صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

a national policy for Prussia. Either in union | President of the Diet, Count Thun. The with Austria, or acting singly for herself, such Count, a "vornehmer Cavalier' with a sufa policy would have placed Prussia in the right | ficient sense of his own superior rank, reposition for helping Germany to that powerceived the representative of Prussia with which belongs to her in Europe.'

scant ceremony, went on smoking his cigar Bismarck's evening solace, in his years of

standing, and did not ask his visitor to sit independent membership, after days engross

down. The new envoy showed himself-as ed with politics in the Chamber or the clubs,

at all times-equal to the situation, drew out was-beer and tobacco. Ilis Boswellian bio

his cigar-casc, and said with unruffled ease, grapher, in «the Book of Count Bismarck,'

May I ask your Excellency for a light?' who chronicles small beer not less punctually

His Excellency was considerably taken aback (as becomes a good German) than greater

-Im höchsten Grade verblüfftbut gave matters, tells us that towards evening Bis

Bismarck his light. The latter smoked his marck was wont to resort to Schwartz's beer

cigar, took his seat without ceremony, and house, at the corner of the Friedrich's and opened the conversation. * Leipziger Strassen, in Berlin-a house which It may not be an uninstructive subject of was then the chief rendezvous of the Con-consideration for Englishmen--why it was servative party. At that establishment the

that, from the close of the Revolution vear, ·little dog and all’ was Conservative, and

1848, Prussian politics took a course so difnever failed to bark at any democratic in

ferent from that which our own constitutruder. One evening, however, either “Spitz'

tional history has led us to think the normal was off duty, or Bismarck had strayed into

one. The organisation of the army, due to a less Conservative beer-house. He had no Frederick Wi

Frederick William I. and Frederick II., had sooner taken his seat than somebody at a begirt the ti

begirt the throne with a military aristocracy neighbouring table permitted himself to say

founded on a landed basis, and which has something very disparaging about some

not been taken off that basis by the modern member of the Royal family. Bismarck

| reforms of the system. This has preserved thereupon reared himself up to his full that species of modern feudalism in the height and thundered at the offender- Prussian army which regards the obligation "Out of the room with you! If you are not of loyalty to the Crown as paramount to that out before I have drunk this glass out, I will

of allegiance to any paper or parliamentary break it on your pate.'--An angry tumult

constitution. And the course of events has arose upon this apostrophe. such as was cut out work for the army, the successful wont to arise upon Bismarck's daily Derbhei

performance of which has finally justified, ten in the Second Chamber. He went on,

even in the eyes of Prussian popular polihowever, quietly drinking his beer, and when ticians, the stubborn adherence of the King he had finished it, was as good as his word

and his Minister Bismarck to their measures in shying the beer-glass at the offender's head.

for increasing its strength, taken in direct Deep silence ensued, and Bismarck called to

defiance of decided parliamentary majorities the waiter, as if nothing had happened,

from 1862 to 1866. Count Bismarck has Kellner, what's to pay for the broken

been sometimes compared to Strafford; and glass?' The coup de verre had succeeded,

| his position, during the first four years of his and the voice of the room was unanimous

ministry, towards the Prussian Second Chamin a verdict of. Served right.

ber, was not very dissimilar to that of the 'Les hommes se prennent par la douceur,'

douceurs chosen minister of Charles I. The difference says the French proverb. Such as above

was that the Prussian Strafford had for his narrated-and it is not a solitary trait

master a steady single-minded soldier, and were the douceurs by which Bismarck dis

that he was able to achieve, as the first result armed opponents in his hot youth,' if that

of his policy, an ascendancy of Prussia in description is applicable to a man between

Germany, to the exclusion of Austria, at thirty and forty. Such traits almost justi

which every true Prussian had aspired as a fy Mr. Grant Düft's remark that “the ground

consummation devoutly to be wished. Now tone of Bismarck's character is üßpis.'* A

the ends of Strafford had been as much abstory less violent, but not less characteristic,

horred as bis means by the antagonişts of is told of him on arriving at Frankfort, in 1851, to exercise his first political function * According to an earlier version of the anecunder bis present royal master, namely, that dote, Count Rechberg was the offending par:y of Prussian representative at the Diet of the

on whom Bismarck took his revenge, in the

manner above mentioned, for some lack of due since dissolved German Confederation. In

ceremony in his reception. We have preferred that capacity Bismarck visited the Austrian the later version given in the Book of Bis

marck,' which, whether true or not, must at * Studies in European Politics,' p. 235. least be admitted to be ben trovato.

Popery and prerogative, who carried all be- | State, and not only of the duty owing to the fore them in the Long Parliament; and where- State, but the honour of belonging to it. The as, in England. Parliament was thus predes war of 1866 had already given our South-Gertined to success in its struggle with the

mans much to think of; the present war, it is Crown-in Prussia the Crown was predes

to be hoped, will complete the maturing of their

les- judgments. They must see that, if they have tined to success in its struggle with Parlia- lient their arms to the struggle. 'the Prussiads ment, because, in the latter case, that struggle have found the head for it. They must feel was finally seen by all parties to have had that, with all their good will and good heart, for its object what had long been the object with all their vigour and manhood, they could of Prussian popular ambition-an ambition, yet have achieved nothing against the French. it may be added, which was the natural off

An extended State-system, exclusively put to

gether of South-German elements, might indeed spring of the very conditions of Prussian

form a full-fed, full-juiced but a puffy and national existence. Prussia,' wrote a Hano

unwieldy body. While, on the other hand, verian statesman, about the beginning of elements exclusively North-German would go the present century, * • is not a country which to the making of a firm and athletic but a possesses an army, but an army which posses-spare and dry one. Prussia will contribute to ses a country. The Prussian Government,' our future German State her strong bones and says a French writer, M. Cherbuliez, .sets

stiff muscles, which South-Gerinany will fill its Chambers at defiance, because in Prussia

and round with her richer flesh and blood.

And now, imagine, if you can, that the one there is nothing really solid in the shape of

without detriment could dispense with the institutions but the administration and the other-doubt, if you dare, that both are desarmy. In a pamphlet recently published, tined to develop in union to a full-grown State ascribed to one of the leaders of the old and nation!' Prussian Conservative party, Von Gerlach,t. In it is observed, The soul of Prussia is Prus- |

In the last number of the Revue des sian royalty, and that royalty is essentially

Deux Mondes' which reached this country

before the siege of Paris, M. Ernest Renan, military and feudal. The events of 1866

in an article entitled La France et l'Allehave proved that there was nothing really

magne-observed with perfect truth of the popular amongst us but the King and the

present Chancellor of the North German army.' In the interesting correspondence lately

Confederation, that, though he belongs by

| birth to the Prussian Junker or Squires' party, published between Strauss and Renan, in

in the Parliamentary ranks of which he first which each asserts the cause of his country

came to the front, he has shown since in with ardour so well tempered as to make us think they both originally mistook their vo

political action that he is by no means wedded

indissolubly to the prejudices of that party. cation in devoting themselves to polemics

| His policy-so soon as he distinctly formed instead of politics, Dr. Strauss, after confessing that, with his South-German compatriots

a policy of his own*—had two objects: first, generally, he is by no means particularly fond of the Prussians, goes on, nevertheless,

* Sir Alexander Malet, in his instructive to ascribe to them political and military

volume on The Overthrow of the Germanic

Confederation in 1866,' has the following obserpoints of superiority, which render Prussian

vations on Bismarck's earlier politics :leadership, unpopular as it is, still indispen "There is little doubt that the earliest aspirasable to Germany :

tions of M. de Bismarck, when chosen by his

sovereign to represent Prussia in the Diet, were • One thing,' he says, 'must be conceded to limited to establishing parity between the two the North-German-to the Prussian especial. great German courts, and that he would have ly-he is superior to the South-German as a

been well satisfied with alternation in the presi- . political animal. This superiority he owes

dency of the Diet, and such a division of influ. partly to the nature of his country, which,

ence, in the Confederation as that nominal

equality would have carried with it. When, poor in natural resources, compels to labour

however, the Prussian statesman found that rather than allures to enjoyment, partly to his

Austria would abate no iota of her pretensions, history—a history of hard schooling under

and that her influence in the Diet was generally princes of stern energy—but above all to the preponderant; when, further, his clear insight general obligation to military service.

into the future saw only one mode of attaining "This obligation renders the State, and the his ends, and that the destinies his patriotism con. duty owing to the State, ever present to the ceived for his own country could no otherwise be minds of every class of the population. Every accomplished than by the humiliation of her rival. son growing up, every year bringing round the he at once threw himself into the task with all regular season of military exercises, reminds

the energy of his nature. M. de Bismarck's every family in the most direct manner of the

whole soul glowed with the passionate resolve to expel Austria from Germany. It was not in his

nature to hesitate as to means; and neither moral * Rehberg.

nor material obstacles diverted him from his object. + Deutschland am Neujalır, 1870.’ In fact, he entered on the contest unencumbered

to expel Austria from the Germanic body ; , ister's temper and character that the situasecondly, to rally round Prussia those mem- tion, when it had become strained beyond bers of that body which the events of history pacific arbitrament, was at once seen and had dispersed :

accepted, and the quarrel was fought out

mit Blut und Eisen'--to borrow his own Did M. de Bismarck see farther?—asks M. Renan. 'Did his necessarily limited range of

expression. But the seeds of that quarrel view as a practical man allow him to anticipate

had been sowing for centuries—ever since, that one day Prussia would be absorbed by in fact, the days of the Great Elector; and Germany—that one day Prussia would vanish even if war between Austria and Prussia in her own victory, as Rome ceased to exist had been avoided in 1866, situations strained as a ruling city from the day when she had ac

to the very verge of war would have recurred complished her work of unification? I know

again and again, till the two rival forces

acain a not, for M. de Bismarck hitherto has not submitted himself, and perhaps never will submit

would have met at last in armed conflict, as himself to analysis.'

they did in that year, to decide which of the

two should constitute the armed force of M. Renan's question is in some sort an

Gerinany for all time within present human swered by the following passage of a letter

prevision. of Von Bismarck from St. Petersburg, in

That dualism of power and influence in 1859, when he was Prussian Ambassador Germany, which has apparently come to an there :

end, had formed the main source of the I shall be happy to see the word German | whole recent action of Austria and Prussia instead of the word Prussian inscribed on our in German politics, from the abortive Ausflag, when we shall be bound together in a trian attempt at a new scheme of Confederacloser and more purposelike manner with our tion in 1863, to the formation (excluding countrymen, but the word loses its charm | Austria) of the North German Confederawhen abused, as at present, by application to

tion of 1865. The intervening episode of the Confederate nexus now existing. I discern in our present federal relations a source

Prussian and Austrian participation in the of Prussian weakness, which sooner or later

| Federal execution' on Denmark in 1864, we shall have to heal ferro et igni, if we do

was prompted on both sides by the same not betimes, at the favourable season under motive of rivalry, no idea of German right take its cure.' He says in the same letter, or European interest having anything to do

The result of my eight years' official experi- with it. This was abundantly proved, as reence at Frankfort (as representative of Prussia

garded the successful partner in that operaat the Bund) has been that the subsisting fed

tion, by Prussia at last resting her title to eral arrangements form a fetter for Prussia at all times oppressive, at critical times perilous

| the territory, wrung by treaty from Dento her very existence, without securing to her | mark, on the transfer of the Danish title to any of those equivalent advantages which that territory; whereas the Schleswig-HolAustria derives from them in the infinitely stein' war had been commenced on the Gergreater measure of independent individual man popular plea that Denmark had no Inovement which they afford her.

title to hold, nor, therefore, to cede that When two men ride on one horse,' says territory. What the astute Prussian Ministhe proverb. one must ride behind. Šo | ter himself had thought, at a previous long as Prussia remained content to ride be-/ period, of that German popular plea for the hind Austria in the old German Confedera- | repeated raids on Denmark, had been extion, as she had remained content to do pressed by him sixteen years before, in a throughout the whole period of the ascend-/ speech he made in 1848, in the character of ancy of the policy of immobility of the an independent member of the Prussian Selate Prince Metternich, peace was preserved

cond Chamber, when he stigmatised the between the two great Powers of Germany. first armed attack on Holstein, in that year, So soon as Prussia resolved (or Von Bis- as “a most unjust, frivolous, and pernicious marck resolved for her not to ride behind. I enterprise, undertaken to support a revolution $0 soon war in Germany, which might be without legitimate motive.' In 1852 Von Bistermed civil war, became imminent, and Vonmarck accepted from the late King of DenBismarck had long not obscurely indicated | mark, the Grand Cross of the Order of the that he should be prepared to face it. It | Dannebrog, conferred in recognition of his may be regarded as due to that daring Min- activity in the pacification of the Danisb

duchies. At that latter epoch, Von Bisby scruples of any kind. To raise Prussia to the marck was acting as the representative of political status which he thought his country | Prussia at the Frankfort Diet. To do him. ought to hold was his religion. He entered the justice he has never pretended any special path of action with the fervour of a Mahomet | enforcing a rival faith, and, like Mahomet, suc

sympathy with the popular pretexts on which ceeded.'

| the last invasion of Denmark was perpetrat

ed.* He struck into it on the part of | imperativeness and, I may add, the reasonablePrussia to take it out of the hands of the ness of those conditions was so self-evident, Middle States and Austria; to get posses- | that

ut posses that better views had, in a very short time, sion of the oyster, and leave the other claim- | made the most gratifying progress.' ants the shells. Why Austria made herself As Austria would not accept Prussian also an accomplice in the Danish raid, can | hegemony in Germany, so France would not only be explained on the motive assigned accept German ascendancy in Europe withwith little of decent reserve by her own di-out an appeal to the God of Battles. We plomatists. Forsooth Austria could not speak of France, as France was lately repreafford to forfeit her share of German popu- sented, not only by the Imperial Governlarity, by refusing to lead the march of the i ment, but by the parliamentary and extra-' minor German States, on the much-besung | parliamentary organs of popular opposition.

Schleswig-Holstein !' And, above all, she Five years back few would have singled felt herself as usual “bound' (in American out Count Bismarck as the Sphinx destined phrase) to prevent Prussia from acquiring to devour an empire that could not read his an accession of territory—which Prussia has riddle. Napoleon III. had hitherto been acquired in spite of her.

| the great propounder of enigmas in recent When Austria appealed to the vote of the European politics. Every one was attent to Frankfort Diet, to frustrate the aforesaid hearken to that which Louis the Silent purpose of Prussian acquisition of Danish thought fit to utter at rare intervals. He territory, Prussia, under Count Bismarck's thinks reticence is his talent,' Count Bisgovernment, at once treated that vote. as a marck is reported to have said in 1865 to a casus belli, seceded from the Confederation, Spanish retired statesman, sojourning like and made her short and decisive campaign himself at Biarritz. The reverse of reticence of Sadowa. And thus the old Austro-Prus- certainly is the talent of the North German sian dualism came to its tragic termination. Chancellor. To know distinctly what he is

• In the life of nations, as of individuals,' driving at, and to drive straight at it, when writes Strauss to Renan, in the correspon- circumstances appear favourable, is a main dence already cited, conjunctures take place, element of his power-a species of straightin which the very thing long wished for is forwardness not by any means excluding realised in so strange a shape, that we do simulation or dissimulation, as there may be not recognise—nay, turn from it with dis occasion for either, but decidedly excluding gust and anger.'

all superfluous subtleties and aimless irreThus was it with the Prusso-Austrian war

solutions. To know how to meet Count of 1866 and its results. It achieved for us

Bismarck on some ground of common inGermans that which we had long wished for,

terest and common policy, might haply have but not in the way we wished, and therefore been for Napoleon III., any time these last repelled the sympathies of a great part of the five years, to know how to have preserved German people from its accomplishment. We France from humiliation, and himself from had wished to bring about the union of Ger

overthrow. It must be no ordinary man many by pacific evolution from the idea—the

who has held what may be termed joint will of the people—from the calm deliberations of the best men amongst that people. But

command with the late Ruler of France over we now saw the way paved to it by the action such tremendous issues for the weal or woe of material force-by "blood and iron.” We of two great nations. M. Thiers is reported had wished to include all German races under to have said, on some occasion, The Second one imperial Constitution, but now not only Empire has produced two great Ministers— the Germans in Austria but also in the South Count Cavour and Count Bismarck.' ern Middle States, are left out. It required

It might be interesting to seek why Napotime for the German idealism, and for the German self-will also to become reconciled with

leon III. failed at last in much the same enthe real conditions of the problem ; but the

terprise as that in which Count Bismarck suc

ceeded-in twisting parliaments round his * We translate the following passage from

finger, and carrying through political revoVarnhagen Von Ense's Tagebücher' (vol. xiii. lutions mit Blut und Eisen. But first ocp. 428) :- What Austria and Prussia seek at the curs the question-Has Count Bismarck hands of Denmark is not more regard to the succeeded where Napoleon III. has failed ? Germanism of Schleswig-Holstein--they don't care much about that. But the Anti-German

The first eight or ten years of the Second Ministry at Copenhagen is democratic-Danish : French Empire seemed a signal success, and they want a reactionary one-that is, the root of if Count Bismarck's ministry should last as the matter!' This was written in 1857, under

long as Napoleon III.'s reign, his policy has • Frederick Williain IV. Count Bismarck, five or six years later, founded his first remonstrances

ample time before it for equal eventual failto the Danish Government explicitly on its too

ure. It is undeniable, however, that the democratic character.

| main object which Count Bismarck's policy

has effected, had been the main object of ( istry, during which he represented what German popular aspirations for a whole gen- might be called His Majesty's Opposition to eration. That object is unity of national | his Second Chamber, he stood upon his unorganisation and national force. The Prus- doubting and determined confidence in the sian Minister's past successes and present tenableness of his position as the King's ascendancy are chiefly owing to the clearness Minister—no matter against what majority with which his eight years' embassy to Frank- of the popular Chamber. If that Chamber fort led him to discern that object, and the would not pass the military budget—why, boldness and decision for which his accession they were only one power out of three whose to power gave scope in pursuing it. "Quand concurrence was required for its passing, and on sait ce qu'on veut, et qu'on le veut vite et thus there was no more reason why the bien,' says a French historian,* .on l'obtient Crown and the Upper House should give toujourg'-always with the proviso that what way to the Second Chamber, than that the one wills shall lie in the direction of the latter should come to some terms of compronatural course of events, and shall take due mise with the two other co-ordinate powers. account of the nature of men and things. If the President of the Chamber took upon

Von Bismarck had soon surmounted as a him to call the King's Minister to order, the speaker the stammering hesitation of his King's Minister refused to recognise the first parliamentary appearances; but he never President's right to do so. It is an edifying acquired that even, uninterrupted flow of example of German phlegm and German

ds which generally indicates no high pres- longanimity, that this strained state of relasure of thought or passion forcing its way tions between the legislative and executive to utterance. In the marshalling of his powers could go on for four years without topics there is not much parade of parlia- terminating in some more violent situation mentary logic-still less much display, smelor total rupture. All the talents in the ling of the lamp, of parliamentary rhetoric. | Lower Chamber were firing away as incesWhat is chiefly perceptible in Von Bismarck's santly at the King's Minister as the Paris speeches, from first to last, is the speaker's forts have been doing lately at the Prussian ever-present sense of the logic of the situa- | positions, and the Minister was opposing an tion. It was this which sustained him during imperturbable front to all their verbal artilhis four years' struggle with parliamentary lery, and telling them with cutting concisemajorities--it was this which he probably ness, and often happy humour, leurs vérités succeeded in conveying some sympathetic in return. After the conflict had terminated, sense of, even to those majorities. When in consequence of the events of 1866, in the the King's Government,' he said on one occa sort of compromise which he had declared sion (the refusal of a vote of 6000 thalers by throughout could be its only possible termithe Chamber of Deputies to defray the charge nation, we find Count Bismarck, in the newly of a military envoy at St. Petersburg) 'shows convoked · Reichstag' of the North German itself obstinate apparently for a trifle, in an Confederation, in 1867, quietly replying as exceptional case of this kind, you may be follows to an old antagonist in the Prussian assured tbat, after mature examination, and Chamber (Duncker) who again met him in following the dictates of its duty, it could the new arena with the old topics: * not do otherwise than maintain this post, | and refuse to consent to its suppression.' 'Since the last speaker has expressed a cerOn another occasion (the discussion of the tain degree of surprise that I should have spent affairs of the Danish Duchies) Von Bismarck

perhaps the best years of my public life in

combating the parliamentary right of discusstold the Chamber—'For the last year and a

ing the Budget, I will just remind him that it half, if we could have openly declared the may not be quite certain that the army, which object at which we were aiming, I believe, I gained last year's battles, would have possessed gentlemen, you would not have met us with the organisation by which it gained them, if, in so much opposition. ... If you were better the autumn of the year 1862 (the date of Von initiated in the technical part of diplomatic

Bismarck's accession to power), no one had affairs, it would not happen to you to put

been found ready to undertake the conduct of such pressure upon us as to reduce the Ministry to the alternative either of seeming by

* There is a story told, characteristic of Count its silence to admit the justice of your cen

Bismarck's shrewd humour, on occasion of the

first meeting of the newly constituted North sures, or, in refuting them, of expressing German Diet. The British Ambassador at Beropenly what, for political reasons, were bet- lin having expressed some surprise to him that ter left to be understood.'

there should be so many 'Particularists' in that In the first period of Von Bismarck's Min-| Assembly, Count Bismarck's answer was,- Oh

you don't know the Germans: if every German

had money enough, every German would keep a * Mignet.

| Particular King all to himself.”

« السابقةمتابعة »