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PRINCE OTTO VON BISMARCK
was offered to Frederick William IV., then the Prussian King. Bismarck, then a member of the Prussian Chambers, opposed the project, onless Prussia, as a kingdom, should benefit by it. We append a characteristic extract from his speech.]
I am more inclined to believe that Frederick II. would have turned, for a solution of the question, to the most prominent characteristic of the Prussian nation,-its warlike element,-and not without success. For he would have known that now, too, as in the days of our fathers, the sound of the trumpet summoning all to the standard of their sovereign lord has not yet lost its charm for the Prussian ear, be it for the defence of our own frontiers or for the glory and greatness of Prussia. After the rupture with Frankfort he would have had the choice of allying himself with Austria, his old comrade-in-arms, and of assuming the brilliant role played by the Emperor of Russia in assisting Austria to annihilate the common foe, revolution; or it would have been open to him, after rejection of the Imperial Frankfort crown, by the same right as that by which he had conquered Silesia, to decide for the Germans in the matter of their Constitution at the risk of his casting the sword into the scale. That would have been a national Prussian policy. In the former case community with Austria, in the latter her own exertions, would have given Prussia the proper position for helping Germany to be the Power in Europe which it ought to be. But the draft Constitution annihilates specific Prussianism, which has saved the country from the revolution and almost alone survived it. . . . It was a Prussian regiment which on the 18th of September, 1848, saved us from the Frankfort Parliament conjured up against
It was the attachment of the Prussian people to their ruling house-it was the old Prussian virtues of honor, loyalty, obedience and bravery, which permeate the army from its framework, the corps of officers, to the youngest recruit. This army cherishes no Tricolor enthusiasm. In it, as among the rest of the people, you will not find any longing for national regeneration. It is content with the name of Prussian, and proud of it, too. These hosts will follow the black and white banner, but not the Tricolor, and under the former gladly die for their country. Nay, since the 18th March, they have come to regard the Tricolor as the badge of their opponents.
Familiar to and beloved by them are the strains of the “ Prussian Air," the “ Old Dessauer” and the “Hohenfriedberg" marches, but I have never yet heard a Prussian soldier sing " What is the German's Fatherland ?" The people from whom this army is drawn, and who are most truly represented by it, have no desire to see their Prussian kingdom melt away in the putrifying ferment of South German anarchy. Their loyalty does not cleave to an imperial paper presidency, nor to a princely board of six, but rather to a free and living King of Prussia, the
PRINCE OTTO VON BISMARCK
heir of his forefathers; and what this people wills we also wish with it. We all desire to behold the Prussian eagle spread its protecting and controlling pinions from the Memel to the Donnersberg ; but free we wish to see it, not fettered by a new Diet of Ratisbon, and not clipped in the wings by that equalizing hedgehook whereof we well remember that it was first at Gotha converted into an instrument of peace, while but a few weeks previously in Frankfort it was brandished as a threatening weapon against Prussianism and the ordinances of our King. Prussians we are, and Prussians we will remain. I know that in these words I but express the creed of the Prussian army and of the majority of my countrymen ; and I hope to God that we shall also remain Prussians long after this bit of paper [the German Constitution] has moldered away like a withered autumn leaf.
PRUSSIA AND THE NEW CONSTITUTION [The Constitution adopted by the revolutionary German Parliament was by no means satisfactory to Bismarck, who did not hesitate to express his opinion of it in plain words. ]
Gentlemen, it has pained me to see Prussians here, and not only nominal Prussians, who adhere to this Constitution and warmly defend it; it has been humiliating to me, as it would have been to thousands and thousands of my countrymen, to see the representatives of Princes, whom I honor in their lawful sphere, but who are not my sovereign lords, to see them invested with supreme power; and the bitterness of this feeling was not softened at the opening of this Assembly by my seeing the seats on which we sit adorned with colors which were never the colors of the German Empire, but, for the last two years, rather the badge of rebellion and barricades—colors which, in my native country, apart from the democrats, are only worn in sorrowful obedience by the soldier. Gentlemen, if you do not make more concessions to the Prussian, to the old Prussian spirit,call it what you will,—than you have hitherto done in this Constitution, then I do not believe in its realization ; and if you attempt to impose this Constitution on this Prussian spirit, you will find in it a Bucephalus* who carries his accustomed lord and rider with daring joy, but will fling to the earth the presuming Cockney horseman, with all his trappings of sable, red and gold. But I am comforted in my fear of these eventualities by the firm belief that it will not be long before the parties come to regard this Constitution as the two doctors in Lafontaine's fable did the patient whose corpse they had just left.
had just left. “He is dead ;'' said one, “I said he would die all along." “ Had he taken my advice,'' quoth the other," he would be still alive."
* The war horse of Alexander the Great, which none but he could mount or ride.
FRANCESCO CRISPI (1819-1901)
AN ITALIAN STATESMAN AND PREMIER
RANCESCO CRISPI filled the double role of statesman and
soldier. In 1848 he was concerned in the revolution at
Palermo and had to flee for his life. In 1859 he organized a new and successful movement, and went as major under Garibaldi in his invasion of Sicily. In the new Italian kingdom he became deputy and minister, and was prime minister of the kingdom 1887–91 and 1894-96 ; the Italian disasters in Abyssinia finally forcing him to resign. His powers as a statesman and his talent in oratory gave him great weight in the Italian governmental affairs.
THE RELATION OF THE POPE TO THE STATE [At the unveiling of the Garibaldi monument at Rome during the fetes of 1895, Crispi delivered the principal oration. In his remarks he diverged from the main subject to define the relation of the Pope to the State.]
The enemies of Italian unity have endeavored to prove that the present celebration is an insult to the head of the Catholic Church. Their object is to excite conscientious scruples against our country. the common sense of the people is proof against such tricks, because we all know that Christianity is a divine institution, which is not dependent upon earthly weapons for its existence. The religion of Christ preached by Paul and Chrysostom was able to subdue the world without the aid of temporal arms, and we cannot conceive that the Vatican should persist in wishing for temporal sovereignty to exercise its spiritual mission. The Gospel, as we all believe, is truth. If it has been disseminated by apostolic teachings, such teachings are sufficient for its existence.
It not really for the protection and prestige of religion that our adversaries demand the restoration of the temporal power of the Holy See, but for worldly reasons, from lust of power and from earthly covetousness,
They do not consider that temporal sovereignty cannot be saintly and above sin; that it cannot aspire to celestial perfection in this world. Material weapons and legal violence, justified by reasons of State, should not belong to the Vicar of Christ on earth, who is to preach peace, to pray and to pardon. Religion is not, and it cannot be, an affair of State. Its mission is to console believers with the hope of everlasting life and to uphold the spirit of faith...
The Italians, by promulgating the law of May, 1871, have solved a problem which seemed incapable of solution. In this country, where freedom of thought and of conscience is acknowledged, unlimited liberty has been granted to the Head of the Church with reference to his sacred office and his irresponsibility and inviolability. In regard to his acts, the Pope is subject only to God, and no human potentate can reach him. He exercises a sovereign authority over all those who believe in him—and they are many millions—while he is surrounded by all the honors and privileges of royalty without the drawbacks of civil power, without the hatred, the resentment, and the penalties inseparable from such power. No earthly prince is in a similar position or on the same level. His position is unique. He has no territory to govern. Indeed, any extent of territory would be inadequate for his position, and yet all the world is subject to his spiritual power. Were he a temporal prince his authority would be diminished, because it would be equal to that of other rulers, and he would cease to be pre-eminent. He would be exposed to continual struggles, as he has struggled for centuries to the detriment of the faith and of his spiritual authority. We have made him an independent sovereign, and as such he is superior to all other princes. In this lies his power. He exercises the office by virtue of authority; he corresponds with all the world; he prays; he protects, without needing protection, because the Italian kingdom is his shield. Consequently, no earthly weapon can reach him; and the outrages inflicted upon Boniface VIII. cannot be repeated.
Catholics should be grateful to Italy for the services which we have rendered to the Roman pontiff. Before September 20, 1870, he was obliged to bow before the princes of the earth, and concordats were concessions of divine right made to the prejudice of the Church. It was only when relieved of his temporal dominion that Pius IX. could cope with Bismarck and make that man feel the power of spiritual arms. All this is our handiwork, the work of our Parliament and our king. I will say more; it was the will of God, because the Almighty willed that Italy should gather her provinces together and become an equal of other nations.
EMILIO CASTELAR (1832-1899)
THE ORATOR OF THE CORTES OF SPAIN
HE life of Castelar was one of adventure and diversity. In 1856,
a professor of history and philosophy at Madrid; in 1864, editor
of La Democracia-a newspaper whose title tells its characterin 1866, condemned to death as a revolutionist, and fleeing for life; back again in the successful revolution of 1868; speaking earnestly against the crowning of King Amadeus, and bringing about his downfall in 1873; then made President by the short-lived republic—which was soon overthrown by the opposing elements in the State. In 1874 he was forced to resign and again seek exile, but in 1876 he was back in the Cortes once more, and continued to speak there with all his old fire and eloquence till his withdrawal from public life in 1893.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN [Instead of giving an extract from Castelar's political speeches, we prefer to present his graceful and enthusiastic eulogy of Abraham Lincoln, a man after his own heart, and whose lofty character he could fully appreciate. With a few strokes Castelar succeeds in pa ting a large picture, presenting Lincoln to us as on of those marvels in human history that the centuries rarely bring forth.]
The Puritans are the patriarchs of liberty ; they opened a new world on the earth ; they opened a new path for the human conscience; they created a new society. Yet, when England tried to subdue them and they conquered, the republic triumphed and slavery remained. Washington could only emancipate his own slaves. Franklin said that Virginians could not invoke the name of God, retaining slavery. Jay said that all the prayers America sent up to Heaven for the preservation of liberty while slavery continued were mere blasphemies. Mason mourned over the payment his descendants must make for this great crime of their fathers. Jefferson traced the line where the black wave of slavery should be stayed.