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The New International Encyclopædia/Miquel, Johannes von

MIQUEL, mḗ-kĕl', Johannes von (1829-1901). A German statesman, born in Neuenhaus, Hanover, of a family of French émigrés, and educated for the bar at Heidelberg and Göttingen. In his student days he was a rabid revolutionist and something of a Socialist, but when the period of reaction set in he soon forsook his earlier sentiments. His practice in Göttingen was very successful, and in 1864 he was elected a member of the Hanoverian Diet, and in 1865 Burgomaster of Osnabrück. Removing to Berlin in 1870, he was a director of the Diskontogesellschaft until 1873, and then president of its advisory board until 1876. Then he was again made Chief Burgomaster of Osnabrück, and in 1880 of Frankfort-on-the-Main. But his greater field of usefulness was in the Prussian House of Deputies and in the Imperial Diet. There, as in the Prussian House of Lords, of which he was ex-officio a member as Burgomaster of Frankfort, he was a leader of the National Liberal Party and one of Bismarck's most able and forceful lieutenants. In 1890 he became Prussian Minister of Finance, and was hailed as the ‘Emperor's man,’ no doubt to reassure the country in face of its fear that the new Imperial policy was to be merely reactionary. In this office, which Miquel held up to a few months before his death, he showed himself an able financier, and a bold reformer in his attempt to liberate the Imperial Treasury from depending on the contributions of the various States. As a politician he was an opportunist driven to intrigue with any party and, above all, to any sacrifice of conviction to the policy of the Kaiser, in the hope that he might be made Chancellor. But if he was unsuccessful in his programme of Imperial finance, in his more proper sphere of Prussian finance, by playing somewhat into the hands of the Agrarian Party, he secured the adoption of a new tax system, which greatly benefited the working classes and at the same time tremendously increased the revenue. On his Prussian policy, consult: Zedlitz und Neukirch, “Miquel als Finanz- und Staatsminister,” in Preussische Jahrbücher (1901).