we may

before us, as also in his Essays, he has shown an ample capacity for dealing with the widest range of questions affecting the constitution and well-being of society. It is in authors of his stamp that find the true sense of the term ' publicist,' much used on the Continent, but little understood among us. The publicist is one, if we rightly comprehend the phrase, who treats of public events and interests, not as isolated facts, but according to the principles they involve, and the sources from which they spring, their true place in history, and their office and share in working out the greater problems of the destiny of our race.

Two-thirds of the work before us are given to Austria. They contain an instructive, as well as a minute and elaborate, picture of the dangers through which that empire has been passing, and of the difficulties with which she has still to contend. These difficulties are so formidable that we could scarcely hope for her extrication from them, but for the encouragement derived from the manner in which she has already effected so many hairbreadth escapes.

Her motto may well be 'O passi graviora; dabit Deus his

finem.' Of these difficulties, the foremost is that which is presented by the endless varieties of race within her borders, summed up in three or four great bodies, which have by no means as yet arrived at any permanent adjustment of their reciprocal relations. The most powerful of her nationalities, represented by Hungary, has indeed obtained in a virtually separate and independent Government the object of her desires, and has attracted to herself the Transleithan Slave population of the South. But the amplitude of the concession involved in this system of dualism, on the one hand, instead of solving, complicates the remaining portion of the problem which affects the Cisleithan populations, while it has not as yet, on the other hand, decided the question whether two sovereign autocracies can work together as one Empire. While centripetal and centrifugal forces are thus engaged in mortal tug, à feud of extraordinary bitterness likewise prevails between Church and State. The worst excesses of the Papal claims received a solemn consecration in the Concordat of 1855. Upon recovering her liberty, Hungary in a moment shook off the intolerable yoke of this unhappy instrument; and the ground on which she repudiated it was the firm ground of its illegality when tested by her known constitutional traditions. In the rest of the Empire, it was first irregularly contravened by successive laws; and it has at length, within the last few months, been



formally renounced. But the spirit which devised it is not exorcised either from the priesthood or the rural population; and this ever-wakeful influence, reckoning on the circuitous attainment of its end, may join itself to the other disintegrating forces already at work, and may greatly impede the consolidation of the Empire. The Austrian and Hungarian bishops have indeed well sustained their share of the contest at Rome against the last extravagance of Papal infallibility. But the conduct of the Spanish Episcopate at the Council of Trent proved, that a sentiment of nationalism in an ecclesiastical body is no sufficient guarantee of a generally liberal mind.

Besides all this, financial difficulty of the gravest kind appears as an item in the long account of political embarrassments. Constant deficit, and accumulating debt, have brought matters to such a pass, that Austrian credit is now much lower than that of any of the other European Powers of the first rank. And yet it has been found, or thought, necessary by the Austro-Hungarian Government to spend several millions sterling since the month of July, with a view to the maintenance of its neutrality in the present war.

It may strike the reader that, in this painful enumeration, we have made no reference to that which the world considers without doubt as the greatest of all the calamities which have fallen upon Austria-her recent losses of territory and rank, and her exclusion from the German Confederation. The omission has been deliberate; and the reason is, that in our view these events have supplied the starting-point of her new life, the necessary conditions under which alone she could attain to a state of health and vigour. The present state of Austria is at least one of hope. It is a state far better than when Metternich made war by his system alike upon morality, freedom, and the sentiment of nationality; or even than when Schwarzenberg, with a notable combination of skill and resolution, defeated the first efforts of Prussia to attain the hegemony of Germany. Then the superstructure was undisturbed, but the foundations were gradually and surely eaten away. Now the superstructure has been disturbed, but the foundations are in course, at least, of progressive renewal. As long as Austria kept her grasp upon Italy, she could not establish Constitutional Government, and she remained always liable to assault from France. As long as she remained a great German Power, she was tempted to think herself strong enough to refuse the claims of Hungary to her historic rights. In almost every one of her constituent provinces, she was at war alike with the aspirations of freedom, and with the traditions


and sympathies of race. Never was there a war shorter than that of 1866; but its consequences were immense. It restored the national existence of Germany, and brought within view its complete consolidation. It consummated the national unity of Italy. It put an end to all possibility of refusing the demands of Hungary. As part of the Hungarian arrangement, it secured free government for the whole Austrian Empire. And, lastly, in thus restoring the power of utterance and action to that country, it shattered the fabric of Ultramontanism which had been built up by the Concordat of 1855. Such were the results in the South of those few weeks of war. Of the motives of the assault, of its immediate causes, we need not speak. In this country the career and attitude of Prussia, when it broke out, were generally condemned ; and a decided change in the public sentiment, which was manifested at its close, was ascribed to a cause no worthier than the servile worship of success.* This being so, it is satisfactory to learn that our own change of sentiment only reflected a corresponding change in Germany itself. At least M. Laveleye describes as follows the prospects of Prussia at the commencement of the struggle:

En présence de si redoutables ennemis, la situation intérieure était désolante: le peuple, et ses représentants, en hostilité ouverte avec le gouvernement; la bourgeoisie indignée de voir une lutte effroyable s'engager entre Allemands, guerre odieuse, rendue inévitable par la volonté d'un seul homme ; cet homme, le ministre dirigeant, M. de Bismarck, d'une impopularité si universelle et si exaspérée, qu'elle armait le bras d'un jeune étudiant venu de l'étranger pour délivrer son pays d'un tyran détesté; toute la population civile furieuse d'être arrachée aux travaux de la paix et aux profits d'une activité industrielle merveilleusement prospère ; une partie importante de l'armée, la landwehr, si irritée qu'elle allait, disait-on, tirer sur les officiers de la ligne plutôt que sur l'ennemi; toutes les entreprises subitement arrêtées, les ouvriers sans emploi et par suite sans pain ; partout la défiance, la ruine, le désespoir ; l'enthousiasme nulle part.' (Vol. i. p. 4.)

But the war, then so detested in Prussia, is not now deplored even by any one of all the portions of the Austrian Empire.

• Aucun d'eux, pas même Vienne, ne regrette le coup de la destinée, qui a brisé le joug commun.' (Introduction, p. viii.)

It is indeed wonderful to reflect, that only seven years † have passed since Austria appeared to be on the point of establishing an absolute supremacy for herself in Germany, by intro* M. Laveleye joins in the sneer, vol. i. p.

241. † Vol. i. p. 235.


ducing into the Confederation the whole of her non-Germanic population. How well for Europe that she has escaped that ill-omened and ill-conceived consummation! But her efforts to achieve it may be taken at least as tending to prove that she felt she could not remain as she was. It had grown to be a necessity that she should become either more German, or less so: that if she could not compensate Germany for her want of organisation, unity, and national life, by a great accession of material force, she should relieve it from the incubus of her absolutism and her Ultramontanism; from the discredit of her policy, so obnoxious to the most legitimate sentiments of nationality, and, worse than all, from the dualism which baffled the policy of a great and united Germany, and neutralised her power in the European family.

While we are far from believing that Austria has reached the end of her troubles, we are sure that, in encountering them, she carries with her the sympathies of every liberal-minded man in this and in every other country. Her task is the difficult one of combining many different races and provinces into one firm and yet free political organism. In this effort she has right on her side; for her ancient capital and throne form the best and the most natural centre for the whole of the inhabitants of the Empire. That they should be broken up into the minute subdivisions indicated by their specific varieties, would be good neither for Europe at large, nor for the great Eastern question; nor, above all, for themselves. Something in the nature of a Federal monarchy, with a balance of power resembling that which has been established in the American Union by the great war of 1861-5, is probably the adjustment best suited to her case; and to the best result, be it what it may, we trust that she may gradually feel and find her way. She contains within herself immense elements of material and moral power, and she may yet discharge on behalf of Europe most important functions in connexion with the question, or rather questions, of the East. But, if she is to prosper, it will be well for her to practise for a time a great abstention, and to decline, unless it be on the clearest grounds, entering into the whirlpools of the general politics of Europe. For here, as for Italy, the work of internal consolidation is the business of the hour; and this work can only be procrastinated or marred by the feverish desire, or the costly and perilous practice, of struggles for influence abroad. In attempts to maintain the mere credit and appearances of the first rank of power, either of them might place in jeopardy the solid conditions of a really powerful and prosperous future.

Singularly contrasted with the fortunes of her southern sister have been those of Prussia. The Habsburgs and the Hohenzollerns, indeed, are both of them families traceable to a municipal origin—the one in Switzerland, the other in Würtemberg. But while the one, in the person of Rodolph, sprang six hundred years ago at once into the full dimensions of greatness, the other came very slowly to its maturity and strength. They might be likened to two youths, one of whom has grown with portentous rapidity in early boyhood, and has suffered for it in after weakness; the other, gathering solidity during the time when he was outstripped in stature, has ultimately attained an equal or greater height, with a compact instead of a loose and ill-assorted figure, and with a tough and well-ripened constitution. At the beginning of the last century, when Prussia became a kingdom, her population had only reached the figure of fifteen hundred thousand. When Frederic II. took his inheritance, it was two millions and a half. It passed to his nephew with above five millions. At the epoch of 1815, it reached ten. Half a century of peace and intelligence, without territorial acquisitions, brought it in 1865 to nearly twenty millions. Thirty millions are now either directly subjects of the Prussian Crown, or represented and governed by it for every purpose of diplomatic weight and military power; besides eight millions more, inhabitants of the South German States, among whom the national sympathies have been shown to predominate over every municipal feeling. It has in truth passed beyond all doubt or dispute, that Germany will establish her virtual unity, and that Prussia will be its head.

Down to the time of the French Revolution, no continental Power had played a part so considerable on the European stage in proportion to its population as Prussia. The terrible chastisement, that she underwent at the hands of Napoleon, appeared to reduce her to a comparative insignificance. But she was destined to prosper by affliction. It was the direct effect of the measures imposed by the conqueror to drive her upon the use of such remedies, as directly went to fit her for the gigantic efforts with which she now astonishes the world. She sought her strength in high intelligence, and in thoroughly effective organisation. She emancipated her peasants; she established her system of national education; and, bound by Napoleon to keep no more than 42,000 men under arms, she resorted to a system of short service in the ranks with strong reserves, which enabled her to train so considerable a portion of her population, that so soon as in the great European crisis of 1813 her armies already numbered three hundred thousand


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