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agreement; a circumstance to be greatly regretted, since private arbitration is often resorted to--a course open to strong objection, as experience in this country teaches us.
The general policy of his majesty Carl Johann demands a few words. Mr. Laing characterizes it as decidedly antiliberal, and the instances he cites support his view.
“ The character of his reign,” says Mr. Laing, " has been to oppose the spirit of the age; to govern by an aristocracy, upon the ultra-legitimate principles of kingly government; to extinguish in his Norwegian dominions the constitutional rights of the people in their legislation ; to put down free institutions; discountenance and set aside men holding liberal opinions, and fetter the liberty of the press. It will be considered among the singular inconsistencies of this age by its future historians, that two sovereigns, who hold their crowns without any pretence to hereditary right, but simply by the call of the people,-Louis Philippe and Carl Johann,-are the two who most anxiously suppress popular rights and the free expression of public opinion."-- Page 397.
One of Carl Johann's more than follies is his ineffectual crusade against the press, against which crusade a paper called the Aftonblad has admirably sustained itself. Suppressed today as the Twenty-third Aftonblad, it reappears tomorrow as the Twenty-fourth Aftonblad; which satisfies the administrators of the law in Sweden that it is another and distinct publication. On the subject of the press, Mr. Laing's details are ample and judicious.
Another instance of the king's folly should be mentioned. It is a custom, on the dissolution of the diet, to give a dinner to the members. A M. Petre had rendered himself obnoxious by his opposition to the measures of the government, and when he, with the rest of the deputies of his chamber, repaired to the palace, he was turned back. All who had not entered turned back with him; and his absence from the royal table was a distinction which effectually turned the popular eye towards him.—“Sed præfulgebant Cassius atque Brutus, eo ipso, quòd effigies eorum non visebantur.”*
The Swedes, who are particularly alive to a breach of courtesy, resented this unmannerly affront.
“ Fêtes were given,” says Mr. Laing, " and addresses presented to M. Petre by the towns through which he passed, and by that which he represented. This unwise indication of private spleen and personal feeling against public men, opposing fairly and not factiously the administration of the day, shook to its foundation the popularity of his majesty with the middle class. It placed the sovereign in personal variance with individuals, and in comparison of talent individually; which is a false position for majesty to descend to.”
* Tacitus, Ann., lib. iii.
In the course of Mr. Laing's books are many interesting disquisitions, antiquarian, historical, philological and geological, into which we have not space to enter at any length. A singular blunder, the parent of a popular error, however, deserves to be briefly referred to. The languages of Sweden and Norway, both of Teutonic origin, differ from each other. The Norwegian is spoken in Denmark and Norway, and the Swedish in Sweden; but the higher circles of the latter country have adopted the French. At the head of the Gulph of Bothnia the Swedish language is met by the Quens or Fin language, which is of Sclavonic, not Teutonic origin. The Fins appear to be the Fenni of Tacitus*.
“A curious mistake about the name of this race, called Quens, has probably given rise to the fables of a land of Amazons in the north, Adam of Bremen, describing Scandinavia in the ninth century, says, 'Gothi habitant usque ad Bircam postea longis terrarum spatiis regnant Suones usque ad terram foeminarum.' In the old northern language, Quin signifies a woman ; and is a word still in daily use in Norway. We retain in English, from the same root, the name given to the two extreme ranks of the female sex, Queen and Quean. Adam of Bremen says he derived his information from the mouth of the Danish king Swen Ulfsen— Magnam materiem hujus libelli ex ejus ore collegi'—who had made many inroads into Sweden; and Adam, or his amanuensis, in writing from his words, has mistaken Quenornes' land, the country of the Quens, for Quinornes' land, the country of women, and translated it 'terra fæminarum'.”Page 47.
There is good reason to believe that Sweden is at this moment one of the widest fields of European intrigue. On that subject Mr. Laing does not touch; neither do we feel it necessary to introduce the matter at the end of an article. If treated at all, it should be discussed at length. We therefore take leave of the present volume, but we hope not of the author. The profit and pleasure we have derived from his works induces us to hope that other countries will yet come under his observation.
* Germania, xlvi.
Vertheidigung des Staatsgrundgesetzes des Konigreichs Han
nover (Defence of the Constitution of Hanover of 1833).
F. FROMA. 8vo. Jena: 1838. Our German neighbours are a thinking and reasoning people. They possess not only English tenacity in clinging to rights which are undisputedly theirs, but they show a moderation peculiarly their own in canvassing the rights of their opponents, and are, perhaps, the only people in the world whom it would be possible by arguing to bring to a confession of their being in the wrong. It is peculiarly unfortunate that this disposition, from which, were it but oftener met with, so much advantage might be derived for society, occasions those who possess it to be too often looked down upon by the turbulent and superficial. This has been particularly the fate of the Germans in the unceasing struggle which they have, since 1815, carried on for the acquisition of popular rights.
The work whose title stands at the head of our article, in an unusually succinct and clear demonstration of the general and territorial laws of Germany, as they bear upon the dispute between the king of Hanover and his subjects, displays this characteristic moderation in a degree, perhaps, never yet met with in political polemics. There are, no doubt, many of our readers who think that such an open violation of all ties which common prudence dictates as binding between a prince and his subjects, as is contained in king Ernest's decree of July 1837, ought to be met by more energetic measures than good reasoning; yet, it will by all be acknowledged as a triumph of no mean importance, that a writer, assuming the argument and premises of his antagonist, should achieve a complete refutation of all his conclusions, and should beat his enemy with the arms and upon the ground which the latter had chosen in full confidence of success.
If we could feel dissatisfied with the writer, it would be for his having given up too much debatable ground, and conceded more than is right in his consciousness of superiority; as for instance, where he acknowledges the right of the sovereign to grant a constitution to his subjects, and limits their powers to acceptance, or to the right of petitioning for modifications of the regal decrees (p. 53); as well as when he declares the characteristic distinction of the sovereignty in all German states to be monarchy, in a somewhat extended sense of the word. In short, he abandons, in the first instance, all the advantage he might have drawn from the general wording of the 13th art. of the act of the congress of Vienna, as well as from the interpretation of that article by high authorities, and goes back to the individual histories of the several states of which the kingdom of Hanover is composed, in order to show from their uniform course, that neither in the principalities constituting the oldest possessions of the electoral house, nor in East Friesland, but, least of all, in the bishopricks of Hildesheim, Bremen, or Osnabrück, could any precedent be found of a prince refusing to sanction the legislative enactments of his predecessor. He examines in a perspicacious manner the right of the “ Landstände” in 1819, to a participation in the legislative functions, and proves, in the most satisfactory manner, their proceedings to have been legal both as to form and principle. Proceeding then to the constitution of 1833, he shows that, with all its faults, it was essentially German and Hanoverian; that it was in accordance with all past and existing stipulations; and that it satisfied, if not the wishes of the people, at least all just claims of the electoral house, as well as those of the diet at Frankfort; that it was, in short, a natural developement of the old institutions of the country, in which only too much that was antiquated in its administration had been spared by the improving spirit of the age. He then investigates the constitution on its own merits, as viewed from the royalist side of the question, and shows that the pecuniary interests of the reigning house were more liberally provided for, and more surely established, than had ever been the case before; the king's civil list having been estimated at a sum exceeding the extravagant demands of George IV., and amounting to nearly three times the revenue drawn by George III. from his German dominions. And this increase of the royal income was granted when the deficiency in the revenue of the country was scarcely met by the augmentation of the indirect taxes, decreed in 1825.
to 961,460 dollars; in 1800 they were 1,444,457 dollars, and the personal expenses of the sovereign amounted to 228,282 dollars. In 1829-30 the civil list of George IV. was 525,000 dollars. The constitution of 1833 fixes the civil list at 618,000 dollars, to be secured on landed property ; being more than one-twelfth of the whole revenue of 7,000,000 dollars.
This work contains undeniably the best exposition of the true state of the question between king Ernest and his subjects that has as yet appeared; but it does not give the reason of that prince's over-hasty and inconsiderate violence. The constitution of 1833, although containing many improvements, and laying a foundation for others, was, as is well known, far from satisfying the Hanoverians in the mangled state in which William IV. consented to sanction it. However, as the age of that monarch made it not improbable that a protracted dispute on so important a point might be entailed upon
his successor, and as none knew that successor's character better than the Hanoverians, among whom he had often resided, it was considered wiser to leave no door open for dispute, and to accept of the curtailed rights as offered by William IV. rather than trust to the tender mercies of Ernest. As this argument was avowed by many to be the sole inducement to accept the offered constitution, it was, perhaps, natural that the duke of Cumberland should at the time mentally resolve that it should afford the nation no protection. That king Ernest should endeavour to enforce this resolution, is matter of no great wonder.
But that the Hanoverians, who, by an unanimous expression of public feeling in 1831, which bordered on an armed resistance, compelled the late king to give ear to their complaints, should now truckle down in peaceful submission to a very different species of oppression, must appear strange to all who are not versed in the labyrinths of German politics. The clue to this apparently inconsistent conduct is given us in the decisions of the German diet on the complaints preferred to it last year by the town of Osnabrück, but which may with more propriety be termed evasions of the question than decisions. A third vote was passed in August last to the same effect.
We attach to these decisions the greatest possible weight