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The Public Mood in Bavaria and Other Federal States through British Eyes (December 3, 1866)

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The Free City of Frankfurt does not cease to bewail the loss of its independence and of those liberal institutions which it knew how to assert in opposition even to the two most powerful members of the former Confederation, Austria and Prussia, and sees the elements of its prosperity menaced with ruin.

As regards the Duchy of Holstein, it appears to me that, once separated by Treaty from Denmark, under whose rule, notwithstanding certain drawbacks, it enjoyed a prosperity which it has not since known, its lot, as annexed to Prussia, will be a happier one than were it to be erected, as was in contemplation, into a mere Vassal State.

The same may be said of the Duchy of Schleswig, provided Prussia does not evade, as there is every appearance She intends to do, the stipulations of the Treaty of Prague, according to which its Northern districts are to be re-annexed to Denmark, should they desire it.

So much for the annexed States. Of those which are to form with Prussia the Northern Confederation, the only important one is the Kingdom of Saxony, and the recent proceedings of the Saxon Chambers show how much more good will Prussia would have caused, and how much easier She would find the task of assimilation, had She evinced more generosity and imposed less severe conditions upon the vanquished.

Of the other German States, Hesse Darmstadt, with one foot in the Northern Confederation and the other out of it, can hardly he taken into account.

Of the independent States, Baden leans entirely to Prussia, and is desirous to accede to the Northern Confederation, but cannot gain admittance, because Prussia has not yet digested Her conquests, and is afraid of bringing on a rupture with France by interfering, for the present, with the States South of the Main.

In Wurtemberg [sic], on the contrary, I am told that an anti-Prussian feeling and a wish to see the independence of the Country maintained, coupled with an understanding with the other South German States, have at the present decidedly the upper hand.

In Bavaria, the Austrian Alliance is entirely abandoned, and public opinion points to the necessity of an alliance with Prussia, more particularly against French aggression, but at the same time the predominant, feeling of the country seems at present opposed to such a sacrifice of its independence as would be entailed by an accession to the Northern Confederation as contemplated by Prussia. Had Prussia really intended the formation of a Federal State on an equitable basis, Bavaria and the remaining independent States would, there is every probability, have been ready to join it. But in the first place, for the reasons I have alleged, Prussia declines at present to receive them into a Confederation with Her, and in the second place Her object evidently is to create what the Germans call a Unity State – in other words not a Great German, but an exclusively Prussian one – repugnant to the feelings of the majority of the South Germans. She therefore, it seems, prefers in the first instance consolidating Her power in the North of Germany, to seeking the ultimate attainment of Her end, on an enlarged scale, through the medium of a Confederation comprising the whole of Germany, trusting no doubt to circumstances occurring sooner or later which may enable Her to impose Her own terms on the South German States.

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