« PreviousContinue »
his electorate, and all his territories, to the ancestor of the present King of Saxony, who was merely obliged to allow the deposed prince an income for life of fifty thousand guilders. It has indeed been alleged that the territories and electorate of the Ernestine branch fell into the hands of Duke Maurice, not as a conquest, but as a tief of the empire, which was forfeited by John Frederick, in consequence of his rebellion against the Emperor. But Maurice himself could not have entertained the opinion that the Emperor was justified in treating the privces of the empire who made war against him, as rebels ; for the same Maurice, without any ceremony, a few years afterwards, fell so suddenly upon this very Emperor, to whom he was indebted for his electorate, that the latter escaped being taken prisoner with great difficulty.
So far, then, from there being many precedents for restoring territories taken in lawful warfare, or for replacing on the throne a prince who has been taken prisoner; it even requires some proof to demonstrate that he has a right even to solicit such boons from the magnanimity of his conqueror.
In almost every case, in which conquered countries have been in whole or in part restored, and the defeated or captive prince again seated on the throne, there were far different political grounds for the restitution. In very rare cases only, and at a time when the greater part of all civilized states enter upon a new system, is it possible that the accession of power which one state receives by the incorporation of another, by cession or otherwise, can be brought about without the jealousy of all Europe being awakened. Frequently, also, there are obstacles arising from the internal governinent of the conquered states, which make it impossible to retain them. .
Whether such grounds exist as reasons for the redintegration of the independence of Saxony, and the restoration of her princes, shall be shown in the sequel.
Let us now be permitted to take a review of the conduct of Prussia towards Saxony, from the period of the battle of Leipzig to October, 1814.
It appeared very natural, for two forcible reasons, that Prussia, immediately after the conquest of Saxony, should take upon her the future administration of that country, until its fate should be decided. The Prussian frontiers begird more than the half of Saxony, from Eisleben to Zittau. Berlin, the centre of the Prussian government, is situated only four miles from the Saxon frontier. Saxony, therefore, affords the natural head-quarters for Prus
sia in all wars upon her western frontiers, as it was the natural head-qtarters of France against Prussia in the years 1806 and 1813. If, then, the administration of the conquered provinces has been so managed as to facilitate to the greatest possible degree the prosecution of the war against France, undoubtedly the administration of Saxony belongs to Prussia. · The least that Prussia can expect for her indemnification is the restoration of full possession of the provinces taken from her by Napoleon. The equity of this position cannot be called in question by those who are already once more in possession of the States which they had after the Treaty of Luneville ; still less by those who have since that time received several remarkable additions, and least of all by France herself, who in a separate article of the Treaty of Paris, has annulled all the treaties between her and Prussia, by which the latter lost her territories, even including the Treaty of Basle, by which the provinces beyond the Rhine were ceded.
INHABITANTS. Prussia by the Treaty of Tilsit ceded, in addition to
several German provinces, including Dantzic, part of the Netzdistickts, with .
. . . . . . . . 169,000 The Kulm and Michelauschen Circle of West Prussia,
without Graudentz . . . . . . . . . . . 12,000 New East Prussia, with .......... 877,000 South Prussia, with . . . . . . . . . . . 1,420,000 And in consequence of a new declaration being wrung
from her of the terms of the above Treaty, New Silesia also, with . . . . . . . . . . 72,000
New si her orquence of
In all .. : 2,644,000 These provinces were united to the most conveniently situated possessions of the Prussian States. They completed her arrondissement towards the East, because they filled up the deep indented corner between East Prussia and Silesia, and thus made her territories more compact.
By the course of the rivers and highways, Konigsburg, Elbing, Dantzic, Stettin, Berlin, and Breslau, are the natural landmarks of this large district. Its raw products underwent manipulation, and became objects of commerce in the old States, which, in return, found in the new, markets for their manufactures and foreign importations. The capital employed by the rich trading provinces, found a very easy and advantageous circulation in a grateful and populous soil, where money and industry alone were wanting to double its produce.
These extensive provinces are not at this moment (December,
1814) restored to Prussia. Their administration is even so much at variance with the interests of Prussia, that the prohibitions of the Prussian trade, and the exclusion of the Prussian navigation from the Bromberg canal, which weré adopted by the former government of the Duchy of Warsaw, are still in full force.
The public is not yet acquainted with the future destiny of those countries : decrees and ordinances only have appeared, which show that the greater part will never again return under the Prussian government.
There cannot be a doubt, therefore, that if Prussia-should find it necessary to sacrifice the greater part of these provinces for the repose of Europe, she cannot be expected to do so without receiving an ample compensation. This indemnity she cannot accept in far distant provinces, selected from among the conquests of the Allies on the left bank of the Rhine, hundreds of miles from the metropolis of her states. All the countries which she might thus be called upon to occupy have commercial and manufacturing interests of their own, which are totally at variance with those of her old provinces. A mutual competition of industry which should unite both for their common advantage can scarcely be expected to spread so far. The revenues and population of these countries were never sufficient for their defence: and too remote to strengthen the parent state, they could only in time of war divide and weaken her forces. Should Prussia at any time find herself inclined to occupy possessions in these distant parts, no particular advantage, but the general interests of Germany alone can induce her. In that case the German confederation will have a powerful draw, back upon their future security, for Prussia may be eventually compelled to defend a few isolated provinces, and at the same time to come first in contact with her main army, with every enemy who shall threaten Germany in the West.
Saxony alone, of all the conquests of the Allies, can furnish Prussia with a fair and moderate indemnity for her Polish provinces. Saxony has scarcely three-fourths of their population : she cannot interrupt the natural intercourse between agricultural and manufacturing provinces dealing in the produce of Silesia and the Marches, because she has almost the very same wants and habitudes. Still less can she interfere with the commercial advantages of Konigsberg, Elbing, Dantzic, and even Breslau, which the vicinity of so great a part of Poland furnish.
But Saxony will give to the Prussian States an arrondissement on the Western side, which will indemnify her for whatever, by this arrangement, she may lose in the East; nor is there any thing to hinder the Saxons from becoming as faithful subjects of the Prussian States as the Silesians have long been. Then will the high degree of intellectual cultivation of the enlightened Saxon nation become one of the most powerful supports of a monarchy, whose strength is founded, far less upon an extensive territory or a numerous population, than upon the moral superiority of its subjects.
By all these arrangements Prussia will administer the Saxon states upon the principle of being entitled to them as a suitable equivalent for her Polish provinces, precisely in the same way as Bavaria took possession of Wartzburg and Aschaffenburgh as indemnities for the Tyrol. • Nevertheless, it is completely understood by the Allies, and also by Prussia herself, that Saxony was under the administration of a Russian governor from the battle of Leipzig to 1814. Prussia so little thought of deriving any advantage from this, their common conquest, that all the restrictions upon trade and produce which existed in Saxony against Prussia—the Furstenberg toll on the Oder-the independence of the insulated Saxon estates--all that could be hurtful to Prussia from such complicated frontiers and arrangements, remain as entire as if the Saxon government had never ceased to exist for a moment. Barly and Gommern alone, which had been long since added, by Saxony, to the kingdom of Westphalia, were taken possession of by Prussia, not as, Saxon, but as Westphalian territories. This is not the conduct of an insatiate conqueror.
If Prussia has at length taken upon herself the temporary administration of Sasony, and if it appears probable that she will make a claim to the permanent occupation of that country, the very manner of her proceeding forcibly intimates that Prussia did not commence or carry on the war with a view to aggrandize herself at the expense of Saxony; and that nothing like the lust of conquest or aggrandizement, but merely the necessity of securing a suitable compensation for her Polish provinces, is the cause of her present occupation of Saxony.
But it is soniewhat curious to know that the idea of union between Saxony and Prussia was entertained long before Prussia declared her intentions to the public by any step' whatever. This anion was generally expected, and even produced a considerable trade in pamphlets, wherein the arguments on both sides of the question were discussed with candor and judgment. Even the libel, entitled “Saxony and Prussia," was in the hands of the public before Prussia occupied Saxony. ! i To guard every person, however, against receiving any impressons from this shameful production, it is perhaps only necessary to
say, that Prussia, since she began her administration, has been obliged to advance several sums from the finances of her ancient sta tes, to pay the arrears of the public debt of Saxony.
Reasons for the restoration, for the independence of Saxonyreasons, in particular, against her union with Prussia, have been collected, partly from the relations of Saxony with other states, and partly from the national habits and peculiarities of the Saxons themselves.
If Saxony was merely a compensation to Prussia for the cession of the greater part of her Polish provinces, there would be no aggrandisement to Prussia by this equitable arrangement, and therefore no cause for jealousy of her growing power. The rank of Prussia in the last years of the war---the rank which it is probable she will hold in the next war, affords no ground for supposing that she will make a bad use of her power. Her conduct in the Bavarian succession war, in the Furstenbund, and the moderation with which she concluded the convention of Reichenbach in 1790, are proofs of her disposition.
The partition of Poland is next brought forward as a cause of complaint against Prussia, Poland had long ceased to be able to maintain her independence, and was in a state of internal disorganization long before the first partition of 1772. This is not the place to vindicate this partition, or the subsequent entire dismemberment of the Polish empire ; nor to ransack from the secret history of the last forty years, the various measures which have been taken against Poland; but it is notorious to all Europe that Prus*sia obtained the smallest and most uncultivated part of Poland ; and that she merely appropriated to herself those Polish provinces which must otherwise have fallen to the share of another powerful state, to her manifest disadvantage.
Whatever, in short, may be the general opinion as to the conduct of the other powers of Europe, the cheerful subinission and respectful loyalty with which Prussia has inspired her new subjects, as well as the steady attachment of her old provinces, are proofs of the excellence of her constitution. Hence it is evident, that it is neither the extension of territory, nor the riches of population, but above all a powerful national spirit and steadfast integrity, which contribute to mark out Prussia for the highest rank among the
powers of Europe ; nay, she wishes that the inhabitants themselves, · who are to become her subjects, may be so enlightened and so free, as to be able to check any immoral stretch of her power in future,