Mr. Judd to Mr. Seward
Sir:* * * * * * * *
My return was made the occasion for most of my colleagues of the diplomatic corps to express to me their belief in the destruction of the rebellion, and the full reinstatement of the authority of the government over the revolted districts. The opinions thus expressed are a reflex of those now very generally entertained in Germany.
The development of the power and strength of republican government as shown in our history for the past two years, and the successful issue of the financial demands attendant upon the enormous expenditure occasioned by the war, surprises all of those who have been accustomed to theorize and form opinions based upon the resources of countries already fully developed, as most of the European states are. Theirs are the theories which always look up to the rulers as the fountain of all power, honor, and emolument, instead of, as with us, looking to the people as the great fountain of power. Our experiences will not only restore, but greatly increase, that confidence in republican institutions. that was so rudely shaken in the early part of our struggle with the rebellion.
There cannot be a general European war without leaving, as a result, more rights and power with the masses, and reducing, again, the number of those that rule by authority of dynasties. The three hundred and odd governing dynasties that existed in Germany barely a century since are now reduced to thirty-one. The small ones now tremble at the activity and development, politically, of their peoples, and feel that the next upheaving will lessen their number, as several are only maintained in their position by the influence of the larger powers in favor of what is called established order.
The complications and proceedings in the Schleswig-Holstein controversy occupy the attention of people, diplomats, and kings, almost to the exclusion of all other affairs. The excitement of the people of Germany is forcing the rulers, and there are no states in Germany, except Prussia and Austria, that attempt to stem in any manner this current. Austria, whose empire is less German than any other, successfully resists, and, while it joins in certain demands of Denmark favorable to the German population of the duchies, is opposed to the claims set up by Prince Frederick of Augustenburg. The ministry of Prussia desire to maintain the same position, but the king is influenced to some extent by the popular feeling of the kingdom, which demands the separation of the duchies from Denmark and the acknowledgment of the claims of the Prince of Augustenburg as lawful ruler thereof.[Page 199]
Holstein and Lauenburg are already in possession of the troops acting under the orders of the federal Diet, and the Danish officials have either been supplanted, left the provinces, or acknowledged the authority of the civil commissioners that accompany the expedition, and, under the eyes and within the hearing of these commissioners, a new dynasty is being proclaimed. The Saxon and Hanoverian troops are now in occupation, and they, as well as their nations, sympathize with Prince Frederick. Prussian and Austrian troops are moving towards, and are in, the duchies, and the ruling powers of these countries desire that the Diet shall pronounce upon the Prince of Augustenburg’s title before they define their position upon the question. Austria is against setting up the prince as duke, in any event; Prussia may or may not be, according as it sees safety in resisting the popular demand.
The immediate question now is, will Schleswig be occupied? It is believed that the attempt to do it will lead to a collision and war, and the rulers of Europe fear war at the present time. The German people are for it, as they say, in defence of, and for the protection of, their oppressed brethren in the duchies; and with many there is another underlying motive, and that is the belief that a general war will bring in its train a relief from some of the dynastic influences that press down the liberal element.
His Majesty the King of Prussia is still in disagreement with his people and their representatives in the legislature. He asked for twelve millions, to meet the exigencies of the Schleswig-Holstein difficulty, and, notwithstanding the strong desire on the part of the people that Prussia should actively interfere in these matters, their representatives refuse the money, demanding a change of the ministry, and giving as their reason that they have no faith in the proper application of the funds if intrusted to the present ministry.
I am, sir, your obedient servant,
Hon. William H. Seward, Secretary of State, Washington, D. C.