« PreviousContinue »
But the alarms of other powers will be excited, not so much against the treaty for an indemnity for the Polish provinces, as on the subject of the geographical situation of this indemnity, should it be given, so as that Prussia must pass through Saxony towards it. The only state which can possibly be interested in this question is Austria. May Divine Providence, who once more seenis disposed to promote the welfare of Germany, ward off every misunderstanding ! nay every distrust between Austria and Prussia !-But if, contrary to all hope, and in the face of all her political interests, Germany is doomed to witness an intestine war between her two chief states, Austria will not fail to observe, that the civil administration of Saxony lvy Prussia, gives her no advantage, in point of her • military positions, which she had not before.
Saxony, in consequence of her local situation, can be invaded by Prussia on the side of Halle, Berlin, Frankfort, and Glogau, far sooner than it can be occupied by Austria, as the history of all the wars since 1740 shows. All idea of neutrality being out of the question, Saxony will merely have the choice of serving against Austria as av ally, or as a vassal to Prussia.
The author of the publication entitled “ Saxony and Prussia," hazards the propositions, that the war which has just been ended has shown, that the occupier of Bohemia is master of the passes of the mountains on the side of Saxony; that the security of every future sovereign of Saxony requires, that he should also occupy the greater part of Bohemia in addition; that, if at any time, as can scarcely be denied, the former sovereigns of Saxony indulged any views of this kind, the above consideration must have intluenced them; that Prussia never could have thought of occupying Saxony, without at the same time laying claim to the greater part of Bohemia; and therefore, that the immediate wresting of Bohemia and Moravia from Austria, is evidently part of the policy of Prussia.
On the contrary, the following truths force themselves irresistibly upon the attention of all Europe:
1. That Bohemia, in consequence of her compact and regular situation-almost completely surrounded by a mountainous frontier -presenting throughout a complete whole, distinguished by a difference in character, language, customs and laws; and not, like Saxony herself, composed of several provinces, once independent --that Bohemia, in short, which has never been partitioned, so far as history informis us, exhibits one of the most insulated and naturally close compacted countries in all Europe.
2. That, on ihis account, no power will ever make any attempt to possess any separate portion; and that when Saxony (as in the years 1740 and 1813) evinced an intention of partitioning Bohemia, and thereby manifested views upon Moravia also, it was evident
5. That appendage Bohemia bers
how injurious to Austria this aggrandizement, on the part of Saxony, would eventually prove.
3. That Nature has drawn a strong and perpetual frontier, by means of an immense chain of mountains between Bohemia and Saxony.
4. That this chain of mountains has kept both nations so divided, that never can Bohemia be an appendage of Saxony, nor Saxony an appendage of Bohemia.
5. That the mountain passes between Bohemia and Saxony, like the difficult passes of the Alps, the Tyrol, and Carinthia, may have been gained by superiority in stratagem or numbers ; but that an irruption from Saxony into Bohemia has taken place as frequently as an irruption from Bohemia to Saxony, as is testified by the histories of the campaigns of 1741, 1756, 1757, 1778, and even 1813, when Vandamme was first checked at Kulm, after he had passed the high mountains.
6. That it may with equal truth and justice be maintained, that Austria must occupy Saxony, because Bohemia has often been invaded from Saxony, as that Prussia must have Bohemia, lest Saxony should be invaded from that country.
7. That no step whatever, taken by Prussia, has testified the slightest wish, on her part, to occupy Bohemia or Moravia, either in whole or in part; and therefore the assertion, that “ Prussia has even very plainly demanded from Austria the partition of these provinces," is a gross and unwarrantable falsehood.
The Saxons , undoubtedly, have a national character of their own; but certainly it is not so marked as that which to this day distinguishes the East Prussians, the Pomeranians, the Silesians, and the Westphalians; all which nations have been long happily united under the Prussian sceptre, as their attachment to that government has repeatedly manifested. The similarity of language, religious and moral habits, the literary associations, and the same branches of industry, unite the Saxons by far closer ties to the inhabitants of the Marches of Brandenburgh and the Silesians, than those which bind the inhabitants of large monarchies, in general, to each other.
The unity and indivisibility of France has been much spoken of; yet there is so great a difference of language in Provence, Gascony, and Bretagne, that the common people of these provinces can scarcely be understood by the lower classes around Paris. The difference in several traits of national character is still greater in all the other great states of Europe. In Saxony itself, the Erzegebürger, the Voigtländer, and the Thüringer, have peculiarities NO, IX.
. VOL. V.
which greatly distinguish them from the Meissner; whilst the inhabitants of the Lausitz, both in language and customs, are an entire different people from the German Saxons. All these provincial distinctions have not prevented the Saxons, properly so called, from considering themselves as a separate people. It clearly follows, therefore, that no bar exists, in this respect, to the annexation of Saxony to Prussia.
Besides, there is nothing in the character of the Prussian constitution which can prevent the inhabitants of different countries from displaying their national peculiarities, and keeping themselves as a distinct race, if they are so inclined, and yet partake of all the blessings of a free and tolerant government.
The Prussian Litthauer still speak their old language, wear their ancient dress, and are, nevertheless, at the same time, among the most loyal and stedfast subjects in the Prussian states. The Black Hussars, whose names have lived in history since the seven years' war, spring froin these Litthauer; and the brave regiments, which to the last moment never deserted tiie cause of Prussia, and at Eylau and Heilsberg in particular, made the issue of the battle doubtful, have for the most part their cantonments in the Littbauen, and in that part of Natangen in which the Polish dialect is spoken.
Silesia, Pomerania, East Friesland, Cleve, Bayreuth, and Anspach, have never ceased, under the Prussian government, to enjoy their own peculiar constitutions. Even at this moment, there are Prussian deputies at Berlin from all the different provinces of the monarchy, in order to take especial care that in her legislation all the peculiarities and privileges of the provinces shall be respected.
With all these facts before his eyes, the author of “ Saxony and Prussia” strives to convince the Saxon nation that although Prussia may pledge herself to maintain their ancient constitution, she will break her word the instant she is put in full possession. And yet this is the same Prussia who first, in the year 1807, abolished the feodal jurisdictions, and consequent servitude of the peasantry in her old states--and yet, so greatly is 'she libelled! the same Prussia will only flatter the higher orders, the more effectually to trample on the mass of the population !
The literature of Saxony, her system of education, and her industrious babits, are greatly respected in the Prussian states, as well as every where else. It would be the height of presumption in Prussia to claim a superiority over Saxony, or to set herself up, either as her instructor or her pattern, in these respects, and the Prussian government has never given occasion to any reflections upon its selfishness or yanity, for over-valuing the institutions of the country. But thus far may Prussia say, without presumption, that in several of her provinces, literature, science, and manufac. tures florish, and that the Saxons will, in this respect also, find iq
the Prussian states, many worthy coadjutors and competitors in the same honorable career.
Every account of the advantages which Saxony will acquire by her union with Prussia, will always appear extravagant, partial, and suspicious, so long as it is remembered, that not her own free will, but extraordinary circumstances, brought Saxony into the power of the Allies, and compelled Prussia to secure this part of their conquests as an indemnity for the loss of other countries. But so far a pledge may be given, that under Prussien sovereignty, the Saxons will find no impediment in preserving, cherishing, and exercising all the best and most respected privileges and peculiarities of their nation; that nothing can possibly prevent them from securing respect abroad, and peace at home, from tasting domestic comfort, with all the elegancies of social life, or from enjoying the blessings of the Christian religion in the spirit of toleration and peace, as inculcated by its divine author. T'he Saxon merchant and manufacturer will also find a ready and an unfettered market for his goods at Berlin, Frankfort, and Breslau, while Poland and East Prussia will be opened to him for their further transport'or sale.
The two peculiarities of the Prussian constitution, of which heavy and well-founded complaints were formerly made in other countries, consisted of the length and hardship of the military service, and the inexorable severity of the excise and custom regulations. But the liability to military service in the regular army is, by the law of the 3d of September last, limited to three years after attaining the age of twenty : besides, many provisions are made by the same law, for alleviating the burdens of the service to young persons of the genteeler classes of society, and the Prussian military service, by the inculcating of a high sense of honor and integrity, and putting an end to all corporal punishments, has become much milder than it ever was in Saxony. The Prussian soldier, in short, is now better fed, better clothed, and better educated, than the Saxon ever was.
With respect to the severities of the Excise and Custom-House, these have been gradually relaxed, and the finance laws of the 28th of October 1810, and 7th of September 1811, have laid the foundation of regulations in this respect, than which there cannot be milder in Europe, and the full execution of which has only been deferred by the uncertain circumstances of Prussia, and the wars in which she has been since plunged.
It is the privilege of misfortune to be respected; even the guilty wretch, who of his own free will has pursued, with undeviating ardor, the paths of the wicked, and slighted all the admonitions of virtue, has claims upon our humanity.
The King of Saxony, by his adherence to the cause of Napoleon, reduced the Allies to the necessity of making hiin prisoner in
Leipzig, and since that period he has been treated with all the respect which is due to a captive king. He has not been removed into a distant country, in the custody of guards-he is not vigilantly watched, nor has he been prevented from enjoying any of the comforts or luxuries of life : he lives in Berlin, close to his own country, he resides in the most splendid apartments in the royal palace, and is as free and uncontrouled in his manner of live ing and his pleasures as any prisoner ever was. Besides all this, there are no grounds for supposing that he will not be allowed an income or dotation, which will place him in the affluent circumstance of an illustrious prince of the Empire.
It cannot be said that the posterity of Jobn-Frederic, the present Dukes of Saxe-Weimar, Gotha, Meinungen, Hildsburghausen, and Koburg, are personally unfortunate, because they do not possess the lands and the electorates of their ancestor. As little also will the posterity of Frederic-Augustus be considered personally unfortunate, for receiving an income or dotation, since it places them precisely in the same circumstances in which their common ancestor placed their cousins.
With this proposal, however, which gives more than strict justice demands, and which ought to answer all the claims of an “unaffected” humanity, there are two parties who are not satisfied.
One party requires a complete restoration of Frederic-Augustus to all his hereditary possessions, so that he shall not lose a single village ; the other party admits that he has fairly lost a considerable part of his territory, and must abide by the consequences; it is considered absolutely necessary, however, to leave him the rest, and particularly Dresden, with its environs.
That the law of nations does not compel the Allies to replace ihe King of Saxony in full and undivided possession of his states, is beyond a doubt, as has been already shown. No appeal can be made for him except to the generosity of the Allies. People may be magnanimous towards the King of Saxony; but they must not display their magnanimity at the expense of Prussia or Germany.
Those who argue in this manner content themselves with giving to Prussia, not merely what universal justice adjudges to her, but what is even secured to her by solemn treaties ; that is to say, she is to be placed in a situation which, with respect to all political considerations, will leave her nearly as she stood before the unfortunate war of 1806; and they do all this to Prussia, which was never conquered, whose king was never made a prisoner, and who, besides, was one of the most distinguished contributors to the victories of the Allies—they merely give her back her possessions ; and if considerations of a higher nature prevent them even from doing this, they point out to her an indemnity beyond Saxouy,