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the Alsatians as Prussia had gone among| Swabian then is Swabian now, what was her Polish subjects or among the people Franconian then is Franconian still. Into of north. Slesvig - a people of strange the Swabian districts a Swabian from form and strange language, and differing Baden may walk this very day, and feel from the invaders in every point of habit thoroughly at home – understand every and character. The Germans went among word spoken, and realize that he is among a race of Germans, avowedly Germans, brethren; in the same way a Franconian and gloryiog in their German culture from the Palatinate into the Franconian and descent. It is an utter mistake to districts. Stoeber, the most representasuppose that because the Alsatians are tive spokesman in the world of letters French in sentiment, and because their whom the Alsatians have ever had, grew townspeople now reply to leading ques- indignant when a doubt was cast upon the tions as is desired, “ Je suis Alsacien," German descent of the Alsatians. In and country folk bid the regulation greet-heart, no doubt, he affirmed, we iag, drilled into them, “Bon jour” – in French, “but in mind, in culture, in de. the majority of cases the one little crumb scent, we are as thoroughly German.” of French which they are masters of — Nor is this all. Even politically there that therefore their German origin is to be was a German thread to take up, which called in question, or is distasteful to had only been dropped. Politically, the themselves. “I bin Dietsch" is what Alsatians had been very staunch and dethey say. Up to 1870, at any rate, they voted Germans, as long as the empire would have no “Welsch" innovations. gave them protection. It was not their Thoroughly German Goethe found them fault that they became French. They in 1770. “Purely German,” German in struggled hard enough against their fate. “manners, language, ideas, prejudices, When Monclar threatened Strassburg, and habits,” Arthur Young says that he they urgently begged the emperor to send found them in 1788. On a short visit regular troops to support their little garwhich I paid to Strassburg in 1861, I could rison of two hundred and fifty citizen quite realize what those two earlier visitors soldiers and one officer. But the emperor must have seen there. For below the thin confessed himself powerless. Even then, stratum of officialism, which was of course though their bishop, Prioce Fuerstenberg, completely French, everything seemed to servilely welcomed the in vading king, me German in the Alsatian city. German, Louis XIV. -as bishops will sometimes tenaciously German, the French found do — with a blasphemous “ Nunc Dimittheir fellow-subjects as late as 1870. Had tis,” the king, in view of the German not they been subjected to a lavish out. sympathies clearly manifested by the pouring of ridicule and contempt, on that townspeople, declared himself “très mal very score, from the days when Voltaire, satisfait de la ville.” Strassburg continliving among them, styled them “Iro- ued on his black books on account of quois and "Hottentots," down to the this for some time ; and Schlettstadt, to period of annexation, when they were name but one other instance, offended its spoken of in Paris commiseratingly as French masters terribly by its stubborn
ces pauvres gens qui ne parlent que Germanism. · l'Allemand ?” As recently as 1870 the Here surely were materials ready to the French
government was remonstrated workman's hand, out of which to form, in with and urged to “sacrifier une généra- course of time, a hearty reunion ! Twenty tion, et franciser, à tout prix, le plus vite years have gone by, not a very short space possible." Alsace has been French one of time. One ought to be able to observe hundred and eighty-nine years, Lorraine now, at any rate, the beginnings of results. practically longer. And yet, I am told, Yet it is but too plain, from what one does the two areas, in which not only German see on the spot, that thus far very little but distinct German dialects are spoken, has been accomplished. Some mutual are materially the same that they were approach, no doubt, has been made. Peothree hundred years ago. What was 'ple cannot live side by side for twenty
years, rub shoulders daily, buy and sell, | Even in the Nile, it is said, people find it take part in the same business and the politic to be on terms with the alligator. same amusements, without learning to en- The Alsatians are friendly and civil with dure one another and to be civil, and in those with whom they are daily brought some sense mutually accommodating. together; but their civility is, even at the
The Alsatians and Lorrains, more es present day, still only skin.deep. Many a pecially in their " pays admirable, mais wistful glance is cast across the border. placé malheureusement entre le marteau French papers are read, French politics de la France et l'enclume de l'Allemagne,” talked. The French franc and sou conhave had ample opportunities of learning tinue to hold their own in local reckoning to adapt themselves to new surroundings, against the German mark and pfennig if it be but, as one of their own mottoes to the serious inconvenience of travellers puts it, to “endurer pour durer.” Any for French values have to be paid in person who has read M. About's rather German coio. Walk into a shop, and in highly colored “ Alsace," and goes into nine cases out of ten you might fancy the country expecting to witness such yourself in France. Place yourself in a scenes as are there described, will find position to be taken for a spy himself seriously disappointed. Trades- unwittingly did, jotting down notes in a men and waiters do not decline to serve secluded spot, selected for its shade German customers. They do not offen. and you will find yourself guarded and sively look at those customers' feet, which warned by volunteer scouts -"Il y a des M. About supposes to be preternaturally postes ici, il y a des postes Allemands." large. Alsatian ladies do not ingeniously This was said with a stealthiness and sly arrange their draperies so as to exhibit significance which plainly spoke of pracdemonstratively the forbidden tricolor. tice as well as sympathy. Look at the Alsatian lads do not pass along the street population after any little international shouting the Marseillaise. Woe to them" incident," such as a frontier squabble, if they did! And as for the German sol. and you will at once discover on which diers tabooed, as M. About will have it, side are their sympathies. I saw them like very lepers — why, go to any foire excited over the unexpected encounter of or kilbe you like — the Alsatian calendar two companies of rifles, one French, the teems with them -- and you will be sure other German, on the frontier, upon the to see Alsatian beauty smiling upon Ger-mountains. "Έσσεται ήμαρ was quite eviman valor with a very pretty resignation dently in their minds — irritated by the indeed, and tban content to be performance, with truly Prussian tact, of wbirled about on its sturdy arm. And the “Watch on the Rhine” and “Ich bin this even in M. About's own dear Sa ein Preusse,” by the regimental bands in verde, "pauvre petite ville très française.” their streets. And then there is the fête It would be very extraordinary woman nationale. I happened to be near the hood indeed which for twenty years to frontier on July 14th. In fact, I crossed gether could forego such innocent worship over, like a good many others, but not for of Mars, merely because the only soldiers the same purpose, and partook of the hosavailable happened to be Prussians. pitality of a miserable cafétier who, right Prussians may be bad, all bad, like the on the border, had made broad his tri. Lerians of old, but yet a Prussian on the color. Fellow.travellers that day told me spot is for flirting purposes any day worth with glee that they, although annexed Gertwo Frenchmen at a distance. So the mans, had crossed likewise, and if it were Alsatian nymphs for the time put their only to pull out their flasks, and take a patriotism in their pocket, and Airt and hearty draught of “kirsch "on French soil dance as Goethe describes their dancing to the welfare of the republic — something
"from nine in the morning till midnight at any rate they must do to betoken their or later," until, as he says of himself, “ my attachment. Evidently the Alsatians trust whole I’seemed lost in the dance." in France still, notwithstanding her de
But all this, most evidently, means little.' feats on their own battlefields. And evi.
dently under a yoke which wrings their by which, when once estranged, provinces withers, they have not given up hoping can be reclaimed for Germany. for relief from the West. Thcir part of There is the less excuse for this, since the world has seen so many changes, the the French before them bad fallen into no wheel has gone round so often, that it such error, but had in many respects set seems not unreasonable to expect that them a capital example. It is the fashion it may go round once more. " We do in Germany to disparage everything that not suffer ourselves to be deceived,” one is done by France, more especially in Al. very civil-spoken official told me.
But in Alsace the French have tongue our neighbors are German, in evidently succeeded vastly better than heart we know them to be thoroughly the Gerinans- hitherto. Their conduct French.”
is matter of history. They found the The question naturally suggesting it. local population decidedly unfriendly and self is: What has kept them so ? That unwilling to be made French. But they after twenty years of government — con- did not on that account withdraw from scientious, painstaking government, evi-them political rights, and treat them as a deptly intended to be good Germans subjugated people. It is true, they perseruling over Germans should have no bet. cuted the Protestants most inexcusably, ter results to show, must be surprising And hence the rather large emigration of indeed to an impartial observer. The the time, which would have been larger Germans do not pretend to hold Alsace by still had it been allowed free course. But so highly responsible a tenure as that by even on this matter Louis XIV., autocrat which not long ago Mr. Gladstone ex. that he was, permitted himself to be replained us to be holding India - namely, monstrated with not without effect — by the understanding that our rule should be the town councils — who would find it for the benefit of the governed. Emperor difficult at the present day to act as cham. William took Alsace because he wanted pions of their nation against the German the strong frontier. Of course he was authorities. But that was practically the quite within his right in doing so. He only mistake the French made. The one was entitled to safeguard his dominions thing which was needful, to turn these re. against fresh attacks — such as those for luctant Germans into willing Frenchmen, which Alsace, itself wrongfully captured, even the ministers of Bourbon kings readhad been only too often used as a conven. ily understood. “In one important reient sallyport. Even so, he has not recov. spect," says Professor Freeman, “France ered nearly all the territory which France has much less to answer for than other had at various times, generally without a conquering States. A province conquered good pretext, taken from his country. by France has always been really incorpoFrankfort has not nearly made up for rated into France; no French conquests
," " Reiss weg," and the other have ever been kept in the condition of German capitulations. The emperor's subject dependencies; their inhabitants conquest was purely military and prima. have at once been admitted to the rights rily selfish. But the Germans went into and wrongs, the good and evil fortunes of Alsace avowedly as kinsmen cominy Frenchmen, and they have had every caamong kinsmen. They scolded the Alsa- reer offered by the French monarchy at tians for fiying in the face of nature, and once opened to them. Here is the secret being so French. They prevented all that of French success. Against the enlightthey could from leaving the country, by ened measures of Colbert, which laid the objecting to " options." They made foundation of Alsatian industrial prosperpromises of good government. By all ity, against the wise concessions made for this they incurred obligations of some the rehabilitation of destroyed agriculture, sort, to govern their new subjects, not against the beneficial reforms in the ad. only with justice, but with something like ministration of law and government, the kindness. They have unquestionably en. Germans may have to set their own useful deavored to benefit the province in some measures of to-day, though these do not way. They have striven zealously to de- as yet in their effects go nearly the same velop its material resources - for which, length. Against the free admission of the after the losses brought on by the war, subject Alsatians to citizen rights, to there was, unfortunately, but too much equality with those who were made their
But the general result shows — as fellow-subjects, to trust and a hearty welits details show — that they have failed come, against the one great measure which to grasp the true nature of the task laid knitted their hearts to those of France, upon them, and to understand the spirit I they have nothing, absolutely nothing, to
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show. I am oot drawing a picture from im- But let us see how the Germans in their agination. You may read a long catalogue turo dealt with their conquered provinces of the good effects of French rule in the not in the hour of conquest, but during history of the German Alsatian, Strobel. the first twenty years of their rule. They Lorenz and Scherer, likewise Germans, came into Alsace as into a transatlantic say: "Where was there another govern colony, not only with their own army ment which heaped similar benefits upon that was but natural - but with their own a nation? It was as if a new world had foreign principles of government, their opened to the Alsatians' view." of own staff of administrators, judges, everycourse, governing on such principles, the thing. They took possession completely, French were not driven to rely exclusively as an occupying alien force. It seemed upon their own alien officers. They found as if the foreign hook was to be thrust those most useful of allies, natives, to help firmly into the Alsatian nose, and that them in their work. Where is an Urich Alsace - impoverished as it was at the Obrecht now, or a Klioglin? Where is time was to be exploited for the benefit an Alsatian “praetor'
.". of Strassburg? of those lawyers and civil servants, those The benefits conferred by the monarchy landraths and police officers, for whom no were followed up by the Revolution, which berths could be found at home. Germans was felt to be "glorious” nowhere so like the "reichsland as a garrison, and much as in Alsace. With what absorbing there were plenty of applications for apspirit and enthusiasm tbe Alsatians threw pointments. My rather minute inquiries themselves into that movement — that we brought me into contact with a consideramay judge from the eloquent writings ble number of the administrative staff. of Erckmann-Chatrian. The Place des Most courteous and obliging I found those Vosges in Paris, so christened in 1800 gentlemen, without exception; more in honor of the Alsatians, on the ground able, and sincerely bent upon serving the that they had made sacrifices beyond any country well within their respective prov. other province for the cause of French inces. But never a single Alsatian have independence and freedom, still remains a I come across in any of the higher berths. memorial to their devotion of that day. The German emperor has recently been The Revolution has proved the great con- made to hold out a prospect of some Al. necting link, joining Alsace firmly to satians being employed. Well, that is France. The Napoleonic era, with its something. But the concession comes a brilliant train of victories, succeeded; trifle late, and it goes a very short way. and, as a matter of course, the race of It serves the purpose of showing to what born soldiers, among whom “every village extent foreign administration has up to produced its general,” were carried away the end of twenty years been pushed. by the martial fever. This formed one The Alsatians are allowed, so to speak, more link, though nothing like the one no interest in their own country. They establisbed by the Revolution. But the are permitted to eat, drink, trade, and pay decisive step was taken before, when taxes, for the benefit of a foreign goveroFrance opened her arms freely to Alsace, ing staff forced upon them. But that is put aside questions of distrust, renounced practically all. It is true that they have her right of conquest, and frankly invited some sort of popular representation. And the Alsatians to become French. It was see how they use it! The statistical rethe best course which they could have turns published by authority show that at adopted. Alsace - German, resisting, elections for the imperial Parliament, obstipate, as at first she was - became where the handful of `Alsatian deputies French as she was bidden. And she have no power save to protest, the province learned to find that under French rule she returns what we should call Nationalists was accorded liberties which under the by overwhelming majorities. At elections two-headed eagle she could never have for inferior bodies, whose political power dreamt of, and which made her proudly – is nil, there are large and growing abstenGerman writers admit that look down tions. Apart from that, Alsatians are laid upon her neighbors further eastward, who under all sorts of disqualifications, and enjoyed no such privileges. To relinquish prohibitions, and bans. They may-insuch a position as this, to go down into a deed, they must - serve in the German state of bondage like the present — let us army, but not with any sense of satisfachope that it is only temporary - is like tion. Anything calculated to create an plunging from Italian sunshine into a esprit de corps or to fire them with an enNovember fog. It is no wonder that it thusiasm not strange to them — anything chilled Alsatian hearts.
that could make them feel the glory of
military life, so dear to Alsatians - is ab. into the use of French at home, for the solutely tabooed. The conscripts are benefit of their children. And it makes drafted away into German regiments, people even of small means send placed as units practically under supervi. their daughters to school in France sion of their comrades, admitted to noth-their sons they must not send, or they ing but the drudgery of service, and would at an expense which they resent permitted no distinction save that of as a tax. So, instead of Germanizing the supplementing, the - to them — insuffi- population, the provision actually Frenchcient rations by regular supplies from ities them. The French governmenthome. Alsatians must not allow their which would have had some excuse for children to learn French, nor send their such a measure — proceeded on very dif. sons to school out of the country, where ferent lines. It never prohibited German. they might learn it. They are placed under It was told by the priests that it must not. restrictions in their movements, under M. About makes out that that was because stringent provisions as to passports. the priest did not wish their congregations These provisions work with excessive to read Voltaire. That is nonsense. Vol. harshness and are, as a matter of course, taire was probably never in their thoughts. resented very keenly. That is really but In Roman Catholic countries the Roman one item in a perfect apparatus of distrust. clergy may be accepted as ful supervision which, to a stranger, is guides to the popular mind. They cannot perfectly appalling. One appears, on en- ensconce themselves behind their freehold tering the country, to be moving into an livings and snap their fingers at the popu. atmosphere of palpable suspicion
lace. They must keep in touch and symvéritable épidemie de soupçon,” Grad pathy with it. In Alsace they knew that calls it. And Grad, though a French to advise differently, to allow themselves sympathizer, is allowed to have been a to be made to preach and teach in French, fair-minded man. There is distrust every would lose them all the hold which they where. It seems scarcely credible that, had on their flocks. Hence their advice, on being referred by a departmental chief, which was against French, under a French for information on a particular cottage-govercment. Now, under a German, they industry, to a large manufacturer, I was are in favor of French on the same at the same time carefully cautioned: principle — which shows how the wind “But you must not be seen going into has shifted. that man's house. For he is known as a To the conscription for the German army French sympathizer, and to be seen with the Alsatians have not even yet become him would get you into trouble.” Even a reconciled. No wonder. While they safe conduct from this all-but-minister-of- must look for that sympathy from neigh. state would not protect me! On such bors which is a necessary to human beprinciples is Alsace governed. The re. lings, but which they do not meet with sult is what might have been expected. ainong Germans, to France, that is no
But I ought to say just one word about more than natural, even were not service the hardships just alluded to. They are bereft of all its satisfaction. Some nonacutely felt - even in thoroughly German bellicose Alsatians charge the German quarters, where the authorities would government in the matter - on what seem scarcely look for a sense of grievance. Ifair grounds — with a gross blunder. “Of know, because people have told me them- course," they say, "if our boys must selves, and not in one case only.
serve, we would sooner have them serve The prohibition of the use of the French in France. But much rather still would language at school seems as ridiculous in we have them not serve at all. Had Ger. policy as it is harsh in application. French many in 1871 exempted all Alsatians born is nécessary in Alsace. The Germans French from service, she would have had admit that, by sending by preference offi. half the population on her side.” It is cials into the province who are masters of just possible she might have done better French. The Alsatians are aware that in still. For had she made exemption from Germany proper there is no such limita. conscription in Alsace dependent upon a tion on instruction. “We are actually fixed limit in French armaments, contiworse off than they are in Germany, in nental tax-payers might have been spared respect of what is to us half a native some of their money, and Europe one or tongue." The prohibition altogether de. two war scares. And Alsace would have feats its object -- because it positively been content. France dared not tave drives people, whom their inclination given Germany a pretext for recruiting in would otherwise prompt to speak German, I the provinces in which the French de.