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MECKLENBURG


109


MECKLENBURG


1552 the inonastciirs were secularized, except Dobbe- diii, Malchow, ami Ribnitz, which in 1572, in exchange for assuming the ducal debts, were kept in existence for the iinniarried tlaiighters of the nobility, and have so continued to the present day. The administration of the now Protestant Dioceses of Schwerin and Rat- zeburg was carried on by members of the ruling dynasty. The Mass, pilgrimages, vows of religion etc., were forbidden, and by a consistorial decree of 1570 the public profession of the Catholic Faith was prohibited.

After a brief reunion of the two principalities in 1010, they were again divided (1621) into Mecklen- liurg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Giistrow by John Albert's grantlsons, Adolf Frederick I and John Albert II. They still retained, however, in common the diet (held now in Sternberg and now in Malchow), the University of Rostock, and the consistory. During the Thirty Years' War both dukes formed a brief al- liance with King Christian IV of Denmark. For this they were ]ilaci'd under a ban by the Emperor Ferdi- nand IV in lli'-'S, and their territories, from which they were expelled, were granted to Wallenstein in 1629 as an imperial fief. In 1631 Gustavus Adolphus restored them their lands, ami in 1635, after the fall of Wallen- stein, they were again recognized by the emperor. During the war Mecklenburg suffered terribly from the oppression of both the Swedish and the imperial forces, and also from pestilence and famine. The Peace of Westphalia (1648) assigned the Dioceses of Schwerin and Katzeburg as principalities to Schwerin, in return for which the city of Wismar and the dis- tricts of Poel ami Neukloster were yielded to Sweden. Adolf Frederick I was succeeded in Mecklenburg- Schwerin by Christian Ludwig (1658-92), who, both before and after his succession, lived mainly at Paris, where he became a Catholic in 1663. Though this step opened Mecklenburg once more to Catholics (see below), it gave them no secure legal footing even in Schwerin, while in Mecklenburg-Giistrow the most bitter intolerance of everything Catholic continued to prevail.

When Christian Ludwig I died childless in 1692, his nephew Frederick William laid claim to the suc- cession, and was opposed by Adolf Frederick II of Strelitz, the only brother of Christian then living. After a long dispute, the Hamburg Compact was made in 1701, tlirough the mediation of the Emperor Leopold. Adolf Frederick II received the Princi- pality of Ratzeburg, and other territories ; the remain- ing territory (by far the greater part) was given to Frederick William. As the latter selected Schwerin for his residence, and Adolf Frederick Strelitz, the two ruling houses have since always been distinguished as Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

In Mecklenburg-Schwerin Frederick William and his successor Charles Leopold had to contend with the estates, especially with the landed proprietors (Rilter- schaft), who since the Thirty Years' War had secured the farms of most of the peasants for themselves, and by oppression had forced the peasants into serfdom. With the aid of Russia the duke drove the estates out of the country. These applied to the Emperor Charles VI for help ; after the Russians withdrew, an imperial commission with an army to execute its de- mands entered the coimtry, and the duke was forced in 1719 to flee. For many years war was waged in Mecklenburg between the imperial army and the duke, who was supported by Prussia and other powers. The ruler and the estates, in the reign of Charles Leopold's successor Christian Ludwig II (1747-56), finally came to an agreement in 1755; this compact, still essentially the basis of the constitution of the country, gave the estates a large share in the enact- ment of laws and extensive rights in the voting of supplies. By this agreement feudalism won a com- plete victory over the power of the prince, in con-


trast to most of the other divisions of Germany, where at that era the absolutism of the ruler had retained its supremacy.

Christian Ludwig II's son Frederick (1756-85) im- proved the primary schools, strengtlnnni the Uni- versity of Rostock, foimded the high srlionl:,! l'>utZ0W, and by the Peace of Teschen obtained the I'nnUyium de iinii iipiirlhntilo (i.e., there could be no appeal to the impciiMl cdurts), against which the landed proprietors vehcmeiilly protested. In 1803 his nephew, Fred- erick Francis I (1785-1835) received the city of Wismar and the counties of Neukloster from Sweden as pledges for a loan of 1,250,000 talers (approxi- mately $937,500) ; in 1903 Sweden finally relinquished its right of redemption. At the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, the two dukes became inde- pendent sovereigns. In 1808 both princes entered the Confederation of the Rhine, but joined the Allies op- posed to Napoleon in good time in 1813; in 1815 both took the title of grand duke and entered the German Confederation.

The movement of 1848 spread rapidly in both grand duchies, especially in the cities. A proclamation of 23 March, 1848, of Archduke Frederick Francis I of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1842-83) acknowledged the necessity of a reform in the constitution — an example followed by Duke George of Strelitz (1816-60). An extraordinary diet (1848-9) drew u]i a liberal consti- tution, to which the Grand Duke <il' Schwerin swore in August, 1849, but against wliicli lie (IrandDukeof Strelitz, the agnates of both lumsrs, and also Prussia, on account of its rights of inheritance of 1442, pro- tested. In September, 1850, a court of arbitration of the German Confederation decided in favour of the claimants, and on 14 September the Grand Duke of Schwerin annulled the new constitution and the old, semi-feudal constitution came again into force. In the war of 1866 both princes sided with Prussia against Austria; on 21 August of the same year they signed the Prussian draft of the North German Con- federation, and in 1867 joined this confederacy. In 1866 both states became members of the Customs Ilnion, and in 1871 they became constituent parts of the German Empire. Since their union with the Ger- man Empire in 1871, unceasing efforts have been made for a reasonalile reform of their obsolete constitution, which is no longer in accord with the new empire. So far all attempts have failed, owing to the opposition of the estates, especially of the landed proprietors {Rit- tcrschafl) who have held to their privileges with unusual obstinacy. The present Grand Duke of Mecklenburg- Schwerin is Frederick Francis IV, succeeded 1897; the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz is Adolf Frederick V, succeeded 1904.

Statistics. — Mecklenburg-Schwerin has an area of about 5068 sq. miles. In 1905 it had 625,045 in- habitants, of whom 009,914 were Lutherans, 12,835 Catholics, and 1482 Jews. Mecklenburg-Strelitz has an area of about 1131 sq. miles. In 1905 it had 103,- 451 inhabitants, of whom 100,314 were Lutherans, 2627 Catholics, and 298 Jews. Both grand duchies are hereditary monarchies; from 1523 they have had a common assembly or diet made up of the landed proprietors (Rittcrschalt), and the burgomasters of specified towns (Landschajt). The Ritterschaft con- sists of about 750 owners, whether noble or not, of about 1200 landed properties which carry with them the right to a vote in the assembly. The Landschajt is composed of the burgomasters of the cities of Ros- tock and Wismar, and the mimicipal authorities of the forty inland cities of Schwerin and the seven inland cities of Strelitz. The principality of Ratze- burg, which has an assembly of estates of its own, is not represented in the general estates, neither are the city of Neustrelitz, nor the inhabitants of the crown domain (domanium), that-is, the land personally owned by the ruler, in which he is still absolute