The Atlantic Monthly/Volume 18/Number 110/The Fall of Austria

2337286The Atlantic Monthly — The Fall of Austria1866Charles Creighton Hazewell


The great characteristic of aristocracies, according to their admirers, is prudence; and even democrats do not deny the soundness of the claim thus put forward in their behalf. They are cautious, and if they seldom accomplish anything brilliant, neither do they put everything to hazard. If they gain slowly, they keep long what they have. Did not Venice endure so long that, when she perished as a nation, within living memory, she was the oldest of great communities? And was she not the most perfect of all aristocratically governed nations? Was she not the admiration of those English republicans of the seventeenth century whose names are held in the highest honor wherever freedom is worshipped? Aristocracies have their faults, but they outlast every other kind of government, and therefore are objects of reverence to all who love order. The Roman Republic was aristocratical in its polity, and all that is great in Roman history is due to the ascendency of the Senate in the government; and when the Forum populace began to show its power, the decay of the commonwealth commenced, and did not cease till despotism was established,—the natural effect of the resistance of the many to the government of the few being the formation of the government of one. England's polity is, and for ages has been, aristocratical. Not even the passage of the Reform Bill materially lessened the power of the aristocracy; and the declaration of Earl Grey, the father of the measure, that it would be found the most aristocratical of measures,—as he was one of the most aristocratical of men,—does not seem so absurd now as it appeared four-and-thirty years since, when we note how difficult it now is to lower the franchise in Britain. The firmest government in Europe is that of England, in which property has greater influence than in that of any other nation. The conclusion drawn by aristocrats and their admirers is, that aristocracies are the most enduring of all the polities known to men, and that they are so because aristocrats are the most prudent and cautious of men. The governments they form and control wash and wear well, and bid defiance to what Bacon calls "the waves and weathers of time."

There is some truth in this. Aristocracies are cautious and prudent, and indisposed to risk present advantage in the hope of future gain. Therefore aristocratical polities often attain to great age, and the nations that know them attain slowly to great and firmly-placed power. Rome and Venice and England are striking examples of these truths. Yet it is not the less true that aristocracies sometimes do behave with a rashness that cannot be paralleled from the histories of democracies and despotisms. It has been the fortune of this age to see two examples of this rashness, such as no other age ever witnessed or ever could have witnessed. The first of these was presented in the action, in 1860-61, of the American aristocracy. The second was that of the Austrian aristocracy, in 1866. The American aristocracy—the late slavocracy—was the most powerful body in the world; so powerful, that it was safe against everything but itself. It had been gradually built up, until it was as towering as its foundations were deep and broad. Not only was it unassailed, but there was no disposition in any influential quarter to assail it. The few persons who did attack it, from a distance, produced scarcely more effect adverse to its ascendency, than was produced by the labors of the first Christians against the Capitoline Jupiter in the days of the Julian Cæsars. Abolitionists were annoyed and insulted even in the course of that political campaign which ended in the election of Mr. Lincoln to the Presidency; and not a few of the victors in that campaign were forward to declare, that between their party and the "friends of the slave" there was neither friendship nor sympathy. One of the most eminent of the Republicans of Massachusetts declared that he felt hurt at the thought that his party could be suspected of approving the conduct of Captain John Brown at Harper's Ferry. Down to the spring-time of 1860, it required, on the part of the American slaveholding interest, only a moderate display of that prudence which is said to be the chief virtue of an aristocracy, to secure all they possessed,—which was all the country had to give,—and to prepare the way for such gains as it might be found necessary to make, as the American nation should increase in strength. But this prudence the slaveholders would not display. They annoyed and insulted the people of the Free States. They broke up the Democratic party, which was well disposed to do their work. They pursued such a course as compelled the great majority of the American people to take up arms against them, and to abolish slavery by an act of war. The effect was the fall of a body of men who certainly were very powerful, and who were believed to be very wise in their generation. It was impossible to attack them as long as they were true to their own interests, and they could fall only through being attacked. They made war on the nation, and the nation was forced to defend herself, and destroyed them. It is the most wonderful case of suicide known to mankind.

The Austrian aristocracy behaved almost as unwisely as the American aristocracy. As the Republic of the United States is a union of States, which in reality was governed by the slaveholders down to 1861, so is the Austrian Empire a collection of countries, governed by a few great families, at the head of which stand the imperial family,—the House of Austria, or, as it is now generally called, the House of Hapsburg-Lorraine. That aristocracy might have prevented the occurrence of war last summer, by ceding Venetia to Italy; and that it did not make such cession early in June, when we know it was ready to make it early in July, but plunged into a contest which, according to the apologists for its terrible defeat, it was wholly unprepared to wage, speaks but poorly for its prudence, though that is claimed to be the virtue of aristocracies. The Austrian aristocrats behaved as senselessly in 1866 as the Prussian aristocrats in 1806, but with less excuse than the latter had. By their action they caused their country's degradation. From the rank of a first-rate power that country has been compelled to descend, not so much through loss of territory and population as through loss of position. For centuries the house of Austria has been very powerful in Europe, though the Austrian empire can count but sixty years. Rudolph of Hapsburg, the first member of his line who rose to great eminence, in the latter part of the thirteenth century, founded the house of Austria. While holding the imperial throne, he obtained for his own family Austria, Styria, Carinthia, and Carniola; but it was not till several generations after his death, and in the fifteenth century, that the imperial dignity became virtually, though not in terms, hereditary in the Hapsburg line. For several centuries, down to the extinction of the office, there was no Emperor of Germany who was not of that family. Every effort to divert the office from that house ended in failure. The consequence was, that the house of Austria became the first of reigning families; and at one time it seemed about to grasp the sceptre of the world. When the Empire ceased to exist, the Austrian empire, though of later creation than the French empire of Napoleon I., had that appearance of antique grandeur which has so great an effect on men's minds. It was looked upon as ancient because the imperial family really was ancient, and could trace itself back through almost twelve hundred years, to the sixth century, though in places the tracing was of the most shadowy character. It profited from the greatness of the Hapsburgs in the sixteenth, seventeenth, and eighteenth centuries,—a greatness which is among the most extraordinary things recorded in history.

Should the history of royal marriages ever be written in a manner proportioned to its importance, a large part of the work would have to be given to the marriages made by various princes of the house of Austria; for those marriages had prodigious effect on the condition of the best portions of the human race, and in the sixteenth century it seemed that they were about to bring, not only most of Europe, but nearly all America, a large part of Asia, and not a little of Africa under the rule of one family, and that family by no means superior to that of Valois or the Plantagenets. The extraordinary luck of the house of Austria in turning marriage into a source of profit was early remarked; and in the latter part of the fifteenth century, long before the best of the Austrian matrimonial alliances were made, Matthias Corvinus, the greatest of Hungarian kings, wrote a Latin epigram on the subject, which was even more remarkable as a prediction than as a statement of fact; for it was as applicable to the marriage of Napoleon I. and Maria Louisa, and to that of Philip the Fair and Juana the Foolish, as it was to that of Maximilian and Mary.[1] It is from the Styrian line of the Austrian house that all princes of that house who have reigned for four centuries and upward are descended. Ernest, third son of that Leopold who was defeated and slain at the battle of Sempach by the Swiss, became master of the duchies of Styria, Carniola, and Carinthia. He was a pious prince, and made a pilgrimage to Palestine, after the superstitious fashion of his time. He was a quarrelsome prince, and kept himself in a state of perpetual hot water with his brother. He was an amorous and a chivalrous prince, and, having lost his first wife, he got him a second after a knightly fashion. Having heard much of the material and mental charms of the Princess Cymburga, a Polish lady who had the blood of the Yagellons in her veins, he went to Cracow in disguise, found that report had not exaggerated her merits, and, prudently making himself known, proposed for her hand, and got it. But Cymburga was not only very clever and very beautiful: she was a muscular Christian in crinoline,—for hoops were known in those days among the Poles, or might have been known to them,—and if they were, no doubt Cymburga, like American ladies of to-day, had the sense and taste to use them. She had such strength of fist that, when she had occasion to drive a nail into anything, she dispensed with a hammer; and she economized in nut-crackers, as some independent people do in the item of pocket-handkerchiefs, by using her fingers. One would think that Ernest would have hesitated to woo and wed a lady who was so capable of carrying matters with a high hand; but then he was a very strong man, and was surnamed "The Iron," so that he could venture where no other man would have thought of going. This strong-handed as well as strong-minded couple, who were both paired and matched, must be taken as the real founders of that house of Austria which has been so conspicuous in the history of Christendom for almost four centuries, though they and their descendants built on the broad and solid foundations established by Rudolph of Hapsburg and his earlier descendants. Some authorities say that Cymburga brought into the Hapsburg family that thick lip—"the Austrian lip"—so often mentioned in history; but others call it the Burgundian lip, though the marriage between Maximilian (Cymburga's grandson) and Mary of Burgundy (Charles the Bold's daughter) did not take place till 1477; and the ducal Burgundian family was only a branch of the French royal line of Valois. It was no addition to the beauty of the imperial family, no matter to whom that family was indebted for it. It is certain that it appeared in the Emperor Frederick III., son of Ernest and Cymburga, and father of that Emperor who, when an archduke, married the Burgundian duchess, if such Mary can be called; for Menzel, who must have seen portraits of him, and who knew his history well, speaks of him as "a slow, grave man, with a large, protruding under-lip."

This Frederick was a singular character. He had the longest reign—fifty-three years—of all the German Emperors, and it may be said that he founded the house of Hapsburg, considering it as an imperial line. Yet he is almost invariably spoken of contemptuously. Menzel says that no Emperor had reigned so long and done so little. Mr. Bryce declares that under him the Empire sank to its lowest point. Even Archdeacon Coxe, who held his memory in respect, and did his best to make out a good character for him, has to admit "that he was a prince of a languid and inactive character," and to make other damaging admissions that detract from the excellence of the elaborate portrait he has drawn of him. There was something fantastical in his favorite pursuits,—astrology, alchemy, antiquities, alphabet-making, and the like,—which the men of an iron age viewed with a contempt that probably had much to do with giving him that character which he has in history, contemporary opinion of a ruler generally being accepted, and enduring. "A species of anagram," says the English historian of his family, "consisting of the five vowels, he adopted as indicative of the future greatness of the house of Austria, imprinted it on all his books, carved it on all his buildings, and engraved it on all his plate. This riddle occupied the grave heads of his learned contemporaries, and gave rise to many ridiculous conjectures, till the important secret was disclosed after his death by an interpretation written in his own hand, in which the vowels form the initials of a sentence in Latin and German, signifying, 'The house of Austria is to govern the whole world.'"[2] Notwithstanding the archidiaconal sneer, Frederick III.'s anagram came quite as near the truth as any uninspired prophecy that can be mentioned. In little more than sixty years after the Emperor's death, the house of Austria ruled over Germany, the Netherlands, Naples, Sicily, the Milanese, Hungary, Bohemia, the Spains, England and Ireland (in virtue of Philip II.'s marriage with Mary I., queen-regnant of England), the greater part of America, from the extreme north to the extreme south, portions of Northern Africa, the Philippines, and some minor possessions; and it really ruled, though indirectly, most of that part of Italy, outside of the territory of Venice, that had nominally an independent existence. Before Holland's independence was fully established, but after the connection with England had ceased, Portugal passed under the dominion of the Spanish branch of the house of Austria, with all her immense American, African, and Asiatic colonial possessions. For years, Philip II. was more powerful in France than any one of her sovereigns could pretend to be. Frederick's prediction, therefore, came to pass almost literally, and was less an exaggeration than St. Luke's assertion that a decree went forth from Cæsar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. As Augustus was lord of nearly all the world that a man like St. Luke could consider civilized and worth governing, so might an Austrian writer of the sixteenth century declare that the Hapsburgs ruled over wellnigh all the world that could be looked upon as belonging to the Christian commonwealth, including not a little that had been stolen from the heathen by Christians.

It was by marriage that the Hapsburgs became so great in so short a time. Frederick III. married Eleanor, a Portuguese princess, whose mother was of the royal house of Castille. Portugal is not even of second rank now, and the Braganças are not in the first rank of royal families. But in the fifteenth century Portugal stood relatively and positively very high, and the house of Avis was above the house of Austria, though a king of Portugal was necessarily inferior to the head of the Holy Roman Empire. This marriage did not advance the fortunes of the Austrian family, though it connected them with three other great families,—the reigning houses of Portugal, Castille, and England, the Princess Eleanor having Plantagenet blood. But the son of Frederick and Eleanor, afterward the Emperor Maximilian I.,[3] married Mary of Burgundy in 1477, which "gave a lift" to his race that enabled it to increase in importance at a very rapid rate. Mary was in possession of most of the immense dominions of her father, which he had intended to convert into a kingdom, had he lived to complete his purpose. His success would have had great effect on the after history of Europe, for he would have reigned over the finest of countries, and his dominions would have extended from the North Sea to Provence,—and over Provence so powerful a sovereign would have had no difficulty in extending his power,—which done, his dominions would have been touched by the Mediterranean. Louis XI. of France got hold of some of Mary's inheritance; but the greater part thereof she conveyed to Maximilian. She died young, leaving a son and a daughter. The son was Philip the Fair, who in 1496 married Juana, daughter of Ferdinand and Isabella, king of Aragon, and queen of Castille, and heiress of the Spanish monarchy, which had come to great glory through the conquest of Granada, and to wonderful influence through the discovery of the New World,—events that took place in the same year, and but a short time before the marriage of the Austrian archduke and the Peninsular princess. This marriage, useful and brilliant as it was to the house of Austria, turned out bitterly bad to the parties to it,—and it is not an isolated case in that respect. Philip the Fair was a very handsome fellow, as became his designation, or rather whence his designation came; but on the principle that "handsome is that handsome does," he was one of the ugliest of men. He was guilty of gallantry, the weakness of kings, and of many of the sovereign people too. When living in Spain he had many amorous adventures; and his wife, who had brought him so great a fortune that she thought she had an especial claim on his fidelity, became exceedingly jealous, and, being a dague en jarretière lady, as became one who was born to reign over Andaluçia, killed her faithless husband,—not by stabbing him, but by giving him poison. This was in 1506, when husband and wife were but twenty-eight and twenty-four years old, and had been but ten years married. There were two sons and four daughters born of this marriage, all of whom made important marriages. The eldest son was the man whom Mr. Stirling calls "the greatest monarch of the memorable sixteenth century,"—Charles V., Emperor of Germany, and the Spanish Charles I. He founded the Spanish branch of the house of Austria, the elder branch.[4] He married Isabella of Portugal, and their son was Philip II., who added Portugal to the possessions of the Austrian family, and one of whose wives was Mary Tudor, queen of England, the Bloody Mary of fire-and-fagot memory; and Philip gladly would have placed Mary's sister Elizabeth in his half-vacant bed. The marriage of Philip and Mary was barren, and poor Mary's belief that a "blessed baby" was coming has been matter for laughter for more than three hundred years. Had her agonizing prayers for offspring been heard, what a change would have been wrought in human destinies, even had the child lived to be no older than Edward VI.! The second son of Philip the Fair and Juana was Ferdinand, named from his maternal grandfather, Ferdinand the Catholic, king of Argon. He was the founder of the German branch of the house of Austria, the younger branch, which has long survived the elder branch, though now it exists only in the female line, and really is the house of Lorraine. Ferdinand became Ferdinand I., Emperor of Germany, and he did far more than was done by his elder brother to keep up the character of his family for making much through marriage. In 1522, when but nineteen, he married Anne Yagellon, princess of Hungary and Bohemia,—a marriage that might not have proved very important, but that death came in and made it so, and also the births that came from it, as will presently appear. Charles and Ferdinand had four sisters, and they all four made great marriages, three of which were very useful to the Austrian house. The eldest of these ladies, Eleanora, was married to Emanuel, king of Portugal,—a man old enough to be her father, with some years to spare,—being sacrificed to the ambition of her brother Charles, for she was attached to the Count Palatine. Becoming a widow, she was compelled to give her hand to that popular rascal, Francis I. of France, when her brother wished to strengthen the treaty he made with his "good brother" at Madrid, and which the Frenchman had arranged to disregard even before he signed it. The second sister, Isabella, married Christian II., king of Denmark, when she was but fourteen, and died at twenty-four. Mary, the third sister, became the wife of Louis II., king of Hungary and Bohemia, and last of the Yagellons. The fourth sister, Catherine, married John III., king of Portugal. It was the marriage of the third sister, Mary, that, in connection with his own marriage, had the greatest effect on the fortunes of her brother Ferdinand, as his wife was the sister of Louis II., Mary's husband. Louis was defeated by the Turks at the battle of Mohacz, in 1526, and lost his life while flying from the field. Ferdinand claimed the crowns of Bohemia and Hungary, as Louis left no children, and he was chosen king in both countries; and though he disowned all other rights to the Bohemian throne than that of the election, it is certain he never would have been elected by either nation had he not married the sister of Louis, and had not Louis married his sister. All these marriages, and other events that carried the power of the house of Austria to the greatest height, took place only thirty-three years after the death of Frederick III., and some of his contemporaries may have lived to witness them all.

The marriages of the house of Austria since the sixteenth century have not been so important as they were in that century, but they have not been without influence on events, in exceptional cases. The marriage of Marie Antoinette and the French prince who became Louis XVI. was fruitful of results; and the marriage of Napoleon I. and Marie Louise, by causing the French emperor to rely on Austrian aid in 1813, had memorable consequences. Louis XIII. and Louis XIV. married Austrian princesses of the Spanish branch; and the marriage of Louis XIV. and Maria Theresa led to the founding of that Bourbon line which reigns over Spain, though the main line has ceased to reign in France. The greatness of the house of Austria in the seventeenth century is visible only in Germany, after the death of Philip IV. of Spain. The German Hapsburgs had a powerful influence in the seventeenth century, playing then great parts, but often finding themselves in danger of extinction before their Spanish cousins had run out.[5] They were the rivals of the French kings of that century, and Louis XIV. was talked of as a candidate for the imperial throne. The course of English politics had a very favorable effect on the fortunes of the Hapsburgs, the same conduct that gave supremacy to Protestantism and constitutionalism in Great Britain working most favorably in behalf of that family which, for ten generations, has been identified with everything that is bigoted and intolerant in religion and politics. James II., after his fall, implored assistance from the Emperor of Germany, Leopold I.; and, considering that both were intensely Catholic, his application ought to have been favorably received; but the reigning Emperor had little difficulty in showing that it was not in his power, as assuredly it was not for his interest, to help the exiled king,—who was an exile only because of his attachment to that ancient Church through which alone, as Leopold believed, salvation could be secured. He went with the heretical William III. England, indeed, has been the bulwark of the German Hapsburgs on many occasions, and has saved them on more than one occasion from overthrow; and she did her best to aid even the Spanish branch in its last years, and then exerted herself to secure that branch's possessions for its relations at Vienna. It was English military genius that saved the Emperor Leopold I. from destruction.[6] When most of Continental Europe showed itself hostile to the Austrian house after the death of Charles VI., England was the fast friend of Maria Theresa, his daughter, and aided her to get over difficulties that seemed about to overwhelm her; and it was the fault rather of Austria than of England that the two countries did not act together in the Seven Years' War, when England was, as it were, forced into the Prussian alliance, and helped Frederick win his astonishing victories. Austria came out of that memorable contest without having accomplished the purpose for which she entered it; but she had displayed great power during its course, and in the last half of the reign of the empress-queen, her reputation stood very high. Joseph II., though he declared that he had failed in everything, impressed himself very powerfully on the European mind, and was counted a great sovereign. No common man could have entertained the projects that crowded his teeming mind, and which came to little in most instances because they were in advance of the time.

During the tremendous struggle that proceeded from the French Revolution, Austria was almost always in the foreground, and next to England showed greatest powers of endurance in combating the new order of things. Six times she made war on France, and though in four of these wars she was beaten, she had the fortune to decide the event of the fifth,—that of 1814-15; and in 1815 she was as active against Napoleon as circumstances permitted any of the Allies to be, except England and Prussia. The effect of this pertinacity, and of her decisive part in 1813, was to secure for her a degree of consideration altogether disproportioned to her real power. Men took her for what she appeared to be, not as she was. In truth, very little was known of her condition, and the few who were aware of her weakness were interested in keeping their knowledge to themselves. The grand effort which she made in 1809, single-handed almost, to break the power of Napoleon, was everywhere looked upon as something alike herculean and heroical, and as such it is spoken of in all those historical works from which most readers obtain knowledge of the early years of this century; but now we know from other sources, and particularly from the Diary of Gentz, that she never was in a worse state than she knew in the days of Eckmühl, Essling, and Wagram. Reading what Gentz wrote in the ten weeks that followed Wagram, we feel as if we were reading of the twenty days that followed Sadowa. But of this nobody outside of the empire seems to have known or suspected anything; and the number of persons in the empire who knew it, or suspected it, was not large. Even Napoleon, who was on the ground, and who had the country more at his control than it was at that of Francis II., seems to have been entirely ignorant of the true state of affairs. He could have "crumpled up" Austria with ease, and have made half a dozen kingdoms or grand duchies of the spoils he had seized,—and yet he talked to General Bubna, and to others of the Austrian negotiators, as if he considered Austria the greatest nation in Europe, and sure swiftly to recover from the consequences of the blows he had dealt her. He actually spoke of the ability she would secure to decide the future fate of Europe, and therein was a prophet of his own ruin. It is possible that there may have been some affectation in what he said, but there was as much sincerity, for there is a great deal in the history of his career that shows he had a high opinion of Austrian power. When Europe was settled, after his fall, Austria acquired the right to stand between England and Russia, as their equal; and down to 1848 she was the superior of both France and Prussia. The events of 1848-49 did not essentially lessen her prestige, and she had a commanding place during the Russian war. Even her defeats in the Italian war did not lead to any serious loss of consideration, and against them was set the striking fact that the victorious French had halted before the Quadrilateral, and actually had begged for peace from the vanquished.

We know how deceptive were all appearances in regard to Austrian strength; but it was in the power of Austrian statesmen to convert what was simply apparent into a solid reality. Had they been wise men, they would, during the long peace that followed 1815, have made of Austria a state as powerful in fact as the world believed her to be. Nothing could have been easier, as her undeveloped resources ever have been vast; but they did nothing of the kind, their sole aim being to get over the present, without any regard for the future. Hermayr says of Thugut, who was chief Austrian minister in the closing years of the last century, that "his policy knew neither virtue nor vice, only expedients"; and these words describe the policy of Metternich completely, and, with perhaps a little modification, they describe that of all his successors. So that when the Prussian war came, Austria was in the same state that she was in 1809,—seemingly very strong, actually very weak; and she fell in a month, with a great ruin, much to the astonishment of almost all men. But the difference between 1809 and 1866 is this,—that the light let into Austria through chinks made by the Prussian bayonet will prevent the game of deception from being renewed.

It is assumed by most persons, that the house of Austria has at last reached the turn of its fortunes, and that, having been beaten down by Prussia, it never will be able to rise again. This is the reaction against the sentiment that prevailed so generally at the beginning of last summer, just before the first blood was drawn in that war which proved so disastrous to Austria. In America, as in England, not only was it assumed that the Austrians had the better cause, but that the better chances of success were clearly with them. Black and yellow would distance black and white, and the two-headed eagle would tear and rend the single-headed eagle, thus affording another proof that two heads are better than one. Now, all is changed. In England, opinion is setting almost as strongly Prussiaward as it did in 1815, though the Prussians and the Prussian government have made no apologies for those ungracious acts against Englishmen which it was the fashion to cite as evidence of the dislike borne to the islanders by the countrymen of Bismarck. Captain Heehaw, of the Coldstreams, who thought—really, 'pon honor—that the Prussians would not be able to look half their number of Austrians in the face, has wheeled about, converted by the fast flashes of the needle-gun; and the gallant Captain, who would fight like an Achilles should opportunity offer, is a fair type of his fellows. There is a complete change of front. The English are countermarching, and will take up their former ground,—if they have not already taken it,—that on which they stood when their Parliament thanked Blücher and his Prussians for helping Wellington and his Britons strike down Napoleon and the French. Prussia now means a united Germany, to be ruled by the house of Hohenzollern, whose head is an old king of threescore and ten years, and who must, in the regular course of things, soon be displaced by a bold young prince, whose brows are thickly covered with laurels gathered on the field of Sadowa, and whose wife is the eldest child of Queen Victoria. Why should not Protestant England rejoice with Protestant Prussia, and see her successes with gladness? Sure enough; and English joy over the prodigious Prussian triumph of last summer ought to be the most natural thing in the world. But we cannot forget what was the color of English opinion down to the time when it was demonstrated by the logic of cannon that the Prussian cause was perfectly pure, and that it was to fly in the face of Providence to question its excellence. If ever a man was hated in England, Count Bismarck had the honor of being thus hated. And it was an honor; for next to the love of a great people, their hatred is the best evidence of a man's greatness. Napoleon in 1807 was not more detested by Englishmen than Bismarck in 1866. The obnoxious Prussian statesman was not even respected, for he had done nothing to command the respect of enemies. From the tone in which he was talked of, it was plain that the English considered him to be a mischievous, malicious, elfish sort of creature, who could not do anything that would deserve to be considered great, but who did his utmost to make himself and his country the nuisances of Europe. Books have been made from English journals to show how extraordinarily they berated this country during the Secession war, because Americans were so brutally perverse and so selfishly silly as not to submit their country's throat to the Southern sabre for the benefit of Britain, which condescends to think that our national existence is something not altogether compatible with her safety. But a collection made from the same journals of articles assailing Prussia in general, and Count Bismarck in particular, would be even richer than anything that has been collected to show English sympathy with gentlemen who were fighting valiantly to establish that "better kind of civilization" which is based on slavery. All is now changed toward Prussia, as most has been changed toward us for twenty months, ever since the fall of Richmond. If Prussia should not soon establish a "cordial understanding" with England, vice France discarded, it will be because she is not disposed to an English alliance, or because her fortunes shall have undergone a change, and rendered her unworthy of being courted. That ancient connection of England and Austria, dating from the time that the Bourbons became dangerous to Europe, and which was so often alluded to in the time of the Italian war, and in the days that immediately preceded the German conflict, is thought little of by Englishmen, who prefer to think of Pitt's connection with Frederick when the latter was threatened with annihilation by Austria. Prussia has not only beaten the Austrian armies; she has conquered English prejudices,—much the more difficult task of the two.

The Austrians must be amused by the change that has come over the English mind; but with their sense of the satire which that change may be said to embody, there is possibly mingled the reflection that their case, bad as it is, is not so bad as to deprive them of hope. Looking back over the history of the house of Austria, there is much in it to allow the belief that possibly it may again rise to the highest place in Europe. That house has often fallen quite as low as we have seen it fall, and yet it has not passed away, but has renewed its life and strength, and has taken high part in effecting the punishment, and even the destruction, of those who might have destroyed it. When Matthias Corvinus held Vienna,—when that city was besieged by the great Solyman, whose troops marched as far to the west as Ratisbon,—when Charles V. fled before Maurice of Saxony, "lest he might one fine morning be seized in his bed,"—when Andrew Thonradtel took Ferdinand II. by the buttons of his doublet, and said, "Nandel, give in, thou must sign" (a paper containing the articles of the union of the Austrian Estates with the Bohemians, which Ferdinand refused to sign, and never signed),—when Gustavus Adolphus was beating or baffling all the Imperial generals,—when Wallenstein was directing his army of condottieri, with which he had saved the Austrian house, against that house,—when Kara Mustapha, at the head of two hundred thousand Turks, aided by the Hungarians, and encouraged by the French, laid siege to Vienna, and sent his light cavalry to the banks of the Inn, and came wellnigh succeeding in his undertaking, and would have done so but for the coming in of John Sobieski and his Poles,—when the French and Bavarians, in 1704, had brought the Empire to the brink of destruction, so that it could be saved only through the combined exertions of such men as Eugène and Marlborough,—when almost all Continental Europe that was possessed of power directed that power against the Imperial house immediately after the death of Charles VI., last male member of the line of Hapsburg,—when Napoleon I. destroyed an Austrian army at Ulm, and took Vienna, and beat to pieces the Austro-Russian army at Austerlitz,—when the same Emperor took Vienna the second time, in 1809, after a series of brilliant victories, wonderful even in his most wonderful history, and won the victory of Wagram, and allowed the Austrian monarchy to exist only because he thought of marrying a daughter of its head,—when Hungarians, Italians, Germans, and others of its subjects were in arms against it, in 1848-49,—when Montebello and Palestro were followed by Magenta and Solferino,—the condition of the house of Austria was nearly as low as it is to-day, and on some of these occasions probably it was even more reduced than it is at present. Men were ready in 1529, in 1552, in 1619, in 1632, in 1683, in 1704, in 1741, in 1805, in 1809, in 1849, and in 1859 to say, as now they say, that the last hour of the fortunate dynasty was about to strike on the clock of Time, forgetting all its earlier escapes from the last consequences of defeat, recollection of which would have enabled them to form better judgments. On a dozen occasions Austria has risen superior to the effects of the direst misfortunes, and she may do so again. And her triumphs, proceeding out of failures, have not been won over common men or in ordinary contests. She has rarely had to deal with mean antagonists, and her singular victories have been enhanced in value by the high grade of her enemies. Francis I., Sultan Solyman, Gustavus Adolphus, Wallenstein, Richelieu, Louis XIV., Napoleon I., and Kossuth are conspicuous in the list of her enemies. They were all great men,—deriving greatness some of them from their intellectual powers, others from their positions as sovereigns, and yet others from both their positions and their powers of mind. Yet she got the better of them all,[7] and some of them fell miserably because of her enmity to them,—as Wallenstein and Napoleon. Frederick the Great was in some sense an exception, as he accomplished most of his purposes at her expense; and yet it cannot with propriety be said that he conquered her, or that, at the utmost, he was ever more than the equal of Maria Theresa or Joseph II., with all his undoubted intellectual superiority. When we compare the Austria of 1813 with the Austria of 1809, and see how wonderfully fortune had worked in her favor under circumstances far from promising anything for her benefit, we are not surprised that Austrians should still be full of confidence, or that a few other men should share what seems to be in them a well-founded hope. A belief in good luck sometimes helps men to the enjoyment of good luck,—and if men, why not nations?

Yet against this reliance on her luck by Austria must be placed the wonderful changes that have come over the world since those times when it was in the power of a government like the Austrian to exert a great influence on the course of events. Down to the time of the French Revolution, Austrian contests were carried on against nations, governments, and dynasties, and not against peoples. Even the wars that grew out of the Reformation were in no strict sense of a popular character, but were waged by the great of the earth, who found their account in being champions of progressive ideas,—the liberalism of those days. Almost all the renowned anti-Austrian leaders of the Thirty Years' War were kings, nobles, aristocrats of every grade, most of whom, we may suppose, cared as little for political freedom as the Hapsburgs cared for it. Gustavus Adolphus could be as arbitrary as Ferdinand II., and some of his most ardent admirers are of opinion that he fell none too soon for his own reputation, though much too soon for the good of Europe, when he was slain on the glorious field of Lützen. The most remarkable of all the wars waged by the Austrian house against human rights was that which Philip II. and his successor directed against the Dutch: the latter were the champions of liberty; but the opponents of the Spanish Hapsburgs even in that war can hardly be called the people. They were—at least the animating and inspiriting portion of them—the old Dutch municipal aristocracy, who on most occasions were well supported by the people. Down to a time within living memory, the German Hapsburgs contended only against their equals in blood and birth, if not always in power. In 1792 a new age began. The armies of Revolutionary France were even more democratic than our own in the Secession war, and not even Napoleon's imperializing and demoralizing course could entirely change their character. Democracy and aristocracy, each all armed, were fairly pitted against each other, in that long list of actions which began at Jemappes and terminated at Solferino. The Austrian army, like the Austrian government, is the most aristocratic institution of the kind in the world, and as such it was well ranged against the French army, the only great armed democratic force Europe had ever seen till the present year. Democracy had the better in most of the engagements that took place, though it had ever to fight hard for it, the Austrians rarely behaving otherwise than well in war. The Prussian army that did such great things last summer was conscribed from the people to an extent that has no parallel since the French Republic formed its armies; and it broke down the aristocratical force of Austria as effectively as Cromwell's Ironsides,—who were enlisted and disciplined yeomen,—broke through, cut down, and rode over the high-born Cavaliers of England. Now what Austria's army encountered when it met the French and Prussian armies, the Austrian government has to encounter in the management of affairs. In the old diplomatic school, Austria could hold her own with any foe, or friend either,—the latter the more difficult matter of the two. There seldom have been abler men in their way than Kaunitz and Metternich, but they would be utterly useless were they to come back and take charge of Austrian diplomacy, so changed is the world's state. And their successors are of their school, with abilities far inferior to theirs. The people have now to be consulted, even when treaties are arranged and political combinations made. Such a parcelling out of countries as was so easily effected at Vienna in 1815 would no more be possible now, than it would be to get up a crusade, or to revive the traffic in slaves. The ground which the people have gained in fifty years' course they have no intention of giving up, rather meaning to strengthen it and to extend it.

This is the reason why Austria cannot very hopefully look for a revival of her power, as it so often revived after defeat in old days, and under an entirely different state of things from that which now exists. A power has come into existence such as she has never been accustomed to deal with, and of which her statesmen have no knowledge. An Austrian statesman is scarcely more advanced than a Frenchman of the time of Louis Quatorze; and we verily believe that Louvois or Torcy would be quite as much at home in European politics at this moment as Mensdorff or Belcredi. Had they been well informed as to the condition of the times, they never would have so acted as to bring about the late war. It was their reliance on the ability of mere governments to settle every question in dispute, that caused them to plunge into a conflict with Prussia and Italy, when their master's empire was bankrupt, and when more or less of discontent existed in almost every part of that empire. Statesmen who knew the age, and who were aware of the change that has come over Europe in half a century, would have told the Emperor that to rely on "something turning up," after the ancient Austrian custom, would not answer in 1866, and that peoples as well as princes had much to do with the ordering of every nation's policy; and with every people Austria is unpopular. It is not difficult now to understand that Francis Joseph had a profound reliance on Napoleon III., that he believed the Frenchman would prevent his being driven to the wall, and that Prussia would be the greatest sufferer by the war, as she would be forced to part with the Rhine provinces. His mistake with respect to France was not a great one, as the French saw the triumph of Prussia with much bitterness of feeling, and gladly would have joined the Austrians; but the mistake he made in regard to Germany was very great, and shows that he and his advisers knew nothing of Germanic feeling. If they could thus err on a point that was plain to every intelligent foreigner, how can we expect them to exhibit more intelligence and more sense with respect to the new state of things proceeding from the event of the war? If they could not comprehend matters of fact at the beginning of last June, why should we conclude that they will be Solomons hereafter? Brought face to face with a new state of things, they so proceeded as to convince all impartial observers that they were wellnigh as ignorant of what had been going on among men, as the Seven Sleepers were when roused from their long slumber. But for this, unless we assume that they were fools, not only would they not have admitted war to be possible, but they never would have allowed the coming about of such a state of things as led to the dispute with Prussia. The entire action of the Austrian government with reference to the affairs of Germany, for several years, was admirably calculated to lead to what has taken place this year. That government, had it been wise, never would have acted with Prussia in the matter of the Danish duchies. It would have insisted on the fulfilment of the arrangement that was made years before, in which case it would have been supported by the whole power of France and England, and not improbably by that of Russia; and against so great an array of force, Prussia, even if backed by the opinion of Germany, never would have thought of contending,—and some of the German governments would have sided with the allies, and would have behaved much more efficiently than they did in the late war. Prussia would have been isolated, as France was in 1840; and that party which was opposed to Bismarck's policy would have obtained control of her councils, the effect of which would have been to preserve peace, the very thing that was most necessary to Austria's welfare. Instead of opposing Prussia, Austria joined her, and insisted on having a part in the very business that offended the Germans as much as it disgusted foreigners. Thus a state of things was brought about which made a German war inevitable, while Austria was deprived of all aid from abroad. England's sympathies were with Austria, as against Prussia; and yet England had been shabbily treated by Austria in respect to the duchies, and it was impossible for her either to forget or forgive such treatment. France had less cause to be offended; but Napoleon III. could not have approved of action which seemed to be taken in disregard of his high position in Europe, and was calculated to advance the ends of Prussia,—the power least respected by the French,—and which finally made of that power the destroyer of the settlement of 1815,[8] a part the Emperor had intended for himself. Having acted thus unwisely, and having no support from Russia, Austria should have avoided war in 1866, at any cost; and it was in her power to avoid it down to the time that she made the German Diet so proceed as to furnish Prussia with an excellent reason for setting her well-prepared armies in motion against the ill-prepared forces of her foe. Noting the folly of Austria, and observing that the French government, if M. de Lavalette's circular can be depended upon as an expression of its sentiments, is all for peace, we can see no opening for that renewal of warfare in Europe which the defeated party is said to desire, as an ally of France, in the expectation that she might recover the place she so lately lost. The reopening of the Eastern Question, of which much is said, might afford some hope to Austria, but not to the extent that is supposed; for she is not strong enough at this time to be a powerful ally of Russia as against Turkey, or of England in support of Turkey. She has parted with her old importance; for there is no further hiding from the world that her system is vicious, and that nothing could be gained from an alliance with her, while any country with which she should be associated would have to extend to her much support. She may rise again, but how, or in what manner, it is not in any man's power to say.

  1. The following is the epigram of Matthias Corvinus:—

    "Bella gerant alii; tu felix nube!
    Nam quæ Mars aliis dat tibi regna Venus."

    Which Mr. Sterling thus renders:—

    "Fight those who will; let well-starred Austria wed,
    And conquer kingdoms in the marriage-bed."

    Some other hand has given the following translation, or rather amplification, of the epigram:—

    "Glad Austria wins by Hymen's silken chain
    What other states in doubtful battles gain,
    And while fierce Mars enriches meaner lands,
    Receives possessions from fair Venus' hands."

    There would seem to be an end of these fortunate marriages, no member of the Austrian imperial family being now in condition to wed to much profit. The Emperor Francis Joseph, who is yet a young man, took to wife a Bavarian lady, said to be of extraordinary beauty, in 1854; and he has a daughter, who was born in 1856, the same year with the French Prince Imperial, whom she might marry, but that the two are children. Besides, marriages between French princes and Austrian princesses have turned out so badly on two memorable occasions, within less than a century, that even the statesmen of Vienna and Paris might well be excused if they were to think a third alliance quite impossible. The heir apparent to the Austrian throne is but eight years old. The Emperor's next brother, Ferdinand Maximilian,—well known in this country as Emperor of the Mexicans,—made a good marriage, his wife being a daughter of the late Leopold I., King of the Belgians. She has labored with zeal to found an imperial dynasty in Mexico, but the task is beyond human strength. The imperial system fell in Mexico on the same day that Richmond fell into the hands of General Grant. The fortunes of the Austrian prince and those of Mr. Davis were bound up together, and together they fell.

  2. We give the imperial anagram:—
    A: Austria Alles
    E: Est Erdreich
    I: Imperare Ist
    O: Orbi Oesterreich
    U: Universo Unterthan.
  3. Mr. Bryce credits Maximilian I. with the founding of the Austrian monarchy. "Of that monarchy," he observes, "and of the power of the house of Hapsburg, Maximilian was, even more than Rudolph his ancestor, the founder. Uniting in his person those wide domains through Germany which, had been dispersed among the collateral branches of his house, and claiming by his marriage with Mary of Burgundy most of the territories of Charles the Bold, he was a prince greater than any who had sat on the Teutonic throne since the death of Frederick II. But it was as Archduke of Austria, Count of Tyrol, Duke of Styria and Carinthia, feudal superior of lands in Swabia, Alsace, and Switzerland, that he was great, not as Roman Emperor. For just as from him the Austrian monarchy begins, so with him the Holy Empire in its old meaning ends." (The Holy Roman Empire, pp. 343, 344.) Mr. Bryce's work is one of the most valuable contributions to historical literature that have appeared in this century, and great expectations are entertained from the future labors of one so liberally endowed with the historic faculty.
  4. The division of the house of Austria into two branches, which alone prevented it from becoming supreme in Europe, and over much of the rest of the world, took place in 1521. After the death of their grandfather, Charles and Ferdinand possessed the Austrian territories in common, but in 1521 they made a division thereof. Ferdinand obtained Austria, Carinthia, Carniola, and Styria, and, in 1522, the Tyrol, and other provinces. In 1531 he was chosen King of the Romans, which made him the successor of Charles as Emperor. How Charles came, not merely to consent to his election, but to urge it, and to effect it in spite of opposition, when he had a son in his fourth year, is very strange. The reasons commonly given for his course are by no means sufficient to account or it. Many years later he tried to undo his work, in order to obtain the imperial dignity for his son; but Ferdinand held on to what he possessed, with true Austrian tenacity. Had Charles kept the imperial crown for his son, as he might have done, Philip's imperial position must have sufficed to give him control of the civilized world. He would have made himself master of both France and England, and must have rendered the Reaction completely triumphant over the Reformation. Fortunately, he failed to become Emperor, and during a portion of his time the imperial throne was occupied by the best of all the Hapsburg sovereigns,—the wise, the tolerant, the humane, and the upright Maximillian II., who was the last man in Europe likely to give him any aid in the prosecution of his vast tyrannical schemes. Besides, there was a sort of coolness between the two branches of the great family, that was not without its effect on the world's politics. Seldom has it happened that a more important event has occurred than the election of Ferdinand as King of the Romans. We are not to measure what might have been done by Philip II. as Emperor, by what was done by Charles V.; for Charles was a statesman, a politician, and, down to his latter years, when his health was utterly gone, he was no fanatic; but Phillip was a fanatic only, and a fierce one too, with a power of concentration such as his father never possessed. Then the contest between the Catholics and the Protestants was a far more serious one in Philip's time than it had been in that of Charles, which alone would have sufficed to make his occupation of the imperial throne, had he occupied it, a matter of the last importance.
  5. The main line of the German Hapsburgs ended in 1619, with the death of the Emperor Matthias. He was succeeded by Ferdinand II., grandson of Ferdinand I., and son of that Archduke Charles who was sometimes spoken of in connection with the possible marriage of Elizabeth of England. Out of Ferdinand II.'s elevation grew a new union of the entire family of Hapsburg. During the long ascendency of the Cardinal-Duke of Lerma in the Spanish councils, temp. Philip III., the breach between the two branches, which had been more apparent than real, and yet not unimportant, was made complete by the minister's action, the policy he pursued being such as was highly displeasing to the German Hapsburgs, who had relapsed into bigotry. Philip III. set up pretensions to Hungary and Bohemia, as grandson of Maximilian II. Ferdinand, who was not yet either emperor or king, got rid of Philip's pretensions by promising to resign to him the Austrian possessions in Swabia. This led to the fall of Lerma, and to the reunion of the two branches of the Austrian house, but for which it is probable Ferdinand II. might have been beaten in the early days of the Thirty Years' War. It was to Spanish aid that Ferdinand owed his early triumphs in that contest; and many years later, in 1634, the great victory of Nordlingen was gained for the Imperialists by the presence of ten thousand Spanish infantry in their army,—that infantry which was still the first military body in Europe, not then having met with the disaster of Rocroy, which, however, was near at hand. This was a kind of Indian-summer revival of Spanish power, and at the beginning of the new alliance between Madrid and Vienna, "there appeared," says Rankè, "a prospect of founding a compact Spanish hereditary dominion, which should directly link together Milan with the Netherlands, and so give the Spanish policy a necessary preponderance in the affairs of Europe." Richelieu spoilt this fine prospect just as it seemed about to become a reality, and the Spanish Hapsburgs gradually sank into insignificance, and their line disappeared in 1700, on the death of Charles II., the most contemptible creature that ever wore a crown, and scarcely man enough to be a respectable idiot. Such was the termination of the great Austro-Burgundian dynasty that was founded by Charles V.,—at one time as majestic as "the broad and winding Rhine," but again, like the Rhine, running fast to insignificance.
  6. If the house of Austria was not in the greatest danger it ever experienced in 1704, its members and officers could affect to feel all but absolutely desperate. The following letter, written in queer German-French, by the Imperial Minister near the English court, Count John Wenceslaus Wratislaw, to Queen Anne, conveys an almost ludicrous idea of the fright under which the Austrian chiefs suffered:—"Madame, Le soussigné envoyé extraordinaire de sa Majesté Impériale ayant représenté de vive voix en diverses occasions aux ministres de votre Majesté la dure extremité dans laquelle se trouve l'Empire, par l'introduction d'une armée nombreuse de François dans la Bavière, laquelle jointe à la revolte de la Hongrie met les païs héréditaires de sa Majesté Impériale dans une confusion incroyable, de sorte que si l'on n'apporte pas un remède prompt et proportionné au danger présent, dont on est menacé on a à craindre une revolution entière, et une destruction totale de l'Allemagne." Luckily for Austria, Marlborough was a man of as much moral as physical courage, and he took the responsibility of leading his army into Germany,—a decision that, perhaps, no other commander of that time would have been equal to,—and by the junction of his forces with those of Eugène was enabled to fight and win the battle of Blenheim (Blindheim), which put an end to the ascendency of France. Emperor Leopold was positively grateful for the services Marlborough rendered him, and treated him differently from the manner in which he had treated Sobieski for doing him quite as great a favor. He wrote him a letter in his own hand, gave him a lordship in fee, and made him, by the title of Mindelheim, a Prince of the Holy Roman Empire.
  7. As it is generally assumed that Richelieu got the better of the Empire in that contest which he waged with it, perhaps some readers may think we have gone too far in saying he was one of those antagonists of whom the Austrian family got the better; but all depends upon the point of view. Richelieu died when the war was at its height, and did not live to see the success of his immediate policy; but what he did was only an incident in a long contest. The old rivalry of the house of Valois and the house of Austria was continued after the former was succeeded by the house of Bourbon. Richelieu did but carry out the policy on which Henry IV. had determined: and when the two branches of the Austrian family had united their powers, and it seemed that the effect of their reunion would be to place Europe at their command, the great Cardinal-Duke had no choice but to follow the ancient course of France. But the contest on which he entered, though in one sense fatal to his enemy, was not decided in his time, nor till he had been in his grave more than sixty years. He died just before the beginning of the reign of Louis XIV., and that monarch took up and continued the contest which Richelieu may be said to have renewed. For an unusually long period the Bourbons were successful, though without fully accomplishing their purpose. From the battle of Rocroy, in 1643, to the battle of Blenheim, in 1704, France was the first nation of Europe, and the Bourbons could boost of having humiliated the Hapsburgs. They obtained the crowns of Spain and the Indies; and the Spanish crowns are yet worn by a descendant of Louis le Grand, while another family reigns in France. But Spain and her dependencies apart, all was changed by the result at Blenheim. The Austrian house was there saved, and re-established; and it was there that the policy of Richelieu had its final decision. The France of the old monarchy never recovered from the disasters its armies met with in the War of the Spanish Succession; and when Louis XV. consented to the marriage of his grandson to an Austrian princess, he virtually admitted that the old rival of his family had triumphed in the long strife. The quarrel was again renewed in the days of the Republic, maintained under the first French Empire, and had its last trial of arms under the second Empire, in 1859; but the old French monarchy gave up the contest more than a century ago. Besides, we are to distinguish between the German Empire and the house of Hapsburg that ruled from Vienna. The Peace of Westphalia (1648) left the Germanic Emperors in a contemptible state, but the effect of it was highly favorable to these Emperors considered as chiefs of the Hapsburg family. "Placed on the eastern verge of Germany," says Mr. Bryce, "the Hapsburgs had added to their ancient lands in Austria proper and the Tyrol new German territories far more extensive, and had thus become the chiefs of a separate and independent state. They endeavored to reconcile its interests and those of the Empire, so long as it seemed possible to recover part of the old imperial prerogative. But when such hopes were dashed by the defeats of the Thirty Years' War, they hesitated no longer between an elective crown and the rule of their hereditary states, and comforted themselves thenceforth in European politics, not as the representatives of Germany, but as heads of the great Austrian monarchy." (The Holy Roman Empire, new edition, p. 355.) Thus, by diverting the Hapsburgs from their impracticable schemes, and throwing them upon their hereditary possessions, Richelieu really helped them; and in so far his policy was a failure, as he sought to lessen the power of the house of Austria, which in his time ruled over Spain, as well as in Germany, Bohemia, Hungary, and other countries. It is intimated by some European writers, that the Austrian family will once more turn its attention to the East, and, giving up all thought of regaining its place in Germany, seek compensation where it was found in the seventeenth century, after the Peace of Westphalia. But what was possible two hundred years ago might be found impossible to-day. Russia had no existence as a European power in those days, whereas now she has one of the highest places in Europe, and a very peculiar interest in not allowing Austria, or any other nation, to obtain possession of countries like the Roumanian Principalities, the addition of which to his empire might afford compensation to Francis Joseph for all he has lost in the south and the west. It is one of the infelicities of Austria's position that she cannot make a movement in any direction without treading on the toes of some giant, or on those of a dwarf protected by some giant who who intends himself ultimately to devour him.
  8. Prussia, the most thoroughly anti-Gallican of all the parties to the Treaty of Vienna, completed the work of overthrowing the "detested" arrangements made by the framers of that treaty. The federal act creating the Germanic Confederation was incorporated in the work of the Congress of Vienna, and was guaranteed by eight European powers,—France, England, Russia, Prussia, Sweden, Austria, Spain, and Portugal. Prussia destroyed the Confederation without troubling herself about the wishes and opinions of the other seven parties to the arrangement of 1815. That all those parties to that arrangement were not always indifferent to their guaranty appears from the opposition made by Russia, France, and England to Prince Schwarzenburg's proposition, that Austria should be allowed to introduce all her non-Germanic territories into the Confederation, that is to say, that the Austrian Empire, which then included the Lombardo-Venetian kingdom, should become a part of Germany, which it would soon have ruled, as well as overruled, while it would have extended its dominion over Italy. Had Schwarzenburg's project succeeded, the course of European events during the last sixteen years must have been entirely changed, or Austria would have been made too strong to be harmed by the French in Italy, or by the Prussians in Germany and Bohemia. Russia was specially adverse to that project; and the Treaty of Vienna was forcibly appealed to by her government in opposing it. The time had not then come for making waste-paper of the arrangements of 1815.

This work was published before January 1, 1929, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

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