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272
SAXONY


While Saxony's political liberty was thus enlarged. its commerce and credit were stimulated by its adhesion to the Prussian Zollvereiu and by the construction of railways. Antony had died in 1836, and Frederick Augustus II. became sole king. Growing interest in politics produced dissatisfaction with the compromise of 18 31, and the Liberal opposition grew in numbers and influence. The burning questions were the publicity of legal proceedings and the freedom of the press; and on these the government sustained its first crushing defeat in the lower chamber in 1842. In 1843 Lindenau was forced by the action of the aristocratic party to resign, and was replaced by Julius Traugotte von Konneritz (1 792-1866), a statesman of reactionary views. This increased the opposition of the Liberal middle classes to the government. Religious considerations arising out of the attitude of the government towards the “German Catholics, ” and a new constitution for the Protestant Church, began to mingle with purely political questions, and Prince John, as the supposed head of the Jesuit party, was insulted at a review of the communal guards at Leipzig in 1845. The military rashly interfered, and several innocent spectators were shot. The bitterness which this occurrence provoked was intensified by a political reaction which was initiated about the same time under Konneritz. Warned by the sympathy excited in Saxony by the revolutionary events at Paris in 1848, the king dismissed his reactionary ministry, and a Liberal cabinet took its place in March 1848. The disputed points were now conceded to the country. The privileges of the nobles were curtailed; the administration of justice was put on a better footing; the press was unshackled; publicity in legal proceedings was granted; trial by jury was introduced for some special cases; and the German Catholics were recognized. The feudal character of the first chamber was abolished, and its members made mainly elective from among the highest tax-payers, while an almost universal suffrage was introduced for the second chamber. The first demand of the overwhelmingly democratic diet returned under this reform bill was that the king should accept the German constitution elaborated by the Frankfort parliament. Frederick, alleging the danger of acting without the concurrence of Prussia, refused, and dissolved the diet. ' A public demonstration at Dresden in favour of the Frankfort constitution was prohibited as illegal on the 2nd of May 1849. This at once awoke the popular fury. The mob seized the town and barricaded the streets; Dresden was almost destitute of troops; and the king fled to the Konigstein. The rebels then proceeded to appoint a provisional government, consisting of Tzschirner, Heubner and Todt, though the true leader of the insurrection was the Russian Bakunin. Meanwhile Prussian troops had arrived to aid the government, and after two days' fierce street fighting the rising was quelled. The bond with Prussia now became closer, and Frederick entered with Prussia and Hanover into the temporary “ alliance .of the three kings.” He was not sincere, however, in desiring to exclude Austria, and in 1850 accepted the invitation of that power to send deputies to the restored federal diet at Frankfort. The first chamber immediately protested against this step, and refused to consider the question of a pressing loan. The king retorted by dissolving the diet and summoning the old estates abolished in 1848. When a quorum, with some difficulty, was obtained, another period of retrograde legislation set in. The king himself was carried away with the reactionary current, and the people remained for the time indifferent. Beust became minister for both home and foreign affairs in 1852, and under his guidance the policy of Saxony became more and more hostile to Prussia and friendly to Austria.

The sudden death of the king, by a fall from his carriage in Tirol in 1854, left the throne to his brother John, a learned and accomplished prince, whose name is known in German literature as a translator and annotator of Dante. His brother's ministers kept their portfolios, but their views gradually became somewhat liberalized with the spirit of the times. Beust, however, still retained his federalistic and philo-Austrian views. When war was declared between Prussia and Austria in 1866, Saxony declined the former's offer of neutrality, and, when a Prussian force crossed the border, the Saxon army under the king and the crown prince joined the Austrians in Bohemia. The entire kingdom, with the solitary exception of the Konigstein, was occupied by the Prussians. On the conclusion of peace Saxony lost no territory, but had to pay a war indemnity of ten million thalers, and was compelled to enter the North German Confederation.

During the peace negotiations Beust had resigned and entered the Austrian service, and on the 15th of November the king in his speech from the throne announced his intention of being faithful to the new Confederation as he had been to the old. On the 7th of F cbruary 1867 a military convention was signed with Prussia which, while leaving to Saxony a certain control in matters of administration, placed the army under the king of Prussia; from the ISL of July it formed the XII. army corps of the North German Confederation under the command of Crown-Prince Albert. The postal and telegraph systems were also placed under the control of Prussia, and the representation of the Saxon crown at foreign courts was merged in that of the Confederation. A new electoral law of the same year reformed the Saxon diet by abolishing the old distinction between the various “ estates ” and lowering the qualification for the franchise; the result was a Liberal majority in the Lower House and a period of civil and ecclesiastical reform. John was succeeded in 1873 by his elder son Albert (1832~1902) who had added to his military reputation during the war of 1870. Under this prince the course of politics in Saxony presented little of general interest, except perhaps the spread of the doctrines of Social Democracy, which was especially remarkable in Saxony. The number of Social Democratic delegates in a diet of 80 members rose from 5 in 1885 to 14 in 1895. So alarming did the growth appear, that the other parties combined, and on the 28th of March 1896 a new electoral law was passed, introducing indirect election and a franchise based on a. triple division of classes determined by the amount paid in direct taxation. This resulted in 1901 in the complete elimination of the Socialists from the diet. On the 7th of June 1902 King Albert died, and was succeeded by his brother as King George. The most conspicuous event of his reign was the flight in December 1902 of the crown-princess Louise with a M. Giron, who had been French tutor to her children, which resulted in a grave scandal and a divorce. More important, however, was the extraordinary situation created by the electoral law of 1896. This law had in effect secured the misrepresentation of the mass of the people in the diet, the representation of the country population at the expense of that of the towns, of the interests of agriculture as opposed to those of industry. A widespread agitation was the outcome, and the temper of the people, of what became known as the “ Red Kingdom, ” was displayed in the elections of 1903 to the German imperial parliament, when, under the system of universal suffrage, of 23 members returned 22 were Social Democrats. This led to proposals for a slight modification in the franchise for the Saxon diet (1904), which were not accepted. In the elections of 1906, however, only 8 of the Social Democrats succeeded in retaining their seats. In 1907 the government announced their intention of modifying the electoral system in Saxony by the adding of representation for certain professions to that of the three classes of the electorate. This was, however, far from satisfying the parties of the extreme Left, and the strength of Social Democracy in Saxony was even more strikingly displayed in 1909 when, in spite of plural voting, under a complicated franchise, 2 5 Socialist members were returned to the Saxon diet.

King George died on the 1 5th of October 1904 and was succeeded by his son as King Frederick Augustus III.

The Saxon Duchies.-The political history of the parts of Saxony left by the capitulation of Wittenberg to the Emestine line, which occupy the region now generally styled Thuringia (Thflringen), is mainly a recital of partitions, reunions, re divisions and fresh combinations of territory among the various sons of the successive dukes. The principle of primogeniture was not introduced until the end of

the 17th century, so that the Protestant Saxon dynasty, instead of