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A History of the Nineteenth Century, Year by Year

When the Bundestag met again at Frankfort


the federal union. The Emperor

of Austria gave to this scheme his full support. When the Bundestag met again at Frankfort, Austria insisted on her rights as a German State. Too late the Prussian representative advocated a German federal State, with Austria excluded. The disastrous failure of Prussian intervention in Schleswig-Holstein about this time brought Prussia into further disrepute with the rest of Germany. England, France and Sweden united to guarantee the integrity of Denmark. Prussia left the Duchies to their fate. On July 19, Austria called for another assembly of the old Confederation. Prussia and her adherents could not join. On August 17, the German sovereigns met on the call of Austria at Frankfort to consider a plan of federal union. The old Bundestag was reopened at Frankfort on September 2, under the auspices of Austria. Prussia clung to her rival federal union. A bone of contention was furnished by the little State of Hesse. The Archduke of Hesse, the most reactionary of German princes, had resumed his rule with the help of his hated Prime Minister, Hassenpflug. The financial budget of this Minister was disapproved by the Hessian Estates. Hassenpflug now dissolved the Assembly and proceeded to levy taxes without its sanction. The people refused to pay. The courts decided against the government. Even the soldiers and their officers declined to lift a finger against the people. In the face of this resolute attitude the Prince and his Minister fled the country, on September 12, and appealed
to the new Bundestag at Frankfort for help. The restoration of the Archduke to his throne was decreed.

[Sidenote: Prussians intervene]

[Sidenote: Austria prepares for war]

[Sidenote: Prussia cowed]

[Sidenote: Hessia ground under]

Prussia now took a decided stand. On September 26, General von Radowitz, the originator of the North German Union, was placed at the head of Prussia's foreign affairs. He declared for the cause of the people in Hesse. The Prussian troops were withdrawn from Baden over the military roads leading through Hesse. To meet this situation, Francis Joseph of Austria, in October, had a personal interview with the Kings of Bavaria and of Wurtemberg at Bregenz. It was decided to crowd the Prussians out of Baden and Hesse by moving Bavarian and Austrian troops into those countries. Another personal conference between Francis Joseph and Czar Nicholas at Warsaw assured to Austria the support of Russia. In vain did Frederick William send his cousin, Count Brandenburg, to win over the Czar to his side. Count Brandenburg met with so haughty a reception that he returned chagrined, and, falling ill, died soon afterward. Both Austria and Prussia mobilized their armies. At Vienna the Austrian Prime Minister avowed to the Ambassador of France that it was his policy to "avilir la Prussie, puis la demolir." On November 8, the vanguards of the Prussian and Austrian troops exchanged shots. The single casualty of a bugler's horse served only to tickle the German sense of humor. The Prussians retired without further encounters. Radowitz resigned his Ministry. Otto von Manteuffel was put in charge. On November 21, the Austrian Ambassador at Berlin, Prince Schwarzenberg, demanded the evacuation of Hesse within forty-eight hours. Prussia gave in. Manteuffel requested the favor of a personal interview at Olmuetz. Without awaiting Austria's reply he posted thither. In a treaty signed at Olmuetz late in the year, Prussia agreed to withdraw her troops from Baden and Hesse, and to annul her military conventions with Baden, Anhalt, Mecklenburg and Brunswick. Thus miserably ended Prussia's first attempt to exclude Austria from the affairs of Germany. As heretofore, the Prussian-Polish provinces of Posen and Silesia were excluded from the Confederation. Austria, on the other hand, tried to bring her subjected provinces in Italy and Hungary into the Germanic Confederation. Against this proposition, repugnant to most Germans, France and England lodged so vigorous a protest that the plan was abandoned. The Elector of Hesse-Cassel returned to his capital. Under the protection of the federal bayonets he was able to bring his wretched subjects to complete subjection.


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