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Title: Revolution and Counter-Revolution - or, Germany in 1848
Author: Marx, Karl, 1818-1883
Language: English
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REVOLUTION AND COUNTER-REVOLUTION

Or

Germany in 1848

by

KARL MARX

Edited by Eleanor Marx Aveling



Chicago
Charles H. Kerr & Company
1912



NOTE BY THE EDITOR


The following articles are now, after forty-five years, for the first
time collected and printed in book form. They are an invaluable
pendant to Marx's work on the _coup d'état_ of Napoleon III. ("Der
Achtzehnte Brumaire des Louis Bonaparte.") Both works belong to the
same period, and both are what Engels calls "excellent specimens of
that marvellous gift ... of Marx ... of apprehending clearly the
character, the significance, and the necessary consequences of great
historical events at a time when these events are actually in course
of taking place, or are only just completed."

These articles were written in 1851-1852, when Marx had been about
eighteen months in England. He was living with his wife, three young
children, and their life-long friend, Helene Demuth, in two rooms in
Dean Street, Soho, almost opposite the Royalty Theatre. For nearly ten
years they had been driven from pillar to post. When, in 1843, the
Prussian Government suppressed the _Rhenish Gazette_ which Marx had
edited, he went with his newly-married wife, Jenny von Westphalen, to
Paris. Not long after, his expulsion was demanded by the Prussian
Government--it is said that Alexander von Humboldt acted as the agent
of Prussia on this occasion--and M. Guizot was, of course, too polite
to refuse the request. Marx was expelled, and betook himself to
Brussels. Again the Prussian Government requested his expulsion, and
where the French Government had complied it was not likely the Belgian
would refuse. Marx received marching orders.

But at this same time the French Government that had expelled Marx had
gone the way of French Governments, and the new Provisional Government
through Ferdinand Flocon invited the "brave et loyal Marx" to return
to the country whence "tyranny had banished him, and where he, like
all fighting in the sacred cause, the cause of the fraternity of all
peoples," would be welcome. The invitation was accepted, and for some
months he lived in Paris. Then he returned to Germany in order to
start the _New Rhenish Gazette_ in Cologne. And the _Rhenish Gazette_
writers had very lively times. Marx was twice prosecuted, but as the
juries would not convict, the Prussian Government took the nearer way
and suppressed the paper.

Again Marx and his family returned to the country whose "doors" had
only a few short months before been "thrown open" to him. The sky had
changed--and the Government. "We remained in Paris," my mother says in
some biographical notes I have found, "a month. Here also there was to
be no resting-place for us. One fine morning the familiar figure of
the sergeant of police appeared with the announcement that Karl 'et sa
dame' must leave Paris within twenty-four hours. We were graciously
told we might be interned at Vannes in the Morbihan. Of course we
could not accept such an exile as that, and I again gathered together
my small belongings to seek a safe haven in London. Karl had hastened
thither before us." The "us" were my mother, Helene Demuth, and the
three little children, Jenny (Madame Longuet), Laura (Madame
Lafargue), and Edgar, who died at the age of eight.

The haven was safe indeed. But it was storm-tossed. Hundreds of
refugees--all more or less destitute--were now in London. There
followed years of horrible poverty, of bitter suffering--such
suffering as can only be known to the penniless stranger in a strange
land. The misery would have been unendurable but for the faith that
was in these men and women, and but for their invincible "Humor." I
use the German word because I know no English one that quite expresses
the same thing--such a combination of humor and good-humor, of
light-hearted courage, and high spirits.

That readers of these articles may have some idea of the conditions
under which Marx was working, under which he wrote them and the
"Achtzehnte Brumaire," and was preparing his first great economical
work, "Zur Kritik der Politischen Oeconomie" (published in 1859), I
again quote from my mother's notes. Soon after the arrival of the
family a second son was born. He died when about two years old. Then a
fifth child, a little girl, was born. When about a year old, she too
fell sick and died. "Three days," writes my mother, "the poor child
wrestled with death. She suffered so.... Her little dead body lay in
the small back room; we all of us" (i.e., my parents, Helene Demuth,
and the three elder children) "went into the front room, and when
night came we made us beds on the floor, the three living children
lying by us. And we wept for the little angel resting near us, cold
and dead. The death of the dear child came in the time of our
bitterest poverty. Our German friends could not help us; Engels, after
vainly trying to get literary work in London, had been obliged to go,
under very disadvantageous conditions, into his father's firm, as a
clerk, in Manchester; Ernest Jones, who often came to see us at this
time, and had promised help, could do nothing.... In the anguish of my
heart I went to a French refugee who lived near, and who had sometimes
visited us. I told him our sore need. At once with the friendliest
kindness he gave me £2. With that we paid for the little coffin in
which the poor child now sleeps peacefully. I had no cradle for her
when she was born, and even the last small resting-place was long
denied her." ... "It was a terrible time," Liebknecht writes to me
(the Editor), "but it was grand nevertheless."

In that "front room" in Dean Street, the children playing about him,
Marx worked. I have heard tell how the children would pile up chairs
behind him to represent a coach, to which he was harnessed as horse,
and would "whip him up" even as he sat at his desk writing.

Marx had been recommended to Mr. C. A. Dana,[1] the managing director
of the _New York Tribune_, by Ferdinand Freiligrath, and the first
contributions sent by him to America are the series of letters on
Germany here reprinted. They seem to have created such a sensation
that before the series had been completed Marx was engaged as regular
London correspondent. On the 12th of March, 1852, Mr. Dana wrote: "It
may perhaps give you pleasure to know that they" (i.e., the "Germany"
letters) "are read with satisfaction by a considerable number of
persons, and are widely reproduced." From this time on, with short
intervals, Marx not only sent letters regularly to the New York paper;
he wrote a large number of leading articles for it. "Mr. Marx," says
an editorial note in 1853, "has indeed opinions of his own, with some
of which we are far from agreeing; but those who do not read his
letters neglect one of the most instructive sources of information on
the great questions of European politics."

Not the least remarkable among these contributions were those dealing
with Lord Palmerston and the Russian Government. "Urquhart's writings
on Russia," says Marx, "had interested but not convinced me. In order
to arrive at a definite opinion, I made a minute analysis of Hansard's
Parliamentary Debates, and of the Diplomatic Blue Books from 1807 to
1850. The first fruits of these studies was a series of articles in
the _New York Tribune_, in which I proved Palmerston's relations with
the Russian Government.... Shortly after, these studies were reprinted
in the Chartist organ edited by Ernest Jones, _The People's Paper_....
Meantime the Glasgow _Sentinel_ had reproduced one of these articles,
and part of it was issued in pamphlet form by Mr. Tucker, London."[2]
And the Sheffield Foreign Affairs Committee thanked Marx for the
"great public service rendered by the admirable _exposé_" in his "Kars
papers," published both in the _New York Tribune_ and the _People's
Paper_. A large number of articles on the subject were also printed in
the _Free Press_ by Marx's old friend, C. D. Collett. I hope to
republish these and other articles.

As to the _New York Tribune_, it was at this time an admirably edited
paper, with an immense staff of distinguished contributors,[3] both
American and European. It was a passionate anti-slavery organ, and
also recognized that there "was need for a true organization of
society," and that "our evils" were "social, not political." The
paper, and especially Marx's articles, were frequently referred to in
the House of Commons, notably by John Bright.

It may also interest readers to know what Marx was paid for his
articles--many of them considerably longer even than those here
collected. He received £1 for each contribution--not exactly brilliant
remuneration.

It will be noted that the twentieth chapter, promised in the
nineteenth, does not appear. It may have been written, but was
certainly not printed. It was probably crowded out. "I do not know,"
wrote Mr. Dana, "how long you intend to make the series, and under
ordinary circumstances I should desire to have it prolonged as much as
possible. But we have a presidential election at hand, which will
occupy our columns to a great extent.... Let me suggest to you if
possible to condense your survey ... into say half a dozen more
articles" (eleven had then been received by Mr. Dana). "Do not,
however, close it without an exposition of the forces now remaining at
work there (Germany) and active in the preparation of the future."
This "exposition" will be found in the article which I have added to
the "Germany" series, on the "Cologne Communist Trial." That trial
really gives a complete picture of the conditions of Germany under the
triumphant Counter-Revolution.

Marx himself nowhere says the series of letters is incomplete,
although he occasionally refers to them. Thus in the letter on the
Cologne trial he speaks of the articles, and in 1853 writes: "Those of
your readers who, having read my letters on the German Revolution and
Counter-Revolution written for the _Tribune_ some two years ago,
desire to have an immediate intuition of it, will do well to inspect
the picture by Mr. Hasenclever now being exhibited in ... New York ...
representing the presentation of a workingmen's petition to the
magistrates of Düsseldorf in 1848. What the writer could only analyze,
the eminent painter has reproduced in its dramatic vitality."

Finally, I would remind English readers that these articles were
written when Marx had only been some eighteen months in England, and
that he never had any opportunity of reading the proofs. Nevertheless,
it has not seemed to me that anything needed correction. I have
therefore only removed a few obvious printer's errors.

The date at the head of each chapter refers to the issue of the
_Tribune_ in which the article appeared, that at the end to the time
of writing. I am alone responsible for the headings of the letters as
published in this volume.

                                     ELEANOR MARX AVELING.
      _Sydenham, April, 1896._

FOOTNOTES:

[1] Mr. C. A. Dana was at this time still in sympathy with Socialism.
The effects of Brook Farm had not yet worn off.

[2] "Herr Vogt," pp. 59 and 185. London, 1860.

[3] Including Bruno Bauer, Bayard Taylor, Ripley, and many of the
Brook Farmers. The editor was Horace Greeley.



CONTENTS


                                                 Page

           NOTE BY THE EDITOR                       3

        I. GERMANY AT THE OUTBREAK OF THE
           REVOLUTION                              13

       II. THE PRUSSIAN STATE                      28

      III. THE OTHER GERMAN STATES                 44

       IV. AUSTRIA                                 52

        V. THE VIENNA INSURRECTION                 62

       VI. THE BERLIN INSURRECTION                 68

      VII. THE FRANKFORT NATIONAL ASSEMBLY         76

     VIII. POLES, TSCHECHS, AND GERMANS            84

       IX. PANSLAVISM; THE SCHLESWIG WAR           91

        X. THE PARIS RISING; THE FRANKFORT
           ASSEMBLY                                98

       XI. THE VIENNA INSURRECTION                105

      XII. THE STORMING OF VIENNA: THE
           BETRAYAL OF VIENNA                     114

     XIII. THE PRUSSIAN ASSEMBLY: THE NATIONAL
           ASSEMBLY                               128

      XIV. THE RESTORATION OF ORDER: DIET
           AND CHAMBER                            136

       XV. THE TRIUMPH OF PRUSSIA                 144

      XVI. THE ASSEMBLY AND THE GOVERNMENTS       151

     XVII. INSURRECTION                           158

    XVIII. PETTY TRADERS                          166

      XIX. THE CLOSE OF THE INSURRECTION          174

       XX. THE LATE TRIAL AT COLOGNE              183



REVOLUTION AND COUNTER-REVOLUTION



I.

GERMANY AT THE OUTBREAK OF THE REVOLUTION.


                                          OCTOBER 25, 1851.

The first act of the revolutionary drama on the continent of Europe
has closed. The "powers that were" before the hurricane of 1848 are
again the "powers that be," and the more or less popular rulers of a
day, provisional governors, triumvirs, dictators, with their tail of
representatives, civil commissioners, military commissioners,
prefects, judges, generals, officers, and soldiers, are thrown upon
foreign shores, and "transported beyond the seas" to England or
America, there to form new governments _in partibus infidelium_,
European committees, central committees, national committees, and to
announce their advent with proclamations quite as solemn as those of
any less imaginary potentates.

A more signal defeat than that undergone by the continental
revolutionary party--or rather parties--upon all points of the line of
battle, cannot be imagined. But what of that? Has not the struggle of
the British middle classes for their social and political supremacy
embraced forty-eight, that of the French middle classes forty years of
unexampled struggles? And was their triumph ever nearer than at the
very moment when restored monarchy thought itself more firmly settled
than ever? The times of that superstition which attributed revolutions
to the ill-will of a few agitators have long passed away. Everyone
knows nowadays that wherever there is a revolutionary convulsion,
there must be some social want in the background, which is prevented,
by outworn institutions, from satisfying itself. The want may not yet
be felt as strongly, as generally, as might ensure immediate success;
but every attempt at forcible repression will only bring it forth
stronger and stronger, until it bursts its fetters. If, then, we have
been beaten, we have nothing else to do but to begin again from the
beginning. And, fortunately, the probably very short interval of rest
which is allowed us between the close of the first and the beginning
of the second act of the movement, gives us time for a very necessary
piece of work: the study of the causes that necessitated both the late
outbreak and its defeat; causes that are not to be sought for in the
accidental efforts, talents, faults, errors, or treacheries of some of
the leaders, but in the general social state and conditions of
existence of each of the convulsed nations. That the sudden movements
of February and March, 1848, were not the work of single individuals,
but spontaneous, irresistible manifestations of national wants and
necessities, more or less clearly understood, but very distinctly felt
by numerous classes in every country, is a fact recognized everywhere;
but when you inquire into the causes of the counter-revolutionary
successes, there you are met on every hand with the ready reply that
it was Mr. This or Citizen That who "betrayed" the people. Which reply
may be very true or not, according to circumstances, but under no
circumstances does it explain anything--not even show how it came to
pass that the "people" allowed themselves to be thus betrayed. And
what a poor chance stands a political party whose entire
stock-in-trade consists in a knowledge of the solitary fact that
Citizen So-and-so is not to be trusted.

The inquiry into, and the exposition of, the causes, both of the
revolutionary convulsion and its suppression, are, besides, of
paramount importance from a historical point of view. All these petty,
personal quarrels and recriminations--all these contradictory
assertions that it was Marrast, or Ledru Rollin, or Louis Blanc, or
any other member of the Provisional Government, or the whole of them,
that steered the Revolution amidst the rocks upon which it
foundered--of what interest can they be, what light can they afford,
to the American or Englishman who observed all these various movements
from a distance too great to allow of his distinguishing any of the
details of operations? No man in his senses will ever believe that
eleven men,[4] mostly of very indifferent capacity either for good or
evil, were able in three months to ruin a nation of thirty-six
millions, unless those thirty-six millions saw as little of their way
before them as the eleven did. But how it came to pass that thirty-six
millions were at once called upon to decide for themselves which way
to go, although partly groping in dim twilight, and how then they got
lost and their old leaders were for a moment allowed to return to
their leadership, that is just the question.

If, then, we try to lay before the readers of _The Tribune_ the causes
which, while they necessitated the German Revolution of 1848, led
quite as inevitably to its momentary repression in 1849 and 1850, we
shall not be expected to give a complete history of events as they
passed in that country. Later events, and the judgment of coming
generations, will decide what portion of that confused mass of
seemingly accidental, incoherent, and incongruous facts is to form a
part of the world's history. The time for such a task has not yet
arrived; we must confine ourselves to the limits of the possible, and
be satisfied, if we can find rational causes, based upon undeniable
facts, to explain the chief events, the principal vicissitudes of that
movement, and to give us a clue as to the direction which the next,
and perhaps not very distant, outbreak will impart to the German
people.

And firstly, what was the state of Germany at the outbreak of the
Revolution?

The composition of the different classes of the people which form the
groundwork of every political organization was, in Germany, more
complicated than in any other country. While in England and France
feudalism was entirely destroyed, or, at least, reduced, as in the
former country, to a few insignificant forms, by a powerful and
wealthy middle class, concentrated in large towns, and particularly in
the capital, the feudal nobility in Germany had retained a great
portion of their ancient privileges. The feudal system of tenure was
prevalent almost everywhere. The lords of the land had even retained
the jurisdiction over their tenants. Deprived of their political
privileges, of the right to control the princes, they had preserved
almost all their Mediæval supremacy over the peasantry of their
demesnes, as well as their exemption from taxes. Feudalism was more
flourishing in some localities than in others, but nowhere except on
the left bank of the Rhine was it entirely destroyed. This feudal
nobility, then extremely numerous and partly very wealthy, was
considered, officially, the first "Order" in the country. It furnished
the higher Government officials, it almost exclusively officered the
army.

The bourgeoisie of Germany was by far not as wealthy and concentrated
as that of France or England. The ancient manufactures of Germany had
been destroyed by the introduction of steam, and the rapidly extending
supremacy of English manufactures; the more modern manufactures,
started under the Napoleonic continental system, established in other
parts of the country, did not compensate for the loss of the old ones,
nor suffice to create a manufacturing interest strong enough to force
its wants upon the notice of Governments jealous of every extension of
non-noble wealth and power. If France carried her silk manufactures
victorious through fifty years of revolutions and wars, Germany,
during the same time, all but lost her ancient linen trade. The
manufacturing districts, besides, were few and far between; situated
far inland, and using, mostly, foreign, Dutch, or Belgian ports for
their imports and exports, they had little or no interest in common
with the large seaport towns on the North Sea and the Baltic; they
were, above all, unable to create large manufacturing and trading
centres, such as Paris and Lyons, London and Manchester. The causes of
this backwardness of German manufactures were manifold, but two will
suffice to account for it: the unfavorable geographical situation of
the country, at a distance from the Atlantic, which had become the
great highway for the world's trade, and the continuous wars in which
Germany was involved, and which were fought on her soil, from the
sixteenth century to the present day. It was this want of numbers, and
particularly of anything like concentrated numbers, which prevented
the German middle classes from attaining that political supremacy
which the English bourgeoisie has enjoyed ever since 1688, and which
the French conquered in 1789. And yet, ever since 1815, the wealth,
and with the wealth the political importance of the middle class in
Germany, was continually growing. Governments were, although
reluctantly, compelled to bow, at least to its more immediate material
interests. It may even be truly said that from 1815 to 1830, and from
1832 to 1840, every particle of political influence, which, having
been allowed to the middle class in the constitutions of the smaller
States, was again wrested from them during the above two periods of
political reaction, that every such particle was compensated for by
some more practical advantage allowed to them. Every political defeat
of the middle class drew after it a victory on the field of commercial
legislation. And certainly, the Prussian Protective Tariff of 1818,
and the formation of the Zollverein,[5] were worth a good deal more to
the traders and manufacturers of Germany than the equivocal right of
expressing in the chambers of some diminutive dukedom their want of
confidence in ministers who laughed at their votes. Thus, with
growing wealth and extending trade, the bourgeoisie soon arrived at a
stage where it found the development of its most important interests
checked by the political constitution of the country; by its random
division among thirty-six princes with conflicting tendencies and
caprices; by the feudal fetters upon agriculture and the trade
connected with it; by the prying superintendence to which an ignorant
and presumptuous bureaucracy subjected all its transactions. At the
same time the extension and consolidation of the Zollverein, the
general introduction of steam communication, the growing competition
in the home trade, brought the commercial classes of the different
States and Provinces closer together, equalized their interests and
centralized their strength. The natural consequence was the passing of
the whole mass of them into the camp of the Liberal Opposition, and
the gaining of the first serious struggle of the German middle class
for political power. This change may be dated from 1840, from the
moment when the bourgeoisie of Prussia assumed the lead of the middle
class movement of Germany. We shall hereafter revert to this Liberal
Opposition movement of 1840-1847.

The great mass of the nation, which neither belonged to the nobility
nor to the bourgeoisie, consisted in the towns of the small trading
and shopkeeping class and the working people, and in the country of
the peasantry.

The small trading and shopkeeping class is exceedingly numerous in
Germany, in consequence of the stinted development which the large
capitalists and manufacturers as a class have had in that country. In
the larger towns it forms almost the majority of the inhabitants; in
the smaller ones it entirely predominates, from the absence of
wealthier competitors or influence. This class, a most important one
in every modern body politic, and in all modern revolutions, is still
more important in Germany, where, during the recent struggles, it
generally played the decisive part. Its intermediate position between
the class of larger capitalists, traders, and manufacturers, the
bourgeoisie properly so-called, and the proletarian or industrial
class, determines its character. Aspiring to the position of the
first, the least adverse turn of fortune hurls the individuals of this
class down into the ranks of the second. In monarchical and feudal
countries the custom of the court and aristocracy becomes necessary to
its existence; the loss of this custom might ruin a great part of it.
In the smaller towns a military garrison, a county government, a court
of law with its followers, form very often the base of its prosperity;
withdraw these, and down go the shopkeepers, the tailors, the
shoemakers, the joiners. Thus eternally tossed about between the hope
of entering the ranks of the wealthier class, and the fear of being
reduced to the state of proletarians or even paupers; between the hope
of promoting their interests by conquering a share in the direction of
public affairs, and the dread of rousing, by ill-timed opposition, the
ire of a Government which disposes of their very existence, because
it has the power of removing their best customers; possessed of small
means, the insecurity of the possession of which is in the inverse
ratio of the amount,--this class is extremely vacillating in its
views. Humble and crouchingly submissive under a powerful feudal or
monarchical Government, it turns to the side of Liberalism when the
middle class is in the ascendant; it becomes seized with violent
democratic fits as soon as the middle class has secured its own
supremacy, but falls back into the abject despondency of fear as soon
as the class below itself, the proletarians, attempts an independent
movement. We shall by and by see this class, in Germany, pass
alternately from one of these stages to the other.

The working class in Germany is, in its social and political
development, as far behind that of England and France as the German
bourgeoisie is behind the bourgeoisie of those countries. Like master,
like man. The evolution of the conditions of existence for a numerous,
strong, concentrated, and intelligent proletarian class goes hand in
hand with the development of the conditions of existence for a
numerous, wealthy, concentrated, and powerful middle class. The
working class movement itself never is independent, never is of an
exclusively proletarian character until all the different factions of
the middle class, and particularly its most progressive faction, the
large manufacturers, have conquered political power, and remodelled
the State according to their wants. It is then that the inevitable
conflict between the employer and the employed becomes imminent, and
cannot be adjourned any longer; that the working class can no longer
be put off with delusive hopes and promises never to be realized; that
the great problem of the nineteenth century, the abolition of the
proletariat, is at last brought forward fairly and in its proper
light. Now, in Germany the mass of the working class were employed,
not by those modern manufacturing lords of which Great Britain
furnishes such splendid specimens, but by small tradesmen, whose
entire manufacturing system is a mere relic of the Middle Ages. And as
there is an enormous difference between the great cotton lord and the
petty cobbler or master tailor, so there is a corresponding distance
from the wide-awake factory operative of modern manufacturing Babylons
to the bashful journeyman tailor or cabinetmaker of a small country
town, who lives in circumstances and works after a plan very little
different from those of the like sort of men some five hundred years
ago. This general absence of modern conditions of life, of modern
modes of industrial production, of course was accompanied by a
pretty equally general absence of modern ideas, and it is, therefore,
not to be wondered at if, at the outbreak of the Revolution, a large
part of the working classes should cry out for the immediate
re-establishment of guilds and Mediæval privileged trades' corporations.
Yet from the manufacturing districts, where the modern system of
production predominated, and in consequence of the facilities of
inter-communication and mental development afforded by the migratory
life of a large number of the working men, a strong nucleus formed
itself, whose ideas about the emancipation of their class were far
clearer and more in accordance with existing facts and historical
necessities; but they were a mere minority. If the active movement of
the middle class may be dated from 1840, that of the working class
commences its advent by the insurrections of the Silesian and Bohemian
factory operatives in 1844, and we shall soon have occasion to pass in
review the different stages through which this movement passed.

Lastly, there was the great class of the small farmers, the peasantry,
which with its appendix of farm laborers, constitutes a considerable
majority of the entire nation. But this class again sub-divided itself
into different fractions. There were, firstly, the more wealthy
farmers, what is called in Germany _Gross_ and _Mittel-Bauern_,
proprietors of more or less extensive farms, and each of them
commanding the services of several agricultural laborers. This class,
placed between the large untaxed feudal landowners, and the smaller
peasantry and farm laborers, for obvious reasons found in an alliance
with the anti-feudal middle class of the towns its most natural
political course. Then there were, secondly, the small freeholders,
predominating in the Rhine country, where feudalism had succumbed
before the mighty strokes of the great French Revolution. Similar
independent small freeholders also existed here and there in other
provinces, where they had succeeded in buying off the feudal charges
formerly due upon their lands. This class, however, was a class of
freeholders by name only, their property being generally mortgaged to
such an extent, and under such onerous conditions, that not the
peasant, but the usurer who had advanced the money, was the real
landowner. Thirdly, the feudal tenants, who could not be easily turned
out of their holdings, but who had to pay a perpetual rent, or to
perform in perpetuity a certain amount of labor in favor of the lord
of the manor. Lastly, the agricultural laborers, whose condition, in
many large farming concerns, was exactly that of the same class in
England, and who in all cases lived and died poor, ill-fed, and the
slaves of their employers. These three latter classes of the
agricultural population, the small freeholders, the feudal tenants,
and the agricultural laborers, never troubled their heads much about
politics before the Revolution, but it is evident that this event must
have opened to them a new career, full of brilliant prospects. To
every one of them the Revolution offered advantages, and the movement
once fairly engaged in, it was to be expected that each, in their
turn, would join it. But at the same time it is quite as evident, and
equally borne out by the history of all modern countries, that the
agricultural population, in consequence of its dispersion over a great
space, and of the difficulty of bringing about an agreement among any
considerable portion of it, never can attempt a successful
independent movement; they require the initiatory impulse of the more
concentrated, more enlightened, more easily moved people of the towns.

The preceding short sketch of the most important of the classes, which
in their aggregate formed the German nation at the outbreak of the
recent movements, will already be sufficient to explain a great part
of the incoherence, incongruence, and apparent contradiction which
prevailed in that movement. When interests so varied, so conflicting,
so strangely crossing each other, are brought into violent collision;
when these contending interests in every district, every province, are
mixed in different proportions; when, above all, there is no great
centre in the country, no London, no Paris, the decisions of which, by
their weight, may supersede the necessity of fighting out the same
quarrel over and over again in every single locality; what else is to
be expected but that the contest will dissolve itself into a mass of
unconnected struggles, in which an enormous quantity of blood, energy,
and capital is spent, but which for all that remain without any
decisive results?

The political dismemberment of Germany into three dozen of more or
less important principalities is equally explained by this confusion
and multiplicity of the elements which compose the nation, and which
again vary in every locality. Where there are no common interests
there can be no unity of purpose, much less of action. The German
Confederation, it is true, was declared everlastingly indissoluble;
yet the Confederation, and its organ, the Diet, never represented
German unity. The very highest pitch to which centralization was ever
carried in Germany was the establishment of the Zollverein; by this
the States on the North Sea were also forced into a Customs Union of
their own, Austria remaining wrapped up in her separate prohibitive
tariff. Germany had the satisfaction to be, for all practical purposes
divided between three independent powers only, instead of between
thirty-six. Of course the paramount supremacy of the Russian Czar, as
established in 1814, underwent no change on this account.

Having drawn these preliminary conclusions from our premises, we shall
see, in our next, how the aforesaid various classes of the German
people were set into movement one after the other, and what character
the movement assumed on the outbreak of the French Revolution of 1848.

LONDON, September, 1851.

FOOTNOTES:

[4] The "eleven men" were: Dupont de l'Eure, Lamartine, Crémieux,
Aarago, Ledru Rollin, Garnier-Pages, Marrast, Clocon, Louis Blanc, and
Albert.

[5] The "Zollverein" was the German Customs Union. It was originally
founded in 1827, and largely extended after the war of 1866. Since the
unification of Germany as an "Empire" in 1871, the States belonging to
the Zollverein have been included in the German Empire. The object of
the Zollverein was to obtain a uniform rate of customs duties all over
Germany.



II.

THE PRUSSIAN STATE.


                                          OCTOBER 28th, 1851.

The political movement of the middle class or bourgeoisie, in Germany,
may be dated from 1840. It had been preceded by symptoms showing that
the moneyed and industrial class of that country was ripening into a
state which would no longer allow it to continue apathetic and passive
under the pressure of a half-feudal, half-bureaucratic Monarchism. The
smaller princes of Germany, partly to insure to themselves a greater
independence against the supremacy of Austria and Prussia, or against
the influence of the nobility of their own States, partly in order to
consolidate into a whole the disconnected provinces united under their
rule by the Congress of Vienna, one after the other granted
constitutions of a more or less liberal character. They could do so
without any danger to themselves; for if the Diet of the
Confederation, this mere puppet of Austria and Prussia, was to
encroach upon their independence as sovereigns, they knew that in
resisting its dictates they would be backed by public opinion and the
Chambers; and if, on the contrary, these Chambers grew too strong,
they could readily command the power of the Diet to break down all
opposition. The Bavarian, Würtemberg, Baden or Hanoverian
Constitutional institutions could not, under such circumstances, give
rise to any serious struggle for political power, and, therefore, the
great bulk of the German middle class kept very generally aloof from
the petty squabbles raised in the Legislatures of the small States,
well knowing that without a fundamental change in the policy and
constitution of the two great powers of Germany, no secondary efforts
and victories would be of any avail. But, at the same time, a race of
Liberal lawyers, professional oppositionists, sprung up in these small
assemblies: the Rottecks, the Welckers, the Roemers, the Jordans, the
Stüves, the Eisenmanns, those great "popular men" (_Volksmänner_) who,
after a more or less noisy, but always unsuccessful, opposition of
twenty years, were carried to the summit of power by the revolutionary
springtide of 1848, and who, after having there shown their utter
impotency and insignificance, were hurled down again in a moment.
These first specimen upon German soil of the trader in politics and
opposition, by their speeches and writings made familiar to the German
ear the language of Constitutionalism, and by their very existence
foreboded the approach of a time when the middle class would seize
upon and restore to their proper meaning political phrases which these
talkative attorneys and professors were in the habit of using without
knowing much about the sense originally attached to them.

German literature, too, labored under the influence of the political
excitement into which all Europe had been thrown by the events of
1830. A crude Constitutionalism, or a still cruder Republicanism, were
preached by almost all writers of the time. It became more and more
the habit, particularly of the inferior sorts of literati, to make up
for the want of cleverness in their productions, by political
allusions which were sure to attract attention. Poetry, novels,
reviews, the drama, every literary production teemed with what was
called "tendency," that is with more or less timid exhibitions of an
anti-governmental spirit. In order to complete the confusion of ideas
reigning after 1830 in Germany, with these elements of political
opposition there were mixed up ill-digested university-recollections
of German philosophy, and misunderstood gleanings from French
Socialism, particularly Saint-Simonism; and the clique of writers who
expatiated upon this heterogeneous conglomerate of ideas,
presumptuously called themselves "Young Germany," or "the Modern
School." They have since repented their youthful sins, but not
improved their style of writing.

Lastly, German philosophy, that most complicated, but at the same time
most sure thermometer of the development of the German mind, had
declared for the middle class, when Hegel in his "Philosophy of Law"
pronounced Constitutional Monarchy to be the final and most perfect
form of government. In other words, he proclaimed the approaching
advent of the middle classes of the country to political power. His
school, after his death, did not stop here. While the more advanced
section of his followers, on one hand, subjected every religious
belief to the ordeal of a rigorous criticism, and shook to its
foundation the ancient fabric of Christianity, they at the same time
brought forward bolder political principles than hitherto it had been
the fate of German ears to hear expounded, and attempted to restore to
glory the memory of the heroes of the first French Revolution. The
abstruse philosophical language in which these ideas were clothed, if
it obscured the mind of both the writer and the reader, equally
blinded the eyes of the censor, and thus it was that the "young
Hegelian" writers enjoyed a liberty of the Press unknown in every
other branch of literature.

Thus it was evident that public opinion was undergoing a great change
in Germany. By degrees the vast majority of those classes whose
education or position in life enabled them, under an Absolute
Monarchy, to gain some political information, and to form anything
like an independent political opinion, united into one mighty phalanx
of opposition against the existing system. And in passing judgment
upon the slowness of political development in Germany no one ought to
omit taking into account the difficulty of obtaining correct
information upon any subject in a country where all sources of
information were under the control of the Government, where from the
Ragged School and the Sunday School to the Newspaper and University
nothing was said, taught, printed, or published but what had
previously obtained its approbation. Look at Vienna, for instance. The
people of Vienna, in industry and manufactures, second to none perhaps
in Germany; in spirit, courage, and revolutionary energy, proving
themselves far superior to all, were yet more ignorant as to their
real interests, and committed more blunders during the Revolution than
any others, and this was due in a very great measure to the almost
absolute ignorance with regard to the very commonest political
subjects in which Metternich's Government had succeeded in keeping
them.

It needs no further explanation why, under such a system, political
information was an almost exclusive monopoly of such classes of
society as could afford to pay for its being smuggled into the
country, and more particularly of those whose interests were most
seriously attacked by the existing state of things, namely, the
manufacturing and commercial classes. They, therefore, were the first
to unite in a mass against the continuance of a more or less disguised
Absolutism, and from their passing into the ranks of the opposition
must be dated the beginning of the real revolutionary movement in
Germany.

The oppositional pronunciamento of the German bourgeoisie may be dated
from 1840, from the death of the late King of Prussia, the last
surviving founder of the Holy Alliance of 1815. The new King was known
to be no supporter of the predominantly bureaucratic and military
monarchy of his father. What the French middle class had expected
from the advent of Louis XVI., the German bourgeoisie hoped, in some
measure, from Frederick William IV. of Prussia. It was agreed upon all
hands that the old system was exploded, worn-out, and must be given
up; and what had been borne in silence under the old King now was
loudly proclaimed to be intolerable.

But if Louis XVI., "Louis le Désiré," had been a plain, unpretending
simpleton, half conscious of his own nullity, without any fixed
opinions, ruled principally by the habits contracted during his
education, "Frederick William le Désiré" was something quite
different. While he certainly surpassed his French original in
weakness of character, he was neither without pretensions nor without
opinions. He had made himself acquainted, in an amateur sort of way,
with the rudiments of most sciences, and thought himself, therefore,
learned enough to consider final his judgment upon every subject. He
made sure he was a first-rate orator, and there was certainly no
commercial traveller in Berlin who could beat him either in prolixity
of pretended wit, or in fluency of elocution. And, above all, he had
his opinions. He hated and despised the bureaucratic element of the
Prussian Monarchy, but only because all his sympathies were with the
feudal element. Himself one of the founders of, and chief contributors
to, the _Berlin Political Weekly Paper_, the so-called Historical
School (a school living upon the ideas of Bonald, De Maistre, and
other writers of the first generation of French Legitimists), he
aimed at a restoration, as complete as possible, of the predominant
social position of the nobility. The King, first nobleman of his
realm, surrounded in the first instance by a splendid court of mighty
vassals, princes, dukes, and counts; in the second instance, by a
numerous and wealthy lower nobility; ruling according to his
discretion over his loyal burgesses and peasants, and thus being
himself the chief of a complete hierarchy of social ranks or castes,
each of which was to enjoy its particular privileges, and to be
separated from the others by the almost insurmountable barrier of
birth, or of a fixed, inalterable social position; the whole of these
castes, or "estates of the realm" balancing each other at the same
time so nicely in power and influence that a complete independence of
action should remain to the King--such was the _beau idéal_ which
Frederick William IV. undertook to realize, and which he is again
trying to realize at the present moment.

It took some time before the Prussian bourgeoisie, not very well
versed in theoretical questions, found out the real purport of their
King's tendency. But what they very soon found out was the fact that
he was bent upon things quite the reverse of what they wanted. Hardly
did the new King find his "gift of the gab" unfettered by his father's
death than he set about proclaiming his intentions in speeches without
number; and every speech, every act of his, went far to estrange from
him the sympathies of the middle class. He would not have cared much
for that, if it had not been for some stern and startling realities
which interrupted his poetic dreams. Alas, that romanticism is not
very quick at accounts, and that feudalism, ever since Don Quixote,
reckons without its host! Frederick William IV. partook too much of
that contempt of ready cash which ever has been the noblest
inheritance of the sons of the Crusaders. He found at his accession a
costly, although parsimoniously arranged system of government, and a
moderately filled State Treasury. In two years every trace of a
surplus was spent in court festivals, royal progresses, largesses,
subventions to needy, seedy, and greedy noblemen, etc., and the
regular taxes were no longer sufficient for the exigencies of either
Court or Government. And thus His Majesty found himself very soon
placed between a glaring deficit on one side, and a law of 1820 on the
other, by which any new loan, or any increase of the then existing
taxation was made illegal without the assent of "the future
Representation of the People." This representation did not exist; the
new King was less inclined than even his father to create it; and if
he had been, he knew that public opinion had wonderfully changed since
his accession.

Indeed, the middle classes, who had partly expected that the new King
would at once grant a Constitution, proclaim the Liberty of the Press,
Trial by Jury, etc., etc.--in short, himself take the lead of that
peaceful revolution which they wanted in order to obtain political
supremacy--the middle classes had found out their error, and had
turned ferociously against the King. In the Rhine Provinces, and more
or less generally all over Prussia, they were so exasperated that
they, being short themselves of men able to represent them in the
Press, went to the length of an alliance with the extreme
philosophical party, of which we have spoken above. The fruit of this
alliance was the _Rhenish Gazette_ of Cologne,[6] a paper which was
suppressed after fifteen months' existence, but from which may be
dated the existence of the Newspaper Press in Germany. This was in
1842.

The poor King, whose commercial difficulties were the keenest satire
upon his Mediæval propensities, very soon found out that he could not
continue to reign without making some slight concession to the popular
outcry for that "Representation of the People," which, as the last
remnant of the long-forgotten promises of 1813 and 1815, had been
embodied in the law of 1820. He found the least objectionable mode of
satisfying this untoward law in calling together the Standing
Committees of the Provincial Diets. The Provincial Diets had been
instituted in 1823. They consisted for every one of the eight
provinces of the kingdom:--(1) Of the higher nobility, the formerly
sovereign families of the German Empire, the heads of which were
members of the Diet by birthright. (2) Of the representatives of the
knights, or lower nobility. (3) Of representatives of towns. (4) Of
deputies of the peasantry, or small farming class. The whole was
arranged in such a manner that in every province the two sections of
the nobility always had a majority of the Diet. Every one of these
eight Provincial Diets elected a Committee, and these eight Committees
were now called to Berlin in order to form a Representative Assembly
for the purpose of voting the much-desired loan. It was stated that
the Treasury was full, and that the loan was required, not for current
wants, but for the construction of a State railway. But the united
Committees gave the King a flat refusal, declaring themselves
incompetent to act as the representatives of the people, and called
upon His Majesty to fulfil the promise of a Representative
Constitution which his father had given, when he wanted the aid of the
people against Napoleon.

The sitting of the united Committees proved that the spirit of
opposition was no longer confined to the bourgeoisie. A part of the
peasantry had joined them, and many nobles, being themselves large
farmers on their own properties, and dealers in corn, wool, spirits,
and flax, requiring the same guarantees against absolutism,
bureaucracy, and feudal restoration, had equally pronounced against
the Government, and for a Representative Constitution. The King's plan
had signally failed; he had got no money, and had increased the power
of the opposition. The subsequent sitting of the Provincial Diets
themselves was still more unfortunate for the King. All of them asked
for reforms, for the fulfilment of the promises of 1813 and 1815, for
a Constitution and a Free Press; the resolutions to this effect of
some of them were rather disrespectfully worded, and the ill-humored
replies of the exasperated King made the evil still greater.

In the meantime, the financial difficulties of the Government went on
increasing. For a time, abatements made upon the moneys appropriated
for the different public services, fraudulent transactions with the
"Seehandlung," a commercial establishment speculating and trading for
account and risk of the State, and long since acting as its
money-broker, had sufficed to keep up appearances; increased issues of
State paper-money had furnished some resources; and the secret, upon
the whole, had been pretty well kept. But all these contrivances were
soon exhausted. There was another plan tried: the establishment of a
bank, the capital of which was to be furnished partly by the State and
partly by private shareholders; the chief direction to belong to the
State, in such a manner as to enable the Government to draw upon the
funds of this bank to a large amount, and thus to repeat the same
fraudulent transactions that would no longer do with the
"Seehandlung." But, as a matter of course, there were no capitalists
to be found who would hand over their money upon such conditions; the
statutes of the bank had to be altered, and the property of the
shareholders guaranteed from the encroachments of the Treasury, before
any shares were subscribed for. Thus, this plan having failed, there
remained nothing but to try a loan, if capitalists could be found who
would lend their cash without requiring the permission and guarantee
of that mysterious "future Representation of the People." Rothschild
was applied to, and he declared that if the loan was to be guaranteed
by this "Representation of the People," he would undertake the thing
at a moment's notice--if not, he could not have anything to do with
the transaction.

Thus every hope of obtaining money had vanished, and there was no
possibility of escaping the fatal "Representation of the People."
Rothschild's refusal was known in autumn, 1846, and in February of the
next year the King called together all the eight Provincial Diets to
Berlin, forming them into one "United Diet." This Diet was to do the
work required, in case of need, by the law of 1820; it was to vote
loans and increased taxes, but beyond that it was to have no rights.
Its voice upon general legislation was to be merely consultative; it
was to assemble, not at fixed periods, but whenever it pleased the
King; it was to discuss nothing but what the Government pleased to
lay before it. Of course, the members were very little satisfied with
the part they were expected to perform. They repeated the wishes they
had enounced when they met in the provincial assembles; the relations
between them and the Government soon became acrimonious, and when the
loan, which was again stated to be required for railway constructions,
was demanded from them, they again refused to grant it.

This vote very soon brought their sitting to a close. The King, more
and more exasperated, dismissed them with a reprimand, but still
remained without money. And, indeed, he had every reason to be alarmed
at his position, seeing that the Liberal League, headed by the middle
classes, comprising a large part of the lower nobility, and all the
different sections of the lower orders--that this Liberal League was
determined to have what it wanted. In vain the King had declared, in
the opening speech, that he would never, never grant a Constitution in
the modern sense of the word; the Liberal League insisted upon such a
modern, anti-feudal, Representative Constitution, with all its
sequels, Liberty of the Press, Trial by Jury, etc.; and before they
got it, not a farthing of money would they grant. There was one thing
evident: that things could not go on long in this manner, and that
either one of the parties must give way, or that a rupture--a bloody
struggle--must ensue. And the middle classes knew that they were on
the eve of a revolution, and they prepared themselves for it. They
sought to obtain by every possible means the support of the working
class of the towns, and of the peasantry in the agricultural
districts, and it is well known that there was, in the latter end of
1847, hardly a single prominent political character among the
bourgeoisie who did not proclaim himself a "Socialist," in order to
insure to himself the sympathy of the proletarian class. We shall see
these "Socialists" at work by and by.

This eagerness of the leading bourgeoisie to adopt, at least the
outward show of Socialism, was caused by a great change that had come
over the working classes of Germany. There had been ever since 1840 a
fraction of German workmen, who, travelling in France and Switzerland,
had more or less imbibed the crude Socialist or Communist notions then
current among the French workmen. The increasing attention paid to
similar ideas in France ever since 1840 made Socialism and Communism
fashionable in Germany also, and as far back as 1843, all newspapers
teemed with discussions of social questions. A school of Socialists
very soon formed itself in Germany, distinguished more for the
obscurity than for the novelty of its ideas; its principal efforts
consisted in the translation of French Fourierist, Saint-Simonian, and
other doctrines into the abstruse language of German philosophy. The
German Communist school, entirely different from this sect, was formed
about the same time.

In 1844, there occurred the Silesian weavers' riots, followed by the
insurrection of the calico printers of Prague. These riots, cruelly
suppressed, riots of working men not against the Government, but
against their employers, created a deep sensation, and gave a new
stimulus to Socialist and Communist propaganda amongst the working
people. So did the bread riots during the year of famine, 1847. In
short, in the same manner as Constitutional Opposition rallied around
its banner the great bulk of the propertied classes (with the
exception of the large feudal land-holders), so the working classes of
the larger towns looked for their emancipation to the Socialist and
Communist doctrines, although, under the then existing Press laws,
they could be made to know only very little about them. They could not
be expected to have any very definite ideas as to what they wanted;
they only knew that the programme of the Constitutional bourgeoisie
did not contain all they wanted, and that their wants were no wise
contained in the Constitutional circle of ideas.

There was then no separate Republican party in Germany. People were
either Constitutional Monarchists, or more or less clearly defined
Socialists or Communists.

With such elements the slightest collision must have brought about a
great revolution. While the higher nobility and the older civil and
military officers were the only safe supports of the existing system;
while the lower nobility, the trading middle classes, the
universities, the school-masters of every degree, and even part of
the lower ranks of the bureaucracy and military officers were all
leagued against the Government; while behind these there stood the
dissatisfied masses of the peasantry, and of the proletarians of the
large towns, supporting, for the time being, the Liberal Opposition,
but already muttering strange words about taking things into their own
hands; while the bourgeoisie was ready to hurl down the Government,
and the proletarians were preparing to hurl down the bourgeoisie in
its turn; this Government went on obstinately in a course which must
bring about a collision. Germany was, in the beginning of 1848, on the
eve of a revolution, and this revolution was sure to come, even had
the French Revolution of February not hastened it.

What the effects of this Parisian Revolution were upon Germany we
shall see in our next.

LONDON, September, 1851.

FOOTNOTES:

[6] "The Rhenish Gazette." This paper was published at Cologne, as the
organ of the Liberal leaders, Hansemann and Camphausen. Marx
contributed certain articles on the Landtag, which created so great a
sensation that he was offered in 1842--although only 24 years of
age--the editorship of the paper. He accepted the offer, and then
began his long fight with the Prussian Government. Of course the paper
was published under the supervision of a censor, but he, good, easy
man, was hopelessly outwitted by the young firebrand. So the
Government sent a second "special" censor from Berlin, but the double
censorship proved unequal to the task, and in 1843 the paper was
suppressed.



III.

THE OTHER GERMAN STATES.


                                          NOVEMBER 6th, 1851.

In our last we confined ourselves almost exclusively to that State
which, during the years 1840 to 1848, was by far the most important in
the German movement, namely, to Prussia. It is, however, time to pass
a rapid glance over the other States of Germany during the same
period.

As to the petty States, they had, ever since the revolutionary
movements of 1830, completely passed under the dictatorship of the
Diet, that is of Austria and Prussia. The several Constitutions,
established as much as a means of defence against the dictates of the
larger States, as to insure popularity to their princely authors, and
unity to heterogeneous Assemblies of Provinces, formed by the Congress
of Vienna, without any leading principle whatever--these
Constitutions, illusory as they were, had yet proved dangerous to the
authority of the petty princes themselves during the exciting times of
1830 and 1831. They were all but destroyed; whatever of them was
allowed to remain was less than a shadow, and it required the
loquacious self-complacency of a Welcker, a Rotteck, a Dahlmann, to
imagine that any results could possibly flow from the humble
opposition, mingled with degrading flattery, which they were allowed
to show off in the impotent Chambers of these petty States.

The more energetic portion of the middle class in these smaller
States, very soon after 1840, abandoned all the hopes they had
formerly based upon the development of Parliamentary government in
these dependencies of Austria and Prussia. No sooner had the Prussian
bourgeoisie and the classes allied to it shown a serious resolution to
struggle for Parliamentary government in Prussia, than they were
allowed to take the lead of the Constitutional movement over all
non-Austrian Germany. It is a fact which now will not any longer be
contested, that the nucleus of those Constitutionalists of Central
Germany, who afterwards seceded from the Frankfort National Assembly,
and who, from the place of their separate meetings, were called the
Gotha party, long before 1848 contemplated a plan which, with little
modification, they in 1849 proposed to the representatives of all
Germany. They intended a complete exclusion of Austria from the German
Confederation, the establishment of a new Confederation, with a new
fundamental law, and with a Federal Parliament, of the more
insignificant States into the larger ones. All this was to be carried
out the moment Prussia entered into the ranks of Constitutional
Monarchy, established the Liberty of the Press, assumed a policy
independent from that of Russia and Austria, and thus enabled the
Constitutionalists of the lesser States to obtain a real control over
their respective Governments. The inventor of this scheme was
Professor Gervinus, of Heidelberg (Baden). Thus the emancipation of
the Prussian bourgeoisie was to be the signal for that of the middle
classes of Germany generally, and for an alliance, offensive and
defensive of both against Russia and Austria, for Austria was, as we
shall see presently, considered as an entirely barbarian country, of
which very little was known, and that little not to the credit of its
population; Austria, therefore, was not considered as an essential
part of Germany.

As to the other classes of society, in the smaller States they
followed, more or less rapidly, in the wake of their equals in
Prussia. The shopkeeping class got more and more dissatisfied with
their respective Governments, with the increase of taxation, with the
curtailments of those political sham-privileges of which they used to
boast when comparing themselves to the "slaves of despotism" in
Austria and Prussia; but as yet they had nothing definite in their
opposition which might stamp them as an independent party, distinct
from the Constitutionalism of the higher bourgeoisie. The
dissatisfaction among the peasantry was equally growing, but it is
well known that this section of the people, in quiet and peaceful
times, will never assert its interests and assume its position as an
independent class, except in countries where universal suffrage is
established. The working classes in the trades and manufactures of
the towns commenced to be infected with the "poison" of Socialism and
Communism, but there being few towns of any importance out of Prussia,
and still fewer manufacturing districts, the movement of this class,
owing to the want of centres of action and propaganda, was extremely
slow in the smaller States.

Both in Prussia and in the smaller States the difficulty of giving vent
to political opposition created a sort of religious opposition in the
parallel movements of German Catholicism and Free Congregationalism.
History affords us numerous examples where, in countries which enjoy
the blessings of a State Church, and where political discussion is
fettered, the profane and dangerous opposition against the worldly
power is hid under the more sanctified and apparently more
disinterested struggle against spiritual despotism. Many a Government
that will not allow of any of its acts being discussed, will hesitate
before it creates martyrs and excites the religious fanaticism of the
masses. Thus in Germany, in 1845, in every State, either the Roman
Catholic or the Protestant religion, or both, were considered part and
parcel of the law of the land. In every State, too, the clergy of
either of those denominations, or of both, formed an essential part of
the bureaucratic establishment of the Government. To attack Protestant
or Catholic orthodoxy, to attack priestcraft, was then to make an
underhand attack upon the Government itself. As to the German
Catholics, their very existence was an attack upon the Catholic
Governments of Germany, particularly Austria and Bavaria; and as such
it was taken by those Governments. The Free Congregationalists,
Protestant Dissenters, somewhat resembling the English and American
Unitarians, openly professed their opposition to the clerical and
rigidly orthodox tendency of the King of Prussia and his favourite
Minister for the Educational and Clerical Department, Mr. Eickhorn.
The two new sects, rapidly extending for a moment, the first in
Catholic, the second in Protestant countries, had no other distinction
but their different origin; as to their tenets, they perfectly agreed
upon this most important point--that all definite dogmas were
nugatory. This want of any definition was their very essence; they
pretended to build that great temple under the roof of which all
Germans might unite; they thus represented, in a religious form,
another political idea of the day--that of German unity, and yet they
could never agree among themselves.

The idea of German unity, which the above-mentioned sects sought to
realize, at least, upon religious ground, by inventing a common
religion for all Germans, manufactured expressly for their use,
habits, and taste--this idea was, indeed, very widely spread,
particularly in the smaller States. Ever since the dissolution of the
German Empire by Napoleon, the cry for a union of all the _disjecta
membra_ of the German body had been the most general expression of
discontent with the established order of things, and most so in the
smaller States, where costliness of a court, an administration, an
army, in short, the dead weight of taxation, increased in a direct
ratio with the smallness and impotency of the State. But what this
German unity was to be when carried out was a question upon which
parties disagreed. The bourgeoisie, which wanted no serious
revolutionary convulsion, were satisfied with what we have seen they
considered "practicable," namely a union of all Germany, exclusive of
Austria, under the supremacy of a Constitutional Government of
Prussia; and surely, without conjuring dangerous storms, nothing more
could, at that time, be done. The shopkeeping class and the peasantry,
as far as these latter troubled themselves about such things, never
arrived at any definition of that German unity they so loudly
clamoured after; a few dreamers, mostly feudalist reactionists, hoped
for the re-establishment of the German Empire; some few ignorant,
_soi-disant_ Radicals, admiring Swiss institutions, of which they had
not yet made that practical experience which afterwards most
ludicrously undeceived them, pronounced for a Federated Republic; and
it was only the most extreme party which, at that time, dared
pronounce for a German Republic, one and indivisible. Thus, German
unity was in itself a question big with disunion, discord, and, in the
case of certain eventualities, even civil war.

To resume, then; this was the state of Prussia, and the smaller States
of Germany, at the end of 1847. The middle class, feeling their
power, and resolved not to endure much longer the fetters with which
a feudal and bureaucratic despotism enchained their commercial
transactions, their industrial productivity, their common action as a
class; a portion of the landed nobility so far changed into producers
of mere marketable commodities, as to have the same interests and to
make common cause with the middle class; the smaller trading class,
dissatisfied, grumbling at the taxes, at the impediments thrown in the
way of their business, but without any definite plan for such reforms
as should secure their position in the social and political body; the
peasantry, oppressed here by feudal exactions, there by money-lenders,
usurers, and lawyers; the working people of the towns infected with
the general discontent, equally hating the Government and the large
industrial capitalists, and catching the contagion of Socialist and
Communist ideas; in short, a heterogeneous mass of opposition,
springing from various interests, but more or less led on by the
bourgeoisie, in the first ranks of which again marched the bourgeoisie
of Prussia, and particularly of the Rhine Province. On the other hand,
Governments disagreeing upon many points, distrustful of each other,
and particularly of that of Prussia, upon which yet they had to rely
for protection; in Prussia a Government forsaken by public opinion,
forsaken by even a portion of the nobility, leaning upon an army and a
bureaucracy which every day got more infected by the ideas, and
subjected to the influence, of the oppositional bourgeoisie--a
Government, besides all this, penniless in the most literal meaning of
the word, and which could not procure a single cent to cover its
increasing deficit, but by surrendering at discretion to the
opposition of the bourgeoisie. Was there ever a more splendid position
for the middle class of any country, while it struggled for power
against the established Government?

LONDON, September, 1851.



IV.

AUSTRIA.


                                          NOVEMBER 7th, 1851.

We have now to consider Austria; that country which, up to March,
1848, was sealed up to the eyes of foreign nations almost as much as
China before the late war with England.

As a matter of course, we can here take into consideration nothing but
German Austria. The affairs of the Polish, Hungarian, or Italian
Austrians do not belong to our subject, and as far as they, since
1848, have influenced the fate of the German Austrians, they will have
to be taken into account hereafter.

The Government of Prince Metternich turned upon two hinges; firstly,
to keep every one of the different nations subjected to the Austrian
rule, in check, by all other nations similarly conditioned; secondly,
and this always has been the fundamental principle of absolute
monarchies, to rely for support upon two classes, the feudal landlords
and the large stock-jobbing capitalists; and to balance, at the same
time, the influence and power of either of these classes by that of
the other, so as to leave full independence of action to the
Government. The landed nobility, whose entire income consisted in
feudal revenues of all sorts, could not but support a Government which
proved their only protection against that down-trodden class of serfs
upon whose spoils they lived; and whenever the less wealthy portion of
them, as in Galicia, in 1846, rose in opposition against the
Government, Metternich in an instant let loose upon them these very
serfs, who at any rate profited by the occasion to wreak a terrible
vengeance upon their more immediate oppressors. On the other hand, the
large capitalists of the Exchange were chained to Metternich's
Government by the vast share they had in the public funds of the
country. Austria, restored to her full power in 1815 restoring and
maintaining in Italy Absolute Monarchy ever since 1820, freed from
part of her liabilities by the bankruptcy of 1810, had, after the
peace, very soon re-established her credit in the great European money
markets; and in proportion as her credit grew, she had drawn against
it. Thus all the large European money-dealers had engaged considerable
portions of their capital in the Austrian funds; they all of them were
interested in upholding the credit of that country, and as Austrian
public credit, in order to be upheld, ever required new loans, they
were obliged from time to time to advance new capital in order to keep
up the credit of the securities for that which they already had
advanced. The long peace after 1815, and the apparent impossibility of
a thousand years old empire, like Austria, being upset, increased the
credit of Metternich's Government in a wonderful ratio, and made it
even independent of the good will of the Vienna bankers and
stock-jobbers; for as long as Metternich could obtain plenty of money
at Frankfort and Amsterdam, he had, of course, the satisfaction of
seeing the Austrian capitalists at his feet. They were, besides, in
every other respect at his mercy; the large profits which bankers,
stock-jobbers, and Government contractors always contrive to draw out
of an absolute monarchy, were compensated for by the almost unlimited
power which the Government possessed over their persons and fortunes;
and not the smallest shadow of an opposition was, therefore, to be
expected from this quarter. Thus Metternich was sure of the support of
the two most powerful and influential classes of the empire, and he
possessed besides an army and a bureaucracy, which for all purposes of
absolutism could not be better constituted. The civil and military
officers in the Austrian service form a race of their own; their
fathers have been in the service of the Kaiser, and so will their sons
be; they belong to none of the multifarious nationalities congregated
under the wing of the double-headed eagle; they are, and ever have
been, removed from one end of the empire to the other, from Poland to
Italy, from Germany to Transylvania; Hungarian, Pole, German,
Roumanian, Italian, Croat, every individual not stamped with "imperial
and royal authority," etc., bearing a separate national character, is
equally despised by them; they have no nationality, or rather, they
alone make up the really Austrian nation. It is evident what a
pliable, and at the same time powerful instrument, in the hands of an
intelligent and energetic chief, such a civil and military hierarchy
must be.

As to the other classes of the population, Metternich, in the true
spirit of a statesman of the _ancien régime_, cared little for their
support. He had, with regard to them, but one policy: to draw as much
as possible out of them in the shape of taxation, and at the same
time, to keep them quiet. The trading and manufacturing middle class
was but of slow growth in Austria. The trade of the Danube was
comparatively unimportant; the country possessed but one port,
Trieste, and the trade of the port was very limited. As to the
manufacturers, they enjoyed considerable protection, amounting even in
most cases to the complete exclusion of all foreign competition; but
this advantage had been granted to them principally with a view to
increase their tax-paying capabilities, and was in a high degree
counterpoised by internal restrictions on manufactures, privileges on
guilds, and other feudal corporations, which were scrupulously upheld
as long as they did not impede the purposes and views of the
Government. The petty tradesmen were encased in the narrow bounds of
these Mediæval guilds, which kept the different trades in a perpetual
war of privilege against each other, and at the same time, by all but
excluding individuals of the working class from the possibility of
raising themselves in the social scale, gave a sort of hereditary
stability to the members of those involuntary associations. Lastly,
the peasant and the working man were treated as mere taxable matter,
and the only care that was taken of them was to keep them as much as
possible in the same conditions of life in which they then existed,
and in which their fathers had existed before them. For this purpose
every old, established, hereditary authority was upheld in the same
manner as that of the State; the authority of the landlord over the
petty tenant farmer, that of the manufacturer over the operative, of
the small master over the journeyman and apprentice, of the father
over the son, was everywhere rigidly maintained by the Government, and
every branch of disobedience punished the same as a transgression of
the law, by that universal instrument of Austrian justice--the stick.

Finally, to wind up into one comprehensive system all these attempts
at creating an artificial stability, the intellectual food allowed to
the nation was selected with the minutest caution, and dealt out as
sparingly as possible. Education was everywhere in the hands of the
Catholic priesthood, whose chiefs, in the same manner as the large
feudal landowners, were deeply interested in the conservation of the
existing system. The universities were organized in a manner which
allowed them to produce nothing but special men, that might or might
not obtain great proficiency in sundry particular branches of
knowledge, but which, at all events, excluded that universal liberal
education which other universities are expected to impart. There was
absolutely no newspaper press, except in Hungary, and the Hungarian
papers were prohibited in all other parts of the monarchy. As to
general literature, its range had not widened for a century; it had
narrowed again after the death of Joseph II. And all around the
frontier, wherever the Austrian States touched upon a civilized
country, a cordon of literary censors was established in connection
with the cordon of customhouse officials, preventing any foreign book
or newspaper from passing into Austria before its contents had been
twice or three times thoroughly sifted, and found pure of even the
slightest contamination of the malignant spirit of the age.

For about thirty years after 1815 this system worked with wonderful
success. Austria remained almost unknown to Europe, and Europe was
quite as little known in Austria. The social state of every class of
the population, and of the population as a whole, appeared not to have
undergone the slightest change. Whatever rancour there might exist
from class to class--and the existence of this rancour was for
Metternich a principal condition of government, which he even fostered
by making the higher classes the instruments of all Government
exactions, and thus throwing the odium upon them--whatever hatred the
people might bear to the inferior officials of the State, there
existed, upon the whole, little or no dissatisfaction with the Central
Government. The Emperor was adored, and old Francis I. seemed to be
borne out by facts when, doubting of the durability of this system, he
complacently added: "And yet it will hold while I live, and
Metternich."

But there was a slow underground movement going on which baffled all
Metternich's efforts. The wealth and influence of the manufacturing
and trading middle class increased. The introduction of machinery
and steam-power in manufactures upset in Austria, as it had done
everywhere else, the old relations and vital conditions of whole
classes of society; it changed serfs into free men, small farmers
into manufacturing operatives; it undermined the old feudal
trades-corporations, and destroyed the means of existence of many of
them. The new commercial and manufacturing population came everywhere
into collision with the old feudal institutions. The middle classes,
more and more induced by their business to travel abroad, introduced
some mythical knowledge of the civilized countries situated beyond the
Imperial line of customs; the introduction of railways finally
accelerated both the industrial and intellectual movement. There was,
too, a dangerous part in the Austrian State establishment, _viz._, the
Hungarian feudal Constitution, with its parliamentary proceedings, and
its struggles of the impoverished and oppositional mass of the
nobility against the Government and its allies, the magnates.
Presburg, the seat of the Diet, was at the very gates of Vienna. All
the elements contributed to create among the middle classes of the
towns a spirit, not exactly of opposition, for opposition was as yet
impossible, but of discontent; a general wish for reforms, more of an
administrative than of a constitutional nature. And in the same manner
as in Prussia, a portion of the bureaucracy joined the bourgeoisie.
Among this hereditary caste of officials the traditions of Joseph II.
were not forgotten; the more educated functionaries of the Government,
who themselves sometimes meddled with imaginary possible reforms, by
far preferred the progressive and intellectual despotism of that
Emperor to the "paternal" despotism of Metternich. A portion of the
poorer nobility equally sided with the middle class, and as to the
lower classes of the population, who always had found plenty of
grounds to complain of their superiors, if not of the Government, they
in most cases could not but adhere to the reformatory wishes of the
bourgeoisie.

It was about this time, say 1843 or 1844, that a particular branch of
literature, agreeable to this change, was established in Germany. A
few Austrian writers, novelists, literary critics, bad poets, the
whole of them of very indifferent ability, but gifted with that
peculiar industrialism proper to the Jewish race, established
themselves in Leipsic and other German towns out of Austria, and
there, out of the reach of Metternich, published a number of books and
pamphlets on Austrian affairs. They and their publishers made "a
roaring trade" of it. All Germany was eager to become initiated into
the secrets of the policy of European China; and the Austrians
themselves, who obtained these publications by the wholesale
smuggling carried on upon the Bohemian frontier, were still more
curious. Of course, the secrets let out in these publications were of
no great importance, and the reform plans schemed out by their
well-wishing authors bore the stamp of an innocuousness almost
amounting to political virginity. A Constitution and a free press for
Austria were things considered unattainable; administrative reforms,
extension of the rights of the Provincial Diets, admission of foreign
books and newspapers, and a less severe censorship--the loyal and
humble desires of these good Austrians did hardly go any farther.

At all events the growing impossibility of preventing the literary
intercourse of Austria with the rest of Germany, and through Germany
with the rest of the world, contributed much toward the formation of
an anti-Governmental public opinion, and brought at least some little
political information within the reach of part of the Austrian
population. Thus, by the end of 1847, Austria was seized, although in
an inferior degree, by that political and politico-religious agitation
which then prevailed in all Germany; and if its progress in Austria
was more silent, it did, nevertheless, find revolutionary elements
enough to work upon. There was the peasant, serf, or feudal tenant,
ground down into the dust by lordly or Government exactions; then the
factory operative, forced by the stick of the policeman to work upon
any terms the manufacturer chose to grant; then the journeyman,
debarred by the corporative laws from any chance of gaining an
independence in his trade; then the merchant, stumbling at every step
in business over absurd regulations; then the manufacturer, in
uninterrupted conflict with trade-guilds, jealous of their privileges,
or with greedy and meddling officials; then the school-master, the
_savant_, the better educated functionary, vainly struggling against
an ignorant and presumptuous clergy, or a stupid and dictating
superior. In short, there was not a single class satisfied, for the
small concessions Government was obliged now and then to make were not
made at its own expense, for the treasury could not afford that, but
at the expense of the high aristocracy and clergy; and as to the great
bankers, and fundholders, the late events in Italy, the increasing
opposition of the Hungarian Diet, and the unwonted spirit of
discontent and cry for reform, manifesting themselves all over the
Empire, were not of a nature to strengthen their faith in the solidity
and solvency of the Austrian Empire.

Thus Austria, too, was marching slowly but surely toward a mighty
change, when, of a sudden, an event broke out in France, which at once
brought down the impending storm, and gave the lie to old Francis's
assertion, that the building would hold out both during his and
Metternich's lifetime.

LONDON, September, 1851.



V.

THE VIENNA INSURRECTION.


                                          NOVEMBER 12, 1851.

On the 24th of February, 1848, Louis Philippe was driven out of Paris,
and the French Republic was proclaimed. On the 13th of March
following, the people of Vienna broke the power of Prince Metternich,
and made him flee shamefully out of the country. On the 18th of March
the people of Berlin rose in arms, and, after an obstinate struggle of
eighteen hours, had the satisfaction of seeing the King surrender
himself into their hands. Simultaneous outbreaks of a more or less
violent nature, but all with the same success, occurred in the
capitals of the smaller States of Germany. The German people, if they
had not accomplished their first revolution, were at least fairly
launched into the revolutionary career.

As to the incidents of these various insurrections, we cannot enter
here into the details of them: what we have to explain is their
character, and the position which the different classes of the
population took up with regard to them.

The Revolution of Vienna may be said to have been made by an almost
unanimous population. The bourgeoisie (with the exception of the
bankers and stock-jobbers), the petty trading class, the working
people, one and all arose at once against a Government detested by
all, a Government so universally hated, that the small minority of
nobles and money lords which had supported it made itself invisible on
the very first attack. The middle classes had been kept in such a
degree of political ignorance by Metternich that to them the news from
Paris about the reign of Anarchy, Socialism, and terror, and about
impending struggles between the class of capitalists and the class of
laborers, proved quite unintelligible. They, in their political
innocence, either could attach no meaning to these news, or they
believed them to be fiendish inventions of Metternich, to frighten
them into obedience. They, besides, had never seen working men acting
as a class, or stand up for their own distinct class interests. They
had, from their past experience, no idea of the possibility of any
differences springing up between classes that now were so heartily
united in upsetting a Government hated by all. They saw the working
people agree with themselves upon all points: a Constitution, Trial by
Jury, Liberty of the Press, etc. Thus they were, in March, 1848, at
least, heart and soul with the movement, and the movement, on the
other hand, at once constituted them the (at least in theory)
predominant class of the State.

But it is the fate of all revolutions that this union of different
classes, which in some degree is always the necessary condition of
any revolution, cannot subsist long. No sooner is the victory gained
against the common enemy than the victors become divided among
themselves into different camps, and turn their weapons against each
other. It is this rapid and passionate development of class antagonism
which, in old and complicated social organisms, makes a revolution
such a powerful agent of social and political progress; it is this
incessantly quick upshooting of new parties succeeding each other in
power, which, during those violent commotions, makes a nation pass in
five years over more ground than it would have done in a century under
ordinary circumstances.

The Revolution in Vienna made the middle class the theoretically
predominant class; that is to say, the concessions wrung from the
Government were such as, once carried out practically and adhered to
for a time, would inevitably have secured the supremacy of the middle
class. But practically the supremacy of that class was far from being
established. It is true that by the establishment of a national guard,
which gave arms to the bourgeoisie and petty tradesmen, that class
obtained both force and importance; it is true that by the
installation of a "Committee of Safety," a sort of revolutionary,
irresponsible Government in which the bourgeoisie predominated, it was
placed at the head of power. But, at the same time, the working
classes were partially armed too; they and the students had borne the
brunt of the fight, as far as fight there had been; and the students,
about 4,000 strong, well-armed, and far better disciplined than the
national guard, formed the nucleus, the real strength of the
revolutionary force, and were no ways willing to act as a mere
instrument in the hands of the Committee of Safety. Though they
recognized it, and were even its most enthusiastic supporters, they
yet formed a sort of independent and rather turbulent body,
deliberating for themselves in the "Aula," keeping an intermediate
position between the bourgeoisie and the working-classes, preventing
by constant agitation things from settling down to the old every-day
tranquillity, and very often forcing their resolutions upon the
Committee of Safety. The working men, on the other hand, almost
entirely thrown out of employment, had to be employed in public works
at the expense of the State, and the money for this purpose had, of
course, to be taken out of the purse of the tax-payers or out of the
chest of the city of Vienna. All this could not but become very
unpleasant to the tradesmen of Vienna. The manufactures of the city,
calculated for the consumption of the rich and aristocratic courts of
a large country, were as a matter of course entirely stopped by the
Revolution, by the flight of the aristocracy and Court; trade was at a
standstill, and the continuous agitation and excitement kept up by the
students and working people was certainly not the means to "restore
confidence," as the phrase went. Thus a certain coolness very soon
sprung up between the middle classes on the one side and the
turbulent students and working people on the other; and if for a long
time this coolness was not ripened into open hostility, it was because
the Ministry, and particularly the Court, in their impatience to
restore the old order of things, constantly justified the suspicions
and the turbulent activity of the more revolutionary parties, and
constantly made arise, even before the eyes of the middle classes, the
spectre of old Metternichian despotism. Thus on the 15th of May, and
again on the 16th, there were fresh risings of all classes in Vienna,
on account of the Government having tried to attack, or to undermine
some of the newly-conquered liberties, and on each occasion the
alliance between the national guard or armed middle class, the
students, and the workingmen, was again cemented for a time.

As to the other classes of the population, the aristocracy and the
money lords had disappeared, and the peasantry were busily engaged
everywhere in removing, down to the very last vestiges of feudalism.
Thanks to the war in Italy, and the occupation which Vienna and
Hungary gave to the Court, they were left at full liberty, and
succeeded in their work of liberation, in Austria, better than in any
other part of Germany. The Austrian Diet had very shortly after only
to confirm the steps already practically taken by the peasantry, and
whatever else the Government of Prince Schwartzenberg may be enabled
to restore, it will never have the power of re-establishing the feudal
servitude of the peasantry. And if Austria at the present moment is
again comparatively tranquil, and even strong, it is principally
because the great majority of the people, the peasants, have been real
gainers by the Revolution, and because whatever else has been attacked
by the restored Government, those palpable, substantial advantages,
conquered by the peasantry, are as yet untouched.

LONDON, October, 1851.



VI.

THE BERLIN INSURRECTION.


                                          NOVEMBER 28, 1851.

The second center of revolutionary action was Berlin, and from what
has been stated in the foregoing papers, it may be guessed that there
this action was far from having that unanimous support of almost all
classes by which it was accompanied in Vienna. In Prussia, the
bourgeoisie had been already involved in actual struggles with the
Government; a rupture had been file result of the "United Diet"; a
bourgeois revolution was impending, and that revolution might have
been, in its first outbreak, quite as unanimous as that of Vienna, had
it not been for the Paris Revolution of February. That event
precipitated everything, while at the same time it was carried out
under a banner totally different from that under which the Prussian
bourgeoisie was preparing to defy its Government. The Revolution of
February upset, in France, the very same sort of Government which the
Prussian bourgeoisie were going to set up in their own country. The
Revolution of February announced itself as a revolution of the
working classes against the middle classes; it proclaimed the downfall
of middle-class government and the emancipation of the workingman. Now
the Prussian bourgeoisie had, of late, had quite enough of
working-class agitation in their own country. After the first terror
of the Silesian riots had passed away, they had even tried to give
this agitation a turn in their own favor; but they always had retained
a salutary horror of revolutionary Socialism and Communism; and,
therefore, when they saw men at the head of the Government in Paris
whom they considered as the most dangerous enemies of property, order,
religion, family, and of the other _Penates_ of the modern bourgeois,
they at once experienced a considerable cooling down of their own
revolutionary ardor. They knew that the moment must be seized, and
that, without the aid of the working masses, they would be defeated;
and yet their courage failed them. Thus they sided with the Government
in the first partial and provincial outbreaks, tried to keep the
people quiet in Berlin, who, during five days, met in crowds before
the royal palace to discuss the news and ask for changes in the
Government; and when at last, after the news of the downfall of
Metternich, the King made some slight concessions, the bourgeoisie
considered the Revolution as completed, and went to thank His Majesty
for having fulfilled all the wishes of his people. But then followed
the attack of the military on the crowd, the barricades, the struggle,
and the defeat of royalty. Then everything was changed; the very
working classes, which it had been the tendency of the bourgeoisie to
keep in the background, had been pushed forward, had fought and
conquered, and all at once were conscious of their strength.
Restrictions of suffrage, of the liberty of the press, of the right to
sit on juries, of the right of meeting--restrictions that would have
been very agreeable to the bourgeoisie because they would have touched
upon such classes only as were beneath them--now were no longer
possible. The danger of a repetition of the Parisian scenes of
"anarchy" was imminent. Before this danger all former differences
disappeared. Against the victorious workingman, although he had not
yet uttered any specific demands for himself, the friends and the foes
of many years united, and the alliance between the bourgeoisie and the
supporters of the over-turned system was concluded upon the very
barricades of Berlin. The necessary concessions, but no more than was
unavoidable, were to be made, a ministry of the opposition leaders of
the United Diet was to be formed, and in return for its services in
saving the Crown, it was to have the support of all the props of the
old Government, the feudal aristocracy, the bureaucracy, the army.
These were the conditions upon which Messrs. Camphausen and Hansemann
undertook the formation of a cabinet.

Such was the dread evinced by the new ministers of the aroused masses,
that in their eyes every means was good if it only tended to
strengthen the shaken foundations of authority. They, poor deluded
wretches, thought every danger of a restoration of the old system had
passed away; and thus they made use of the whole of the old State
machinery for the purpose of restoring "order." Not a single
bureaucrat or military officer was dismissed; not the slightest change
was made in the old bureaucratic system of administration. These
precious constitutional and responsible ministers even restored to
their posts those functionaries whom the people, in the first heat of
revolutionary ardor, had driven away on account of their former acts
of bureaucratic overbearing. There was nothing altered in Prussia but
the persons of the ministers; even the ministerial staffs in the
different departments were not touched upon, and all the
constitutional place-hunters, who had formed the chorus of the
newly-elevated rulers, and who had expected their share of power and
office, were told to wait until restored stability allowed changes to
be operated in the bureaucratic personnel which now were not without
danger.

The King, chap-fallen in the highest degree after the insurrection of
the 18th of March, very soon found out that he was quite as necessary
to these "liberal" ministers as they were to him. The throne had been
spared by the insurrection; the throne was the last existing obstacle
to "anarchy"; the liberal middle class and its leaders, now in the
ministry, had therefore every interest to keep on excellent terms with
the crown. The King, and the reactionary camerilla that surrounded
him, were not slow in discovering this, and profited by the
circumstance in order to fetter the march of the ministry even in
those petty reforms that were from time to time intended.

The first care of the ministry was to give a sort of legal appearance
to the recent violent changes. The United Diet was convoked in spite
of all popular opposition, in order to vote as the legal and
constitutional organ of the people a new electoral law for the
election of an Assembly, which was to agree with the crown upon a new
constitution. The elections were to be indirect, the mass of voters
electing a number of electors, who then were to choose the
representative. In spite of all opposition this system of double
elections passed. The United Diet was then asked for a loan of
twenty-five millions of dollars, opposed by the popular party, but
equally agreed to.

These acts of the ministry gave a most rapid development to the
popular, or as it now called itself, the Democratic party. This party,
headed by the petty trading and shopkeeping class, and uniting under
its banner, in the beginning of the revolution, the large majority of
the working people, demanded direct and universal suffrage, the same
as established in France, a single legislative assembly, and full and
open recognition of the revolution of the 18th of March, as the base
of the new governmental system. The more moderate faction would be
satisfied with a thus "democratized" monarchy, the more advanced
demanded the ultimate establishment of the republic. Both factions
agreed in recognizing the German National Assembly at Frankfort as
the supreme authority of the country, while the Constitutionalists and
Reactionists affected a great horror of the sovereignty of this body,
which they professed to consider as utterly revolutionary.

The independent movement of the working classes had, by the
revolution, been broken up for a time. The immediate wants and
circumstances of the movement were such as not to allow any of the
specific demands of the Proletarian party to be put in the foreground.
In fact, as long as the ground was not cleared for the independent
action of the working men, as long as direct and universal suffrage
was not yet established, as long as the thirty-six larger and smaller
states continued to cut up Germany into numberless morsels, what
else could the Proletarian party do but watch the--for them
all-important--movement of Paris, and struggle in common with the
petty shopkeepers for the attainment of those rights, which would
allow them to fight afterwards their own battle?

There were only three points, then, by which the Proletarian party in
its political action essentially distinguished itself from the petty
trading class, or properly so-called Democratic party; firstly, in
judging differently the French movement, with regard to which the
democrats attacked, and the Proletarian revolutionists defended, the
extreme party in Paris; secondly, in proclaiming the necessity of
establishing a German Republic, one and indivisible, while the very
extremest ultras among the democrats only dared to sigh for a
Federative Republic; and thirdly, in showing upon every occasion, that
revolutionary boldness and readiness for action, in which any party
headed by, and composed principally of petty tradesmen, will always be
deficient.

The Proletarian, or really Revolutionary party, succeeded only very
gradually in withdrawing the mass of the working people from the
influence of the Democrats, whose tail they formed in the beginning of
the Revolution. But in due time the indecision, weakness, and
cowardice of the Democratic leaders did the rest, and it may now be
said to be one of the principal results of the last years'
convulsions, that wherever the working-class is concentrated in
anything like considerable masses, they are entirely freed from that
Democratic influence which led them into an endless series of blunders
and misfortunes during 1848 and 1849. But we had better not
anticipate; the events of these two years will give us plenty of
opportunities to show the Democratic gentlemen at work.

The peasantry in Prussia, the same as in Austria, but with less
energy, feudalism pressing, upon the whole, not quite so hardly upon
them here, had profited by the revolution to free themselves at once
from all feudal shackles. But here, from the reasons stated before,
the middle classes at once turned against them, their oldest, their
most indispensable allies; the democrats, equally frightened with the
bourgeoisie, by what was called attacks upon private property, failed
equally to support them; and thus, after three months' emancipation,
after bloody struggles and military executions, particularly in
Silesia, feudalism was restored by the hands of the, until yesterday,
anti-feudal bourgeoisie. There is not a more damning fact to be
brought against them than this. Similar treason against its best
allies, against itself, never was committed by any party in history,
and whatever humiliation and chastisement may be in store for this
middle class party, it has deserved by this one act every morsel of
it.

OCTOBER, 1851.



VII.

THE FRANKFORT NATIONAL ASSEMBLY.


                                          FEBRUARY 27, 1852.

It will perhaps be in the recollection of our readers that in the six
preceding papers we followed up the revolutionary movement of Germany
to the two great popular victories of March 13th in Vienna, and March
18th in Berlin. We saw, both in Austria and Prussia, the establishment
of constitutional governments and the proclamation, as leading rules
for all future policy, of Liberal, or middle class principles; and the
only difference observable between the two great centers of action was
this, that in Prussia the liberal bourgeoisie, in the persons of two
wealthy merchants, Messrs. Camphausen and Hansemann, directly seized
upon the reins of power; while in Austria, where the bourgeoisie was,
politically, far less educated, the Liberal bureaucracy walked into
office, and professed to hold power in trust for them. We have further
seen, how the parties and classes of society, that were heretofore all
united in opposition to the old government, got divided among
themselves after the victory, or even during the struggle; and how
that same Liberal bourgeoisie that alone profited from the victory
turned round immediately upon its allies of yesterday, assumed a
hostile attitude against every class or party of a more advanced
character, and concluded an alliance with the conquered feudal and
bureaucratic interests. It was in fact, evident, even from the
beginning of the revolutionary drama, that the Liberal bourgeoisie
could not hold its ground against the vanquished, but not destroyed,
feudal and bureaucratic parties except by relying upon the assistance
of the popular and more advanced parties; and that it equally
required, against the torrent of these more advanced masses, the
assistance of the feudal nobility and of the bureaucracy. Thus, it was
clear enough that the bourgeoisie in Austria and Prussia did not
possess sufficient strength to maintain their power, and to adapt the
institutions of the country to their own wants and ideas. The Liberal
bourgeois ministry was only a halting-place from which, according to
the turn circumstances might take, the country would either have to go
on to the more advanced stage of Unitarian republicanism, or to
relapse into the old clerico-feudal and bureaucratic _régime_. At all
events, the real, decisive struggle was yet to come; the events of
March had only engaged the combat.

Austria and Prussia being the two ruling states of Germany, every
decisive revolutionary victory in Vienna or Berlin would have been
decisive for all Germany. And as far as they went, the events of
March, 1848, in these two cities, decided the turn of German affairs.
It would, then, be superfluous to recur to the movements that occurred
in the minor States; and we might, indeed, confine ourselves to the
consideration of Austrian and Prussian affairs exclusively, if the
existence of these minor states had not given rise to a body which
was, by its very existence, a most striking proof of the abnormal
situation of Germany and of the incompleteness of the late revolution;
a body so abnormal, so ludicrous by its very position, and yet so full
of its own importance, that history will, most likely, never afford a
pendant to it. This body was the so-called _German National Assembly_
at Frankfort-on-Main.

After the popular victories of Vienna and Berlin, it was a matter of
course that there should be a Representative Assembly for all Germany.
This body was consequently elected, and met at Frankfort, by the side
of the old Federative Diet. The German National Assembly was expected,
by the people, to settle every matter in dispute, and to act as the
highest legislative authority for the whole of the German
Confederation. But, at the same time, the Diet which had convoked it
had in no way fixed its attributions. No one knew whether its decrees
were to have force of law, or whether they were to be subject to the
sanction of the Diet, or of the individual Governments. In this
perplexity, if the Assembly had been possessed of the least energy, it
would have immediately dissolved and sent home the Diet--than which
no corporate body was more unpopular in Germany--and replaced it by a
Federal Government, chosen from among its own members. It would have
declared itself the only legal expression of the sovereign will of the
German people, and thus have attached legal validity to every one of
its decrees. It would, above all, have secured to itself an organized
and armed force in the country sufficient to put down any opposition
on the parts of the Governments. And all this was easy, very easy, at
that early period of the Revolution. But that would have been
expecting a great deal too much from an Assembly composed in its
majority of Liberal attorneys and _doctrinaire_ professors, an
Assembly which, while it pretended to embody the very essence of
German intellect and science, was in reality nothing but a stage where
old and worn-out political characters exhibited their involuntary
ludicrousness and their impotence of thought, as well as action,
before the eyes of all Germany. THIS Assembly of old women was, from
the first day of its existence, more frightened of the least popular
movement than of all the reactionary plots of all the German
Governments put together. It deliberated under the eyes of the Diet,
nay, it almost craved the Diet's sanction to its decrees, for its
first resolutions had to be promulgated by that odious body. Instead
of asserting its own sovereignty, it studiously avoided the discussion
of any such dangerous question. Instead of surrounding itself by a
popular force, it passed to the order of the day over all the violent
encroachments of the Governments; Mayence, under its very eyes, was
placed in a state of siege, and the people there disarmed, and the
National Assembly did not stir. Later on it elected Archduke John of
Austria Regent of Germany, and declared that all its resolutions were
to have the force of law; but then Archduke John was only instituted
in his new dignity after the consent of all the Governments had been
obtained, and he was instituted not by the Assembly, but by the Diet;
and as to the legal force of the decrees of the Assembly, that point
was never recognized by the larger Governments, nor enforced by the
Assembly itself; it therefore remained in suspense. Thus we had the
strange spectacle of an Assembly pretending to be the only legal
representative of a great and sovereign nation, and yet never
possessing either the will or the force to make its claims recognized.
The debates of this body, without any practical result, were not even
of any theoretical value, reproducing, as they did, nothing but the
most hackneyed commonplace themes of superannuated philosophical and
juridical schools; every sentence that was said, or rather stammered
forth, in that Assembly having been printed a thousand times over, and
a thousand times better, long before.

Thus the pretended new central authority of Germany left everything as
it had found it. So far from realizing the long-demanded unity of
Germany, it did not dispossess the most insignificant of the princes
who ruled her; it did not draw closer the bonds of union between her
separated provinces; it never moved a single step to break down the
customhouse barriers that separated Hanover from Prussia, and Prussia
from Austria; it did not even make the slightest attempt to remove the
obnoxious dues that everywhere obstruct river navigation in Prussia.
But the less this Assembly did the more it blustered. It created a
German fleet--upon paper; it annexed Poland and Schleswig; it allowed
German-Austria to carry on war against Italy, and yet prohibited the
Italians from following up the Austrians into their safe retreat in
Germany; it gave three cheers and one cheer more for the French
republic, and it received Hungarian embassies, which certainly went
home with far more confused ideas about Germany than they had come
with.

This Assembly had been, in the beginning of the Revolution, the
bugbear of all German Governments. They had counted upon a very
dictatorial and revolutionary action on its part--on account of the
very want of definiteness in which it had been found necessary to
leave its competency. These Governments, therefore, got up a most
comprehensive system of intrigues in order to weaken the influence of
this dreaded body; but they proved to have more luck than wits, for
this Assembly did the work of the Governments better than they
themselves could have done. The chief feature among these intrigues
was the convocation of local Legislative Assemblies, and in
consequence, not only the lesser States convoked their legislatures,
but Prussia and Austria also called constituent assemblies. In these,
as in the Frankfort House of Representatives, the Liberal middle
class, or its allies, liberal lawyers, and bureaucrats had the
majority, and the turn affairs took in each of them was nearly the
same. The only difference is this, that the German National Assembly
was the parliament of an imaginary country, as it had declined the
task of forming what nevertheless was its own first condition of
existence, viz. a United Germany; that it discussed the imaginary and
never-to-be-carried-out measures of an imaginary government of its own
creation, and that it passed imaginary resolutions for which nobody
cared; while in Austria and Prussia the constituent bodies were at
least real parliaments, upsetting and creating real ministries, and
forcing, for a time at least, their resolutions upon the princes with
whom they had to contend. They, too, were cowardly, and lacked
enlarged views of revolutionary resolutions; they, too, betrayed the
people, and restored power to the hands of feudal, bureaucratic, and
military despotism. But then they were at least obliged to discuss
practical questions of immediate interest, and to live upon earth with
other people, while the Frankfort humbugs were never happier than when
they could roam in "the airy realms of dream," _im Luftreich des
Traums_. Thus the proceedings of the Berlin and Vienna Constituents
form an important part of German revolutionary history, while the
lucubrations of the Frankfort collective tomfoolery merely interest
the collector of literary and antiquarian curiosities.

The people of Germany, deeply feeling the necessity of doing away with
the obnoxious territorial division that scattered and annihilated the
collective force of the nation, for some time expected to find, in the
Frankfort National Assembly at least, the beginning of a new era. But
the childish conduct of that set of wiseacres soon disenchanted the
national enthusiasm. The disgraceful proceedings occasioned by the
armistice of Malmoe (September, 1848,) made the popular indignation
burst out against a body which, it had been hoped, would give the
nation a fair field for action, and which, instead, carried away by
unequalled cowardice, only restored to their former solidity the
foundations upon which the present counter-revolutionary system is
built.

LONDON, January, 1852.



VIII.

POLES, TSCHECHS, AND GERMANS.


                                          MARCH 5th, 1852.

From what has been stated in the foregoing articles, it is already
evident that unless a fresh revolution was to follow that of March,
1848, things would inevitably return, in Germany, to what they were
before this event. But such is the complicated nature of the
historical theme upon which we are trying to throw some light, that
subsequent events cannot be clearly understood without taking into
account what may be called the foreign relations of the German
Revolution. And these foreign relations were of the same intricate
nature as the home affairs.

The whole of the eastern half of Germany, as far as the Elbe, Saale,
and Bohemian Forest, has, it is well known, been reconquered during
the last thousand years, from invaders of Slavonic origin. The greater
part of these territories have been Germanized, to the perfect
extinction of all Slavonic nationality and language, for several
centuries past; and if we except a few totally isolated remnants,
amounting in the aggregate to less than a hundred thousand souls
(Kassubians in Pomerania, Wends or Sorbians in Lusatia)[7], their
inhabitants are, to all intents and purposes, Germans. But the case is
different along the whole of the frontier of ancient Poland, and in
the countries of the Tschechian tongue, in Bohemia and Moravia. Here
the two nationalities are mixed up in every district, the towns being
generally more or less German, while the Slavonic element prevails in
the rural villages, where, however, it is also gradually disintegrated
and forced back by the steady advance of German influence.

The reason of this state of things is this: ever since the time of
Charlemagne, the Germans have directed their most constant and
persevering efforts to the conquest, colonization, or, at least,
civilization of the east of Europe. The conquest of the feudal
nobility between the Elbe and the Oder, and the feudal colonies of the
military orders of knights in Prussia and Livonia, only laid the
ground for a far more extensive and effective system of Germanization
by the trading and manufacturing middle classes, which in Germany, as
in the rest of Western Europe, rose into social and political
importance since the fifteenth century. The Slavonians, and
particularly the Western Slavonians (Poles and Tschechs), are
essentially an agricultural race; trade and manufactures never were in
great favor with them. The consequence was that, with the increase of
population and the origin of cities in these regions, the production
of all articles of manufacture fell into the hands of German
immigrants, and the exchange of these commodities against agricultural
produce became the exclusive monopoly of the Jews, who, if they belong
to any nationality, are in these countries certainly rather Germans
than Slavonians. This has been, though in a less degree, the case in
all the east of Europe. The handicraftsman, the small shopkeeper, the
petty manufacturer, is a German up to this day in Petersburg, Pesth,
Jassy, and even Constantinople; while the money-lender, the publican,
the hawker--a very important man in these thinly populated
countries--is very generally a Jew, whose native tongue is a horribly
corrupted German. The importance of the German element in the Slavonic
frontier localities, thus rising with the growth of towns, trade and
manufactures, was still increased when it was found necessary to
import almost every element of mental culture from Germany; after the
German merchant and handicraftsman, the German clergyman, the German
school-master, the German _savant_ came to establish himself upon
Slavonic soil. And lastly, the iron thread of conquering armies, or
the cautious, well-premeditated grasp of diplomacy, not only followed,
but many times went ahead of the slow but sure advance of
denationalization by social development. Thus, great parts of Western
Prussia and Posen have been Germanized since the first partition of
Poland, by sales and grants of public domains to German colonists, by
encouragements given to German capitalists for the establishment of
manufactories, etc., in those neighborhoods, and very often, too, by
excessively despotic measures against the Polish inhabitants of the
country.

In this manner the last seventy years had entirely changed the line of
demarcation between the German and Polish nationalities. The
Revolution of 1848 calling forth at once the claim of all oppressed
nations to an independent existence, and to the right of settling
their own affairs for themselves, it was quite natural that the Poles
should at once demand the restoration of their country within the
frontiers of the old Polish Republic before 1772. It is true, this
frontier, even at that time, had become obsolete, if taken as the
delimitation of German and Polish nationality; it had become more so
every year since by the progress of Germanization; but then, the
Germans had proclaimed such an enthusiasm for the restoration of
Poland, that they must expect to be asked, as a first proof of the
reality of their sympathies to give up _their_ share of the plunder.
On the other hand, should whole tracts of land, inhabited chiefly by
Germans, should large towns, entirely German, be given up to a people
that as yet had never given any proofs of its capability of
progressing beyond a state of feudalism based upon agricultural
serfdom? The question was intricate enough. The only possible solution
was in a war with Russia. The question of delimitation between the
different revolutionized nations would have been made a secondary one
to that of first establishing a safe frontier against the common
enemy. The Poles, by receiving extended territories in the east, would
have become more tractable and reasonable in the west; and Riga and
Milan would have been deemed, after all, quite as important to them as
Danzig and Elbing. Thus the advanced party in Germany, deeming a war
with Russia necessary to keep up the Continental movement, and
considering that the national re-establishment even of a part of
Poland would inevitably lead to such a war, supported the Poles; while
the reigning middle class partly clearly foresaw its downfall from any
national war against Russia, which would have called more active and
energetic men to the helm, and, therefore, with a feigned enthusiasm
for the extension of German nationality, they declared Prussian
Poland, the chief seat of Polish revolutionary agitation, to be part
and parcel of the German Empire that was to be. The promises given to
the Poles in the first days of excitement were shamefully broken.
Polish armaments got up with the sanction of the Government were
dispersed and massacred by Prussian artillery; and as soon as the
month of April, 1848, within six weeks of the Berlin Revolution, the
Polish movement was crushed, and the old national hostility revived
between Poles and Germans. This immense and incalculable service to
the Russian autocrat was performed by the Liberal merchant-ministers,
Camphausen and Hansemann. It must be added that this Polish campaign
was the first means of reorganizing and reassuring that same Prussian
army, which afterward turned out the Liberal party, and crushed the
movement which Messrs. Camphausen and Hansemann had taken such pains
to bring about. "Whereby they sinned, thereby are they punished." Such
has been the fate of all the upstarts of 1848 and 1849, from Ledru
Rolin to Changarnier, and from Camphausen down to Haynau.

The question of nationality gave rise to another struggle in Bohemia.
This country, inhabited by two millions of Germans, and three millions
of Slavonians of the Tschechian tongue, had great historical
recollections, almost all connected with the former supremacy of the
Tschechs. But then the force of this branch of the Slavonic family had
been broken ever since the wars of the Hussites in the fifteenth
century. The province speaking the Tschechian tongue was divided, one
part forming the kingdom of Bohemia, another the principality of
Moravia, a third the Carpathian hill-country of the Slovaks, being
part of Hungary. The Moravians and Slovaks had long since lost every
vestige of national feeling and vitality, although mostly preserving
their language. Bohemia was surrounded by thoroughly German countries
on three sides out of four. The German element had made great progress
on her own territory; even in the capital, in Prague, the two
nationalities were pretty equally matched; and everywhere capital,
trade, industry, and mental culture were in the hands of the Germans.
The chief champion of the Tschechian nationality, Professor Palacky,
is himself nothing but a learned German run mad, who even now cannot
speak the Tschechian language correctly and without foreign accent.
But as it often happens, dying Tschechian nationality, dying according
to every fact known in history for the last four hundred years, made
in 1848 a last effort to regain its former vitality--an effort whose
failure, independently of all revolutionary considerations, was to
prove that Bohemia could only exist, henceforth, as a portion of
Germany, although part of her inhabitants might yet, for some
centuries, continue to speak a non-German language.

LONDON, February, 1852.

FOOTNOTES:

[7] Lusiana, an ancient territory of Germany, north of Bohemia, to
which the whole of it originally belonged. Later it belonged to
Saxony, and still later, in 1815, was divided between Saxony (the
northern part) and Prussia (the southern).



IX.

PANSLAVISM--THE SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN WAR.


                                          MARCH 15th, 1852.

Bohemia and Croatia (another disjected member of the Slavonic family,
acted upon by the Hungarian, as Bohemia by the German) were the homes
of what is called on the European continent "Panslavism." Neither
Bohemia nor Croatia was strong enough to exist as a nation by herself.
Their respective nationalities, gradually undermined by the action of
historical causes that inevitably absorbs into a more energetic stock,
could only hope to be restored to anything like independence by an
alliance with other Slavonic nations. There were twenty-two millions
of Poles, forty-five millions of Russians, eight millions of Serbians
and Bulgarians; why not form a mighty confederation of the whole
eighty millions of Slavonians, and drive back or exterminate the
intruder upon the holy Slavonic soil, the Turk, the Hungarian, and
above all the hated, but indispensable _Niemetz_, the German? Thus in
the studies of a few Slavonian _dilettanti_ of historical science was
this ludicrous, this anti-historical movement got up, a movement which
intended nothing less than to subjugate the civilized West under the
barbarian East, the town under the country, trade, manufactures,
intelligence, under the primitive agriculture of Slavonian serfs. But
behind this ludicrous theory stood the terrible reality of the
_Russian Empire_; that empire which by every movement proclaims the
pretension of considering all Europe as the domain of the Slavonic
race, and especially of the only energetic part of this race, of the
Russians; that empire which, with two capitals such as St. Petersburg
and Moscow, has not yet found its centre of gravity, as long as the
"City of the Czar" (Constantinople, called in Russian Tzarigrad, the
Czar's city), considered by every Russian peasant as the true
metropolis of his religion and his nation, is not actually the
residence of its Emperor; that empire which, for the last one hundred
and fifty years, has never lost, but always gained territory by every
war it has commenced. And well known in Central Europe are the
intrigues by which Russian policy supported the new-fangled system of
Panslavism, a system than which none better could be invented to suit
its purposes. Thus, the Bohemian and Croatian Panslavists, some
intentionally, some without knowing it, worked in the direct interest
of Russia; they betrayed the revolutionary cause for the shadow of a
nationality which, in the best of cases, would have shared the fate of
the Polish nationality under Russian sway. It must, however, be said
for the honor of the Poles, that they never got to be seriously
entangled in these Panslavist traps, and if a few of the aristocracy
turned furious Panslavists, they knew that by Russian subjugation they
had less to lose than by a revolt of their own peasant serfs.

The Bohemians and Croatians called, then, a general Slavonic Congress
at Prague, for the preparation of the universal Slavonian Alliance.
This Congress would have proved a decided failure even without the
interference of the Austrian military. The several Slavonic languages
differ quite as much as the English, the German, and the Swedish, and
when the proceedings opened, there was no common Slavonic tongue by
which the speakers could make themselves understood. French was tried,
but was equally unintelligible to the majority, and the poor Slavonic
enthusiasts, whose only common feeling was a common hatred against the
Germans, were at last obliged to express themselves in the hated
German language, as the only one that was generally understood! But
just then another Slavonic Congress was assembling in Prague, in the
shape of Galician lancers, Croatian and Slovak grenadiers, and
Bohemian gunners and cuirassiers; and this real, armed Slavonic
Congress, under the command of Windischgrätz, in less than twenty-four
hours drove the founders of an imaginary Slavonian supremacy out of
the town, and dispersed them to the winds.

The Bohemian, Moravian, Dalmatian, and part of the Polish deputies
(the aristocracy) to the Austrian Constituent Diet, made in that
Assembly a systematic war upon the German element. The Germans, and
part of the Poles (the impoverished nobility), were in this Assembly
the chief supporters of revolutionary progress; the mass of the
Slavonic deputies, in opposing them, were not satisfied with thus
showing clearly the reactionary tendencies of their entire movement,
but they were degraded enough to tamper and conspire with the very
same Austrian Government which had dispersed their meeting at Prague.
They, too, were paid for this infamous conduct; after supporting the
Government during the insurrection of October, 1848, an event which
finally secured to them a majority in the Diet, this now almost
exclusively Slavonic Diet was dispersed by Austrian soldiers, the same
as the Prague Congress, and the Panslavists threatened with
imprisonment if they should stir again. And they have only obtained
this, that Slavonic nationality is now being everywhere undermined by
Austrian centralization, a result for which they may thank their own
fanaticism and blindness.

If the frontiers of Hungary and Germany had admitted of any doubt,
there would certainly have been another quarrel there. But,
fortunately, there was no pretext, and the interests of both nations
being intimately related, they struggled against the same enemies,
_viz._, the Austrian Government and the Panslavistic fanaticism. The
good understanding was not for a moment disturbed. But the Italian
Revolution entangled at least a part of Germany in an internecine
war, and it must be stated here, as a proof how far the Metternichian
system had succeeded in keeping back the development of the public
mind, that during the first six months of 1848, the same men that had
in Vienna mounted the barricades, went, full of enthusiasm, to join
the army that fought against the Italian patriots. This deplorable
confusion of ideas did not, however, last long.

Lastly, there was the war with Denmark about Schleswig and Holstein.
These countries, unquestionably German by nationality, language and
predilection, are also from military, naval and commercial grounds
necessary to Germany. Their inhabitants have, for the last three
years, struggled hard against Danish intrusion. The right of treaties,
besides, was for them. The Revolution of March brought them into open
collision with the Danes, and Germany supported them. But while in
Poland, in Italy, in Bohemia, and later on, in Hungary, military
operations were pushed with the utmost vigor, in this the only
popular, the only, at least partially, revolutionary war, a system of
resultless marches and counter-marches was adopted, and an
interference of foreign diplomacy was submitted to, which led, after
many an heroic engagement, to a most miserable end. The German
Government betrayed, during the war, the Schleswig-Holstein
revolutionary army on every occasion, and allowed it purposely to be
cut up, when dispersed or divided, by the Danes. The German corps of
volunteers were treated the same.

But while thus the German name earned nothing but hatred on every
side, the German Constitutional and Liberal Governments rubbed their
hands for joy. They had succeeded in crushing the Polish and the
Bohemian movements. They had everywhere revived the old national
animosities, which heretofore had prevented any common understanding
and action between the German, the Pole, the Italian. They had
accustomed the people to scenes of civil war and repression by the
military. The Prussian army had regained its confidence in Poland, the
Austrian army in Prague; and while the superabundant patriotism ("_die
Patriotische Ueberkraft_," as Heine has it) of revolutionary but
shortsighted youth was led in Schleswig and Lombardy, to be crushed by
the grape-shot of the enemy, the regular army, the real instrument of
action, both of Prussia and Austria, was placed in a position to
regain public favor by victories over the foreigner. But we repeat:
these armies, strengthened by the Liberals as a means of action
against the more advanced party, no sooner had recovered their
self-confidence and their discipline in some degree, than they turned
themselves against the Liberals, and restored to power the men of the
old system. When Radetzky, in his camp beyond the Adige, received the
first orders from the "responsible ministers" at Vienna, he exclaimed:
"Who are these ministers? They are not the Government of Austria!
Austria is now nowhere but in my camp; I and my army, we are Austria;
and when we shall have beaten the Italians we shall reconquer the
Empire for the Emperor!" And old Radetzky was right--but the imbecile
"responsible" ministers at Vienna heeded him not.

LONDON, February, 1852.



X.

THE PARIS RISING--THE FRANKFORT ASSEMBLY.


                                          MARCH 18th, 1852.

As early as the beginning of April, 1848, the revolutionary torrent
had found itself stemmed all over the Continent of Europe by the
league which those classes of society that had profited by the first
victory immediately formed with the vanquished. In France, the petty
trading class and the Republican faction of the bourgeoisie had
combined with the Monarchist bourgeoisie against the proletarians; in
Germany and Italy, the victorious bourgeoisie had eagerly courted the
support of the feudal nobility, the official bureaucracy, and the
army, against the mass of the people and the petty traders. Very soon
the united Conservative and Counter-Revolutionary parties again
regained the ascendant. In England, an untimely and ill-prepared
popular demonstration (April 10th) turned out a complete and decisive
defeat of the popular party. In France, two similar movements (16th
April and 15th May) were equally defeated. In Italy, King Bomba
regained his authority by a single stroke on the 15th May. In Germany,
the different new bourgeois Governments and their respective
constituent Assemblies consolidated themselves, and if the eventful
15th of May gave rise, in Vienna, to a popular victory, this was an
event of merely secondary importance, and may be considered the last
successful flash of popular energy. In Hungary the movement appeared
to turn into the quiet channel of perfect legality, and the Polish
movement, as we have seen in our last, was stifled in the bud by
Prussian bayonets. But as yet nothing was decided as to the eventual
turn which things would take, and every inch of ground lost by the
Revolutionary parties in the different countries only tended to close
their ranks more and more for the decisive action.

The decisive action drew near. It could be fought in France only; for
France, as long as England took no part in the revolutionary strife,
or as Germany remained divided, was, by its national independence,
civilization, and centralization, the only country to impart the
impulse of a mighty convulsion to the surrounding countries.
Accordingly, when, on the 23rd of June, 1848, the bloody struggle
began in Paris, when every succeeding telegraph or mail more clearly
exposed the fact to the eyes of Europe, that this struggle was carried
on between the mass of the working people on the one hand, and all the
other classes of the Parisian population, supported by the army, on
the other; when the fighting went on for several days with an
exasperation unequalled in the history of modern civil warfare, but
without any apparent advantage for either side--then it became evident
to every one that this was the great decisive battle which would, if
the insurrection were victorious, deluge the whole continent with
renewed revolutions, or, if it was suppressed, bring about an at least
momentary restoration of counter-revolutionary rule.

The proletarians of Paris were defeated, decimated, crushed with such
an effect that even now they have not yet recovered from the blow. And
immediately, all over Europe, the new and old Conservatives and
Counter-Revolutionists raised their heads with an effrontery that
showed how well they understood the importance of the event. The Press
was everywhere attacked, the rights of meeting and association were
interfered with, every little event in every small provincial town was
taken profit of to disarm the people to declare a state of siege, to
drill the troops in the new manoeuvres and artifices that Cavaignac
had taught them. Besides, for the first time since February, the
invincibility of a popular insurrection in a large town had been
proved to be a delusion; the honor of the armies had been restored;
the troops hitherto always defeated in street battles of importance
regained confidence in their efficiency even in this kind of struggle.

From this defeat of the _ouvriers_ of Paris may be dated the first
positive steps and definite plans of the old feudal bureaucratic party
in Germany, to get rid even of their momentary allies, the middle
classes, and to restore Germany to the state she was in before the
events of March. The army again was the decisive power in the State,
and the army belonged not to the middle classes but to themselves.
Even in Prussia, where before 1848 a considerable leaning of part of
the lower grades of officers towards a Constitutional Government had
been observed, the disorder introduced into the army by the Revolution
had brought back those reasoning young men to their allegiance; as
soon as the private soldier took a few liberties with regard to the
officers, the necessity of discipline and passive obedience became at
once strikingly evident to them. The vanquished nobles and bureaucrats
now began to see their way before them; the army, more united than
ever, flushed with victory in minor insurrections and in foreign
warfare, jealous of the great success the French soldiers had just
attained--this army had only to be kept in constant petty conflicts
with the people, and the decisive moment once at hand, it could with
one great blow crush the Revolutionists, and set aside the
presumptions of the middle class Parliamentarians. And the proper
moment for such a decisive blow arrived soon enough.

We pass over the sometimes curious, but mostly tedious, parliamentary
proceedings and local struggles that occupied, in Germany, the
different parties during the summer. Suffice it to say that the
supporters of the middle class interest in spite of numerous
parliamentary triumphs, not one of which led to any practical result,
very generally felt that their position between the extreme parties
became daily more untenable, and that, therefore, they were obliged
now to seek the alliance of the reactionists, and the next day to
court the favor of the more popular factions. This constant
vacillation gave the finishing stroke to their character in public
opinion, and according to the turn events were taking, the contempt
into which they had sunk, profited for the movement principally to the
bureaucrats and feudalists.

By the beginning of autumn the relative position of the different
parties had become exasperated and critical enough to make a decisive
battle inevitable. The first engagements in this war between the
democratic and revolutionary masses and the army took place at
Frankfort. Though a mere secondary engagement, it was the first
advantage of any note the troops acquired over the insurrection, and
had a great moral effect. The fancy Government established by the
Frankfort National Assembly had been allowed by Prussia, for very
obvious reasons, to conclude an armistice with Denmark, which not only
surrendered to Danish vengeance the Germans of Schleswig, but which
also entirely disclaimed the more or less revolutionary principles
which were generally supposed in the Danish war. This armistice was,
by a majority of two or three, rejected in the Frankfort Assembly. A
sham ministerial crisis followed this vote, but three days later the
Assembly reconsidered their vote, and were actually induced to cancel
it and acknowledge the armistice. This disgraceful proceeding roused
the indignation of the people. Barricades were erected, but already
sufficient troops had been drawn to Frankfort, and after six hours'
fighting, the insurrection was suppressed. Similar, but less
important, movements connected with this event took place in other
parts of Germany (Baden, Cologne), but were equally defeated.

This preliminary engagement gave to the Counter-Revolutionary party
the one great advantage, that now the only Government which had
entirely--at least in semblance--originated with popular election, the
Imperial Government of Frankfort, as well as the National Assembly,
was ruined in the eyes of the people. This Government and this
Assembly had been obliged to appeal to the bayonets of the troops
against the manifestation of the popular will. They were compromised,
and what little regard they might have been hitherto enabled to claim,
this repudiation of their origin, the dependency upon the anti-popular
Governments and their troops, made both the Lieutenant of the Empire,
his ministers and his deputies, henceforth to be complete nullities.
We shall soon see how first Austria, then Prussia, and later on the
smaller States too, treated with contempt every order, every request,
every deputation they received from this body of impotent dreamers.

We now come to the great counter-stroke in Germany, of the French
battle of June, to that event which was as decisive for Germany as the
proletarian struggle of Paris had been for France; we mean the
revolution and subsequent storming of Vienna, October, 1848. But the
importance of this battle is such, and the explanation of the
different circumstances that more immediately contributed to its issue
will take up such a portion of _The Tribune's_ columns, as to
necessitate its being treated in a separate letter.

LONDON, February, 1852.



XI.

THE VIENNA INSURRECTION.


                                          MARCH 19th, 1852.

We now come to the decisive event which formed the
counter-revolutionary part in Germany to the Parisian insurrection of
June, and which, by a single blow, turned the scale in favor of the
Counter-Revolutionary party,--the insurrection of October, 1848, in
Vienna.

We have seen what the position of the different classes was, in
Vienna, after the victory of 12th March. We have also seen how the
movement of German-Austria was entangled with and impeded by the
events in the non-German provinces of Austria. It only remains for us,
then, briefly to survey the causes which led to this last and most
formidable rising of German-Austria.

The high aristocracy and the stock-jobbing bourgeoisie, which had
formed the principal non-official supports of the Metternichian
Government, were enabled, even after the events of March, to maintain
a predominating influence with the Government, not only by the Court,
the army and the bureaucracy, but still more by the horror of
"anarchy," which rapidly spread among the middle classes. They very
soon ventured a few feelers in the shape of a Press Law, a nondescript
Aristocratic Constitution, and an Electoral Law based upon the old
division of "estates." The so-called Constitutional ministry,
consisting of half Liberal, timid, incapable bureaucrats, on the 14th
of May, even ventured a direct attack upon the revolutionary
organizations of the masses by dissolving the Central Committee of
Delegates of the National Guard and Academic Legion; a body formed for
the express purpose of controlling the Government, and calling out
against it, in case of need, the popular forces. But this act only
provoked the insurrection of the 15th May, by which the Government was
forced to acknowledge the Committee, to repeal the Constitution and
the Electoral Law and to grant the power of framing a new Fundamental
Law to a Constitutional Diet, elected by universal suffrage. All this
was confirmed on the following day by an Imperial proclamation. But
the reactionary party, which also had its representatives in the
ministry, soon got their "Liberal" colleagues to undertake a new
attack upon the popular conquests. The Academic Legion, the stronghold
of the movement party, the centre of continuous agitation, had, on
this very account, become obnoxious to the more moderate burghers of
Vienna; on the 26th a ministerial decree dissolved it. Perhaps this
blow might have succeeded, if it had been carried out by a part of the
National Guard only, but the Government, not trusting them either,
brought the military forward, and at once the National Guard turned
round, united with the Academic Legion, and thus frustrated the
ministerial project.

In the meantime, however, the Emperor and his Court had, on the 16th
of May, left Vienna, and fled to Innspruck. Here surrounded by the
bigoted Tyroleans, whose loyalty was roused again by the danger of an
invasion of their country by the Sardo-Lombardian army, supported by
the vicinity of Radetzky's troops, within shell-range of whom
Innspruck lay, here the Counter-Revolutionary party found an asylum,
from whence, uncontrolled, unobserved and safe, it might rally its
scattered forces, repair and spread again all over the country the
network of its plots. Communications were reopened with Radetzky, with
Jellachich, and with Windischgrätz, as well as with the reliable men
in the administrative hierarchy of the different provinces; intrigues
were set on foot with the Slavonic chiefs, and thus a real force at
the disposal of the Counter-Revolutionary camarilla was formed, while
the impotent ministers in Vienna were allowed to wear their short and
feeble popularity out in continual bickerings with the revolutionary
masses, and in the debates of the forthcoming Constituent Assembly.
Thus the policy of leaving the movement of the capital to itself for a
time; a policy which must have led to the omnipotence of the movement
party in a centralized and homogeneous country like France, here in
Austria, in a heterogeneous political conglomerate, was one of the
safest means of reorganizing the strength of the reactionists.

In Vienna the middle class, persuaded that after three successive
defeats, and in the face of a Constituent Assembly based upon
universal suffrage, the Court was no longer an opponent to be dreaded,
fell more and more into that weariness and apathy, and that eternal
outcry for order and tranquillity, which has everywhere seized this
class after violent commotions and consequent derangement of trade.
The manufactures of the Austrian capital are almost exclusively
limited to articles of luxury, for which, since the Revolution and the
flight of the Court, there had necessarily been little demand. The
shout for a return to a regular system of government, and for a return
of the Court, both of which were expected to bring about a revival of
commercial prosperity--this shout became now general among the middle
classes. The meeting of the Constituent Assembly in July was hailed
with delight as the end of the revolutionary era; so was the return of
the Court, which, after the victories of Radetzky in Italy, and after
the advent of the reactionary ministry of Doblhoff, considered itself
strong enough to brave the popular torrent, and which, at the same
time, was wanted in Vienna in order to complete its intrigues with the
Slavonic majority of the Diet. While the Constituent Diet discussed
the laws on the emancipation of the peasantry from feudal bondage and
forced labor for the nobility, the Court completed a master stroke. On
the 19th of August the Emperor was made to review the National Guard;
the Imperial family, the courtiers, the general officers, outbade each
other in flatteries to the armed burghers, who were already
intoxicated with pride at thus seeing themselves publicly acknowledged
as one of the important bodies of the State; and immediately
afterwards a decree, signed by Herr Schwarzer, the only popular
minister in the Cabinet, was published, withdrawing the Government
aid, given hitherto to the workmen out of employ. The trick succeeded;
the working classes got up a demonstration; the middle class National
Guards declared for the decree of their minister; they were launched
upon the "Anarchists," fell like tigers on the unarmed and unresisting
workpeople, and massacred a great number of them on the 23rd of
August. Thus the unity and strength of the revolutionary force was
broken; the class-struggle between bourgeois and proletarian had come
in Vienna, too, to a bloody outbreak, and the counter-revolutionary
camarilla saw the day approaching on which it might strike its grand
blow.

The Hungarian affairs very soon offered an opportunity to proclaim
openly the principles upon which it intended to act. On the 5th
of October an Imperial decree in the _Vienna Gazette_--a
decree countersigned by none of the responsible ministers for
Hungary--declared the Hungarian Diet dissolved, and named the Ban
Jellachich, of Croatia, civil and military governor of that
country--Jellachich, the leader of South Slavonian reaction, a man
who was actually at war with the lawful authorities of Hungary. At the
same time orders were given to the troops in Vienna to march out and
form part of the army which was to enforce Jellachich's authority.
This, however, was showing the cloven foot too openly; every man in
Vienna felt that war upon Hungary was war upon the principle of
constitutional government, which principle was in the very decree
trampled upon by the attempt of the emperor to make decrees with legal
force, without the countersign of a responsible minister. The people,
the Academic Legion, the National Guard of Vienna, on the 6th of
October rose in mass, and resisted the departure of the troops; some
grenadiers passed over to the people; a short struggle took place
between the popular forces and the troops; the minister of war,
Latour, was massacred by the people, and in the evening the latter
were victors. In the meantime, Ban Jellachich, beaten at
Stuhlweissenburg by Perczel, had taken refuge near Vienna on
German-Austrian territory; the Viennese troops that were to march to
his support now took up an ostensibly hostile and defensive position
against him; and the emperor and court had again fled to Olmütz, on
semi-Slavonic territory.

But at Olmütz the Court found itself in very different circumstances
from what it had been at Innspruck. It was now in a position to open
immediately the campaign against the Revolution. It was surrounded by
the Slavonian deputies of the Constituent, who flocked in masses to
Olmütz, and by the Slavonian enthusiasts from all parts of the
monarchy. The campaign, in their eyes, was to be a war of Slavonian
restoration and of extermination, against the two intruders, upon what
was considered Slavonian soil, against the German and the Magyar.
Windischgrätz, the conqueror of Prague, now commander of the army that
was concentrated around Vienna, became at once the hero of Slavonian
nationality. And his army concentrated rapidly from all sides. From
Bohemia, Moravia, Styria, Upper Austria, and Italy, marched regiment
after regiment on routes that converged at Vienna, to join the troops
of Jellachich and the ex-garrison of the capital. Above sixty thousand
men were thus united towards the end of October, and soon they
commenced hemming in the imperial city on all sides, until, on the
30th of October, they were far enough advanced to venture upon the
decisive attack.

In Vienna, in the meantime, confusion and helplessness was prevalent.
The middle class, as soon as the victory was gained, became again
possessed of their old distrust against the "anarchic" working
classes; the working men, mindful of the treatment they had received,
six weeks before, at the hands of the armed tradesmen, and of the
unsteady, wavering policy of the middle class at large, would not
trust to them the defence of the city, and demanded arms and military
organization for themselves. The Academic Legion, full of zeal for the
struggle against imperial despotism, were entirely incapable of
understanding the nature of the estrangement of the two classes, or
of otherwise comprehending the necessities of the situation. There was
confusion in the public mind, confusion in the ruling councils. The
remnant of the German Diet deputies, and a few Slavonians, acting the
part of spies for their friends at Olmütz, besides a few of the more
revolutionary Polish deputies, sat in permanency; but instead of
taking part resolutely, they lost all their time in idle debates upon
the possibility of resisting the imperial army without overstepping
the bounds of constitutional conventionalities. The committee of
safety, composed of deputies from almost all the popular bodies of
Vienna, although resolved to resist, was yet dominated by a majority
of burghers and petty tradesmen, who never allowed it to follow up any
determined, energetic line of action. The council of the Academic
Legion passed heroic resolutions, but was in no way able to take the
lead. The working classes, distrusted, disarmed, disorganized, hardly
emerging from the intellectual bondage of the old _régime_, hardly
awaking, not to a knowledge, but to a mere instinct of their social
position and proper political line of action, could only make
themselves heard by loud demonstrations, and could not be expected to
be up to the difficulties of the moment. But they were ready--as they
ever were in Germany during the revolution--to fight to the last, as
soon as they obtained arms.

That was the state of things in Vienna. Outside, the reorganized
Austrian army flushed with the victories of Radetzky in Italy; sixty
or seventy thousand men well armed, well organized, and if not well
commanded at least possessing commanders. Inside, confusion, class
division, disorganization; a national guard part of which was resolved
not to fight at all, part irresolute, and only the smallest part ready
to act; a proletarian mass, powerful by numbers but without leaders,
without any political education, subject to panic as well as to fits
of fury almost without cause, a prey to every false rumor spread
about, quite ready to fight, but unarmed, at least in the beginning,
and incompletely armed, and barely organized when at last they were
led to battle; a helpless Diet, discussing theoretical quibbles while
the roof over their heads was almost burning; a leading committee
without impulse or energy. Everything was changed from the days of
March and May, when, in the counter-revolutionary camp, all was
confusion, and when the only organized force was that created by the
revolution. There could hardly be a doubt about the issue of such a
struggle, and whatever doubt there might be, was settled by the events
of the 30th and 31st of October, and 1st November.

LONDON, March, 1852.



XII.

THE STORMING OF VIENNA--THE BETRAYAL OF VIENNA.


                                          APRIL 9th, 1852.

When at last the concentrated army of Windischgrätz commenced the
attack upon Vienna, the forces that could be brought forward in
defence were exceedingly insufficient for the purpose. Of the National
Guard only a portion was to be brought to the entrenchments. A
Proletarian Guard, it is true, had at last been hastily formed, but
owing to the lateness of the attempt to thus make available the most
numerous, most daring, and most energetic part of the population, it
was too little inured to the use of arms and to the very first
rudiments of discipline to offer a successful resistance. Thus the
Academic Legion, three to four thousand strong, well exercised and
disciplined to a certain degree, brave and enthusiastic, was,
militarily speaking, the only force which was in a state to do its
work successfully. But what were they, together with the few reliable
National Guards, and with the confused mass of the armed proletarians,
in opposition to the far more numerous regulars of Windischgrätz, not
counting even the brigand hordes of Jellachich, hordes that were, by
the very nature of their habits, very useful in a war from house to
house, from lane to lane? And what but a few old, outworn,
ill-mounted, and ill-served pieces of ordnance had the insurgents to
oppose to that numerous and well-appointed artillery, of which
Windischgrätz made such an unscrupulous use?

The nearer the danger drew, the more grew the confusion in Vienna. The
Diet, up to the last moment, could not collect sufficient energy to
call in for aid the Hungarian army of Perczel, encamped a few leagues
below the capital. The committee passed contradictory resolutions,
they themselves being, like the popular armed masses, floated up and
down with the alternately rising and receding tide of rumors and
counter-rumors. There was only one thing upon which all agreed--to
respect property; and this was done in a degree almost ludicrous for
such times. As to the final arrangement of a plan of defence, very
little was done. Bem, the only man present who could have saved
Vienna, if any could then in Vienna, an almost unknown foreigner, a
Slavonian by birth, gave up the task, overwhelmed as he was by
universal distrust. Had he persevered, he might have been lynched as a
traitor. Messenhauser, the commander of the insurgent forces, more of
a novel-writer than even of a subaltern officer, was totally
inadequate to the task; and yet, after eight months of revolutionary
struggles, the popular party had not produced or acquired a military
man of more ability than he. Thus the contest began. The Viennese
considering their utterly inadequate means of defence, considering
their utter absence of military skill and organization in the ranks,
offered a most heroic resistance. In many places the order given by
Bem, when he was in command, "to defend that post to the last man,"
was carried out to the letter. But force prevailed. Barricade after
barricade was swept away by the imperial artillery in the long and
wide avenues which form the main streets of the suburbs; and on the
evening of the second day's fighting the Croats occupied the range of
houses facing the glacis of the Old Town. A feeble and disorderly
attack of the Hungarian army had been utterly defeated; and during an
armistice, while some parties in the Old Town capitulated, while
others hesitated and spread confusion, while the remnants of the
Academic Legion prepared fresh intrenchments, an entrance was made by
the imperialists, and in the midst of the general disorder the Old
Town was carried.

The immediate consequences of this victory, the brutalities and
executions by martial law, the unheard-of cruelties and infamies
committed by the Slavonian hordes let loose upon Vienna, are too well
known to be detailed here. The ulterior consequences, the entirely new
turn given to German affairs by the defeat of the revolution in
Vienna, we shall have reason to notice hereafter. There remain two
points to be considered in connection with the storming of Vienna.
The people of that capital had two allies--the Hungarians and the
German people. Where were they in the hour of trial?

We have seen that the Viennese, with all the generosity of a newly
freed people, had risen for a cause which, though ultimately their
own, was in the first instance, and above all, that of the Hungarians.
Rather than suffer the Austrian troops to march upon Hungary, they
would draw their first and most terrific onslaught upon themselves.
And while they thus nobly came forward for the support of their
allies, the Hungarians, successful against Jellachich, drove him upon
Vienna, and by their victory strengthened the force that was to attack
that town. Under these circumstances it was the clear duty of Hungary
to support, without delay, and with all disposable forces, not the
Diet of Vienna, not the Committee of Safety or any other official body
at Vienna, but the _Viennese_ revolution. And if Hungary should even
have forgotten that Vienna had fought the first battle of Hungary, she
owed it to her own safety not to forget that Vienna was the only
outpost of Hungarian independence, and that after the fall of Vienna
nothing could meet the advance of the imperial troops against herself.
Now, we know very well all the Hungarians can say and have said in
defence of their inactivity during the blockade and storming of
Vienna: the insufficient state of their own force, the refusal of the
Diet or any other official body in Vienna to call them in, the
necessity to keep on constitutional ground, and to avoid
complications with the German central power. But the fact is, as to
the insufficient state of the Hungarian army, that in the first days
after the Viennese revolution and the arrival of Jellachich, nothing
was wanted in the shape of regular troops, as the Austrian regulars
were very far from being concentrated; and that a courageous,
unrelenting following up of the first advantage over Jellachich, even
with nothing but the _Land Sturm_ that had fought at Stuhlweissenburg,
would have sufficed to effect a junction with the Viennese, and to
adjourn to that day six months every concentration of an Austrian
army. In war, and particularly in revolutionary warfare, rapidity of
action until some decided advantage is gained is the first rule, and
we have no hesitation in saying that upon _merely military grounds_.
Perczel ought not to have stopped until his junction with the Viennese
was affected. There was certainly some risk, but who ever won a battle
without risking something? And did the people of Vienna risk nothing
when they drew upon themselves--they, a population of four hundred
thousand--the forces that were to march to the conquest of twelve
millions of Hungarians? The military fault committed by waiting until
the Austrians had united, and by making the feeble demonstration at
Schwechat which ended, as it deserved to do, in an inglorious
defeat--this military fault certainly incurred more risks than a
resolute march upon Vienna against the disbanded brigands of
Jellachich would have done.

But, it is said, such an advance of the Hungarians, unless authorized
by some official body, would have been a violation of the German
territory, would have brought on complications with the central power
at Frankfort, and would have been, above all, an abandonment of the
legal and constitutional policy which formed the strength of the
Hungarian cause. Why, the official bodies in Vienna were nonentities!
Was it the Diet, was it the popular committees, who had risen for
Hungary, or was it the people of Vienna, and they alone, who had taken
to the musket to stand the brunt of the first battle for Hungary's
independence? It was not this nor that official body in Vienna which
it was important to uphold; all these bodies might, and would have
been, upset very soon in the progress of the revolutionary
development; but it was the ascendancy of the revolutionary movement,
the unbroken progress of popular action itself, which alone was in
question, and which alone could save Hungary from invasion. What forms
this revolutionary movement afterwards might take, was the business of
the Viennese, not of the Hungarians, so long as Vienna and German
Austria at large continued their allies against the common enemy. But
the question is, whether in this stickling of the Hungarian government
for some quasi-legal authorization, we are not to see the first clear
symptom of that pretence to a rather doubtful legality of proceeding,
which, if it did not save Hungary, at least told very well, at a later
period, before the English middle class audiences.

As to the pretext of possible conflicts with the central power of
Germany at Frankfort, it is quite futile. The Frankfort authorities
were _de facto_ upset by the victory of the counter-revolution at
Vienna; they would have been equally upset had the revolution there
found the support necessary to defeat its enemies. And lastly, the
great argument that Hungary could not leave legal and constitutional
ground, may do very well for British free-traders, but it will never
be deemed sufficient in the eyes of history. Suppose the people of
Vienna had stuck to "legal and constitutional means" on the 13th of
March, and on the 6th of October, what then of the "legal and
constitutional" movement, and of all the glorious battles which, for
the first time, brought Hungary to the notice of the civilized world?
The very legal and constitutional ground upon which it is asserted the
Hungarians moved in 1848 and 1849 was conquered for them by the
exceedingly illegal and unconstitutional rising of the people of
Vienna on the 13th March. It is not to our purpose here to discuss the
revolutionary history of Hungary, but it may be deemed proper if we
observe that it is utterly useless to professedly use merely legal
means of resistance against an enemy who scorns such scruples; and if
we add, that had it not been for this eternal pretence of legality
which Görgey seized upon and turned against the Government, the
devotion of Görgey's army to its general, and the disgraceful
catastrophe of Villagos, would have been impossible. And when, at
last, to save their honor, the Hungarians came across the Leitha, in
the latter end of October, 1848, was not this quite as illegal as any
immediate and resolute attack would have been?

We are known to harbor no unfriendly feeling toward Hungary. We stood
by her during the struggles; we may be allowed to say that our paper,
the _Neue Rheinische Zeitung_,[8] has done more than any other to
render the Hungarian cause popular in Germany, by explaining the
nature of the struggle between the Magyar and Slavonian races, and by
following up the Hungarian war in a series of articles which have had
paid them the compliment of being plagiarized in almost every
subsequent book upon the subject, the works of native Hungarians and
"eyewitnesses" not excepted. We even now, in any future continental
convulsion, consider Hungary as the necessary and natural ally of
Germany. But we have been severe enough upon our own countrymen, to
have a right to speak out upon our neighbors; and then we have here to
record facts with historical impartiality, and we must say that in
this particular instance, the generous bravery of the people of Vienna
was not only far more noble, but also more far-sighted than the
cautious circumspection of the Hungarian Government. And, as a German,
we may further be allowed to say, that not for all the showy victories
and glorious battles of the Hungarian campaign, would we exchange that
spontaneous, single-handed rising, and heroic resistance of the people
of Vienna, our countrymen, which gave Hungary the time to organize the
army that could do such great things.

The second ally of Vienna was the German people. But they were
everywhere engaged in the same struggle as the Viennese. Frankfort,
Baden, Cologne, had just been defeated and disarmed. In Berlin and
Breslau the people were at daggers-drawn with the army, and daily
expected to come to blows. Thus it was in every local center of
action. Everywhere questions were pending that could only be settled
by the force of arms; and now it was that for the first time were
severely felt the disastrous consequences of the continuation of the
old dismemberment and decentralization of Germany. The different
questions in every State, every province, every town, were
fundamentally the same; but they were brought forward everywhere under
different shapes and pretexts, and had everywhere attained different
degrees of maturity. Thus it happened that while in every locality
the decisive gravity of the events at Vienna was felt, yet nowhere
could an important blow be struck with any hope of bringing the
Viennese succor, or making a diversion in their favor; and there
remained nothing to aid them but the Parliament and Central Power of
Frankfort; they were appealed to on all hands; but what did they do?

The Frankfort Parliament and the bastard child it had brought to light
by incestuous intercourse with the old German Diet, the so-called
Central Power, profited by the Viennese movement to show forth their
utter nullity. This contemptible Assembly, as we have seen, had long
since sacrificed its virginity, and young as it was, it was already
turning grey-headed and experienced in all the artifices of painting
and pseudo-diplomatic prostitution. Of the dreams and illusions of
power, of German regeneration and unity, that in the beginning had
pervaded it, nothing remained but a set of Teutonic clap-trap
phraseology, that was repeated on every occasion, and a firm belief of
each individual member in his own importance, as well as in the
credulity of the public. The original naivety was discarded; the
representatives of the German people had turned practical men, that is
to say, they had made it out that the less they did, and the more they
prated, the safer would be their position as the umpires of the fate
of Germany. Not that they considered their proceedings superfluous;
quite the contrary. But they had found out that all really great
questions, being to them forbidden ground, had better be let alone,
and there, like a set of Byzantine doctors of the Lower Empire, they
discussed with an importance and assiduity worthy of the fate that at
last overtook them, theoretical dogmas long ago settled in every part
of the civilized world, or microscopical practical questions which
never led to any practical result. Thus, the Assembly being a sort of
Lancastrian School for the mutual instruction of members, and being,
therefore, very important to themselves, they were persuaded it was
doing even more than the German people had a right to expect, and
looked upon everyone as a traitor to the country who had impudence to
ask them to come to any result.

When the Viennese insurrection broke out, there was a host of
interpellations, debates, motions, and amendments upon it, which, of
course, led to nothing. The Central Power was to interfere. It sent
two commissioners, Welcker, the ex-Liberal, and Mosle, to Vienna. The
travels of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza form matter for an Odyssey in
comparison with the heroic feats and wonderful adventures of those two
knight-errants of German Unity. Not daring to go to Vienna, they were
bullied by Windischgrätz, wondered at by the idiot Emperor, and
impudently hoaxed by the Minister Stadion. Their despatches and
reports are perhaps the only portion of the Frankfort transactions
that will retain a place in German literature; they are a perfect
satirical romance, ready cut and dried, and an eternal monument of
disgrace for the Frankfort Assembly and its Government.

The left side of the Assembly had also sent two commissioners to
Vienna, in order to uphold its authority there--Froebel and Robert
Blum. Blum, when danger drew near, judged rightly that here the great
battle of the German Revolution was to be fought, and unhesitatingly
resolved to stake his head on the issue. Froebel, on the contrary, was
of opinion that it was his duty to preserve himself for the important
duties of his post at Frankfort. Blum was considered one of the most
eloquent men of the Frankfort Assembly; he certainly was the most
popular. His eloquence would not have stood the test of any
experienced Parliamentary Assembly; he was too fond of the shallow
declamations of a German dissenting preacher, and his arguments wanted
both philosophical acumen and acquaintance with practical matters of
fact. In politics he belonged to "Moderate Democracy," a rather
indefinite sort of thing, cherished on account of this very want of
definiteness in its principles. But with all this Robert Blum was by
nature a thorough, though somewhat polished, plebeian, and in decisive
moments his plebeian instinct and plebeian energy got the better of
his indefiniteness, and, therefore, indecisive political persuasion
and knowledge. In such moments he raised himself far above the usual
standard of his capacities.

Thus, in Vienna, he saw at a glance that here, not in the midst of the
would-be elegant debates of Frankfort, the fate of his country would
have to be decided. He at once made up his mind, gave up all idea of
retreat, took a command in the revolutionary force, and behaved with
extraordinary coolness and decision. It was he who retarded for a
considerable time the taking of the town, and covered one of its sides
from attack by burning the Tabor Bridge over the Danube. Everybody
knows how, after the storming, he was arrested, tried by
court-martial, and shot. He died like a hero. And the Frankfort
Assembly, horrorstruck as it was, yet took the bloody insult with a
seeming good grace. A resolution was carried, which, by the softness
and diplomatic decency of its language, was more an insult to the
grave of the murdered martyr than a damning stain upon Austria. But it
was not to be expected that this contemptible Assembly should resent
the assassination of one of its members, particularly of the leader of
the Left.

LONDON, March, 1852.

FOOTNOTES:

[8] "Die Neue Rheinische Zeitung" (The New Rhenish Gazette). After the
March revolution, 1848, Marx returned from Paris to Germany, and
settling down--for the time being--at Cologne, founded this paper.
Although the "Neue Rheinische Zeitung" never went in for propounding
"Communist schemes," as Mr. Dawson, e.g., says it did, it became a
very nightmare to the Government. Reactionaries and Liberals alike
denounced the "Gazette," especially after Marx's brilliant defence of
the Paris Insurrection of June. The state of siege being declared in
Cologne, the "Gazette" was suspended for six weeks--only to appear
with a bigger reputation and bigger circulation than before. After the
Prussian "coup d'état" in November, the "Gazette" published at the
head of every issue an appeal to the people to refuse to pay taxes,
and to meet force by force. For this and certain other articles the
paper was twice prosecuted. On the first occasion the accused were
Marx, Engels, and Korff; on the second and more important trial, they
were Marx, Schapper, and Schneider. The accused were charged with
"inciting the people to armed resistance against the Government and
its officials." Marx mainly conducted the defence, and delivered a
brilliant speech. "Marx refrains" (in this speech) "from all
oratorical flourish; he goes straight to the point, and without any
peroration ends with a summary of the political situation. Anyone
would think that Marx's own personality was to deliver a political
lecture to the jury. And, in fact, at the end of the trial, one of the
jurors went to Marx to thank him, in the name of his colleagues, for
the instructive lecture he had given them." (See Bernstein's work,
"Ferdinand Lassalle.") The accused were unanimously acquitted by the
jury. Among the better known of the contributors of the "New Rhenish
Gazette," edited by Marx, were Engels, W. Wolff, Werth, Lassalle;
while Freiligrath wrote for it his splendid revolutionary poems.
Perhaps one of the grandest of these is the celebrated "Farewell of
the 'Rhenish Gazette'," when on the 19th May, 1849, the final number
of the paper--suppressed by the Government--appeared, printed in red
type.

    "When the last of crowns like glass shall break,
      On the scene our sorrows have haunted,
    And the people the last dread 'Guilty' shall speak,
      By your side ye shall find me undaunted.
    On Rhine or on Danube, in word and deed,
      You shall witness, true to his vow,
    On the wrecks of thrones, in the midst of the freed
      The rebel who greets you now."

                    (Translated by Ernest Jones.)



XIII.

THE PRUSSIAN ASSEMBLY--THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY.


                                          APRIL 17th, 1852.

On the 1st of November Vienna fell, and on the 9th of the same month
the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly in Berlin showed how much
this event had at once raised the spirit and the strength of the
Counter-Revolutionary party all over Germany.

The events of the summer of 1848 in Prussia are soon told. The
Constituent Assembly, or rather "the Assembly elected for the purpose
of agreeing upon a Constitution with the Crown," and its majority of
representatives of the middle class interest, had long since forfeited
all public esteem by lending itself to all the intrigues of the Court,
from fear of the more energetic elements of the population. They had
confirmed, or rather restored, the obnoxious privileges of feudalism,
and thus betrayed the liberty and the interests of the peasantry. They
had neither been able to draw up a Constitution, nor to amend in any
way the general legislation. They had occupied themselves almost
exclusively with nice theoretical distinctions, mere formalities, and
questions of constitutional etiquette. The Assembly, in fact, was more
a school of Parliamentary _savoir vivre_ for its members, than a body
in which the people could take any interest. The majorities were,
besides, very nicely balanced, and almost always decided by the
wavering centers whose oscillations from right to left, and _vice
versa_, upset, first the ministry of Camphausen, then that of
Auerswald and Hansemann. But while thus the Liberals, here as
everywhere else, let the occasion slip out of their hands, the Court
reorganized its elements of strength among the nobility, and the most
uncultivated portion of the rural population, as well as in the army
and the bureaucracy. After Hansemann's downfall, a ministry of
bureaucrats and military officers, all staunch reactionists, was
formed, which, however, seemingly gave way to the demands of the
Parliament; and the Assembly acting upon the commodious principle of
"measures, not men," were actually duped into applauding this
ministry, while they, of course, had no eyes for the concentration and
organization of Counter-Revolutionary forces, which that same ministry
carried on pretty openly. At last, the signal being given by the fall
of Vienna, the King dismissed its ministers, and replaced them by "men
of action," under the leadership of the present premier, Manteuffel.
Then the dreaming Assembly at once awoke to the danger; it passed a
vote of no confidence in the Cabinet, which was at once replied to by
a decree removing the Assembly from Berlin, where it might, in case of
a conflict, count upon the support of the masses, to Brandenburg, a
petty provincial town dependent entirely upon the Government. The
Assembly, however, declared that it could not be adjourned, removed or
dissolved, except with its own consent. In the meantime, General
Wrangle entered Berlin at the head of some forty thousand troops. In a
meeting of the municipal magistrates and the officers of the National
Guard, it was resolved not to offer any resistance. And now, after the
Assembly and its Constituents, the Liberal bourgeoisie, had allowed
the combined reactionary party to occupy every important position, and
to wrest from their hands almost every means of defence, began that
grand comedy of "passive and legal resistance" which they intended to
be a glorious imitation of the example of Hampden, and of the first
efforts of the Americans in the War of Independence. Berlin was
declared in a state of siege, and Berlin remained tranquil; the
National Guard was dissolved by the Government, and its arms were
delivered up with the greatest punctuality. The Assembly was hunted
down during a fortnight, from one place of meeting to another, and
everywhere dispersed by the military, and the members of the Assembly
begged of the citizens to remain tranquil. At last the Government
having declared the Assembly dissolved, it passed a resolution to
declare the levying of taxes illegal, and then its members dispersed
themselves over the country to organize the refusal of taxes. But
they found that they had been woefully mistaken in the choice of their
means. After a few agitated weeks, followed by severe measures of the
Government against the Opposition, everyone gave up the idea of
refusing the taxes in order to please a defunct Assembly that had not
even had the courage to defend itself.

Whether it was in the beginning of November, 1848, already too late to
try armed resistance, or whether a part of the army, on finding
serious opposition, would have turned over to the side of the
Assembly, and thus decided the matter in its favor, is a question
which may never be solved. But in revolution as in war, it is always
necessary to show a strong front, and he who attacks is in the
advantage; and in revolution as in war, it is of the highest necessity
to stake everything on the decisive moment, whatever the odds may be.
There is not a single successful revolution in history that does not
prove the truth of these axioms. Now, for the Prussian Revolution, the
decisive moment had come in November, 1848; the Assembly, at the head,
officially, of the whole revolutionary interest, did neither show a
strong front, for it receded at every advance of the enemy; much less
did it attack, for it chose even not to defend itself; and when the
decisive moment came, when Wrangle, at the head of forty thousand men,
knocked at the gates of Berlin, instead of finding, as he and all his
officers fully expected, every street studded with barricades, every
window turned into a loophole, he found the gates open, and the
streets obstructed only by peaceful Berliner burghers, enjoying the
joke they had played upon him, by delivering themselves up, hands and
feet tied, unto the astonished soldiers. It is true, the Assembly and
the people, if they had resisted, might have been beaten; Berlin might
have been bombarded, and many hundreds might have been killed, without
preventing the ultimate victory of the Royalist party. But that was no
reason why they should surrender their arms at once. A well-contested
defeat is a fact of as much revolutionary importance as an easily-won
victory. The defeats of Paris in June, 1848, and of Vienna in October,
certainly did far more in revolutionizing the minds of the people of
these two cities than the victories of February and March. The
Assembly and the people of Berlin would, probably, have shared the
fate of the two towns above-named; but they would have fallen
gloriously, and would have left behind themselves, in the minds of the
survivors, a wish of revenge which in revolutionary times is one of
the highest incentives to energetic and passionate action. It is a
matter of course that, in every struggle, he who takes up the gauntlet
risks being beaten; but is that a reason why he should confess himself
beaten, and submit to the yoke without drawing the sword?

In a revolution he who commands a decisive position and surrenders it,
instead of forcing the enemy to try his hands at an assault,
invariably deserves to be treated as a traitor.

The same decree of the King of Prussia which dissolved the Constituent
Assembly also proclaimed a new Constitution, founded upon the draft
which had been made by a Committee of that Assembly, but enlarging in
some points the powers of the Crown, and rendering doubtful in others
those of the Parliament. This Constitution established two Chambers,
which were to meet soon for the purpose of confirming and revising it.

We need hardly ask where the German National Assembly was during the
"legal and peaceful" struggle of the Prussian Constitutionalists. It
was, as usual, at Frankfort, occupied with passing very tame
resolutions against the proceedings of the Prussian Government, and
admiring the "imposing spectacle of the passive, legal, and unanimous
resistance of a whole people against brutal force." The Central
Government sent commissioners to Berlin to intercede between the
Ministry and the Assembly; but they met the same fate as their
predecessors at Olmütz, and were politely shown out. The Left of the
National Assembly, _i.e._, the so-called Radical party, sent also
their commissioners; but after having duly convinced themselves of the
utter helplessness of the Berlin Assembly, and confessed their own
equal helplessness, they returned to Frankfort to report progress, and
to testify to the admirably peaceful conduct of the population of
Berlin. Nay, more; when Herr Bassermann, one of the Central
Government's commissioners, reported that the late stringent measures
of the Prussian ministers were not without foundation, inasmuch as
there had of late been seen loitering about the streets of Berlin
sundry, savage-looking characters, such as always appear previous to
anarchical movements (and which ever since have been named
"Bassermannic characters"), these worthy deputies of the Left and
energetic representatives of the revolutionary interest actually arose
to make oath, and testify that such was not the case! Thus within two
months the total impotency of the Frankfort Assembly was signally
proved. There could be no more glaring proofs that this body was
totally inadequate to its task; nay, that it had not even the remotest
idea of what its task really was. The fact that both in Vienna and in
Berlin the fate of the Revolution was settled, that in both these
capitals the most important and vital questions were disposed of,
without the existence of the Frankfort Assembly ever being taken the
slightest notice of--this fact alone is sufficient to establish that
the body in question was a mere debating-club, composed of a set of
dupes, who allowed the Governments to use them as Parliamentary
puppet, shown to amuse the shopkeepers and petty tradesmen of petty
States and petty towns, as long as it was considered convenient to
divert the attention of these parties. How long this was considered
convenient we shall soon see. But it is a fact worthy of attention
that among all the "eminent" men of this Assembly there was not one
who had the slightest apprehension of the part they were made to
perform, and that even up to the present day ex-members of the
Frankfort Club have invariably organs of historical perception quite
peculiar to themselves.

LONDON, March, 1852.



XIV.

THE RESTORATION OF ORDER--DIET AND CHAMBER


                                          APRIL 24th, 1852.

The first months of the year 1849 were employed by the Austrian and
Prussian Governments in following up the advantages obtained in
October and November, 1848. The Austrian Diet, ever since the taking
of Vienna, had carried on a merely nominal existence in a small
Moravian country-town, named Kremsir. Here the Slavonian deputies,
who, with their constituents, had been mainly instrumental in raising
the Austrian Government from its prostration, were singularly punished
for their treachery against the European Revolution. As soon as the
Government had recovered its strength, it treated the Diet and its
Slavonian majority with the utmost contempt, and when the first
successes of the Imperial arms foreboded a speedy termination of the
Hungarian War, the Diet, on the 4th of March, was dissolved, and the
deputies dispersed by military force. Then at last the Slavonians saw
that they were duped, and then they shouted: "Let us go to Frankfort
and carry on there the opposition which we cannot pursue here!" But it
was then too late, and the very fact that they had no other
alternative than either to remain quiet or to join the impotent
Frankfort Assembly, this fact alone was sufficient to show their utter
helplessness.

Thus ended for the present, and most likely for ever, the attempts of
the Slavonians of Germany to recover an independent national
existence. Scattered remnants of numerous nations, whose nationality
and political vitality had long been extinguished, and who in
consequence had been obliged, for almost a thousand years, to follow
in the wake of a mightier nation, their conqueror, the same as the
Welsh in England, the Basques in Spain, the Bas-Bretons in France, and
at a more recent period the Spanish and French Creoles in those
portions of North America occupied of late by the Anglo-American
race--these dying nationalities, the Bohemians, Carinthians,
Dalmatians, etc., had tried to profit by the universal confusion of
1848, in order to restore their political _status quo_ of A.D. 800.
The history of a thousand years ought to have shown them that such a
retrogression was impossible; that if all the territory east of the
Elbe and Saale had at one time been occupied by kindred Slavonians,
this fact merely proved the historical tendency, and at the same time
physical and intellectual power of the German nation to subdue,
absorb, and assimilate its ancient eastern neighbors; that this
tendency of absorption on the part of the Germans had always been,
and still was, one of the mightiest means by which the civilization of
Western Europe had been spread in the east of that continent; that it
could only cease whenever the process of Germanization had reached the
frontier of large, compact, unbroken nations, capable of an
independent national life, such as the Hungarians, and in some degree
the Poles; and that, therefore, the natural and inevitable fate of
these dying nations was to allow this process of dissolution and
absorption by their stronger neighbors to complete itself. Certainly
this is no very flattering prospect for the national ambition of the
Panslavistic dreamers who succeeded in agitating a portion of the
Bohemian and South Slavonian people; but can they expect that history
would retrograde a thousand years in order to please a few phthisical
bodies of men, who in every part of the territory they occupy are
interspersed with and surrounded by Germans, who from time almost
immemorial have had for all purposes of civilization no other language
but the German, and who lack the very first conditions of national
existence, numbers and compactness of territory? Thus, the
Panslavistic rising, which everywhere in the German and Hungarian
Slavonic territories was the cloak for the restoration to independence
of all these numberless petty nations, everywhere clashed with the
European revolutionary movements, and the Slavonians, although
pretending to fight for liberty, were invariably (the Democratic
portion of the Poles excepted) found on the side of despotism and
reaction. Thus it was in Germany, thus in Hungary, thus even here and
there in Turkey. Traitors to the popular cause, supporters and chief
props to the Austrian Government's cabal, they placed themselves in
the position of outlaws in the eyes of all revolutionary nations. And
although nowhere the mass of the people had a part in the petty
squabbles about nationality raised by the Panslavistic leaders, for
the very reason that they were too ignorant, yet it will never be
forgotten that in Prague, in a half-German town, crowds of Slavonian
fanatics cheered and repeated the cry: "Rather the Russian knout than
German Liberty!" After their first evaporated effort in 1848, and
after the lesson the Austrian Government gave them, it is not likely
that another attempt at a later opportunity will be made. But if they
should try again under similar pretexts to ally themselves to the
counter-revolutionary force, the duty of Germany is clear. No country
in a state of revolution and involved in external war can tolerate a
Vendée in its very heart.

As to the Constitution proclaimed by the Emperor at the same time with
the dissolution of the Diet, there is no need to revert to it, as it
never had a practical existence, and is now done away with altogether.
Absolutism has been restored in Austria to all intents and purposes
ever since the 4th March, 1849.

In Prussia, the Chambers met in February for the ratification and
revision of the new Charter proclaimed by the King. They sat for about
six weeks, humble and meek enough in their behavior toward the
Government, yet not quite prepared to go the lengths the King and his
ministers wished them to go. Therefore, as soon as a suitable occasion
presented itself, they were dissolved.

Thus both Austria and Prussia had for the moment got rid of the
shackles of parliamentary control. The Governments now concentrated
all power in themselves, and could bring that power to bear wherever
is was wanted: Austria upon Hungary and Italy, Prussia upon Germany.
For Prussia, too, was preparing for a campaign by which "order" was to
be restored in the smaller States.

Counter-revolution being now paramount in the two great centres of
action in Germany,--in Vienna and Berlin,--there remained only the
lesser States in which the struggle was still undecided, although the
balance there, too, was leaning more and more against the
revolutionary interest. These smaller States, we have said, found a
common centre in the National Assembly at Frankfort. Now, this
so-called National Assembly, although its reactionist spirit had long
been evident, so much so that the very people of Frankfort had risen
in arms against it, yet its origin was of more or less revolutionary
nature; it occupied an abnormal, revolutionary position in January;
its competence had never been defined, and it had at last come to the
decision--which, however, was never recognized by the larges
States--that its resolutions had the force of law. Under these
circumstances, and when the Constitutionalist-Monarchial party saw
their positions turned by the recovering Absolutists, it is not to be
wondered that the Liberal, monarchical bourgeoisie of almost the whole
of Germany should place their last hopes upon the majority of this
Assembly, just as the petty shopkeepers in the rest, the nucleus of
the Democratic party, gathered in their growing distress around the
minority of that same body, which indeed formed the last compact
Parliamentary phalanx of Democracy. On the other hand, the larger
Governments, and particularly the Prussian Ministry, saw more and more
the incompatibility of such an irregular elective body with the
restored monarchical system of Germany, and if they did not at once
force its dissolution, it was only because the time had not yet come,
and because Prussia hoped first to use it for the furthering of its
own ambitious purposes.

In the meantime, that poor Assembly itself fell into a greater and
greater confusion. Its deputations and commissaries had been treated
with the utmost contempt, both in Vienna and Berlin; one of its
members, in spite of his parliamentary inviolability, had been
executed in Vienna as a common rebel. Its decrees were nowhere heeded;
if they were noticed at all by the larger powers, it was merely by
protesting notes which disputed the authority of the Assembly to pass
laws and resolutions binding upon their Governments. The
Representative of the Assembly, the Central Executive power, was
involved in diplomatic squabbles with almost all the Cabinets of
Germany, and, in spite of all their efforts, neither Assembly nor
Central Government could bring Austria and Prussia to state their
ultimate views, plans and demands. The Assembly, at last, commenced to
see clearly, at least so far, that it had allowed all power to slip
out of its hands, that it was at the mercy of Austria and Prussia, and
that if it intended making a Federal Constitution for Germany at all,
it must set about the thing at once and in good earnest. And many of
the vacillating members also saw clearly that they had been
egregiously duped by the Governments. But what were they, in their
impotent position, able to do now? The only thing that could have
saved them would have been promptly and decidedly to pass over into
the popular camp; but the success, even of that step, was more than
doubtful; and then, where in this helpless crowd of undecided,
shortsighted, self-conceited beings, who, when the eternal noise of
contradictory rumors and diplomatic notes completely stunned them,
sought their only consolation and support in the everlastingly
repeated assurance that they were the best, the greatest, the wisest
men of the country, and that they alone could save Germany--where, we
say, among these poor creatures, whom a single year of Parliamentary
life had turned into complete idiots, where were the men for a prompt
and decisive resolution, much less for energetic and consistent
action?

At last the Austrian Government threw off the mask. In its
Constitution of the 4th of March, it proclaimed Austria an
indivisible monarchy, with common finances, system of customs-duties,
of military establishments, thereby effacing every barrier and
distinction between the German and non-German provinces. This
declaration was made in the face of resolutions and articles of the
intended Federal Constitution which had been already passed by the
Frankfort Assembly. It was the gauntlet of war thrown down to it by
Austria, and the poor Assembly had no other choice but to take it up.
This it did with a deal of blustering, which Austria, in the
consciousness of her power, and of the utter nothingness of the
Assembly, could well afford to allow to pass. And this precious
representation, as it styled itself, of the German people, in order to
revenge itself for this insult on the part of Austria, saw nothing
better before it than to throw itself, hands and feet tied, at the
feet of the Prussian Government. Incredible as it would seem, it bent
its knees before the very ministers whom it had condemned as
unconstitutional and anti-popular, and whose dismissal it had in vain
insisted upon. The details of this disgraceful transaction, and the
tragicomical events that followed, will form the subject of our next.

LONDON, April, 1852.



XV.

THE TRIUMPH OF PRUSSIA.


                                          JULY 27th, 1852.

We now come to the last chapter in the history of the German
Revolution; the conflict of the National Assembly with the Governments
of the different States, especially of Prussia; the insurrection of
Southern and Western Germany, and its final overthrow by Prussia.

We have already seen the Frankfort National Assembly at work. We have
seen it kicked by Austria, insulted by Prussia, disobeyed by the
lesser States, duped by its own impotent Central "Government," which
again was the dupe of all and every prince in the country. But at last
things began to look threatening for this weak, vacillating, insipid
legislative body. It was forced to come to the conclusion that "the
sublime idea of Germany unity was threatened in its realization,"
which meant neither more nor less than that the Frankfort Assembly,
and all it had done, and was about to do, were very likely to end in
smoke. Thus it set to work in good earnest in order to bring forth, as
soon as possible, its grand production, the "Imperial Constitution."
There was, however, one difficulty. What Executive Government was
there to be? An Executive Council? No; that would have been, they
thought in their wisdom, making Germany a Republic. A "president"?
That would come to the same. Thus they must revive the old Imperial
dignity. But--as, of course, a prince was to be emperor--who should
it be? Certainly none of the _Dii minorum gentium_, from
Reuss-Schleitz-Greitz-Lobenstein-Ebersdorf up to Bavaria; neither
Austria nor Prussia would have borne that. It could only be Austria or
Prussia. But which of the two? There is no doubt that, under otherwise
favorable circumstances, this august Assembly would be sitting up to
the present day, discussing this important dilemma without being able
to come to a conclusion, if the Austrian Government had not cut the
Gordian knot, and saved them the trouble.

Austria knew very well that from the moment in which she could again
appear before Europe with all her provinces subdued, as a strong and
great European power, the very law of political gravitation would draw
the remainder of Germany into her orbit, without the help of any
authority which an Imperial crown, conferred by the Frankfort
Assembly, could give her. Austria had been far stronger, far freer in
her movements, since she shook off the powerless _crown_ of the German
Empire--a crown which clogged her own independent policy, while it
added not one iota to her strength, either within or without Germany.
And supposing the case that Austria could not maintain her footing in
Italy and Hungary, why, then she was dissolved, annihilated in Germany
too, and could never pretend to reseize a crown which had slipped from
her hands while she was in the full possession of her strength. Thus
Austria at once declared against all imperialist resurrections, and
plainly demanded the restoration of the German Diet, the only Central
Government of Germany known and recognized by the treaties of 1815;
and on the 4th of March, 1849, issued that Constitution which had no
other meaning than to declare Austria an indivisible, centralized, and
independent monarchy, distinct even from that Germany which the
Frankfort Assembly was to reorganize.

This open declaration of war left, indeed, the Frankfort wiseacres no
other choice but to exclude Austria from Germany, and to create out of
the remainder of that country a sort of lower empire, a "little
Germany," the rather shabby Imperial mantle of which was to fall on
the shoulders of His Majesty of Prussia. This, it will be recollected,
was the renewal of an old project fostered already some six or
eight years ago by a party of South and Middle German Liberal
_doctrinaires_, who considered as a godsend the degrading
circumstances by which their old crotchet was now again brought
forward as the latest "new move" for the salvation of the country.

They accordingly finished, in February and March, 1849, the debate on
the Imperial Constitution, together with the Declaration of Rights
and the Imperial Electoral Law; not, however, without being obliged to
make, in a great many points, the most contradictory concessions--now
to the Conservative or rather Reactionary party--now to the more
advanced factions of the Assembly. In fact, it was evident that the
leadership of the Assembly, which had formerly belonged to the Right
and Right Centre (the Conservatives and Reactionists), was gradually,
although slowly, passing toward the Left or Democratic side of that
body. The rather dubious position of the Austrian deputies in an
Assembly which had excluded their country from Germany, and in which
they yet were called upon to sit and vote, favored the derangement of
its equipoise; and thus, as early as the end of February, the Left
Centre and Left found themselves, by the help of the Austrian votes,
very generally in a majority, while on other days the Conservative
faction of the Austrians, all of a sudden, and for the fun of the
thing, voting with the Right, threw the balance again on the other
side. They intended, by these sudden _soubresauts_, to bring the
Assembly into contempt, which, however, was quite unnecessary, the
mass of the people being long since convinced of the utter hollowness
and futility of anything coming from Frankfort. What a specimen of a
Constitution, in the meantime, was framed under such jumping and
counter-jumping, may easily be imagined.

The Left of the Assembly--this _élite_ and pride of revolutionary
Germany, as it believed itself to be--was entirely intoxicated with
the few paltry successes it obtained by the good-will, or rather the
ill-will, of a set of Austrian politicians, acting under the
instigation and for the interest of Austrian despotism. Whenever the
slightest approximation to their own not very well-defined principles
had, in a homoeopathically diluted shape, obtained a sort of
sanction by the Frankfort Assembly, these Democrats proclaimed that
they had saved the country and the people. These poor, weak-minded
men, during the course of their generally very obscure lives, had been
so little accustomed to anything like success, that they actually
believed their paltry amendments, passed with two or three votes
majority, would change the face of Europe. They had, from the
beginning of their legislative career, been more imbued than any other
faction of the Assembly with that incurable malady _Parliamentary
crétinism_, a disorder which penetrates its unfortunate victims with
the solemn conviction that the whole world, its history and future,
are governed and determined by a majority of votes in that particular
representative body which has the honor to count them among its
members, and that all and everything going on outside the walls of
their house--wars, revolutions, railway-constructing, colonizing of
whole new continents, California gold discoveries, Central American
canals, Russian armies, and whatever else may have some little claim
to influence upon the destinies of mankind--is nothing compared with
the incommensurable events hinging upon the important question,
whatever it may be, just at that moment occupying the attention of
their honorable house. Thus it was the Democratic party of the
Assembly, by effectually smuggling a few of their nostrums into the
"Imperial Constitution," first became bound to support it, although in
every essential point it flatly contradicted their own oft-proclaimed
principles, and at last, when this mongrel work was abandoned, and
bequeathed to them by its main authors, accepted the inheritance, and
held out for this _Monarchical_ Constitution, even in opposition to
everybody who _then_ proclaimed their own _Republican_ principles.

But it must be confessed that in this the contradiction was merely
apparent. The indeterminate, self-contradictory, immature character of
the Imperial Constitution was the very image of the immature,
confused, conflicting political ideas of these Democratic gentlemen.
And if their own sayings and writings--as far as they could
write--were not sufficient proof of this, their actions would furnish
such proof; for among sensible people it is a matter of course to
judge of a man, not by his professions, but his actions; not by what
he pretends to be, but by what he does, and what he really is; and the
deeds of these heroes of German Democracy speak loud enough for
themselves, as we shall learn by and by. However, the Imperial
Constitution, with all its appendages and paraphernalia, was
definitely passed, and on the 28th of March, the King of Prussia was,
by 290 votes against 248 who abstained, and 200 who were absent,
elected Emperor of Germany _minus Austria_. The historical irony was
complete; the Imperial farce executed in the streets of astonished
Berlin, three days after the Revolution of March 18th, 1848, by
Frederick William IV., while in a state which elsewhere would come
under the Maine Liquor Law--this disgusting farce, just one year
afterwards, had been sanctioned by the pretended Representative
Assembly of all Germany. That, then, was the result of the German
Revolution!

LONDON, July, 1852.



XVI.

THE ASSEMBLY AND THE GOVERNMENTS.


                                          AUGUST 19th, 1852.

The National Assembly of Frankfort, after having elected the King of
Prussia Emperor of Germany (_minus_ Austria), sent a deputation to
Berlin to offer him the crown, and then adjourned. On the 3rd of
April, Frederick William received the deputies. He told them that,
although he accepted the right of precedence over all the other
princes of Germany, which this vote of the people's representatives
had given him, yet he could not accept the Imperial crown as long as
he was not sure that the remaining princes acknowledged his supremacy,
and the Imperial Constitution conferring those rights upon him. It
would be, he added, for the Governments of Germany to see whether this
Constitution was such as could be ratified by them. At all events,
Emperor or not, he always would be found ready, he concluded, to draw
the sword against either the external or the internal foe. We shall
see how he kept his promise in a manner rather startling for the
National Assembly.

The Frankfort wiseacres, after profound diplomatic inquiry, at last
came to the conclusion that this answer amounted to a refusal of the
crown. They then (April 12th) resolved: That the Imperial Constitution
was the law of the land, and must be maintained; and not seeing their
way at all before them, elected a Committee of thirty, to make
proposals as to the means how this Constitution could be carried out.

This resolution was the signal for the conflict between the Frankfort
Assembly and the German Governments which now broke out. The middle
classes, and especially the smaller trading class, had all at once
declared for the new Frankfort Constitution. They could not wait any
longer the moment which was "to close the Revolution." In Austria and
Prussia the Revolution had, for the moment, been closed by the
interference of the armed power. The classes in question would have
preferred a less forcible mode of performing that operation, but they
had not had a chance; the thing was done, and they had to make the
best of it, a resolution which they at once took and carried out most
heroically. In the smaller States, where things had been going on
comparatively smoothly, the middle classes had long since been thrown
back into that showy, but resultless, because powerless, parliamentary
agitation, which was most congenial to themselves. The different
States of Germany, as regarded each of them separately, appeared thus
to have attained that new and definite form which was supposed to
enable them to enter henceforth the path of peaceful constitutional
development. There only remained one open question, that of the new
political organization of the German Confederacy. And this question,
the only one which still appeared fraught with danger, it was
considered a necessity to resolve at once. Hence the pressure exerted
upon the Frankfort Assembly by the middle classes, in order to induce
it to get the Constitution ready as soon as possible; hence the
resolution among the higher and lower bourgeoisie to accept and
support this Constitution, whatever it might be, in order to create a
settled state of things without delay. Thus from the very beginning
the agitation for the Imperial Constitution arose out of a reactionary
feeling, and sprang up among these classes which were long since tired
of the Revolution.

But there was another feature in it. The first and fundamental
principles of the future German Constitution had been voted during the
first months of spring and summer, 1848, a time when popular agitation
was still rife. The resolutions then passed, though completely
reactionary _then_, now, after the arbitrary acts of the Austrian and
Prussian Governments, appeared exceedingly Liberal, and even
Democratic. The standard of comparison had changed. The Frankfort
Assembly could not, without moral suicide, strike out these once-voted
provisions, and model the Imperial Constitution upon those which the
Austrian and Prussian Governments had dictated, sword in hand.
Besides, as we have seen, the majority in that Assembly had changed
sides, and the Liberal and Democratic party were rising in influence.
Thus the Imperial Constitution not only was distinguished by its
apparently exclusive popular origin, but at the same time, full of
contradiction as it was, it yet was the most Liberal Constitution in
all Germany. Its greatest fault was, that it was a mere sheet of
paper, with no power to back its provisions.

Under these circumstances it was natural that the so-called Democratic
party, that is, the mass of the petty trading class, should cling to
the Imperial Constitution. This class had always been more forward in
its demands than the Liberal-Monarchico-Constitutional bourgeoisie; it
had shown a bolder front, it had very often threatened armed
resistance, it was lavish in its promises to sacrifice its blood and
its existence in the struggle for freedom; but it had already given
plenty of proofs that on the day of danger it was nowhere, and that it
never felt more comfortable than the day after a decisive defeat, when
everything being lost, it had at least the consolation to know that
somehow or other the matter _was_ settled. While, therefore, the
adhesion of the large bankers, manufacturers, and merchants was of a
more reserved character, more like a simple demonstration in favor of
the Frankfort Constitution, the class just beneath them, our valiant
Democratic shopkeepers, came forward in grand style, and, as usual,
proclaimed they would rather spill their last drop of blood than let
the Imperial Constitution fall to the ground.

Supported by these two parties, the bourgeois adherents of the
Constitutional Royalty, and the more or less Democratic shopkeepers,
the agitation for the immediate establishment of the Imperial
Constitution gained ground rapidly, and found its most powerful
expression in the Parliaments of the several States. The Chambers of
Prussia, of Hanover, of Saxony, of Baden, of Würtemberg, declared in
its favor. The struggle between the Governments and the Frankfort
Assembly assumed a threatening aspect.

The Governments, however, acted rapidly. The Prussian Chambers were
dissolved, anti-constitutionally, as they had to revise and confirm
the Constitution; riots broke out at Berlin, provoked intentionally by
the Government, and the next day, the 28th of April, the Prussian
Ministry issued a circular note, in which the Imperial Constitution
was held up as a most anarchical and revolutionary document, which it
was for the Governments of Germany to remodel and purify. Thus Prussia
denied, point-blank, that sovereign constituent power which the wise
men at Frankfort had always boasted of, but never established. Thus a
Congress of Princes, a renewal of the old Federal Diet, was called
upon to sit in judgment on that Constitution which had already been
promulgated as law. And at the same time Prussia concentrated troops
at Kreuznach, three days' march from Frankfort, and called upon the
smaller States to follow its example, by also dissolving their
Chambers as soon as they should give their adhesion to the Frankfort
Assembly. This example was speedily followed by Hanover and Saxony.

It was evident that a decision of the struggle by force of arms could
not be avoided. The hostility of the Governments, the agitation among
the people, were daily showing themselves in stronger colors. The
military were everywhere worked upon by the Democratic citizens, and
in the south of Germany with great success. Large mass meetings were
everywhere held, passing resolutions to support the Imperial
Constitution and the National Assembly, if need should be, with force
of arms. At Cologne, a meeting of deputies of all the municipal
councils of Rhenish Prussia took place for the same purpose. In the
Palatinate, at Bergen, Fulda, Nuremberg, in the Odenwald, the
peasantry met by myriads and worked themselves up into enthusiasm. At
the same time the Constituent Assembly of France dissolved, and the
new elections were prepared amid violent agitation, while on the
eastern frontier of Germany, the Hungarians had within a month, by a
succession of brilliant victories, rolled back the tide of Austrian
invasion from the Theiss to the Leitha, and were every day expected to
take Vienna by storm. Thus, popular imagination being on all hands
worked up to the highest pitch, and the aggressive policy of the
Governments defining itself more clearly every day, a violent
collision could not be avoided, and cowardly imbecility only could
persuade itself that the struggle was to come off peaceably. But this
cowardly imbecility was most extensively represented in the Frankfort
Assembly.

LONDON, July, 1852.



XVII.

INSURRECTION.


                                          SEPTEMBER 18, 1852.

The inevitable conflict between the National Assembly of Frankfort and
the States Governments of Germany at last broke out in open
hostilities during the first days of May, 1849. The Austrian deputies,
recalled by their Government, had already left the Assembly and
returned home, with the exception of a few members of the Left or
Democratic party. The great body of the Conservative members, aware of
the turn things were about to take, withdrew even before they were
called upon to do so by their respective Governments. Thus, even
independently of the causes which in the foregoing letters have been
shown to strengthen the influence of the Left, the mere desertion of
their posts by the members of the Right, sufficed to turn the old
minority into a majority of the Assembly. The new majority, which, at
no former time, had dreamed of ever obtaining that good fortune, had
profited by their places on the opposition benches to spout against
the weakness, the indecision, the indolence of the old majority, and
of its Imperial Lieutenancy. Now all at once, _they_ were called on
to replace that old majority. _They_ were now to show what they could
perform. Of course, _their_ career was to be one of energy,
determination, activity. _They_, the _élite_ of Germany, would soon be
able to drive onwards the senile Lieutenant of the Empire, and his
vacillating ministers, and in case that was impossible they
would--there could be no doubt about it--by force of the sovereign
right of the people, depose that impotent Government, and replace it
by an energetic, indefatigable Executive, who would assure the
salvation of Germany. Poor fellows! _Their_ rule--if rule it can be
named, where no one obeyed--was a still more ridiculous affair than
even the rule of their predecessors.

The new majority declared that, in spite of all obstacles, the
Imperial Constitution must be carried out, and _at once_; that on the
15th of July ensuing, the people were to elect the deputies of the new
House of Representatives, and that this House was to meet at Frankfort
on the 15th of August following. Now, this was an open declaration of
war against those Governments that had not recognized the Imperial
Constitution, the foremost among which were Prussia, Austria, Bavaria,
comprising more than three-fourths of the German population; a
declaration of war which was speedily accepted by them. Prussia and
Bavaria, too, recalled the deputies sent from their territories to
Frankfort, and hastened their military preparations against the
National Assembly, while, on the other hand, the demonstrations of
the Democratic party (out of Parliament) in favor of the Imperial
Constitution and of the National Assembly, acquired a more turbulent
and violent character, and the mass of the working people, led by the
men of the most extreme party, were ready to take up arms in a cause
which, if it was not their own, at least gave them a chance of
somewhat approaching their aims by clearing Germany of its old
monarchical encumbrances. Thus everywhere the people and the
Governments were at daggers drawn upon this subject; the outbreak was
inevitable; the mine was charged, and it only wanted a spark to make
it explode. The dissolution of the Chambers in Saxony, the calling in
of the Landwehr (military reserve) in Prussia, the open resistance of
the Government to the Imperial Constitution, were such sparks; they
fell, and all at once the country was in a blaze. In Dresden, on the
4th of May, the people victoriously took possession of the town, and
drove out the King, while all the surrounding districts sent
re-inforcements to the insurgents. In Rhenish Prussia and Westphalia
the Landwehr refused to march, took possession of the arsenals, and
armed itself in defence of the Imperial Constitution. In the
Palatinate the people seized the Bavarian Government officials, and
the public moneys, and instituted a Committee of Defence, which placed
the province under the protection of the National Assembly. In
Würtemberg the people forced the King to acknowledge the Imperial
Constitution, and in Baden the army, united with the people, forced
the Grand Duke to flight, and erected a Provincial Government. In
other parts of Germany the people only awaited a decisive signal from
the National Assembly to rise in arms and place themselves at its
disposal.

The position of the National Assembly was far more favorable than
could have been expected after its ignoble career. The western half of
Germany had taken up arms in its behalf; the military everywhere were
vacillating; in the lesser States they were undoubtedly favorable to
the movement. Austria was prostrated by the victorious advance of the
Hungarians, and Russia, that reserve force of the German Governments,
was straining all its powers in order to support Austria against the
Magyar armies. There was only Prussia to subdue, and with the
revolutionary sympathies existing in that country, a chance certainly
existed of attaining that end. Everything then depended upon the
conduct of the Assembly.

Now, insurrection is an art quite as much as war or any other, and
subject to certain rules of proceeding, which, when neglected, will
produce the ruin of the party neglecting them. Those rules, logical
deductions from the nature of the parties and the circumstances one
has to deal with in such a case, are so plain and simple that the
short experience of 1848 had made the Germans pretty well acquainted
with them. Firstly, never play with insurrection unless you are fully
prepared to face the consequences of your play. Insurrection is a
calculus with very indefinite magnitudes, the value of which may
change every day; the forces opposed to you have all the advantage of
organization, discipline, and habitual authority: unless you bring
strong odds against them you are defeated and ruined. Secondly, the
insurrectionary career once entered upon, act with the greatest
determination, and on the offensive. The defensive is the death of
every armed rising; it is lost before it measures itself with its
enemies. Surprise your antagonists while their forces are scattering,
prepare new successes, however small, but daily; keep up the moral
ascendancy which the first successful rising has given to you; rally
those vacillating elements to your side which always follow the
strongest impulse, and which always look out for the safer side; force
your enemies to a retreat before they can collect their strength
against you; in the words of Danton, the greatest master of
revolutionary policy yet known, _de l'audace, de l'audace, encore de
l'audace!_

What, then, was the National Assembly of Frankfort to do if it would
escape the certain ruin which it was threatened with? First of all, to
see clearly through the situation, and to convince itself that there
was now no other choice than either to submit to the Governments
unconditionally, or take up the cause of the armed insurrection
without reserve or hesitation. Secondly, to publicly recognize all the
insurrections that had already broken out, and to call the people to
take up arms everywhere in defence of the national representation,
outlawing all princes, ministers and others who should dare to oppose
the sovereign people represented by its mandatories. Thirdly, to at
once depose the German Imperial Lieutenant, to create a strong,
active, unscrupulous Executive, to call insurgent troops to Frankfort
for its immediate protection, thus offering at the same time a legal
pretext for the spread of the insurrection, to organize into a compact
body all the forces at its disposal, and, in short, to profit quickly
and unhesitatingly by every available means for strengthening its
position and impairing that of its opponents.

Of all this the virtuous Democrats in the Frankfort Assembly did just
the contrary. Not content with letting things take the course they
liked, these worthies went so far as to suppress by their opposition
all insurrectionary movements which were preparing. Thus, for
instance, did Herr Karl Vogt at Nuremberg. They allowed the
insurrections of Saxony, of Rhenish Prussia, of Westphalia to be
suppressed without any other help than a posthumous, sentimental
protest against the unfeeling violence of the Prussian Government.
They kept up an underhand diplomatic intercourse with the South German
insurrections but never gave them the support of their open
acknowledgment. They knew that the Lieutenant of the Empire sided with
the Governments, and yet they called upon _him_, who never stirred, to
oppose the intrigues of these Governments. The ministers of the
Empire, old Conservatives, ridiculed this impotent Assembly in every
sitting, and they suffered it. And when William Wolff,[9] a Silesian
deputy, and one of the editors of the _New Rhenish Gazette_, called
upon them to outlaw the Lieutenant of the Empire--who was, he justly
said, nothing but the first and greatest traitor to the Empire, he was
hooted down by the unanimous and virtuous indignation of those
Democratic Revolutionists! In short, they went on talking, protesting,
proclaiming, pronouncing, but never had the courage or the sense to
act; while the hostile troops of the Governments drew nearer and
nearer, and their own Executive, the Lieutenant of the Empire, was
busily plotting with the German princes their speedy destruction. Thus
even the last vestige of consideration was lost to this contemptible
Assembly; the insurgents who had risen to defend it ceased to care any
more for it, and when at last it came to a shameful end, as we shall
see, it died without anybody taking any notice of its unhonored exit.

LONDON, August, 1852.

FOOTNOTES:

[9] The "Wolff" here alluded to is Wilhelm Wolff, the beloved friend
of Marx and Engels, who--to distinguish him from the many other
"Wolffs" in the movement at this period--was known to his intimates as
"Lupus." It is to this Silesian peasant that Marx dedicated the first
volume of "Capital."

                      "Dedicated
          To My Never-To-Be-Forgotten Friend
      The Brave, True, Noble Fighter In The Van-Guard
                   Of The Proletariat,
                     WILHELM WOLFF.

Born at Tornau, June 21st, 1809. Died in exile at Manchester, 9th May,
1864."



XVIII.

PETTY TRADERS.


                                          OCTOBER 2, 1852.

In our last we showed that the struggle between the German Governments
on the one side, and the Frankfort Parliament on the other, had
ultimately acquired such a degree of violence that in the first days
of May, a great portion of Germany broke out in open insurrection;
first Dresden, then the Bavarian Palatinate, parts of Rhenish Prussia,
and at last Baden.

In all cases, the _real fighting_ body of the insurgents, that body
which first took up arms and gave battle to the troops consisted of
the _working classes of the towns_. A portion of the poorer country
population, laborers and petty farmers, generally joined them after
the outbreak of the conflict. The greater number of the young men of
all classes, below the capitalist class, were to be found, for a time
at least, in the ranks of the insurgent armies, but this rather
indiscriminate aggregate of young men very soon thinned as the aspect
of affairs took a somewhat serious turn. The students particularly,
those "representatives of intellect," as they liked to call
themselves, were the first to quit their standards, unless they were
retained by the bestowal of officer's rank, for which they, of course,
had very seldom any qualifications.

The working class entered upon this insurrection as they would have
done upon any other which promised either to remove some obstacles in
their progress towards political dominion and social revolution, or,
at least, to tie the more influential but less courageous classes of
society to a more decided and revolutionary course than they had
followed hitherto. The working class took up arms with a full
knowledge that this was, in the direct bearings of the case, no
quarrel of its own; but it followed up its only true policy, to allow
no class that has risen on its shoulders (as the bourgeoisie had done
in 1848) to fortify its class-government, without opening, at least, a
fair field to the working classes for the struggle for its own
interests, and, in any case, to bring matters to a crisis, by which
either the nation was fairly and irresistibly launched in the
revolutionary career, or else the _status quo_ before the Revolution
restored as nearly as possible, and, thereby, a new revolution
rendered unavoidable. In both cases the working classes represented
the real and well-understood interest of the nation at large, in
hastening as much as possible that revolutionary course which for the
old societies of civilized Europe has now become a historical
necessity, before any of them can again aspire to a more quiet and
regular development of their resources.

As to country people that joined the insurrection, they were
principally thrown into the arms of the Revolutionary party, partly by
the relatively enormous load of taxation, and partly of feudal burdens
pressing upon them.

Without any initiative of their own, they formed the tail of the other
classes engaged in the insurrection, wavering between the working men
on the one side, and the petty trading class on the other. Their own
private social position, in almost every case, decided which way they
turned; the agricultural laborer generally supported the city artisan;
the small farmer was apt to go hand in hand with the small shopkeeper.

This class of petty tradesmen, the great importance and influence of
which we have already several times adverted to, may be considered as
the leading class of the insurrection of May, 1849. There being, this
time, none of the large towns of Germany among the center of the
movement, the petty trading class, which in middling and lesser towns
always predominates, found the means of getting the direction of the
movement into its hands. We have, moreover, seen that, in this
struggle for the Imperial Constitution, and for the rights of the
German Parliament, there were the interests of this peculiar class at
stake. The Provisional Governments formed in all the insurgent
districts represented in the majority of each of them this section of
the people, and the length they went to may therefore be fairly taken
as the measure of what the German petty bourgeoisie is capable
of--capable, as we shall see, of nothing but ruining any movement
that entrusts itself to its hands.

The petty bourgeoisie, great in boasting, is very impotent for action,
and very shy in risking anything. The _mesquin_ character of its
commercial transactions and its credit operations is eminently apt to
stamp its character with a want of energy and enterprise; it is, then,
to be expected that similar qualities will mark its political career.
Accordingly the petty bourgeoisie encouraged insurrection by big
words, and great boasting as to what it was going to do; it was eager
to seize upon power as soon as the insurrection, much against its
will, had broken out; it used this power to no other purpose but to
destroy the effects of the insurrection. Wherever an armed conflict
had brought matters to a serious crisis, there the shopkeepers stood
aghast at the dangerous situation created for them; aghast at the
people who had taken their boasting appeals to arms in earnest; aghast
at the power thus thrust into their own hands; aghast, above all, at
the consequences for themselves, for their social positions, for their
fortunes, of the policy in which they were forced to engage
themselves. Were they not expected to risk "life and property," as
they used to say, for the cause of the insurrection? Were they not
forced to take official positions in the insurrection, whereby, in the
case of defeat, they risked the loss of their capital? And in case of
victory, were they not sure to be immediately turned out of office,
and to see their entire policy subverted by the victorious
proletarians who formed the main body of their fighting army? Thus
placed between opposing dangers which surrounded them on every side,
the petty bourgeoisie knew not to turn its power to any other account
than to let everything take its chance, whereby, of course, there was
lost what little chance of success there might have been, and thus to
ruin the insurrection altogether. Its policy, or rather want of
policy, everywhere was the same, and, therefore, the insurrections of
May, 1849, in all parts of Germany, are all cut out to the same
pattern.

In Dresden, the struggle was kept on for four days in the streets of
the town. The shopkeepers of Dresden, the "communal guard," not only
did not fight, but in many instances favored the proceedings of the
troops against the insurgents. These again consisted almost
exclusively of working men from the surrounding manufacturing
districts. They found an able and cool-headed commander in the Russian
refugee Michael Bakunin, who afterwards was taken prisoner, and now is
confined in the dungeons of Munkacs, Hungary. The intervention of
numerous Prussian troops crushed this insurrection.

In Rhenish Prussia the actual fighting was of little importance. All
the large towns being fortresses commanded by citadels, there could be
only skirmishing on the part of the insurgents. As soon as a
sufficient number of troops had been drawn together, there was an end
to armed opposition.

In the Palatinate and Baden, on the contrary, a rich, fruitful
province and an entire state fell into the hands of the insurrection.
Money, arms, soldiers, warlike stores, everything was ready for use.
The soldiers of the regular army themselves joined the insurgents;
nay, in Baden, they were amongst the foremost of them. The
insurrections in Saxony and Rhenish Prussia sacrificed themselves in
order to gain time for the organization of the South German movement.
Never was there such a favorable position for a provincial and partial
insurrection as this. A revolution was expected in Paris; the
Hungarians were at the gates of Vienna; in all the central States of
Germany, not only the people, but even the troops, were strongly in
favor of the insurrection, and only wanted an opportunity to join it
openly. And yet the movement, having once got into the hands of the
petty bourgeoisie, was ruined from its very beginning. The petty
bourgeois rulers, particularly of Baden--Herr Brentano at the head of
them--never forgot that by usurping the place and prerogatives of the
"lawful" sovereign, the Grand Duke, they were committing high treason.
They sat down in their ministerial armchairs with the consciousness of
criminality in their hearts. What can you expect of such cowards? They
not only abandoned the insurrection to its own uncentralized, and
therefore ineffective, spontaneity, they actually did everything in
their power to take the sting out of the movement, to unman, to
destroy it. And they succeeded, thanks to the zealous support of that
deep class of politicians, the "Democratic" heroes of the petty
bourgeoisie, who actually thought they were "saving the country,"
while they allowed themselves to be led by their noses by a few men of
a sharper cast, such as Brentano.

As to the fighting part of the business, never were military
operations carried on in a more slovenly, more stolid way than under
the Baden General-in-Chief Sigel, an ex-lieutenant of the regular
army. Everything was got into confusion, every good opportunity was
lost, every precious moment was loitered away with planning colossal,
but impracticable projects, until, when at last the talented Pole
Mieroslawski, took up the command, the army was disorganized, beaten,
dispirited, badly provided for, opposed to an enemy four times more
numerous, and withal, he could do nothing more than fight, at
Waghäusel, a glorious though unsuccessful battle, carry out a clever
retreat, offer a last hopeless fight under the walls of Rastatt, and
resign. As in every insurrectionary war where armies are mixed of
well-drilled soldiers and raw levies, there was plenty of heroism, and
plenty of unsoldierlike, often unconceivable panic, in the
revolutionary army; but, imperfect as it could not but be, it had at
least the satisfaction that four times its number were not considered
sufficient to put it to the rout, and that a hundred thousand regular
troops, in a campaign against twenty thousand insurgents, treated
them, militarily, with as much respect as if they had to fight the Old
Guard of Napoleon.

In May the insurrection had broken out; by the middle of July, 1849,
it was entirely subdued and the first German Revolution was closed.

LONDON. (Undated.)



XIX.

THE CLOSE OF THE INSURRECTION.


                                          OCTOBER 23, 1852.

While the south and west of Germany was in open insurrection, and
while it took the Governments from the first opening of hostilities at
Dresden to the capitulation of Rastatt, rather more than ten weeks, to
stifle this final blazing up of the first German Revolution, the
National Assembly disappeared from the political theater without any
notice being taken of its exit.

We left this august body at Frankfort, perplexed by the insolent
attacks of the Governments upon its dignity, by the impotency and
treacherous listlessness of the Central Power it had itself created,
by the risings of the petty trading class for its defence, and of the
working class for a more revolutionary ultimate end. Desolation and
despair reigned supreme among its members; events had at once assumed
such a definite and decisive shape that in a few days the illusions of
these learned legislators as to their real power and influence were
entirely broken down. The Conservatives, at the signal given by the
Governments, had already retired from a body which, henceforth, could
not exist any longer, except in defiance of the constituted
authorities. The Liberals gave the matter up in utter discomfiture;
they, too, threw up their commissions as representatives. Honorable
gentlemen decamped by hundreds. From eight or nine hundred members the
number had dwindled down so rapidly that now one hundred and fifty,
and a few days after one hundred, were declared a quorum. And even
these were difficult to muster, although the whole of the Democratic
party remained.

The course to be followed by the remnants of a parliament was plain
enough. They had only to take their stand openly and decidedly with
the insurrection, to give it, thereby, whatever strength legality
could confer upon it, while they themselves at once acquired an army
for their own defence. They had to summon the Central Power to stop
all hostilities at once; and if, as could be foreseen, this power
neither could nor would do so, to depose it at once and put another
more energetic Government in its place. If insurgent troops could not
be brought to Frankfort (which, in the beginning, when the State
Governments were little prepared and still hesitating, might have been
easily done), then the Assembly could have adjourned at once to the
very center of the insurgent district. All this done at once, and
resolutely, not later than the middle or end of May, might have opened
chances both for the insurrection and for the National Assembly.

But such a determined course was not to be expected from the
representatives of German shopocracy. These aspiring statesmen were
not at all freed from their illusions. Those members who had lost
their fatal belief in the strength and inviolability of the Parliament
had already taken to their heels; the Democrats who remained, were not
so easily induced to give up dreams of power and greatness which they
had cherished for a twelvemonth. True to the course they had hitherto
pursued, they shrank back from decisive action until every chance of
success, nay, every chance to succumb, with at least the honors of
war, had passed away. In order, then, to develop a fictitious,
busy-body sort of activity, the sheer impotency of which, coupled with
its high pretension, could not but excite pity and ridicule, they
continued insinuating resolutions, addresses, and requests to an
Imperial Lieutenant, who not even noticed them; to ministers who were
in open league with the enemy. And when at last William Wolff, member
for Striegan, one of the editors of the _New Rhenish Gazette_, the
only really revolutionary man in the whole Assembly, told them that if
they meant what they said, they had better give over talking, and
declare the Imperial Lieutenant, the chief traitor to the country, an
outlaw at once; then the entire compressed virtuous indignation of
these parliamentary gentlemen burst out with an energy which they
never found when the Government heaped insult after insult upon them.

Of course, for Wolff's proposition was the first sensible word spoken
within the walls of St. Paul's Church; of course, for it was the very
thing that was to be done, and such plain language going so direct to
the purpose, could not but insult a set of sentimentalists, who were
resolute in nothing but irresolution, and who, too cowardly to act,
had once for all made up their minds that in doing nothing, they were
doing exactly what was to be done. Every word which cleared up, like
lightning, the infatuated, but intentional nebulosity of their minds,
every hint that was adapted to lead them out of the labyrinth where
they obstinated themselves to take up as lasting an abode as possible,
every clear conception of matters as they actually stood, was, of
course, a crime against the majesty of this Sovereign Assembly.

Shortly after the position of the honorable gentlemen in Frankfort
became untenable, in spite of resolutions, appeals, interpellations,
and proclamations, they retreated, but not into the insurgent
districts; that would have been too resolute a step. They went to
Stuttgart, where the Würtemberg Government kept up a sort of
expectative neutrality. There, at last, they declared the Lieutenant
of the Empire to have forfeited his power, and elected from their own
body a Regency of five. This Regency at once proceeded to pass a
Militia law, which was actually in all due force sent to all the
Governments of Germany.

They, the very enemies of the Assembly, were ordered to levy forces in
its defence! Then there was created--on paper, of course--an army for
the defence of the National Assembly. Divisions, brigades, regiments,
batteries, everything was regulated and ordained. Nothing was wanted
but reality, for that army, of course, was never called into
existence.

One last scheme offered itself to the General Assembly. The Democratic
population from all parts of the country sent deputations to place
itself at the disposal of the Parliament, and to urge it on to a
decisive action. The people, knowing what the intentions of the
Würtemberg Government were, implored the National Assembly to force
that Government into an open and active participation with their
insurgent neighbors. But no. The National Assembly, in going to
Stuttgart, had delivered itself up to the tender mercies of the
Würtemberg Government. The members knew it, and repressed the
agitation among the people. They thus lost the last remnant of
influence which they might yet have retained. They earned the contempt
they deserved, and the Imperial Lieutenant put a stop to the
Democratic farce by shutting up, on the 18th of June, 1849, the room
where the Parliament met, and by ordering the members of the Regency
to leave the country.

Next they went to Baden, into the camp of the insurrection; but there
they were now useless. Nobody noticed them. The Regency, however, in
the name of the Sovereign German people, continued to save the country
by its exertions. It made an attempt to get recognized by foreign
powers, by delivering _passports_ to anybody who would accept of them.
It issued proclamations, and sent commissioners to insurge those very
districts of Würtemberg whose active assistance it had refused when it
was yet time; of course, without effect. We have now under our eye an
original report, sent to the Regency by one of these commissioners,
Herr Roesler (member for Oels), the contents of which are rather
characteristic. It is dated, Stuttgart, June 30, 1849. After
describing the adventures of half a dozen of these commissioners in a
resultless search for cash, he gives a series of excuses for not
having yet gone to his post, and then delivers himself of a most
weighty argument respecting possible differences between Prussia,
Austria, Bavaria, and Würtemberg, with their possible consequences.
After having fully considered this, he comes, however, to the
conclusion that there is no more chance. Next, he proposes to
establish relays of trustworthy men for the conveyance of
intelligence, and a system of espionage as to the intentions of the
Würtemberg Ministry and the movements of the troops. This letter never
reached its address, for when it was written the "Regency" had already
passed entirely into the "foreign department," viz., Switzerland; and
while poor Herr Roesler troubled his head about the intentions of the
formidable ministry of a sixth-rate kingdom, a hundred thousand
Prussian, Bavarian, and Hessian soldiers had already settled the whole
affair in the last battle under the walls of Rastatt.

Thus vanished the German Parliament, and with it the first and last
creation of the Revolution. Its convocation had been the first
evidence that there actually _had been_ a revolution in January; and
it existed as long as this, the first modern German Revolution, was
not yet brought to a close. Chosen under the influence of the
capitalist class by a dismembered, scattered, rural population, for
the most part only awaking from the dumbness of feudalism, this
Parliament served to bring in one body upon the political arena all
the great popular names of 1820-1848, and then to utterly ruin them.
All the celebrities of middle class Liberalism were here collected.
The bourgeoisie expected wonders; it earned shame for itself and its
representatives. The industrial and commercial capitalist class were
more severely defeated in Germany than in any other country; they were
first worsted, broken, expelled from office in every individual State
of Germany, and then put to rout, disgraced and hooted in the Central
German Parliament. Political Liberalism, the rule of the bourgeoisie,
be it under a Monarchical or Republican form of government, is forever
impossible in Germany.

In the latter period of its existence, the German Parliament served to
disgrace forever that section which had ever since March, 1848, headed
the official opposition, the Democrats representing the interests of
the small trading, and partially of the farming class. That class was,
in May and June, 1849, given a chance to show its means of forming a
stable Government in Germany. We have seen how it failed; not so much
by adverse circumstances as by the actual and continued cowardice in
all trying movements that had occurred since the outbreak of the
revolution; by showing in politics the same shortsighted,
pusillanimous, wavering spirit, which is characteristic of its
commercial operations. In May, 1849, it had, by this course, lost the
confidence of the real fighting mass of all European insurrections,
the working class. But yet, it had a fair chance. The German
Parliament belonged to it, exclusively, after the Reactionists and
Liberals had withdrawn. The rural population was in its favor.
Two-thirds of the armies of the smaller States, one-third of the
Prussian army, the majority of the Prussian Landwehr (reserve or
militia), were ready to join it, if it only acted resolutely, and with
that courage which is the result of a clear insight into the state of
things. But the politicians who led on this class were not more
clear-sighted than the host of petty tradesmen which followed them.
They proved even to be more infatuated, more ardently attached to
delusions voluntarily kept up, more credulous, more incapable of
resolutely dealing with facts than the Liberals. Their political
importance, too, is reduced below the freezing-point. But not having
actually carried their commonplace principles into execution, they
were, under _very_ favorable circumstances, capable of a momentary
resurrection, when this last hope was taken from them, just as it was
taken from their colleagues of the "pure Democracy" in France by the
_coup d'état_ of Louis Bonaparte.

The defeat of the south-west German insurrection, and the dispersion
of the German Parliament, bring the history of the first German
insurrection to a close. We have now to cast a parting glance upon the
victorious members of the counter-revolutionary alliance; we shall do
this in our next letter.[10]

LONDON, September 24, 1852.

FOOTNOTES:

[10] After repeated search I have been unable to find the "next
letter" referred to in the above paragraph; and, if it was ever
written, there seems no doubt it was never published.--E. M. A.



XX.

THE LATE TRIAL AT COLOGNE.


                                          DECEMBER 22, 1852.

You will have ere this received by the European papers numerous
reports of the Communist Monster Trial at Cologne, Prussia, and of its
result. But as none of the reports is anything like a faithful
statement of the facts, and as these facts throw a glaring light upon
the political means by which the continent of Europe is kept in
bondage, I consider it necessary to revert to this trial.

The Communist or Proletarian party, as well as other parties, had
lost, by suppression of the rights of association and meeting, the
means of giving to itself a legal organization on the Continent. Its
leaders, besides, had been exiled from their countries. But no
political party can exist without an organization; and that
organization which both the Liberal bourgeois and the Democratic
shopkeeping class were enabled more or less to supply by the social
station, advantages, and long-established, every-day intercourse of
their members, the proletarian class, without such social station and
pecuniary means, was necessarily compelled to seek in secret
association. Hence, both in France and Germany, sprung up those
numerous secret Societies which have, ever since 1849, one after
another, been discovered by the police, and prosecuted as
conspiracies; but if many of them were really conspiracies, formed
with the actual intention of upsetting the Government for the time
being,--and he is a coward that under certain circumstances would not
conspire, just as he is a fool who, under other circumstances, would
do so;--there were some other Societies which were formed with a wider
and more elevated purpose, which knew that the upsetting of an
existing Government was but a passing stage in the great impending
struggle, and which intended to keep together and to prepare the
party, whose nucleus they formed, for the last decisive combat which
must, one day or another, crush forever in Europe the domination, not
of mere "tyrants," "despots" and "usurpers," but of a power far
superior, and far more formidable than theirs; that of capital over
labor.

The organization of the advanced Communist party in Germany was of
this kind. In accordance with the principles of the "Manifesto"[11]
(published in 1848), and with those explained in the series of
articles on "Revolution and Counter-Revolution in Germany," published
in the _New York Daily Tribune_, this party never imagined itself
capable of producing, at any time and at its pleasure, that revolution
which was to carry its ideas into practice. It studied the causes that
had produced the revolutionary movement in 1848, and the causes that
made them fail. Recognizing the social antagonism of classes at the
bottom of all political struggles, it applied itself to the study of
the conditions under which one class of society can and must be called
on to represent the whole of the interests of a nation, and thus
politically to rule over it. History showed to the Communist party
how, after the landed aristocracy of the Middle Ages, the monied power
of the first capitalists arose and seized the reins of Government;
how the social influence and political rule of this financial section
of capitalists was superseded by the rising strength since the
introduction of steam, of the manufacturing capitalists, and how at
the present moment two more classes claim their turn of domination,
the petty trading class and the industrial working class. The
practical revolutionary experience of 1848-1849 confirmed the
reasonings of theory, which led to the conclusion that the Democracy
of the petty traders must first have its turn, before the Communist
working class could hope to permanently establish itself in power and
destroy that system of wage-slavery which keeps it under the yoke of
the bourgeoisie. Thus the secret organization of the Communists could
not have the direct purpose of upsetting the present Governments of
Germany. Being formed to upset not these, but the insurrectionary
Government, which is sooner or later to follow them, its members
might, and certainly would, individually, lend an active hand to a
revolutionary movement against the present _status quo_ in its turn;
but the preparation of such a movement, otherwise than by spreading of
Communist opinions by the masses, could not be an object of the
Association. So well was this foundation of the Society understood by
the majority of its members, that when the place-hunting ambition of
some tried to turn it into a conspiracy for making an extempore
revolution they were speedily turned out.

Now, according to no law upon the face of the earth, could such an
Association be called a plot, a conspiracy for purposes of high
treason. If it was a conspiracy, it was one against, not the existing
Government, but its probable successor. And the Prussian Government
was aware of it. That was the cause why the eleven defendants were
kept in solitary confinement during eighteen months, spent, on the
part of the authorities, in the strangest judicial feats. Imagine,
that after eight months' detention, the prisoners were remanded for
some months more, "there being no evidence of any crime against them!"
And when at last they were brought before a jury, there was not a
single overt act of a treasonable nature proved against them. And yet
they were convicted, and you will speedily see how.

One of the emissaries of the society was arrested in May, 1851, and
from documents found upon him, other arrests followed. A Prussian
police officer, a certain Stieber, was immediately ordered to trace
the ramifications, in London, of the pretended plot. He succeeded in
obtaining some papers connected with the above-mentioned seceders from
the society, who had, after being turned out, formed an actual
conspiracy in Paris and London. These papers were obtained by a double
crime. A man named Reuter was bribed to break open the writing-desk of
the secretary of the Society, and steal the papers therefrom. But that
was nothing yet. This theft led to the discovery and conviction of the
so-called Franco-German plot, in Paris, but it gave no clue as to the
great Communist Association. The Paris plot, we may as well here
observe, was under the direction of a few ambitious imbeciles and
political _chevaliers d'industrie_ in London, and of a formerly
convicted forger, then acting as a police spy in Paris; their dupes
made up, by rabid declamations and blood-thirsty rantings, for the
utter insignificance of their political existence.

The Prussian police, then, had to look out for fresh discoveries. They
established a regular office of secret police at the Prussian Embassy
in London. A police agent, Greif by name, held his odious vocation
under the title of an attaché to the Embassy--a step which should
suffice to put all Prussian embassies out of the pale of international
law, and which even the Austrians have not yet dared to take. Under
him worked a certain Fleury, a merchant in the city of London, a man
of some fortune and rather respectably connected, one of those low
creatures who do the basest actions from an innate inclination to
infamy. Another agent was a commercial clerk named Hirsch, who,
however, had already been denounced as a spy on his arrival. He
introduced himself into the society of some German Communist refugees
in London, and they, in order to obtain proofs of his real character,
admitted him for a short time. The proofs of his connection with the
police were very soon obtained, and Herr Hirsch, from that time,
absented himself. Although, however, he thus resigned all
opportunities of gaining the information he was paid to procure, he
was not inactive. From his retreat in Kensington, where he never met
one of the Communists in question, he manufactured every week
pretended reports of pretended sittings of a pretended Central
Committee of that very conspiracy which the Prussian police could not
get hold of. The contents of these reports were of the most absurd
nature; not a Christian name was correct, not a name correctly spelt,
not a single individual made to speak as he would be likely to speak.
His master, Fleury, assisted him in this forgery, and it is not yet
proved that "Attaché" Greif can wash his hands of these infamous
proceedings. The Prussian Government, incredible to say, took these
silly fabrications for gospel truth, and you may imagine what a
confusion such depositions created in the evidence brought before the
jury. When the trial came on, Herr Stieber, the already mentioned
police officer, got into the witness-box, swore to all these
absurdities, and, with no little self-complacency, maintained that he
had a secret agent in the very closest intimacy with those parties in
London who were considered the prime movers in this awful conspiracy.
This secret agent was very secret indeed, for he had hid his face for
eight months in Kensington, for fear he might actually see one of the
parties whose most secret thoughts, words and doings, he pretended to
report week after week.

Messrs. Hirsch and Fleury, however, had another invention in store.
They worked up the whole of the reports they had made into an
"original minute book" of the sittings of the Secret Supreme
Committee, whose existence was maintained by the Prussian police; and
Herr Stieber, finding that this book wondrously agreed with the
reports already received from the same parties, at once laid it before
the jury, declaring upon his oath that after serious examination, and
according to his fullest conviction, that book was genuine. It was
then that most of the absurdities reported by Hirsch were made public.
You may imagine the surprise of the pretended members of that Secret
Committee when they found things stated of them which they never knew
before. Some who were baptized William were here christened Louis or
Charles; others, at the time they were at the other end of England,
were made to have pronounced speeches in London; others were reported
to have read letters they never had received; they were made to have
met regularly on a Thursday, when they used to have a convivial
reunion, once a week, on Wednesdays; a working man, who could hardly
write, figured as one of the takers of minutes, and signed as such;
and they all of them were made to speak in a language which, if it may
be that of Prussian police stations, was certainly not that of a
reunion in which literary men, favorably known in their country,
formed the majority. And, to crown the whole, a receipt was forged for
a sum of money, pretended to have been paid by the fabricators to the
pretended secretary of the fictitious Central Committee for this book;
but the existence of this pretended secretary rested merely upon a
hoax that some malicious Communist had played upon the unfortunate
Hirsch.

This clumsy fabrication was too scandalous an affair not to produce
the contrary of its intended effect. Although the London friends of
the defendants were deprived of all means to bring the facts of the
case before the jury--although the letters they sent to the counsel
for the defence were suppressed by the post--although the documents
and affidavits they succeeded in getting into the hands of these legal
gentlemen were not admitted in evidence, yet the general indignation
was such that even the public accusers, nay, even Herr Stieber--whose
oath had been given as a guarantee for the authenticity of that
book--were compelled to recognize it as a forgery.

This forgery, however, was not the only thing of the kind of which the
police was guilty. Two or three more cases of the sort came out during
the trial. The documents stolen by Reuter were interpolated by the
police so as to disfigure their meaning. A paper, containing some
rabid nonsense, was written in a handwriting imitating that of Dr.
Marx, and for a time it was pretended that it had been written by him,
until at last the prosecution was obliged to acknowledge the forgery.
But for every police infamy that was proved as such, there were five
or six fresh ones brought forward, which could not, at the moment, be
unveiled, the defence being taken by surprise, the proofs having to be
got from London, and every correspondence of the counsel for the
defence with the London Communist refugees being in open court treated
as complicity in the alleged plot!

That Greif and Fleury are what they are here represented to be has
been stated by Herr Stieber himself, in his evidence; as to Hirsch, he
has before a London magistrate confessed that he forged the "minute
book," by order and with the assistance of Fleury, and then made his
escape from this country in order to evade a criminal prosecution.

The Government could stand few such branding disclosures as came to
light during the trial. It had a jury--six nobles, two Government
officials. These were not the men to look closely into the confused
mass of evidence heaped before them during six weeks, when they heard
it continually dinned into their ears that the defendants were the
chiefs of a dreadful Communist conspiracy, got up in order to subvert
everything sacred--property, family, religion, order, government and
law! And yet, had not the Government, at the same time, brought it to
the knowledge of the privileged classes, that an acquittal in this
trial would be the signal for the suppression of the jury; and that it
would be taken as a direct political demonstration--as a proof of the
middle-class Liberal Opposition being ready to unite even with the
most extreme revolutionists--the verdict would have been an acquittal.
As it was, the retroactive application of the new Prussian code
enabled the Government to have seven prisoners convicted, while four
merely were acquitted, and those convicted were sentenced to
imprisonment varying from three to six years, as you have, doubtless,
already stated at the time the news reached you.

LONDON, December 1, 1852.

FOOTNOTES:

[11] "The Manifesto." This is the celebrated "Communist Manifesto,"
which the Communist Congress, held in London, November, 1847,
delegated Marx and Engels to draw up. It was published in 1848 (in
London). The fundamental proposition of the Manifesto, Engels writes
in his introduction to the "Communist Manifesto," translated by S.
Moore, and published by W. Reeves, "is that in every historical epoch,
the prevailing mode of economic production and exchange, and the
social organization necessarily following from it, form the basis upon
which is built up, and from which alone can be explained, the
political and intellectual history of that epoch; that consequently
the whole history of mankind has been a history of class struggles,
contests between exploiting and exploited, ruling and oppressed
classes; that nowadays a stage has been reached where the exploited
and oppressed class--the proletariat--cannot attain its emancipation
... without at the same time, and once and for all emancipating
society at large from all exploitation, oppression, class
distinctions, and class struggles." As to this fundamental proposition
of the Manifesto, it "belongs," says Engels, "wholly and solely to
Marx." The "Communist Manifesto" has been translated into well-nigh
every language, and is, again to quote Engels, "the most international
production of all Socialist literature."





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