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it, in the interests of Denmark. The unity of Denmark, Schleswig, Holstein, and Lauenburg was secured by a uniform law of succession, and their internal affairs were placed, as far as practicable, under a common administration." The protocol of 1850 was signed by Lord Palmerston during the Russell Administration. It was succeeded by the Treaty of 1852, which was concluded by Lord Malmesbury. This treaty, to which all the great powers were parties, was the logical consequence of the protocol. Under it the succession to Kingdom and Duchies was assigned to Prince Christian of Glücksburg, the present reigning King of Denmark. The integrity of the whole Danish Monarchy was declared permanent; but the rights of the German Confederation with respect to Holstein and Schleswig were reserved. The declaration was made in accordance with the views of Russia, England, and France; the reservation was inserted in the interests of the German powers; and, in a manifesto, which was communicated to the German Courts, the King of Denmark laid down elaborate rules for the treatment and government of the Duchies. Thus, while the succession to the Danish throne and the integrity of Denmark had been secured by the protocol of 1850 and the Treaty of 1852, the elaborate promises of the Danish King, formally communicated to the German powers, had given the latter a pretext for contending that these pledges were at least as sacred as the treaty. And the next ten years made the pretext much more formidable than it seemed in 1852. For Denmark, aiming at the consolidation of her administration, showed an increasing disposition to ignore her pledges; while the German powers, irritated at the attitude of the Danes, protested against this policy. The Danes endeavoured to extricate themselves from a constantly growing 1 In a remarkable passage in his Diary, Count Vitzthum (St. Petersburg and London, 1852–1864, vol. ii. p. 221) declares that this protocol was the price which Lord Palmerston consented to pay for Russian acquiescence in the Greek policy of 1850. But, from Lord Palmerston's point of view, the integrity of
Denmark was quite as much a British as a Russian interest; and the supposed concession, therefore, could not have caused the Minister much compunction.
embarrassment by repeating the policy of 1848, by granting, under what was known as the Constitution of 1855, autonomous institutions to Holstein, by consolidating the purely Danish portions of the Monarchy, and by incorporating Schleswig, which was partly Danish and partly German, in Denmark. But the German inhabitants of Schleswig resented this arrangement. They complained of the suppression of their language and the employment of Danish functionaries, and they argued that, under the engagements which had been contracted between 1851 and 1852, Holstein had a voice in constitutional changes of this character. This argument added heat to a dispute already acute. For it was now plain that, while the German Diet" claimed the right to interfere in Holstein, Holstein asserted her claim to be heard on the affairs of the entire Kingdom. Lord Russell, from the first, thought that both parties to this unfortunate dispute were to a great extent to blame; and from the beginning strove to induce both of them partially to give way. Thus, early in August 1860, he supported a proposal of Denmark for regulating the powers of the Holstein assembly, and for fixing once for all the definite or maximum contributions which should be made by Holstein and the other constituent parts of Denmark to the national expenses. But, at the same time, he pointed out that the proposal failed to satisfy the just claims of Schleswig, whose people, he suggested, might be allowed legislative and administrative independence, and be suffered themselves to determine the language to be used in their churches and schools. No decision, however, was adopted on this suggestion. For the next two years and a half, diplomacy continued to exchange notes and despatches, till at last, in September 1862, Lord Russell, who had enjoyed opportunities of discussing the subject with foreign statesmen while he was in attendance on the Queen at Gotha, made a formal proposal for settling the whole of the differences which had arisen. Lord Russell commenced this despatch by assuming that there was no longer any doubt (1) that in Holstein and Lauenburg neither taxes could be imposed nor laws enacted without the express consent of the representatives of those Duchies; (2) that the Constitution of 1855, not having been accepted by the Duchies, was inoperative in Holstein, Lauenburg, and Schleswig; and (3) that Denmark can legislate for herself, and impose taxes to be levied on her own people, without the consent of Holstein, Lauenburg, or Schleswig.
Two questions of great importance remain. The first regards the Duchy of Schleswig ; the second, the common constitution of the Monarchy. Schleswig was formerly in a position altogether anomalous. Unconnected with the German Confederation, it was yet connected with Holstein, which formed part of that confederation. Later arrangements have dissolved this inconvenient tie. . . . There are, however, relations between Germany and Denmark in respect to Schleswig, which have given rise to the present controversy. The obligations of honour contracted by Denmark towards Schleswig, and imparted to the German Confederation as such by the King of Denmark in 1852, chiefly regard two points. The first of these is the royal promise that Schleswig shall not be incorporated with Denmark. The second is, in substance, an engagement that the Germans in Schleswig shall be treated on an equal footing with persons of Danish or any other nationality.
After reciting the grievances of which Germany complained under each of these heads, Lord Russell went on—
The best mode of remedying these evils for the present, and of preventing complaints for the future, is to grant a complete autonomy to Schleswig, allow the Diet of Schleswig fairly to treat, and independently to decide upon, questions affecting their university, their churches and schools, the language to be used where the Danish population prevails, where the Germans preponderate, and where the races are mixed. I come lastly to the question of the constitution, the most entangled and the most embarrassing question of all those in discussion. Treaties, protocols, and despatches afford us little light upon this subject, and the glimmering rays which they do afford tend rather to lead us astray than to guide us right. For what could be more destructive of all union, all efficiency, all strength, and, indeed, of all independence, than to lay down as an absolute rule that no law should be passed and no budget sanctioned unless the four States of the Monarchy all concurred ? What would Austria say if she were asked to accept a constitution which should paralyse the action of the Reichsrath at Vienna till separate Diets in Hungary, in Galicia, and in Venetia should have adopted the same law or sanctioned the same budget? How would Prussia herself bear an absolute veto on the proceedings of her Parliament given to the Diet of Posen ?
To obviate these difficulties Lord Russell suggested that each portion of the constitution might ‘have its due independent movement; that each portion of the Monarchy might bear its allotted share of the national expenses; that the normal budget might be voted for a fixed period of ten years, and confided to a Council of State, composed of two-thirds Danes and one-third Germans; and that extraordinary expenses might be voted by the Kingdom and three Duchies separately. He concluded—
The suggestions I have made may be summed up in a few words: 1. Holstein and Lauenburg to have all that the German Confederation asks for them. 2. Schleswig to have the power of self-government, and not to be represented in the Rigsraad. 3. A normal budget to be agreed upon by Denmark, Holstein, Lauenburg, and Schleswig. 4. Any extraordinary expenses to be submitted to the Rigsraad, and to the separate Diets of Holstein, Lauenburg, and Schleswig.
The two great German powers, Austria and Prussia, agreed to accept this despatch as the basis of negotiation. Sweden, on the contrary, naturally leaning to the Scandinavian cause, declared the proposal impracticable. Encouraged possibly by the moral support of Sweden, hoping for its active assistance, and not deterred by Lord Russell’s advice, the Danish Government proceeded to carry out its policy. During the autumn of 1862 and the winter of 1863 it occupied itself in completing the arrangements for the autonomy of Holstein; and finally, on March 30, 1863, a few days after the marriage of the Prince of Wales brought this country into closer connection with Denmark, Frederick VII. brought the matter to a crisis by declaring that the Diet had interfered in the internal affairs of his Kingdom, and had made demands which were neither justified by the federal laws nor compatible with the rights of those of his dominions which do not belong to the confederation. He declared that Holstein with its army and its finance should be entirely excluded from the rest of the Monarchy; and he announced that ‘directions for the settlement of the position of the Duchy would be laid before the Estates for their acceptance.” The issue of this ordinance made a crisis, already grave, intensely acute. Austria and Prussia lodged strong protests against the ordinance; they brought it before the Diet; the Diet referred it to a committee; and the committee recommended that Denmark should be required to withdraw it, and to prepare a homogeneous constitution for the Duchies and the Kingdom in conformity with the promises of 1852 and with Lord Russell's despatch of the previous September. The Diet adopted these recommendations, and finally, on October 1, 1863, demanded the withdrawal of the ordinance before the 27th of that month. If this demand were not complied with, federal execution in Holstein, or the military occupation of the Duchy by German troops, would follow. At this moment Lord Russell again came forward and counselled moderation. Writing to Sir A. Malet, who represented this country at Frankfort, on September 29, he deprecated the contemplated action of the Diet. He argued that it could not be pretended that ‘the constitution of the whole Danish Monarchy could be subject to the jurisdiction of the German Confederation. He declared that her Majesty ‘could not see with indifference a military occupation of Holstein, which is only to cease upon terms injuriously affecting the constitution of the whole Danish Monarchy;’ and he entreated the German Diet to pause, and to submit the question in dispute between Germany and Denmark to the mediation of other powers unconcerned in the controversy, but deeply con