« AnteriorContinuar »
importance of consolidating this debt, carry its designs into effect, the goand paying the interest, but stated the vernment had last year been fain to impossibility of doing so without im- purchase a squadron from Russia. posing intolerable burdens on the peo- This feet set sail from Cronstadt in ple. In some mitigation of the evil, autumn, and after a long delay at Plyhowever, it was announced that the mouth, for the purpose of repairs, artales should be divided into consolida, rived at Cadiz on the 21st February. ted and non-consolidated ; and that part of it set sail on the 21st May, on the presentation of any amount, with 2500 men on board, to be conone-third should be placed to the for- veyed to Lima. The remainder was mer class, and the interest on it re- destined to defend the coasts against gularly paid ; while the remaining two the increasing strength of the Amerithirds were to be called common vales, can corsairs. The Emperor Alexanand the interest to be paid, or not, as der made afterwards a present of three the situation of the state and treasury additional frigates, which arrived in might allow.
the end of October. The stagnation of commerce was an A new model was this year given evil still more deeply felt by the nation. to the Spanish army, the numerical The state of the American colonies strength of which, reduced by various deprived it of that immense transit, circumstances, no longer bore any prowhich had at least raised Cadiz to a portion to the number of corps into commercial city of the first order; and which it was divided. It was now the government, ignorant of any reme. formed into forty-nine regiments of dies which were not found in its old infantry, two of which were guards, system of restriction and prohibition, twenty-two of cavalry, and a corps of continued daily to aggravate the evil 5000 artillery. The whole was exby the remedies attempted. At length, pected to compose an effective force there was felt an absolute necessity of of 65 or 70,000 men; besides which, admitting some alleviation of this ab- there were to be forty-three regiments surd system. By a decree of the 30th of provincial militia, commanded by March, which however did not come the officers thus thrown out of the re. into execution till the 15th July, St gular army. Ander, Corrunna, Cadiz, and Alicant, In Germany, public attention was were, under certain restrictions, de- very strongly turned to the deliberaclared free ports, in which goods tions of the diet, a body whose place could be deposited without the pay- in the empire had long been nominal, ment of duty. Although this con- but to which the great powers now cession was very inadequate to the sought to restore some portion of its existing evil, it nevertheless afforded former weight. The main object of some relief.
this plan was a defensive arrangement, The only activity displayed by the which might consolidate the strength Spanish government during this year of this great country against any was in fitting out the expedition at power attempting to reimpose on it Cadiz; a measure to which the pride the yoke under which it had recently of the monarchy imperiously prompt- groaned. Austria, as the power of ed, and which was incessantly called the greatest importance, took the lead, for by the merchants of Cadiz, as the and, on the 9th January, presented, only hope of restoring their ancient through its minister, the plan of a prosperity. So deficient, however, was federal army. The members of the the Spanish navy, that in order to diet, however, demanded an interval
to communicate with their respective freedom of the interior trade of Gercourts on so important a subject. In many, and for relieving it from those these references, in the discussion of heavy duties and prohibitions which different articles, and of the data on obstructed the passage of goods from which they were to proceed, the deli- one to another of the numerous petty berations were protracted till the 12h states. This principle had even been October, when the basis of the new recognized at the congress of Vienna ; organization were definitively agreed but whenit came to be put into practice, upon between the great powers, and numerous obstacles arose. The princes presented to the diet by the presin retorted on each other the charge of dent. In this project, the population mutual prohibitory laws, and none of the empire was estimated, accord- were willing to set the first example ing to the most recent inquiries, at of a change. The diet, after some 30,094,000 men, of which Austria af- ineffectual efforts, finally contented forded upwards of nine millions, and themselves with transmitting the ad. Prussia somewhat less than eight. dresses presented to the parties conThe federal army was to be one in cerned, to be regarded by them or the hundred of the population, af. not, as their inclination might direct. fording thus a numerical strength of Some motions were made in the 300,000 men. A reserve of half that diet respecting the liberty of the press, amount was to be maintained, and to and the establishment of a general be called into service whenever the copy-right law through Germany ; active army should have marched; but they never arrived at any specific but the reserve of each state was to project upon either of these points. remain within its own territory till The Germans were not even without the enemy should actually have passed some faint hopes, that the representathe frontier. A sixth part of the tive system, for which they so ardenttroops was to consist of cavalry, and ly longed, might be generally estathe artillery was to be in the propor. blished under the auspices of the diet. tion of two pieces for every thousand The princes even made solemn promen. The army was to be divided fessions to that assembly upon this into seven corps, and in time of war subject, which, through it, were trans. was to be placed under the command mitted to the public, but when speof a generalissimo chosen by the diet, cified plans came to be agitated, each whose place, in time of peace, was to sovereign expressed his determination be supplied by a lieutenant-general. to make a particular communication Immediate steps were taken for put on the subject. He thus reserved ting the confederation in possession to himself the power of framing a : of the fortresses, which were to form constitution which corresponded best the grand barrier line against France. with his own views, or of evading the The principal of these on the Rhine measure altogether, if he should so were Mentz, Luxemburgh, Landau, incline. and Germersheim ; while a general Meantime, a considerable step was depot and place of arms was to be taken, during this year, towards the established 'at Ulm. To fulfil these establishment of a representative go. objects, a large amount of the French vernment. Those states, which had war contribution was placed in the obtained a remarkable augmentation treasury of the confederation.
in consequence of the French RevoluHopes were entertained that the tion and conquests, were generally not diet might effect something for the unwilling to attach their extended po.
pulation by the grant of privileges, for from assembling the States, the taxes which, in common with the Germans, then levying are continued, not till they so ardently longed. So early as
So early as the first meeting of the States, but for 1808, liberal views had been announ- another entire six years ; a most preced by the Bavarian government; but posterous arrangement, which puts it these were so foreign to those acted in the power of any king, by a little upon by Napoleon, and imposed by management, to render the existing him upon all his subject states, that taxes permanent. while Bavaria continued his vassal, Upon the whole, however, viewing no approach could be made towards the state of the public mind in Europe their fulfilment. When, however, the and in Germany, we are not much great Revolution restored this country afraid, that a popular assembly once to the rank of an independent state, existing, and supported by public the King began to shew a disposition to opinion, will not insensibly work its ameliorate the condition of his subjects. way to a measure of power sufficient In April 1818, he caused the corvees, to render its operations effective. or statutory labour on the roads, to be A considerable agitation arose this commuted for a local tax. These and si- year in the south of Germany, in milar measures fully prepared the pub- consequence of disputes between Ba. lic mind for the promulgation of the varia and Baden. According to a se. new constitution, which took place on cret article of the treaty of Paris, the the 26th of May, being the birth-day former power, in consideration of terof the sovereign. The King, by thus ritories restored to Austria, was to spontaneously giving a constitution to receive several of the provinces behis subjects, secured the advantage, longing to Baden. Three years elapwhich the other states of Europe sed, however, without any steps being have lost and are losing. He did taken in consequence of this agreeit with a good grace, and provided ment. At length, it became generally it was not altogether illusory, might understood and believed, that the time calculate on the gratitude of his people. was approaching, when a public notiWhat was of greater importance, he re. fication would be made on the subtained in his hands the power of dic. ject. The Grand Duke of Baden tating what the constitution should judged it prudent to elicit an explabe; he could surround the throne with nation before the allied powers should every guard which appeared to him have finally committed themselves. indispensable. Of these advantages, He expressed his astonishment, after he seems to have availed himself some. the sacrifices made by him in the last what too amply ; so that his consti- great struggle of Germany, to see tution bears very unequivocal marks some of his finest provinces seized by of its regal origin. Five-eighths of the his own allies, and by states which deputies are elected by the landed had declared in the face of the world, proprietors ; one-fourth only by the that they had taken up arms solely towns and cities, the remaining eighth to overthrow illegitimate power, and by the clergy. The King is obliged introduce into Europe a political systo assemble the States only once in tem, resting on the basis of morality. three years, and the session ought He declared his resolution, if such not to last beyond two months. The articles were attempted to be execubudget is voted for six years, and if, ted, of repelling force by force, and by any external and extraordinary of appealing to the general opinion of circumstances, the King is prevented the world. The King of Bavaria returned an evasive answer, in which, influence the constitution of 1818 had however, the existence of the stipula- been rejected ; on the other were both tions in question was clearly implied. King and people, who joined in wishThe publication of this correspondence ing, that the influence of the feudal excited a strong sensation throughout bodies should be reduced. The King Germany. Austria, for whose be- employed himself in lightening the hoof the stipulations in question had burden of military service, and in sebeen made, openly supported the cause veral other reforms; but did not, in of Bavaria. Public opinion, however, the course of 1818, attempt to call a declared itself loudly on the other new assembly of the States. side, which was understood also to Prussia continued, during the prebe secretly favoured by Prussia, and sent year, repeating her promises of a even by Russia. Baden immediate constitution, but without taking any ly began placing its army on a war steps towards their fulfilment. Hence, establishment, and putting its frontier the irritation already subsisting bein a posture of defence. Å war, how- tween the sovereign and people was ever, in such circumstances, and on continually exasperated. The prosuch grounds, would have been too vinces on the Rhine distinguished them. gross a scandal to be sanctioned by selves above all by the eagerness of the greater powers. In answer to a their demand for the expected privirequisition from Wirtemberg, Bava. leges. Numerous petitions were preria replied, that she had no intention sented, which were in general received of employing force to make good her without comment, but one offered claims against Baden. Thus the mat- by the city and government of Coter rested. It was generally under. blentz, with upwards of 8000 signastood, though not publicly announced tures, drew forth a very sharp reply. during the present year, that an ad- The King, referring to his former projustment of differences took place at mise, observes at the same time, that the Congress of Aix-la-Chapelle. no period had been fixed for its ac
The people of Baden reaped the complishment, and that he is the sole fruits of this conflict, in which their judge of the time in which such a prince was involved. Hoping to for- change can be most advantageously tify himself by the affections of his introduced. To remind him of a prosubjects, he presented them with a mise which he freely gave, is intimaconstitution, which seems to have been ting a culpable doubt of his fidelity, cast in a more liberal mould than that and encroaching upon his right to fix of Bavaria. The Lower House con- the time of fulfilment. Such ill-timed sisted entirely of deputies from the representations could have no tendency towns and bailiwicks. The diet was to accelerate the object at which they to be assembled every two years, and aimed. The duty of his subjects was the taxes voted only for that period. to trust to his free promises, and to Should any thing prevent their meet- wait quietly for the moment which he ing in time to vote the budget, the should judge most expedient for their Grand Duke could continue to levy accomplishment. The King shewed the old taxes for six months only. also his eager desire to suppress these
Wirtemberg continued during this representations, by writing a letter of year, as in the end of 1817, distracted thanks to the commune of Katzenby opposite factions, without coming port, which had refused to sign one to any important crisis. On one side of them. were the higher nobles, through whose Meantime, the commission appointed to form a constitution continued to ney was entirely suppressed ; a step sit, though no visible fruit arose from which had every tendency to raise their labours. Report describes them the public confidence. The governas entangled in the local difficulties ment, in order to relieve its immewith which the project was encumber- diate difficulties, succeeded in obed; the adjustment of the claims of taining from the house of Hope and the different ranks of the nation, and Baring a loan of three millions at 7 the variety of differently constituted per cent, a rate which, under all cir. states of which Prussia was composed. cumstances, was considered very fa. Lastly, it was said to be desirable, vourable. previous to this great change, to bring The Emperor of Austria, however its finances into a regular shape. These little favourable to representative conwere in the embarrassed state common stitutions, yet sought to conciliate to all the great powers, after so costly his new and unwilling subjects, by a struggle. London formed the com- calling together the
States of Gallicia mon centre, to which all the powers and Lodomiria. The assembly was looked for pecuniary accommodation. formed entirely upon the old system, Through the house of Rothschild, a which in Poland is more decidedly loan of three millions sterling was aristocratical than in any other couneffected, security for which was given try. This body ventured a pretty upon the royal domains, and which strong representation on the enormous was to be replaced in thirty-six years. amount of the taxes, but in other re
Austria, which neither held out to spects were lavish in their professions her people any promises of a new con- of loyalty. stitution, nor was harrassed by any The States of Saxony and of Elecdemands for it, felt no embarrassment, toral Hesse were also assembled duunless from the burdened state of her ring the present year ; but their comfinances. In her extremities, she had position being entirely feudal, the nogone deep into these iniquitous and bles possessed an indisputed preponinjurious measures, to which sove. derance. Their influence tended rareigns on such occasions are tempt. ther to obstruct than to promote meaed, and which had been borne by the sures for the improvement of the body people with surprising patience. The of the people, to which the sovereigns interest paid on the debt had been re. would gladly have consented. The duced from 5 to 24 per cent ; and a Elector of Hesse having even suggestgoveroment paper issued to the amount ed the admission of a few deputies of 55 millions, being inconvertible in- from the peasantry, the States rejectto specie, had fallen to 30 per cent of ed the proposal, declaring that the its original value. Government, how. nobility alone ought to have any share ever, had done something to remedy in the national representation. Althese evils. It had made provision ready, in 1816, the little state of for the gradual taking up of the de. Saxe Weimar had received from its preciated paper currency; and a sink. sovereign a very liberal constitution ; ing fuud of half a million had been and notwithstanding its small extent, formed, the uninterrupted operation the freedom of discussion allowed, and of which, during fifty years, would, the number of eminent men produced it was expected, clear off the whole in it, rendered Weimar a sort of liteof the national debt. During the rary metropolis of the north of Gerpresent year, the commission appoint. many. A session of its States was ed for the fabrication of paper mon held this year, which was only dis
VOL. XI. PART I.