Page images
PDF
EPUB

PROCLAMATION of the Prince of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, announcing the Resignation of his Rights of Sovereignty over that Principality in favour of the King of Prussia.Sigmaringen, April 6, 1850.

(Translation.)

Sigmaringen, April 6, 1850.

AN intention which I have formed for more than a year, considered in all ways and carefully examined, which I have submitted to the discussion of experienced statesmen and highly esteemed friends, has already long ripened into a fixed determination, and has now been put into practice. I have resigned a gift both exalted in its nature and imposing duties on me which, by the counsels of Divine Providence, was delivered to me by my illustrious father from my respected ancestors. I have resigned the hereditary sovereignty of the Principality of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen and the government of this country to the Chief of the House of Hohenzollern, to His Majesty the King of Prussia, as eventual successor to the Government of my aforesaid principality, with His Majesty's most gracious consent. May the fates of a little country ever flow like a hardly visible stream in the mighty flood of events which rushes through the countries of Germany; it is the weight of my duties as a ruler, it is the vocation which a higher Power has entrusted to my feeble hands, it is the exalted position which I share with my princely brothers, which impose on me the inevitable duty of relating the circumstances which gave rise to my determination, and of giving the reasons which justify it; it is, lastly, my unchangeable affection for a people for the most part truly loyal to the princely House, which would not permit me to part without this last friendly word; but, before all things, it concerns me to declare, that I do not renounce the government because the fulfilment of the requirements of new times has fallen too hard upon me, or because the anarchical efforts which have been made also in my country make the burden of government insupportable, but only because I wish to make a step in advance towards the fulfilment of that which is necessary for the great German Fatherland and useful to my country, a step in advance on the road to the unity, the grandeur, and the power of Germany. The days of March last year found me possessed of full powers from my illustrious father at the head of the Government, and my country in a position which gave no cause for just complaint when compared with the political circumstances which existed universally in Germany. The administration of Finance in my country, where, since the introduction of the Constitution, the principle of publicity prevailed, was then, and is now in a position of the most perfect order; the debt of the country was comparatively inconsiderable and originated in redemptions to a much higher amount,

and other arrangements increasing the value of landed property and the wealth of the people. The want of the year 1847 was lessened by munificent gifts from the princely domains and from private property in a degree which was hardly equalled in any other German country; the country in all parts was provided with established organized poor-houses, mostly founded at the Prince's expense; the administration of justice in Sigmaringen had a good name even in the neighbouring States; in an extensive building left to the country by my illustrious father, foundlings and orphans were reared and educated; buildings, roads, &c., for the Prince, were for years everywhere in progress, to give work to the impoverished industrious labourer, and in the neighbourhood of the princely residence an extensive hospital is erected by foundations of the princely family, in which as many as 100 sick may find careful attendance and care, while formerly, from the same foundation, regular assistance was given to the poor sick at their homes; lastly, a settled system of taxes preserved in the highest order made it possible to support the public expense and preserve the different ornamental institutions in the country, without burdening overmuch the taxed. When the requirements of further freedom for the people was brought from the neighbouring German countries into the Principality of Sigmaringen, they were here unreservedly granted, and joyfully might I look back to that time if impious hands had not made shameful abuse of the securities attained in better times.

After having taken into my hands, on the 28th of August last, the government of the principality according to the decree of my illustrious father and the laws of my House, I could not allow myself to be led astray by past unfortunate occurrences of diverse kinds from following up that path of progress demanded by the spirit of the times. On the evening of the 14th of March, 1848, I remitted to the citizens of Sigmaringen with one stroke of the pen a capital of upwards of half a million of florins in the shape of taxes of different kinds, and received no thanks in return. The right of holding meetings, twice made use of to bring about disturbances, still remains as it was; the freedom of the press has suffered no restriction, notwithstanding its disgusting results; publicity of judicial proceedings in civil as well as capital offences has been long introduced; trial by jury, the sheet-anchor of those who seek to upset the existing order of things, has commenced its sphere of activity. The prisons of the land have seen no political criminal within their walls, and only a few of those who excited my people to rebellion, and in the name of freedom committed crimes and brought heavy misfortune on my people, now dwell in foreign parts in order to laugh at those who called them friends of the people.

Although I may look back with perfect composure on the former

Government of the country and the then state of things, and although I may expect that, for the future, the excited minds may become sober again, that past experience will frighten them from a repetition of those rebellious acts and attempts which were begun by reckless leaders and supported by the inconsiderate masses, although I may give myself up to the joyful hope that the future political formation of Germany will bring back to my country the necessary peace, public order, and a revival of commerce and manufactures, yet still I cannot, in carrying on the Government, harmonize my views with the German view, and the responsible duties resulting from it. The present time has fundamentally shaken the existence of the smaller States; the patriarchal relation in the smaller countries between Prince and people is completely destroyed; the paternal love of the Prince is no longer desired, each one must make use of his right. The Prince is to be no longer the first servant of the State, but a dumb machine in the hands of the people; he is no longer to give generously, but it is to be taken from him by force. He is no longer to point out the way in which the welfare of the people is to be obtained, but the sorrowful right is reserved to him to tame passions overstepping all bounds of law and order. If we are not deceived the vital principle of a true constitutional Government, the fertile soil for the growth and perfection of popular freedom, a healthy and sturdy middling class fails in this little country, if not altogether, yet still in the measure necessary for the true development of the institutions of modern times. Where the press is the arena of scurrility and socialist doctrines, where trial by jury is only the guarantee for the impunity of low slanderers and revolutionists, where the militia is but the body-guard of mad revolutionists, there can be no longer any question about an honest development of ideas.

I cannot, therefore, with a heart that beats for the welfare of my people, consider it as a worthy task, as it is mine, to repress anarchical demonstrations.

My country must enter into connection with a great State, a powerful hand must hold the reins of my Government if the people's welfare-the people's happiness,-is to become permanent. I have long ago acknowledged this as true. I have not entertained it only under the passing pressure of stormy days; I have been true to it even while experiencing many touching proofs of firm attachment and a full knowledge of the honest affection which was evinced up to the latest period of my Government by many, and I say it with pride, by the better part of my people. It is not a little consolation in a bitter feeling of separation from my people, to have performed my duty when conducting the Government, and in now fulfilling it by laying down the Government. Should the warmest desire of my

heart; should the wish of all true patriots be realised, the unity of Germany emerge from the realm of dreams to that of reality, no sacrifice should be too great. I offer the greatest which I can make on the altar of my country. May my people be happy under the new powferful head; may it find benefit and unalloyed happiness in a close union with that great German land whose renowned princes issue from the same cradle as that of the Hohenzollerns, and who 80 nobly accepted the inheritance freely offered to it to guard and protect. My heart knows no other wish in this moment of separation; it is filled with the memory of those who have loved me, and whose love I shall preserve in future above all, with a feeling of gratitude towards those who, filled with sincere attachment, remained true to me in the hour of danger. In this solemn moment I banish from my mind all remembrance of those who persecuted and insulted me, in the sinful wish to ruin me. Let them be forgiven and forgotten. These are my last words. May heaven inspire that high Prince, my royal master, into whose hands I intrust the destiny of a people, whom I formerly termed mine; may they be happy. CARL ANTON, Prince of Sigmaringen.

PROCLAMATION of the King of Prussia, incorporating the Principality of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen with the Prussian Dominions.--Charlottenberg, March 12, 1850.

People of Hohenzollern!

(Translation.)

IN compliance with the repeatedly expressed wish of your Prince I have assumed the government of the principalities. I have by a patent of this day taken possession of the same, and the President of my Government, Mr. Spiegel Vorlinghausen, will appear amongst you to take possession of the principalities in my name. Your former Prince has formally released you from your allegiance. I salute you as my subjects. I solicit you in future to acknowledge me as your lawful King and Prince, to take the oath of allegiance to me and my successors, and to live in obedience to my laws and ordinances. I assure you in return of my fatherly care and protection. My Suabian subjects will in future stand in the same relation as the natives of my ancient country. You have up to this period not been strangers to my house and heart. My race was founded on one of your hills. A part of your territory was the point on which my house took its rise. Your Princes and those of the royal house of Prussia have the same ancestors. The royal line of the house of Hohenzollern possessed the rights accorded to it by ancient Treaties. By a law of to-day's date the territories which you inhabit

are united to the Prussian State, and in pursuance of this I have, by the patent of possession of to-day, announced the introduction of the Prussian Constitution in the Principalities. You thereby enter fully into the rights and duties of my other subjects; your sons will henceforth serve in the ranks of the Prussian army, and the Suabian warrior will be no less an ornament to the Prussian army than the Lower Saxon and dweller on the Rhine, whose hospitable reception on your high hills gave me so much joy. Your religion will find ample protection in the Prussian Constitution. The greatest consideration will be paid to your schools. Your commerce and agriculture will be fully developed. I am convinced that, seeing the curse which attaches to unfaithfulness, proved by the experience of later years, you will be faithful subjects, and show yourselves worthy of the Prussian name.

Done at Charlottenberg, March 12, 1850.

(L.S.) FREDERICK WILLIAM.

TREATY of Friendship, Commerce, and Navigation, between the Free Hanseatic Cities of Lubeck, Bremen, and Hamburg, and the Republic of Guatemala.-Signed at Guatemala, June 25, 1847.

[Ratifications exchanged at Guatemala, November 21, 1850.] (Translation.)

WHEREAS certain commercial relations have existed for some time between the free Hanseatic towns and the Republic of Guatemala, and it has been thought useful that the said relations should be confirmed and protected by means of a Treaty of Friendship, Trade, and Navigation. Wherefore, Plenipotentiaries have been respectively appointed: namely, by the President of the Republic of Guatemala, the Licentiate Don Mariano Rodriguez, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs; and, by the Senate of the Republic and free Hanse town of Lubeck, the Senate of the Republic and free Hanse town of Bremen, and the Senate of the Republic and free Hanse town of Hamburg, each separately, Herr Carl Friedrich Rudolph Klee, their Consul-General in Central America; who, after communicating to each other their full powers, and finding them in good and due form, have agreed upon the following Articles:

ART. I. There shall be perfect and perpetual peace, and sincere and unchangeable friendship, between the Republic of Guatemala and the Hanseatic Republics, and between their natives and citizens. II. There shall likewise be reciprocal freedom of trade and

« PreviousContinue »