Oldalképek
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

as

own

every sphere, in every department of ling is upon the pages of the statutepublic and, as far as possible, of pri- book, or the paragraph in the constituvate life. Regis voluntas suprema lex. tion, that “all Prussians possess the The king's will, and nothing else, is the same political rights." The will of the law of the land; this maxim forms the emperor is the real law of the land. guiding principle of all his actions. He commands, and a duel must take Omniscience he claims as one of the place, whatever the law may say; he attributes of his kingly majesty; pop- declares that the Adeligen are the betular wit expresses this in the words, ter, the higher men in the Fatherland, “God knows everything, but the em- whatever musty paragraphs may deperor William knows everything bet. clare to the contrary. The nobleman ter."

alone is of full weight; all the other A jury of experts decides which citizens must consider themselves drama ought to receive the Schiller under a kind of capitis diminutio, prize for the finest play; the emperor only second-best. The lowest Herr von annuls their decision, for his judgment is by birth, or becomes by being enis more competent than theirs. The nobled, a far superior being to the pope claims infallibility only in mat- most illustrious commoner; the younger ters of faith or religion; but the Ger- sub-lieutenant, by wearing the king's man emperor claims that he is infalli- uniform—the Koenigsrockand thereble in everything and anything, and fore participating in, or representing, not only in his judgment about the the king's majesty, rises immediately works of others, but also in his above all merely civilian citizens, be acts and doings, in his private as well they the best and worthiest of the as in his public capacity. What he, land. Not once, but many times, on the emperor, does not know is not various occasions and in numberless worth knowing, and wben one of bis public speeches, has the emperor ex.sisters, the present Duchess of Sparta, pressed these views. What

the ventured to express the opinion that constitution, the charter, mean to such English men-of-war looked finer than a monarch? the German ironclads, his Omniscience, The National Zeitung of Berlin, in quite a loud voice, and before some very mildly liberal bourgeois paper, is ladies of the court, called her a stupid compelled to say that it is clear enough goose for her pains.

that the rights of Prussians are to be Things must have come to a pretty reduced to what they were at the end pass in Germany when the Cologne of the last century, when civil liberty, Gazette, one of the most loyal and pa- in a constitutional sense, simply did triotic of German newspapers, writes not exist. that the emperor is surrounded exclu- The hatred of the present German sively by men who belong to the emperor against the very slightest apJunker class, and that the statesmen proach to freedom and liberty shows on whom falls the responsibility are itself in his unfilial contempt for his not in personal touch with his Majesty, father, the good Emperor Frederic. It and, like the ministers of the sultan, is a well-known fact that during the have to combat the permanent influ- too short reign of that unfortunate ence of his entourage. There is the martyr, expressions were used by the rub. The Rhenish Gazette has touched immediate friends of the then crown the real sore point. It is supposed that prince with reference to the Emperor Germany possesses an imperial con- Frederic, which, if uttered to-day constitution, that Prussia also has such a cerning the present monarch, would be document, that there is Imperial most severely punished, as lèse. Diet, and that a Prussian Chamber 18 majesté, with long terms of imprisonalso at work. True, quite true. But ment. And in all the hundreds of his only in theory do all these fine institu- speeches, addresses, and toasts, Wiltions exist, just as the law about duel. liam II. has hardly ever, if at all, men

can

a

an

a

as

some

are

tioned the name of his father. For the Prussian before the law no longer Frederic II. was supposed to lean exists. A feudal baron, though a contowards “Liberalism,” and to admire vict and sentenced to penal servitude the institutions of England, the home for the most degrading crime, is adof his wife.

dressed by the president of a court The present emperor's ideal of of justice, before whom the prisoner prince is his grandfather Wilhelm I., has to appear as a witness, in the most whom his grandson has officially “ad- obsequious manner Herr Baron. vanced” to the title of “the Great." An editor of a newspaper, on the conWoe betide the poor German subject trary, who is sent to prison for who should dare to criticise his em- imaginary insult offered to a railway peror's command concerning that title. guard or other civil service employé, is Lèse-majesté and years in prison can treated before the court of justice with alone atone for such a crime. Political the grossest rudeness. The magisspies, like the delatores of corrupt im- trates who behave in this manner perial Rome, prowl about in all parts wise men. They know the time of of the Fatherland, and denounce the day. unwary citizen. Sycophantic Byzan. But there is another class of men in tine public prosecutors indict him with Germany who also know, and who bide the greatest zeal and official fury for their time. The Social Democrats, some lèse-majesté, which was very twenty-five years ago a mere bandful, often nothing but the hasty expression without leaders and without disciof an ill-bred person, or the remark of pline, are now the thorn in the flesh of a sharp tongue. These pushing young the emperor. At first he tried, or king's attorneys demean themselves by rather it looked as if he tried, to protaking up cases in which, perhaps pitiate them; he gave out that the asyears ago, man in the presence of his pirations and aims of the Socialists own family made an unguarded re- had no better friend, no greater promark about the emperor; it is now de- tector than the emperor. But that was nounced to the police by a servant or a at the time when Bismarck was to be bad relation from spite or other infa- got rid of, and when William

II. motive. Well these Staatsan- wanted to pose as the arbeiter freund, waelte know that by such zeal they in- while the old chancellor was to be congratiate themselves in the highest sidered as their implacable enemy. quarters. They are sure to “arrive," The Socialists took what they could get; as the French put it. Their lord and but they never were misled as to what master has a good memory for such were the real motives of this behavior magistrates. And the poor wretches, towards them. When the

emperor who in a moment of excitement, or, saw that he was found out, he abanperhaps in a drunken fit, have used doned the sugar method and took to bad language concerning the emperor the whip again. And from that mo- for in nine cases out of ten it comes ment commenced the struggle, which is to nothing more-are sure to be pun- not a party fight in the English sense ished severely, without the slightest of the word, but the battle between hope of pardon. Whereas the noble- despotism and liberty, between the theman, the officer, who killed a private ory of the divine right king, and the citizen is let off after a short imprison, self-government of the people through ment.

Parliament. In the eyes of the Thus the middle classes see, with sul- peror the Socialists are the enemies of len discontent, that the administration his kingdom and his crown; they are of justice, formerly the brightest spot Vaterlandslose Gesellen (a cosmopolitan in Prussian public life, is tarnished as crew), who are impudent enough to soon as the slightest question arises be- oppose his will, his imperial tween the feudal nobility and the mem. mands. As a red rag provokes a bull, bers of the citizen-class. Equality of the "impudence" of the Social Demo

3

mous

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

em

the Town peror

COD uld be

lèse. rison of his

com

Wil

, men

man

em

a

«crats provokes the furious wrath of the the administration of justice is tainted, emperor.

He will exterminate them, wherever there is a condict between he will sweep them from the earth; his feudal pretensions and the rights of soldiers shall shoot them whenever the the citizen. Thousands are thus driven occasion arrives. And the Social Dem- into the ranks of the Social Demoocrats regard the emperor in the same cratic party; every election shows this light in which James II. was looked more clearly, and the emperor thinks upon by English patriots, as a

that reactionary laws, repression and who cannot be trusted; as a monarch violence will stem the tide, which they who loathes the constitution of his can no more do than Mrs. Partington's country. Add to these general reasons, broom. One would think that the milon public grounds, the hatred of the itary class at least would unreservedly Socialists against the emperor, as man

admire the emperor.

But even

this against man on account of all the does not happen to be the case. The tracasseries, the petty persecution, and highest military circles are continually the innumerable wrongs done to them, in a state of trepidation, lest the as they believe, by his special order peror in one of his unaccountable fits and command.

of energy should plunge the country The situation is getting more and into war, and then insist on taking more dangerous, the feeling of discon- command of the army, being his own tent increases in intensity every day; general-in-chief, chief of staff and even very moderate and loyal men are commander of everything under beginning to see in the new legislation heaven. A catastrophe would then be against political associations many unavoidable, say the most experienced striking utterances, which enable them generals. There is no science, no art, to infer how powerfully in the highest no profession, in which the emperor circles the idea is gaining ground, that does not consider himself master. one day it will be necessary to crush a But even more. He will lay down the Social Democratic rising of the whole law, he will rush in with conceited people by force of arms. When that step where the wisest men would not day comes it will be an evil day for dare to tread. To his insane craving Germany and for the emperor. The for self advertising urbi et orbi nothing Germans have not yet had their 1688, is too small, nothing too remote. A nor their 1789; and we cannot believe boat-race which does not concern bim that they will be spared the experi- in the least yields just as good grist to ence of England and of France. The his mill, furnishes as good an opporliterary Golden Age in Germany also tunity for a telegram signed "Wilhelm arrived a century later than the sim- I. & R.," as Jameson's raid into the ilar epochs in the two Western Euro- Transvaal. So far, the emperor's conpean

countries. Notwithstanding ceit has only pleased him without Sadowa and Sedan, notwithstanding doing much hurt to other peopletheir superior chemical industry and though once he came very .their Röntgen rays, the Germans, as a overdoing the thing. But far political body, are a hundred years be dangerous than his mere vanity are his hind the English or the French nation. belief that he is almighty, his inability "They boast of a constitution, a parlia- to brook contradiction, his contempt ment, and all the other paraphernalia for the parliamentary institutions of of modern government. But the envio his own country as well as of other peror nevertheless considers himself lands. the master, just as James II. did.

A violent conflict between this autoThis discontent is not limited to the cratic, headstrong monarch and Social Democrats; the middle classes people seems unavoidable. The Social also grumble, and complain that the Democratic party is gradually apemperor fosters and favors the preten- proaching the point when it will be sions of the feudal nobility, that even eager to measure swords with the "di

near

more

the

new

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

are

[ocr errors]

vine right” king, and to fight for the see so plainly before me as Giuseppe
people's rights against the monarch by Mazzini. His features, his expression,
the grace of God. The army, as a ma- and his every gesture, all are indelibly
chine for the purpose of mowing down engraven on my memory. Is it because
"rebellious subjects” is expected to do thirty-four years ago I painted a por-
its duty, should the occasion arrive and trait of him that hangs here just oppo-
the order be given to shoot. But sup site me, and I reverently look up at it
pose the soldiers, the sons and brothers as I am about to speak of him? Or is it
of Social Democrats, should hesitate to not rather that, to have known Mazzini,
obey? Preparations are already made means ever to remember him—to hear
by express order of the emperor to his voice, to feel his influence, and to
amend the laws against associations, recall his outward form?
and the situation must have become The portrait was painted in the little
very critical when a Berlin journal studio of my bachelor days, which
comments thus on the proposed measured about twenty feet by ten, and
bill: “The emperor demanded the in- had no other appendage but a good-sized
corporation in the bill of provisions for cupboard, by courtesy called a bed-
the protection of the public safety and room. But it was situated right in the
the public peace, because he is entirely middle of six or eight acres of ground in
governed by the idea that security and the heart of London, which for many
peace are menaced, and that the pos- years went by the name of “Cadogan
sibility of a rising on the part of the Gardens,” till one day it was “im-
Vaterlandslose Gesellen (unpatriotic fel- proved” away, and its good name was
lows) must be taken into account." transferred to a new row of Philistine
The emperor, the captain and pilot of stone houses. Such as it was in 1862,
the ship of State, sees that there Mazzini liked it, and would often look
rocks ahead, and his proposed way of in on me and my brother-in-law, An-
getting out of danger consists in screw- tonin Roche, the only other occupant of
ing down the safety valve. Whether by those square gardens.
this method the port can be reached is Roche, who is now of a ripe old age,
somewhat doubtful. Prudent people in and is enjoying a well-earned rest, was
Germany, men who have rendered ser- an old friend of Mazzini. The two took
vice to their country, look with grave very opposite views in politics, for
anxiety upon the present state of af- Roche was a “Légitimiste," warmly at-
fairs. They know that the headstrong tached to the direct line of the Bour-
monarch who at this moment guides bons, and true 'to their white flag;
the destinies of the Fatherland consti- whilst in the eyes of Mazzini, as we
tutes a danger to their countrythat know, all kings were pretty equally
what he considers to be energy is gen. black, and no flag acceptable but the
erally only fussiness, that he possesses white, green, and red one of a united
neither wisdom nor patience, and that Italy. A long experience had taught
his efforts to put back the clock of him to place no faith in princes, but to
Germany to the time of the dark ages centre his hopes in the people, and in
can but end in ruin for the crown and the ultimate triumph of Republican in-
for the country.

stitutions. So he and Roche had right GERMANICUS. royal word-fights when they met, and

they were not badly matched; for Roche was quite a living encyclopædia of knowledge, and had the history of man

kind, from the days of Adam up to date, From Cosmopolis.

at his fingers' ends. And he had every GIUSEPPE MAZZINI.

opportunity of keeping his knowledge I well remember some great and good fresh, for during a period of forty-five men whom it has been my privilege and years he regularly held his French my good fortune to know, but none do I “Cours" on history, literature, and a

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

Social

7y ap

vill be the "all

variety of other subjects; and before he viction; his soul so stirred, that one's retired he had educated three genera- soul could not but vibrate responsively. tions of England's fairest and most To be sure, at the time I am speaking aristocratic daughters.

of, every conversation seemed to lead Mazzini and he, then, would often dis- up to the one all-absorbing topic, the cuss politics and political economy of unification of Italy. She must be freed the past, present, and future, and I from the yoke of the Austrian or the sometimes ventured to join in their con- Frenchman; the dungeons of King versation. To-day I see the presump- Bomba must be opened and the fetters tion of my ways, but then I was forged at the Vatican shaken off. His younger, and whilst reverencing the eyes sparkled as he spoke, and reflected master-mind, and feeling infinitesi- the ever-glowing and illuminating fire mally small next to the great man, I yet within; he held you magnetically. He was bold enough to advance where would penetrate into some innermost many besides angels would have feared recess of your conscience and kindle a to tread. I had lived in France for spark where all had been darkness. some years under the Second Empire, Whilst under the influence of that eye, and had, perhaps, more respect for the tnat voice, you felt as if you could leave successful than I have now. I had wit father and mother and follow him, the nessed the rebuilding of Paris, the re- Elect of Providence, who had come to vival of art, and many evidences of in- overthrow the whole wretched fabric of creasing prosperity, and-always allow- falsehoods holding mankind in bonding for the needs of France and the age. He gave you eyes to see, and ears French of that day-I looked upon to hear, and you too were stirred to rise Louis Napoleon as rather the right man and go forth to propagate the new Gosin the right place.

pel: “The Duties of Man." But Mazzini reviled him, and at the There was another side of his nature mention of his name would burst forth that many a time deeply impressed me. into a passionate philippic, crushing The enthusiast, the conspirator, would “the adventurer, the perjurer, the ty- give way to the poet, the dreamer, as he rant” with all the weight of his glowing would speak of God's nature and of its indignation. “But apart from all that,” loveliest creation, woman; of innocent he would say, “we bate each other per- childhood, of sunshine and flowers. sonally.”

I have heard much said about woman He was certainly the most uncompro- and Woman's Rights since the days of mising enemy of royalty, disdaining Mazzini, from pulpit and platform, threats and blandishments alike, and from easy-chair and office-stool. It preferring exile to the acceptance of often seemed to me to be said in beautisuch favors as the amnesty that at a ful prose; but still in prose. Mazzini later period recalled him and his friends spoke the language of poetry; not in to their native land. "He who can de hexameters or blank verse, but still, it base himself,” he said, "by accepting was poetry. We of to-day look forthe royal clemency will some day stand ward, create a new ideal, a in need of the people's clemency.” woman; he looked backward to the

If he was grand in his wrath he was days of his childhood, and conjured up grand also in his ideal aspirations. a vision of Maria Mazzini, his mother. Whether he thundered with the wither- He loved children, too, and they him. ing eloquence of a Cicero, or pleaded for There were boys and girls of all ages in the Brotherhood of Man with the ac- the Roche family, clever and active, cents of love; whether he bowed bis and, consequently, what wise and head humbly before the power of one sapient parents call naughty. Some of great God, or rose fanatically to preach these now ex-children tell me they have the new Gospel, “Dio è il popolo," the a distinct recollection of having been on conviction that spoke from that man's more than one occasion turned out and lips was so intense, that i, kindled con- sent to bed prematurely. “We often

new

« ElőzőTovább »