[ . . . ]
The continuation of the fragmentation of Germany into 36 despotisms is pernicious to civic freedom and to the morality of the nation, and it perpetuates the dominant influence of France over a population of 15 million, to the detriment of both the population itself and the tranquility of the other European powers. If the statesmen at the very pinnacle of German affairs do not use the crisis of the moment to secure the welfare of their fatherland on a long-term basis, if they merely intend to introduce, in an easy and convenient way, a provisional state of affairs whereby the short-terms goals of temporary tranquility and a somewhat ameliorated situation are achieved, contemporaries and posterity will rightly accuse them of recklessness, of indifference toward the happiness of the fatherland and will brand them as guilty thereof.
The question of which constitution Germany is to receive as a result of the twenty-year war cannot be evaded in any way. The welfare of its inhabitants, the interest of Europe, the honor and duty of the statesmen who guide the great affairs of the nations demand that one ponder this question with all the seriousness warranted by its magnitude, with the deep thoughtfulness warranted by its sacredness, and [that one] cast aside shallowness, recklessness, and hedonism.
Although the solution to the task must aim at the achievable, it must also aim at what is closest to perfection under this condition.
Desirable, but not feasible, would be a single, independent Germany, like the one our great emperors ruled vigorously and mightily from the tenth to the thirteenth century. The nation would rise as a mighty state, one that contained within itself all the elements of power, of knowledge, and of moderate and lawful freedom. This lovely fate it is not granted; it must seek to attain its internal social development by other means, eliminate the obstacles that stand in its way, create new institutions and constitutions.
Germany moved in the direction of a division into two larger parts, into a northern and a southern part. In the former, Prussia held sway in public affairs, in the latter Austria. Differences in the original tribes of its inhabitants, the Saxons and Franks, in mores, in religion, and in communal institutions prompted and promoted this division, and it could be acted upon at the present moment without difficulties. If it were possible to preserve the unity of the nation, this would undoubtedly convey great advantage in terms of power and internal peace. In this case, it is necessary to strengthen the power of the emperor or the head of the state even more. [ . . . ]