GHDI logo

Excerpt from Clemens Prince von Metternich's Political Creed (1820)

page 3 of 20    print version    return to list previous document      next document

In absolute Monarchies the word acquires the meaning of "national representation." In those countries which have only recently acquired a representative régime, it goes by the name of development and guarantees charters and basic laws.

In the one State where national representation is of long standing, its aim is reform.

But wherever it is found, it means change and trouble.

To paraphrase, what it means in absolute Monarchies is that "others must be more than your equals, your wealth must pass into other hands and your ambitions, satisfied for centuries, must give way to our ambitions, impatient and hitherto repressed."

In those States which have acquired a new form of régime it means that "those ambitions satisfied yesterday must give way to those of tomorrow – and tomorrow has come."

And finally, in England, the only country in the third category, the rallying cry, which is that of reform, combines these two meanings.

Europe thus presents itself to the impartial observer under an aspect which is both deplorable and bizarre.

Everywhere we find that the people, whose sole wish is for the maintenance of peace and quiet, faithful to God and their Princes, remain unmoved by the attractive offers and temptations repeatedly put before them by members of factions who proclaim themselves their friends and who wish to involve them in a movement which the people do not want!

[We find] Governments lacking in confidence, frightened, intimidated, and in disarray because of the clamour of that intermediate class of society which, interposed between the Kings whose sceptres it breaks and the people whose voice it usurps, has seized control of all avenues of approach to the throne, that class so often disowned by the people in whose name it purports to speak and yet too often listened to, flattered and feared by those who with one word could push it back into the abyss.

first page < previous   |   next > last page