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Prussia was to obtain the Duchies, as well as Saxony and one or two small German States; she was also to have the military leadership in North Germany. The expropriated Princes were to receive compensation on the Rhine, where they would belong to the German Confederation, but be under French influence. The Southern and Central States of Germany were to form a league of their own, balancing the two great Powers of Austria and Prussia. It might also be possible to constitute the smaller Rhenish States from Alsace to the frontier of Holland into a neutral State, after the model of Belgium. If this scheme were laid before a Congress, negociations might be spun out till after July 8, the date at which the alliance between Prussia and Italy came to an end. In this case Italy might consent to remain neutral on receiving Venetia. If Austria would not accept Roumania, and Silesia proved to be impossible, Bosnia might be given her as a substitute. There were, however, considerable difficulties in carrying out the scheme. Italy was not disposed to accept Venetia as a present from the hand of a benefactor, she would only receive it as the result of a popular vote, or as the prize of victory sealed by Italian blood. The Empress Eugénie was also averse to any arrangement which might bring about an understanding between Italy and the Pope, and substitute Italy for France as the protector of Roman Catholic interests in the East, On the other hand there were dangers to Napoleon's policy in the event of an Austrian success.
Benedek would overrun the Marches and the Legations with 100,000 men, and the fabric of Italian liberation would be annihilated. The dread of a war redoubled the efforts at negociation between the Courts of Vienna and Paris. The cession of Venetia was almost secured; when, however, the point of decision was reached, it was found that matters had proceeded too far for a peaceful solution.
The question at issue was whether Austria or Prussia should
the hegemony of Germany. Half-a-million warriors were in the field ; financial pressure became stronger every day. Austria had no other course before her than to reject the invitation to a Congress, and the idea had consequently to be given up.
Napoleon was very angry at this refusal, and told Count Goltz that he considered Austria responsible for the war, and that he should accord a benevolent neutrality to Prussia. At the same time he considered it prudent to secure himself against the possible results of an Austrian victory, which the best judges considered certain. His scheme was to obtain Venetia
for Italy, but to prevent the supremacy of Austria endangering the independence of Prussia, so that the balance of power might be preserved in Germany in a sense favourable to French interests.
The Treaty of Vienna, signed on June 12, provided that Austria should surrender Venetia to France on the condition of preserving the temporal power of the Pope, of receiving pecuniary compensation for the Quadrilateral, and of Italy undertaking a certain proportion of the Austrian debt. Italy was of course to promise neutrality as the price of Venice. At the same time Napoleon agreed not to interfere with any movement of reaction which might arise against Italian unity, and to find some compensation out of Italy for the dispossessed sovereigns of Tuscany and Modena, In the words of Sybel, France sacrificed the unity of Italy to Vienna, Austria, the independence of Germany to France. Although Bismarck could not have known of these negociations, yet he understood the Emperor far too well to trust him. On June 2 he received the parting visit of Govone. He asked the General whether in case of war, he might reckon on the assistance of Italy against France, Govone answered decidedly in the negative, and besought Bismarck not to breathe such a proposition to any one else, as it was sure to come to Napoleon's ears. The Emperor, on the other hand, was unable to obtain any offer of compensation from Prussia except the city of Trêves, which might be united with Luxemburg. He had indeed no idea of the extent of the military resources of Prussia, he intended to let her lose a few battles and then to settle Germany according to his fancy. His next step was to sow mistrust between Italy and Prussia. He then rested from his labours, with the conviction that, however matters turned out, he would be master of the situation.
The war was now close at hand. On June 4, Bismarck issued a circular which argued that the refusal of a Congress by Austria showed that she had made up her mind for war. On June 10, he sent to all German governments the sketch of a new constitution. It comprised the exclusion of Austria from the Confederation, and the creation of a Federal navy; the military command was to be given in the north to Prussia, in the south to Bavaria ; a Parliament was to be summoned, elected by universal suffrage. The Prussian troops then entered Holstein, the Austrians retiring before them. Austria called upon the Diet to mobilize the army of the Confederation, an act which Prussia regarded as a declaration of war. The vote upon this question was taken on June 14, 1866, a truly momentous date in the
history of Germany. The proposition of Austria, modified in a more peaceful sense by Bavaria, was carried by nine votes to six, Luxemburg, Ducal Saxony, Mecklenburg, Oldenburg, and the Hanse Towns voted against the proposal ; Baden remained neutral. The representative of Prussia then declared that the tie of the Confederation was dissolved, and war began.
The last volume of Sybel's History contains a narrative of the war in Italy, Central Germany, and Bohemia, and an account of the foundation of the North German League. The limits of our space do not permit us to treat of those subjects at present, although it would be tempting to trace the astuteness by which Bismarck evaded the claims of Napoleon to receive compensation for the aggrandisement of Prussia. Much that we have written will be new to our readers. The book is undoubtedly an apology for Prussia, and there may be a great deal to be said on the other side. It would be well if other governments concerned would, by allowing access to authentic documents, make it possible to modify or correct the statements of our historian. In the meantime we cannot be too grateful for this clear presentation of the conduct of a great statesman in a crisis of the highest importance, not only to Germany but to the world.
ART. III.--Euvres Complètes d'Ernest Renan. Paris, 1890.
tellectual forces in France, at this moment, are M. Renan and M. Taine. Probably that is so; certainly, of these two eminent writers, M. Renan is just now incomparably the more influential. In the event, it may, very likely, be otherwise. The work, so thoroughly accomplished by M. Taine, of demolishing the revolutionary legend, and of exhibiting the veritable sources of contemporary France,' may well prove of more enduring value than all M. Renan's manifold and multiform writings put together. But the present generation of Frenchmen will not read M. Taine. He has become their enemy, because he tells them the truth. M. Renan, on the other hand, is a prophet abundantly honoured in his own country and wherever the language and literature of his country are known. His sound has gone out into all lands. It would be difficult to mention any living man of letters whose influence in the civilized world is more diffused, more penetrating, and more effective. We shall endeavour, in the present article, to investigate the causes and character of that influence, and to form some judgment concerning it as a factor in the intellectual and spiritual history of the nineteenth century.
Now, by common consent, one of the chief causes of M. Renan's influence is to be found in his incomparable style. It is just twenty-seven years ago that he found himself famous. His • Vie de Jésus’ took the world by storm. The effect which it produced on the public mind may be judged of from the fact that, in France alone, fifteen hundred books or pamphlets about it were published within twelve months from its appearance; most of them, we needly hardly add, attacking it with extreme severity. But whether men applauded or anathematized the · Vie de Jésus, none could deny the high gifts of which it made full proof. It may, or it may not have been, what is called an epoch-making book. It certainly made the literary fortune of its author. Not even the most superficial of 'general readers' could be insensible to its delightful phrases, so finely chiselled, to its flowing and harmonious periods-recalling the cadences of music—to the artistic perfection of its word painting, to the exquisite grace of its delicate dilettantism, to the seductive sweetness of its sceptical piety. Savants might gibe at it as a mere literary perfumery, fit only to titillate the nostrils of the multitude. But they have had to reckon with it. Not even the most orthodox of subsequent commentators on the evangelical history have written as they would have written before it was published; while those of doubtful orthodoxy, or of no orthodoxy at all, have found in it a rich mine of ideas, a full fountain of inspiration. But althouglı the most popular of M. Renan's works—some three hundred thousand copies of it have been sold in France alone—we feel sure that neither its author, nor any competent critic, would account it the best. The Essay on Averroes,' the General History of the Semitic Languages, the Studies in Religious History,' the work on the Book of Job, the Ethical Essays 'all published before the · Vie de Jésus -are not of less account than it from the point of view of scholarship, and certainly are not inferior in literary workmanship. The same may be said of the remaining volumes of his Sources of Christianity,' of his · Philosophical Dialogues,' of his very striking dissertations entitled Contemporary Questions,' of his · Philosophical Dramas,' of his . History of the People of Israel.' The mere mention of these works—and they are by no means a complete list-is enough to indicate another of the causes of M. Renan's influence. One of the most opulent natures that have adorned modern literature, he takes captive his readers by the breadth of his erudition and the abundance of his ideas, no less than by the magic of his style. A philologist—he is that first and foremost—a historian, a theologian, a philosopher, a publicist, he appeals to thoughtful men of every variety of intellectual character. And he seldom appeals in vain. It is hard for even the most inveterate prejudice to refuse to hear the voice of the charmer; the more especially as to "his illecebræ suaviloquentiæ '--to use St. Augustine's phrase—he adds the fascination of subtle and stimulating paradox. Mordant irony lurking beneath the most ingenuous candour, voluptuous sensism extracted from the purest idealism, universal pyrrhonism expressed in the language of religion-such is the piquant ragout which M. Renan serves up, in the lordly dish of his superb French, to the jaded palate of the nineteenth century. It is not difficult to understand how the century has relished it. But it is very difficult to bring so unique an artist within the ordinary formulas of criticism; or adequately to estimate his multiform achievements within the twenty or thirty pages of a Review article. M. Sainte-Beuve felt the difficulty a quarter of a century ago. "Pour parler convenablement de M. Renan,' he writes. .si complexe et si fuyant quand on le presse et quand on veut l'embrasser tout entier, ce serait moins un article de critique qu'il conviendrait de faire sur lui qu'un petit dialogue à la manière de Platon.' Similarly, M. Renan himself finds that, in the present state of the human intellect, the dialogue alone is