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A History of Germany by Bayard Taylor

Suwarrow in Italy and Switzerland


Brunswick, Anhalt-Dessau, Holstein, Saxe-Gotha, and especially Saxe-Weimar, became cradles of science and literature. Karl Augustus, of the last-named State, called Herder, Wieland, Goethe, Schiller and other illustrious authors to his court, and created such a distinguished circle in letters and the arts that Weimar was named "the German Athens." The works of these great men, which had been preceded by those of Lessing and Klopstock, gave an immense impetus to the intellectual development of Germany. It was the first great advance made by the people since the days of Luther, and its effect extended gradually to the courts of less intelligent and humane princes. Even the profligate Duke Karl Eugene of Wuertemberg reformed in a measure, established the Karl's-School where Schiller was educated, and tried, so far as he knew how, to govern justly. Frederick Augustus of Saxony refrained from imitating his dissolute and tyrannical ancestors, and his land began to recover from its long sufferings. As for the scores of petty States, which contained--as was ironically said--"twelve subjects and one Jew," and were not much larger than an average Illinois farm, they were mostly despotic and ridiculous; but they were too weak to impede the general march of progress.

[Sidenote: 1790.]

Among the greater States, only Bavaria remained in the background. Although temporarily deprived of his beloved Jesuits, the Elector held

fast to all the prejudices they had inculcated, and kept his people in ignorance.




The Crisis in Europe. --Frederick William II. in Prussia. --Leopold II. in Austria. --His short Reign. --Francis II. succeeds. --French Claims in Alsatia. --War declared against Austria. --The Prussian and Austrian Invasion of France. --Valmy and Jemappes. --THE FIRST COALITION. --Campaign of 1793. --French Successes. --Hesitation of Prussia. --The Treaty of Basel. --Catharine II.'s Designs. --Second Partition of Poland. --Kosciusko's Defeat. --Suwarrow takes Warsaw. --End of Poland. --French Invasion of Germany. --Success of the Republic. --Bonaparte in Italy. --Campaign of 1796. --Austrian Successes. --Bonaparte victorious. --Peace of Campo Formio. --New Demands of France. --THE SECOND COALITION. --Suwarrow in Italy and Switzerland. --Bonaparte First Consul. --Victories at Marengo and Hohenlinden. --Peace of Luneville. --The German States reconstructed. --Character of the political Changes. --Supremacy of France. --Hannover invaded. --Bonaparte Emperor. --THE THIRD COALITION. --French march to Vienna. --Austerlitz. --Treaty of Presburg. --End of the "Holy Roman Empire."

[Sidenote: 1790. CONDITION OF EUROPE.]

The mantles of both Frederick the Great and Joseph II. fell upon incompetent successors, at a time when all Europe was agitated by the beginning of the French Revolution, and when, therefore, the greatest political wisdom was required of the rulers of Germany. It was a crisis, the like of which never before occurred in the history of the world, and probably never will occur again; for, at the time when it came, the people enjoyed fewer rights than they had possessed during the Middle Ages, and the monarchs exercised more power than they had claimed for at least fifteen hundred years before, while general intelligence and the knowledge of human rights were increasing everywhere. The fabrics of society and government were ages behind the demands of the time: a change was inevitable, and because no preparation had been made, it came through violence.

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