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huge English fleet in those regions! So much gunpowder so near the fire; who will take care of the sparks?
• I don't like Guizot.. I like him less than Thiers, who is a fanfuron, but frank, and less mischievous and dangerous than Guizot, who behaved very ill to Molé (hinc illæ lacrymæ, adds Stockmar), the most honourable man the French have.
• In his conversation with Sir Robert Peel the Emperor spoke so loud near an open window, that the people outside could hear him, and the Premier begged him to retreat into the back of the apartment. The Emperor spoke with great warmth; praised Prince Albert with the tears in his eyes; and said he knew that he was himself considered an actor, though for all that he was an honest man.' (P. 397.)
Dreams! dreams! dreams! Of all these shadows which we have ourselves seen flit across the canvas, what remains ? Two men only. The one now a President of the Third French Republic; the other an octogenarian philosopher who watches with undisturbed faith the storms of an ocean he has ceased to navigate. It is remarkable that Sir Robert Peel declared to the Emperor that one of the great objects of his foreign policy was to secure the peaceful transmission of the Crown of France to the heir of Louis Philippe upon his demise. A dream again! The transaction of the Spanish marriages and the return of Lord Palmerston to power fatally impaired the relations of the two governments, and the conduct of France has nowhere been judged or related with greater bitterness than by Stockmar in these pages. The subject is too long to be entered upon at the close of this article. But from the extreme personal eagerness shown by Stockmar in this matter we suspect that he returned from Coburg in the autumn of 1846 with a strong disposition to support the pretensions of a Coburg prince to the hand of the Queen of Spain, and that he was disappointed by the result. His son appears to share these feelings, for he has devoted no less than fifty pages of this volume to a narration of the Spanish marriages, not taken from his father's papers but from other published documents. Nothing really new has been added to the facts already known.
The interruption of the intimate relations which had subsisted for some years with France, concurred with several other circumstances to promote that which was in reality the most cherished political desire entertained by Prince Albert and his friends, namely, to strengthen the connexion between England and Germany, and to use the influence derived from that connexion for the furtherance of liberal institutions and national unity among the German States. In no people is
national character more deeply ingrained than amongst the Germans. It is an indestructible element of their constitution, and we never remember to have met with a German who had thrown it off, or desired to throw it off. It would seem to him a violation of filial duty to deviate from the standard of manners, tastes, and life under which he was born. The life of Stockmar was chiefly spent in foreign countries and at foreign courts; his most intimate associates were foreigners ; yet never did he modify by a hair's breadth the old Stockmar of Coburg, either in thought or expression. The same may, without the least disparagement, be said of Prince Albert. Young as he was when he came to this country, and attached as he was to her welfare and her greatness by the dearest and closest ties, his allegiance to the land of his adoption in no degree weakened his allegiance to the land of his birth; his tastes ever remained more German than English, and it was in the dear old sounds of his mother tongue that he was wont to give expression to the innermost sentiments of his heart. This biographer has expressed the same idea in much stronger and coarser terms than we care to use.
• It cannot be denied that to a part of the English nation the Prince was not sympathetic. Before all things he was a foreigner, a German, which the insular mind with its intolerant instincts cannot easily forget or forgive. For the intolerance of this insular instinct raises the common forms and habits of daily life to the rank of tenets, from which only the highest and most cultivated persons can, at least in theory, free themselves. Those who looked deeper saw a stronger opposition between the true German nature of the Prince and the somewhat narrow contracted conservatism of England; on the other hand he was equally distasteful to brute radicalism, since he invariably insisted on culture, morality, and religion as the conditions of all true progress. To the conservative class in England what are termed German notions are excessively unwelcome, and when they assume a somewhat philosophical form of expression, they are called German metaphysics, and are then regarded as downright intolerable and terrific. (P. 659.)
These German sympathies and early impressions were carefully fostered by those about the Prince's person and by Stockmar in particular. Stockmar returned to England in 1847, after having spent seventeen months at Berlin and Coburg, full of fresh strong German feeling. Bunsen was then at the height of his popularity as Prussian Minister at this Court, labouring with passionate enthusiasm and with that genial influence which was peculiar to him, to bring about the closest possible union between Germany and England. The visit of the King of Prussia at the christening of the Prince of Wales had inaugurated his appointment to the intense disgust of his suite, by whom Bunsen was unjustly abhorred. The private secretary to Prince Albert, Dr. Meyer, was also a German of the strongest patriotic feelings. Nothing could exceed the confidential intimacy which existed between these eminent and illustrious persons.
It is stated in Bunsen's memoir that he had at this time daily and almost hourly access to the Prince, either personally or through Stockmar; and it was natural that every event which occurred should be viewed in its relation to the great cause of German unity and freedom. It is not too much to say that in these conversations at Windsor and London lay the germ of very important events. The coming time was full of them.
On February 3, 1847, the King of Prussia published the Patent which convoked the United Diet of his kingdom. That was the first day of a great era. We seem still to hear the jubilant voice of Bunsen, as, on his return from a levee in full court dress, he pulled the 'Staatszeitung' out of his coat pocket, and read the new Constitution aloud to his applauding family in Carlton Gardens. Nor was it less cordially received by Prince Albert, whose correspondence at that time with the King of Prussia was frequent and important, for the Prince was not only a much wiser man than the King, but he had also had the benefit of seven years' experience of constitutional government. But to how many checks and disappointments were these generous anticipations exposed ! Stockmar had been of opinion ever since the establishment of the German Bund in 1815 that the cause of the political decline of Germany lay in her territorial subdivisions; that the dualism of Prussia and Austria was injurious to both of them, and could not last; that Germany could never be ruled by Austria because her centre of gravity lay elsewhere; that under Austria the genuine life of Germany could never flourish; that Prussia was destined to be the central German Power; and that the minor states must submit to large restrictions in the interest of national unity.
Twenty years were to elapse before these far-sighted propositions of the old Baron were to find their fulfilment; but as the event has shown, they did contain the key to the political reconstitution of Germany. But they involved a convulsion for which some at least of his listeners were not then prepared. To Prince Albert nothing was more sacred than the faith of treaties and the union of the German Bund. He viewed with indignation the seizure of Cracow by the three Northern Powers in 1846, and protested against it in the pages of this Journal, not that he had much sympathy with the Poles, but because he regarded it as a dangerous inroad on the public law of Europe. Nor did he ever share the hatred of Bunsen against the House of Austria, or the desire to thrust Austria out of the Germanic body-a result only to be attained by a Germanic war—though it appears that in 1849 he was reluctantly drawn on to that opinion.
But greater things were at hand. The Revolution of February. 1848 let loose all the revolutionary powers of Europe. Nothing in history can compare to that amazing paroxysm of confusion. Throughout the Continent civil war and anarchy raged in their direst forms, and one knew not which was worst
- the excess of popular violence or the excess of military repression. Since then we have seen Sebastopol, we have seen Sadowa, we have seen Sedan; yet nothing equals the all-embracing fury of that terrific conflagration of 1848 and 1849. The friends of Germany at the English Court, undismayed by the democratic violence of the movement, sought to turn the wild elements which had assembled at Frankfort, in the direction of national unity and constitutional government. Stockmar himself was elected member for Coburg, and took his seat on May 16. Far from seeking to expel Austria from the Confederation, at that time, we believe that Gagern's proposal to call the Archduke John to Frankfort as the Reichsverweser or Warden of the Empire originated with Prince Albert himself: it had at least his hearty concurrence. Stockmar, however, who was in Germany, thought it would end to the advantage of Prussia by showing the unfitness of an Austrian Prince for the post; and in the scheme he drew up for the future constitution of the country he distinctly states that if the German provinces of Austria cannot be retained, it will be better for the other thirty-two millions of Germans to organise themselves round a Prussian centre, and leave the seven millions of Austro-Germans out of the question, as he adds - they will come to us hereafter.' Some time elapsed before the extravagance of the Frankfort Parliament convinced all men that nothing was to be hoped for in that quarter. Bunsen to the last regretted that his master, the King of Prussia, had rejected the imperial crown offered to him by the men of the revolution. But in fact the weakness and folly of the King of Prussia was only surpassed by that of the anarchists. Stockmar has preserved to us a note of a conversation with the King of June 10, 1848, in which the Baron advised His Majesty to march vigorously upon the Berliners,-a measure to which the King and his ministers were alike unequal.
These blind and abortive efforts, like the war between Piedmont and Austria on the Ticino and the Adige, were nevertheless the harbingers of the two greatest political results of this century-the independence of Italy under the House of Savoy, and the unification of Germany under the House of Hohenzollern. But in 1849, it must be confessed, that the one seemed as unattainable as the other. In this country especially, the failure of the Frankfort Parliament increased the want of faith with which the efforts of German politicians were regarded. Lord Palmerston was opposed to the creation of one huge German State, which must, he foresaw, overturn the whole balance of European power, and in all probability cause a general war. Lord Aberdeen viewed with equal distrust and regret the triumph of a policy peculiarly hostile to Austria and fatal to the Treaties of Vienna. From neither side, therefore, did the friends of German regeneration in England obtain any encouragement. But at one moment their influence at Frankfort was so great that Bunsen was spoken of as head of the German Ministry, and Stockmar actually held for a short time the office of Foreign Minister. Stockmar, however, was not deceived as to the result, for he was not subject to Bunsen's self-delusions.
The following passage from one of his letters of August 25 deserves to be preserved :
'I am afraid we must pass through a hard school, and that this time of trial will be a long one. There is in all Germany neither the necessary political intelligence nor the true patriotic feeling, to read and obey the lessons of history, or to listen to the few wise men, now living amongst us. The patriots demand unity, which is impossible without order and peace within, and a mere name without strength and independence abroad. Against them are arranged the dynasties, the bureaucrats, and the armed shopkeepers, who desire nothing but the restoration of the very things which have just perished. In this chaotic confusion, the result of which no man can foresee, one thing appears to me certain and manifest ; namely, that the majority of the German people have decidedly adopted democratic opinions, opinions which will remain, whatever be the termination of the present crisis.' (P. 535.) Yet before the close of his life he wrote in a more hopeful tone :
· The Germans are a good people, easy to govern, and the German Princes, who do not understand this, do not deserve to le over such a people. Be not alarmed. You youngsters are not able to survey the enormous progress which the Germans have made towards polítical unity in this century; I have lived through it. I know this people.