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Things are in that state that we may have war at any moment that we wish it; but war cancels all treaties, that of London not excepted. Should the latest news, whose official confirmation is certainly still wanting, be confirmed, we shall perhaps have to ask you sooner than we expect for a much larger grant than this loan —for the means for a war whose consequences would be incalculable. This Schleswig-Holstein question has its two sides, the Federal and the international; the demand as yet made corresponds only with the first side. If we name Schleswig, which we hitherto have not named, the international side of the question ccmes into play, and at the same time arises the necessity to demand 50, or even 100 millions. The period of such warlike complications can now be calculated by none; every debatable point on the Federal frontier towards Schleswig may any day, without reference to former violation of right, bring on a state of War.”
The proposal for the loan was, however, ultimately rejected by the Chamber.
DENMARK AND THE SCHLESWIG-HOLSTEIN QUESTION.
Composition of the Danish, Monarchy–Brief Narrative of the Schleswig-Holstein dispute–Proclamation of March 30 regulating the Government of Holstein and Lauenburg–Offence taken by Germany—Representation of the Danish Envoy to the Federal Diet—Views of the Swedish Government—The state of things in Schleswig–New Constitution or Charter of November—Death of Ferdinand VII., King of Denmark—Christian IX. succeeds to the Throne—Prince Frederick of Augustenburg claims to be Duke of Schleswig-Holstein–His Address to the Inhabitants—The Treaty of London, May 1852–King Christian's Proclamation addressed to Holstein–Question in the Federal Diet of Execution or Occupation— Federal Commissioners appointed—Letter from the Prince of Augustenburg to the French Emperor, and the Emperor's Reply—Views of the British Government— Message from the King to the Rigsraad—The Federal Commissioners and German Troops enter Holstein—Evacuation of Holstein by the Danes—Change of Ministry.
THE Schleswig-Holstein question, which has long been looming in the distance “with fear of change perplexing ” Monarchs and Nations, assumed this year a definite and practical form, and led to a hostile occupation of Holstein by the troops of the Germanic Confederation, with the probable prospect of a war between Denmark and the whole military strength of Germany. It is not necessary to go far back into the history of the dispute, which would lead us into the dark fog of German politics some four centuries ago, but we will give a rapid summary of the events which led to the present position of affairs, and endeavour to show how untenable in point of law and fairness are the demands which the German Diet is attempting to enforce upon Denmark at the point of the sword. That gallant kingdom has our warmest sympathy in the struggle, for we believe that she has right on her side; and England can never view with indifference a small and friendly State overborne by numbers and deprived of a part of her dominions to favour antiquated pretensions which German Jurists have raked up from the dust of their libraries, and which ill conceal the real object that German statesmen have in view, namely, the possession of Kiel as a port in which some German Navy to be created hereafter may ride at anchor. The Danish Monarchy consists of four principal parts, namely, the Kingdom of Denmark-Proper, the Duchy of Schleswig, the Duchy of Holstein, and the Duchy of Lauenburg. The Kingdom and Schleswig form together the original Danish realm, whose southern boundary is the river Eyder, whilst Holstein and Lauenburg are German territories acquired since, and known as the “German Duchies” of the King of Denmark, for which he is a member of the Germanic Confederation. The Kingdom of Denmark-Proper is the principal part of the Monarchy. It consists of the Danish islands and North Jutland, and has an extent of about 14,730 English square miles, with a population, according to the census of 1860, of 1,600,551 inhabitants of purely Danish nationality. The Duchy of Schleswig, or South Jutland, covers 3530 English square miles, with 409,907 inhabitants, who belong to three different nationalities, Danish, Frisian, and German; more than one-half being Danes, the others German or Frisians. Schleswig has never been acquired by Denmark, as is the case with Holstein and other possessions, but was originally a part of the Danish province of Jutland. From this it was detached in the middle ages (1232), and became then a fief of the Danish Crown. In 1459 it escheated to the Crown, but was maintained as a separate fief, and was soon afterwards divided between the three principal branches of the House of Oldenburg: the Royal Danish, the Gottorp, and the Söndenborg branches. The share of the Duke of Gottorp was for a short period almost separated from Denmark. King Frederick IV., however, recovered it, and obtained at the same time guarantees from England, France, and other Powers, for the quiet possession of the Duchy in future times. The whole Duchy was then “reincorporated into the Crown,” and again made an integral and inseparable part of the Danish State, by letters patent of August 22, 1721, and the subsequent homage of the inhabitants, September 4. he Duchy of Holstein comprises 3280 English square miles, with 544,419 inhabitants of purely German nationality. It was a fief of the German Empire until 1806, and has been in connexion with Denmark ever since 1460, when it was acquired by King Christian I., on the occasion of the reversion of Schleswig, the last Duke having possessed also Holstein. The descendants of Christian I. divided it between themselves, just as they divided Schleswig; the Royal branch obtaining the Glückstadt division, the Gottorp branch the Kiel division, and the Söndenborg branch the Plöen division. The Danish Kings, however, bought back the Plöen division, and regained in 1773 the Kiel division by a treaty of exchange with the then reigning Duke of Gottorp, who afterwards ascended the Russian throne. At the dissolution of the Empire, Holstein was declared allodial, and united to the body politic of the Danish Monarchy by letters patent of September 9, 1806. The Duchy of Lauenburg, which contains 402 English square miles, with 50,147 inhabitants, was acquired in 1815, and “for ever incorporated into the Danish Monarchy,” by letters patent of December 6, 1815, and the homage of the Estates, October 2, 1816'. The Act of Incorporation of 1721, by which the Duchy of Schleswig was made an integral part of the Danish Kingdom,
established the succession according to the Lex Regia of Denmark for that Duchy. The then Duke of Augustenburg and Schleswig, the great-grandfather of the present Duke of Augustenburg, subscribed at the time a new oath of allegiance for Schleswig in these words: “I therefore promise and engage for myself, my heirs, and successors, by these presents, and in virtue of them, that I and they will acknowledge and hold your Royal Majesty of Denmark, Norway, &c., as our only Sovereign Lord, will be to you and your royal hereditary successors in the Government secundum tenorem legis regist, true, faithful, and obedient. . . . . So help me God and His Holy Word.” The real dispute between Denmark and Germany dates from the year 1848, when an insurrectionary German party in the Danish Monarchy, known as the Schleswig-Holstein party, appealed to Germany for aid in establishing the union of the two Duchies of Holstein and Schleswig, with a separate constitutional existence from the rest of the monarchy. Germany assisted the insurrection, and after a struggle of nearly three years' duration, the peace of Berlin of July 2nd, 1850, was signed, by which Germany withdrew from the war, and agreed to pacify the Duchy of Holstein. The peace of Berlin decided nothing as to the points in dispute, but simply that there should be peace between Germany and Denmark, both parties reserving to themselves all the rights they had possessed previous to the war. On the application of Denmark, as stipulated by a clause of the treaty, a German army of “execution,” after a considerable delay, marched into Holstein, and occupied the Duchy. Germany, however, refused, after the pacification of the Duchy, to withdraw her troops, and to reinstate the King of Denmark in his full sovereign authority both in Holstein and Lauenburg, which two Duchies constitute the only German federal territories embraced in the Danish Monarchy. Germany declined to do so until the Danish Government had given certain assurances as to the system of Government intended to be followed, not only in the aforesaid German territories, but also in the Danish Duchy of Schleswig, with which Germany had certainly no right whatever to interfere. The settlement of this question—viz., the conditions for reinstating the King of Denmark in his full sovereign authority in the federal parts of his dominions (Holstein and Lauenburg)—formed the subject of the diplomatic correspondence of 1851-2. That negotiation resulted in an informal agreement, expressed in the acceptance by Denmark of the constitutional arrangement proposed by her as revised by Austria in a despatch of December 26th, 1851, and in the promulgation, on January 28th, 1852, of a proclamation on the part of the King of Denmark, in which the King announced to his subjects the basis on which he intended that the Danish Monarchy should be reconstituted. This Proclamation contained the entire constitutional programme of the Danish Government, and consequently embraced also the points
agreed upon with Austria and Prussia in the negotiation just closed. The Proclamation was communicated to the Cabinets of Vienna and Berlin as an earnest of the intentions of the King's Government to carry out a reconstruction of the Danish Monarchy, in conformity with the views expressed in the diplomatic correspondence of 1851-2. The Proclamation was afterwards communicated to the Germanic Diet, but under the express reservation that this communication had reference only to what concerned the affairs of the federal territories of Holstein and Lauenburg. Finally, the Diet accepted, by a Resolution of July 29th, 1852, this communication as satisfactory in respect to the constitutional regulation of the positions of the federal territories embraced in the Danish Monarchy. By these proceedings, the then pending dispute between Denmark and Germany was regarded as settled. The federal army of occupation or “execution ” consequently withdrew from Holstein, and the King of Denmark was reinstated in his full sovereign authority both in that Duchy, as also in Lauenburg. It is important to bear in mind that the negotiations between Denmark on the one hand, and Austria and Prussia on the other, acting as representatives of Germany, were, as far as they concerned Schleswig, of a strictly international character, and as such were regarded by the Germanic Diet, which in its Resolution of July 29th, 1852, expressly confined itself to the affairs of Holstein and Lauenburg, as the only parts of the Danish Monarchy which came under the federal jurisdiction of the Diet. The engagements contracted by Denmark, on the interpretation of which the present dispute with Germany turns, were the following:— I. Denmark engaged not to incorporate Schleswig with the Kingdom of Denmark-Proper, or to take any steps tendin thereto; and II. Denmark engaged to establish an organic and homogeneous constitutional connexion of all the parts of the country, so as to form a united Monarchy in which no part was subordinate to another.
Germany maintains that Denmark also engaged:—
III. To extend equal protection to both the German and Danish nationalities in Schleswig.
But Denmark denies having made such an engagement, which is not found among the stipulations contained in the Austrian Despatch of December 26th, 1851, to which she assented.
The steps taken by Denmark to carry out the constitutional programme announced in the Royal Proclamation of January 28th, 1852, were the following:—
1. The provincial Assemblies, called Estates, which Holstein and Schleswig had possessed previous to 1848, were revived and endowed with a deliberative vote instead of their former con