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upon a Prussian hearth-stone, or is to have a fire-place for itself whether all Germany is to be Prussia, or Prussia a part of all Germany united into one bundle, and set fire to as soon as the French march to the Rhine. Considered as a question in the social economy of Europe, France has already made the conquest. French law and French distribution of property through society, French courts for civil and criminal affairs, French ideas of the rights of a people to a constitutional representation in the legislature of the country, are already at the Rhine. The French constitution in which the people have some share of political power in the legislature, and some checks upon the government of the monarch, the trial by jury, the publicity of all public affairs, the one simple code of Napoleon regulating all private affairs, place France some ages in advance of Prussia with her uncontrolled autocratic principle of government. The people on the Rhine are advanced to that social condition with respect to industry, property, and intelligence, in which the French government would suit them, and have got far beyond that condition for which the Prussian government may be suitable. The political change from the one form and principles of government to the other must inevitably follow. Prussia in reality has not, in the event of a war, the means to prevent it. The partition of Poland is but beginning now to present her with the fruits of iniquity. The two or three millions of Polish subjects of Prussia, so far from being amalgamated with the Prussian subjects, live in a state of passive resistance to the Prussian government. They cultivate their own nationality, will not mix with the Prussians, and will not even accept of civil office, or educate their children in the German language, customs, and laws, so as to fill the civil functions in their own country. They hold themselves as subjugated provinces, and are evidently in a state which will paralyse the Prussian military power the moment the French throw up a signal rocket from the banks of the Rhine. All that time had done since

the partition of Poland towards amalgamating the people with Prussia, has been lost by the Prusian government delivering up to Russia the Poles who had sought refuge, during the late cominotions in Poland, among their relations and friends on what they considered Prussian territory. At present the Polish peasants who desert their homes in Russian Poland to escape the military conscription, are seized in the vil lages of Prussian Poland, and sent back. This, say the Prussian Poles, justly enough, is not the state of a country amalgamated and incorporated with another independent country and protecting government, but the state of a subjugated country held only by conquest, and entitled to throw off the yoke. So general has this spirit of passive resistance to Prussian rule become in this part of the Prussian dominions, that his present Majesty has been obliged, since his accession, to remind his Polish subjects by a proclamation, that they have been incorporated with his kingdom in the settlement of Europe in 1815, by the five great European powers. The Poles quietly reply, that three of the five are themselves the robbers, partaking in the spoil to which they gave themselves these legitimate rights; and refer to the undeniable non-protection of their provinces as Prussian territory, for the proof that they are not Prussian.

It is here, and on the Rhine, that the flame of war will first break out on the Continent of Europe. What will be the policy of England? The day is past when an English ministry, however conservative, could venture to propose to the country to join a despotic state in subjugating Poland, or in repressing the extension of constitutional representative government over an enlightened, manufacturing, and commercial population on the Rhine. The aggrandisement of France by such an accession of territory and people is a bugbear which, in the present age, would not mislead the common sense of England, because it would be an accession of the elements of peace, industry, manufactures, and

power in the public affairs of France, lodged in the hands of an enlightened, industrious, peaceful population - not an accession of warlike spirit and means; and is at any rate an aggrandisement in no way affecting English interests or honour. England can only be a gainer, if every population from the White Sea to the Straits of Gibraltar were to give themselves free institutions, civil and political liberty, influence of the public over public affairs, and the power of restraining their rulers from wars or oppression.

CHAP. V.

THE GERMAN CUSTOMS' UNION, OR COMMERCIAL LEAGUE.—ITS OBJECTS -POLITICAL BEARINGS - AND PROBABLE

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ORIGIN
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WILL Prussia find in manufacturing and commercial industry, under the working of the German commercial league, that augmentation of her national wealth and power, that political greatness and weight in the European system, which she has evidently missed by her overstrained military arrangements? It may be doubted. The military arrangements of the Prussian system of government, and that social economy under which productive industry flourishes in a country, are altogether opposed to each other. They are founded on adverse principles: the one on restraint, superintendence, and the interference of government with all individual action; the other on the perfect free agency of men in all industrial pursuits. Both cannot exist together.

But the German commercial league is a social movement so important in principle, so pregnant with great unlooked-for results, and so novel in the social economy of the German people, that it would be a very short-sighted view to consider it with reference to Prussia alone. Prussia, indeed, established it in its present extent, is at the head of the union, and her population is about one half of all included within it; and Prussia being in possession, on the Baltic, on the Rhine, and in her Silesian and Saxon provinces, of almost all the commerce, manufactures, and capital within the circle of the union, will undoubtedly derive great advantages from it. But it has become a general overwhelming movement of the whole Germanic people towards a higher social condition a movement in which the

temporary and partial interests or influences of one state or another are lost, and in which the governments which began it, lead it, and are ostensibly at the head of it, are but the instruments. They have brought it to a certain point, beyond which it is rolling of itself, independent of their petty control, to higher social results than perhaps they ever wished or ever contemplated. The German people are, for the first time in German history, united in one great object of material interests. They have been united before, in great and conflicting masses, for the political interests of their rulers, for religious interests, for the support or subversion of interests which may be called intellectual rather than material, as no advantage or amelioration of the social condition of the people was involved in them; but now they are united for a clearly seen material interest; and, for the first time, have made the influence of public opinion an effective state power in their internal affairs, and have made the public voice to be listened to and obeyed in the interior of the most exclusive and autocratic of cabinets it is the "Young Germany" in old heads. The German commercial league is, in its results, to be the most important and interesting event of this half century.

The first and simple object of this association, which commmenced among the small independent principalities in Thuringia, was to save the expense of each little state keeping up custom-house guards all round its own little frontiers, by equalising the custom-house duties levied on goods imported, exported, or in transit, according to one tariff adopted by all, so that the duties being once paid at the general frontier, the goods might circulate, free of all other duties or examinations, through all the states of the union. The advantage of this arrangement may be appreciated from the fact, that, when each state had its own custom-house duties and examinations, on the Rhine alone, goods had to pass through twenty-seven different custom-houses. The duties now collected at once upon the general frontier,

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