Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

From The London Review, 30 May.

THE GERMAN CUSTOMS PARLIAMENT.

German Empire, and the Customs Parliament is helping to prepare the way. Of this there can be no doubt, and it would be affectation to conceal it. The policy of Bismarck has scored another trick, and that of Louis Napoleon has to count a further loss.

sentative man among the South Germans, affirmed that North and South were "in a THE Customs Parliament, which closed fair way of strengthening the bonds which on Saturday at Berlin, has evinced the ex-unite them, and that the Customs Parliament istence of considerable differences between had paved the way for the fulfilment of the the North and South German representa- national hopes and of " the intellectual mistives, yet it may be regarded on the whole sion" of Germany, which, he said, was " as a success. It was another step towards higher, nobler, and more glorious mission that union of all Germany in one Teutonic than that of any other nation in the world." Empire which Prussia has made so many Animated by these sentiments, and perhaps efforts to effect, and which in the end she is in some degree also by the Rhine wine certain to realize, to the aggrandisement of which had been freely circulating for a long her own dynasty, and the glorification of her time before, he begged to propose "The own people. It was a still further defiance Unity of Germany;" and this was received to France, who has accordingly looked with with such an outburst of applause as to great jealousy on the deliberations of the leave no doubt as to the direction of the assembled members; and indeed it must be company's sympathies. These are non-officonfessed that it was, in spirit, a kind of cial utterances, but they are important for evasion of the undertaking given at the con- all that. They show the beat of the naclusion of peace in 1866, that the new tional pulse, and they reveal what the leadGerman Confederation should not extend ers of North and South are thinking of besouth of the Maine. The Customs Parlia-hind the mask of diplomatic reserve. Prusment was a Federation for commercial and sia is determined on the creation of a vast financial purposes only; but it is clear that Prussia has got in the thin end of the wedge for breaking up the restrictions of the treaty of Prague, and that she intends to split them into fragments as soon as she finds an opportunity. The King, who closed the Parliament with a speech from the Throne, took a hopeful view of the work of the session. He spoke of a conscientious respect for treaties," but it was evident that he contemplated the Customs Parliament as a means of advancing the great end of German unity. He referred to "the rights" intrusted to him as a sacred deposit placed in his keeping by the German nation and its sovereigns, and one that he should maintain and turn to account." And Count Bismarck, in addressing the guests at a banquet given to the deputies by several leading members of the mercantile community, spoke still more significantly. "As regards myself," he said, "permit me to bid our South German brethren farewell. The short time of our being associated has vanished like a spring day; may it bear fruit like the blossoms of spring! I believe that our South German brethren, having worked with us fon the common good, will carry home with them the conviction that they leave friends and well-affected relations in these Northern regions, ready and willing to stand by them in any emergency. I hope that each repetition of our sittings will strengthen the feeling of intimate connection existing between the different parts of Germany. Let us cultivate these mutual relations. Let us abide by them." In a yet bolder strain than this, Prince Hohenlohe, the Bavarian Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the repre

66

66

There have been considerable differences of opinion, however, between the Northern and Southern deputies on several financial questions, and on some points the latter have defeated the intentions of the former. They contributed to the rejection of the address, the discussion of which seemed to them fraught with inconvenient results, besides giving to the Parliament a character distinct from that which was originally contemplated; and they succeeded in reducing the proposed taxes on tobacco and petroleum from 2,300,000 thalers to 450,000 thalers. The treaty of commerce with Austria was opposed by a minority of the South Germans, but unsuccessfully; and in other respects the delegates from the countries lying outside the new Confederation have shown that they are well disposed towards the maintenance of an independent policy. A certain number of these deputies have issued an address to their constituents, giving an account of the course pursued by the party during the sittings which have just closed. In this document they say:-" We have again recognised that entrance into the North German Confederation would promote neither the union of the collective nation, nor the constitutional liberty, nor the special interests, of South Germany; but that, on the contrary, in view of the North German constitution, the further preserva

tion of the independence of the South Confederation until it includes the whole of German States is in all respects advisable. the Teutonic nationalities. Austria is apThe overwhelming furtherance of military parently beginning to perceive, what others objects, in especial, in the Northern Con- have perceived long ago, that her true federation, restricts the promotion of moral strength lies in a south-easterly direction, and and material interests, and, without finan- in the rearing up of a great Sclavonic Empire cially relieving the Prussian people, leads on the banks of the Danube, which might in to increased burdens upon its allies. As the future be the friendly ally of a great Gerthe necessary consequence of Prussia's tra- man Empire, and in no hostile sense its riditional policy, this increase will be perma- val. In the opinion of but too many leadnent." The deputies see only one way in ing French politicians, the creation of a solid which the independence of the South can be German Power means danger and degradamaintained-viz., by the adoption of a de- tion to France; and certainly the Prussians, cidedly Liberal policy, and by a firm asso- with that harsh and repellant manner which ciation of the South German States. They seems to be inseparable from everything consider it requisite for those States to re- they do, have made their successes as ofnounce their habits of isolation, to agree on fensive to the French as they possibly could. some common action, especially as regards By their speeches, their writings, their the military protection of the South, to make boastings, their insults, their policy on the their influence felt within the sphere of the Luxembourg question, their immense miliZollverein, and to forward useful reforms. tary preparations, and their concentration The union of the South Germans, they are of troops near the French frontiers, they careful to point out, has no hostile bearing have contrived to give their justifiable and towards any other part of the common praiseworthy efforts after national unity the country. It will rather aid in the energetic appearance of a menace to France. In ' fulfilment of the treaty duties of the South fact, France and Prussia seem for the last towards the North, without exposing the two years to have agreed in nothing but in former "to the danger of absorption in the determination to be mutually irritating. Prussia," while it will at the same time con- This stupid error-for which both parties ciliate the Great Powers, and conduce to must bear their share of blame—has kept the peace of Europe. So far, the authors all Europe in a state of apprehension for of the circular seem to be protesting against many months, and the uneasiness continthe designs of Prussia; fet the document ues even yet. The Constitutionnel, comconcludes with the expression of an opinion menting on the speech of the King of Prusthat the close connection of the South Ger- sia at the close of the Customs Parliament, man States appears to be, at present, the says that his Majesty's remarks were “anionly path which, "while avoiding seriously mated by a spirit far superior to the narrowthreatening dangers," is capable of leading mindedness which was apparent in the dethe nation to the final object of a free and bates." Le Temps, however, is of a conunited Germany." This, then, is the bur- trary opinion, and thinks that the King is den of North and South alike. bent on disregarding the provisions of the treaty of Prague, and on advancing the unity of Germany under Prussian dominion at any cost. We are not inclined to take an alarmist view of the question. Some of our papers have, we think, adopted a very mischievous and unfair policy in constantly prophesying that France means to go to war in a few months' or a few weeks' time, and in repeatedly altering the date, as again and again their forecastings have proved to be wrong. But, if France is really resolved on disputing the question of European preponderance with Prussia, she may undoubtedly find a pretext in the virtual breach by the latter of the understanding with respect to the line of the Maine. It is both foolish and wrong of France to desire to oppose the development of the German nation on their own soil; but, if she chooses to pick a quarrel, Prussia has certainly provided the opportunity.

[ocr errors]

That the idea of German unity has made great progress during the last two years is evident. France is jealously uneasy at this; yet it is certain that the short-sighted policy of the French Government at the period of the Austro-Prussian war, and for some time afterwards, has largely contributed to the result. The South was at first sullenly distrustful of the North; but the design which France was suspected (whether rightly or wrongly) to entertain-the design of forcibly preventing the cohesion of the Teutonic race, and perhaps of undoing the effect of the Prussian victories roused a spirit throughout the whole country, which soon bore fruit in the conclusion of military treaties between Prussia and some of the South German States, and afterwards in the sitting of the Customs Parliament. It is doubtful whether Austria herself is now greatly disinclined to the gradual enlargement of the North-German

CHAPTER XXI.

A PROGRAMME.

THAT year we enjoyed a singularly fine autumn, with but little mist or moisture; consequently it was a healthy season, and the resources of our little hospital were not prematurely tried. Also, it furthered the speedy and satisfactory completion of the Refuge orphan rooms, which were at last put in perfect readiness for any who might need them during the coming months. Over these things Ruth and I had many a quiet chat in the dusky twilight of our parlour, and we thanked God we had not quite done with the world, however the world had done with us. When I say "world," reader, I do not mean that narrow crust of society which is often implied thereby. I mean God's whole creation, "the earth and the fulness thereof."

Nevertheless we were rather lonely that autumn. We saw nothing of Mr. Weston after our memorable interview in the meadOws. He did not come again to St. Cross, but in the course of some incidental conversation, I heard with regret that he had been seen at the Puseyite church at Hopleigh. But it was still early in October when Mr. Marten paid us an afternoon call, and promptly accepted our invitation to tea. And though he stated he had a little difficulty which he wished to discuss with us, he looked so flourishing and content, that it was very plain the "difficulty" gave him no undue disturbance. Indeed, it proved to be only a feeling on his part that it was the duty of the leaders in the parish in some way to direct their juniors' evening occupations and amusements during the coming winter.

"In short," he went on, "if St. Cross is to maintain its ground, we must certainly do something. The Hopleigh people are very energetic in this matter. They have established a series of lectures, penny readings, etc., varied with entertainments, and soirées, and concerts. Besides these, they have opened classes, presenting a very attractive course of study for almost nominal fees."

Just then I happened to glance at Ruth behind the tea-urn, and I saw a storm gathering in her face. When Mr. Marten ceased, there was an ominous pause. Then Ruth said, grimly

"If you give children sugar-plums every day, they are never a treat, and they spoil their teeth into the bargain. That's a figure of speech for you, Mr. Marten."

"Why, Miss Garrett," exclaimed the

rector, "surely you don't disapprove of innocent and improving recreations ?"

"I disapprove of gadding about,'" she answered, severely. "I disapprove of everything which makes folks at home when they are out, and strangers when they are at home. In short, I disapprove of dissipation, whatever mask it: may wear."

[ocr errors]

"I hope you don't see things in this light, sir," said Mr. Marten, turning to me.

"Not altogether," I replied, "but I am a slow person, and I weigh matters very leisurely."

"I wonder what had become of my business if I had taken to lectures, and classes, and so forth!" exclaimed my sister.

"Ruth, Ruth," I said gently, "remember that we must not carry our personalities too far in these affairs."

[blocks in formation]

'Be it ever so homely,

There's no place like home?' But at the same time I willingly grant that home is often all the dearer for short absences, even as such short absences are more enjoyable for sake of the dear home where they will end."

"And again," Mr. Marten went on, inclining his head in acknowledgment of my words, "there are many young people who are utterly homeless."

"That is true," said Ruth, "but for the sake of the future they should be encouraged as much as possible to form homely habits. If bachelors or spinsters cannot settle to books or work in their lonely rooms, I fear they will fret at the stay-at-home ways of comfortable matrimony, when once its novelty has worn off."

[ocr errors]

'Well, I'm sorry to find you see another side to this matter," observed the rector; "for to me these evening lectures and classes seemed such a splendid means for mental improvement and moral elevation."

"Can you give us any details of the Hopleigh programme?" I inquired; "for until one knows all, one may differ about theories rather than facts."

[ocr errors]

64

66

"Oh, I can tell you all about it," he re- "That is what I always say!" assented sponded, briskly, tugging at his pocket. Ruth. But let the distinction be in acSee! I came armed with all necessary quirements rather than in manners or modocuments! and he produced sundry rals!" printed bills, and spread them out on the table.

[blocks in formation]

"But some of these classes go to the very rudiments of education," pursued the rector: "reading, for instance, and writing and arithmetic. If by some evil chance these were neglected in childhood, would you suffer the girl or boy to go on in ignorance, Miss Garrett ? "

She answered thoughtfully, "No: reading and writing are almost like two extra

I have a strange notion that my sister's knitting is to her strength of mind something like Samson's hair to his bodily prowess. Whenever we two are in argu- senses. They are worth some sacrifice. ment, I have a wild wish to snatch that mysterious web from her agile fingers. Besides, its very continuance daunts one with the reproach-"Behold, in spite of all your idle clatter, these needles go on, and so does the world!"

"Which shall I take first?" queried the rector. "There are a prospectus of the classes, a programme of the lectures, and a list of the discussions."

66

Read whichever you like," said I. "Then I'll read the paper of the classes," he answered; and so began the sheet with its very heading:

[ocr errors]

But what poor servant girl, sensible in spite of her ignorance, would venture to Hopleigh College?' And would she study A B C in the first hour, and then learn how to spout My name is Norval' during the remainder of the time? And would she be much at ease in the society of the smart shop-girls, who would come to practise rant, and who would attend the French and Latin classes on the other evenings?"

"But I think these institutions are really for the benefit of a higher class than common servants or ploughboys," said Mr. Marten, and for such how serviceable is French, and how useful the power of writing a correct letter!"

"Hopleigh College. Under this name, it is proposed to establish a course of evening classes. The subjects chosen, with the "Thorough French is a valuable acquirenames of the gentlemen who have kindly ment," returned Ruth, "and a good letter undertaken to teach them, will recommend is a sure sign of a sound education. But themselves. Monday, Latin and English mere lingo' is ridiculous, and a phrase ' Composition (by Mr. Senecca Moon); epistle is an abomination. Perhaps you Tuesday, French (by M. Vert); Wednes- will add, that even superficial French may day, Elementary Singing; Thursday, Writing and Arithmetic (by Mr. Senecca Moon); Friday, Reading and Elocution (by Mr. O'Toole); Saturday, Advanced Singing. Hours from eight to ten o'clock. Fee for one class, two shillings each month; for the whole course, eight shillings. Entrance fee, one shilling. Intending members are invited to enrol as soon as possible. Under the especial patronage of the Rev. Ambrose Angelo, Rector of S. Cyprian, Hopleigh."

You see, Miss Garrett," the rector commented, when he had finished, "this is not even innocent recreation, but improving study."

"I doubt whether it is either improving' or study," she answered, taking up his words a little tartly. "I suppose girls are included in these classes. I wonder if the clergyman would like his own daughter to run through the streets after nightfall in that way."

"A distinction must be made between certain ranks, madam," returned Mr. Marten, rather stiffly.

[blocks in formation]

383

be useful in business; but if poor M. Vert is willing to teach it for two shillings a month, can the scholars expect to make it more profitable than the master?"

66

But M. Vert, who is a working professor, would not teach at that rate, except for a consolation-fee from the committee," explained the rector.

"I hate that false method of cheapening good things," answered my sister. If an acquirement be worth anything, it is worth its price, and let those who desire it, deny themselves to pay that price. All who can derive advantage from it will readily do so. Those who want pearls dive for them, and shall others take them to throw before swine ?”

There was a pause. Then I inquired what were the other arrangements.

66

They have a fortnightly lecture," replied Mr. Marten, taking up another paper. The Rev. Ambrose Angelo will deliver one on Ecclesiastical History; and Mr. Senecca Moon, the principal of Hopleigh Academy, will give another on Meteorology. On two evenings there will be Read

« VorigeDoorgaan »