Germany from the Earliest Period Vol. 4
Wolfgang Menzel, Trans. Mrs. George Horrocks

Part 7 out of 8

which Germany neither was nor is, was little studied, but an immense
mass of facts connected with or referring to Germany was furnished by
the numberless and excellent single histories and biographies that
poured through the press. All the more ancient collections of _script.
rerum_ were, according to the plan of Stein, the celebrated Prussian
minister, to be surpassed by a critical work on the sources of German
history, conducted by Pertz, which could, however, be but slowly
carried out. Grimm, Mone, and Barth threw immense light upon German
heathen antiquity, Zeusz upon the genealogy of nations. The best
account of the Ostrogoths was written by Manso, of the Visigoths by
Aschbach, of the Anglo-Saxons by Lappenberg, of the more ancient
Franks by Mannert, Pertz, and Loebell, of Charlemagne by Diebold and
Ideler, of Louis the Pious by Funk, of the Saxon emperors by Ranke and
his friends, Wachter and Leutsch, of the Salic emperors by Stenzel, of
the German popes of those times by Hoefler, of the Hohenstaufen by
Raumer, Kortum, and Hurter, of the emperor Richard by Gebauer, of
Henry VII. of Luxemburg by Barthold, of King John by Lenz, of Charles
IV. by Pelzel and Schottky, of Wenzel by Pelzel, of Sigismund by
Aschbach, of the Habsburgs by Kurz, Prince Lichnowsky, and Hormayr, of
Louis the Bavarian by Mannert, of Ferdinand I. by Buchholz, of the
Reformation by C. A. Menzel and Ranke, of the Peasant War by
Sartorius, Oechsle, and Bensen, of the Thirty Years' War by Barthold,
of Gustavus Adolphus by Gfroerer, of Wallenstein by Foerster, of
Bernhard of Weimar by Roese, of George of Lueneburg by von der Decken.
Of the ensuing period by Foerster and Guhrauer, of the Eighteenth
Century by Schlosser, of the Wars with France by Clausewitz, of Modern
Times by Hormayr.

Coxe, Schneller, Mailath, Chmel, and Gervay also wrote histories of
Austria, Schottky and Palacky of Bohemia, Beda, Weber, and Hormayr of
the Tyrol, Voigt of the Teutonic Order, Manso, Stenzel, Foerster,
Dolum, Massenbach, Coelln, Preusz, etc., of the Kingdom of Prussia,
Stenzel of Anhalt, Kobbe of Lauenburg, Luetzow of Mecklenburg, Barthold
of Pomerania, Kobbe of Holstein, Wimpfen of Schleswig, Sartorius and
Lappenberg of the Hansa, Hanssen of the Ditmarses, Spittler, Havemann,
and Strombeck of Brunswick and Hanover, van Kampen of Holland,
Warnkoenig of Flanders, Rommel of Hesse, Lang of Eastern Franconia,
Wachter and Langenn of Thuringia and Saxony, Lang, Wolf, Mannert,
Zschokke, Voelderndorf of Bavaria, Pfister, Pfaff, and Staelin of
Swabia, Glutz-Blotzheim, Hottinger, Meyer von Knonau, Zschokke,
Haller, Schuler, etc., of Switzerland. The most remarkable among the
histories of celebrated cities are those of St. Gall by Arx, of Vienna
by Mailath, of Frankfort on the Maine by Kirchner, of Ulm and
Heilbronn by Jaeger, of Rotenburg on the Tauber by Bensen, etc.

Ritter, and, next to him, Berghaus, greatly extended the knowledge of
geography. Maps were drawn out on a greatly improved scale. Alexander
von Humboldt, who ruled the world with his scientific as Napoleon with
his eagle glance, attained the highest repute among travellers of
every nation. Krusenstern, Langsdorf, and Kotzebue, Germans in the
service of Russia, circumnavigated the globe. Meyen, the noted
botanist, did the same in a Prussian ship. Baron von Huegel explored
India. Guetzlaff acted as a missionary in China. Ermann and Ledebur
explored Siberia; Klaproth, Kupfer, Parrot, and Eichwald, the
Caucasian provinces; Burckhardt, Rueppell, Ehrenberg, and Russegger,
Syria and Egypt; the Prince von Neuwied and Paul William, duke of
Wuertemberg, North America; Becher, Mexico; Schomburg, Guiana; the
Prince von Neuwied and Martius, the Brazils; Poeppig, the banks of the
Amazon; Rengger, Paraguay. The Missionary Society for the conversion
of the heathen in distant parts and that for the propagation of the
gospel, founded at Basel, 1816, have gained well-merited repute.

At the commencement of the present century, amid the storms of war,
German taste took a fresh bias. French frivolity had increased
immorality to a degree hitherto unknown. Licentiousness reigned
unrestrained on the stage and pervaded the lighter productions of the
day. If Iffland had, not unsuccessfully, represented the honest
citizens and peasantry of Germany struggling against the unnatural
customs of modern public life, Augustus von Kotzebue, who, after him,
ruled the German stage, sought, on the contrary, to render honor
despicable and to encourage the license of the day. In the numerous
romances, a tone of lewd sentimentality took the place of the strict
propriety for which they had formerly been remarkable, and the general
diffusion of these immoral productions, among which the romances of
Lafontaine may be more particularly mentioned, contributed in no
slight degree to the moral perversion of the age.

Jean Paul Friedrich Richter stands completely alone. He shared the
weaknesses of his times, which, like Goethe and Kotzebue, he both
admired and ridiculed, passing with extraordinary versatility, almost
in the same breath, from the most moving pathos to the bitterest
satire. His clever but too deeply metaphysical romances are not only
full of domestic sentimentality and domestic scenes, but they also
imitate the over-refinement and effeminacy of Goethe, and yet his
sound understanding and warm patriotic feelings led him to condemn all
the artificial follies of fashion, all that was unnatural as well as
all that was unjust.

Modern philosophy had no sooner triumphed over ancient religion and
France over Germany than an extraordinary reaction, inaptly termed the
romantic, took place in poetry. Although Ultramontanism might be
traced even in Friedrich Schlegel, this school of poetry nevertheless
solely owes its immense importance to its resuscitation of the older
poetry of Germany, and to the success with which it opposed Germanism
to Gallicism. Ludwig Tieck exclusively devoted himself to the German
and romantic Middle Ages, to the Minnesingers, to Shakespeare,
Cervantes, and Calderon, and modelled his own on their immortal works.
The eyes of his contemporaries were by him first completely opened to
the long-misunderstood beauties of the Middle Ages. His kindred
spirit, Novalis (Hardenberg), destined to a too brief career, gave
proofs of signal talent. Heinrich von Kleist, who committed suicide,
left the finest-spirited and most delightful dramas. Ludwig Achim von
Arnim, like Tieck, cultivated the older German Saga; his only fault
was that, led away by the richness of his imagination, he overcolored
his descriptions. Aided by Brentano, he collected the finest of the
popular ballads of Germany in "des Enaben Wunderhorn." At Berlin,
Fouque, with true old German taste, revived the romances of chivalry
and, shortly before 1813, met the military spirit once more rising in
Prussia with a number of romances in which figured battle-steeds and
coats of mail, German faith and bravery, valiant knights and chaste
dames, intermixed, it must be confessed, with a good deal of
affectation. On the discovery being made that many of the ancient
German ballads were still preserved among the lower classes, chiefly
among the mountaineers, they were also sought for, and some poets
tuned their lyres on the naive popular tone, etc., first, Hebel, in
the partly extremely natural, partly extremely affected, Alemannic
songs, which have found frequent imitators. Zacharia Werner and
Hoffiman, on the other hand, exclusively devoted themselves to the
darker side of days of yore, to their magic and superstition, and
filled the world, already terror-stricken by the war, with
supernatural stories. Still, throughout one and all of these
productions, curiously as they contrasted, the same inclination to
return to and to revive a purely German style was evident. At that
moment the great crisis suddenly took place. Before even the poets
could predict the event, Germany cast off the yoke of Napoleon, and
the German "Sturm and Freiheitslieder" of Theodor Koerner, Arndt,
Schenkendorf, etc., chimed in like a fearfully beautiful Allegro with
the Adagio of their predecessors.

This was in a manner also the finale of the German notes that so
strangely resounded in that Gallic time; the restoration suppressed
every further outburst of patriotism, and the patriotic spirit that
had begun to breathe forth in verse once more gave place to
cosmopolitism and Gallicism. The lyric school, founded by Ludwig
Uhland, alone preserved a German spirit and a connection with the
ancient _Minnelieder_ of Swabia.

The new cosmopolitic tendency of the poetry of these times is chiefly
due to the influence exercised by Goethe. The quick comprehension and
ready adoption of every novelty is a faculty of, not a fault in, the
German character, and alone becomes reprehensible when the German,
forgetful of himself and of his own peculiar characteristics, adopts a
medley of foreign incongruities and falsifies whatever ought to be
preserved special and true. Goethe and his school, however, not
content with imitating singly the style of every nation and of every
period, have interwoven the most diverse strains, antique and
romantic, old German and modern French, Grecian and Chinese, in one
and the same poem. This unnatural style, itself destructive of the
very peculiarity at which it aims, has infected both modern poetry and
modern art; the architect intermixes the Grecian and the Gothic in his
creations, while the painter seeks to unite the styles of the Flemish
and Italian schools in his productions, and the poet those of Persia,
Scandinavia, and Spain, in his strains.--Those are indeed deserving of
gratitude who have comprehended and preserved the character peculiar
to the productions of foreign art, in which the brothers Friedrich and
August Wilhelm Schlegel have been so eminently successful. Hammer and,
after him, Ruckert have also opened the Eastern world to our view.
Count Platen, on the other hand, hung fluctuating between the antique
Persian and German.--Cosmopolitism was greatly strengthened by the
historical romances in vogue in England, descriptive of olden time,
and which found innumerable imitators in Germany. They were, at all
events, thus far beneficial; they led us from the parlor into the

But no sooner was genuine German taste neglected for that of foreign
nations than Gallomania revived; all were compelled to pay homage to
the spirit and the tone prevalent throughout Europe. The witty
aristocratic _medisance_ and grim spirit of rebellion emulating each
other in France, were, in Germany, represented by Prince Piichler, the
most _spirituel_ drawing-room satirist, and by the Jew, Boerne, the
most spirited Jacobin of the day. The open infidelity again
demonstrated in France, also led to its introduction into Germany by
the Jew, Heine, while the immoral romances with which that country was
deluged speedily became known to us through the medium of the
translations and imitations of "Young Germany," and were incredibly
increased by our literary industry; all the lying memoirs, in which
the French falsify history, view Napoleon as a demigod, and treat the
enthusiasm with which the Germans were animated in 1813 with derision,
were also diligently translated. This tendency to view everything
German with French eyes and to ridicule German honor and German
manners was especially promoted by the light literature, and numerous
journals of the day, and was, in the universities, in close connection
with the anti-christian tendency of the school of Hegel.--The late
Catholic reaction, too exclusively political, has as yet exercised no
influence over the literary world, and would scarcely succeed in
gaining any, being less German than Roman.

While German poetry follows so false a course, it naturally follows
that art also must be deprived of its natural character. Architecture
has, it is true, abandoned the periwig style of France, but the purer
antique or Byzantine taste to which it has returned is generally
insipidly simple, while the attempts at Gothic and Moorish are truly
miserable. A more elevated feeling than the present generation (which,
in Goethe's manner, delights in trifling alternately with every style,
or is completely enslaved by the modes imposed by France) is fitted to
comprehend, is requisite for the revival of German or Gothic
architecture. Still it may be, as is hoped, that the intention to
complete the building of the Cologne cathedral will not be entirely
without a beneficial influence.

The art of painting aspires far more energetically toward national
emancipation. In the present century, the modern French style
affecting the antique presented a complete contrast with the German
romantic school, which, in harmony with the simultaneous romantic
reaction in the poetical world, returned to the sacred simplicity of
the ancient German and Italian masters. Overbeck was in this our
greatest master. Since this period, the two great schools at Munich
and Dusseldorf, founded by Peter Cornelius, and whose greatest masters
are Peter Hesz, Bendemann, Lessing, Kaulbach, etc., have sought a
middle path, and with earnest zeal well and skilfully opposed the too
narrow imitation of, and the medley of style produced by the study of,
the numerous old masters on the one hand, and, on the other, the
search for effect, that Gallic innovation so generally in vogue. Were
the church again to require pictures, or the state to employ the
pencil of the patriot artist in recording the great deeds of past or
present times or in the adornment of public edifices, painting would
be elevated to its proper sphere.--Germany has also produced many
celebrated engravers, among whom Muller holds precedence. Lithography,
now an art of so much importance, was invented by the Bavarian,
Senefelder. The art of painting on glass has also been revived.

In music, the Germans have retained their ancient fame. After Mozart,
Beethoven, Weber, etc., have gained immense celebrity as composers.
Still, much that is unnatural, affected, _bizarre_ and licentious has
crept into the compositions of the German masters, more particularly
in the operas, owing to the imitation of the modern Italian and French
composers. A popular reaction has, however, again taken place, and, as
before, in choral music, by means of the "singing clubs," which become
more and more general among the people.

The stage has most deeply degenerated. At the commencement of the
present century, its mimic scenes afforded a species of consolation
for the sad realities of life, and formed the Lethe in whose waters
oblivion was gladly sought. The public afterward became so practical
in its tastes, so sober in its desires, that neither the spirit of the
actor nor the coquetry of the actress had power to attract an
audience. The taste and love for art were superseded by criticism and
low intrigues, the theatre became a mere political engine, intended to
divert the thoughts of the population, of the great cities from the
discussion of topics dangerous to the state by the all-engrossing
charms of actresses and ballet-dancers.

The Germans, although much more practical in the present than in the
past century, are still far from having freed themselves from the
unjust, unfitting, and inconvenient situation into which they have
fallen as time and events rolled on.

A mutual understanding in regard to the external position of the
German in reference to the Slavonian nation has scarcely begun to dawn
upon us. Scarcely have we become sensible to the ignominious
restrictions imposed upon German commerce by the prohibitory
regulations of Russia, by the customs levied in the Sound, on the
Elbe, and Rhine. Scarcely has the policy that made such immense
concessions to Russian diplomacy, and scarcely has the party spirit
that looked for salvation for Germany from France, yielded to a more
elevated feeling of self-respect. And yet, whoever should say to the
people of Alsace, Switzerland, and Holland, "Ye are Germans," would
reap but derision and insult. Germany is on the point of being once
more divided into Catholic and Protestant Germany, and no one can
explain how the German Customs' Union is to extend to the German
Ocean, on account of the restrictions mutually imposed by the Germans.
Could we but view ourselves as the great nation we in reality are,
attain to a consciousness of the immeasurable strength we in reality
possess, and make use of it in order to satisfy our wants, the Germans
would be thoroughly a practical nation, instead of lying like a dead
lion among the nations of Europe, and unresistingly suffering them to
mock, tread underfoot, nay, deprive him of his limbs, as though he
were a miserable, helpless worm.

More, far more has been done for the better regulation of the internal
economy of Germany than for her external protection and power. The
reforms suited to the age, commenced by the philosophical princes and
ministers of the past century, have been carried on by Prussia in her
hour of need, by constitutional Germany by constitutional means.
Everywhere have the public administration been better regulated,
despotism been restrained by laws, financial affairs been settled even
under the heavy pressure of the national debts. Commerce, manufactural
industry, and agriculture have been greatly promoted by the Customs'
Union, by government aid and model institutions, by the improvements in
the post-offices, by the laying of roads and railways. The public
burdens and public debts, nevertheless, still remain disproportionately
heavy on account of the enormous military force which the great states
are compelled to maintain for the preservation of their authority, and
on account of the polyarchical state of Germany, which renders the
maintenance of an enormous number of courts, governments, general staffs
and chambers necessary.

The popular sense of justice and legality, never entirely suppressed
throughout Germany, also gave fresh proof of its existence under the
new state of affairs, partly in the endlessly drawn-out proceedings in
the chambers, partly in the incredible number of new laws and
regulations in the different states. Still, industriously as these
laws have been compiled, no real, essential, German law, neither
public nor private, has been discovered. The Roman and French codes
battled with each other and left no room for the establishment of a
code fundamentally and thoroughly German. The most distinguished
champions of the common rights of the people against cabinet-justice,
the tyranny of the police and of the censor, were principally
advocates and savants. The Estates, as corporations, were scarcely any
longer represented. The majority of governments, ruled by the
principle of absolute monarchy and the chambers, ruled by that of
democracy, had, since the age of philosophy, been unanimous in setting
the ancient Estates aside. The nobility alone preserved certain
privileges, and the Catholic clergy alone regained some of those they
had formerly enjoyed; all the Estates were, in every other respect,
placed on a level. The ancient and national legal rights of the people
were consequently widely trenched upon.

The emancipation of the peasant from the oppressive feudal dues, and
the abolition of the restraint imposed by the laws of the city
corporations, which had so flagrantly been abused, were indubitably
well intended, but, instead of stopping there, good old customs, that
ought only to have been freed from the weeds with which they had been
overgrown, were totally eradicated. The peasant received a freehold,
but was, by means of his enfranchisement, generally laden with debts,
and, while pride whispered in his ear that he was now a lord of the
soil and might assume the costume of his superiors, the land, whence
he had to derive his sustenance, was gradually diminished in extent by
the systematic division of property. His pretensions increased exactly
in the ratio in which the means for satisfying them decreased; and the
necessity of raising money placed him in the hands of Jews. The
smaller the property by reason of subdivision, the more frequently is
land put up for sale, the deeper is the misery of the homeless
outcast. The restoration of the inalienable, indivisible allod and of
the federal rights of the peasant, as in olden times, would have been
far more to the purpose.--Professional liberty and the introduction of
mechanism and manufactural industry have annihilated every warrant
formerly afforded by the artificer as master and member of a city
corporation, and, at the same time, every warrant afforded to him by
the community of his being able to subsist by means of his industry.
Manufactures on an extensive scale that export their produce must at
all events be left unrestricted, but the small trades carried on
within a petty community, their only market, excite, when free, a
degree of competition which is necessarily productive both of bad
workmanship and poverty, and the superfluous artificers, unaided by
their professional freedom, fall bankrupt and become slaves in the
establishments of their wealthier[1] competitors. The restoration of
the city guilds under restrictions suitable to the times would have
been far more judicious.

The maintenance of a healthy, contented class of citizens and peasants
ought to be one of the principal aims of every German statesman. The
fusion of these ancient and powerful classes into one common mass
whence but a few wealthy individuals rise to eminence would be fatal
to progression in Germany. By far the greater part of the people have
already lost the means of subsistence formerly secured to all, nay,
even to the serf, by the privileges of his class. The insecure
possession, the endless division and alienation of property, an
anxious dread of loss, and a rapacious love of gain, have become
universal. Care for the means of daily existence, like creeping
poison, unnerves the population. The anxious solicitude to which this
gives rise has a deeply demoralizing effect. Even offices under
government are less sought for from motives of ambition than as a
means of subsistence; the arts and sciences have been degraded to mere
sources of profit, envious trade decides questions of the highest
importance, the torch of Hymen is lit by Plutus, not at the shrine of
Love; and in the bosom of the careworn father of a family, whose
scanty subsistence depends upon a patron's smile, the words
"fatherland" and "glory" find no responsive echo.

Among the educated classes this state of poverty is allied with the
most inconsistent luxury. Each and all, however poor, are anxious to
preserve an appearance of wealth or to raise credit by that means.
All, however needy, must be fashionable. The petty tradesman and the
peasant ape their superiors in rank, and the old-fashioned but
comfortable and picturesque national costume is being gradually thrown
aside for the ever-varying modes prescribed by Paris to the world. The
inordinate love of amusements in which the lower classes and the
proletariat, ever increasing in number, seek more particularly to
drown the sense of misery, is another and a still greater source of
public demoralization. The general habit of indulging in the use of
spirituous liquors has been rightfully designated the brandy pest,
owing to its lamentable moral and physical effect upon the population.
This pest was encouraged not alone by private individuals, who gain
their livelihood by disseminating it among the people, but also by
governments, which raised a large revenue by its means; and the
temperance societies, lately founded, but slightly stem the evil.

The public authorities throughout Germany have, it must be confessed,
displayed extraordinary solicitude for the poor by the foundation of
charitable institutions of every description, but they have contented
themselves with merely alleviating misery instead of removing its
causes; and the benevolence that raised houses of correction,
poor-houses, and hospitals, is rendered null by the laxity of the
legislation. No measures are taken by the governments to provide means
for emigration, to secure to the peasant his freehold, to the
artificer the guarantee he ought to receive and to give, and the
maintenance of the public morals. The punishment awarded for
immorality and theft is so mild as to deprive them of the character of
crime, pamphlets and works of the most immoral description are
dispersed by means of the circulating libraries among all classes, and
the bold infidelity preached even from the universities is left
unchecked. But--is not the thief taught morality in the house of
correction? and are not diseases, the result of license, cured in the
hospitals with unheard-of humanity?

Private morality, so long preserved free from contamination, although
all has for so long conspired against the liberty and unity of
Germany, is greatly endangered. Much may, however, be hoped for from
the sound national sense. The memory of the strength displayed by
Germany in 1813 has been eradicated neither by the contempt of France
or Russia, by any reactionary measure within Germany herself, by
social and literary corruption, nor by the late contest between church
and state. The Customs' Union has, notwithstanding the difference in
political principle, brought despotic Prussia and constitutional
Germany one step nearer. The influence of Russia on the one hand, of
that of France on the other, has sensibly decreased. The irreligious
and immoral tendencies now visible will, as has ever been the case in
Germany, produce a reaction, and, when the necessity is more urgently
felt, fitting measures will be adopted for the prevention of
pauperism. The dangers with which Germany is externally threatened
will also compel governments, however egotistical and indifferent, to
seek their safety in unity, and even should the long neglect of this
truth be productive of fresh calamity and draw upon Germany a fresh
attack from abroad, that very circumstance will but strengthen our
union and accelerate the regeneration of our great fatherland, already
anticipated by the people on the fall of the Hohenstaufen.

[Footnote 1: Because more skilful.--_Trans_.]

CCLXXIV. German Emigrants

The overplus population of Germany has ever emigrated; in ancient
times, for the purpose of conquering foreign powers; in modern times,
for that of serving under them. In the days of German heroism, our
conquering hordes spread toward the west and south, over Italy, Gaul,
Spain, Africa, England, and Iceland; during the Middle Ages, our
mail-clad warriors took an easterly direction and overran the
Slavonian countries, besides Prussia, Transylvania, and Palestine; in
modern times, our religious and political refugees have emigrated in
scarcely less considerable numbers to countries far more distant, but
in the humble garb of artificers and beggars, the Pariahs of the
world. Our ancient warriors gained undying fame and long maintained
the influence and the rule of Germany in foreign lands. Our modern
emigrants have, unnoted, quitted their native country, and, as early
as the second generation, intermixed with the people among whom they
settled. Hundreds of thousands of Germans have in this manner aided to
aggrandize the British colonies, and Germany has derived no benefit
from the emigration of her sons.

The first great mass of religious refugees threw itself into Holland
and into the Dutch colonies, the greater part of which have since
passed into the hands of the British. The illiberality of the Dutch
caused the second great mass to bend its steps to British North
America, within whose wilds every sect found an asylum. William Penn,
the celebrated Quaker, visited Germany, and, in 1683, gave permission
to some Germans to settle in the province named, after him,
Pennsylvania, where they founded the city of German town.[1] These
fortunate emigrants were annually followed by thousands of exiled
Protestants, principally from Alsace and the Palatinate. The industry
and honesty for which the German workmen were remarkable caused some
Englishmen to enter into a speculation to procure their services as
white slaves. The greatest encouragement was accordingly given by them
to emigration from Germany, but the promises so richly lavished were
withdrawn on the unexpected emigration of thirty-three thousand of the
inhabitants of the Palatinate, comprising entire communes headed by
their preachers, evidently an unlooked and unwished for multitude.
These emigrants reached London abandoned by their patrons and
disavowed by the government. A fearful fate awaited them. After losing
considerable numbers from starvation in England, the greater part of
the survivors were compelled to work like slaves in the mines and in
the cultivation of uninhabited islands; three thousand six hundred of
them were sent over to Ireland, where they swelled the number of
beggars; numbers were lost at sea, and seven thousand of them returned
in despair, in a state of utter destitution, to their native country.
A small number of them, however, actually sailed for New York, where
they were allotted portions of the primitive forests, which they
cleared and cultivated; but they had no sooner raised flourishing
villages in the midst of rich cornfields and gardens, than they were
informed that the ground belonged to the state and were driven from
the home they had so lately found. Pennsylvania opened a place of
refuge to the wanderers.[2]

The religious persecution and the increasing despotism of the
governments in Germany meanwhile incessantly drove fresh emigrants to
America, where, as they were generally sent to the extreme verge of
the provinces in order to clear the ground and drive away the
aborigines, numbers of them were murdered by the Indians. Switzerland
also sent forth many emigrants, who settled principally in North
Carolina. The people of Salzburg, whose expulsion has been detailed
above, colonized Georgia in 1732. In 1742, there were no fewer than a
hundred thousand Germans in North America, and, since that period,
their number has been continually on the increase. Thousands annually
arrived; for instance, in the years 1749 and 1750, seven thousand; in
1754, as many as twenty-two thousand; in 1797, six thousand Swabians.
The famine of 1770, the participation of German mercenaries in the
wars of the British in North America, at first against the French
colonies, afterward against the English colonists (the German
prisoners generally settled in the country), induced the Germans to
emigrate in such great numbers that, from 1770 to 1791, twenty-four
emigrant ships on an average arrived annually at Philadelphia, without
reckoning those that landed in the other harbors.[3]

The passage by sea to the west being continually closed during the
great wars with France, the stream of emigration took an easterly
direction overland. Russia had extended her conquests toward Persia
and Turkey. The necessity of fixing colonies in the broad steppes as
in the primitive forests of America, to serve as a barrier against the
wild frontier tribes, was plainly perceived by the Russian government,
and Germans were once more made use of for this purpose. Extensive
colonies, which at the present date contain hundreds of thousands of
German inhabitants, but whose history is as yet unknown, were
accordingly formed northward of the Black and Caspian Seas. Swabian
villages were also built on the most southern frontier of Russia
toward Persia, and in 1826 suffered severely from an inroad of the

The fall of Napoleon had no sooner reopened the passage by sea than
the tide of emigration again turned toward North America. These
emigrants, the majority of whom consisted of political malcontents,
preferred the land of liberty to the steppes of Russia, whither
sectarians and those whom the demoralization and irreligion of the
Gallomanic period had filled with disgust had chiefly resorted. The
Russo-Teuto colonies are proverbial for purity and strictness of
morals. One Wurtemberg sectarian alone, the celebrated Rapp, succeeded
during the period of the triumph of France in emigrating to
Pennsylvania, where he founded the Harmony, a petty religious
community. An inconsiderable number of Swiss, dissatisfied with
Napoleon's supremacy, also emigrated in 1805 and built New Vevay. But
it was not until after the wars, more particularly during the famine
in 1816 and 1817, that emigration across the sea was again carried on
to a considerable extent. In 1817, thirty thousand Swiss,
Wurtembergers, Hessians, and inhabitants of the Palatinate emigrated,
and about an equal number were compelled to retrace their steps from
the seacoast in a state of extreme destitution on account of their
inability to pay their passage and of the complete want of interest in
their behalf displayed by the governments. Political discontent
increased in 1818 and 1819, and each succeeding spring thirty thousand
Germans sailed down the Rhine to the land of liberty in the far west.
In 1820, a society was set on foot at Berne for the protection of the
Swiss emigrants from the frauds practiced upon the unwary. The union
of the Archduchess Leopoldine, daughter to the emperor Francis, with
Dom Pedro, the emperor of the Brazils, had, since 1817, attracted
public attention to South America. Dom Pedro took German mercenaries
into his service for the purpose of keeping his wild subjects within
bounds, and the fruitful land offered infinite advantages to the
German agriculturist; but colonization was rendered impracticable by
the revolutionary disorders and by the ill-will of the natives toward
the settlers, and the Germans who had been induced to emigrate either
enlisted as soldiers or perished. Several among them, who have
published their adventures in the Brazils, bitterly complained of the
conduct of Major Schaefer, who had been engaged in collecting recruits
at Hamburg for the Brazils. They even accused him of having allowed
numbers of their fellow-countrymen to starve to death from motives of
gain, so much a head being paid to him on his arrival in the Brazils
for the men shipped from Europe whether they arrived dead or alive.
The publication of these circumstances completely checked the
emigration to the Brazils, and North America was again annually,
particularly in 1827 and after the July revolution, overrun with
Germans, and they have even begun to take part in the polity of the
United States. The peasants, who have been settled for a considerable
period, and who have insensibly acquired great wealth and have
retained the language and customs of their native country, form the
flower of the German colonists in the West.[4]

In the Cape colonies, the Dutch peasants, the boors, feeling
themselves oppressed by the English government, emigrated _en masse_,
in 1837, to the north, where they settled with the Caffres, and, under
their captain, Praetorius, founded an independent society, in 1839, at
Port Natal, where they again suffered a violent aggression on the part
of the British.

Thus are Germans fruitlessly scattered far and wide over the face of
the globe, while on the very frontiers of Germany nature has
designated the Danube as the near and broad path for emigration and
colonization to her overplus population, which, by settling in her
vicinity, would at once increase her external strength and extend her

[Footnote 1: The abolition of negro slavery was first mooted by
Germans in 1688, at the great Quaker meeting in North America.]

[Footnote 2: Account of the United States by Eggerling.]

[Footnote 3: One of the most distinguished Germans in America was a
person named John Jacob Astor, the son of a bailiff at Walldorf near
Heidelberg, who was brought up as a furrier, emigrated to America,
where he gradually became the wealthiest of all furriers, founded at
his own expense the colony of Astoria, on the northwestern coast of
North America, so interestingly described by Washington Irving, and
the Astor fund, intended as a protection to German emigrants to
America from the frauds practiced on the unwary. He resided at New
York. He possessed an immense fortune and was highly and deservedly
esteemed for his extraordinary philanthropy.]

[Footnote 4: The Allgemeine Zeitung of September, 1837, reports that
there were at that time one hundred and fifty-seven thousand Germans
in North America who were still unnaturalized, consequently had
emigrated thither within the last two or three years. In Philadelphia
alone there were seventy-five thousand Germans. Grund says in his
work, "The Americans in 1837," "The peaceable disposition of the
Germans prevents their interfering with politics, although their
number is already considerable enough for the formation of a powerful
party. They possess, notwithstanding, great weight in the government
of Pennsylvania, in which State the governors have since the
revolution always been Germans. This is in fact so well understood on
all sides that even during the last election, when two democrats and a
Whig candidate contended for the dignity of governor, they were all
three Germans by birth and no other would have had the slightest
chance of success. In the State of Ohio there are at the present date,
although that province was first colonized by New-English, no fewer
than forty-five thousand Germans possessed of the right of voting. The
State of New York, although originally colonized by Dutch, contains a
numerous German population in several of its provinces, particularly
in that of Columbia, the birthplace of Martin Van Buren, the present
Vice-President and future President of the republic. The State of
Maryland numbers twenty-five thousand Germans possessed of votes;
almost one-third of the population of Illinois is German, and
thousands of fresh emigrants are settling in the valley of the
Mississippi. I believe that the number of German voters or of voters
of German descent may, without exaggeration, be reckoned on an average
annually at four hundred thousand, and certainly in less than twenty
years hence at a million. In the city of New York, the Germans greatly
influence the election of the burgomaster and other city authorities
by holding no fewer than three thousand five hundred votes. These
circumstances naturally render the German vote an object of zealous
contention for politicians of every party, and there is accordingly no
dearth of German newspapers in any of the German settlements. In
Pennsylvania, upward of thirty German (principally weekly) papers are
in circulation, and about an equal number are printed and published in
the State of Ohio. A scarcely lower number are also in circulation in

Supplementary Chapter

From The Fall of Napoleon to the Present Day

The Confederation of the Rhine, wounded to the death by the campaign
of 1812, was killed by the fall of Napoleon. From that event to the
present time the accompanying pages must be restricted to a
consideration of those matters which have been of capital importance
to the German people. These matters may be summarized as consisting in
the formation of the German Confederation, the Danish war, the
Austro-Prussian war, the Franco-Prussian war, and the refounding of
the empire.

As the fall of Sennacherib was sung by the Hebrews, so was the fall of
Napoleon sung by the Germans. They had been at his mercy. He had
deposed their sovereigns, dismembered their states, crippled their
trade, and exhausted their resources. Yet in 1814, by the Peace of
Paris, they had restored to them all they had possessed in 1792, but
as a reconstruction of the former empire was impracticable, those
states which still maintained their sovereignty coalesced.

This was in 1815. At the time there remained of the three hundred
states into which the empire had originally been divided but
thirty-nine, a number afterward reduced, through the extinction of
four minor dynasties, to thirty-five. A diet, recognized as the
legislative and executive organ of the Confederation, was instituted
at Frankfort. Instead, however, of satisfying the expectations of the
nation, it degenerated into a political tool, which princes
manipulated, which they made subservient to their inherent
conservatism, and with which they oppressed their subjects. The French
revolution of 1830 influenced to a certain extent their attitude, and
a few of them were induced to accord constitutions to their people,
but the effect was transient. Reforms which had been stipulated they
managed to ignore. It took the insurrectionary movements of 1848 to
shake them on their thrones. Forced then to admit the inefficiency of
the diet, and attempting by hasty concessions to check the progress of
republican principles, they consented to the convocation of a national
assembly. Over this body the Archduke John of Austria was elected to
preside. The choice was not happy. Measures which he failed to
facilitate he succeeded in frustrating. As a consequence, matters went
from bad to worse, until, after the refusal of the king of Prussia to
accept the imperial crown which was offered to him in 1849 and the
election of a provisional regency which ensued, the assembly lapsed
into a condition of impotence which terminated in its dissolution.

Meanwhile republican demonstrations having been forcibly suppressed,
there arose between Prussia and Austria a feeling of jealousy, if not
of ill-will, which more than once indicated war, and which, though
resulting in the restoration of the diet and temporarily diverted by a
joint attack on Denmark, culminated in the battle of Sadowa.

Into the details of this attack it is unnecessary to enter. The casus
belli was apparently an entirely virtuous endeavor to settle the
respective claims of the king of Denmark and the duke of Augustenburg
to the sovereignty of Schleswig-Holstein. The fashion in which the
claims were settled consisted in wiping them out. The direction not
merely of Schleswig-Holstein but of Lauenberg was assumed by Austria
and Prussia, who, by virtue of a treaty signed October 30, 1864, took
upon themselves their civil and military administration.

The administration which then ensued was announced as being but a
temporary trusteeship, and throughout Europe was generally so
regarded. But Prussia had other views. In the chambers Bismarck
declared that the crown had no intention of resigning the booty, that,
come what might, never would it give up Kiel. Bismarck was seldom
wrong. In this instance he was right. In the month of August following
the treaty the Emperor Francis of Austria and King William of Prussia
met at Gastein and concluded a convention by which it was agreed that
Schleswig should belong to Prussia, Holstein to Austria, with Kiel as
a free port under Prussian rule.

These proceedings, as might have been expected, created the greatest
indignation in England, France, and among the minor states. Earl
Russell declared that all rights, old and new, had been trodden under
by the Gastein Convention, and that violence and force had been the
only bases on which this convention had been established, while utter
disregard of all public laws had been shown throughout all these
transactions. On the part of France, her minister said that the
Austrian and Prussian governments were guilty in the eyes of Europe of
dividing between themselves territories they were bound to give up to
the claimants who seemed to have the best title, and that modern
Europe was not accustomed to deeds fit only for the dark ages; such
principles, he added, can only overthrow the past without building up
anything new. The Frankfort Diet declared the two powers to have
violated all principles of right, especially that of the duchies to
direct their own affairs as they pleased, provided they did not
interfere with the general interests of the German nation.
Nevertheless, a Prussian governor was appointed over Schleswig, and an
Austrian over Holstein, both assuming these duchies to be parts of
their respective empires.

Early in 1866, it was evident that no real friendship could long
continue between Prussia and Austria, and that these two great robbers
would surely fall out over the division of the plunder; making it the
ostensible cause for dispute, which was in reality their rivalry for
the leadership in Germany. In June, the Prussians crossed the Eyder,
and took possession of Holstein, appointed a supreme president over
the two duchies which passed under Prussian rule, and settled, after a
summary fashion, the vexed question. There were also other causes
which tended to war. The weak side of Austria, weaker far than
Hungary, was her Italian province of Venetia, one, indeed, that few
can say she had any real or natural right to hold, beyond having
acquired it by the treaty of 1813. To recover this from German rule
had been the incessant desire of Italy, and grievous was her
disappointment when the emperor of the French thought fit to stop
immediately after the battle of Magenta and Solferino, instead of
pushing on, as it was hoped he would have done, to the conquest of

In the spring of 1866, Italy was making active preparations for war,
and Austria, on the other hand, increased largely the number of her
troops, Prussia choosing, in defiance of all fair dealing, to assume
that all these armaments were directed against herself; and, on this
supposition, sent a circular to the minor states to tell them they
must decide which side to take in the impending struggle. A secret
treaty was made between Prussia and Italy: that Italy should be ready
to take up arms the moment Prussia gave the signal, and that Prussia
should go on with the war until Venetia was ceded to Italy. Angry
discussions took place in the diet between Austria and Prussia, which
ended in Prussia declaring the Germanic Confederation to be broken up,
and both sides preparing for war.

Austria began early to arm, for she required longer time to mobilize
her army. Prussia, on the contrary, was in readiness for action. Every
Prussian who is twenty years old, without distinction of rank, has to
serve in the army, three years with the colors, five more in the
reserve, after which he is placed for eleven years in the Landwehr,
and liable to be called out when occasion requires. In peace
everything is kept ready for the mobilization of its army. In a
wonderfully short time the organization was complete, and 260,000 men
brought into the field in Bohemia. In arms, they had the advantage of
the needle-gun. The Prussian forces were in three divisions, the
"First Army" under the command of Prince Frederick Charles; the
"Second Army" under that of the crown prince; and the "Army of the
Elbe," under General Herwarth. The supreme command of the Austrian
army of the north was given to Feldzeugmeister von Benedek, that of
the south to the Archduke Albert.

On June 14, Prussia sent a telegraphic summons to Hanover,
Hesse-Cassel, and Saxony, demanding them to reduce their armies to the
peace establishment, and to concur with Prussia respecting the
Germanic confederation; and that if they did not send their consent
within twelve hours, war would be declared. The states did not reply,
Prussia declared war, and on the 16th invaded their territories. The
occupation and disarmament of Hanover and Hesse were necessary to
Prussia for a free communication with her Rhenish provinces, and she
effected her purpose by means of well-planned combinations, so that in
the course of a few days these states were overrun by Prussian troops,
and their sovereigns expelled.

The rapid progress of events, and the Prussian declaration of war, had
taken Hanover by surprise. Her army was not yet mobilized; Austria had
evacuated Holstein, or she could have looked to her for support. To
attempt to defend the capital was hopeless; so King George, suffering
from blindness, moved with his army to Gottingen, with a view of
joining the Bavarians. Prussia entered by the north, and, assisted by
her navy on the Elbe, was by the 22d in possession of the whole of
Hanover. Closed round on all sides by the Prussians, unassisted by
Prince Charles of Bavaria, Gotha having declared for Prussia, the king
of Hanover, with his little army, crossed the frontier of his kingdom,
and at Langensalza, fifteen miles north of Gotha, encountered the
Prussians, and remained master of the battlefield. But victory was of
little avail; surrounded by 40,000 Prussians, the king was forced to
capitulate. The arms and military stores were handed over to the
enemy, and the king and his soldiers allowed to depart. Thus, through
the supineness of Prince Charles of Bavaria, a whole army was made
captive, and Hanover erased from the roll of independent states.

More fortunate than his neighbor, the elector of Hesse-Cassel saved
his army, though not his territory, from the invader. His troops
retired toward the Maine, where they secured a communication with the
federal army at Frankfort. The elector remained in Hesse, and was sent
a state prisoner to the Prussian fortress of Stettin, on the Oder. The
Prussians overran his territory, declaring they were not at war
against "peoples, but against governments."

Two bodies of Prussian troops entered Saxony--the First Army and the
Army of the Elbe--and the Saxon army retired into Bohemia to effect a
junction with the Austrians. On the 20th, Leipzig was seized, and the
whole of Saxony was in undisturbed possession of the Prussians; Prince
Frederick Charles issuing a most stringent order that private property
should be respected, and every regard shown to the comfort of the
inhabitants. His order was strictly observed, and every measure taken
to prevent the miseries attendant on the occupation of a country by a
foreign army.

The invasion of Saxony brought immediately open war between Prussia
and Austria, and on the 23d the Prussian army crossed the Bohemian
frontier--only a week since it had entered Saxony. It is needless here
to detail the battles which immediately followed; suffice it to say,
the Prussians were victorious in all--at Podoll, where the needle-gun
did such terrible work; Munchengratz, which gave them the whole line
of the Iser; Trautenan, Gitschen, and others. On the 1st of July, the
king of Prussia arrived from Berlin and took the supreme command of
the army. The following day brought news from the crown prince that he
was hastening from Silesia with the Second Army, whereby the whole of
the Prussian forces would be concentrated. On the 3d of July was
fought the decisive battle of Koniggratz, or Sadowa, as it is
sometimes called, from the village of that name, a cluster of
pine-wood cottages, enclosed by orchards, with a wood-crowned hill at
the back, which was fiercely disputed by the contending parties.

On that day, General von Benedek had taken his position with the
Austrian army in front of the frontier fortress of Koniggratz, on the
right bank of the Elbe, about fifty-five miles east of Prague, to
oppose the passage of the crown prince from Silesia. In his front lay
the marshy stream of Bistritz, upon which Sadowa and a few other
villages are situated. At half-past seven in the morning the battle
began, and continued with great slaughter without any marked advantage
on either side till the arrival of the crown prince decided, like the
advance of Bluecher at Waterloo, the fortune of the day. The Austrians
were completely routed, and fled across the Elbe to save the capital.
They lost 40,000 men in this sanguinary conflict, the Prussians
10,000. The forces in the field were 200,000 Austrians and Saxons, and
260,000 Prussians.

Immediately after her crushing defeat, Austria surrendered Venetia to
France, and the Emperor Napoleon at once accepted the gift and gave it
over to Victor Emmanuel.

On July 26, preliminaries of peace were signed at Nikolsburg, and
peace was finally concluded at Prague, August 23, between Prussia and
Austria, and about the same time with the South German states. The
Prussian House of Deputies voted the annexation of the conquered
states, and in October peace was concluded with Saxony. By these
arrangements, Hanover, Hesse-Cassel, and Frankfort became provinces of
Prussia, as well as the long-disputed duchies of Denmark. All the
German states north of the Maine concluded a treaty, offensive and
defensive, for the maintenance of the security of their states.
Prussia increased her territory by 32,000 square miles and her
population 4,000,000; and in October, 1866, the whole of northern
Germany was united into a Confederation.

This Confederation, known as the North German, possessed a common
parliament elected by universal suffrage, in which each state was
represented according to its population. The first or constituent
parliament met early in 1867, and adopted, with a few modifications,
the constitution proposed by Count Bismarck. The new elections then
took place, and the first regular North German parliament met in
September, 1867. According to this constitution, there was to be a
common army and fleet, under the sole command of Prussia; a common
diplomatic representation abroad, of necessity little else than
Prussian; and to Prussia also was intrusted the management of the
posts and telegraphs in the Confederation.

The Southern German states which up to this point had not joined the
Bund, were Bavaria, Baden, Wurtemberg, Hesse-Darmstadt, and
Lichtenstein, with a joint area of 43,990 square miles, and a total
population (1866) of 8,524,460. But, though these states were not
formally members of the Bund, they were so practically, for they were
bound to Prussia by treaties of alliance offensive and defensive, so
that in the event of a war the king of Prussia would have at his
disposal an armed force of upward of 1,100,000 men.

During the next few years the North German Confederation was employed
in consolidating and strengthening itself, and in trying to induce the
southern states to join the league. The Zollverein was remodelled and
extended, until by the year 1868 every part of Germany was a member of
it, with the exception of the cities of Hamburg and Bremen, and a
small part of Baden. This paved the way for the formal entrance of the
southern states into the confederation; but they still hung back,
though the ideal of a united Germany was gradually growing in force
and favor.

Meanwhile the terms of the treaty of Prague, together with the
complete removal of alien powers from Italy, had wrought a radical
change in the political relations of the European States. Excluded
from Germany, the dominions of Austria still extended to the verge of
Venetia and the Lombard plains, but her future lay eastward and her
centre of gravity had been removed to Buda-Pesth. In the South German
courts, no doubt, there was a bias toward Vienna, and a dislike of
Prussia; yet both the leaning and the repugnance were counterbalanced
by a deeper dread of France rooted in the people by the vivid memories
of repeated and cruel invasions. Russia, somewhat alarmed by the rapid
success of King William, had been soothed by diplomatic reassurances,
the tenor of which is not positively known, although a series of
subsequent events more than justified the inference made at that time,
that promises, bearing on the czar's Eastern designs, were tendered
and accepted as a valuable consideration for the coveted boon of
benevolent neutrality, if not something more substantial. Like Russia,
France had lost nothing by the campaign of 1866; her territories were
intact; her ruler had mediated between Austria and Prussia; and he had
the honor of protecting the pope, who, as a spiritual and temporal
prince, was still in possession of Rome and restricted territorial
domains. But the Napoleonic court, and many who looked upon its head
as a usurper, experienced, on the morrow of Sadowa, and in a greater
degree after the preface to a peace had been signed at Nikolsburg, a
sensation of diminished magnitude, a consciousness of lessened
prestige, and a painful impression that their political, perhaps even
their military place in Europe, as the heirs of Richelieu, Louis XIV.,
and Napoleon, had been suddenly occupied by a power which they had
taught themselves to contemn as an inferior. Until the summer of 1866
the emperor Napoleon fancied that he was strong enough to play with
Bismarck a game of diplomatic chess.

In that he erred profoundly. As early as the first week in August,
1866, M. Benedetti, the French ambassador to the court of Berlin, was
instructed to claim the left bank of the Rhine as far as and including
Mainz. Bismarck replied that "the true interest of France is not to
obtain an insignificant increase of territory, but to aid Germany in
constituting herself after a fashion which will be most favorable to
all concerned." Delphos could not have been more oracular. But
Napoleon III. could not or would not heed. A week later Benedetti was
instructed to submit a regular scale of concessions--the frontiers of
1814 and the annexation of Belgium, or Luxemburg and Belgium,
Benedetti received the most courteous attention and nothing more. This
was irritating. The French had been accustomed for more than two
hundred years to meddle directly in Germany and find there allies,
either against Austria, Prussia, or England; and the habit of
centuries had been more than confirmed by the colossal raids,
victories, and annexations of Napoleon I. A Germany which should
escape from French control and reverse, by its own energetic action,
the policy of Henry IV., Richelieu, Louis XIV., his degenerate
grandson, Louis XV., and of the great Napoleon himself, was an affront
to French pride, and could not be patiently endured. The opposing
forces which had grown up were so strong that the wit of man was
unable to keep them asunder; and all the control over the issue left
to kings and statesmen was restricted to the fabrication of means
wherewith to deliver or sustain the shock, and the choice of the hour,
if such choice were allowed.

Then presently the opportunity occurred. On July 4, 1870, the throne
of Spain was offered to Prince Leopold of Hohenzollern. The fact
created the greatest excitement in France. Threatening speeches were
made. On July 18 Prince Leopold declined the offer. On the morrow
Benedetti was instructed to demand a guarantee that any future offer
of the kind would be refused. The king of Prussia would not listen to
the proposition. The French minister, through whom the demand had been
transmitted, then asked for his passports. War was imminent.

At the prospect Paris grew mad with enthusiasm. Crowds assembled in
the streets, shouting "Down with Prussia!" "Long live France!" "To the
Rhine!" "To Berlin!" The papers abounded with inflammatory appeals,
and, after the impulsive French fashion, glorified beforehand the easy
triumphs that were to be won over the Prussians. Men told one another
that they would be across the Rhine in a week, and at Berlin in a
fortnight. The excitement in Prussia was not less than that in France.
The people, with scarcely an exception, declared their readiness for
war, and seemed to find a pleasure in the opportunity now presented
for settling old quarrels. Like the people of Paris, the Prussians
shouted "To the Rhine!" The French cry of "To Berlin!" had its
counterpart in the German ejaculation of "To Paris!"

Perhaps a sentence spoken by M. Guyot Montpayroux best illustrates the
predominant feeling. "Prussia," he said, "has forgotten the France of
Jena, and the fact must be recalled to her memory." Thus was war
declared on the night of July 15. Thiers, who desired a war with
Prussia "at the proper time," has left on record his judgment that the
hour then selected was "detestably ill-chosen." Yet even he and
Gambetta were both anxious that "satisfaction" should be obtained for
Sadowa; while the thought which animated the court is admirably
expressed in the phrase imputed to the empress who, pointing to the
prince imperial, said, "This child will never reign unless we repair
the misfortunes of Sadowa." Such was the ceaseless refrain. The word
haunted French imaginations incessantly, and it was the pivot on which
the imperial policy revolved; it exercised a spell scarcely less
powerful and disastrous upon monarchists like Thiers and republicans
like Gambetta. Long foreseen, the dread shock, like all grave
calamities, came nevertheless as a surprise, even upon reflective
minds. Statesmen and soldiers who looked on, while they shared in the
natural feelings aroused by so tremendous a drama, were also the
privileged witnesses of two instructive experiments on a grand
scale--the processes whereby mighty armies are brought into the field,
and the methods by means of which they are conducted to defeat or

The French field army, called at the outset the "Army of the Rhine,"
consisted nominally of 336,000 men with 924 guns. It was considered
that of these, 300,000 would be available for the initial operations.
The infantry of the army was provided with a breech-loading weapon,
called after its inventor the Chassepot. The Chassepot was a weapon in
all respects superior to the famous needle-gun, which was still the
weapon of the Prussian army. Attached likewise to the divisional
artillery was a machine gun called the Mitrailleuse, from which great
things were expected. But this gun had been manufactured with a
secrecy which, while it prevented foreign inspection, had withheld
also the knowledge of its mechanism from the soldiers who were to work
it. In the field, therefore, it proved a failure.

Since the Crimean and Austrian wars, while the armies of the other
European states had advanced in efficiency, the French army had
deteriorated. The reason was that favoritism rather than merit had
been made the road to court favor. The officers who had pointed to the
training of the Prussian soldiers, as indicating the necessity for the
adoption of similar modes for the French army, had been laughed at and
left in the cold. The consequence was, that for ten years prior to the
war of 1870, the French army had received instruction only of the most
superficial character. It had been considered sufficient if the
soldiers were brought to the point of making a good show on the parade
ground. Little more had been required of them. Field training and
musketry training had been alike neglected. The officers had ceased to
study, and the government had taken no pains to instruct them. What
was more vicious still, the alienation between officers and men, which
had been noticed even in the war of 1859, had widened. The officers
generally had ceased to take the smallest interest in the comfort of
the men in camp or in quarters. These matters were left to the
non-commissioned officers. Needless to add, they were not always
properly attended to. It may be added that the system of drill was so
devised as to give no play to the reasoning powers of the officer. He
was a machine and nothing more.

Of the artillery of the French army it has to be said, that it was far
inferior to that of the Germans, and known to be so by the French war
department. In the matter of reserves, France had comparatively

Far different were the composition and the state of preparation of the
Prussian army; far different, also, those of her German allies; far
higher the qualities of their general officers; far superior the
discipline and morale of their troops; far more ready, in every single
particular, to begin a war; far more thoroughly provided to carry that
war to a successful issue.

The German infantry had been thoroughly organized on a system which
gave to every officer the necessity of exercising independent action,
and to the men the faculty of understanding the object of the
manoeuvre directed. Its cavalry had been specially instructed in
duties of reconnoissance, of insuring repose for the infantry, of
collecting intelligence, of concealing the march of armies, of acting
as a completer of victory, or as a shield in case of defeat. It had
profited greatly by the lessons it had learned in the war of 1866.

The German artillery had likewise been greatly improved in efficiency
of manoeuvre since 1866. It was in all respects superior to that of
the French.

Of the Prussian and South German leaders, I will only say that we
shall meet again the men from whom we parted on the conclusion of the
armistice of Nikolsburg. What was their task and how they executed it
will be described in the pages that follow. In mere numbers, the king
of Prussia had a great advantage over his enemy. For, while without
any assistance from South Germany, and after allowing for three army
corps which might be necessary to watch Austria and Denmark, he could
begin the campaign with a force of 350,000 men, he was certain of the
assistance of Southern Germany, and confident that, unless the French
should obtain considerable successes at the outset, neither Austria
nor Denmark would stir a hand to aid them.

To counterbalance this superiority of numbers the French emperor had
cherished a vague hope that, in a war against Prussia, he might
possibly count upon the ancient friendship for France of Bavaria and
Saxony, and to a still greater extent upon Austria and Italy. With
regard to Bavaria and Saxony he was speedily undeceived. Moreover,
contrary to expectation, other German states decided to support
Prussia and placed their armies, which were eventually commanded by
the crown prince, at the disposal of King William. With regard to
Austria and Italy, Colonel Malleson in a work on this subject,[1] to
which we are much indebted, states that their co-operation was made
dependent on the initial successes of the French troops. Colonel
Malleson adds:

"It was not only understood, but was actually drafted in a treaty--the
signing of which, however, was prevented by the rapid course of the
war--that if, on the 15th of September, France should be holding her
own in Southern Germany, then Austria and Italy would jointly declare
war against Prussia."

These conditions made it clear that ultimate success in the struggle
about to commence would accrue to the power which should obtain the
first advantages.

That Germany--for it was Germany and not Prussia only which entered
upon this great struggle--would obtain these initial advantages seemed
almost certain. Count Moltke had for some time previous been engaged
in planning for a war with France. So far back as 1868 all his
arrangements for the formation of the armies to be employed, the
points to be occupied, the nature of the transport, had been clearly
laid down. These instructions had been carefully studied by the
several corps commanders and their staff. Not one matter, however
apparently trivial, had been neglected. When, then, on the 16th of
July, the king of Prussia gave the order for mobilization, it required
only to insert the day and the hour on which each body of troops
should march. With respect to the armies of the states of Southern
Germany, Moltke, anticipating that the French emperor would throw his
main army as rapidly as possible into Southern Germany, had
recommended that the contingents from that part of the country should
march northward to join those of Prussia on the middle Rhine, to
assume there a position which should menace the flank and rear of the
invading army. This position would be the more practical, as in the
event of the French not invading Southern Germany, the combined force,
stretching from Saarbrucken to Landau, would be ready to invade
France, and sever the communications with Paris of the French armies
on the frontier. Count Moltke had calculated that the German troops
intended to cross the French frontier would be in a position to make
their forward movement by the 4th of August. Pending the development
of the French strategy with respect to Southern Germany, therefore, he
thought it prudent to delay the march of the southern contingents, in
order that no part of the army might be suddenly overwhelmed by a
superior force. On the actual frontier he placed, then, only a few
light troops, for the purposes of reconnoitring, and for checking the
first advance of the enemy until supports should arrive.

The French emperor had, indeed, been keenly alive to the advantages
which would accrue to himself from a prompt invasion of Southern
Germany. He designed to concentrate one hundred and fifty thousand men
at Metz; one hundred thousand at Strasburg; to cross into Baden with
these armies; while a third, assembling at Chalons, should protect the
frontier against the German forces. The plan itself was an excellent
one had he only been able to execute it, for, as we have seen, early
success in Southern Germany would have meant the armed assistance of
Austria and Italy. But the French army was in a condition more
unready, one might truly say, of greater demoralization, thus early,
than its severest critics had imagined. Considerable forces were
indeed massed about Metz and Strasburg. But the commissariat and
transport departments were in a state of the most hopeless confusion.
The army could not move. To remedy these evils time was wanted, and
time was the commodity the generals could not command. Every day which
evoked some little order out of chaos brought the Germans nearer to
positions, the occupation of which would render impossible the
contemplated invasion. The emperor had quitted Paris for Metz,
accompanied by the prince imperial, on the 28th of July, and had
arrived there and taken the supreme command the same day. The day
following he met his generals at St. Avoid, and unfolded to them his
plans. Since war had been declared he had lost many illusions. It had
become clear to him that he was warring against the concentrated might
of Germany; that he could not make the inroad into Southern Germany
originally contemplated without exposing Paris to an attack from
forces already occupying the country between Treves and Mannheim: that
he was bound to hold that line. Anxious, however, to assume the
offensive, he dictated the following plan to his marshals. Bazaine,
with the Second, Third, and Fifth Army Corps, should cross the Saar at
Saarbruecken, covered on his left by the Fourth Corps, which should
make a show of advancing against Saarlouis, while MacMahon, pushing
forward from his position near Strasburg, should cover his right. The
emperor had some reason to believe that the Saar was weakly held.

But his own generals showed him that his plan was impossible. They
represented to him that instead of the three hundred thousand men
whom, in the delirium of the Paris enthusiasm, he believed he would
find available for his purposes, he had at the utmost one hundred and
eighty-six thousand; that in every requirement for moving the army was
deficient; that there was scarcely a department which was not
disorganized. He was compelled, therefore, to renounce his plan for
decisive offensive action. He came to that resolve most unwillingly,
for Paris was behind him, ready to rise unless he should make some
show of advancing. It was to reassure the excited spirits of the
capital, rather than to effect any military result, that on the 2d of
August, he moved with sixty thousand men in the direction of
Saarbruecken. The garrison of that place consisted of something less
than four thousand men with six guns. The emperor attacked it with the
corps of Frossard, eighteen battalions and four batteries. These
compelled the slender German garrison to evacuate the place, but
Frossard, though the bridges across the Saar were not defended, made
no attempt to cross that river. The soldierly manner in which the
Germans had covered their retreat had left on his mind the impression
that they were more numerous than they were, and that there was a
larger force behind them.

Still, for the only time in the war, the emperor was able to send a
reassuring telegram to Paris. The young prince, upon whom the hopes of
the nation would, he hoped, rest, had undergone the "baptism of fire."
French troops had made the first step in advance.

Soon, however, it became clear to him that the enemy had concentrated
along the line of the frontier, and were about to make their spring.
Moltke, in fact, from his headquarters at Mayence, was, by means of
solitary horsemen employed in profusion, keeping himself thoroughly
well acquainted not only with the movements of the French, but with
their vacillation, their irresolution, their want of plan. The sudden
appearance from unexpected quarters of these horsemen conveyed a
marked feeling of insecurity to the minds of the French soldiers, and
these feelings were soon shared by their chiefs. It was very clear to
them that an attack might at any moment come, though from what quarter
and in what force they were absolutely ignorant. This ignorance
increased their vacillations, their uncertainties. Orders and
counter-orders followed each other with startling rapidity. The
soldiers, harassed, began to lose confidence; the leaders became more
and more incapable of adopting a plan.

Suddenly, in the midst of their vacillations, of their marchings and
counter-marchings, the true report reached them, on the evening of the
3d of August, that a French division, the outpost of MacMahon's army,
had been surprised and defeated at Weissenburg by a far superior
force. Napoleon at once ordered the Fifth Corps to concentrate at
Bitsche, and despatched a division of the Third to Saarguemuend. These
orders were followed by others. Those of the 5th of August divided the
army of the Rhine into two portions, the troops in Alsace being placed
under MacMahon, those in Lorraine under Bazaine, the emperor retaining
the Guard. Those of the 7th directed the Second Corps to proceed to
Bitsche, the Third to Saarguemuend, the Fourth to Haut-Homburg, the
Guard to St. Avoid. These instructions plainly signified the making of
a flank movement in front of a superior enemy. With such an army as
the emperor had, inferior in numbers, many of the regiments as yet
incomplete, all his resources behind him, and these becoming daily
more unavailable, his one chance was to concentrate in a position
commanding the roads behind it, and yet adapted for attack if attack
should be necessary. As it was, without certain information as to the
movements of the Germans, anxious to move, yet dreading to do so,
until his regiments should be completed, the French emperor was
confused and helpless. He forgot even to transmit to the generals on
one flank the general directions he had issued to those on the other.
Bazaine, for instance, was left on the 5th in ignorance of the
emperor's intentions with respect to MacMahon; on the 6th none of the
subordinate generals knew that the flank march was contemplated.
Frossard, who had fallen back to Spicheren, considered his position so
insecure that he suggested to Leboeuf that he should be allowed to
retire from the Saarbruecken ridge. He was ordered in reply to fall
back on Forbach, but no instructions were given him as to the course
he should pursue in the event of his being attacked, nor were the
contemplated movements of the emperor communicated to him. In every
order that was issued there was apparent the confused mind of the

Turn we now to MacMahon and the movements of himself and his generals.
When the war broke out MacMahon was in the vicinity of Strasburg with
forty-five thousand men; General Douay with twelve thousand men at
Weissenburg. The same confusion prevailed here as at Metz. The orders
given to MacMahon were of the vaguest description: Douay had no
instructions at all. Yet, in front of him, the German hosts had been
gathering. The commander of the left wing of the German army, the
crown prince of Prussia, had, in obedience to the instructions he had
received, crossed the frontier river, the Lauter, on the 4th of
August, with an army composed of the Second Bavarian and Fifth
Prussian army, numbering about forty thousand men, and marched on
Weissenburg. As his advanced guard approached the town, it was met by
a heavy fire from the French garrison. The crown prince resolved at
once to storm the place. Douay had placed his troops in a strong
position, a portion of his men occupying the town defended by a simple
wall; the bulk, formed on the Gaisberg, a hill two miles to the south
of it. Against this position the crown prince directed his chief
attack. The contest which ensued was most severe, the assailants and
the defenders vying with one another in determination and courage. But
the odds in favor of the former were too great to permit Douay to hope
for ultimate success. After a resistance of five hours' duration the
Germans carried the Gaisberg. Douay himself was killed; but his
surviving troops, though beaten, were not discouraged. They
successfully foiled an attempt made by the Germans to cut off their
retreat, and fell back on the corps of MacMahon, which lay about ten
miles to the south of Weissenburg.

The same day on which the crown prince had attacked and carried
Weissenburg, another German army corps, that of Baden-Wuertemberg, a
part of the Third Army, under the command of the crown prince, had
advanced on and occupied Lauterburg. That evening the entire Third
Army, consisting of one hundred and thirty thousand men, bivouacked on
French ground. Meanwhile MacMahon, on hearing of Douay's defeat, had
marched to Reichshofen, received there the shattered remnants of
Douay's division, and, with the emperor's orders under no
circumstances to decline a battle, took up a position on the hills of
which Worth, Froeschweiler and Elsasshausen form the central points. He
had with him forty-seven thousand men, but the Fifth Corps, commanded
by De Failly, was at Bitsche, seventeen miles from Reichshofen, and
MacMahon had despatched the most pressing instructions to that officer
to join him. These orders, however, De Failly did not obey.

The ground on which MacMahon had retired offered many capabilities for
defence. The central point was the village of Worth on the rivulet
Sauerbach, which covered the entire front of the position. To the
right rear of Worth, on the road from Gundershofen, was the village of
Elsasshausen, covered on its right by the Niederwald, having the
village of Eberbach on its further side, and the extreme right of the
position, the village of Morsbronn, to its southeast. Behind Woerth,
again, distant a little more than two miles on the road to
Reichshofen, was the key to the position, the village of Froeschweiler.
From this point the French left was thrown back to a mound, covered by
a wood, in front of Reichshofen.

On the 5th of August the crown prince had set his army in motion, and
had rested for the night at Sulz. There information reached him
regarding the position taken by MacMahon. He immediately issued orders
for the concentration of his army, and for its march the following
morning toward the French position, the village of Preuschdorf, on the
direct road to Woerth, to be the central point of the movement. But the
previous evening General von Walther, with the Fifth Prussian Corps,
had reached Goersdorf, a point whence it was easy for him to cross the
Sauerbach, and take Worth in flank. Marching at four o'clock in the
morning Walther tried this manoeuvre, and at seven o'clock succeeded
in driving the French from Woerth. MacMahon then changed his front,
recovered Woerth, and repulsed likewise an attack which had in the
meanwhile been directed against Froeschweiler by the Eleventh Prussian
and Fifth Bavarian Corps.

For a moment it seemed as though he might hold his position. But
between eleven and twelve the enemy renewed his attack. While one
corps again attacked and carried Woerth, the Eleventh Prussian Corps,
aided by sixty guns placed upon the heights of Gunstett, assailed his
right. They met here a most stubborn resistance, the French
cuirassiers charging the advancing infantry with the greatest
resolution. So thoroughly did they devote themselves that they left
three-fourths of their number dead or dying on the field. But all was
in vain. The Prussians steadily advanced, forced their way through the
Niederwald, and threatened Elsasshausen. While the French were thus
progressing badly on their right, they were faring still worse in the

The Germans, having seized Woerth, stormed the hilly slopes between
that place and Froschweiler, and made a furious assault upon the
latter, now more than ever the key of the French position. For while
Froschweiler was their objective centre, their right was thrown back
toward Elsasshausen and the Niederwald, their left to Reichshofen.
While the Eleventh Prussians were penetrating the Niederwald,
preparatory to attacking Elsasshausen on the further side of it, the
Fifth Prussian Corps with the Second Bavarians were moving against
Froschweiler. It was clear then to MacMahon that further resistance
was impossible. Still holding Froschweiler, he evacuated Elsasshausen,
and drew back his right to Reichshofen. The safety of his army
depended now upon the tenacity with which Froschweiler might be held.
It must be admitted, in justice to the French, that they held it with
a stubborn valor not surpassed during the war. Attacked by
overwhelming numbers, they defended the place, house by house. At
length, however, they were overpowered. Then, for the first time, the
bonds of discipline loosened, and the French, struck by panic, fled,
in wild disorder, in the direction of Saverne. They reached that place
by a march across the hills the following evening. On their way they
fell in with one of the divisions of the corps of de Failly, and this
served to cover the retreat.

Though their defeat, considering the enormous superiority of their
assailants, might be glorious, it was doubly disastrous, inasmuch that
it followed those perturbations of spirit alluded to in a previous
page, which had done so much to discourage the French soldier. A
victory at Worth might have done much to redeem past mistakes. A
defeat emphasized them enormously. It was calculated that, inclusive
of the nine thousand prisoners taken by the Germans, the French lost
twenty-four thousand men. The loss of the victors amounted to ten
thousand. They captured thirty-three guns, two eagles, and six

The emperor was deeply pained by the result of the battle. To keep up,
if possible, the spirits of his partisans, he wired on the evening of
the 7th to Paris, with the news of the defeat, the words, "tout se
peut retablir." He was mistaken. While the crown prince was crushing
MacMahon at Woerth, the imperial troops were being beaten at Spicheren
as well.

Thereafter the German advance was hardly checked for a moment, though
the losses on both sides were heavy. On the 18th of August was fought
the battle of Gravelotte, in which King William commanded in person,
and though his troops suffered immense loss, they were again
victorious, and forced Bazaine to shut himself up in Metz, which he
subsequently surrendered. In this battle, one of the most decisive of
the war, it is worth noting that the Germans outnumbered the French by
more than two to one. The exact figures are uncertain, but we shall
probably be correct in accepting 230,000 as the strength of the
Germans, and in estimating the French outside of Metz at 110,000.

We now come to Sedan. With the army of Bazaine beleaguered, there
remained, in the opinion of the German chiefs--an opinion not
justified by events--only the army of MacMahon. To remove that army
from the path which led to Paris was the task intrusted to the crown
prince. MacMahon, meanwhile, after his defeat at Woerth, had fallen
back with the disordered remnants of his army on Chalons, there to
reorganize and strengthen it. Much progress had been made in both
respects, when, after the result of the battle of Gravelotte had been
known in Paris, he received instructions from the Count of Palikao to
march with the four army corps at his disposal northward toward the
Meuse, and to give a hand to the beleaguered Bazaine.

MacMahon prepared to obey. But circumstances ordered otherwise. On the
night of August 31st, accompanied by the emperor--who, having
transferred his authority to the Empress Eugenie and his command to
Bazaine, followed the army as mere spectator--MacMahon reached Sedan,
and there ranged his troops so as to meet an attack which he foresaw
inevitable, and fatal too. Placing his strongest force to the east,
his right wing was at Bazeilles and the left at Illy. The ground in
front of his main defence was naturally strong, the entire front being
covered by the Givonne rivulet, and the slopes to that rivulet, on the
French side of it.

The possibility that the French marshal would accept battle at Sedan
had been considered at the German headquarters on the night of the
31st, and arrangements had been made to meet his wishes. The army of
the crown prince of Saxony (the Fourth Army) occupied the right of the
German forces, the Bavarian Corps formed the centre, and the Prussians
the left wing. The advanced troops of the army were ranged in the
following order. On the right stood the Twelfth Corps, then the Fourth
Prussian Corps, the Prussian Guards, and finally the Fourth Cavalry
Division, their backs to Remilly. From this point they were linked to
the First and Second Bavarian Corps, opposite Bazeilles; they, in
turn, to the Eleventh and Fifth Corps; and they, at Dom-le-Mesnil, to
the Wuertembergers. The Sixth Prussian Corps was placed in reserve
between Attigny and Le Chene.

A word now as to the nature of the ground on which the impending
battle was to be fought. Sedan lies in the most beautiful part of the
valley of the Meuse, amid terraced heights, covered with trees, and,
within close distance, the villages of Donchery, Iges, Villette,
Glaire, Daigny, Bazeilles, and others. Along the Meuse, on the left
bank, ran the main road from Donchery through Frenois, crossing the
river at the suburb Torcy, and there traversing Sedan. The character
of the locality may best be described as a ground covered with fruit
gardens and vineyards, narrow streets shut in by stone walls, the
roads overhung by forests, the egress from which was in many places
steep and abrupt. Such was the ground. One word now as to the troops.

The German army before Sedan counted, all told, 240,000 men; the
French 180,000. But the disparity in numbers was the least of the
differences between the two armies. The one was flushed with victory,
the other dispirited by defeat. The one had absolute confidence in
their generals and their officers, the other had the most supreme
contempt for theirs. The one had marched from Metz on a settled plan,
to be modified according to circumstances, the drift of which was
apparent to the meanest soldier; the other had been marched hither and
thither, now toward Montmedy, now toward Paris, then again back toward
Montmedy, losing much time; the men eager for a pitched battle, then
suddenly surprised through the carelessness of their commanders, and
compelled at last to take refuge in a town from which there was no
issue. There was hardly an officer of rank who knew aught about the
country in which he found himself. The men were longing to fight to
the death, but they, one and all, distrusted their leaders. It did not
tend, moreover, to the encouragement of the army to see the now
phantom emperor, without authority to command even a corporal's guard,
dragged about the country, more as a pageant than a sovereign. He,
poor man, was much to be pitied. He keenly felt his position, and
longed for the day when he might, in a great battle, meet the glorious
death which France might accept as an atonement for his misfortunes.

The battle began at daybreak on the morning of the 1st of September.
Under cover of a brisk artillery fire, the Bavarians advanced, and
opened, at six o'clock, a very heavy musketry fire on Bazeilles. The
masonry buildings of this village were all armed and occupied, and
they were defended very valiantly. The defenders drove back the enemy
as they advanced and kept them at bay for two hours. Then the Saxons
came up to the aid of the Bavarians, and forced the first position.
Still the defence continued, and the clocks were striking ten when the
Bavarians succeeded in entering the place. Even then a house-to-house
defence prolonged the battle, and it was not until every house but
one[2] had been either stormed or burned that the Germans could call
the village, or the ruins which remained of it, their own. Meanwhile,
on the other points of their defensive position; at Floing, St.
Menges, Fleigneux, Illy, and, on the extreme left, at Iges, where a
sharp bend of the Meuse forms a peninsula of the ground round which it
slowly rolls; the French had been making a gallant struggle. In their
ranks, even in advance of them, attended finally by a single
aide-de-camp, all the others having been killed, was the emperor,
cool, calm, and full of sorrow, earnestly longing for the shell or the
bullet which should give a soldier's finish to his career. MacMahon,
too, was there, doing all that a general could do to encourage his
men. The enemy were, however, gradually but surely making way. To
hedge the French within the narrowest compass, the Fifth and Eleventh
Corps of the Third Army had crossed the Meuse to the left of Sedan,
and were marching now to roll up the French left. But before their
attack had been felt, an event had occurred full of significance for
the French army.

Early in the day, while yet the Bavarians were fighting to get
possession of Bazeilles, Marshal MacMahon was so severely wounded that
he had to be carried from the field into Sedan. He made over the
command of the army to General Ducrot. That general had even before
recognized the impossibility of maintaining the position before Sedan
against the superior numbers of the German army, and had seen that the
one chance of saving his army was to fall back on Mezieres. He at
once, then, on assuming command, issued orders to that effect. But it
was already too late. The march by the defile of St. Albert had been
indeed possible at any time during the night or in the very early
morning. But it was now no longer so. The German troops swarmed in the
plains of Donchery, and the route by Carignan could only be gained by
passing over the bodies of a more numerous and still living foe. Still
Ducrot had given the order, and the staff officers did their utmost to
cause it to be obeyed. The crowded streets of Sedan were being
vacated, when suddenly the orders were countermanded. General Wimpffen
had arrived from Paris the previous day to replace the incapable De
Failly in command of the Fifth Corps, carrying in his pocket an order
from the Minister of War to assume the command-in-chief in the event
of any accident to MacMahon. The emperor had no voice in the matter,
for, while the regency of the empress existed, he no longer
represented the government. The two generals met, and, after a
somewhat lively discussion, Ducrot was forced to acknowledge the
authority of the minister. Wimpffen then assumed command. His first
act was to countermand the order to retreat on Mezieres, and to direct
the troops to reassume the positions they had occupied when MacMahon
had been wounded. This order was carried out as far as was possible.

Meanwhile the Germans were pressing more and more those positions.
About midday the Guards, having made their way step by step, each one
bravely contested, gave their hand to the left wing of the Third Army.
Then Illy and Floing, which had been defended with extraordinary
tenacity, as the keys of the advanced French position, were stormed.
The conquest of those heights completed the investment of Sedan. There
was now no possible egress for the French. Their soldiers retreated
into the town and the suburbs, while five hundred German guns hurled
their missiles, their round shot and their shells, against the walls
and the crowded masses behind them.

Vainly then did Wimpffen direct an assembly in mass of his men to
break through the serried columns of the enemy. In the disordered
state of the French army the thing was impossible. The emperor, who
had courted death in vain, recognized the truth, and, desirous to
spare the sacrifice of life produced by the continued cannonade,
ordered, on his own responsibility, the hoisting of a white flag on
the highest point of the defences, as a signal of surrender. But the
firing still continued, and Wimpffen, still bent on breaking through,
would not hear of surrender. Then Napoleon despatched his chief
aide-de-camp, General Keille, with a letter to the king of Prussia.

King William early that day had taken his stand on an eminence which
commanded an extensive view and which rises a little south of Frenois.
There, his staff about him, he watched the progress of the fight.
Toward this eminence Reille rode. Walking his horse up the steep, he
dismounted, and raising his cap presented the letter. King William,
breaking the imperial seal, read these phrases, which, if somewhat
dramatic, are striking in their brevity:[3]

"MONSIEUR MON FRERE--N'ayant pu mourir au milieu
de mes troupes, il ne me reste qu' a remettre mon epee entre
les mains de Votre Majeste.

"Je suis de Votre Majeste,
"le bon Frere,


"Sedan, le 1er Septembre, 1870."

"Only one half hour earlier," writes Mr. George Hooper in his
"Campaign of Sedan," "had the information been brought that the
emperor was in Sedan." Mr. Hooper adds:

"The king conferred with his son, who had been hastily summoned, and
with others of his trusty servants, all deeply moved by complex
emotions at the grandeur of their victory. What should be done? The
emperor spoke for himself only, and his surrender would not settle the
great issue. It was necessary to obtain something definite, and the
result of a short conference was that Count Hatzfeldt, instructed by
the chancellor, retired to draft a reply. 'After some minutes he
brought it,' writes Dr. Busch, 'and the king wrote it out, sitting on
one chair, while the seat of a second was held up by Major von Alten,
who knelt on one knee and supported the chair on the other.' The
king's letter, brief and business-like, began and ended with the
customary royal forms, and ran as follows:

"'Regretting the circumstances in which we meet, I accept your
Majesty's sword, and beg that you will be good enough to name an
officer furnished with full powers to treat for the capitulation of
the army which has fought so bravely under your orders. On my side I
have designated General von Moltke for that purpose.'

"General Reille returned to his master, and as he rode down the hill
the astounding purport of his visit flew from lip to lip through the
exulting army which now hoped that, after this colossal success, the
days of ceaseless marching and fighting would soon end. As a contrast
to this natural outburst of joy and hope we may note the provident
Moltke, who was always resolved to 'mak siker.' His general order,
issued at once, suspending hostilities during the night, declared that
they would begin again in the morning should the negotiations produce
no result. In that case, he said, the signal for battle would be the
reopening of fire by the batteries on the heights east of Frenois.

"The signal was not given. Late on the evening of September 1st a
momentous session was held in Donchery, the little town which commands
a bridge over the Meuse below Sedan. On one side of a square table
covered with red baize sat General von Moltke, having on his right
hand the quartermaster-general Von Podbielski, according to one
account, and Von Blumenthal according to another, and behind them
several officers, while Count von Nostitz stood near the hearth to
take notes. Opposite to Von Moltke sat De Wimpffen alone; while in
rear, 'almost in the shade,' were General Faure, Count Castelnau, and
other Frenchmen, among whom was a cuirassier, Captain d'Orcet, who had
observant eyes and a retentive memory. Then there ensued a brief
silence, for Von Moltke looked straight before him and said nothing,
while De Wimpffen, oppressed by the number present, hesitated to
engage in a debate 'with the two men admitted to be the most capable
of our age, each in his kind.' But he soon plucked up courage, and
frankly accepted the conditions of the combat. What terms, he asked,
would the king of Prussia grant to a valiant army which, could he have
had his will, would have continued to fight? 'They are very simple,'
answered Von Moltke. 'The entire army, with arms and baggage, must
surrender as prisoners of war.' 'Very hard,' replied the Frenchman.
'We merit better treatment. Could you not be satisfied with the
fortress and the artillery, and allow the army to retire with arms,
flags and baggage, on condition of serving no more against Germany
during the war?' No. 'Moltke,' said Bismarck, recounting the
interview, 'coldly persisted in his demand,' or as the attentive
d'Orcet puts it, 'Von Moltke was pitiless.' Then De Wimpffen tried to
soften his grim adversary by painting his own position. He had just
come from the depths of the African desert; he had an irreproachable
military reputation; he had taken command in the midst of a battle,
and found himself obliged to set his name to a disastrous
capitulation. 'Can you not,' he said, 'sympathize with an officer in
such a plight, and soften, for me, the bitterness of my situation by
granting more honorable conditions?' He painted in moving terms his
own sad case, and described what he might have done; but seeing that
his personal pleadings were unheeded, he took a tone of defiance, less
likely to prevail. 'If you will not give better terms,' he went on, 'I
shall appeal to the honor of the army, and break out, or, at least,
defend Sedan.' Then the German general struck in with emphasis, 'I
regret that I cannot do what you ask,' he said; 'but as to making a
sortie, that is just as impossible as the defence of Sedan. You have
some excellent troops, but the greater part of your infantry is
demoralized. To-day, during the battle, we captured more than twenty
thousand unwounded prisoners. You have only eighty thousand men left.
My troops and guns around the town would smash yours before they could
make a movement; and as to defending Sedan, you have not provisions
for eight-and-forty hours, nor ammunition which would suffice for that
period.' Then, says De Wimpffen, he entered into details respecting
our situation, which, 'unfortunately, were too true,' and he offered
to permit an officer to verify his statements, an offer which the
Frenchman did not then accept.

"Beaten off the military ground, De Wimpffen sought refuge in
politics. 'It is your interest, from a political standpoint, to grant
us honorable conditions,' he said. 'France is generous and chivalric,
responsive to generosity, and grateful for consideration. A peace,
based on conditions which would flatter the amour-propre of the army,
and diminish the bitterness of defeat, would be durable; whereas
rigorous measures would awaken bad passions, and, perhaps, bring on an
endless war between France and Prussia.' The new ground broken called
up Bismarck, 'because the matter seemed to belong to my province,' he
observed when telling the story; and he was very outspoken as usual.
'I said to him that we might build on the gratitude of a prince, but
certainly not on the gratitude of a people--least of all on the
gratitude of the French. That in France neither institutions nor
circumstances were enduring; that governments and dynasties were
constantly changing, and the one need not carry out what the other had
bound itself to do. That if the emperor had been firm on his throne,
his gratitude for our granting good conditions might have been counted
upon; but as things stood it would be folly if we did not make full
use of our success. That the French were a nation full of envy and
jealousy, that they had been much mortified by our success at
Koniggratz, and could not forgive it, though it in nowise damaged
them. How, then, should any magnanimity on our side move them not to
bear us a grudge for Sedan.' This Wimpffen would not admit. 'France,'
he said, 'had much changed latterly; it had learned under the empire
to think more of the interests of peace than of the glory of war.
France was ready to proclaim the fraternity of nations;' and more of
the same kind. Captain d'Orcet reports that, in addition, Bismarck
denied that France had changed, and that to curb her mania for glory,
to punish her pride, her aggressive and ambitious character, it was
imperative that there should be a glacis between France and Germany.
'We must have territory, fortresses and frontiers which will shelter
us forever from an attack on her part.' Further remonstrances from De
Wimpffen only drew down fresh showers of rough speech very trying to
bear, and when Bismarck said, 'We cannot change our conditions,' De
Wimpffen exclaimed, 'Very well; it is equally impossible for me to
sign such a capitulation, and we shall renew the battle.'

"Here Count Castelnau interposed meekly to say, on behalf of the
emperor, that he had surrendered, personally, in the hope that his
self-sacrifice would induce the king to grant the army honorable
terms. 'Is that all?' Bismarck inquired. 'Yes,' said the Frenchman.
'But what is the sword surrendered,' asked the chancellor; 'is it his
own sword, or the sword of France?' 'It is only the sword of the
emperor,' was Castelnau's reply. 'Well, there is no use talking about
other conditions,' said Von Moltke, sharply, while a look of
contentment and gratification passed over his face, according to
Bismarck; one 'almost joyful,' writes the keen Captain d'Orcet. 'After
the last words of Von Moltke,' he continues, 'De Wimpffen exclaimed,
"We shall renew the battle." "The truce," retorted the German general,
"expires to-morrow morning at four o'clock. At four, precisely, I
shall open fire." We were all standing. After Von Moltke's words no
one spoke a syllable. The silence was icy.' But then Bismarck
intervened to soothe excited feelings, and called on his soldier-
comrade to show, once more, how impossible resistance had become. The
group sat down again at the red baize-covered table, and Von Moltke
began his demonstration afresh. 'Ah,' said De Wimpffen, 'your
positions are not so strong as you would have us believe them to be.'
'You do not know the topography of the country about Sedan,' was Von
Moltke's true and crushing answer. 'Here is a bizarre detail which
illustrates the presumptuous and inconsequent character of your
people,' he went on, now thoroughly aroused. 'When the war began you
supplied your officers with maps of Germany at a time when they could
not study the geography of their own country for want of French maps.
I tell you that our positions are not only very strong, they are
inexpugnable.' It was then that De Wimpffen, unable to reply, wished
to accept the offer made but not accepted at an earlier period, and to
send an officer to verify these assertions. 'You will send nobody,'
exclaimed the iron general. 'It is useless, and you can believe my
word. Besides, you have not long to reflect. It is now midnight; the
truce ends at four o'clock, and I will grant no delay.' Driven to his
last ditch, De Wimpffen pleaded that he must consult his fellow-
generals, and he could not obtain their opinions by four o'clock. Once
more the diplomatic peacemaker intervened, and Von Moltke agreed to
fix the final limit at nine. 'He gave way at last,' says Bismarck,
'when I showed him that it could do no harm.' The conference so
dramatic broke up, and each one went his way; but, says the German
official narrative, 'as it was not doubtful that the hostile army,
completely beaten and nearly surrounded, would be obliged to submit to
the clauses already indicated, the great headquarter staff was
occupied, that very night, in drawing up the text of the
capitulation,' a significant and practical comment, showing what stuff
there was behind the severe language which, at the midnight meeting,
fell from the Chief of that able and sleepless body of chosen men.

"From this conference General de Wimpffen went straight to the wearied
emperor, who had gone to bed. But he received his visitor, who told
him that the proposed conditions were hard, and that the sole chance
of mitigation lay in the efforts of his Majesty. 'General,' said the
emperor, 'I shall start at five o'clock for the German headquarters,
and I shall see whether the king will be more favorable;' for he seems
to have become possessed of an idea that King William would personally
treat with him. The emperor kept his word. Believing that he would be
permitted to return to Sedan, he drove forth without bidding farewell
to any of his troops; but, as the drawbridge of Torcy was lowered and
he passed over, the Zouaves on duty shouted 'Vive l'Empereur!' This
cry was 'the last adieu which fell on his ears' as we read in the
narrative given to the world on his behalf. He drove in a droshki
toward Donchery, preceded by General Reille, who, before six o'clock,
awoke Bismarck from his slumbers, and warned him that the emperor
desired to speak with him. 'I went with him directly,' said Bismarck,
in a conversation reported by Busch; 'and got on my horse, all dusty
and dirty as I was, in an old cap and my great waterproof boots, to
ride to Sedan, where I supposed him to be.' But he met him on the
highroad near Frenois, 'sitting in a two-horse carriage.' Beside him
was the Prince de la Moskowa, and on horseback Castelnau and Reille.
'I gave the military salute,' says Bismarck. 'He took his cap off and
the officers did the same; whereupon I took off mine, although it was
contrary to rule. He said, "Couvrez-vous, done." I behaved to him just
as if in St. Cloud, and asked his commands.' Naturally, he wanted to
see the king, but that could not be allowed. Then Bismarck placed his
quarters in Donchery at the emperor's disposal, but he declined the
courtesy, and preferred to rest in a house by the wayside. The cottage
of a Belgian weaver unexpectedly became famous; a one-storied house,
painted yellow, with white shutters and Venetian blinds. He and the
chancellor entered the house, and went up to the first floor where
there was 'a little room with one window. It was the best in the
house, but had only one deal table and two rush-bottomed chairs.' In
that lowly abode they talked together of many things for three-
quarters of an hour, among others about the origin of the war--which,
it seems, neither desired--the emperor asserting, Bismarck reports,
that 'he had been driven into it by the pressure of public opinion,' a
very inadequate representation of the curious incidents which preceded
the fatal decision. But when the emperor began to ask for more
favorable terms, he was told that, on a military question, Von Moltke
alone could speak. On the other hand, Bismarck's request to know who
now had authority to make peace was met by a reference to 'the
Government in Paris'; so that no progress was made. Then 'we must
stand to our demands with regard to the Army of Sedan,' said Bismarck.
General von Moltke was summoned, and 'Napoleon III. demanded that
nothing should be decided before he had seen the king, for he hoped to
obtain from his Majesty some favorable concessions for the army.' The
German official narrative of the war states that the emperor expressed
a wish that the army might be permitted to enter Belgium, but that, of
course, the chief of the staff could not accept the proposal. General
von Moltke forthwith set out for Vendresse, where the king was, to
report progress. He met his Majesty on the road, and there 'the king
fully approved the proposed conditions of capitulation, and declared
that he would not see the emperor until the terms prescribed had been
accepted'; a decision which gratified the chancellor as well as the
chief of the staff. 'I did not wish them to come together,' observed
the count, 'until we had settled the matter of the capitulation';
sparing the feelings of both and leaving the business to the hard
military men.

"The emperor lingered about in the garden of the weaver's cottage; he
seems to have desired fresh air after his unpleasant talk with the
chancellor. Dr. Moritz Busch, who had hurried to the spot, has left a
characteristic description of the emperor. He saw there 'a little
thick-set man,' wearing jauntily a red cap with a gold border, a black
paletot lined with red, red trousers, and white kid gloves. 'The look
in his light gray eyes was somewhat soft and dreamy, like that of
people who have lived hard. His whole appearance,' says the irreverent
Busch, 'was a little unsoldierlike. The man looked too soft, I might
say too shabby, for the uniform he wore.' While one scene in the
stupendous drama was performed at the weaver's cottage, another was
acted or endured in Sedan, where De Wimpffen had summoned the generals
to consider the terms of capitulation. He has given his own account of
the incident; but the fullest report is supplied by Lebrun. There were
present at this council of war more than thirty generals. With tearful
eyes and a voice broken by sobs, the unhappy and most ill-starred De
Wimpffen described his interview and conflict with Von Moltke and
Bismarck, and its dire result--the army to surrender as prisoners of
war, the officers alone to retain their arms, and by way of mitigating
the rigor of these conditions, full permission to return home would be
given to any officer, provided he would engage in writing and on honor
not to serve again during the war. The generals, save one or two, and
these finally acquiesced, felt that the conditions could not be
refused; but they were indignant at the clause suggesting that the
officers might escape the captivity which would befall their soldiers,
provided they would engage to become mere spectators of the invasion
of their country. In the midst of these mournful deliberations Captain
von Zingler, a messenger from Von Moltke, entered, and the scene
became still more exciting. 'I am instructed,' he said, 'to remind you
how urgent it is that you should come to a decision. At ten o'clock,
precisely, if you have not come to a resolution, the German batteries
will fire on Sedan. It is now nine, and I shall have barely time to
carry your answer to headquarters.' To this sharp summons De Wimpffen
answered that he could not decide until he knew the result of the
interview between the emperor and the king.' 'That interview,' said
the stern captain, 'will not in any way affect the military
operations, which can only he determined by the generals who have full
power to resume or stop the strife.' It was, indeed, as Lebrun
remarked, useless to argue with a captain charged to state a fact; and
at the general's suggestion De Wimpffen agreed to accompany Captain
von Zingler to the German headquarters.

"These were, for the occasion, the Chateau de Bellevue, where the
emperor himself had been induced to take up his abode, and about
eleven o'clock, in a room under the imperial chamber, De Wimpffen put
his name at the foot of the document drawn up, during the night, by
the German staff. Then he sought out the emperor, and, greatly moved,
told him that 'all was finished.' His majesty, he writes, 'with tears
in his eyes, approached me, pressed my hand, and embraced me,' and 'my
sad and painful duty having been accomplished, I remounted my horse
and road back to Sedan, '"la mort dans l'ame."'

"So soon as the convention was signed, the king arrived, accompanied
by the crown prince. Three years before, as the emperor reminds us in
the writing attributed to him, the king had been his guest in Paris,
where all the sovereigns of Europe had come to behold the marvels of
the famous Exhibition. 'Now,' so runs the lamentation, 'betrayed by
fortune, Napoleon III. had lost all, and had placed in the hands of
his conqueror the sole thing left him--his liberty.' And he goes on to
say, in general terms, that the king deeply sympathized with his
misfortunes, but nevertheless could not grant better conditions to the
army. 'He told the emperor that the castle of Wilhelmshohe had been
selected as his residence; the crown prince then entered and cordially
shook hands with Napoleon; and at the end of a quarter of an hour the
king withdrew. The emperor was permitted to send a telegram in cipher
to the empress, to tell her what had happened, and urge her to
negotiate a peace.' Such is the bald record of this impressive event.
The telegram, which reached the empress at four o'clock on the
afternoon of the 3d, was in these words: 'The army is defeated and
captive; I myself am a prisoner.'

"For one day more the fallen sovereign rested at Bellevue to meditate
on the caprices of fortune or the decrees of fate. But that day, at
the head of a splendid company of princes and generals, King William,
crossing the bridge of Donchery, rode throughout the whole vast extent
of the German lines, to greet his hardy warriors and be greeted by
them on the very scene of their victories. And well they deserved
regal gratitude, for together with their comrades who surrounded Metz,
by dint of long swift marches and steadfast valor, they had overcome
two great armies in thirty days.

"During the battle of Sedan, the Germans lost in killed and wounded
8,924 officers and men. On the other hand, the French lost 3,000
killed, 14,000 wounded, and 21,000 captured in the battle. The number
of prisoners by capitulation was 83,000, while 3,000 were disarmed in
Belgium, and a few hundreds, more or less, made their way by devious
routes near and over the frontier, to Mezieres, Rocroi, and other
places in France. In addition, were taken one eagle and two flags, 419
field guns and mitrailleuses, 139 garrison guns, many wagons, muskets,
and horses. On the day after the surrender, the French soldiers,
having stacked their arms in Sedan, marched into the peninsula formed
by the deep loop of the Meuse--'le Camp de Misere' as they called
it--and were sent thence in successive batches, numbered by thousands,
to Germany. Such was the astonishing end of the Army of Chalons, which
had been impelled to its woful doom by the Comte de Palikao and the
Paris politicians."

Here closes the first and most dramatic phase of the war. Thereafter
the enemy was smitten hip and thigh. At once hurry orders were given
to open the line which led from Nancy to Paris. What followed must be
briefly told.

On the 5th of September the king of Prussia entered Rheims. On the 8th
Laon surrendered. On the 15th advanced troops halted within three
hours of the capital of France, making a half circle round its
defences. This investment Ducrot--who had escaped from Sedan--
attempted to prevent. His resources consisted in the Thirteenth Corps
under General Vinoy, and the Fourteenth under General Renault, and
18,000 marines, excellent soldiers, a total of 88,000 regular troops.
He had also in the camps of Vincennes and St. Maur 100,000
Garde-Mobiles, only very imperfectly disciplined; 10,000 volunteers
from the provinces, resolute men, prepared to give their lives for
their country; the National Guard, composed of sixty old and a hundred
and ninety-four new battalions which, with other miscellaneous
volunteers of Paris, numbered perhaps 200,000 men, not, however,
thoroughly to be depended upon. Altogether the defenders numbered
about 400,000, but of these only the 88,000 regular troops and the
10,000 volunteers from the provinces could be reckoned as trustworthy.

Nevertheless, the Third German Army had no difficulty in establishing
itself in a position embracing the southern and southeastern front of
the city, from Sevres to the Marne; the Fourth Army faced the
northeast and northern front, the cavalry the west front, so far as
the windings of the Seine would permit it. On the 5th of October the
crown prince took up his headquarters at Versailles, those of the king
being at Ferrieres, the seat of the Paris Rothschilds. Here took
place, on the 19th October, the famous interview between the French
foreign minister, Jules Favre, and Bismarck, in which the former made
his declaration that France would surrender neither one inch of her
territories nor one stone of her fortresses. The interview remained
without result.

Meanwhile the fortress of Toul had surrendered. Strasburg, after a
siege of six weeks, also surrendered, and, on October 27, Bazaine
handed over Metz and an army consisting of three marshals of France,
6,000 officers, and 173,000 soldiers--an act for which after the
conclusion of the war he was court-martialled, declared guilty of
treason, and sentenced to death and degradation. The then president of
the republic, Marshal MacMahon, commuted the death sentence into one
of imprisonment for twenty years. Confined in the fort of the island
St. Marguerite, near Cannes, Bazaine escaped, and lived in Spain till
his death.

Bazaine's surrender made the Germans masters of one of the strongest
fortresses in Europe, with 800 heavy guns, 102 mitrailleuses, 300,000
Chassepots, and placed at the disposal of the king an entire
blockading army.

It was at this juncture that Gambetta astonished the world. Reaching
Tours in a balloon from Paris, and there assuming the ministry of war,
he became practically dictator of France. Thence he issued a
proclamation to the people of France, urging them to continue their
resistance to the bitter end, and directed that all men, capable of
bearing arms, should lend their hands to the work, and should join the
troops of the line at Tours. In this way he formed an Army of the
North, and an Army of the Loire, and, later, an Army of the East. In
all respects he displayed a fertility of resource which astounded. He
obtained arms, uniforms, munitions, and other necessaries from foreign
countries, especially from England. He bestowed the greatest pains in
selecting as generals of the new levies men who should be real
soldiers. Under his inspiring influence the war in the provinces
assumed a very serious complexion. France had responded nobly to the
call he had made upon her people. Early reverses gave vigor to the new
levies, and they fought with energy against the Bavarians under Von
der Than at Arthenay and Orleans, and against the division of Wittich
at Chateaudun and Chartres. But they were fighting against increasing
odds. Every day brought reinforcements to the Germans.

With the exception of a momentary gleam of success on the Loire,
France met with nothing but disaster. In Paris matters were critical.
Every one of the different sorties made by her defenders had been
repulsed; the hope by which the spirits of her defenders had been
buoyed was vanishing fast: famine was approaching with giant strides;
the strong places outside the circle of her defences were falling one
after another; the fire of the enemy was, by the nearer approach of
their troops, becoming more concentrated and more severe. Peace must
be had. On January 28th, then, there was concluded at Versailles an
armistice for three weeks. Then a national assembly was summoned to
Bordeaux to consider how peace might be restored. In that assembly
Thiers received full administrative powers, including the power of
nominating his own ministers. He himself, with Jules Favre, undertook
the negotiations with Bismarck. To insure the success of those
negotiations the armistice was twice prolonged. This was done at the
instance of Thiers, for the conditions insisted upon by Bismarck were
hard, and the French statesman struggled with all his energies to
induce him to abate his demands. Especially did he strive to save
Metz, or, at least, to receive Luxemburg in compensation.

But his endeavors were fruitless. The utmost that Bismarck would do
was not to insist upon securing the still unconquered Belfort.
Despairing of moving him further, Thiers and Favre gave way on the
24th of February, and signed the preliminaries of peace. They were,
first, the transfer to Germany of the northeast portion of Lorraine,
with Metz and Diedenhofen, and of Alsace, Belfort excepted; second,
the payment to Germany by France of one milliard of francs in 1871,
and four milliards in the three years following; third, the Germans to
begin to evacuate French territory immediately after the ratification
of the treaty; Paris and its forts on the left bank of the Seine and
certain departments at once; the forts on the right bank after the
ratification and the payment of the first half milliard. After the
payment of two milliards the German occupation of the departments
Marne, Ardennes, Upper Marne, Meuae, the Vosges, and Meurthe, and the
fortress of Belfort should cease. Interest at five per cent to be
charged on the milliards remaining unpaid from the date of
ratification; fourth, the German troops remaining in France to make no
requisitions on the departments in which they were located, but to be
fed at the cost of France; fifth, the inhabitants of the sequestered
provinces to be allowed a certain fixed time in which to make their
choice between the two countries; sixth, all prisoners to be at once
restored; seventh, a treaty embodying all these terms to be settled at
Brussels. It was further arranged that the German army should not
occupy Paris, but should content itself with marching through the

Meanwhile, negotiations between the statesmen and governments of
Germany resulted in a proposal to King William that, as head of the
confederation, he should assume the title of German emperor. A
resolution to that effect was passed by the North German Reichstag on
the 9th of December, and a deputation proceeded to the royal
headquarters at Versailles, where, on the 18th of December, the
imperial crown was offered to the brother of the king who had once
refused it. Deeply touched, King William accepted, and in the palace
of Louis XIV., surrounded by a brilliant assembly of princes,
officers, and ministers of state, the venerable monarch was proclaimed
Deutscher Kaiser.

Then at last was the dream of centuries realized. At last was the
empire restored. Not the Holy Roman Empire, not the empire of the
Middle Ages, but the empire as a national state.

Under the leadership of Bismarck, to whom the restoration of the
empire was directly due, the new Reich began its organization as a
united federation. Among its earliest difficulties was an
ecclesiastical contest with the Church of Rome. Known as the
Kulturkampf, this struggle was an effort to vindicate the right of the
state to interfere in the affairs of all German religious societies.


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