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ship which, as he justly observes, God points out by his works and in his word as the true end of human life. Shall we not go forward ? We have restricted war to national action, have abolished slavery, and prohibited plunder; and we insist upon the sanctity of contracts. Shall the conflicts of misconceived interests still set us at defiance ? Is it utterly impossible to link all classes in one chain? Why should producer and consumer be at war? What closer friend can the consumer have than the producer, or the producer than the consumer ? What need prevent the substitution for the uncertainty of feverish speculation the regular supply of known wants ? Why, then, should we not become our own importers of foreign commodities in general demand, and furnish each other with such articles of manufacture as can be produced in different parts of our own island? “ says Mr. Vansittart Neale, (and with his prophet-like sentences this paper shall be brought to a close,) — “ beyond all improvements of this nature, which are after all but the extension, more or less perfectly, to the poorer classes, of the conditions of life existing at present amongst their richer neighbours, there lies, at least for me, the vision of a time when these conditions shall be replaced for poor
and rich alike by others far superior, through the introduction of domestic institutions where the present isolation of our family life may be removed without destroying its sacredness, and the separation of rich and poor shall vanish before the equalizing influences of instruction and refinement. The fulfilment of this vision may indeed lie in a far-away future; though, if, as it is to me not hopeless, the idea of its possibility should take a firm hold on the minds of any considerable body of those in whose hands society has placed the resources required for attempting its realization, a few years might suffice to cover Europe with such institutions. But, be that as it may, this is the glorious end which I would have present to the mental vision of every co-operator as the animating spring to unwearying effort amid the bustle and toil of active life—the hope to realize, if not for himself, yet for his posterity, that beautiful vision of a human life freed from the surroundings that now debase and mar it, which has flitted before the eyes of all the great pioneers of social reform, from Plato to Robert Owen and Charles Fourier, though without an adequate perception of the long struggle, the gradual preparation, and progressive education, which are the indispensable conditions of its ultimate realization.”
FEW living statesmen better deserve
or more urgently require to be tried by the biblical test—"By thy words thou shalt be justified; by thy words thou shalt be condemned”--than Count Bismarck.
In our own country, it is often fairer to our constitutional statesmen that we should look to the particular laws which they frame or support, rather than to the words in which they express that support. The complexities of our English life and legislation make it generally difficult, often nearly impossible, to trace through the speeches which such statesmen deliver on different topics one clear line of policy, and still harder to find in their carefully-weighed words a clear image of their character. But with Count Bismarck this is otherwise. At the head of a State hardly yet conscious of constitutional life, with a policy marked out for him by the traditions of many years, and, above all, with a very clear idea as to the objects which he sets before him, his speeches form not only a most perfect biography of the man, but supply most valuable materials for the history of Germany for the last eighteen years. And certainly, if there ever was a man fitted for the special work which he has done, it is Count Bismarck. As a constitutional statesman, he would undoubtedly have failed; indeed, he himself once admitted, or rather boasted, that he did not understand “internal affairs.” The meaning and truth of this saying clearly shows itself through all these speeches. The Minister looks
upon a nation as a complete whole, which is to be protected, organized, and wielded against foreign enemies by the king. Anything like party divisions, or even differences of opinion, tend to mar the symmetry of the whole, and weaken the effect of the weapon. This observation is, we believe, the key to these speeches. Such an idea is, it is clear, incompatible with any very zealous party-championship. As long as the Radicals are hindering the military budget, and thereby bampering Count Bismarck's foreign policy, he is a supporter of the Conservatives, but as soon as we come to the discussions on the new constitution for North Germany, his admiration for the perfect rotundity and completeness of the democratic idea of representation comes out. His strong sense of the force and power given by a complete national representation can be best seen by comparing two speeches on this subject—the one delivered in the Prussian Abgeordnetes Haus, on the 29th January, 1862; the other in the Reichstag, on the 28th March, 1867. We quote them together, because we believe that the first, when taken by itself, may be considered as a mere passing taunt, seized upon as the most convenient at the moment for turning his enemies into ridicule; whereas, when placed together, they show a clear and consistent idea of representation.
«« The closing words of Article IV. afford me the opportunity for some remarks. They run: “ The country stood by its representatives.' I should like to reduce this hyperbole to its proper proportion. In what way, I ask, has the people declared on this point that it stands by you? You might have had in your mind two ways in which the country expresses its opinion. The one is the election of representatives, the other the addresses of sympathy. Expressions of the previous speakers compel me to say a few words on both. According to the Constitution the representation of the people is in both Houses of the Parliament; and the Constitution makes no difference between them. With regard to this point, Article LXXXIII. says : The members of both Houses of Parliament are the representatives of the whole people.' The circumstance that this House is formed by election gives it no higher right, according to the Constitution, than is given to the House of Lords. Since, however, you appeal to facts rather than to Articles of the Constitution, I am compelled to look more closely into the actual meaning of the elections. Attention was called to the fact yesterday from the Minister's table that very few people had taken any part in the elections. I leave the question open whether there were 27 or 34 per cent. who took part in them.
“Herr von Unruh estimated them at 34 per cent.; the Minister for War at 27 per cent. The majority of the 27 or 34 per cent. chooses the electors. I think, on a hasty calculation, about 70,000. Thus the whole body of the electors represents the majority of the aforesaid 27—34 per cent. ; on a high estimate of this majority it may amount to 20—25 per cent. of the whole sum.
These, then, are chosen by the whole body of the electors. You, gentlemen, are the choice of the majority of the electors—that is, certainly of the half of 20—25 per cent. + 1, perhaps even + 3. I think, gentlemen, this calculation is incontestable.”
The second passage to which we have alluded, runs as follows :
“ Universal suffrage we have to some extent inherited as the natural development of the German efforts after unity. We have had it in the scheme of the Imperial Constitution, which was drawn up in Frankfort; we put it forth in 1863, in opposition to the attempts which Austria was
hen making in Frankfort; and I can only say, I know no better electoral law. It has certainly a great number of defects, which prevent even it from being the perfect photograph and reproduction in miniature * of the thoughtful and deliberate judgment of the people ; and the allied Governments are not so devoted to it that they would refuse to accept another law if they were convinced of its superior advantages.
“What do the gentlemen who oppose this method wish to put in its stead, which can be passed as expeditiously as we need ? Is it perhaps the Prussian Three-Class System? Well, gentlemen, any one who has closely observed the working of that system, and the combinations which it produces in the country, must say that no more senseless and miserable electoral law was ever invented in any State ; an electoral law which tears apart all that naturally fits into each other, and throws together people who have nothing to do with each other—which in every different commune mixes people in different proportions—which throws men who in one community rise far beyond the first-class, and would supply the whole of that class by themselves, in another neighbouring community, into the thirdclass.
“ It has been made a reproach against this electoral law (universal suffrage) that it prescribes direct instead of indirect elections ; my conviction is, that indirect elections produce a falsification of the elections, of the opinion of the nation.”
Then follows another calculation something similar to that in the earlier speech, in which he proves that by the double system of elections the majority of the deputies represent only an eighth of the whole. He then adds :
Then, too, I have ever found in the common feeling of the people far more intelligence than in the afterthought of the elector in his search for the person to be chosen, and I appeal to the nearly universal evidence.-I do not know whether these gentlemen share my opinion,—but I have the impression that we bring into this House men of more marked capacity by direct elections than by indirect. In order to be chosen by the direct suffrage one must be held in higher estimation in a wider circle ; the influence of local alliances is not so great in the more extended circles in which the direct elections are held.”
This support of universal suffrage may have deserved Mr. Beales' letter of thanks, but it certainly is not necessarily connected with our English ideas of freedom. A speech delivered in the same session of the Reichstag brings out yet more strongly his sympathy with unity rather than freedom, and his impatience of mere internal liberties. Indeed, it is remarkable that this is the one occasion on which he rises into actual eloquence :
“Do you really believe that the mighty movement, which in former years brought the peoples to the battle—from the Belt to the Sea of Sicily,
* The italics are our own.
from the Rhine to the Pruth and the Dniester, to the iron game in which were staked the thrones of kings and emperors—that the millions of German warriors who have shed their blood in battles against each other, from the Rhine to the Carpathians—that the thousands, and more than thousands, who, left on the field or struck down by sickness, have sealed with their death this great national decision—that all these can be reduced into Acts of Parliament by a resolution of this assembly? Then, gentlemen, you have really not risen to the height of the situation.
I should like to see how the gentlemen who imagine these things to be possible, would answer an invalid returning from Koniggrätz if he asks after the result of that powerful effort. They would say to him something like this: Yes, certainly; the effort for German unity has again come to nothing; for that we shall find an opportunity—it is easy to get, and an arrangement is possible any day; but we have saved the budget-right of the House of Representatives, of the Prussian assembly, the right to put in jeopardy every year the existence of the Prussian army—a right of which, as good patriots, we will never make use; and if any assembly should so far go astray as really to wish it, we would hold the minister who carried out their wishes as a traitor to his country. But it is our right; for that we strove with the Emperor of Austria round the walls of Presburg, and with that must the invalid console himself for the loss of his limbs, the widow " for the husband whom she has buried.'
But though the idea of individual freedom within a nation, or of constitutional freedom in our sense of the word, could hardly form part of such a programme, the idea of national independence is very strong in all Count Bismarck's utterances. The sense that men who are desiring to belong to another community, or to form a separate community of themselves, are very undesirable parts of a nation, occurs again and again throughout these speeches; and even where the Minister thinks that the aspirations of other peoples must for a time, at any rate, be sacrificed for the sake of Germany, he generally does so with evident reluctance, and almost always tries to meet the claimants on their own ground. The two most striking exhibitions of this feeling are in a speech on the question of North Schleswig in the Reichstag on the 24th September, 1867, and another on the 18th March of the same year, on the Polish question. The former lays broadly down the principle of which we have spoken :
"I hold that a rule of Germans over nations impatient of their authority -or, I will not say a rule, but a living together of Germans in a community, with nations who are striving to separate themselves from that community—is disadvantageous. But sometimes it is necessary.
In Poland it is necessary, as a glance at the map shows; and the knowledge of history which I assume the honourable speaker to possess, will enable him, in the maps of to-day, to trace the boundary of the old Republic of Poland. The difficulty of the question on which he has touched does not consist in the cession of those Danes who wish to be Danish to Denmark, not in any desire of ours to refuse to Denmark what is Danish, but in the mixture of the populations, in the fact that we cannot give back Danes to Denmark without giving Germans at the same time. Therein lies the difficulty ; and, at the same time, the difference in principle of my
views from those of the previous speaker. If Danes lived all together in a strip