and the realization of all their 
hopes. 

Koniggratz is one of the great battles of history, not 
only on account of its results, but also because of its actual 
operations. Seldom indeed have two such colossal armies 
stood over against each other. Two hundred and twenty- 
two thousand men, on the Austrian side, opposed two 



THE BECKONING WITH AUSTRIA 

hundred and twenty-one thousand Prussians. The com- 
parative discipline of the two armies, as well as the actual 
condition of the men after their week of fighting and of 
long marches, was very different. As late as the day but 
one before the battle, Benedek had telegraphed to the 
emperor at Vienna : " Most earnestly pray your Majesty 
to make peace at any price ; catastrophe for army unavoid- 
able." Francis Joseph had answered : " Impossible to 
close peace ; I command, if only alternative, to begin an 
orderly retreat. Has a battle taken place ?" On the after- 
noon of July 2 Benedek had telegraphed again : " The 
army remains to-morrow in its position near Koniggratz. 
Rest and care have accomplished much ; hope that further 
retreat will not be necessary." 

The Austrian army was utterly defeated in spite of 
the facts that its position on the low hills, which it had 
crowned with its batteries, was an exceptionally strong 
one, and that the army of the Prussian crown prince, 
which had remained at Koniginhof not knowing that the 
crisis was so near, had had to march from ten to fifteen 
miles on the very day of the battle. Benedek's plan of 
campaign had not been a bad one, but his generals chief 
among them those scions of an effete nobility, the Counts 
of Thun and Festetics had prevented its being carried 
out. They had imagined that they themselves knew more 
than their commander, and had disdained to obey his 
orders. The brunt of the attack had been turned against 
the army of Frederick Charles, while very insufficient forces 
had remained to cope with that of the crown prince. The 
divisions which Benedek had ordered to complete the chain 
that would have blocked the latter's way, engaged instead 
with Fransecky's division, the brave resistance of which 
formed the most heroic episode of the whole battle. Hour 
after hour, these fourteen thousand men resisted the attack 



406 



Horrors at 



of forty-three thousand. Hour after hour with but 
twenty-four guns they resisted the fire of one hundred 
and twenty-eight. By the time the long-looked-for crown 
prince arrived every seventh man had fallen. 

The crown prince's appearance decided not merely the 
Koniggratz. f a t e o f this one encounter, but also that of the whole day. 
Some sixty thousand Austrians were soon in wild flight 
only to be overtaken by a worse fate than that which they 
were striving to escape. The commandant of the fortress 
. had closed its gates and opened the sluices of the Elbe. 
From the one narrow way that led to these inhospitable 
walls, thousands were crowded into the slimy marshes. 
War is never without its horrors ; but there is something 
supremely awful in the idea of this human bridge over 
which, in a state of indescribable panic, passed the com- 
rades of the fallen, followed by horses, cannon, and heavy 
wagons. The total losses of the defeated army, including 
the prisoners that fell into Prussian hands, amounted to 
44,393 men a terrible chastening for any responsible 
people. Yet the light-hearted Viennese seem scarcely to 
have felt the blow. The theatres continued their perform- 
ances, and Strauss's concerts were well attended. A reliable 
witness relates how, on the very day on which the news of 
the battle arrived, some two thousand persons took part in 
a masked festival, a sort of Venetian Corso, and how, in the 
cafSs, the public applauded and encored the little scenes 
and chansonettes. " I asked myself," he writes, " if I had 
been only dreaming and if we had really received a bloody 
and signal defeat. Will not fire and shame descend 
upon ns ? " 

Two days after Koniggratz, on the 5th of July, the 
Paris Moniteur announced to the world that Austria had 
ceded Venice to the French emperor, and had asked him 
to mediate between the warring powers. Napoleon had 



The inter- 
vention of 
Napoleon. 



THE RECKONING WITH AUSTRIA 407 

taken upon himself a difficult office, the more so as he had 
to reckon with fundamental differences of opinion in his 
own cabinet. The minister of foreign affairs, Drouyn de 
Lhuys, was in favor of intimidating the Prussians, and pre- 
venting them from placing their demands too high, by 
stationing an army of a hundred thousand men on the 
eastern frontier. Marquis Lavalette, minister of the in- 
terior, declared that a mediator neither commands nor 
threatens ; and that, besides, France was in no condition to 
go to war. Prussia accepted Napoleon's intervention, but 
kept him on tenter-hooks before stating the terms on 
which she would make peace. 

Italy, on the contrary, hitherto a mere fledgling under 
Napoleon's wing, refused the overtures of her former pat- 
ron, who was ready, now, to buy her over at any moment 
for the price of Venice. Italian pride rebelled at receiv- 
ing, as a gift, what the country's weapons had failed to win. 
"I will never," cried one of the ministers, "consent to 
such a piece of ' piggery.' " Victor Emmanuel ordered 
General Cialdini, whose army had remained inactive as yet, 
to cross the Po into Venetian territory. He did so, and 
Garibaldi broke into the Tyrol ; while the forces of the 
Italian fleet engaged with those of the Austrian admiral, 
Tegethoff, on the heights above Lissa. But Lissa, on 
a smaller scale, was a repetition of Custozza, Admiral 
Persano proving a worthy disciple of La Marmora. The 
second Italian campaign was as inglorious as the first 
had been. 

The delay of Prussia, meanwhile, in stating the condi- 
tions of a possible peace, began to make the French em- 
peror ridiculous in the eyes of Europe. It seemed as 
though Bismarck intended to dally with the would-be 
arbiter until the Prussian army should have reached 
Vienna. Napoleon could not even bring about a tempo- 



408 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



Truce of 
Nikolsburg 
and Treaty 
of Prague. 



rary truce ; and, on June 16, a skirmish took place at 
Tobitschau, on June 22, another at Blumenau. 

The credit of having prevented Napoleon from raising 
an army, and from breaking with Italy and Prussia, belongs 
to the Prussian ambassador in Paris, Count Goltz. Goltz 
held a discourse before the Empress Eugenie on the gen- 
eral state of things in Europe. He pointed out that the 
English government was momentarily friendly to Ger- 
many ; that Russia still remembered the support furnished 
by Napoleon to Poland ; and that Austria had never for- 
given the emperor for aiding to free Italy. He ended by 
asking the empress if this were a time to mortally .wound 
King William's just pride of victory, or to tamper with 
Italy. The ambassador's representations seem to have 
been effectual. Napoleon adopted a milder tone, and, 
when the Prussian proposals had finally arrived, and been 
formulated and laid before him by Goltz, he was graciously 
pleased to approve them, adding for his own part this one 
paragraph: "Austria's integrity, save as regards Venice, 
shall be preserved." This coincided well with Bismarck's 
views. On the day of Koniggratz, as he rode over the bat- 
tlefield with King William, who made light of the stray 
bullets that were falling about him, he had said to his 
sovereign : " The question at issue is decided ; what now 
is at stake is to regain the old friendship with Austria." 

The proposals submitted to Napoleon, and adopted as a 
basis of peace, ran that Austria should recognize the disso- 
lution of the old German Confederation, and not oppose a 
reorganization of Germany in which she should have no 
part ; that Prussia should form a North German Confed- 
eration, and not oppose a similar union of the South Ger- 
man states ; that Austria and her allies should make good 
the costs or, as Napoleon emended it, a part of the costs 
of the war ; that Schleswig-Holstein, with the possible 



THE RECKONING WITH AUSTRIA 409 

exception of the northern districts of Schleswig, should be 
incorporated in Prussia. Goltz had omitted to mention 
one chief item, and Bismarck telegraphed to him on June 
17 : " The most important thing for us at the present 
moment is the annexation of from three to four million 
North German inhabitants." Fortunately for the cause 
of peace, Napoleon, who had his own ulterior motives, 
showed himself tractable as to this point also. He de- 
clared that the desired annexations were details, indiffer- 
ent to him, of the inner German organization. He entered 
the lists, however, for the kingdom of Saxony, begging 
that it should be allowed to remain intact. The Saxons 
had been the chief allies of the Austrians, and it was a 
point of honor with the latter that the country should not 
be dismembered. 

The preliminary Peace of Nikolsburg was concluded on Bismarck 
June 26, on the basis of the proposals approved by Na- saves 
poleon. The final one, in which Italy was included, was k 
signed, two months later, at Prague. At Nikolsburg, a 
strong difference of opinion had shown itself between Bis- 
marck and the king of Prussia. The lattex wanted to 
make the most of his victory, and to annex at least two 
Saxon provinces. Bismarck's stern insistence on the ne- 
cessity for moderation was, as even his enemies acknowl- 
edge, one of his greatest acts. He pointed out that the 
present moment was the time for peace ; that clouds were 
rising on the political horizon ; that the desire to gain a 
little more should not tempt Prussia to jeopardize the re- 
sults already won. Bismarck tells himself, in his memoirs, 
how, during the interview with the king on the subject, 
the latter became so excited that it was necessary to drop 
the discussion ; how, under the impression that his views 
had been rejected, he had asked permission to abandon a 
diplomatic career, and had retired to his own room ; how 



410 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

the thought had come to him of ending all his troubles by 
falling from a fourth story-window, when he heard the 
door open and a hand was laid upon his shoulder. It was 
the crown prince, who, knightly and frank in all his acts, 
had come to offer him his alliance. " You know that I 
have always been against the war," he said. " You have 
considered it necessary, and for it you bear the responsi- 
bility. If now you are convinced that the purpose has 
been achieved, and that peace ought to be concluded, I 
am ready to stand by you, and defend your opinion 
against my father." The old king eventually relented, 
but not without a final thrust at the minister who had 
deserted him before the enemy, and forced him to " bite 
into the sour apple" and sign this "disgraceful peace." 
France Bismarck had conquered. Saxony remained intact,' and 

wants com- j o i ne( j the North German Confederation. Austria's in- 
demnity was reduced from fifty million thalers to less 
than half that amount. On the day on which the prelim- 
inaries of Nikolsburg were signed, the French ambassador, 
Benedetti, laid before Bismarck a despatch from Paris. 
France had desired not to disturb the negotiations ; but, 
these being now ended, would like to have it known, that 
her consent to the Prussian annexations presupposed a 
moderate compensation for herself. What that compen- 
sation should comprise was to be the subject for future 
deliberations. 



CHAPTER X 

THE RECKONING WITH FRANCE AND THE ATTAINMENT 
OF. GERMAN UNITY 

LITERATURE : See under previous chapter. Of works dealing with the 
military events of the Franco-Prussian war that of Junck, Der deutsch- 
franzosischer Krieg is one of the best. Sybel gives only the genesis of 
the war. The letters of the Times correspondent, gathered into two 
volumes under the title of International Relations before and during the 
War of 1870, are extremely interesting reading. These Times corre- 
spondents were frequently furnished with their information by Bismarck 
himself. Count Frankenberg's Kriegstageblatter are exceptionally vivid 
war pictures written from day to day. 

THE events that culminated in the battle of Koniggratz Growing 
and the fall of the old German Confederation, had served popularity 

also to clear the storm-laden atmosphere in other direc- 

r and Bis- 

tions. King William and Bismarck were no longer the mar ck. 
most unpopular men in the kingdom ; for, from the moment 
that war became imminent, the tide had begun to turn. An 
attempt on the minister's life by a fanatic, who thought 
thus to prevent the struggle, and who, on Unter den Lin- 
den, fired five shots at him, gave rise to an address signed 
by three hundred thousand names. Bismarck's coolness after 
the event, in entertaining invited guests as if nothing had 
happened, and in only casually informing his wife in an 
undertone of -the danger he had escaped, excited general 
admiration. The return of the king from the battlefield 
and especially his first appearance at a state performance 
in the opera house was the occasion of such an ovation 
that, when William rose to make his acknowledgments, tears 

411 



412 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

choked his voice anfl he was forced to retire. The elite of 
Berlin gave a festival at Kroll's famous establishment in 
the Thiergarten, in the course of which, the burgomaster 
of the city drank a toast to: "Bismarck, who had taken 
time by the forelock, and with unflinching resolution 
realized the yearnings of his race for unity; Roon, who 
had organized the army that shattered the enemy; and 
Moltke, the unseen moving spring of all those splendid 
operations." 

The end of It still remained to hold a final reckoning with the Prus- 
the struggle s | an Parliament ; but so bent was Bismarck on conciliation, 

so completely did he throw aside every idea of humbling: 

Prussian c * 

Parliament. i s former adversaries, that the matter was soon arranged. 
In his first speech from the throne to the two Houses of the 
Prussian Parliament, the king confessed that the govern- 
ment had been obliged for some years to carry on the finan- 
cial affairs of the state without the proper basis. This had 
been done, however, from a supreme sense of duty, and 
William now demanded indemnification for his acts. In its 
reply, the House of Deputies was very outspoken, hoped that 
henceforth there would always be a timely enactment of 
the budget, and that moneys refused by the House would 
not be expended under pretence of being required for the 
public weal. The king answered that he was ready to 
admit that the case was unique of its kind. Were a similar 
emergency possible, he knew of no other expedient that 
could well be adopted, but the like never could occur 
again. In his great speech of defence, Bismarck warned 
against demanding ajtop specific acknowledgment of wrong- 
doing, and declared that his party required peace, not 
because it had been .rendered unfit for combat, but because 
the great task was not yet finished, and the fatherland 
needed unity in word and deed. The act of indemnity 
was passed by 230 out of 305 votes ; and, as a mark of 



THE BECKONING WITH FRANCE 413 

especial esteem, the sum of a million and a half thalers 
was set aside as a dotation for those who had most dis- 
tinguished themselves in bringing about such great re- 
sults. Bismarck received four hundred thousand, Roon 
three hundred thousand, and Moltke two hundred thou- 
sand thalers, with the recommendation that the money be 
expended in buying landed estates. 

By the addition of Schleswig-Holstein, Hanover, Hesse- Sorrow of 
Cassel, Nassau, and Frankfort, Prussia received an increase the Han - 
of four and a half million population and of more than five 
thousand square miles of territory. The small states that 
were now received into the North German Confederation 
added a further four million inhabitants to that organiza- 
tion, and raised the numbers of the army at its disposal 
to some eight hundred thousand men. As a rule the 
annexations were accomplished without difficulty; but, in 
Hanover, the king carried away all the state funds he 
could lay hands on, and the nobility presented a pathetic 
address, asking that the dynasty which had ruled for 
so many centuries should not be driven out. William 
answered this address at great length, and the deputa- 
tion departed in sorrow and sadness : " henceforward," it 
declared, " the most loyal and reasonable Hanoverian has 
no other resource but to endeavor to convert the bitter- 
ness and excitement, partly created by the intention of 
annexation, into a sentiment of hopeless resignation to 
the unavoidable decrees of Providence." As a matter 
of fact, far from showing "hopeless resignation," the 
Guelph king and his son proved such a thorn in the side 
of the Prussian government, and went so far in their 
hostility, that an indemnity originally granted them was 
withdrawn. For many years, their revenues went to 
make up the so-called " reptile fund " which was secretly 
used to suppress intrigues against the safety of the state. 



414 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



The consti- 
tution of 
the North 
German 
Confedera- 
tion. 



" We must follow these reptiles into their holes,'' Bismarck 
had said, in his virile way. 

It remained to draw up a constitution for the North 
German Confederation; and this, as far as the essential 
points were concerned, Bismarck did with his own hand. 
It was he who invented the name Bundesrath for the 
federal council that was to represent the interests of the 
individual states: as opposed to the Reichstag, which was 
the organ for the whole confederation, and the members 
of which were chosen merely on a numerical basis one 
for each hundred thousand of the population. The states 
retained the utmost freedom, save where the general good 
absolutely demanded a sacrifice. The president of the 
confederation was the king of Prussia, who, however, 
had no initiative in introducing laws, and no veto power. 
To the threat of some progressionist members of the 
first general Parliament, that the constitution must be 
made to conform to the less liberal one of Prussia, or that 
otherwise the Prussian Diet might refuse to accept it, 
Bismarck replied with overwhelming eloquence: "did the 
opposition really believe that the movement which had 
called men to arms from the Belt to the Sicilian Straits, 
from the Rhine to the Pruth and Dniester, was to have 
no result; and that the million German warriors who had 
fought and bled on distant battlefields could be deprived 
of the benefit of this national decision by the vote of a 
local Diet ? What ! he cried, would these gentlemen 
answer to a wounded soldier of Koniggratz, asking what 
he had achieved by all his sufferings ? Oh, yes, they 
would say, again nothing has come of German unity, but 
we have saved the right of the Prussian Diet to render 
doubtful every year the existence of the Prussian army. 
" And herewith," he thundered in conclusion. " shall the 
wounded soldier console himself that he has lost his limbs, 






THE RECKONING WITH FKANCE 415 

herewith the widow that she has buried her husband?" 
He constantly urged to haste. " Set Germany in the sad- 
dle," he cried ; "she will soon know how to ride." After 
less than two months of deliberation, the constitution was 
finally adopted; and, already in the autumn of 1867, the 
nrst regular Diet was held. 

It was a grief to Bismarck, a grief to the states them- Treaties of 
selves, that Bavaria, Baden, and Wiirtemberg, and their Prussia 
satellites, had been excluded from the Confederation. But ^ 
during all these years a strong factor to be reckoned with states< 
was the possible enmity of Napoleon III. At the time of 
the Peace of Prague, he had laid down his fiat that these 
southern states should be allowed to form their own union. 
So shaken was the emperor's own position by the fiasco in 
Mexico, that he was considered ready to take up any 
quarrel that might restore his lost prestige. He hoped to 
exercise great influence over this second confederation, 
which, indeed, he was never able to bring to pass. He 
had not counted on the_strength of the commercial ties 
that bound north and south together : with the Prussian 
market closed to Bavarian beer, the wholesale price had 
fallen to nearly one-half. The southern states were glad 
enough to enter the Zollverein, and even to relinquish the 
veto power in that organization, which each member had 
formerly possessed. They were glad enough to enter into 
secret treaties with Prussia, offensive as well as defensive, 
the publishing of which, in 1867, completely checkmated 
Napoleon. 

The French emperor's efforts to gain compensation were Napoleon's 
like the grasping at a straw of a drowning man. He cravin g for 
hinted, he threatened, he implored. Bismarck, when it tio 
suited his purposes, would encourage him with a ray of 
hope. In the summer of 1866 Napoleon made a specific 
demand of the left bank of the Rhine, including Mainz : 



416 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

his envoy, Benedetti, declared that could public opinion 
in France not be placated by such a concession the exist- 
ence of the dynasty would be in danger. Part of the 
territory demanded belonged to Bavaria, and Bismarck 
used this circumstance to thoroughly embroil the emperor 
with -the southern states. The chancellor's curt refusal 
to cede an inch of German territory, led to the fall of 
M. Drouyn de Lhuys, and to a disavowal of his policy, but 
not to a relincjuisliment of the hope of compensation. The 
emperor's star was waning fast. After his abandonment of 
the unfortunate Maximilian, the latter had been captured, 
court-martialled, and shot, to the lasting disgrace of the 
French government. The role which Napoleon was playing 
in European politics was becoming farcical. The rapidity 
with which Prussia had crushed Austria had upset all his 
calculations. The French looked upon Koniggratz as a 
defeat, almost, of their own arms, and called loudly for 
revenge ; and no amount of stuffing the ballot could pre- 
vent the rise of a strong parliamentary opposition at home. 
The For a moment it seemed as though, by purchasing Lux- 

Luxemburg em burg from Holland, Napoleon could throw a sop to his 
detractors. Luxemburg was practically German, although 
it had refused to enter the North German Confederation. 
The king of Holland was willing to sell. Bismarck, at 
first at least, seems not to have been averse to the trans- 
action. But Russia and England interfered, and among 
the German people at large there arose a perfect storm of 
opposition. The member from Hanover, Bennigsen, de- 
nounced the project in the federal Parliament in most scath- 
ing terms. "Luxemburg," he declared, "is German, and 
has given emperors and margraves to the nation. It is a 
border country, the defence and preservation of which is 
a demand of honor. It is a fortress of extreme military 
importance, the loss of which would not a little impair 



THE BECKONING WITH FRANCE 417 

our strength. ... If France does not hesitate to insult 
us, the earlier that we say that we are all for war the 
better. It would be sullying our honor were we to act 
otherwise. It would be an indelible stain on the national 
escutcheon, were we to submit to arrogance and cupidity 
combined." And to war it all but came : there were 
moments when the mobilizing of the German forces hung 
on the turn of a hand. Bismarck, when asked later what 
had held him back, acknowledged that for a week the matter 
had occupied his whole attention. " It was not the pos- 
sibility of defeat that concerned me," he declared, " for 
Moltke had assured me we should conquer. But it was a 
question whether we wish to begin war with France, even 
with the certainty or extreme probability of victory. 
This question we answered in the negative, and deter- 
mined only to make war under absolute compulsion. We 
considered all the immense losses, all the grief and misery . 
in thousands of families. Yes, gentlemen, stare at me if 
you will, do you think that I, too, have not a heart ? Be- 
lieve me, I have one that beats just like your own. War 
will always be war the misery of the devastated lands, 
the wails of the widows and orphans it is all so terrible 
that I for one would only grasp at this expedient under 
supreme necessity." 

Although the Luxemburg matter was settled peaceably, French 
its sting remained behind. " The Prussians need not be jealousy of 
the most suspicious of men," wrote the correspondent of 
the London Times, " to regard this Luxemburg bargain as 
the shadow of coming events. If Napoleon III. deem it 
conducive to the interests of his dynasty to satisfy the in- 
ordinate ambition of the French, the rebuff he sustained 
in the present affair will only render it the more indis- 
pensable for him to engage in some similar venture as 
soon as he can." Numberless were the hostile acts com- 

VOL. II 2 E 



418 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



Bismarck 
and the 
Spanish 
candida- 
ture. 



mitted by the French during the next two years. Unre- 
mittingly the press egged its readers on to war. The 
official Moniteur once described the Prussian soldier as 
the " pitiable slave of a despotic government," and said of 
General Benedek and his defeat at Koniggratz, " This 
proves him to have been even a worse ignoramus than the 
Prussians, his adversaries." A pamphlet issued in May, 
1868, speaks of war as sure to come, but expresses the 
condescending hope that Prussia's conquerors would not 
abuse their victory as they did after Jena, for "it is never 
good to drive a courageous people to despair." Napoleon 
III. was repeatedly saluted by his troops with shouts of 
"Au Rhin!" and "Vive la guerre!" while the Hanoverian 
Legion, with which King George hoped to recover his 
lost dominions, was invited to France and allowed to 
muster and drill on French soil. 

But all these menaces were without a focus until, in the 
autumn of 1869, it became known that the Spaniards had 
offered their throne, rendered vacant by revolution, to 
Prince Leopold, of the Sigmaringen branch of the House 
of Hohenzollern a very distant relative of the king of 
Prussia, it is true ; indeed, an actually nearer one to Na- 
poleon himself, and a Roman Catholic to boot but he 
bore the hated name, and the cry was raised to beware of 
the new Charles V. on his double throne. Behind this 
Spanish candidature there was suspected a wile of Bis- 
marck's, as to some extent was the case. The minister, 
in view of France's constant hostility, was glad to have a 
friendly prince in her rear. He egged on the Hohenzol- 
lerns with the whole weight of his influence, knowing 
that the choice would not be agreeable to the French gov- 
ernment. He urged secrecy to the last moment, intending 
to prepare a blow for Napoleon. But, with all this, he 
never once placed himself formally in the wrong, and the 



THE BECKONING WITH FKANCE 419 

final renunciation of the throne of Spain by the Prince of 
Hohenzollern freed him from all responsibility. All the 
aggression, all the clumsy blundering, was done for him 
by the other side ; and the French ministry must ever 
stand before the world's judgment-seat as having entered 
into a bloody struggle on grounds of the most unhallowed 
frivolity. The ultimate cause of the Franco-Prussian 
war was French jealousy of German unity. The imme- 
diate provocation was an insult to the Prussian king, at 
the news of which, as imparted in Bismarck's sharp, con- 
cise language, the whole of Germany, north as well as 
south, rose as a single man. 

At a time when the political horizon seemed perfectly The 
clear, and the high world of Germany had dispersed to famous 
the springs and the seashore for the summer, a perfect froj Em 
bomb exploded in the nature of a telegram from Ems, 
where the king was taking the waters. This was pub- 
lished in the North German Allgemeine Zeitung. It ran 
as follows : " After the news of the renunciation of the 
hereditary Prince of Hohenzollern had been officially an- 
nounced by the royal Spanish to the imperial French 
government, the French ambassador made the further de- 
mand on his Majesty, the king, in Ems, that he should 
authorize him to telegraph to Paris that his Majesty, the 
king, would bind himself for all future time never again 
to give his consent should the Hoheiizollerns revert to 
their candidature. His Majesty, the king, thereupon re- 
fused to receive the French ambassador again, and caused 
his aide-de-camp to say that his Majesty had nothing fur- 
ther to impart to the ambassador." 

There is little doubt but that, had this telegram been 
worded differently, the Franco-German struggle might 
have been postponed. It might, too, have turned out less 
advantageously for Prussia. It was all true what the tele- 



420 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

gram stated, yet the impression given was a false one. 
As it stood, it seemed to verify the report that Benedetti 
had come with instructions to brusquer le roi ; that he 
had invaded the privacy of the promenade ; that the king 
had turned his back u shown him the door," as the 
French ministry figuratively put it. 

Whatreally As a matter of fact, there had been, not one, but three, 
happened interviews, and all polite forms had been observed. Ben- 
edetti seems to have acquitted himself of his first instruc- 
tions, that he should demand of the king to order the 
Hohenzollern prince to revoke his acceptance of the 
crown, with skill and moderation. William had dis- 
claimed the right, as king of Prussia, to issue any such 
order, having merely given his consent as head of the 
family. He had told Benedetti, however, that he was ex- 
pecting a despatch from Sigmaringen, and had made it 
clear enough what he hoped that despatch would contain. 
He would not abandon the standpoint that the Sigmaringen 
branch of the family were acting on their own responsi- 
bility. Yet it was doubtless his doing that the renuncia- 
tion was made, and that it was announced in Paris earlier 
than in Ems. Nor did he hesitate to express his full and 
frank approval of what had occurred. At the next in- 
terview, on the morning of July 13, Benedetti, instructed 
by wild, impatient telegrams from the French minister, 
Gramont, who felt that his place depended on subservi- 
ency to the party of war, had brought forward the de- 
mand, that the king should bind himself for all future 
time. William had refused, but, far from turning his 
back, still arranged with the French envoy that, when the 
Sigmaringen letter arrived, he would communicate to him 
its contents. This he had done in the course of a few hours, 
but through an adjutant, not personally, declaring 
that, as the prince had resigned, the affair was to be con- 



THE BECKONING WITH FKANCE 421 

sidered closed. Twice, after this, Benedetti had demanded 
an audience in the matter of the future guarantee, but 
had been told that his Majesty must refuse utterly to dis- 
cuss this latter point. In the matter of personal relations 
there was no breach. Benedetti came to the station on 
the following day to pay his respects to the king, who 
was departing for Coblenz, and who received him politely. 
In the meantime there had come, through the Prussian 
minister in Paris, Werther, a demand of Gramont's 
that shows the whole madness and thirst for war of the 
French government. The ministers desired the king's 
signature to what amounted to a formal letter of apology 
for ever having sanctioned the candidature of Leopold : 
it was to be clearly stated that no offence had been in- 
tended to the French people. William was beside him- 
self with anger. But already matters had gone over into 
other hands, for, in the course of the afternoon, he had 
caused an official of the Foreign Office, Abeken, to tele- 
graph to Bismarck an account of the whole proceed- 
ings with Benedetti, with instructions to use the despatch 
as he saw fit. He saw fit, as we have seen, to reedit 
Abeken's too -benevolent and lengthy statement, shorten- 
ing it, rendering it much more terse, and making out of 
it, according to Moltke's approving dictum, a fanfare, or 
signal for attack, rather than a chamade, or signal for 
parley. 

Bismarck had been infuriated by the whole Benedetti Bismarck's 
episode. From the beginning he had found the king's atti- sending of 
tude too yielding. This was a question for diplomatic in- ^^ 
tercourse, not for private and informal interviews. When resident 
the Prince of Hohenzollern renounced the throne, Bismarck envoys, 
considered it such a blow to Prussia that he spoke of hand- 
ing in his own resignation. He purposely made the Ems 
telegram as decisive as he could, and took the further 



422 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

step of sending a copy of it to consuls and resident en- 
voys at the different German capitals. 

The French It was this last act, as misrepresented by the French gov- 
are hurried eminent, that roused the excitement of the French Cham- 
.ber to a white heat, and drove it into a formal declaration 
of war. The Prussian king had refused to receive the 
French ambassador, declared Olivier. If such refusal 
were harmless and innocent, why did the Prussian govern- 
ment officially bring it to the knowledge of the European 
cabinets by means of circular notes ? " If ever a war was 
necessary," he declared, " it is this war, to which Prussia 
drives us. . . . Had they given us any satisfaction in 
the matter we should have been contented, but the king 
of Prussia persistently refuses to enter into a promise. 
Have we in any way allowed ourselves to be carried away 
,by passion ? Not in the least. We continued to negotiate 
when they called us a ministry of cowardice and shame, 
and in the meantime they announce to Europe that 
they have shown our envoy the door ! " The official war 
manifesto, finally issued on the 19th of July, 1870 
set its seal on the weakness of the French cause by de- 
claring that the emperor's government was obliged to 
perceive in the king's refusal to make the required prom- 
ise an arriere pensSe, dangerous alike to France and to 
the balance of power in Europe. For an arriere pensSe, 
then, France went into this struggle, which was to cost 
hundreds of thousands of lives and billions of money ! 
It was not the emperor, it was his ministers, Olivier and 
Gramont, who were to blame. It was they who pre- 
tended to have in their hands insulting despatches from 
the Prussian government, which they refused to show 
and which did not exist. The declaration of war was 
the first communication that passed through the ordi- 
nary diplomatic channels. There was no ultimatum, no 



THE RECKONING WITH FRANCE 423 

formal refusal. And the Empress Eugenie took the side 
of the 'excited ministers. " Votre trone tombe dans la 
boue ! " she cried to her husband ; and, when the die had 
been cast, "C'est ma guerre a moi ! " 

As for the German people at this crisis, their enthusiasm Patriotic 
for the king of Prussia and his cause surpassed anything enthusiasm 

of the kind that has ever been chronicled in the nation's " 

Germans. 

history. William's journey from Ems to Berlin was one 
hearty ovation. Everywhere the stations were decorated 
with garlands of oak, the national tree, the symbol of 
German sturdiness. From the Potsdamer station to the 
palace, the streets were filled with an excited multitude in 
which all differences of rank were forgotten. " The king 
looked majestic as ever," writes the Times correspondent, 
"but with a melancholy shade overcasting his features. 
He had scarcely arrived when tables were brought out and 
placed unter den Linden, and loyal addresses, promising to 
lay down life and property for the country, signed al 
fresco." "As our fathers stood by the father of your 
royal Majesty from 1813 to 1815,"- ran one of them, 
" so will we all devote our lives and property to the support 
and security of your throne." Not only was the mobiliza- 
tion of a million soldiers carried on with feverish haste, 
but thousands of men, exempt for various reasons, pressed 
forward to share in the war. " Servants are running 
away," says the Times, "and tradespeople cannot trust 
their messengers to come back when sent out on errands. 
. . . One trade only flourishes at this moment. A uni- 
versal change of costume has been made over night. The 
uniform has superseded the black garb of the judge, the 
merchant's overcoat, and the mason's apron. ... In 
Bremen a merchant who dared to open his mouth against 
the king of Prussia has had his house demolished." And 
again, later: "If determination and resolve, if a longing 



424 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

for the war that is unavoidable, coupled with a melancholy 
thought of the horrors it will bring in its train,' may be 
said to constitute excitement, the country must be pro- 
nounced in a fever heat. ... It is a sentiment which 
not only strengthens the will, but actually elevates the 
morals of the people. Never were the taverns emptier 
than now ; never was the number of crimes and offences 
smaller than during the last agitated week. . . . The 
Greifswald and Marburg universities have had to be shut 
up because of the students volunteering in a body. . . . 
At least fifty gentlemen [the number rose later to nearly 
a thousand] have offered prizes to soldiers who may cap- 
ture French flags and cannon. . . . The Germans at 
St. Louis telegraphed to Speaker Simson they would 
send him a million dollars as their contribution to the 
expenses." 

North and Not the least surprising feature of the preparations for 
South of one war was the complete forgetfulness of all local differences. 
Napoleon tried to pose as the friend of the South German 
states and the liberator of those recently annexed lands, 
which he represented as groaning under the Prussian yoke. 
" Hanoverians, Hessians, inhabitants of Nassau and Frank- 
fort ! " wrote the Paris Journal Officiel, " it is not enough 
that you should be the victims of M. Bismarck's ambition ; 
the Prussian minister desires that you should become his 
accomplices you are worthy to fight in a better cause." 
Hostilities had been declared against Prussia alone, ignor- 
ing the newly formed North German Confederation. "By 
his mere declaration of war," writes the observant Times 
correspondent, " Napoleon has done more toward unifying 
Germany than in the ordinary course of things could have 
been accomplished in a generation or two." In Munich 
some fifteen thousand people went to the palace to thank 
the king for siding with the North ; Iburg, a small town 



THE RECKONING WITH FRANCE 425 

in Hanover, offered a hundred thalers to him who should 
seize the first French standard. The Saxon minister of war 
waited on King William to solicit for the Saxon army the 
honor of forming the van of the German forces. 

On July 16, throughout the length and breadth of Orderly 
the land, the telegraph bore the message : " The army is to mobiliza- 
be mobilized according to plan ; " and so completely had * 
all details been arranged months beforehand that Moltke, 
as he said himself, needed but to announce the hour of de- 
parture of the trains to set the whole machinery in motion. 
Time and again, with his famous little tin soldiers, he had 
worked out the initial problems of the campaign. Roon, 
the minister of war, declared that the two weeks of mo- 
bilizing were the quietest of his official life : so clear had 
been the instructions that no questions remained to be 
asked or answered. There was no undue haste, no con- 
fusion. When the soldiers left the barracks they were all 
equipped, all ready for action. More than a million men 
were called out, about half of whom were actively engaged 
in the field. 

With the French it was all different. The minister of Confusion 
war, Le Boeuf , had, indeed, declared that the army was in the 

archiprete. that it was ready to the last button. The 

camps. 

soldiers were huddled off to the neighborhood of Metz 
and Strassburg, but without the bare necessaries of exist- 
ence. They had had the advantage of proximity, of 
convenient access by railroad, of so-called "standing 
camps," from which they were supposed to be all ready 
to march out: The army of the line was not so inferior 
in numbers to that of the Germans, though the reserves 
were weaker by several hundred thousand. The men 
were brave and devoted, but the central direction was 
altogether lacking in vigor and in forethought. The 
reports of the generals to the war office are monotonous 



426 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

in their similarity, in their constant tone of complaint : 
" no money in the corps treasury," " no sugar, no coffee, 
no rice, no brandy, no salt, very little ham and Zwieback , 
send at once a million rations." Or, worse still : " we have 
not a single map of the French frontier." One general 
of artillery writes that five hundred out of eight hundred 
harness collars are too tight for his horses, while another 
sends word in utter despair : " not found my brigade, not 
found my division general. What shall I do? Don't 
know the whereabouts of my regiments ! " 

Ignorance Perhaps the worst fault of the French the one that 
and conceit cause d them to commit the gravest errors was their self- 
* , sufficiency, their ignorance of what was happening in other 

lands. Their original plan of campaign had been based 
on the hope that the South German states could be sepa- 
rated from the North by thrusting an army in between. 
They had fancied that foreign countries would feel a vast 
sympathy for them. Their information about the Prus- 
sians their character as well as their movements was 
ridiculously false. The rumor was believed that two 
hundred persons had died in Berlin from dysentery 
caused by fear of invasion. It was supremely typical 
of the general ignorance, when, as late as September 5, 
1870, the Paris Figaro announced that it now knew the 
name of the Prussian general who had played France sucli 
scurvy tricks and disclosed so many secrets: it was a 
General Staff, who had been allowed to move in the very 
best society of Paris. Well for them had their own 
general staff been more efficient, and had it busied itself 
more with gathering information with regard to the enemy. 
But its members were chosen largely on the showing of 
examinations for graduation from the military academy 
of St. Cyr, passed years before ; and it is not strange that 
the organization itself was immeasurably behind the gen- 



MODERN 
GERMANY 

, SCALE OF M I LES 

25 50 




THE RECKONING WITH FRANCE 427 

eral staff of the Germans, whose one idea was to employ 
the best talent the country could command. 

With rare diplomatic skill Bismarck had almost elimi- Exposure 
nated the chance that foreign countries might prove of French 

inconveniently favorable to France. Well knowing that plans of 
T-I i i T i aggrandize- 

England would bitterly resent any attempt on Belgian ment> 

independence, which, indeed, it had formally guaranteed, 
he had, two years before, lured Benedetti into committing 
to writing the most distasteful proposition that could well 
have come to the ears of a Briton : Germany was to aid 
France to acquire or conquer Belgium ; France was not 
to hinder German unity, and to favor a Prussian increase 
of territory at the expense of North Germany. This draft 
Bismarck now published, sending the facsimile to the 
diplomatic corps, and showing the original to whom it 
might concern. " A predatory treaty," writes the London 
Times, " in the good old-fashioned style of the seventeenth 
century ; . . . since the days of Napoleon 'I. the world 
has not seen the like of it." Benedetti's feeble defence, 
that the whole plan had originated with the Prussian 
minister, that he had written it down at Bismarck's dicta- 
tion, and that the idea had been repudiated by the French 
emperor, was refuted by the publication of a letter in 
which the ambassador spoke of receiving his original in- 
structions from Vichy, the temporary abode of Napoleon. 
Other disclosures followed, showing a greed of German 
territory which Bismarck had always refused to gratify. 
There arose a great wave of patriotism for this Prussia 
which had disdained to aggrandize itself with the help 
of a foreign dictator. 

As to Austria and Italy, it was well known that a few 
French victories would have encouraged them to take part 
in the war; while Russia, bound by tie's of gratitude for 
the neutrality observed in the Crimean War, and influ- 



428 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



German 
zeal and 
devotion. 



The en- 
gagement 
at Saar- 
briicken. 



enced by the blood relationship between the king of 
Prussia and the Czar, declared her intention of remaining 
aloof so long as Austria did the same. 

The general plan of the Germans, as officially formu- 
lated, was simply "to seek the main force of the enemy 
and attack it when found." Rapid successes were abso- 
lutely necessary in order to keep Austria and Italy at 
bay, and to prevent France from calling out her levSe en 
masse. That is why, from the beginning, such desperate 
chances were taken. The daring charges up steep heights 
in the very teeth of batteries of mitrailleuses were very 
costly of human life. In the case of almost every victory 
the Germans lost more in killed and wounded than their 
adversaries, but in the end it shortened the war. " Men, 
it must be ! Forward with God ! " shouted brave Captain 
von Oppen as he rushed his men up the fatal Red Mount 
of Spicheren, and his was the spirit of the whole German 
people. 

Moltke had divided his forces into three great armies: 
the first and smallest, under Steinmetz, marched south- 
ward from Treves, on the Mosel, and joined on the river 
Saar with the second and largest, under Prince Frederick 
Charles, which had left Mainz, and passed down by way 
of Kaiserslautern, Landstuhl, and Homburg. The third 
army, consisting of South German troops, commanded by 
the crown prince of Prussia, moved in a southwesterly 
direction from Spires and Landau, arriving at the French 
boundary near Weissenburg, on the river Lauter. In a 
larger sense the German force formed one great army, of 
which Prince Frederick Charles commanded the centre, 
Steinmetz the right, and the crown prince the left wing. 

The first skirmishing fell to the lot of the advance guard 
of Prince Frederick Charles's army. For days, a small 
force of fusiliers and Uhlans, under Lieutenant Colonel 



THE RECKONING WITH FRANCE 429 

Pestel, were able, at Saarbriicken, to hold in check some 
ten times their own number of the enemy. The French 
thought themselves opposed by a considerable force 
French newspapers estimated it at two hundred thousand 
an illusion which the Prussians kept up by riding one 
day in full uniform, another in white drill jackets, now 
with one kind of a cap, now with another. On August 2 
Napoleon ordered Frossard to reconnoitre in force, and 
himself appeared on the field with his son and heir, who, 
to shouts of vive le prince imperial, turned the crank that 
discharged the first mitrailleuse. For the first and almost 
the last time, victory smiled affably on the French arms. 
The great invasion of Germany had begun auspiciously, 
and, after three hours of fighting, the Prussians withdrew. 
Napoleon telegraphed home that " Louis " had sustained 
so well his baptism of fire as to move the soldiers to tears. 
The engagement, in which the total losses on each side had 
been about eighty -five men, was magnified into a great vic- 
tory. The mitrailleuses and the chassepots were lauded 
to the skies, and newspapers declared that, with this 
second of August, a new era had begun. In the streets 
of Paris strangers fell upon each other's necks, weeping 
for joy. Singers from the opera were stopped in their 
carriages, and made to sing " The Marseillaise " in the 
open air, while fifty thousand voices joined in the chorus. 
Thick and fast came rumors of fresh triumphs. It was 
said, and believed, that the crown prince had been cap- 
tured, with his whole army. 

The first serious encounter occurred at Weissenburg, Weissen- 
two days later, when the crown prince's army defeated a trg. 
division of MacMahon's forces, under Douay. The two 
weeks that followed were crowded with more desperate 
engagements than had ever taken place within a period of 
the same length in the history of either nation. Weissen- 



430 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



burg resulted in the capture of a thousand prisoners, and 
in a loss in dead and wounded, on the German side, of 
fifteen hundred, on the French, of twelve hundred. The 
feature of the day was the storming of the Geisberg, a 
steep little hill, crowned by a stone chateau, the garrison 
of which were finally taken prisoners. 

Worth. Twelve miles to the southwest of Weissenburg, on the 

steep heights near Worth, MacMahon drew up his army in 
line of battle, strongly fortifying his position by trenches 
and redoubts. Here, on the 6th of August, while Fred- 
erick Charles was occupied with Frossard at Spicheren, 
was fought a battle, in which the German losses were 
greater than at Koniggratz, but in which MacMahon was 
completely routed, losing nine thousand prisoners, thirty- 
three cannon, and even his own personal belongings. 
Under the necessity of reorganizing his forces, he marched 
off in the direction of Chalons. 

Spicheren. Meanwhile, at Spicheren, behind Saarbriicken, Frossard's 
corps had stood upon a hill a hundred feet high, and con- 
sidered absolutely impregnable. Moreover, the French 
forces greatly exceeded in number the portions of the Ger- 
man first and second armies that could be employed against 
them. Yet Frossard was put to flight, and two thousand 
prisoners taken; while the important result was achieved, 
that the main French army, to which Frossard's division 
had belonged, now beat a retreat in the direction of the 
protecting walls of Metz. Not even yet were the boastful 
tones of the Parisian press reduced to silence, though a 
horrible faint-heartedness had seized upon the people at 
large. " General Frossard is retreating ..." wrote the 
Journal Officiel; "it almost seems as if the enemy wished 
to offer us battle on our own ground. That would have 
for us great strategic advantages." Worth was dubbed a 
^misfortune full of triumph," and the praises sung of the 



THE RECKONING WITH FRANCE 431 

splendid retreat. When Edmond About, the writer of 
romances, spoke of what he had actually seen in the way 
of panic and disorder, he was cried down as a Prussian 
and a traitor. More in accordance with truth was the 
wail of a wounded officer as he saw the Germans clam- 
bering up the impregnable hill of Spicheren, " La France 
est perdue ! " 

One important consequence of these defeats was that The battles 
Napoleon gave up the chief command to Bazaine, whose around 
problem now was how to unite most readily with the Metz ' 
new army that MacMahon was organizing at Chalons. On 
Bazaine's track, endeavoring to drive him back into Metz, 
were the armies of Steinmetz and Frederick Charles ; 
while the crown prince's army was making for Chalons, 
taking a number of small forts on the way. A division 
of Baden troops, in the meantime, which was reenforced 
from Germany until it numbered fifty thousand men, and 
over which General Werder was given the command, had 
begun the siege of the all-important Strassburg, which 
was heroically defended by the French general, Uhrich. 

Among the villages that lie among the hills around 
Metz are Colombey, Borny, Nouilly on the east; Vionville, 
Rezonville, and Mars-la-Tour on the southwest; and, on the 
west, Gravelotte and St. Privat the latter controlling 
the northernmost road from Metz to the fortress of Verdun. 
At each of these groups of towns, with a view to prevent- 
ing Bazaine's escape, there were furious and bloody battles 
on the respective days of August 14, 16, and 18. The 
Germans were victorious except at Vionville, which was 
indecisive, and which cost each side sixteen thousand 
men. At Gravelotte, where the king of Prussia conducted 
operations in person, the Germans of the first army were 
needlessly ordered by Steinmetz into such a murderous 
hail that the latter, for this and other mistakes, was later 



432 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



dismissed from the command. The main part of his army 
was joined to that of Frederick Charles. During these 
two terrible weeks the Germans had lost some sixty thou- 
sand men, and their line of communication with Berlin 
was one continuous line of lazarettes. 

Gravelotte. Bazaine might have effected his retreat after Mars-la- 
Tour had he not been tempted into trying once more the 
ordeal of battle. But after Gravelotte the last avenue of 
escape was cut off, and, with his huge army of one hun- 
dred and seventy thousand men, he was forced to retire 
to Metz. This great fortress, strong by position and well 
built, was now hastily placed in order, a part of the neigh- 
borhood inundated, the moats filled with water, supplies 
and ammunition brought together in short, every prepa- 
ration made for withstanding a siege. To the regular 643 
fortress cannon there were added as many more from the 
field army, not to speak of 72 of the deadly mitrailleuses. 
The main disadvantage was an overcrowded condition of 
the city that necessitated an enormous consumption of food : 
from having an ordinary population of but 47,000, Metz 
was now suddenly called upon to shelter and nourish some 
260,000, among whom were 16,000 wounded soldiers. 
There was no chance of removing the feeble or the sick, 
for, within four days after Gravelotte, Metz was com- 
pletely surrounded at a distance of seven thousand yards 
by the army of Frederick Charles. All supplies were cut 
off, and the terrible process of reducing by starvation 
begun in all form. 

The Emperor Napoleon had left Bazaine's army and 
taken refuge with MacMahon. He would have returned to 
Paris had not the Empress Eugenie telegraphed that his 
life would not be safe from his own subjects in his own 
capital. The Parisians were determined that MaeMahon 
should march to the relief of Bazaine, underestimating 



THE BECKONING WITH FRANCE 433 

the danger from the crown prince's army, as well as from 
the seventy thousand men the new fourth, or Maas 
army that Frederick Charles had been able to spare 
from the siege of Metz. It was a wild hope, that of 
evading these vigilant forces and descending from the 
north on Metz ; and Napoleon III. and his general both 
realized their danger. The French forces, already vastly 
inferior in discipline and morale, were actually outnum- 
bered by two to one. On the last three days of August 
there were skirmishes, the results of which boded ill for 
the final engagement. 

On September 1, 1870, was fought one of the decisive 
battles of the world a battle that resulted in the sur- 
render of the largest army ever known to have been taken 
in the field, a battle that dethroned a dynasty and changed 
the form of government in France. Aware at last of the 
impossibility of breaking through to Bazaine in Metz, and 
hoping for nothing more now than to save his own army, 
MacMahon took up a defensive position near Sedan. Here 
some protection at least was offered by the winding Maas 
on the west and south, and by the Givonne on the east. 
None the less it proved a death trap : the French called 
it la sounder e. Fighting from early dawn to evening 
the Germans gradually surrounded them ; drove them 
down from their positions at Bazeilles and la Moncelle, 
from Daigny, Haybes, and Givonne, from Floing, Illy, 
and St. Menges, and from the sheltering Bois de la 
Garonne ; crowded them into such a narrow space that 
manoeuvring became impossible, then, finally, after a sig- 
nificant pause to see if they were not ready to save further 
horrors by surrender, trained their heavy cannon on the 
worthless old fortress and on the chaotic mass of men, 
horses, cannon, and vehicles that overflowed the streets. 

From the hill of Frenois, the king of Prussia, the crown 

VOL. II 2 F 



434 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

The sur- prince, Bismarck, and Moltke looked down on the most im- 
pressive spectacle that man could have well devised. Just 
below them, at Floing, took place a terrific conflict, at 
closest quarters, between German sharpshooters and a 
body of chasseurs d'afrique, who had remained hidden in a 
little valley : the whole troop was half annihilated by the 
relentless fire of the Jagers. The horses plunged madly 
down steep descents, or turned, riderless, and dashed into 
the infantry behind them. In Bazeilles, and in Sedan 
itself, fire broke out, and blood-red columns of flame rose 
in the air. 

During the whole day none of the Germans had dreamt 
that Napoleon himself was in the fortress. He was known, 
indeed, to have joined MacMahon's army, but was believed 
to have slipped away as his namesake had done in that 
other disastrous retreat on the icy plains of Russia. First 
came rumors to the contrary; then, when the situation in 
Sedan had become too terrible for human beings to endure, 
and the cry for mercy had gone forth, an officer of the 
general staff, Bronsart von Schellendorf, stepped up to the 
king and said, " Your Royal Majesty, Sedan capitulates 
with the whole army and with the emperor, who is in 
their midst." " For a moment," writes a distinguished 
bystander, " the breath of every hearer stopped in his 
breast ; but then broke forth a storm of rejoicing that for 
a few minutes carried with it even the gravest men." A 
white flag rose over the fortress, and another waved in the 
hand of the emperor's adjutant, Count Reille, who came 
riding up with a letter for the king. " My brother : " it 
ran, " having failed in the attempt to die in the midst 
of my troops, nothing is left me but to render my sword 
into the hands of your Majesty." For the last time the 
wretched man addressed a crowned head as his equal. 
It was ended, the struggle of a tottering despot for the 



THE RECKONING WITH FRANCE 435 

allegiance of his people. Napoleon III. had had to con- 
tend, not only with the misfortunes of war, but with a 
bodily sickness so great that he is said to have painted 
his face to hide its pallor. " My eyes chanced to wander 
a little to the "left," writes Count Frankenberg on the 
day after the battle, " and I crossed glances with a faded, 
bowed man who was sitting on a wooden stool in front of 
a peasant's house. It went through me like an electric 
shock this was Napoleon ! He feebly answered my 
military greeting by lifting his fatigue cap." 

The fallen emperor at the moment was waiting to be taken Napoleon 
to an interview with the Prussian king. Bismarck had sent into 
already talked to Napoleon and had tried to settle the terms e 
of a peace ; but the emperor had shifted responsibility by 
declaring that, as a prisoner, he had no power to treat. 
He hoped that the king would give him better terms for the 
army than Bismarck was willing to grant ; but the chan- 
cellor delayed the meeting until the capitulation had been 
signed by the commanding generals. When it did take 
place, it was short but most affecting. " We were both 
deeply moved," wrote the king to his wife. "I cannot 
describe what I felt at this interview, having seen Na- 
poleon only three years ago at the height of his power." 
The prisoner was, indeed, bowed and broken. " Your 
army is sublime," he said to William, and, speaking of 
the superiority of the artillery, " that touches me person- 
ally." Napoleon was treated with great consideration. 
Being offered several alternatives, he chose as a place of 
banishment the castle of Wilhelmshohe in Cassel, which 
had been the residence of Jerome Bonaparte when king of 
Westphalia. He was allowed to take with him a suite of 
forty persons, with their servants, besides some eighty-five 
horses, and numerous carriages. As the emperor would 
have been an object of curiosity along the route, it was 



436 



A SHOUT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



ulation. 



arranged that his train should stop at none of the regular 
stations. 

The terms Meanwhile in Donchery the terms of the capitulation 
of the capit- h a( j been discussed by the military commanders until far 
into the night. General Wimpffen, who 'had taken over 
the command from the wounded MacMahon, had tried 
in vain to procure better terms than the unconditional sur- 
render of fortress, men, and supplies, which Moltke and 
Bismarck demanded. Either this, he was told, or, at nine 
o'clock on the following day, the guns must recommence 
their deadly work, and Moltke had drawn a ghastly, but 
true, picture of the helplessness of the French. After a 
council of war, held at six o'clock in the morning, and face 
to face with the fact that provisions and ammunition were 
at an end, Wimpffen sought out the king at Fre*nois, 
and in dignified terms acknowledged the necessity of 
complying with the German demands. He thanked for the 
one concession, that the officers might go free on parole, a 
concession of which but few availed themselves. The rest 
were sent off to various towns of Germany, where at least 
they increased their geographical knowledge. Those ban- 
ished to Breslau expressed their pleasure at finding that it 
was not, as they had supposed, a lonely village, but a city 
of two hundred thousand inhabitants. 

For a moment it was believed that Sedan would bring 
about a truce to hostilities, that an end would be put to. 
this ghastly butchery for an arriere pensee ; to these shal- 
low graves where hundreds of shattered corpses were laid 
at a time only to be exposed by the next severe rain ; to 
these forgotten wounded, who sighed their hearts out in dim 
forests and under hedges ; to these improvised hospitals 
with the rough blood-red bench, and the slowly mounting 
heap of severed arms and legs and stiffening bodies in the 
corner ; to the halt and maimed and blind, sent out to be a 



The news 
of Sedan 
received in 
Paris. 



THE RECKONING WITH FRANCE 437 

burden to themselves and to the world. At Sedan 23,000, 
during the war thus far, some 170,000, men had been killed 
or wounded ; and as yet the horrors of siege and cold and 
disease had scarcely been experienced. 

In Paris the news of the capitulation of Sedan was not 
fully known until thirty-six hours after it had taken place. 
Press and government united in putting down the rumors of 
disaster. The G-aulois feared the destruction of its quar- 
ters should it publish the ghastly truth. On the day 
but one before the battle, Minister Palikao, Olivier's suc- 
cessor, had assured both Chambers that the Prussians had 
lost .two hundred thousand men. On the 3d of September, 
he promised to have ready^ within five days an army of five 
hundred thousand men. There were stories, even at this 
critical time, of French successes, that a band of volun- 
teers, with bottles of kerosene, had invaded Germany and 
set aflame the whole Black Forest ; that King William and 
Bismarck had both suddenly lost their minds, had been 
seen dancing a can-can together, and had been expedited 
back to Germany. All the more dismal, all the more 
crushing when it came, was the news of the capture of the 
whole army : of so and so many officers, as a German tele- 
graphed home, so and so many soldiers, and ONE 

EMPEROR. 

Gladly would the French have now made peace had it Proclama- 
not been for the intention of the Germans, made known tion of the 
throughout the press, to demand the cession of territory. Republ j c 
Napoleon, against whom alone the Prussian king was con- 
sidered to have been making war, had fallen, and the land 
was filled with bitterness against him. Scarcely a voice 
was raised in his behalf when, on September 4, a tumultuous 
Assembly, headed by the brilliant lawyer, Leon Gambetta, 
declared him deposed, appoihted a committee of national 
defence, and confirmed General Trochu as military head of 



438 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



The nego- 
tiations at 
Ferrieres. 



Paris. Jules Favre issued a circular proclaiming the re- 
public, and asked if William meant to furnish the nine- 
teenth century with the spectacle of two nations destroying 
one another, and heaping corpse upon corpse and ruin 
upon ruin ! " Yet, if it is a challenge, we accept," he de- 
clared ; " not an inch of our territory, not a stone of our 
fortresses, will we cede." But the time had come for the 
Germans to requite past wrongs and to secure themselves 
against future attacks. "Against whom are you fight- 
ing ? " asked Thiers in Vienna of the Prussian historian, 
Ranke. " Against Louis XIV.," was the answer. Twenty 
times, declared Bismarck, had France been the aggressor 
in wars against Germany. It was not, now, with these 
" gentlemen of the pavement," as he called them, but with 
some more stable government that the chancellor intended 
to make peace. No amount of such florid eloquence as 
Victor Hugo poured forth when, in his manifesto to 
the German people, he declared that Prussia might win 
the victories, but France would have the gloire could 
delay the fatal march on Paris, or prevent the formulation 
of the new claim to Alsace and Lorraine with their strong 
fortresses of Metz and Strassburg. 

To Ferrieres the magnificent chateau of the Roths- 
childs, which the Prussian headquarters had appropriated 
to its own use Jules Favre came to try his powers of per- 
suasion ; while Thiers started on a fruitless journey to the 
different courts of Europe in a vain search for armed inter- 
vention. Bismarck would not treat with Favre concerning 
a final peace, but proposed a truce of three weeks, during 
which elections should be held for a new and stable gov- 
ernment. In the meantime Toul, Bitsch, Mont Valerien, 
and Strassburg were to be handed over to the Germans, 
and the garrison of Strassburg were to be considered 
prisoners of war. At this last proposition Favre burst 



THE RECKONING WITH FRANCE 439 

forth, " You forget, count, that you are talking to a 
Frenchman ! " He called Strassburg the key of the 
house " of our house," corrected Bismarck and re- 
fused to sanction the sacrifice of this heroic garrison, 
which had withstood a siege of six weeks, coupled with 
a fierce bombardment, but which now was at the end of 
its resources. It surrendered a week later. Toul fell 
on the very day of the interview with Favre. 

All negotiations having failed, the siege of Paris was The begin- 
begun the most elaborate single undertaking of which nin of the 
military history bears record. An immense area, that of p ieg . e 
the largest fortified city in the world, was to be surrounded 
by an army from which, at the moment, detachments were 
needed to conduct other important sieges, to guard innu- 
merable prisoners, and to keep open a long line of commu- 
nication. This army numbered, at first, but 150,000 men. 
The garrison of Paris, on the other hand, reached to the 
considerable total of 400,000, of whom less than a fourth, 
however, were regular soldiers of the line. Even these 
latter in the skirmishing that took place on September 19, 
the day of the closing of the iron ring, showed a deplorable 
want of bravery and discipline. The Germans trusted 
much to the effect of famine in an overcrowded town with 
a regular population of 2,000,000. They calculated that re- 
sistance could last, at the utmost, not more than ten weeks. 
But, in the few days of grace, Herculean efforts had been 
made to provision the city : from the neighboring towns, 
by ship, by rail, and by wagon, thousands of tons of sup- 
plies were brought in ; cattle in great numbers were let 
loose in the Bois de Boulogne ; chemists were set to work 
to invent nourishing compounds, and much that had been 
considered only fit for the manure heap was handed over 
to the sausage-maker. Whole stretches of vacant land 
were enclosed with glass, and florists devoted their energies 



440 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



The pro- 
visional 
government 
at Tours. 



Gambetta 
at Tours. 



with great success to the growing of lettuce and cabbage. 
On the forts which surrounded the city, work was pushed 
with the utmost zeal. There was no lack of cannon, no 
scarcity of ammunition indeed, it was reckoned that 
Mont Valerien, on one occasion, discharged some thou- 
sands of shots, at nearly 500 francs a shot, without hitting 
a single German. 

The hope of the besieged was that, now that its holy of 
holies was in danger, the population of France would rise 
as one man. And, indeed, new armies, were at once started 
at all four points of the compass; while a provisional govern- 
ment was established at Tours. Communication was kept 
up, at first, by means of telegraph lines running under the 
Seine, which were not immediately discovered ; and, later, 
by the aid of carrier pigeons to the feathers of which 
were attached messages reduced to the smallest possible 
compass by the aid of the camera and microscope. A sheet 
as large as the London Times could thus be brought within 
the compass of four square inches. When it became evi- 
dent that, for want of central direction, the efforts at relief 
were not proceeding as fast as needful, the minister of war, 
Gambetta, determined to leave Paris and to proceed himself 
to Tours. To break through the German lines was an im- 
possibility ; but balloons had already been tried with some 
success for reconnoitring, and for sending despatches. 
To one of these, Gambetta committed himself. Though 
discovered and shot at by German rifles, he reached his 
destination safely, and soon, with the powers of a virtual 
dictator, had the so-called army of the Loire well under 
way. Early in November the leve en masse was decreed ; 
and only bodily infirmity could excuse a man between the 
ages of twenty and forty from joining the standards, or 
one under sixty from forming a reserve. 

The German investment of Paris was a triumph of mili- 



THE RECKONING WITH FRANCE 441 

tary art. Obliged, with a comparatively small force, to Wonderful 
guard a line some fifty miles in length, and with few siege German 
guns at their disposal, they set to work to remedy all l 
defects by enormously strong fortifications. Thousands of around 
men were put to digging trenches ; to throwing up earth- Paris, 
works ; to hewing down trees and piling them together, 
so as to form barricades of incredible thickness ; to building 
blockhouses and subterranean refuges ; to erecting posts of 
observation, from which, with the aid of the telescope, the 
whole field of operations could be surveyed ; to damming 
up streams to render whole districts impassable ; to cutting 
roads so as to afford a continuous means of communication 
for their own troops ; and, finally, to drawing a network of 
telegraph lines in all directions. Much of the work had to 
be done by night in order to avoid the merciless hail from 
the enemy's forts. An elaborate system of pickets and 
out-posts, and of special and general reserves, provided 
for speedy massing of troops at points of danger. 

Victorious as the Germans had been, their position now The ques- 
with armies forming on all sides of them, and with tion of 

French francs tireurs extremely active was far from om ar " 

J ment. 

enviable. It was found necessary to detach troops in all 

directions to protect the newly drawn lines. Bismarck and 
Roon were in favor of hastening matters by proceeding to 
bombardment. But the bringing up of siege guns was a 
slow and laborious process, and, furthermore, a very strong 
sentiment, fostered particularly by the ladies of the royal 
family, against inflicting such injury on the most beautiful 
city in the world, had first to be combatted. Roon, espe- 
cially, chafed against this delay in the "bombardment of 
Babylon." " The Parisians have too much to eat and too 
little to digest," he wrote in November " iron pills, 
namely, of which too few have been employed. Though 
certain female intrigues stand in our way here, I hope that 



442 A SHOUT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

they the pills will take effect ; it would be too great 
a shame to let all the glory of the war go to the devil in 
this way." The question was violently discussed, both in 
the field and at home in Germany, and the majority were 
on the side of Bismarck and Roon. Moltke, who, for a 
time at least, was opposed to the bombardment, received 
the following characteristic poem : 

" Lieber Moltke, gehst so stumm 
Immer um den Brei herum; 
tester Moltke, nimms nicht krumm, 
Mach doch endlich, bumm, bumm, bummf 
Theurer Moltke, schau Dich um 
Deutschland will das bumm, bumm, bumm!" 

But the delays were to continue until Christmas time. 
For the moment, the hope of the besiegers lay in drawing 
more forces from Germany, and especially in the prospec- 
tive fall of Metz, which would set free the two hundred 
thousand men under Frederick Charles. 

The fall of By the middle of October, the situation of affairs in the 
Metz. Lorraine fortress had become desperate. In the one great 

sally which had taken place on the day before Sedan, 
for the purpose of forming a junction with MacMahon's 
army, and which had cost each side over three thousand 
men, Bazaine had shown himself a poor commander. 
From that time on he had played such a role as to 
give ample color to the charges of treason that were 
later brought against him. The besieging army was 
scarcely greater than his own, and must have had points 
at which a successful attack could have been made. But, 
whether from a constitutional lack of energy, or, as was 
charged, from a desire to keep his army intact in order, 
later, at its head, to play a more important political role, 
the commander had remained strangely inactive, attempt- 



THE BECKONING WITH FRANCE 443 

ing only operations on the smallest scale. Early in 
October, he entered into communication with Bismarck; 
who would have allowed the army to go free, had it de- 
clared for the Empress Eugenie, and had she been willing 
to accept the German terms of peace and call an assembly 
to provide a new government. 

Meanwhile, the sufferings within and without the for- 
tress grew more and more severe. One-fifth of the whole 
German army was in the lazarettes from maladies caused 
by the rains, by the pestilential vapors from the uncov- 
ered bodies, by the unavoidable monotony of the fare and 
the want of good drinking water. The camps had become 
great marshes, the improvised shelters proved small pro- 
tection. Frequently officers and men spent the long nights 
on foot, shivering in the wet. The condition of the 
French, however,., was growing desperate : the only meat 
was horseflesh, and the horses themselves were starving. 
They had eaten all the bark from the trees, and the Ger- 
mans could see them in the barren fields tearing at each 
other's manes and tails. Finally, on the 27th of October, 
after long attempting to gain better terms, Bazaine ran up 
the flag of truce, and handed over the unprecedented num- 
ber of 3 marshals, 6000 officers, 173,000 men, 1500 cannon, 
72 mitrailleuses, and 260,000 rifles. This immense army 
was sent off to Germany, and French wits still had the 
heart to remark that Bazaine and MacMahon had at last 
effected their junction. 

None too soon was the army of Frederick Charles left The Loire 
free. The Bavarian General von der Tann had taken Or- campaign, 
leans, but, soon after, at Coulmiers, had fallen in with a 
French force four times as large as his own, and had been 
obliged to retire with a loss of fifteen hundred men. In- 
formation of the victory, couched in such terms as to fill 
the hearts of the people with joy and hope, was brought 



444 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

by carrier pigeon to Paris. The fortune of war was turn- 
ing, proclaimed Gambetta, and the brethren within and 
without the walls would soon join hands and free the soil 
of la patrie. But Coulmiers proved of no strategical ad- 
vantage, and the army of Frederick Charles, after defeat- 
ing the forces of Crouzat at Beaune-la-Rolande, and those 
of Chanzy at Loigny and Bazoches, dislodged Aurelles 
from Orleans. 

The end of Into the countless small engagements, with the different 
Bourbaki. armies that were attempting to relieve Paris, it is impos- 
sible here to enter. France outdid herself in these months 
in the raising of troops. Up to February, 1871, it was reck- 
oned that she had armed and placed in the field 1,893,000 
men. But, here, the German reserve and Landwehr system 
showed its immense superiority over these hasty musterings 
of untrained youths. Nowhere were the latter successful 
save at Orleans: not at Chateaudun, Etival, Ognon, or 
Dijon in October ; not at Amiens on November 27 ; not at 
Beaugency in the early days of December, although they 
possessed an overwhelming superiority of numbers ; not on 
the Hallue, December 23 and 24 ; not at Le Mans or St. 
Quentin ; not at Belfort or Villersexel. More than once, 
the odds had been so enormous against the Germans that 
Moltke, although he countenanced taking the risks, asked 
the king not to blame his generals if they should fail. 
The battle that took place at Montbeliard, in the middle of 
January, between the French general, Bourbaki, and Prus- 
sian and Baden troops under Goltz and Werder, was one 
of the most remarkable of the war; and William may be 
pardoned for ^having compared it to the greatest feats of 
arms of any age. Bourbaki had conceived the notion, 
fairly astonishing at this stage of the conflict, of invading 
Baden and -inflicting all the injury he could. With only 
forty-three thousand men, to oppose his one hundred and 



THE RECKONING WITH FKANCE 445 

thirty thousand, the Germans gave him battle on three 
successive days and forced him to retreat. Manteuffel's 
corps lay in his way, and Bourbaki was finally obliged to 
seek refuge near Pontarlier, on Swiss territory. At the 
news of his intention to do this, he was deposed from the 
command by telegraph, and wounded himself in an attempt 
to take his life. His successor, Clinchant, lost fifteen thou- 
sand men in a series of skirmishes. Twenty thousand more 
had escaped in small detachments, and the remaining ninety 
thousand were disbanded on Swiss territory. 

By this time the crisis had occurred in Paris, though Sufferings 
Favre, expecting great things from Bourbaki, had exempted of the 
this eastern army from the general capitulation. Late in 
October, Thiers, returning from his journey to the differ- 
ent courts, had made renewed efforts to effect a truce; but 
had failed, because the Germans refused to allow the re- 
provisioning of Paris, save in exchange for Mont Valerien, 
and also because disturbances within the city, where the 
radical element all but succeeded in gaining the upper 
hand, showed Thiers himself that the government was too 
unstable to make a lasting treaty. The situation of the 
besieged had grown appalling : horsemeat, even, was grow- 
ing dear ; while rats were selling at sixty centimes apiece. 
Almost all the infants had died for want of milk, and the 
whole death rate had trebled as compared with the same 
period of the previous year. The alternations of hope 
and fear were terrible. The frequent sallies, invariably 
unsuccessful, were costing great numbers of lives. In 
Christmas week there came on a bitter, unusual cold; 
while now, at last, the dissensions at the German head- 
quarters with regard to the bombardment had been 
settled, and the first shells began to burst over the heads 
of the unhappy people, and to fall in the gardens of the 
Luxemburg and in the Rue St. Jacques. Mont Avron 



446 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

was the first fortress to fall, and proved a valuable acquisi- 
tion for the Germans. Some fifty-six thousand shots were 
fired in all, and fort after fort was gradually silenced; though 
the damage in the city was comparatively slight. On the 
19th of January took place the last sortie : one hundred 
thousand strong, under Ducrot, Bellemare. and Vinoy, the 
garrison issued forth. But many hours are needed for such 
large numbers to pass through a narrow space. They were 
driven back with a loss of seven thousand, and the doom of 
the city sealed. Its own factions began warring amongst 
themselves. Trochu was deposed from the governorship 
of Paris; the communists freed their comrades from prison; 
while, in the effort to put them down, blood was shed. 
The Con- And now a canvas of the city resulted in the dreadful 

vention of certainty that the end had come, and that, by the first 
es ' week of February, all supplies would have been consumed. 
Authorized by his government, Jules Favre issued forth 
on January 23, and was granted an interview with Bis- 
marck at Versailles. He was none too soon. At the very 
same time agents of Napoleon III. were negotiating with 
the chancellor for a restoration of the empire, and with 
every chance of success. Better this than the commune, 
although the republic was preferable in German eyes to 
either. After three days of negotiating with Favre, the 
armistice was agreed to, which is known as the Convention 
of Versailles : for twenty-one days hostilities were to cease, 
and the forts were to be garrisoned by Germans. During 
this time, elections were to be held and an assembly to be 
called for the purpose of choosing a responsible head with 
whom the Germans could treat. The latter were to help 
in provisioning the starved city, but were not to enter it. 
The two armies were to keep within their own limits, at a 
distance from each other of about five miles. Although 
Gambetta bitterly opposed the truce and tried to spur the 



THE ATTAINMENT OF GERMAN UNITY 447 

people on to fresh resistance, he was overruled. The Par- 
liament came together within the allotted time; and, by 
the so-called Compact of Bordeaux, chose Thiers as execu- 
tive head of the French Republic, regardless of the decision 
to which the nation might come with respect to its final 
form of government. 

On February 21 began the formal negotiations for The Treaty 
peace. The German demands were Alsace with Belfort, of Fr ank- 
a portion of Lorraine with Metz, and a war indemnity of fort< 
six billions of francs. Thiers, after days of discussion, in 
which the Frenchman more than once lost his temper 
and used abusive language, procured the remission of one 
billion francs, and saved Belfort by the counter concession 
that the German troops might make an entry into Paris. 
This agreement was reached on February 26, and the 
final treaty of peace was to be drawn up and signed at a 
conference to be held in Brussels. As a matter of fact it 
was signed in Frankfort on the 10th of May. On the 1st 
of March, thirty thousand Germans inarched into Paris, and 
occupied the southwestern portion of the city ; but with- 
drew after forty-eight hours, having completed the formal 
humiliation of the enemy. 

Long before this the Germans had celebrated a still The ques- 
greater triumph over an enemy that had been besetting them tion of 
since the days of the Hohenstaufens over the wretched ( 
dissensions that had so long prevented them from acting as 
one nation. What Charlemagne, what the Ottos and the 
Fredericks, had found impossible, the consolidating of 
their empire in such form that its crown could be handed 
down, without disturbance, from father to son, was now 
to be achieved. The people had been educated to it by 
centuries of bitter experiences; the way had been prepared 
for it by unparalleled successes in the field, and by a broad 
statesmanship, the like of which had rarely been seen. 



448 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

After the very first victories in August and September, 
the question had been broached of admitting the South 
German states into the North German Confederation. 
Baden, bound by family ties to the court of Prussia, was 
a prime mover in the affair ; but the real inspiration came 
from Bismarck. During the siege of Paris, there had been 
a busy coming and going of envoys at Versailles. There 
had been talk, indeed, of holding a federal Diet on French 
soil. 

Conces- Baden and Hesse made the least difficulty and were the 

sions to fi rs t to hand in their allegiance, Bavaria wished the federal 
constitution changed in no less than eighty points before 
she would subscribe to it, and Wiirtemberg held her in 
countenance. But Bismarck could afford to wait; -which 
was more than could be said of the Bavarian ministers, see- 
ing that they had against them on the one hand their own 
king, on the other public opinion. Gradually the demands 
were pared down to a degree which made them acceptable, 
though not palatable, to the Parliament of the confedera- 
tion. Indeed, but for Bismarck's threat of resigning the 
chancellorship at this the moment of his greatest glory, it 
is doubtful if the treaties would have been passed. 

" Unity at any price ' * was now the watchword of Prussian 
diplomacy. For that reason Bavaria was allowed to have 
six votes in the new confederation a number very much 
larger in proportion to the population than Prussia's seven- 
teen. For that reason, although retaining her right to veto 
any modification of the military and naval arrangements, 
Prussia agreed never to make war without the sanction of 
the federal council. Bavaria retained the exclusive control 
of her army in time of peace, of her railroad, postal, and 
telegraph systems, of legislation regarding the remunerative 
industry of beer-brewing; and was also. accorded some two 
dozen minor privileges. 



THE ATTAINMENT OF GERMAN UNITY 449 

Just when and where the idea of turning the German The ques- 
confederation into a German empire originated is not tion of an 
clear. The crown prince, in the diary that was surrepti- 
tiously published after his death, shows that much of the 
credit should be ascribed to himself ; and certainly he did 
much in persuading his father to allow the time-honored 
title of "King of Prussia," to which he clung so passion- 
ately, to be overshadowed. But the kind of empire the 
crown prince wanted was somewhat different from that 
which was finally brought into being. His plan would have 
tended to reduce the minor sovereigns to peers in an upper 
house, and would have brought them to submission, event- 
ually by force. The chancellor, with better foresight, was 
determined that the initiative should come from the states 
themselves, and it was he who prevailed on the king of 
Bavaria to personally suggest the change of title. 

Bismarck argued that it was more consistent for a Bismarck 

king of Bavaria to renounce rights to an emperor than to wisbes a 

" German 
a king; and he actually drew up the draft of the letter that Emperor 

Louis, on December 4, addressed to William. On the 
latter, too, who cared not the least for the imperial title, 
and would gladly have remained merely president of the 
confederation, Bismarck brought to bear all his powers of 
persuasion : " Your Majesty will not always remain a 
neuter das Praesidium ? " he said to him on one occasion. 
To the very last the Prussian king made difficulties : 
at all events he would be " Emperor of Germany," not 
' German Emperor," he declared Emperor of Germany or 
nothing at all. To this, Bismarck objected that it would 
involve a claim to non-Prussian territory ; that the king 
of Bavaria had expressly invited him to become " German 
Emperor " ; that the federal council had used this designa- 
tion in altering the old constitution to suit the new cir- 
cumstances; and that the minor German sovereigns would 
VOL. ii 2 o 



450 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

be very likely to make difficulties. The discussion grew 
very stormy, and the old king lost his temper, and brought 
his hand down heavily upon the table. 

The procla- With the matter still unsettled, the morning of the 18th 
mation at o J anuar y dawned the anniversary of the first corona- 
tion of a Prussian king, the day that had been set aside 
-for proclaiming the empire. "How are you going to 
name the new emperor ? " asked Bismarck, just before the 
ceremony, of the Grand Duke of Baden, who was to read 
the solemn announcement. " Emperor of Germany, accord- 
ing to his Majesty's command!" was the reply; but the 
chancellor, who relates the scene in his memoirs, prevailed 
upon him to return once more to the attack. At the last 
moment his Majesty gave in, but took the interference so ill 
that he publicly slighted his mentor as he entered the hall, 
and, walking past him, shook hands with the generals 
behind. The forts of Paris were belching forth their last 
defiant shots as the Hohenzollern raised the crown of a 
united fatherland and placed it upon his own head. 

The coolness with the chancellor lasted but a moment. 
These two men the strong, dignified, benevolent king, 
and the statesman endowed with wisdom and foresight 
were born to supplement each other's work. It was a 
combination, an alliance that put an end, in Germany, to 
the anarchy of ages. Had William been an absolute 
autocrat like Frederick the Great, or had he, on the other 
hand, been merely a figure-head, it is difficult to see how 
German unity could have been accomplished. But fortu- 
nately he possessed the very qualities that made all Ger- 
mans willing to accept his leadership, while Bismarck 
showed the strength of a Hercules in levelling the super- 
vening obstacles. 



CHAPTER XI 

POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS FROM 1871 TO 1914 

LITERATURE : The most illuminating study of the period from 
1871 to 1890 is Klein-Hattingen, Bismarck und seine Welt, 3 vols. 
A good short biography of Bismarck is that by Lenz. See also 
Egelhaaf, Geschichte der Neueaten Zeit. For the period from 1888 
to 1913 we have the monumental composite work Deutschland unter 
Kaiser Wilhelm II., of which Vol. I. deals with the political history. 
The new Handbuch der Politik, too, is useful for reference. A good 
narrative history of the reign of William II. is Felix Rachfahl, Kaiser 
und Reich 1888-1913. 

" MAY the German imperial war which we have carried The first 
through with such renown be followed by a peace for the Reichstag 
Empire no less glorious, and, from now on, may the German opei 
people confine their efforts to winning victories in the field 
of peaceful enjoyments. May God so ordain !" 

With these words William I. concluded his speech from 
the throne at the opening of the first Reichstag on March 21, 
1871. The scene was one of unwonted pomp and glitter, the 
formal reception of the members taking place in the famous 
White Hall of the royal castle at Berlin. The custom had 
been revived of having the great officials do homage by per- 
forming the duties attached to their posts, although no im- 
perial, but only royal, insignia were available. Austria, so 
recently humbled, could not well be asked to hand out the 
crown, orb, sceptre and sword of the old Holy Roman Empire 
which were reposing in Vienna. So Count Moltke bore the 
sword of the old Kings of Prussia, Count Redern their crown, 
General von Peuker their orb, and Minister von Roon their 
sceptre, while old Count Wrangel followed with a banner. 

451 



452 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



The 

Reichstag 

building. 



Festivities 
in Berlin. 



The throne, it was said, had belonged to the old Saxon em- 
perors of the eleventh and twelfth centuries and had been 
obtained from a collector in Goslar. 

The first regular session of the Reichstag took place in the 
old Zollverein building on the Donhoffs-Platz, no provision 
as yet having been made for permanently housing the assem- 
blage, which numbered nearly four hundred. The question of 
new quarters was immediately taken up and the result of the 
debates showed a modest, serious spirit. A member by the 
name of Smith had advocated an elaborate building to be set 
in a park on the bank of the Spree. The question of money, 
another member had declared, ought not to enter into the 
matter; to which a Progressive retorted that future ages 
would approve great decrees passed in plain halls ; they should 
not, however, be in a position to say : " My God, the building 
is magnificent but the decrees leave something to be de- 
sired!" This remark doubtless contributed to the result 
that for twenty-three years the German imperial Reichstag 
was to sit in the old show-rooms of the royal porcelain manu- 
factory on the Leipzigerstrasse. The transformation of the 
building was effected in one short summer, a task which the 
German architects had declared impossible. "All right," 
Bismarck had said angrily, "I shall send to London for 
builders !" The director of the porcelain works was induced 
to hasten his exit by the threat that whatever remained after 
three days would be thrown into the street. 

Berlin was in a tumult of gayety and hopefulness. For 
the first, and last, time the Emperor invited the Reichstag 
in a body to dine in the palace, where, with other guests, they 
sat down to table six hundred strong. The court appeared, 
too, at a great function in the Rathaus, given in the Reichs- 
tag's honor, for which a thousand invitations had been 
issued. Eugene Richter, the great leader of the " Progress- 
party," has left us fascinating glimpses of Bismarck escaping 



453 

from the royal ladies, who held court until the guests were 
half-starved, and being conducted by city-councillors to their 
own particular assembly-room, where beer was on tap ; and 
of the Kaiser pausing at the head of the stairs that led to the 
refreshment rooms and smiling back at the hungry, struggling 
deputies who followed him. 

There was every apparent reason for rejoicing. The five Causes for 
billion francs which the French had been obliged to promise rejoicing, 
as a war indemnity seemed to assure endless prosperity ; the 
National Liberals, placated by universal suffrage and hand 
in glove with Bismarck, had double the number of representa- 
tives in the Reichstag of any other party, and though the 
ultra-conservatives resented the merging of Prussia in Ger- 
many, that question was not likely to, and did not, become 
a vital issue. 

All the same before many weeks had passed Prussia and "We 
the empire were obliged to take up a struggle for supremacy wont S 
in a matter in which millions of their own subjects were solidly ~ 

arrayed against them. It is astonishing how like was this 
Kulturkampf, or struggle for religious and educational ideals, 
to that old bitter conflict of the eleventh and twelfth cen- 
turies when Gregory VII. and his successors claimed control 
of episcopal elections in Germany. That conflict was in the 
mind of every one now, and Bismarck scored one of the hits 
of his career when he cried out in the Reichstag, " We won't 
go to Canossa!" In those few words he conjured up the 
image of a German emperor, barefoot and in penitent's 
garb, humbly waiting in the snow, before the closed gates 
that guarded an obdurate pope, for the absolution that his 
own princes had required him to obtain. A marble monu- 
ment on the Harzburg, whence Henry IV. started on his pil- 
grimage, has perpetuated Bismarck's utterance, though 
many believe that the great chancellor was not true to his 
promise and did go to Canossa after all ! 



454 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

The The part of the rebellious Saxon prince of Henry IV.'s 

Centre time was played in the new struggle by the Centre party, 
represented both in Prussian diet and the German Reichstag. 
It was made up of delegates from the Roman Catholic states 
and from the Prussian Rhenish, Westphalian, and Polish 
provinces. The cry had gone forth that the church was in 
peril and the party had secured next to the largest repre- 
Wind- sentation in the Reichstag 57 seats as compared with 
horst. 116 of the National Liberals. Its most noted members were 

Windhorst, von Mallinckrodt, and the two brothers Reichen- 
sperger. In the long run Windhorst was to cast all others in 
the shade, and he and Bismarck stand forth as the acknowl- 
edged protagonists of their respective sides. Windhorst 's 
great assets were his coolness in debate, his quickness and 
readiness, his unfailing memory, and above all his power of 
drawing a laugh to the disadvantage of his opponent. 
The The details of the Kulturkampf can merely be summarized 

church's here. The whole episode is one of the most complicated in 
on ' German history. Even the combatants in the struggle are 
changing all the time. Now it is the Pope, now the Jesuit 
order, now the German episcopacy, now the Centre party 
that represents the claims of the church; again it is the 
. Reichstag, or again the Prussian Diet, or still again the gov- 
ernment of Hesse or of Baden, that brings up counter claims. 
Bismarck is called upon to act at one moment as chancellor, 
the next in his capacity as presiding minister of the Prussian 
cabinet, which last position, again, he resigns for a time. 
We meet the German bishops themselves, first as opponents 
of the infallibility dogma, then as opponents of such of their 
own clergy as refuse to accept it. The very leader of the 
revolt later returns to the fold, hoping, as he declared, to 
leaven the lump. The questions at issue, too, change from 
time to time. Infallibility fades into the background. 
Episcopal elections, control of schools, jurisdiction over ec- 



POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS FROM 1871 TO 1914 455 

clesiastical offenders, civil marriage : these and other matters 
alternate in coming to the fore. Ever in the background is 
the matter of ultimate authority ^the old, old conflict be- 
tween rendering unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, ^ 
and unto God the things that are God's\ 

To appreciate the full bitterness of the struggle one must re- 
member the church's plight at the time, with its temporal pos- 
sessions taken away from it by Italy, with its most apostolic 
and most Christian allies, Austria and France, defeated in suc- 
cessive wars by a Protestant power, and with only a spiritual 
realm and the doctrine of infallibility to which to cling. The 
fight was entered into with great courage. [Bismarck once 
wrote that the Pope's endeavor was "to control episcopal 
affairs in every single diocese and to substitute papal power/\ 
for that of the state 'Nand that the German bishops had been 
about to become "papal tools, officials of a monarch more 
absolute than any other in the world." 

It was on July 18, 1870, that Pius IX., "servant of the 
servants of God," proclaimed his "dogmatic constitution 
concerning the church of Christ" as a result of the Vatican 
council's decrees. The Prussian representative in Rome, 
Count Arnim, had already uttered a warning as to what the 
council's deliberations portended. He had declared that, in 
consequence of the new dogmas, the new conception of the 
papal power, a church would result, different from the one 
protected by the Prussian constitution, and had prophesied 
that the episcopal sees would be vacant and that the schools 
would divorce themselves from religion. Nevertheless, in 
August an assemblage of German bishops issued a pastoral 
letter ordering their clergy and all the faithful to accept the 
Vatican decrees. 

Then came revolt. Dollinger, the influential professor of Dollingor' 
theology at the University of Munich, organized a protest ; revolt, 
and, in a document known as the Nuremberg declaration, 



456 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



The 

Bonn 

faculty. 



Hostilities 
between 
church 
and state. 



the decrees of the council were repudiated as ruinous to the 
-Episcopacy and subversive of social order. "As a Chris- 
tian, as a theologian, as a historian, and as a citizen," wrote 
Dollinger, " I am obliged to reject these teachings." He was 
promptly excommunicated, but his university showed its 
^gyjupathy by electing him to be its head. Meanwhile, on 
September 20th, Italian troops occupied Rome and the last 
vestiges of the Pope's temporal power were swept away. 

Many German Catholics considered it their duty to work 
for the restoration of that power, and, in an assembly at 
Fulda, called on the governments of Europe to interfere : 
"If they will not perceive their duty," the assembly pro- 
claimed, " then their Catholic subjects must jog their minds ! " 
The Archbishop of Cologne helped to fan the flame by order- 
ing the Catholic professors in the theological faculty at Bonn 
to sign an acceptance of the dogma of infallibility. Who- 
ever refused was forbidden to perform the sacred rites, and 
no Catholic student might attend his lectures. Such an in- 
terference with academic liberty was bitterly resented ; the 
university appealed to the minister for education and the 
latter answered that professors were state officials and that 
episcopal dictation would not be tolerated. 

And so the cleft went on widening. The Dollinger party, 
or the "old Catholics" as they now called themselves, held 
a congress, set up their own ritual, and opened their own 
parishes. The partisans of infallibility, on the other hand, 
boldly thundered away at the government from their pulpits. 
The Reichstag then passed its famous "pulpit paragraph" 
making it a state-prison offence to endanger the public peace 
by agitation or discussion in the churches. There was no 
relenting on Bismarck's part. He saw to it that a stern, firm 
man, Adalbert Falk, was made Prussian Kultusminister, or 
minister of education and religion, and Falk's first act was to 
take the control of the schools from the hands of the clergy, a 



POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS FROM 1871 TO 1914 457 

measure that was opposed both by the Centrists and the Con- 
servatives. In order to pass it in the Prussian Upper House a 
whole batch of new peers had to be created by the emperor. 
Conspiracy, real or imagined, was laid at the door of the 
Catholics ; German unity was declared to be at stake. Much 
was made of the Pope's refusal to accept as Prussian envoy 
to the Vatican one of his own cardinals, Hohenlohe, who, 
however, was an opponent of infallibility. Bismarck's bold- 
est move, and the one that reminds one most of the Canossa 
days, was to send a circular despatch to Germany's foreign 
representatives telling them to sound the governments to 
which they were accredited on the desirability of pledging 
any new pope-elect to certain conditions and refusing to 
recognize him otherwise. Brought to the Pope's notice this 
despatch did not help to mend matters. 

As time went on blows more and more hammer-like were The May 
dealt, the conflict raging with the greatest intensity between ^ aws - 
1872 and 1875. Bismarck once declared that the Kultur- 
kampf was but one in the series of struggles that had begun 
when Agamemnon at Aulis, in conflict with his augurs, had 
to make the sacrifice of his daughter, and that had lacerated 
the German Empire during the Middle Ages. The Prussian 
state was in peril and had to fight for its existence threatened 
by the greed of the church. ^The Jesuit order, root and J 
branch, was expelled from German territory; the Prussian 
constitution was amended so as to permit of severer measures. 
The famous "May laws," finally, deprived the Prussian 
bishops of much of their power over the clergy as well as 
limiting their influence over the laity, gave new disciplinary 
powers to the government, required young ecclesiastics to 
have studied for three years at a German university before 
being ordained priest, and directed that ecclesiastical 
offenders should be tried in the ordinary secular courts. 

One can imagine the bitter protests called forth by such 



458 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



Retalia- 
tion and 
reprisals. 



The 

attempt 

to 

assassinate 

Bismarck. 



measures ; the hatred, the fierce denunciations. The Prus- 
sian bishops flatly refused to carry out the May laws. It 
was a heathen principle, they declared, that the law of the 
state should be the last resort in matters of justice. Pius IX. 
spoke openly of the German "persecution." He even had 
an acrimonious exchange of letters with the emperor in which 
he declared that every baptized person was under his, the 
Pope's, authority. William I. answered him in kind. Can- 
didates for bishoprics were now obliged to take a special oath 
that they would obey the state laws, while prosecutions on 
the one hand were answered by excommunication on the 
other. A measure most distasteful to the church was the 
introduction of civil marriage, not even as optional but 
as obligatory ; this was robbing the church of a sacrament. 
New Prussian laws concerning church property, too, cut very 
deep. In February, 1875, Pius retaliated with an encyclic, 
declaring such laws invalid and forbidding Catholics to obey 
them ; nor might Catholics take part in religious celebrations 
conducted by priests who had taken the oath which the state 
required. And so matters went on with little slackening un- 
til the death of Pius in 1878. 

Bismarck had drawn down upon himself an avalanche of 
personal hatred. That there were violent conflicts with the 
Centre both in the Reichstag and the Diet goes without say- 
ing. Then came an attempt to assassinate him in the street 
at Kissingen, where he was fired upon by a certain Kullmann, 
July, 1874. He made capital out of the affair and used it as 
a ground for greater and greater severity against the Catho- 
lics. The Centre took the attitude that Kullmann was an 
irresponsible person and protested against the exploitation 
of his act, but Bismarck, in the Reichstag, turned on the 
party like a tiger : the previous speaker, he declared, had 
called the murderer half-witted. Such was not the case, he 
begged to inform him. Not that he believed there was 



POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS FROM 1871 TO 1914 459 

direct collusion between the speaker and the murderer: 
"Even in his inmost soul the former speaker will surely 
never have cherished the wish: 'if only something might 
happen to this Chancellor ! ' [laughter]. I am convinced that 
such a thought will never have crossed his mind [laughter]." 
And then fiercely : " But repudiate this murderer as you will, 
nevertheless he does cling to your coat-tails. He calls you 
his party!" Amid a storm of indignation Bismarck went 
on to declare that the man had said to him personally, " You 
have insulted my party!" The Centre jeered. "I asked, 
'Which is your party?' Whereupon he said to me before 
witnesses : ' The Centre party in the Reichstag ! ' ' Here 
there were wild cries of "Pfui!" from the Centre; but Bis- 
marck continued : " ' Pfui ' is an expression of scorn and 
disgust. Do not think, Gentlemen, that I am immune from 
such feelings. But I am too polite to express them." And 
he repeated his charge that the murderer clung to the coat- 
tails of his party. 

All the same, with the death of Pius IX. the Kulturkampf Attempts 
had spent its fury. The new Pope, Leo XIII., sent an amiably *p assas- 

worded notification of his election to Emperor William. smate the 
. . . emperor. 

But just at this juncture events suddenly precipitated an 

equally fierce struggle of another kind. There came an at- 
tempt on the life of the emperor by an ex-member of the 
social democratic party, which proved unsuccessful. Bis- 
marck brought in severe anti-socialist laws which, however, 
were not passed by the Reichstag. Then came a second 
attempt at assassination, more serious, for in full view of the 
passers by, on Unter den Linden, a charge of shot was lodged 
in the emperor's neck and arm. At once Bismarck dissolved 
the Reichstag, hastily summoned a new one, and passed the 
most drastic of laws. 

The strength of social democracy lay less in the fact of its 
being a well-organized political party than in that of its tenets 



460 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



The rise 
of social 
democ- 
racy. 



Weitling. 



Marx and 
Engels. 



having become a veritable religion. As in the case of many 
another religion, persecution was to establish it all the more 
firmly. Social democracy had its prophet in Wilhelm Weit- 
Ving," its Messiah in Karl Marx, its John the disciple in 
Friedrich Engels, its apostle Peter in Ferdinand Lassalle, and 
its gospel in Marx's treatise on "Capital." At the time of 
the anti-socialist laws, Marx and Engels were still alive, but 
were sojourning in foreign lands. Active in Germany, how- 
ever, was August Bebel. Under arrest at the time in Saxony, 
he had been elected in 1871 as sole representative for the 
Socialist party in the Reichstag. 

We must dwell for a moment on the general trend of the 
teachings of the Socialists in order to understand the bitter 
antagonism the German government has always shown tow- 
ards them. Weitling, whose ideas created a considerable 
stir in his day, w r as the incarnation of the revolutionary spirit. 
He had belonged to the most radical secret society in Paris 
and once formulated it as his goal, " to accustom timid diplo- 
mats, magistrates, and petty tradesmen to the noise of the 
communistic doctrine just as the sailor becomes accustomed to 
the washing of the waves." He was the kind of fanatic that 
we have met with among the leaders of the peasant uprising 
of the sixteenth century, with the same tendency to quote 
and pervert Scripture and the same belief that matters could 
only be remedied by the violent overthrow of existing condi- 
tions. Weitling carried on his propaganda on two conti- 
nents and died in New York in 1871. 

Marx and Engels, too, were cosmopolites, though born 
on the Rhine. Both belonged to a communistic league in 
Paris and both assisted in drawing up the programme of the 
communistic congress held in London in 1847. In 1848 
Marx was expelled from Prussia, from Paris, and from Brus- 
sells, and took up his permanent residence in London. From 
1864 to his death in 1883 he was the virtual head of a great 



POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS FROM 1871 TO 1914 461 

international labor organization. Marx had a well-trained 
mind, having studied in his youth at the universities of Ber- 
lin and Bonn. Social and economic questions had always in- 
terested him ; and many of his theories, such as those relating 
to free schooling, progressive taxation and national industrial 
enterprises, have been put into practice with great success. 
It is his attacks on such conceptions as fatherland, family, 
marriage, and religion to which the governments have 
chiefly objected and to his doctrine that relief from all the 
evils " can only be obtained by the violent overthrow of the 
whole existing social order." According to Marx's gospel, 
society falls apart into but two main categories, the plun- 
derers and the plundered. Landowners should be expro- 
priated and all rents should flow into the state treasury ; the 
state, too, should control all transportation and all credit, 
while the whole inheritance system should be abolished. This 
process will be simplified by an inevitable tendency of the 
rich to grow richer and the rest of mankind to grow poorer 
a famous theory to which events have given the lie. 

Ferdinand Lassalle was more of a practical agitator than Lassalle. 
Marx. To him the laboring class is " the rock on which the 
church of to-day is to be established." His "open answer," 
published in 1863, has been designated " the foundation char- 
ter of German social democracy"; and indeed his "general 
German working man's association" was later formally 
merged into the larger organization. Some of his ideas, too, 
have lived : universal suffrage, electoral reform, cooperative 
associations. Lassalle was so influential that Bismarck is 
said at one time to have sought his alliance, but the man was 
unbalanced and finally was killed in a duel after a sordid af- 
fair with a woman. 

At the time of the elections to the first Reichstag the 
Lassalle adherents and those of Marx were at daggers drawn, 
but in Gotha in 1875 the two factions composed their differ- 



462 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



The begin- 
nings of 
the Social 
Demo- 
cratic 
party. 



Bismarck 
and the 
Social 
Demo- 
crats. 



Severe 
measures 
against 
Social 
Demo- 
crats. 



ences and the steady rise of social democracy began. In 
1877 the party polled a vote of 493,000 and returned twelve 
members to the Reichstag. Trades-unionism was flourish- 
ing simultaneously, the majority of the trades-unionists being 
Social Democrats. Wider and wider was the appeal made 
by the party's programme, which included an eight-hour day, 
progressive taxes, the right of the people to decide on war or 
peace, and better labor conditions for women and children. 

Bismarck maintained that his enmity to social democracy 
began on the day when he heard Bebel in the Reichstag de- 
fend the Paris communists of 1871 and declare that their 
battle-cry "war on palaces, peace to huts, death to misery 
and idleness" would soon be the battle-cry of the whole 
European proletariat. He tried to have it made a criminal 
offence to print attacks on such foundations of public order 
as the sanctity of family ties and the ownership of property, 
but failed to win the Reichstag for the measure, even though 
he eloquently prophesied the coming of the day when good 
citizens would long for such legislation "as the lonely pacer 
in a treadmill longs for a swallow of water." The draft of the 
law that he presented after the first attempt on the emperor's 
life took away freedom of the press and the right to hold as- 
semblies. This proposition, as we know, was voted down. 
But after Nobijing had succeeded in actually wounding the 
emperor there were no bounds to the indignation against the 
Social Democrats, although Nobiling could in no way be iden- 
tified with the latter. 

Now began a time of ostracism and proscription. The 
police were authorized to suppress all "social democratic, 
socialistic, or communistic" gatherings and all publications 
that "tended to undermine the existing political and social 
order." ,The door was thus opened for a regular persecu- 
tion. Berlin, in addition, was pronounced in a state of petty 
siege ; and, literally, if three persons stopped to speak together 



POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS FROM 1871 TO 1914 463 

in the street they were looked upon as technically assembling 
and could be ordered to disperse, as the historian knows by 
experience. This condition of things lasted for twelve years. 
A veritable White Terror had set in. The year 1878 alone 
saw the suppression of 189 associations and 258 publications, 
while it has been reckoned that in all 521 persons were con- 
demned to a grand total of 1100 years for Majestatsbeleidi- 
gung, or high treason. For spreading the writings of John 
Most, the anarchist, nine Social Democrats were sentenced 
in a batch to the house of correction. 

Yet Bismarck's policy of intimidation was to prove a fail- Futility 
ure in the end. At the first election after the dissolution of of the 
the Reichstag the Social Democrats had lost three members. 
These were regained, however, in 1881, and three years later 
the number of members had actually doubled 24 instead of 
12 ! The banishment of agitators from the large cities had 
proved an especially futile measure, for they quickly made 
new centres for themselves in the smaller towns. Repressive 
measures against the trades-unions, too, had embittered the 
whole laboring class. Minister von Puttkammer in a decree 
of April 11, 1886, went so far as to forbid strikes as revolu- 
tionary and to declare that they would be dealt with as com- 
ing under the anti-socialist laws ! 

Bebel in his memoirs has left a fascinating account of the Subter- 
way in which his party rose superior to persecution : of the fu s es of 
clever subterfuges for outwitting the police ; of the methods 



of tracking and trailing which the government employed, and cra t s> 
the disguises and tricks by which they were evaded ; of the 
secret meetings and the setting up of printing-presses under 
the very nose of the police. A newspaper which was started 
in Zurich it was called the "Social Democrat" -was of 
course forbidden in Germany, and the wildest ad ventures were 
connected with its issue and circulation. Once a pulpit had 
to serve as a storage place and again bales of copies of the 



464 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



Bismarck 
and the 
political 
parties. 



The break 
with the 
National 
Liberals 
- 1879. 



forbidden sheet that had been printed in England were trans- 
ported on the very ship that carried the Kaiser. German 
spies followed the "comrades" even to foreign countries and 
tried to embroil them with their home governments. It is 
estimated that in all, in the twelve years in which the anti- 
socialist laws were in force, 1300 publications were suppressed, 
332 workmen's organizations were broken up, and 900 persons 
suffered expulsion, not to speak of those imprisoned as de- 
scribed above. In the other scale of the balance are to be 
placed 35 socialist members of the Reichstag elected in 1890, 
with a vote to their credit of 1,500,000 ! 

Bismarck had begun his chancellorship upheld by a majority 
consisting mainly of liberals ; in the elections of 1874, then, 
the National Liberal party had secured 155 seats in the 
Reichstag and already had 178 seats in the Prussian Lower 
House. But Bismarck was growing weary of the alliance, 
which was as one of fire and water ; indeed, Roon had called 
it not an alliance but a mesalliance. The party was bitterly 
reproached, it is true, for being too friendly to Bismarck and 
for compromising with him on army bills, press laws, and judi- 
cial measures ; but the fact remained that he could no longer 
be certain of having his policies indorsed. Also he had new 
and important policies in view that were likely to be of much 
more interest to conservatives, representing as the latter did 
the great industrialists and the agrarians. And with the 
conservatives and the Centrists the death of Pope Pius IX. 
seemed to pave the way for reconciliation. 

Two anecdotes are told in connection w r ith Bismarck's 
growing coolness toward his former supporters. On hearing 
of the first attempt upon the emperor's life he brought his 
fist down on the table with "Now I have them!" "Your 
Highness means the Social Democrats?" "No, the Na- 
tional Liberals!" At the news of the second attempt he is 
said to have exclaimed, "Now I can dissolve the Reichstag," 



POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS FROM 1871 TO 1914 465 

and then, as an afterthought, to have asked how badly the 
emperor was injured. In 1879 he gave the party a regular 
castigation in the Reichstag. His feelings toward them, 
he said, had grown "cool to the very heart" ; he could no 
longer trust them, he found them lacking in modesty, he 
would remind them that the Kulturkampf (which made the 
Centre his enemies) would not last forever. He managed 
to pass his protective tariff practically without their aid and, 
soon after, the once powerful party fell a prey to inward dis- 
sension which culminated in a secession from its ranks. 
never again recovered its old strength. 

Bismarck approached nearer and nearer to Canossa. In Reconcili 
July, 1878, he met the papal nuncio, Masella, as if by accident ation 
at Kissingen. A month later a papal letter betrayed the se- 



cret that Leo XIII. was desirous of a lasting peace. In May, 
1879, Berlin learned that Windhorst, the great Centrist leader, 
for the first time in nine years, had appeared at a soiree in 
the Chancellor's palace. A cup of liquid had accidentally 
been upset over his clothes, but this had merely given a chance 
for added informality and heartiness. Two months later 
Falk, stern father of the May laws, resigned from the ministry 
and was succeeded by von Puttkammer. Some modifications 
were introduced in the schools. Evidently the tide had 
turned. Interviews and concessions alternated with each 
other until, in July, 1880, a so-called peace-law paved the way 
for the reinstatement of bishops and the resumption of eccle- 
siastical taxation. In 1882 and 1883 came further legislation 
and further modifications. The Pope and the emperor 
again began to correspond ; the Pope filled the vacant sees 
of Cologne and Posen. In 1885 the Pope was made arbiter 
between Germany and Spain in the matter of the ownership 
of the Caroline Islands. 

There is no need to follow all the intermediate steps, but 
when, in 1887, we find the Pope using his influence with the 
VOL. ii 2n 



466 



Results of 
the Kul- 
lurkampf. 



The 

national 
compul- 
sory 
insurance 



Centre to have it support the German government's army 
bill, it is evident that the Kulturkampf as an issue was nearly 
dead ; in fact in May of that year the Pope in a public con- 
sistory declared the conflict ended. By no means all of the 
laws had been abrogated. In the empire at large the so- 
called pulpit paragraph and the laws against the Jesuits still 
remained in force ; while in Prussia laws concerning civil mar- 
riage, control of the schools, church property, the calling of 
pastors, and religious orders were retained, though in a modi- 
fied form. 

Meanwhile the reform that, apart from the weiding of the 
nation into an empire, will be remembered by posterity as 
the great achievement of William I.'s reign, was in full prog- 
ress; for the year that saw the official conclusion of the 
Kulturkampf saw also the announcement of a plan for in- 
validity and old age insurance that was to serve as a corner- 
stone for social legislation in favor of the working-man. That 
the introduction of compulsory insurance as a state enterprise 
was mainly a political move intended to checkmate social 
democracy cannot well be denied. As early as 1871 Bismarck 
had written to Count Itzenplitz that the only way of calling a 
halt to the Socialist movement was to realize what was just 
and practicable in its demands. When bringing forward an 
accident insurance law in 1881 he had spoken of " infernal 
elements" with which the state was in conflict. It is well 
known now that he intended the insurance to be a better 
weapon in the state's hand than it eventually became. He 
always maintained, indeed, that it would add to the dignity 
of the working-man, but he had wished the state to contribute 
much more largely to the fund and to keep it under its own 
control. It would have been easy then to exclude the unde- 
serving from its benefits. But here the Reichstag inter- 
vened. It was not charity, not a gift from the state, that was 
wanted by the liberals. The original bill was so transform? 1 



POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS FROM 1871 TO 1914 467 

in debate that the government withdrew it, but it is notice- 
able that in the emperor's famous proclamation of November 
17, 1881, the words occur : " the aid to which they (the people) 
have a right." New drafts of laws concerning accident and 
sickness insurance were presented in 1882 ; in 1883 the sick- 
ness insurance and in 1884 the accident insurance went into 
effect, to be followed by the invalidity and old age insurance 
in 1889. 

In one of its chief objects the insurance failed : it neither Partial 
tamed the Social Democrats nor did it hinder their growth. failure of 

It did not even earn their gratitude, for the taunt was often' . 

insurance 

heard that cake was being offered with one hand while a i aws> 
whip was wielded in the other. It was a sop, a palliative, and 
according to the Marxist creed there was to be no compro- 
mise : it was to be the "state of the future" or nothing at 
all. Close students of Bismarck's policies think that they 
were all interwoven and that what he desired was advanced 
state-socialism or monopoly. This he intended to put 
through with the aid of the adherents which the social insur- 
ance would win for the crown. Commerce and agriculture 
were to be furthered by the new high tariff, and the state was 
to control the transportation rates by bringing all the rail- 
roads into its own hands. This latter aim, at least, Bismarck 
achieved, though only for the Prussian state. 

The scheme that he brought forward in 1875 was for the The 
empire to buy up all the railroads and administer them as a Prussian 

unit. Almost all the chambers of commerce in Germanv ., e 

. " railroads, 

were in tavor ot the plan and the Prussian Diet recorded 

a vote in its favor. But the opposition from the smaller 
states, from private interests, and even from members of Bis- 
marck's cabinet, was insurmountable. The spirit of particu- 
larism was still so rampant that Saxony refused to have its 
railroad tickets of the same color as Prussia's because the gov- 
ernment thought its people ought always to know whether 



468 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

they were travelling at home or abroad! A Wiirttemberg 
minister declared frankly that his state would not sacrifice 
its railroads to this "Moloch of a German Empire." 

Unable to carry out the larger plan, which some think he 
presented merely as a blind, Bismarck proceeded to consoli- 
date the Prussian railroads and bring at least the principal 
ones under state ownership. There was nothing revolution- 
ary in the policy, for Prussia, as well as other states, was al- 
ready an investor in some of the lines. By the end of 1878 
30 per cent of the Prussian railroads were in the govern- 
' ment's hands and 20 per cent were actually run by it. The 
country meanwhile was being enlightened by debates, lec- 
tures, and publications as to the merits and disadvantages of 
public ownership. The more pronounced liberals, like Eu- 
gene Richter, were bitterly opposed. Richter declared in the 
Reichstag that the idea of such unnatural centralization was 
unheard of in Europe, that it would impose intolerable 
responsibilities; that it was an attempt to militarize com- 
merce, transportation, and intercourse ; that a state always 
conducted enterprises more extravagantly than did individ- 
uals ; that there would be unutterable confusion in the 
budget. "In Prussia, in Germany, in the whole world," he 
said, "competition and private industry have produced the 
growth of the railroads." And he went on to predict dire 
calamity. 

Acquisi- In 1879, sure of a majority in the Prussian Diet, Bismarck 

tion of brought forward a comprehensive plan involving the pur- 

the lines. c h ase an( j completion of nearly 2000 miles of trackage. At 

the same time he stated frankly that further purchases and 

practical monopoly were his ultimate aim. The project 

involved a doubling of the public debt, which already 

amounted to some 1,400,000,000 marks, and an increase in 

yearly interest of nearly 60,000,000 marks. The former 

shareholders w r ere to be allowed to exchange their stock for 



POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS FROM 1871 TO 1914 469 

government bonds. The whole measure was finally passed 
December 17, 1879. The further purchases were made as 
predicted, and by 1885 all the really important lines had been 
acquired. 

Meanwhile slowly but surely the desire to mix in the The ques- 
larger affairs of the world was becoming apparent in Germany. tion f 
Hitherto there had been no ambition to own colonies across 
the seas. Doubtless in 1871 France would have been only 
too delighted to cede islands or African tracts rather than 
Alsace-Lorraine, but the idea met with no response. Since 
then, indeed, the secrets of the jungles had been opened up by 
the English Stanley and Livingstone, and German explorers 
like Nachtigal and von Richthof en had penetrated in all direc- 
tions. 

One can trace the day and almost the minute when Ger- South- 
many determined to become a colonial power. On April 24, west 
1884, Bismarck cabled to the German consul at Cape Town : n 
"According to information imparted by Mr. Liideritz the 
(British) colonial authorities doubt if his acquisitions north 
of the Orange River can claim German protection. You are 
to declare officially that he and his settlements will be safe- 
guarded by the Empire." Liideritz was a Bremen trader 
who had conceived the idea of bartering with Southwest 
African chieftains for land grants and privileges which should 
enable him to start plantations, ostrich farms, and industrial 
enterprises. He had obtained from a Hottentot leader a 
grant of many square miles on the bay of Angra Pequena, and 
Bismarck had instructed his Cape Town consul to support 
Liideritz in case there were no conflicting claims. England 
was approached in the matter and gave the oracular verdict 
that her own sovereignty extended only to Whale Bay and to 
some islands off the coast ; but that any claim to territory 
between Cape Colony and the eighteenth degree of latitude 
was "an attack on Cape Colony's legitimate rights." De- 



470 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



Dif- 
ferences 
with 
England. 



Impor- 
tance of 
German 
trade 
interests. 



signed to check Liideritz's temerity this declaration had the 
opposite effect. Even before it arrived he had acquired by 
treaties the whole stretch of coast from the Orange River 
to the twenty-sixth degree of latitude ; and England's ac- 
knowledgment that her sovereignty was restricted to 
Whale Bay and the islands was, of course, most welcome. She 
was now politely asked to give the basis for her other in- 
definite claims and in particular to state what arrangements 
had been made for protecting German subjects when engaged 
in legitimate undertakings. 

England was taken in a trap. Her Colonial Secretary, 
Lord Derby, was obliged to admit that, although ninety 
years previously troops had once landed on the Southwest 
African coast, England had never claimed it or attempted to 
set up a government. Cape Colony then tried to establish 
what Bismarck called a "Monroe Doctrine in Africa," but 
the prime minister, Lord Granville, finally offered excuses, and 
the Cabinet formally recognized the German protectorate 
over the whole territory. The whole matter had thus ap- 
parently been settled when, in July, 1884, Cape Colony sud- 
denly declared that, with Lord Derby's sanction, she had an- 
nexed Southwest Africa. Without hesitation Bismarck then 
despatched three warships to the spot, and on August 7 
the German flag was hoisted. England was not willing to go 
to war about those sandy wastes and her government ex- 
plained that the annexation order referred only to such lands 
as were not actually occupied by the Germans and con- 
tented itself with Betschuanaland and Kalahari, well in from 
the coast. 

Bismarck had wished to leave the material side of the 
founding, management, and development of the colony en- 
tirely to Liideritz. He had always been averse to having 
the empire assume such burdens. He had looked on with 
equanimity (except that he secured a coaling station in 



POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS FROM 1871 TO 1914 471 

Samoa) when England annexed the Fiji Islands in 1875 and 
Northern Borneo in 1881, arid when France, in 1882, secured 
a large portion of the Congo district. It was not the land 
but tho trading facilities that he desired. From various 
quarters complaints had been lodged as to unjust treatment 
by French and English authorities. In the beginning, at 
least, a consul here, a naval station there, was the height of 
his ambition. He had waked up to the fact, indeed, that 
German trading interests had grown to be of considerable 
importance in every quarter of the globe, that Hamburg and 
Bremen merchants had branch offices in almost every tropical 
centre. One has only to think of the great firm of C. Woer- 
mann, with its own line of steamers, or of F. M. Victor and 
Sons, who had been trading with Togoland since 1856. Ham- 
burg, since 1859, had had its own treaty with the sultan of 
Zanzibar ; the firm of Godfrey in Samoa had brought into its 
own hands practically the whole profitable trade in copra, a 
product of the cocoanut tree. 

One can imagine Bismarck's embarrassment, now, when he Bismarck 
found that Liideritz was financially unsound and was being forms a 
tempted to sell out to an English company. With the aid s 
of the bankers Bleichroder and Hansemann, Bismarck suc- 
ceeded in forming a stock company with a capital of more 
than a million marks, but the administration of the colony 
was a task the government could no longer avoid. An 
imperial commission was therefore appointed. 

The events in Southwest Africa and the chancellor's Togo and 
change of heart towards the question of colonies had set Cameroon, 
the whole German trading world to making treaties with 
chieftains and to claiming imperial protection, and Bis- 
marck himself now favored an energetic policy of acquisition. 
The explorers were able to furnish useful hints as to what 
spots were desirable and could be ranked as "no-man's- 
land." Nachtigal, whose book, The SaJiara and Soudan, 



472 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



Colonies 
in the 
Pacific 
islands. 



had had a great vogue, was pressed into the service and one 
of his commissions was to carry a statuette of Emperor 
AVilliam I. to a certain chieftain who was likely to prove 
friendly. The chieftain turned out to be indubitably a 
protege of France ; and the Loos Islands, where Xachtigal 
attempted a flag-hoisting, turned out to be indubitably 
English. All the same it was Xachtigal who secured the large 
colonies of Togo and Cameroon after running an undignified 
race with the English. It was on July 14 that Nachtigal 
hoisted his country's flag in Cameroon ; only five days later 
the British consul, Hewett, arrived with the intention of tak- 
ing possession. In Bimbia it was the same, but England 
secured Victoria, Ambas Bay, Mondoleh, Bibundi and terri- 
tory on the Rio del Rev. * For a time it looked as though 
conflicting claims might lead to serious trouble between the 
two powers. But Bismarck sent his own son, Herbert, to 
carry on the negotiations in London, and the treaties of April 
29, 1885, and of July 26, 1886, finally settled all the African 
disputes. 

On hearing that Germany had designs on the Island of 
New Guinea Australia had meanwhile taken fright, and the 
government at Queensland, without waiting to consult 
the mother country, sent the chief of police of Thursday 
Island to annex the whole considerable territory, which he 
did. But England herself threw a wet blanket over the 
enterprise on account of the expense of administration. The 
Australian colonies then held a general conference in Sydney 
and protested violently against the permitting of foreign 
powers to hold land in the South Seas. This dispute, like 
the others, ended in compromise. The northern coast, now 
known as Kaiser Wilhelm's Land, and a group of islands re- 
christened the Bismarck Archipelago were abandoned to 
Germany. 

By another agreement the Caroline, Browne, Marshall, and 



POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS FROM 1871 TO 1914 473 

Providence islands were declared within the sphere of influ- The Caro- 
ence of Germany. Spain, indeed, flew into a rage at finding ^ ne an d 
that her Caroline Islands were thus to be disposed of, and the . ' 
populace attacked the German embassy in Madrid. But 
Bismarck gave the dispute a graceful turn by leaving, as we 
have seen, the whole decision to. the Pope. It was a special 
compliment to his Holiness, for Spain's original title to the 
islands rested on the fact that a former Pope, Alexander VI., 
had drawn an imaginary line apportioning to her that part 
of the ocean. 

Germany's most valuable acquisition was made on the East 
east coast of Africa. Her pretexts for interference were some- Africa, 
what artificial. The sister-in-law of the Sultan of Zanzibar, 
who had become a German subject by marrying a Hamburg 
merchant, was owed money by the sultan. The latter was 
accused, too, of having disregarded German trading treaties. 
Frau Ruete, the widow, was placed on a warship, while S. 
Rohlfs, an explorer, was made consul to those parts ; and Dr. 
Karl Peters and two others, under the firm name of " Ger- 
man East African Society, Dr. Peters & Co.," were instructed 
to find land for a German settlement. Herbert Bismarck had 
meanwhile gained an admission from England's prime minis- 
ter that the lands on the main coast facing Zanzibar were 
under no recognized form of government. 

But the sultan, prompted by English traders, claimed England 
the lands in question, forbade any chieftain to cede rights and 
to the Germans, and sent troops to various points. However, 
when, on Aug. 7, 1885, five German warships, including the 
one which carried Frau Ruete, appeared off the Island the 
sultan changed his tactics completely. So friendly indeed 
did he prove that the Germans could not think of pressing 
Frau Ruete's case for fear of hurting his feelings ; and the 
poor lady, although later she made a second journey to 
Zanzibar for the purpose, never obtained satisfaction. Ger- 



474 



A SHORT HISTORY O^ 1 GERMANY 



many acquired a large tract of land in the interior, but left 
to the sultan a wide strip of coast. There were the inevitable 
rubs with England, where Dr. Peters and the German ex- 
plorer Emin Pasha were suspected of planning further annexa- 
tions on a grand scale. But here, too, a treaty, concluded in 
July, 1890, finally settled all difficulties. In return for the 
protectorate over Zanzibar itself, for Witu and Somaliland 
and other districts, England used her good offices with the 
sultan to make him abandon his strip of coast, allowed 
Germany a clear title to a huge tract of land stretching west 
to the Congo Free State, and, last but not least, surrendered 
Helgoland the Island of Helgoland in the North Sea, one of the 
supreme acts of folly in her dipl6matic history. 

Germany now had a colonial empire nearly five times its 
own original size, and it had been gained without striking 
a blow. Bismarck's policy now was to keep the peace and 
devote himself to internal affairs. 

After 1871 it was no secret that France would take the 
first opportunity to endeavor to recover Alsace-Lorraine. 
The statue of Strassburg in the Place de la Concorde was kept 
draped with black against the day of liberation. Bismarck's 
efforts, accordingly, were directed to keeping France isolated 
from other countries and especially to preventing her from 
joining with Russia, a danger which seemed especially threat- 
ening in 1875 and in 1887. In the former year the wily Russian 
minister Gortschakoff did his best to embroil France and 
Germany, while in the latter Boulanger seemed about to play 
the part of a new Napoleon. Bismarck's diplomacy was 
masterly. He used every artifice known to his trade : 
bribery, threats and cajoleries, secret and underhanded agree- 
ments like his famous re-insurance treaty with Russia, above 
all a frankness so amazing that it completely bluffed his 
opponents. 

Even before the surrender at Sedan Bismarck had sounded 



Foreign 
policy. 



POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS FROM 1871 TO 1914 475 

the courts of St. Petersburg and Berlin as to a possible alii- The three- 
ance. He had earned the Czar's gratitude by helping him to emperor 
obtain a modification of that clause in the Paris Treaty of 1856 aUiance - 
which restricted the number of warships Russia might main- 
tain in the Black Sea. He was willing to some extent, too, 
to further her aims in the Balkan peninsula. There was a 
close personal friendship between the Czar and Emperor 
William. With Austria, on the other hand, Bismarck had 
purposely been lenient after the war of 1866 ; and as Austria's 
designs in the Balkans were sure to conflict with those of 
Russia, she could not refuse Germany's proffered friendship. 
The so-called three-emperor alliance was to remain in force 
until 1879. 

But it showed rifts before it broke. Disturbances in the Bosnia 
Balkans in 1876 caused the Czar, through the German mili- and ^er- 
tary envoy, Count von Werder, to ask Bismarck whether 
Germany would remain neutral were Russia to attack 
Austria. Bismarck answered what was doubtless the 
truth : peace among the monarchies was Germany's prime 
need; should peace prove impossible between Austria and 
Russia, Germany might look on with equanimity while 
a few battles were won or lost, but she could not permit 
either of her friends to be crippled as a great power. In 
consequence of this attitude Russia came to terms with 
Austria, secured her neutrality in the case of an eventual 
struggle with Turkey, and, as an earnest of her good will, 
abandoned to her in 1877 the old Turkish provinces of Bosnia 
and Herzegovina. 

Not many months passed before the war between Russia The 
and Turkey became an actuality. We need not follow its Congress 
details here. What interests us chiefly is that Russia, though" 
victorious, was prevented by Austria and England from im- 
posing the terms she desired. The Czar turned to Bismarck 
with the request that a congress of the great powers be held 



476 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



The 
breach 
with 
Russia. 



The 

Austrian- 
German 
alliance of 
1879. 



at Berlin ; it was duly called and remained in session from 
June 13 to July 13, 1878. 

Bismarck had a difficult course to steer. If he were to 
offend Russia, she would naturally gravitate to France. Yet 
it soon became evident that he could not hope to retain the 
friendship both of Russia and of Austria, at least not as an 
open ally. The Congress of Berlin, as is well known, ended 
in a series of unsatisfactory compromises teeming with 
germs of future discord. There was discontent among 
the Balkan powers themselves, while the Russian press grew 
more and more bitter against Germany when it was found that 
Bismarck did not uphold Russia in her various contentions. 
Russian troops were massed near the frontier, while in August, 
1879, the Czar intimated to the emperor very plainly that 
evil consequences must ensue should Russia's interpretation 
of the Berlin treaty be opposed. Bismarck, meanwhile, was 
conducting negotiations with the Austro-Hungarian minis- 
ter of foreign affairs, Count Andrassy, with regard to a de- 
fensive alliance against Russia. 

It was not easy to win Emperor William for the change 
of front. The friendship with Russia was traditional - 
was a fixed habit with him. The truth seems to be that he 
was personally fonder of Czar Alexander than he was of 
Emperor Franz Joseph. He insisted now on holding a 
personal interview w r ith the Czar and in spite of Bismarck's 
remonstrances journeyed to Russia for the purpose. In the 
interview he actually wept and Bismarck speaks of his "in- 
considerate sentimentality." The chancellor finally used 
his strongest weapon and threatened to resign, which brought 
the emperor to terms. Standing as he did on the edge of 
the grave, he had said, he did not wish to change his policies ; 
but a change of chancellors was still more distasteful. The 
Austrian-German defensive alliance, still in force, was signed 
at Schonbrunn on September 2-1, 1879. Italy, alarmed 



POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS FROM 1871 TO 1914 477 

by the French occupation of Tunis, joined the alliance in 
1883. In 1884 Bismarck concluded his secret reinsurance- 
treaty with Russia, each agreeing to remain neutral should 
the other be attacked. It was a strange agreement to enter 
into behind the back of an ally, for Austria was the only 
enemy Russia feared. 

In spite of the reinsurance treaty and in consequence of 
new Balkan wars (in 1885 Bulgaria joined East Roumelia in 
a revolt against Turkey, and defeated Servia which was on 
Turkey's side) the relations with Russia grew very strained. 
In the last important speech he ever held in the Reichstag 
(Feb. 6, 1888) Bismarck declared that Russian public opinion 
had shown the door to an old, influential, and reliable friend. 
"We won't thrust ourselves upon them," he cried; "we are 
not running after any one ! " 



With the death of Emperor William, March 17, 1888, the Emperor 
old order of things changed. The reign of the next emperor, Frederick 
Frederick III., was shrouded in gloom, for he came to the ' 1! 
throne as a dying man. Had he lived he would have inaugu- 
rated a mild and liberal policy. His great desire, he said in 
a proclamation to his people, was to make Germany a sanct- 
uary of peace. He was very open to English influences, and 
Bismarck hated those influences worse than poison. "We 
are a second-class race to them," he once declared, "fit only 
to serve them." The new emperor upheld Bismarck in his 
objection to a marriage between Prince Alexander of Batten- 
berg, the ex-ruler of the Bulgarians, and Princess Victoria, 
Frederick's daughter : " Two empresses are fighting his and 
my views," Bismarck said to his friend Busch, "she of India 
and she of Germany ; and daughter Victoria crushes him with 
her violence. She has and always has had a sharper tongue 
than he ; and now that he is ill and cannot stand vexation he 



478 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



Bismarck 
and Wil- 
liam II. 



Stocker. 



William 
IPs. 

fharacter. 



is less of a match for her than ever. . . . My pulse averages 
fifteen beats to the minute higher than under the previous 
reign." Frederick III. died on June 15, 1888. 

Bismarck's pulse was to beat still quicker under the reign 
of Frederick's son. At first, indeed, no union could have 
been closer. After the speech from the throne at the open- 
ing of the first Reichstag, Bismarck had seized the young 
emperor's hand and pressed it to his lips. In public he 
praised the gifts and the powers of comprehension, the firm- 
ness of will, the administrative ability of the new ruler and 
declared that he had promised at the latter's urging to remain 
at his side, which promise he would keep so long as a breath 
was left in his body. "In his devotion to me he goes too 
far," the chancellor once said. "I believe at this moment 
that Prince Bismarck has completely captured the Kaiser," 
wrote Court Preacher Stocker in the famous "funeral-pyre" 
letter in which he conspired to down the chancellor's influ- 
ence and break up the "cartell," or political combination 
in the Reichstag on which Bismarck placed his hopes. The 
wily preacher's secret advice to the influential editor of the 
Kreuzzeitung was "to light funeral-pyres and let them flame 
high" around the "cartell." The Kaiser must not notice the 
attempt to sow discord between him and Bismarck, but, 
went on this arch-conspirator, "by nourishing the points 
where he (the Kaiser) is instinctively on our side we build 
up his principles without personally irritating him." 

The world at large expended much curiosity on Wil- 
liam II. 's psychology. Many expected him, with his splen- 
did army, at once to set out like Frederick the Great and 
conquer some new Silesia. Yet his first great interests 
proved to be reform in labor conditions and in education. 
What he did for the modernization of the school curriculum 
has never been sufficiently appreciated, and the same is true 
of the results of the great labor conference held in Berlin. 



POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS FROM 1871 TO 1914 479 

People at the time could only talk of the emperor's eccen- 
tricities : of his fondness for an American sportsman, of his 
speeches in public that were such as a mediaeval crusad- 
ing prince might have made ; of his journeys in every direc- 
tion. He was nicknamed Wilhelm der Plotzliche or William 
the Sudden ; and again the Reise Kaiser or travelling em- 
peror as opposed to the Greise Kaiser (William I.) or the 
Weise Kaiser (Frederick III.). His journeys in the first year 
took him to England, Russia, Italy, Turkey and Greece. 

The emperor soon gave evidences of courage and deter- The Em- 
mination. Stocker, whose famous letter, indeed, had not peror's 
yet been made public, was told to cease his political agitation c 
or resign his position as court preacher ; the official Reichs- 
anzeiger declared the emperor's approval of the "cartel!" 
and intimated that the emperor personally resented the 
attacks of the Kreuzzeitung. With Bismarck his relations 
continued of the best. After the completion of the insurance 
laws (May, 1889) and the passing of a bill for reorganizing 
the navy William wrote to his chancellor congratulating 
him on such achievements, and adding : " I pray God that 
in my difficult and responsible position as ruler He may 
preserve you to me as a faithful and tried adviser these 
many years to come." Less than three months later the 
news was flashed around the world that the greatest of states- 
men had retired. 

"It was a matter," said the Emperor to Prince Hohenlohe, The fall 
"of whether the Hohenzollern or the Bismarck dynasty of 
should rule." Several questions had been at issue. Russia 
wished a renewal of the "re-insurance treaty," as she planned 
to occupy Bulgaria and this would mean war with Austria. 
Bismarck, although he had declaimed against Russia, con- 
sidered that a regular breach with her would be a fatal mis- 
fortune. His objection to the Battenberg alliance with 
the emperor's sister had been wholly on the ground that the 



480 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

ex-ruler of Bulgaria was hated at St. Petersburg. He was 
willing now to desert Austria. The Emperor wished to 
stand by Franz Josef even if it meant war with Russia and 
with France. Another sharp difference of opinion concerned 
the treatment of Social Democrats ; Bismarck was for con- 
tinuing the severity and renewing the anti-socialist laws, 
calling out the troops if need be, to repress violence. The 
emperor declared that he was not going to begin his reign 
by shooting down his subjects. In opposition to Bismarck 
he summoned a conference of ministers. Bismarck pro- 
duced a cabinet order of 1852 directing that ministers might 
not confer with the crown independently of their chief. 
William acknowledged its validity but demanded its imme- 
diate cancellation. Bismarck acquiesced but took no steps 
in the matter. Relations became strained to the breaking 
point. After one stormy interview the emperor remarked : 
"He all but flung an inkstand at my head !" In public he 
declared his intention of continuing the social reforms of 
his grandfather; "and whoever opposes me in this work I 
shall crush!" He objected to Bismarck's conferring with 
parliamentary leaders behind his, the emperor's, back, and 
made a special issue of a visit of Windhorst to the Chancel- 
lor's palace. Bismarck is said to have told the emperor to 
his face that the latter's authority ceased at his own hall 
door. Windhorst had declared after quitting Bismarck, 
"I come from the political deathbed of a great man," and 
sure enough on March 17 came an official request from the 
emperor that the chancellor should lay down his office. 
When he delayed sending in his resignation the request was 
repeated. On March 20 the resignation was finally handed 
in and at once accepted. 

Bismarck's version of the quarrel was that the Kaiser 
was upsetting policies it had taken him, the chancellor, a 
lifetime to build up and the success of which depended on 



POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS FROM 1871 TO 1914 481 

their continuity. He himself was to be made a mere tool. Bismarck's 
Confabulations between sovereigns were to settle the most version of 
important matters just exactly as in the benighted days of * 
absolute monarchy. Personal friendships were to deter- 
mine war and peace. Statesmen were superfluous; the 
emperor wished to be his own chancellor. 

();i the day of the chancellor's farewell visit to the emperor Bismarck's 
all Berlin was astir as though for some great ceremony. farewe H- 
Thu chancellor's horses were detached from his carriage 
and he was drawn along Unter den Linden and pelted with 
a rain of flowers. Chance and the surging crowd landed the 
author of this "Short History" directly in front of the door 
of the palace. He saw the man of iron mount the steps, con- 
cealing his face in a nosegay to hide his agitation. Then 
the great door clanged behind him. 

Everything was done in public to soften the fall. Bis- 
marck was created Duke of Lauenburg, which title, he de- 
clared bitterly, would serve as a nom de guerre when he 
wished to travel incognito. He was made field marshal, 
too, and was given a life-size portrait of the emperor. 
The latter seemed overcome with grief at being unable to 
prevail on the chancellor to retain his burdensome post. 
"My heart is as heavy as though I had once more lost my 
grandfather," he telegraphed to the Grand Duke of Wei- 
mar ; " but it is the will of God and I must bear it though 
it kill me. I am now the officer on watch in the ship of 
state. The course remains the same. Full steam ahead!" 

The subsequent period, being one not of incident but of The new 
steady development along different lines, does not lend chancel- 
itself to chronological treatment. There were wars in the 
colonies, indeed, with discontented chieftains, but their 
consideration here would be unprofitable. The acquisition 
of two Samoan islands, of the harbor of Kiaoutschou, and 

VOL. II 2 I 



482 



A SHOUT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



Bismarck 
rattles his 
chain. 



of Helgoland kept up the Hohenzollern tradition whereby 
each ruler added something to his hereditary possessions. 
Kiaoutschou, wrested from China in 1898 as compensation 
for the death of two missionaries, was to prove the most 
promising of all Germany's colonies. 

The successive chancellors (Caprivi until 1894, Hohenlohe 
until 1900, Billow until 1909 and then Bethmann-Ho'hveg^ 
were to leave little personal imprint on German historv 
Under Hohenlohe, indeed, the great civil code or bufgerliches 
Gesetzbuch was adopted (1896), but work had been begun on 
it twenty years before. Caprivi's tariff reduction was a 
burning issue in its day, but has lost its interest now. Ca- 
privi's regime cam'e to an end because of differences with the 
emperor about the treatment of the socialists, whom the 
emperor, reversing his former policy, would now have liked 
to see treated with greater severity. William had gone 
so far as to bring forward a measure for having the ring- 
leaders in strikes punished with house of correction, which 
measure the Reichstag voted down. Hohenlohe resigned 
from old age (he was 81) and Billow's fate was like that of 
any English prime minister who fails to obtain a majority. 

All through Caprivi's administration and a good part of 
that of Hohenlohe the grim old ex-chancellor at Friedrichs- 
rtihe rattled at his chains. He was elected a member of the 
Reichstag in 1891, but never took his seat. But in the 
Hamburger Nachrichten he scourged the government as with 
scorpions, and such sentiments were uttered to representa- 
tives of foreign newspapers that Caprivi sent word to the 
German diplomatic corps to warn the governments that 
"His Majesty distinguishes between the Prince Bismarck 
of formerly and of now." When, in 1892, Herbert Bismarck 
married the Countess Hoyos in Vienna, by order of Caprivi 
the members of the German embassy treated Bismarck 
"only with conventional politeness"; "and," continued 



POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS FROM 1871 TO 1914 483 

the order which the Reichsanzeiger published : " I add that 
his Majesty will take no notice of the wedding!" The 
Austrian emperor refused Bismarck an audience. 

After Caprivi's fall the tension slackened for a time. 
Bismarck even visited Berlin and lodged in the royal palace ; 
and the emperor returned the visit at Friedrichsruhe. All 
the same, in 1895 the Reichstag, by a majority vote, refused 
to congratulate Bismarck on his eightieth birthday, all his 
old political enemies having vented their spleen in debate. 
In vain a defender, von Kardoff, declared that such a vote 
would make the Reichstag "immortally ridiculous." In 
consequence of the vote the president of the Reichstag re- 
signed and the emperor telegraphed to Bismarck his " deep- 
est indignation." 

Soon Bismarck committed an unpardonable indiscretion Publica- 
by publishing his old secret reinsurance treaty with Russia ; tion of 

he did it in order to flay the actual policy of the government. 

. . surance 

There was fierce denunciation in the Reichstag for this treaty. 

"betrayal of a state secret," and Eugene Richter declared 
that Bismarck looked on his dismissal as a dispossession and 
felt that under any other chancellor he was "living under 
a foreign yoke." The Emperor, too, was estranged once 
more and at the unveiling of a monument to William I., 
on which occasion Bismarck had been ignored, spoke of 
those who had "had the honor to carry out" the ideas of 
his grandfather and called them " tools of his exalted will. " 
But William soon forgave the old Titan, who was already 
three-quarters in the grave, visited him once more, sent him 
messages and gifts, and, when death came in 1898, did full 
honor to the remains. 

Two main problems wound like the trail of the serpent 
through all the rest of the reign : Alsace-Lorraine and social 
democracv. 



484 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



Sentiment 
in Alsace- 
Lorraine. 



Persecu- 
tion of 
the 
teachers. 



No effort has been spared to change the anti-German 
sentiment among certain classes in the conquered provinces. 
It is particularly fierce among the clergy. One of their 
papers, the Avenir Lorrain, writing in September, 1913, calls 
the Germans "disgusting birds that foul their own nests 
and leave nothing but a stench in the hand that nourishes 
them," and urges them to "get out as fast as you can ; we'll 
pay the tickets and the cost of moving!" And a member 
of the legislative body in 1909 used the following language: 
"Germany is proud of her increase in population ; she may 
be proud, too, of her increase in dogs!" 

The clergy for one thing never can forgive the loss of 
their influence over the schools : " Compulsion in organ- 
ization, compulsion in method, compulsion in text-books, 
compulsion above, compulsion below, compulsion every- 
where!" Such was the argument with which the introduc- 
tion of the school law of 1873 was met. They wanted none 
of the strictness and thoroughness, none of the "corporal- 
staff discipline," none of the pagan methods of teaching 
history and natural science. 

Opposition to the clergy and a closer study of the German 
school system have made good Germans out of the whole 
teaching class, although for the most part they are native- 
born. On the other hand, they have been made to suffer 
a regular martyrdom. They are attacked as spreaders of 
false religion and as a burden on long-suffering taxpayers. 
They were once branded as "bandits" by an Alsace-Lor- 
raine deputy to the German Reichstag, although their pay 
is so low that life can scarcely be sustained upon it and about 
70 per cent have to follow some side occupation. The maxi- 
mum pay, only attained after many years of service, is 
2700 marks or 675 dollars! 

By the irony of fate the teachers are very dependent on 
the good will of the clergy. Not only have the latter, and 



POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS FROM 1871 TO 1914 485 

their allies the "notables," a majority in the local diet that 
votes the school appropriations, but most of the side occu- 
pations in which teachers can engage have to do with the 
church. In connection with a pastor's requirement that his 
organist agree not to join the German Lehrerverein, or Teach- 
ers' Association, the Pddagogische Zeitung recently came out 
with the strongest denunciation of this " obliging of teachers 
to renounce liberty, independence, and manly dignity, in 
fact to sell themselves body and soul." The Teachers' 
Association has always been a thorn in the flesh to the 
Alsace-Lorraine clergy : " The teacher who joins the German 
Lehrerverein," wrote a clerical sheet in 1909, "will no longer 
be a Catholic teacher and will soon learn that the state 
neither can nor will continue him in office." 

One reason for the prevalence of anti-German sentiment Influence 
among the women is the fact that certain classes regularly f tne 
send their girls to French convents and boarding schools, ^ 
not necessarily for political motives, but largely because of 
the better accent they will acquire. Permeated with French 
ideas they return and marry in their home circles but, as a 
Strassburg woman writes : " There is a careful and well- 
considered undermining process carried on by the mother 
and sister and, later, by the wife. Aunts and cousins put 
in their little word, for in Alsace family feeling is still very 
strong. ... The man wants peace in his household and, 
wearied by the guerilla warfare, at last gives in." 

Alsace-Lorraine is not in itself a state, but is administered The status 
by the empire as Reichsland, or imperial territory. Cu- of Alaaee- 
riously enough the new constitution, granted to it in 1911, 
empowers it by a legal fiction to pass as a state in many re- 
gards. But.it has nothing to do with military, railroad, or 
postal matters, may not even determine what language 
shall be used in its schools, and may not change its own 
constitution. It has no diplomatic corps, no consular 



486 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

service, no flag, no colors. Its chief executive is the em- 
peror, who deputes his duties to a Statthalter. The em- 
peror appoints twenty-three out of the forty-six members of 
the Upper House in the Diet, while the sixty members in the 
Lower House are chosen by free election. The province 
has three votes in the Bundesrath, or Federal Council, and 
eleven members in the Reichstag. 

The The Statthalters have had no easy task, and they seem to 

Statthal- have tried every kind of policy. There have been severe 
regimes and lax regimes, with no better results in the one 
case than in the other. Mannteufel, the first Statthalter, is 
said to have coddled the notables like babies, to have made 
visits which were never returned, and given entertainments 
to which no one came. Again there have been attempts at 
repression, where the use of the French language was for- 
bidden not only in the schools but in public documents and 
even in street-naming. The carrying of banners, the writing 
of protests, the singing of songs, have all been forbidden at 
times, and freedom of the press has been greatly curtailed. 
There are thoughtful Germans, even, who think that it 
was a great error to entrust the administration of this gay, 
happy-go-lucky land to stiff, warlike, bureaucratic Prus- 
sians. Bavarians or Badeners would have been more sym- 
pathetic. The Alsatian objects mightily to all the petty 
police regulations and to what is known as Gesinmings- 
schnuffelei, or poking one's nose into other people's private 
opinions. It has been suggested that the real solution of 
the difficulty would be to divide up the province between 
Prussia, Baden, and Bavaria, Wiirttemberg being compen- 
sated with the principality of Hohenzollern. Prussia would 
have the portion including the great fortress of Metz, Baden 
the city of Strassburg and adjacent territory, while Bavaria 
would take the part adjoining the Bavarian palatinate. 
Obliged to fight their fights in three diets instead of in one, 



POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS FROM 1871 TO 1914 487 

the solid wall of opposition now presented in the Alsace- 
Lorraine Diet would soon crumble away. 

The emperor in his capacity as king of Prussia and The 
his chancellors in their capacity as Prussian prime ministers Danish 
(all except Caprivi, in whose case the two posts were tern- * ' f m 
porarily separated) have had to face in the former Danish 
and Polish provinces very similar problems to that of the 
empire in Alsace-Lorraine. The long and short of the 
Danish problem is that an elaborate system of propaganda, 
not fully realized in Germany until -1914, has kept Danish 
sentiment alive in the province wrested from Denmark in 
the war of 1864. The Prussian Diet, in its last session before 
the present conflict broke out, occupied itself busily with the 
subject and considered a whole program of counter measures. 

The Danes, both within and without the province of North Danish 
Schleswig, believe that they have a double grievance in that P r P a ~ 
Prussia not only took their territory, but at the same time 
broke a solemn promise and agreement, viz. to let the 
question of reunion with Denmark be decided by popular 
vote. Into the rights or wrongs of the complicated question 
we need not enter. The result has been the formation all 
over Denmark of so-called South Jute associations there 
are nearly sixty of them, with a central control which 
raise the funds for a most systematic campaign. 

Along the southern Danish boundary, like a belt of forts The 
and earthworks, a chain of schools has been established. Danish 
Schleswig children are induced to attend them by payment s 
of their expenses when necessary, there being a regular fund 
for that purpose. The object of these schools has been well 
denned by a Danish agitator: "Entry into them will give 
you a national baptism that will retain its significance as 
long as you live !" A vow is said to be required of all chil- 
dren who receive financial aid that they will return to 
Schleswig and work for the cause. One of the studies on 



488 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



Patriotic 
associa- 
tions. 



The 

Polish 

problem. 



which most stress is laid is history, of course from the Danish 
point of view. 

North Schleswig itself is covered with a network of secret 
patriotic associations : language clubs, gymnastic and social 
clubs, sick-nursing and abstinent societies; mortgage and 
loan associations which look after the economic interests 
of the Danish-minded ; a real estate agency formed with 
the direct design to prevent land from falling into the hands of 
Germans. Even religion is pressed into the cause, and the 
so-called "Free Communities" preach that there is a true 
Christianity, the Danish, and a false Christianity, the Ger- 
man. The Danes began by establishing beer saloons as 
centres. When the government refused them licenses they 
established "non-alcoholic guest houses," which have be- 
come the very hotbeds of the agitation. The Danes have 
expressions for them such as "breakwaters against the 
German flood" and "shelters for Denmark," and there are 
now more than fifty of them. 

When the Prussian Diet closed in July, 1914, it was at 
loggerheads with the Danish government with regard to the 
status of the children of the optanten, those, namely, who had 
been allowed to retain their Danish citizenship while still 
residing in Schleswig. These children had been admitted 
to Prussian citizenship in 1907 on condition that they should 
keep the peace. This they had not done, hence the reopen- 
ing of the question with the Danish government. 

Prussia's Polish problem has one feature that makes it 
different from either the Alsace-Lorraine or the Danish 
question. For years now ever since 1886, when the so- 
called Settlement Commission was established the govern- 
ment has been trying to make " islands of Germanism in the 
Polish sea" (the expression is Chancellor von Billow's) by 
direct purchase of land. It has spent in all well over a bil- 
lion marks. The general plan was to buy up large estates 



POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS FROM 1871 TO 1914 489 

from impecunious Polish nobles and parcel them out among 
German settlers, offering inducements in the way of land 
improvements and building loans. Into Bismarck's cal- 
culations there had entered at the time the belief that the 
impecunious Polish nobles would squander the purchase 
money at Monte Carlo, and that the people, deprived of 
their natural leaders, could be dealt with easily. 

Of all ambitious plans that a statesman ever laid few have The regen- 
turned out less in accordance with the expectations. Firstly, eration of 
the impecunious Polish nobles did not squander their money 
at Monte Carlo, but stayed at home, founded great banks 
and fought the Prussian government with an energy and 
capacity that few would have credited to them. The Polish 
farmers, too, were driven by adversity to cooperate, and a 
new and totally unexpected strength developed. Their 
organ, the Ziviasku spolek zarobkowych, or Union bank, does 
an even greater business than the Ziemski bank, the organ 
of the nobles. The government's endeavors to weaken 
Polish nationalism have been the very salvation of the 
people; the banks have undertaken and carried through 
tasks that never before confronted institutions of the kind. 
They have educated their whole people to thrift and to fore- 
sight, entering into the private affairs of those to whom they 
loan money, teaching them to consolidate their debts, res- 
cuing them from usurers, and enlightening them as to proper 
rates of interest. 

The banks have boldly faced the Settlement Commis- Polish 
sion, and it may be truly said that they have beaten it on its methods, 
own ground. Prince Billow showed in November, 1907, that 
Polish purchases of land for the purpose of parcelling it out 
among their own people exceeded the purchases of the Com- 
mission by nearly 250,000 acres. The tide level in the 
"Polish Sea" had not only not receded, but the waves had 
lapped over into Silesia and driven out thousands of Ger- 



490 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



Sikorski. 



Bieder- 



Legisla- 
tion 
against 
the Poles. 



mans. After the first few purchases the race of impecunious 
Polish nobles with land to sell to Germans had died out, and 
the estates for parcelling had had to be bought from Ger- 
mans, with the result that prices had risen enormously, 
from an average of 216 marks an acre to one of 728 marks. 
On the horizon had risen daring Polish speculators, working 
on what they were pleased to call American methods, which 
meant achieving wonderful results by fostering the spirit of 
speculation and blatantly advertising. In 1897 one Ignatius 
Sikorski, with literally no capital, started a company and 
attracted investors by guaranteeing dividends of 25 per 
cent for six successive years, and offering interest on deposits 
at 5^ per cent. Through the medium of the Catholic 
Guide, the Word of God, and other family sheets that 
had never been used for such purposes before, he induced 
countless Polish workers in the west to invest their earnings 
in small farms at home and, for a wonder, not only built a 
solid structure on his flimsy foundation, but incidentally 
furthered the cause of Polish colonization immensely. 
Much the same role w r as played in Silesia by Marcin Bieder- 
mann, a journalist who fostered the vanity of rich Poles by 
acclaiming them as national heroes whenever they bought 
land. He carried on a great business of lying in wait for 
the Settlement Commission and buying in land on which it 
had fixed its eye, often selling it finally at a greatly increased 
price. Altogether Biedermann was a sort of Robin Hood, 
taking from the Germans to help the Poles. 

The legislators in Berlin left nothing undone in the way 
of drastic measures to stop the Polish land deals. They 
required permits to found new settlements, and permits to 
build in them ; no one might take an isolated tract and offer 
lots for sale. But a loophole had been left; and when a 
Polish farmer brought suit the court in Berlin had to 
decide against the Prussian government. It was still law- 



POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS FROM 1871 TO 1914 491 

ful to buy and build if the land was adjacent to some one 
else's house, and the peculiar custom of the old Polish nobles 
of settling their peasants as far away from themselves as 
possible on the fringe of their estates gave a superabundance 
of adjacent lots. 

In 1907 the climax of government intimidation was The 
reached. Billow informed the Prussian Diet that the two expropri- 
great causes of the government's failure had been the system a 
of adjacent parcelling and the fact that. Polish nobles would 
not sell to the Settlement Commission. The Commission, 
he declared, must be empowered to expropriate Polish owners. 
In spite of a perfect storm of opposition he was able to put 
through a law to that effect. The owners were to be given 
full compensation. 

The law was so unjust and so unpopular that it remained 
a dead letter until 1913 ; then four large estates were seized. 
The rage and excitement of the Poles knew no bounds. 
" Prussia is so hated on both sides of the boundary," writes 
the Zukunft, a noted Berlin periodical, "that any Pole who 
lives there will be ready to help the enemy. . . . How could 
one still venture, in a serious emergency, to employ Poles 
as soldiers!" We have an arraignment of the policy; in 
pamphlet form, from the pen of one who was formerly him- 
self a Prussian official : " No insult could be greater than for 
a nation to say ' you are our fellow-citizens but of a different 
nationality and therefore we shall buy you out, substituting 
Germans for you in your old homes.'" 

One result of all the severe measures has been to drive 
the Polish farmers into the small towns. Here they open 
shops frequented mainly by Poles, who have gradually in- 
vaded whole districts, as the German does not like the 
proximity. " The Pole stays, the German goes : that is the 
whole wretched Polish question in a nutshell," writes our 
chief authority, Ludwig Bernhard (Die Poknfrage). 



492 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



The 

growth of 
social 
democ- 
racy. 



In criticising the Prussian government for its Polish 
policy it must be admitted that the problem is difficult 
more difficult than that of the American Indian or negro for 
the reason that the German Poles have solidly behind them 
the Russian and the Austrian Poles. The German's fear of 
being engulfed by Pan-Slavism is not altogether unwar- 
ranted. There was a time in the eighties when the influx 
of Russian Poles was so great that the Prussian government 
advocated banishing some thirty thousand of them as a 
burden on the state. It was as an alternative that the 
Settlement Commission was appointed in 1886 and was given 
100,000,000 marks with which to begin operations. 

The great majority of Poles are Catholics. During the 
Kutturkampf at least, members of the Catholic clergy in 
Posen and West Prussia tried to Polonize German children and 
thus win them for the church. The propaganda for having 
religious instruction given in the Polish language has twice led 
to serious strikes on the part of the children, who refused to 
answer questions put to them in German. Some of the 
participants in disturbances at Wreschen in 1901 connected 
with the school strike received prison sentences up to two 
and a half years. In 1906 more than 50,000 Polish school 
children were "on strike." The Poles have never tried to 
conceal the fact that their own nationalistic hopes are 
dearer to 'them than any interests of the German Empire; 
and when inclined to blame the Prussian government for its 
severity we must remember that, under Caprivi, it tried the 
opposite policy with no greater success. 

The government's measures against social democracy 
have been no more successful than those against nationalistic 
tendencies. After Bismarck's quarrel with the emperor 
and the failure to renew the anti-socialist laws the party 
began to show great strength. In 1890 it had thirty-five 
members in the Reichstag; by 1903 the number had in- 



POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS FROM 1871 TO 1914 493 

creased to eighty-three. There was a sudden fall, to be 
sure, in 1907, when the party lost no less than' forty seats. 
By an unholy alliance with the Centre it had attempted 
to cut down the government's demands for men and means 
to suppress a rebellion in Southwest Africa. It was said 
that Billow in dissolving the Reichstag had "aimed at the 
Centre but hit the Social Democrats," for tjie Centre lost 
comparatively few mandates. 

In 1912 circumstances had completely altered. The 
other parties were disunited and demoralized and the Social 
Democrats scored the greatest triumph in their history, 
polling nearly four million votes and returning 110 members, 
later increased to 111, to the Reichstag. Even to the 
Prussian Diet, in spite of the severe restrictions of the 
three-class system of voting, the party returned eleven 
members. 

All this does not mean that social democracy had become The Re- 
much more of a menace than before. The party is a house vlslomsts - 
divided against itself. There is still the old faction of the 
extremists who wish the state of the future or nothing at all ; 
Bebel w r as its "leader up to the time of his death in 1913 and Bebel 
Liebknecht is probably its chief representative at present. Lieb ~ 
But gradually there has grown up a very strong faction called 
the Revisionists headed by the much more moderate Bern- Bernstein 
stein. This faction, which has its own powerful organ, the 
Sozialistische Monatshefte, would subject Marx's dogmas to 
a revision and make them conform more with actual modern 
conditions. The theory, to take one example, that capital 
is thrusting the rest of mankind into greater and greater 
misery can be refuted by tax lists and savings banks accounts, 
which show that prosperity is spreading downwards as well 
as upwards. The Revisionists even go so far as to grant 
that capital is not always an unmixed evil. They are oppor- 
tunists ; they will take what they can get in this world and 



494 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



Social 
demo- 
cratic in- 
con- 
gruities. 



Dislike 
for the 
govern- 
ment. 



Schism in 
the 

Centre 
party. 



not stake all on one throw. They are opposed to the idea 
of a general strike and have been influential in securing the 
dismissal of Rosa Luxemburg, the fierce woman agitator 
who is more of an anarchist than a socialist, from the party. 

It is impossible to say which of these two factions holds 
the balance; the lines are too unevenly divided. The 
party as a whole is often forced into contradictions. After 
refusing for many years to join in voting appropriations, it 
helped in 1913 to pass the bill for raising revenues for the 
great army increase, against which the conservatives voted. 
The temptation had been too great, for the tax had been 
laid mainly on the property of the rich. In December, 1913, 
a still more curious contradiction arose. Angered at some 
action of the Deutsche Bank with regard to its officials, the 
party discussed the withdrawal of its funds, which are very 
considerable. But it was seriously argued that in that case 
the party itself would have to look after its funds, and would 
be playing the role of a capitalist. 

Dislike of the government is still a mark of the good Social 
Democrat; and hatred of the present electoral system, es- 
pecially the Prussian three-class system, is one of his tenets. 
As lately as June, 1914, at the closing session of the Reichs- 
tag, the party stolidly remained seated when the final cheers 
were demanded for the emperor. In 1913 the party at its 
yearly congress seriously discussed the advisability of going 
on a birth strike in order to frighten the government as to 
the future of the army. 

In the Centre party there has been a schism very like 
that among the Social Democrats. On the one hand there 
has been the "Cologne direction," on the other the "Berlin 
direction"; and the conflicts between the two have been 
very bitter. 

In March, 1906, an article in the Historisch-politische 
Blatter, by a prominent Centrist, Julius Bachem, created a 



495 

great stir. It is known as the "tower article," for its refrain 
was "we must come out of our tower" must cease looking 
at matters purely from a confessional point of view, and 
work for the good of the whole country. Pope Pius X. took 
a hand in the game, and in September, 1907, his encylic 
de pascendi dominici gregis classed the followers of Bachem 
with inter-confessionalists and modernists. A literary 
feud ensued that grew more and more intense as time 
went on. 

On Easter-Tuesday, 1909, finally, Bachem's opponents The 
organized a sort of coup d'etat. In a conference at Cologne Easter- 

a number of members of the Centre set up a formula which uesda y 

, . . . con- 

included the. statement that all the party a activities must f er eiice. 

be "in accordance with the Catholic viewpoint." Accord- 
ing to this formula, as the Bachemites pointed out, the party 
would become involved in difficulties that were inextricable. 
It might not even vote c\n the Prussian budget, for this 
contained an appropriation for the state church, which was 
Protestant. Even the passing of the civil code would have 
been contrary to the spirit of the formula, since it permitted 
civil marriages. In short all future common action with 
other parties would be impossible and matters were not 
minced his holiness the Pope would have the final word 
in all military, naval, colonial, commercial, and industrial 
questions in Germany. 

The fight raged on until 1912, when it was finally settled 
by the German voters, who defeated most of those candidates 
espousing the "Berlin" or extreme papal view. On Feb- 
ruary 8, 1912, the Centre unanimously defined itself as "a 
politically non-confessional party." 

The Centre's goal has always been the repeal of the anti- The anti- 
Jesuit laws of 1872. One paragraph alone, that relating to Jes 
the banishment of individual Jesuits, was repealed in 1904, 
but the opposition to the rest has continued. The argu- 



496 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

ments advanced are that the Jesuits demand unconditional 
subordination of the state to the church, that even promi- 
nent Catholics have condemned them as devils and pests, 
and that a pope, Clement XIV., had pronounced them an 
inveterate obstacle to peace. Utterances of particular 
Jesuits have been cited to show that they are as dangerous 
as ever and that they still advocate the burning of heretics. 
The Osservatore Romano, during the height of the Kultur- 
kampf, to be sure, had claimed the Pope's right to depose a 
heretic emperor and order his subjects to expel him. As 
late as 1895, in a well-known periodical, a Jesuit extolled the 
Inquisition : " Oh, ye blessed flames kindled about the 
stakes ! Through you a few thoroughly corrupt persons 
perished, but thousands upon thousands were saved from 
the jaws of error and from eternal damnation. . . . Oh 
blessed and revered memory of Thomas Torquemada!" 
The Con- The political party that has undergone the least change 
servative o f anv j s that of the German conservatives, who are also 
variously called Junkers, East Elbians, and agrarians, al- 
though the terms are not absolutely interchangeable. They 
are strongly represented in the Prussian Diet but have few 
members in the Reichstag only 48 out of 397. In gen- 
eral they stand for kingship by the grace of God, for the 
maintenance of authority at any cost, for a great display of 
.military force, for a high tariff on agricultural products, for 
Prussianism, and, in general, for what are known as reac- 
tionary measures. In 1913, at a meeting of the Preussen- 
bund, or Prussian League, sentiments were expressed that 
raised a storm of protest all over Germany. The Berlin 
Vossische Zeitung declared that, judged by such standards, 
neither William I., Frederick III., nor even Bliicher, the lib- 
erator of Germany, would have been eligible to the League. 
But the Kreuzzeitung defended the conservatives and de- 
clared that "the country must seek its salvation, not by 



POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS FROM 1S71 TO 1914 497 

merging Prussia in Germany, but by forcefully maintaining 
the firmly stamped Prussian individuality." 

The strongest arraignment of the conservatives comes 
from no less a pen than that of the Imperial Chancellor 
Hohenlohe, himself a Bavarian. Two years before his 
resignation from office, on Dec. 28, 1898, he wrote in his 
indiscreet diary : " When I sit this way among the Prussian 
excellencies I see perfectly clearly the contrast between 
North and South Germany. South German liberalism has 
no chance against the Junkers. There are too many of 
them ; they are too powerful and they have royalty and the 
army on their side. . The Centre, too, goes their way. . . . 
All of these gentlemen snap their fingers at the empire and 
would prefer to abandon it to-day rather than to-morrow!" 

This bitter arraignment was uttered nearly twenty years Decline 
ago. Since then the Conservatives have lost some of their of the 
power. A new class gf industrial princes has arisen with " 
fortunes that overshadow those of the Junkers. The latter 
are handicapped for the reason that their lands are entailed 
and go to the one son, while the daughters and younger sons 
have to be provided for with ready money. So many estates 
are heavily mortgaged that a new form of insurance has 
been invented whereby the holder insures his life for a sum 
that will later lessen the debt. In the Reichstag the num- 
ber of Conservative members has steadily decreased from 
eighty in 1887 to only forty-eight in 1912. Even in the 
Prussian Diet there are far fewer Junkers than is popularly 
supposed. A recent count has shown that only about one 
fourth of the members of the Lower House have so much 
as the "von," the predicate of nobility, before their names. 
The rest are plain Herr Braun, Herr Miiller, Ilerr Heinz, 
Dr. Levy, etc. Eighty-three of them are doctors of one 
kind or another. Germany is no feudal country. Only 22 
per cent of the total territory is in estates of over two hun- 

VOL. II 2 K 



498 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



Foreign 
affairs. 



Morocco. 



dred and fifty acres, and this includes vast tracts of wood- 
land and of unreclaimed land. A whole school of econo- 
mists holds that large estates are far from being an evil 
and that the highest results for agriculture can be obtained 
by having large, medium-sized, and small holdings exist 
side by side. And the small farmers are owners of the land 
they till to a very unusual degree, only 10 per cent working 
rented land. 



A mere sketch must suffice for the German Empire's 
foreign policies. 

The Triple Alliance remained in force from 1883 to 1914. 
During that time two great storm centres developed, the 
one in the West and the other in the East. Disputes regard- 
ing Morocco led to trouble with France and England, while 
the conflicting policies of Austria and Russia in the Balkans 
still further endangered the peace. . 

In 1880 an international treaty, signed at Madrid by 
nearly all the powers, had settled the status of Morocco as 
an independent sultanate. In 1890, after asking the consent 
of the other signatories, Germany had concluded a com- 
mercial treaty with the sultan. In 1901 Germany's Moroc- 
can trade had a value of five million marks and was increas- 
ing at a rate that was to treble it within ten years. Such 
were the circumstances by which Germany justified her 
interference when France and England attempted in 1905 
to arrange the future of Morocco to suit their own interests. 
For several years Morocco had been in a state of unrest, and 
France, which already owned Algiers, had felt called upon 
to interfere. Whether or not she was aiming wholly to 
annex Morocco is a matter for conjecture. On the surface 
it looks as though she had long been preparing the way for 
such a step. A secret agreement with Spain, two treaties 
with Italy, leaving the latter power free hand in Tripoli, 



POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS FROM 1871 TO 1914 499 

and a rapprochement with England that was the preliminary 
to the Triple Entente paved the way for such a step. On 
April 8, 1904, France signed an agreement giving England 
free hand in Egypt ; a compliment which England returned 
to France by giving her a free hand in Morocco, while a 
secret clause gained the good will of Spain. This treaty 
was concluded without so much as a notification to Germany. 

Germany's standpoint, as explained in the Reichstag by Billow's 
Chancellor Billow, was the following : " We have no direct stand- 
political aspirations there; we have not, like Spain, a cen- * 
turies-old Moorish past, nor, like France, a Moroccan boun- Morocco. 
dtiry hundreds of 'kilometers' long; we have not, like those 
two powers, historical and moral claims won by many sac- 
rifices. What we did have are economic interests in an 
independent country full of future promise. We took part 
in an international convention which approved the principle 
of the most favored nation; by treaty we possessed the 
rights of the most favored nation. It was a matter of Ger- 
man prestige not to have these disposed of without our con- 
sent, a matter affecting the honor of the German Empire 
in which we could not give way." "It is greatly to our 
interest," Billow declared again, "that the free regions of 
the earth be not still further circumscribed ; that the path 
be not closed in a commercially important and promising 
country to the activities of our industries and the spread of 
our commerce." 

France, all the same, proceeded to "reform" Morocco France 
and in such a way that the customs, the finances, and the and 
police would be under her control as "mandatory of the 
European powers." The sultan of Morocco appealed to 
Germany and asked if the order really rested on a " European 
mandate." It was then that William II. made a most 
dramatic coup. On his good ship Hamburg he sailed to 
Tangiers and, being received with jubilation by the Moors, 



500 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



The Con- 
ference at 
Algeciras, 
1906. 



War 

imminent. 



declared that he came as a free and independent ruler who 
hoped that Morocco would always be open to the commerce 
of the world. He was met on the sultan's part by the 
latter's uncle, Abdel-Malek, and despatched an envoy of 
his own to Fez. Greeted as "Morocco's liberator and only 
friend," he induced the sultan to reject France's "reforms" 
and call a meeting of the signatories of the treaty of 1880. 
His whole visit lasted but three hours. 

This meeting that had been called by the sultan gave 
place to a Conference of the European powers held at Al- 
geciras. France had objected strenuously to its being called. 
Delcasse, the foreign minister, had wished, with England's 
aid, to administer a severe rebuff to Germany. We know 
now from Delcasse's own revelations that England in case 
of a German attack had promised to mobilize her fleet, 
occupy the Hamburg-Kiel canal, and land 100,000 men in 
Schlesw T ig-Holstein. Germany was isolated at the confer- 
ence, but the mere fact of its being held was a triumph for 
her. Moreover she secured the integrity of the sultan's 
possessions and the "open door" in Morocco. 

But the matter was still far from settlement. In 1911 
^he F re nch occupied Fez, and Spain the harbor of Larasch 
and the neighboring El-Ksar. Germany sent the cannon- 
boat Panther to Agadir, while Sir Edward Grey, British 
minister of foreign affairs, made pointed remarks in the 
hearing of the German ambassador as to what England would 
and would not permit. In fact nothing would she permit 
without her own participation. As Chancellor Lloyd- 
George expressed it, England was not going to abandon a 
position won by centuries of heroism and success and be 
treated as though she counted for nothing in the councils 
of the nations. There were circumstances under which peace, 
at any price would mean humiliation too great to be Borne. 
Germany formally notified the British government that "if 



POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS FROM 1871 TO 1914 501 

it intended to confuse and involve the issue and effect a 
violent discharge," Lloyd-George was taking the best means 
to those ends by making such speeches, a communication 
which Sir Edward Grey found "extraordinarily. stiff in tone." 
Altogether the danger of a European war was greater in those 
few days of 1911 than it had been in a generation. The 
turning of a hair would have made the difference. 

The outcome of it all was that by a treaty (Nov. 4, 1911) The 
Germany agreed not to interfere in Morocco and accepted ^ aty 
compensation on the Congo, thus enlarging her colony of 
Cameroon. At home the German government was much 
blamed for having achieved such poor results; abroad the 
emperor's interference in the whole Morocco dispute was 
looked upon as uncalled for and aggressive. 

The Emperor's oft-cited remark about securing a "place 
in the sun" was originally uttered not as a programme, but 
as stating an accomplished fact. "We have conquered our 
place in the sun," he said in 1896, and added that he meant 
to maintain that place. That he was ever too modest in 
his utterances no one can maintain : " We are the salt of the 
earth," he said in 1895, "but we must show ourselves 
worthy . . . then we can stand hand on hilt, shield in ground, 
and cry tamen! Come what may !" 

To characterize the emperor here would be superfluous. The 

One episode, however, throws light simultaneously on his f y 

. _ Telegraph 

character and on foreign as well as internal relations. (Jn ep i so( je. 

October 28, 1907, in an interview published by the Daily 
Telegraph, the emperor pointed out how he, personally, 
had always been the friend of England, how he had refused 
the invitation of France and Russia to urge England to end 
the Boer war : " the English who to-day insult me, will see 
from it (i.e. from a letter he had written to the queen) how 
I acted in their moment of danger." He declared that he 
had worked out, with his general staff, the plan of campaign 



502 



A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 



The em- 
peror's 
surrender. 



Compli- 
cations in. 
the Bal- 
kans. 



that Lord Roberts successfully carried out. The English 
need not be disquieted at the increase in the German fleet ; 
it was intended for use in the Pacific against the Japanese ! 
All of which .was very indiscreet and caused indescribable 
excitement in Berlin, the more so as the emperor was away 
at the time and the papers were full of the rather bizarre 
entertainments that were being provided for his pleasure by 
his host, Prince Egon Fiirstenberg. 

In the Reichstag Prince Billow tried to deflect the storm 
on to his own head. The emperor had not a single defender. 
Even the leader of the Conservatives spoke of a " discontent 
that had been gathering for years." Biilow made a manly 
speech in which he promised to prevent a recurrence of the 
incautiousness. He pledged himself that measures to this 
end should be taken "without injustice but yet without 
any regard for the person." The interview between the 
Chancellor and his master lasted for several hours and the 
emperor made a complete surrender. The official Reichs- 
anzeiger then published what amounted to a full apology 
to the people and a promise to do better in the future. For a 
time the emperor was like a Wotan with a broken spear; 
but the incident and its outcome in no way permanently 
impaired his popularity, which has steadily increased as his 
reign has proceeded. 

Regarding the difficulties of Austria with Russia and the 
Balkans, difficulties which were to prove so fateful for the 
German emperor and empire, but a few cardinal facts need 
to be kept in mind. Practical ownership of Bosnia and 
Herzegovina had been assured to Austria by Russia and by 
the Berlin Congress in 1878. In 1908, however, Turkey, 
with a reformed government, grew more assertive of her rights 
over those provinces. Austria decided on formal annexa- 
tion. Russia and Servia put in their oars, demanding a 
European conference which, it was hoped, would compensate 



POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS FROM 1871 TO 1914 503 

Russia by giving her free passage through the Dardanelles 
and Servia in some other way. But Austria in 1909 came to 
a private agreement with Turkey and paid her in cash for 
the provinces. Germany showed her friendship for Austria 
by procuring from the signatories of the Berlin treaty their 
consent to Austria's move. 

There remained the discontent of Russia and Servia. Servia; 
Russia, however, was still recuperating from her terrible war 1909< 
with Japan and was not eager for new ventures. Servia, on 
the other hand, took a very belligerent attitude. Many 
Servs inhabited the provinces in question; these provinces 
had entered into Servia's plans for future aggrandizement. 
Her aspirations were thus nipped in the bud. She tried to 
insist that Bosnia and Herzegovina at least be made autono- 
mous and that she herself be compensated with other terri- 
tory. She claimed that even Turkey's consent did not vali- 
date the new arrangement and harped on the idea of the 
European conference. She would arm day and night, she 
declared, and would know how to act if her interests were 
disregarded : Europe should see that only over a dead Servia 
could Bosnia become an Austrian province. Finally, how- 
ever, on March 31, 1909, having made sure that Russia would 
not help her, she ceased her opposition. She signed a pledge 
to Austria "to abandon the attitude of protest assumed by 
her since the previous October with regard to the opposition ; " 
and again: "to change the direction of her p'resent policy 
towards Austria-Hungary and live with that power in future 
on a footing of friendly and neighborly relations." 

Bulgaria, Servia, and Greece had at first greeted the new The 
"Young Turk" regime with enthusiasm. But the efforts of Balkan 
the new government to centralize and nationalize, and espe- 
cially its endeavor to interfere with the hitherto practically 
independent position of the different religious bodies, began 
to estrange those powers. Soon the Turks came into direct 



504 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

conflict with the free spirit of the almost primitive Albanians, 
who desired autonomy. The Albanian question was, then, 
one cause of the overthrow (early in 1912) of the Young Turk- 
ish government. The new government promised to fulfil the 
demand for autonomy. 

Now Servia and Bulgaria desired neither an independent 
nor a powerful Albania. Already the Albanians had begun 
to spread out into Macedonia, which was looked upon as a 
field for Bulgarian expansion. There was a feeling, too, that 
Turkey was now too weak to offer successful resistance. 
With Russia's aid a close alliance was effected between 
Bulgaria and Servia, Greece and Montenegro, and in the 
autumn of 1912 the fierce drive towards Constantinople 
began. Kirkkilisse and Lule-Burgas fell before the Bul- 
garians and Kumanowo before the Servians, until finally at 
Tschataldscha the drive was checked. Then came a truce 
and a conference in London. The European powers deter- 
mined to set up a free Albania under its own ruler, the Prince 
of Wied. In accordance with Austria's demand Servia was 
to have no territory and no port on the Adriatic, a provision 
that was to have great consequences. Foiled in her hopes 
of expansion in this direction, Servia turned her eyes on 
Macedonia, which she had agreed to leave to Bulgaria as a 
happy hunting-ground. 

The The memory of how the Balkan allies failed to agree on the 

Balkan distribution of their Turkish booty is still fresh. Roumania 

war of came in at the eleventh hour to secure her own compensation. 
1913 

Bulgaria, which had done the major part of the fighting 

against Turkey, was now forced at the sword's point to 
renounce the greater .part of her booty a considerable 
stretch of her territory went to Roumania, while Greece and 
Servia divided between them the greater part of Macedonia. 
Thrace had to be relinquished to the Turks, who were 
able to hold Adrianople and the Maritza region because 



POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS FROM 1871 TO 1914 505 

Bulgaria had been forced to demobilize by her own former 
allies. 

The Peace of Bucharest, which Bulgaria was forced to sign Turkey 
on August 10, 1913, created a situation that no one could after 
look upon as permanent. Turkey alone had reason to be 
satisfied with the turn of events. The provinces she had 
lost had been merely so much ballast. According to Field 
Marshal von der Goltz, who has had much to do with training 
the Turkish army of late, her military strength was almost 
completely unimpaired. All her later successes in the war 
had been gained by Anatolians. According to statistics 
compiled by the head of the sanitary administration in one 
of the armies, up to December, 1912, 16,491 of these genuine 
Turks had been wounded as opposed to 539 Armenians, 
Jews, Osman-Greeks, Bulgarians, Servians, etc. 

Meanwhile the Balkan disturbances had brought the European 
great powers of Europe to the verge of war among them- arma- 
selves. The situations created by the various crises had r 
been one of the strongest incentives to rivalry of armament. 

Already, in 1887, in connection with his septennate bill, 
Bismarck had spoken of Germany's being able to place a 
million men on either border in case of war. "No other 
state can imitate us in that," he had cried, "we alone have 
enough officers and subalterns to command this enormous 
force. . . . Should Germany be attacked the whole land 
from Memel to the Lake of Constance would flare up like 
a powder-heap and show the meaning of furor teutonicus. 
Let foreign newspapers threaten if they will. We Germans 
fear God and naught else in the world ! " By 1914 a force of 
a million men on either frontier had come to be considered 
ridiculously inadequate. According to the London Times of 
March 20, 1914, the Russian minister of finance had in- 
formed the Budget Commission of the Duma that appropria- 
tions would be needed to bring the first line of defence up 



506 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

to 1,700,000 men. The armies of Germany and France, 
even on a peace-footing, already numbered more than 
800,000 men apiece. In January, 1914, according to the 
Temps, the French minister of finance declared to the 
Budget Commission that the extraordinary expenses alone 
for the army and navy would amount to 1,800,000,000 francs, 
while in ten years the head of the Germany navy had in- 
creased his budget by 400 per cent. 

Fore- It was a fatal race that could have but one termination. 

bodings of Already in March and April there were dire prophecies of 
war, each side, of course, accusing the other. In May, 
however, a member of the Russian Imperial Council writes : 
" In Russia people think that Germany and Austria are arm- 
ing against Russia, while in Germany and Austria the reverse 
is taken for granted of Russia." The danger from the 
rivalry of armaments was considered so great that a con- 
ference between the two parliaments, the French and the 
German, was planned to take place at Basel. "The chief 
task," wrote a Reichstag member, "is to point the way by 
which each people can be convinced that the other has no 
thoughts either of attack or of revenge." The conference 
took place in June, 1914, and was outwardly a most brilliant 
success. More than half of the members of the German 
Reichstag attended in person. Among the measures passed 
was the creation of a special news service that should tell 
the truth and obviate the dangers of fabricated news. " Basel 
has done a good piece of work," wrote the most popular 
Berlin newspaper, the Tageblatt: "henceforth the French 
peace envoys will not hesitate to come to us and with equal 
joy and equal hope the Germans will go to France. . . . 
Of more importance than anything else is the fact that a 
majority from the parliaments on both sides have visited 
each other and have declared in the face of the whole world 
that the old prejudices must be overcome and that there 



POLITICAL DEVELOPMENTS FROM 1871 TO 1914 507 

must be a mutual understanding in the interests of both 
countries. Good will, in this case the good will of peoples, 
will prove stronger than the folly of silly jingoes." . 

This unprecedented effort of the two parliaments to stave Sarajevo, 
off the approaching war was supplemented by a visit of a 
British trade commission to Berlin, where they were feted 
with enthusiasm and by a visit of the British fleet to the 
harbor of Kiel. One would have thought that an era of 
universal brotherhood was dawning when the murder of 
the heir to the throne of Austria cast the match into the 
powder heap and precipitated the greatest struggle in the 
whole history of man. 



CHAPTER XII 

ECONOMIC PROGRESS BETWEEN 1871 AND 1914 

LITERATURE : The Handbuch der Politik, 3 vols., has valuable 
articles by experts. Deutschland unter Kaiser Wilhelm II., Vol II., 
is the most recent comprehensive treatment of t a 3 'subject, contain- 
ing many articles from different pens. Helfferich, Deutschlands 
Volkswohlstand, 1888-1913, gives useful tables and data which are 
superseded in some, though not in all, cases by the figures in the 
Slatistisches Jahrbuch, 35La year, 1914. Wygodzinski, Das Genoss- 
enschaftswesen in Deutschland (1911) is an exhaustive and admi- 
rable treatment of the subject of cooperative societies. For agri- 
culture ses von Riimker, Diedeutsche Landwirtschaft (Berlin, 1914). 

The WHAT the Elizabethan era was to literature in England, 

secrets of that the present generation has been to economic progress 

Jss ' in Germany. The results surpass anything that the world 

has ever seen. A slow, heavy, contemplative people has 

been organized into efficiency much as water and steam 

power have been transformed into electric energy. The 

possibilities of coordination and cooperation . have been 

probed and made available as never before. 

Let us look at the advance in agriculture, in industry, and 
in commerce, and then examine the foundations on which 
the progress is based : government leadership, organization 
and cooperation, scientific investigation, and the thorough 
training of each individual worker. How much is due to the 
characteristics of the people, to their honesty, sincerity, 
devotion to duty, yes to their determination to win at any 
cost, must here be left out of account. 

There was a time in the early nineties when Germany's 
agricultural prospects looked desperate. Russia with an 



509 

area forty times as great had unlimited grain for export; Agricul- 
while on account of the fall in ocean freight rates (between t ^ re *" tlle 
1868 and 1900 the freight charged on a hundred pounds 
between Chicago and Liverpool had been reduced from 3| 
shillings to only 1 shilling) it was almost more economical to 
buy grain from the United States or even from the Argentine 
Confederation than to grow it at home. The soil of Germany 
was unfavorable in comparison with those other countries, 
and many would not have been sorry to let the sandy plains 
in the North revert to pine forest and become, like England, 
an industrial country importing the greater part of its food- 
stuffs. 

One must give the devil his due and acknowledge that it The 
was the Junkers who saved Germany from this fatal course. Junkers 

Manv ascribe all their acts to self-interest ; but there are all ^f ve 

Germany, 
grades even among Junkers, and there is among them as 

much concern for the good of the nation, as they see it, as is 
to be found in any other class of men. In answer to their 
.clamors the tariff on grain, which had been lowered under 
Caprivi, was once more raised and everything was done to 
increase the yield of the crops. To-day Germany's agricul- The show- 
tural products, counting the industries directly dependent in 
on them, such as sugar refineries and distilleries, potato 
drying establishments, etc., have a yearly value approxi- 
mating twelve billion marks. How new machinery has 
replaced the old, slow hand labor may be gathered from the 
fact that in 1882 less than 20,000 mowing machines were in 
use, in 1907 more than 300,000 ! Stated in other terms this 
is an increase of 1435 per cent ! The population has risen 
from 40,000,000 in 1870 to 67,000,000 in 1913 and, besides, 
twice as much meat per head is consumed to-day : yet the 
country has succeeded in raising 95 per cent of the meat that 
it needs, whereas England imports about 45 per cent of all 
her meat. In the matter of what is known as intensive cattle 



510 A SHORT HISTORY OF GERMANY 

raising Germany has been surpassed only by the little states 
of Holland, Belgium, and Denmark. The last animal census, 
in 1913, showed twenty-two million pigs. Curiously enough 
poultry seems to 'have been neglected. Duties are paid on 
eggs entering the country to the extent of some 200,000,000 
marks a year, while from Russia alone 7,387,454 geese were 
imported in 1913. Horse and dog meat are both sold 
publicly, but have to pass inspection. More than 150,000 
horses and 7000 dogs are on the records for 1913. 

Germany's A weakness of Germany lies in the fact that she has had 
grain and o i m port so much of her grain about two million tons of 

wheat, three million tons of barlev, and one million tons of 
crops. 

corn. She grows wheat and she grows barley, but not in suffi- 
cient quantities ; while corn does not seem adapted to her 
soil and climate. Rye grows well, on the other hand, and is 
exported to the extent of nearly a million tons; while 
potatoes are grown in quantities that no other country can 
even approximately equal. Year by year the huge crops have 
increased, with only an occasional set-back due to natural, 
conditions : 43 million tons in 1903, fifty million tons in 1912, 
sixty-four million tons in 1915. The average harvests are 
now at least 80 per cent greater than they were in 1887, for 
not only has the area cultivated increased, but the yield to 
the acre has made phenomenal strides. It is a commentary 
on the relative excellence of the methods of agriculture in 
the two countries when we find that in 1912, with three 
million more acres under cultivation with the crop than 
Germany, Russia's actual yield was nineteen million tons 
less ! But in yield to the acre Germany excels every country 
on the globe, not only as regards potatoes, but also as regards 
wheat, rye, barley, and oats. In the past ten years her own 
average yield of grain per acre has increased by 150 pounds. 
It needs only an increase of another hundredweight per acre 
to make her self-supporting, entirely independent of foreign 



ECONOMIC PROGRESS BETWEEN 1871 AND 1914 511 

countries; and that estimate is made on the basis of the 
area now under cultivation, whereas there are millions of 
acres of swamp land that can be reclaimed. 

A crop that coins money for Germany is the sugar beet. The sugar 
In 1910, 354 sugar factories extracted the sugar from more beet - 
than 15| million tons of beets ; and the value of the output, 
about one third of which was exported to England, amounted 
to some. 625 million marks. In 1912 more than ten million 
acres were planted to sugar beets as opposed to only six and 
a half million in 1887. 

The few instances we have studied will suffice as illustra- The 
tions of Germany's agricultural progress. But perhaps the workers on 
best products from the farms are the men and women who 
work on them. The statistics from the country are in the 
most marked contrast to those from the cities. The birth 
rate is higher, as is also the proportion of those fit for military 
service who present themselves at the regular