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Political State of Germany in general.—Hanover.—Meeting of the Diet.-Important Reforms carried.—New Constitution formed for the Diet.—Wirtemberg.—Popular Principles of the King.—Assembly of the States.—Formation of a new Constitution.—Triumphal Reception of the King by his Subjects.-Bavaria.-First Meeting of the States General-Gracious Speech of the King.—Reduction of his Army.—Prussia.-Delay in the formation of a new Constitution.— Free spirit of the German Universities—Kotzebue appointed literary and political Agent of the Emperor of Russia-His Assassination. —General Alarm.—Proceedings of the Diet at Frankfort respecting the Universities.—Declaration of the Saron Princes.—Foreign Students quit Jena.-Attempt against M. Ibel.—Arrests and Examinations,—Secret Societies suspected.— Protestations against , the Measures of the Prussian Police.—No Plot detected in Prussia.— Coercive Measures of the Diet.—Central Commission at Mentz— Severities against popular Writers in Prussia.—Sandt transferred to Mentz-Persecutions of the Jews in many parts of Germany.— Strong Measures of the Conference of Carlsbad in their favour.
T. intimate union of the
the return of political tranquillity. It will be recollected, that this arduous liberation was achieved, not so much by the councils of princes, or by the disciplined valour of regular armies, as by the generous disdain of a foreign yoke which pervaded the whole population, and precipitated it in a mass upon its oppressor. In the enthusiasm of their joy and gratitude, most of the German sovereigns pledged themselves to recompense the exertions and the sacrifices of their people with the only gift worthy at once of the occasion and of the receivers, that of oolitical freedom: –In other words, they
promised to their subjects constitutions and a representative system. The boon, was eagerly claimed; and in all those countries where national councils were actually convoked, their proceedings exhibited a frank and bold spirit which recalls the ancient times of German liberty. In other states, where the formation of a constitution was delayed from time to time, and no summonses were issued, according to general expectation, for the meeting of national assemblies, the people, or at least the educated of the middling class, grew jealous, gloomy and perturbed; a fanaticism of hatred and revenge against the instruments of despotism took possession of many young and ardent minds, and in two instances broke out in deeds of blood. The German potentates became at once exasperated and alarmed; and the measures of chastisement and repression by which they have judged it necessary to encounter the revolutionary princi}: form the chief theme of istorical narrative for the period here treated, which we now proceed to survey more in detail. HANover.—The states of the kingdom of Hanover were assembled in the month of January, and immediately proceeded to recommend some very important reforms. Torture was abolished on their suggestion, and the regency consented to take into consideration their proposal for doing away the use of expurga. tory oaths in criminal cases. 'They presented a remonstrance against a decree forbidding actions to be instituted for the
payment of the arrears of interest of the royal chamber, declaring themselves ready to pay such arrears; a step which had the immediate effect of raising the value of the paper currency; all confidence in which had previously been lost in consequence of the above decree. The states also petitioned that the arm might be reduced from 30,000 to 17,000 men; and this suggestion, notwithstanding an unequivocal wish expressed from England to the contrary, was so far complied with, that the standing force was finally fixed at 20,000. The next great question debated was : — whether the nobles should share in the liability of the third estate to contribute to the public burthens? The deputies of the mobility, apprehensive on this occasion of being outvoted, sought to evade a decision by quitting the chamber; the deputies of the third estate alone not amounting to 52, the number o necessary for dispatch of business: but this stratagem was defeated by one of the deputies of the § estate, who, placing his back against the door, detained the 52nd member till the proposition was carried in the affirmative. The prince regent (his royal highness the duke of Cambridge), obtained the thanks of the chamber by declaring that all the estates under the administration of the chamber of convents, should in future be separated from the civil list, and applied exclusively to the support of schools and churches. The chamber, however, expressed a wish that these estates should be placed under its superintendence,
dence, and that accounts of the employment of their revenue should be annually presented to it. Near the close of the session, in April, a message was read from the regent stating, “That it is not the plan to make great changes in the constitution, according to which the states have the right to grant taxes, and to share in the legislation; partly because experience has shown the utility of this ancient constitution of the country, and partly because constitutions introduced upon merely theoretical principles will never be so advantageous as those which have been gradually formed according to the wants of the state.” The following sketch has been given of the most important rules according to which the representative assemblies of Hanover will in future be constituted. In the second chamber will be the members of the board of taxes who are not noble; 3 deputies from the administration of ecclesiastical property; the deputies of the smaller abbeys; one deputy from the university of Gottingen; 29 from the cities; and 22 from the possessors of free estates who do not belong to the equestrian order. The hereditary land-marshal (and in his absence the president of the chief board of taxes), presides over the united chambers. Each chamber proposes three of its members, from whom the sovereign selects one to be its president. . The diet meets every year; the members are elected for 6 years, but may be re-elected: no persons will ever be admitted to hear the debates.
The propositions from the sovereign are to be addressed to both chambers: if their decisions do not agree, an union is to be attempted thy a commission chosen by both, to which commissioners from the sovereign may be added, to promote an agreement. It is necessary, in ropositions from the state that
§. chambers should agree. In November, the provincial assemblies met to elect deputies to the general diet of the kingdom; which sat on Dec. 28th for the first time in its new form as
Wirtemberg.—The sovereign of this on leans to popular principles, and in the struggle between the privileged orders and the citizens at large of which his country has been the scene, has evidently taken part with the latter. The states-general assembled at Stutgard in January; and prince Paul, the king's brother, whose property had long been sequestered, whilst he himself lived in a kind of banishment at Paris, received a notification that his revenues would be restored, and that he was expected to appear at the opening of the diet in quality of heir apparent. It seems that the pretensions of the mediatised princes and nobility, who lately held directly of the empire, opposed some obstacles to the reconvocation of the states; and the king appointed a commission to treat with them respecting their claims. They did not at first evince a very tractable spirit; but the perseverance of the king surmounted all difficulties; and in September, the plan of a constitution was accepted cepted by the representative assembly with few or no modifications. The king soon after repaired to Warsaw, to meet the emperor of Russia, and was successful in obtaining his powerful guarantee for the new constitution; which was now understood to be secured from the interference of the greater powers of Germany. A well earned triumph awaited his return to Stutgard. Two obelisks were erected by the magistrates, inscribed, “To the defender of the country.” “To the father of his people.” The citizens drew his carriage into the city with shouts of “Long live the king !” and an altar was erected before the palace with suitable inscriptions. The king received these testimonies of attachment with the most frank and cordial expressions of corresponding sentiments; and shaking hands with the first burgomaster, bade him tell all faithful citizens that he would gladly do the same to each of them. The king of Bavaria had granted a constitutional charter to his subjects in May, 1818; but the states-general were not convoked for the first time till February in this year. The king, in his speech from the throne, warmly expressed his satisfaction in having at length attained the object of his constant wishes during a reign of 20 years; the establishment of a constitution calculated to promote the happiness of his people. He declared, that in such an assembly as that before him, he beheld a support to his throne and a blessing to his people; and ended by drawing a lively picture of the tranquillity
and union which pervaded his country. This union was, at a later period of the session, somewhat disturbed by a difference between the king and the states respecting army-estimates. It ended in the rejection by a great majority of the deputies of a proposed augmentation of taxes for the support of the troops; and the king has probably been compelled, in consequence, to reduce his military establishment. Such was the situation of the principal among the secondary powers of Germany in the early part of the year: In the meantime, little progress appeared to be made in the formation of a constitution for Prussia; no representative body was there summoned to deliberate on the state of the nation; and circumstances soon occurred in another quarter which, by casting an odium on the supporters of democratical principles, appeared likely to oppose a formidable and permanent barrier to the further extension
of popular privileges. The ardent spirit of liberty which, since the late war, in which they had taken an active part, had prevailed among the professors and students of the German universities, had for some time attracted the jealous notice of more than one of the great continental potentates. It became an object of importance in the opinion of the emperor of Russia, to receive frequent intelligence of their motions, and generally, of the state of public opinion, of morals, and of literature in Germany. For this purpose, he engaged the noted dramatic writer Kotzebue, long attached attached to the Russian service, but now returned to his native country, to become his official correspondent and to transmit to him full and frequent reports of all that was passing. In the performance of this office, M. Kotzebue had provoked the vehement resentment of the students, who accused him of calumniating the principles and designs of his countrymen to a foreign potentate, whose interference they naturally regarded with as much indignation as alarm.—Apprised of their hostility and dreading its effects, M. Kotzebue was preparing, it is said, to quit Manheim and return to Russia, when a young fanatic named Sandt, a theological student of Jena, obtained admission to him on pretence of delivering letters, and stabbed him to the heart. Having thus completed his purpose, the assassin walked calmly into the street, and falling on his knees, with his hands raised to heaven, exclaimed; “Vivat Teutonia!” and plunged a dagger in his bosom. He was instantly seized, and the wound not proving mortal, was conveyed to prison and strictly guarded. This catas. trophe inspired general consternation in the German courts; it was regarded as the work not of a solitary enthusiast but of a body, a tremendous association, bound together by secret ties and sworn to pursue the accomplishment of its political objects through all crimes andall dangers. Diligentinvestigations were every where set on foot, in which the Prussian government took the Jead. The general diet, then
sitting at Frankfort held, it is said, several secret deliberations on the means of restricting the universities to their true objects, on which subject M. Von Henrich, minister of the ducal and grand ducal houses of Saxony, was instructed to make the following declaration to the diet:— “The erroneous opinions on the present state of the German universities which have been recently expressed in writings, in some sense official ; the attacks made against the institutions existing in these bodies, particularly at Jena; and the importance of deliberating on the changes useful to be introduced into establishments of learning destined to form the youth of Germany, have determined his royal highness the grand duke of Saxe-WeimarEisenach, and his highness the duke of Saxe-Gotha and Altenburg, to bring the subject before the diet, and to order the following declaration, which contains their opinion on this subject, to be inserted in the protocol:— “ 1. The state of the German universities is an object of general interest to all the governments of Germany, and on this account ought to be submitted to the deliberation of the diet. “2. Their royalandserenehighnesses will cheerfully lend their aid to bring about a general agreement on certain principles of academical discipline, and will support all measures useful and practicable for facilitating the direction of the interior government of the universities. Thus impressed, they have seen with pleasure that the university of Jena considers itself as forming a member