The fortune of arms will decide the fate of Germany and the constitution that it will be given. The security of all of Europe demands the dissolution of the disgraceful Confederation of the Rhine. But what shall take its place? Here only general observations can be made. One opinion expressed by many is that the old imperial constitution should be restored. But the question always remains – which one? The one on which the Peace of Westphalia was based? Or the one created by French supremacy and the slavish spirit of the German princes in 1802?
It is in the interest of Europe, and especially Germany, that Germany be elevated to the position of a robust state in order to resist France’s supremacy and be able to retain its independence, to keep its great rivers and its coasts accessible to England, to protect Russia against French invasions. To this end, one can elevate the land between the Oder, the mouth of the Rhine, the Maas, and the Mosel mountains into a single potent state, or one can divide Germany, thus circumscribed, along the course of the Main into Prussia and Austria, or one can place various parts of this country, for example, into a subordinate relationship to Austria and Prussia; all of these arrangements give Germany more power than it has previously had, but the restitution of the former imperial constitution is impossible.
That constitution was not the result of a nation guided by experience and knowledge of its own interest; it sprang from the impure sources of influence of power-hungry Popes, from the perfidy of rebellious magnates, from the machinations of foreign powers. [ . . . ]
After such sad experiences, would we want to restore the old, rotten state constitution, if we could? And could we?
Thus, we must, if only to preserve some kind of unity, destroy Prussia, restore the clerical and small secular princes, the Imperial Knights, the Imperial Cities, and the Imperial Courts, for only these tools could give Austria sovereignty over the influence and prestige of the supreme power. But we would also have to reestablish the estate-based constitution in these lands and put limits on the despotism of the small princes. If this were possible, though it cannot be done without resistance from Prussia, Bavaria, Saxony, Württemberg and so forth, goals that are greater and more beneficial to the nation could be achieved through a different, better way.