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tutions, especially since the late reforms in their constitution, and their being placed under more direct government control.

From the death of Frederick the Great to the peace of Tils't, no material change had taken place in the condition of the agricultural population, beyond the ordinary decay and confusion incident on war and famine. The noble was still disabled from acquiring peasant land, and the peasant could not acquire noble land; nor could the noble enter into trade, nor the citizen become a landed proprietor. Prædial bondage still subsisted. Some few, however, of the nobles had been so far enlightened by the writings of Thaer, as to perceive that a complete revolution in the science of husbandry was in progress. They were just opening their eyes to the fact, that the new system of farming, consequent on the introduction of a rotation of crops, required that its operations should be conducted with a degree of care and intelligence neither to be expected nor attained under a system of compulsory labour. Their mental processes were, no doubt, in some degree quickened by the terrors of the French Revolution. The government, taking advantage of the first appearances of growing light among its subjects, led the way, by commuting, on the 16th July 1799, the personal and other services of its vassals, and by conferring on them the right of unlimited ownership in their holdings, on payment of equitable fines. The example of the monarch found some imitators amongst the nobles; but the number was small. So small, that the humane intentions of the crown may be considered as having been baffled on this occasion as before, by the vigorous combination of the lords. Even the impetuous energy of the great Frederick had not succeeded in effecting more than a conversion of the bondage of the crown serfs into an adscriptio glebæ. How keenly he felt the degradation of the system is conveyed in his dying declaration-the most to his honour, perhaps, of any sentiment he ever uttered, that he was tired of ruling over a nation of slaves.'

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We are now arrived at the period when the wedge, thus introduced into the crazy framework of feudality, was to be driven home with resistless force. One hardly knows, whether to be more surprised at the late period of the change, or at the boldness and rapidity with which it was now effected. The disastrous battle of Jena had clearly shown, how little reliance Prussia was warranted in placing in the flower of her chivalry. The name of noble had been long identical with that of soldier ; both were now associated with the vilest cowardice and dishonour. The moment was therefore a favourable one for wresting from those who had usurped and betrayed a sacred trust, some of

their privileges which enjoyed no other claim to respect than what has been felicitously styled by Burke 'an iniquitous legality.'

The first official act of Stein was the publication of the memorable edict of 9th October, 1807, removing the disabilities of the nobles to acquire peasant land, and of the peasants to acquire noble land; abolishing personal bondage, and interdicting the future creation of such a status. The edict concludes with a promise, that the right of ownership in the soil shall be extended as far as may be practicable.

Within a year from the appearance of this vivid indication of his future policy, and long before it could be thoroughly carried out, an untoward event deprived Prussia of Stein's services as prime minister, and afforded the antagonists of his innovations a temporary triumph. Hurried away by the ardour of his patriotism, and by the natural impetuosity of his feelings, he incautiously entrusted to a friend, about to proceed to St Petersburg, a letter to the Russian general, Prince Wittgenstein, encouraging the latter to make an onward movement against the French. By some mischance the messenger fell into the hands of the enemy, and Stein's letter was unexpectedly discovered among his papers. The immediate effect of this miscarriage, which has been suspected not to have been wholly the work of chance, was the resignation of Stein, and his retiring under the protection of Austria. But, though he never again filled the office of Chancellor of State, still he had the satisfaction of actively co-operating with the ministers who were intrusted with the development of his ideas, and of assisting them, by his sagacious counsel and advice, in maturing the germs of regeneration which he had so fearlessly sown. The address in which he took leave of his coadjutors-generally known as his • Political Testament '-contains a singularly able and nervous sketch of the liberal and enlightened policy which it was his aim that Prussia should pursue. He died in 1825, and at once assumed an undisputed niche in the Pantheon of Prussian


Stein had superseded Hardenberg, to be now, in turn, and on similar grounds, superseded by him. In consequence, however, of Napoleon's repugnance to the latter, a considerable interval elapsed between the retirement of the one and the accession of the other as Chancellor of State. The office remained in abeyance during the interval. No two men were ever more dissimilar in their nature-their very dissimilarity tending apparently to render their combined powers more complete. It may indeed be reasonably doubted, whether the fierce energy of Stein, which could brook no contradiction nor take note of difficulties, would have

availed alone. But it was no less fortunately than ably seconded by that versatility in expedients and diplomatic subtlety, whereby Hardenberg eluded the most jealous vigilance of his adversaries. The extraordinary adroitness of the latter in baffling the searching scrutiny of Napoleon, and keeping him, notwithstanding his avowed distrust, in complete ignorance of the varied preparations which were making for the great struggle of 1812, was as essential an element towards its triumphant issue, as Stein's Agrarian policy or Tugendbund; and his success remains an imperishable monument of his diplomatic powers.

Charles Augustus, afterwards Count, and subsequently Prince, Hardenberg, was by birth a Hanoverian, and born in 1750. His father held the rank of field-marshal in the Hanoverian army, and had served with honour under the Dukes of Cumberland and Brunswick. The son, after a long preparatory education, adopted the profession of diplomacy; but was obliged to abandon it in consequence of a personal affair with the Prince of Wales, (George IV.) in 1782. He then entered the service of the Duke of Brunswick, and, on the duke's death, was induced to remove into that of Prussia. He speedily passed through the ordinary gradations of office, until we find him possessing the entire confidence of his new sovereign. His success is very intelligible. To the graces of a peculiarly pleasing exterior, he added the advantages of a highly cultivated intellect, and the fascination of his manner was naturally characterised by the sprightliness of his fancy. Though less daring and venturous in his original conceptions than Stein, he was not less steady or persevering in the pursuit of any important purpose, which he had once seriously taken up. The laboriousness of his habits recoiled before no amount of work. The memoirs of his times, drawn up by himself, have been deposited in the archives of the Prussian state, by the late monarch, and await publication in the year 1850. They will, no doubt, be very interesting to Prussian statesmen. He died in Padua, on the 26th November 1822, as he was returning from the Congress of Verona.

Hardenberg's re-accession to power in 1810, was immediately marked by the promulgation of an edict, (27th October,) that left no doubt of the line of policy he intended to pursue, nor of his firm determination to give every possible effect to the political ideas of his predecessor. This edict remodels the entire financial system of Prussia, and contains a complete programme of the minister's future measures. In the preamble we find it, among other things, declared, That, from thenceforward, all exemp'tions from the land-tax shall cease-such a privilege being ir"reconcilable with natural justice, or with the spirit of adminis

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'tration in neighbouring states. That the royal domains shall 'not be excepted.' The edict promises, among other things, a new and improved system of taxation-entire freedom of handi'crafts-the abolition of soc-mill, and the like restrictions-the 'institution of a well-organised system of provincial and general ' representation; and engages that, to that section of our 'subjects who have not hitherto enjoyed the ownership (Eigen'thum) of their holdings, we shall grant and secure the same, ' and wholly abolish many oppressive forms and imposts.'

The vagueness of this last declaration respecting the grant of ownership, has been, no doubt, a primary source of the confusion that has hitherto prevailed, not only in the remarks of our own, but also of many foreign writers on this subject. Indeed, it is not improbable, that a certain degree of ambiguity may have lain within the intentions of the minister. In an edict, in which the Crown was announcing its resolution to have recourse to such extreme measures, as the secularization of all religious corporations, and the sale of the royal domains, considerable latitude in the description of future boons might be only prudent. We must, however, express our surprise at the completeness of the delusion under which Professor von Raumur laboured when he favoured the public with his suggestions concerning the conversion of Irish tenancies-at-will into freeholds. Such simplicity is, perhaps, the more surprising in the learned professor, as he was himself for some time engaged about the person of the minister. Had this vivacious traveller paused to consult his reason, he must have suspected-as in the edicts he would have found that tenancies-at-will are specially excluded from the operation of the minister's agrarian measures. In the two edicts of 1811, and in the declaration of 29th May 1816, specially issued to give effect to this promise of an enlarged ownership in the soil, the terms are so precise, and the limitations so stringent, as to leave no doubt, regarding either the motives or the extent of the minister's policy. Some recent theorists, building on the authority of the professor's representations, have not hesitated to support their propositions by the example of Prussia, so far as to imagine, that they found there a precedent and sanction for a no less sweeping measure of confiscation, than that of the conversion of the pauper occupants of the most limited and precarious tenures in Ireland into absolute owners of the soil. To show that such appeals to the modern agrarian measures of Prussia, and that all the dangerous analogies which have been sought to be deduced from their success, are altogether based on a total misconception of their real scope and tendency, nothing more can be wanted, than a simple exposition of their real purport. What was done, it will be seen, was neither more or less than the

compulsory enfranchisement of persons whose tenure might, in the phraseology of English law, be called an onerous kind of copyhold, while it was also in the general case of a fiscal or semipublic character. It was the doing suddenly, and at once, by government, what it has taken the courts of law in England four or five hundred years only partially to accomplish; the last stage being still outstanding for the legislature to complete.

On this fundamental point there must be no mistake. The Prussian crown has never, up to the present time, attempted any alteration in the tenure of land, except in two instances. The first of these was in relation to the particular class of bauer fiefs already described, and the second referred to tenures corresponding to our leases in perpetuity. In both cases the policy of the government was sufficiently obvious. It is stated with all necessary clearness in two agrarian edicts, promulgated on the 14th of September 1811. These two edicts, with the supplemental declaration of 29th May 1816, form the basis of the modern agrarian code from having both appeared on the same day, they are sometimes confounded. The first is entitled an Edict for the regulation of the relations of Seigneurs (Grundherrn) and Peasant farmers (Bauers),' and is strictly limited to the particular fiscal fiefs already described. This enactment, in conjunction with the subsequent declaratory edict, ordains: That such peasant holdings as present the following characteristics shall, under certain conditions, become the absolute property of their then occupants. These characteristics are-1st, holdings created with the primary view of supporting the occupiers as independent farmers. 2. Entered in the tax rolls of the provinces as bauer fiefs. 3. Occupied during the normal years of the monarchy by distinct peasant farmers. 4. Investing the lord with the obligation to keep them constantly so occupied. 5. For the taxes of which the lord is responsible. A distinction is then drawn between such of these fiefs as descend by custom or law to the heirs of the occupant, and those not so descending. The edict goes on to state, that the relation hitherto subsisting in these cases is such, that the real owner exerts no direct influence on the management or cultivation of the farm; and, in the case ❝ of non-descending fiefs, each succeeding peasant holder is without any permanent interest in it. We therefore cannot permit so 'noxious a relation to continue.'

Having determined that this noxious relation should cease, the edict proceeds to assign the conditions on which the grant of absolute ownership shall be made. It avows the necessity of discovering some general principle to guide the government in determining the exact amount of remuneration due to the lord for his surrender of absolute ownership, or, as we should say, the fee.

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