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Thoughts, Facts, And Suggestions O5j . ,...
. nublio function exercised on behalf of those who IS If the former be legitimate as a means of S nal advancement in social' or political life , Sis of course little more to be said up n the Matter only that it would have been better in that ? asei that thef Reform Bill of 1832 had never passe d , and it would be clearly absurd thatany more rotten boroughs should be destroyed m 1859 . When a mau enters upon any personal speculation it is quite natural that he should prepare to iuvest so much capital in order to establish his position . If a man ' s object be to earn a baronetcy , to obtain admission by marriage . with the aristocratic pale , to attain political office , or , mayhap , to ^ n a coronetit is a matter of course that he
trust . It is , in a word , a means of fortifying anew the monopoly of class , and reasserting the humiliation of intellect , industry * and worth .
, should commence his speculative operations by sinking 2000 / . or 5000 / . in contesting a borough—80007 . or 10 , 000 / ., if necessary , iu securing a scat for the county . This , is the outlay of capital in the regular and appointed way . The men who are ready to do so are booked , as is well known , at the great pa rty clubs , where the traffic in scats is carried on , and previous to any general election , those who have agreed to pay the appointed price sally forth and hoist their electioneering colours , with the secretly arranged guarantee of support from all the noble and honourable'jobbers of influence on their
respective sides . But , in the name of common sense and connnon honesty , are these men candidates selected by the constituencies ? Have they been selected , in point of fact , at all ? Or are they not really neither more nor less than self-suggested nominees of irresponsible cliques , who come swagfe ring into the- ring , prepared to bully and broweat all competitors by dint of lavish expenditure , and relying upon their money , and what their money has secured for them in the way of influence , alone ? It is an utter farce to say that the electors have sought out and found such men , and
resolve to make them their representatives ; these men have sought out and found , the constituencies , and have resolved politically to squat thereupon . If any score or two of electors , apprehending such an invasion "" and usurpation , put their heads together beforehand , and resolve to put forward a man who would really represent the place , they are appalled by the prospect of the expense . They know that the man who is best worth seeking for and best worth having , will not gamble away his fortune in an infamous competition with a high-born or opulent political
speculator ; and they know well the difficulty of meeting lavish expenditure . with any other weapons than those employed against them . The men ot Sheffield , Manchester , Bristol , Birmingham , Bath , and other places , have indeed done themselves infinite honour by returning men of , their choice , and voluntarily raising , by contributions amongst themselves , the means of securing- their return . But where there has not been an equally active spirit of self-assertion , tho largest and richest constituencies , have been treated again and again as mere carrion , over which the birds of prey and unclean beasts- of
electioneering have shrieked and fought , and of which they have made their prey . As if the evil were hot great enough already , additional excuses for corrupt expenditure were deliberately invented and enacted last session ; and if the detestable act which sanctions the carrying of every voter to the poll who is mean and base enough to accept the puuetuxnelious favour be not ropealcd , wo shall , np doubt , have iu many places a revolting exaggeration next time of all the mischiefs and scandals of the sy & tqm . But if , on the other hand , representation be a high and sacred public trust , and if tho representative wlicu chosen is legally and morally to be regarded as a trustee for those who elect him , then before all other things it is surely necessary that in selecting candidates the choice of the constituents
should bo unrestricted by any mean and miserable considerations like those nbovo namod . Tho best M » d truest system would bo that whioh defrayed tfle nooessary coat of elections at tho public charge , and which rondorod illegal the outlay of any considerable sum by a candidate , whether provably expended for purposes of corruption or not . As tho law no \ r stands , there is literally no , limit to electioneering prodigality ; ana Ihe ruling class , if suffered to take their own Wa y > will manifestly add oyory year to tho expense w elections . Tho design is not denied or ovon disguised It is practically a sohenio of counter ilis' "jJJJi ° ]« somont , and a very offe ' ctual ono too , for it utterl y prevents many of our best constituencies 'Win selecting candidates or electing members suoh « 9 they could justly fool any prido in , or sincerely
M ^ G T^Tt*^ T. I8 59.V The Reaper. 19
m t ^ tt *^ T . I 8 59 . V THE REAPER . 19
Biographies Of German Princes. No. Viii....
BIOGRAPHIES OF GERMAN PRINCES . No . VIII . FRIEDRICH FRANZ , GRAND-DUKE OF MECKLENBURG-SCH WERIN . The rulers of the two principalities of Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mccklenburg-Strelitz , have for a considerable time rendered themselves notorious by their disposition to semi-arbitrary , semi-patriarchal
government , by their lavish personal expenditure , through which the country lias become deeply involved in debt ; by their laxity of life and morals , which has given birth to many a pungent satire ; and by the Russian sympathies whicli distinguish them even among that philo-Muscovite fraternity , tlie petty sovereigns of Germany . These peculiarities of the race are by no means wanting in Friedrich Franz , the present Grand-Duke of Mecklcnburg-Schwerin . isthat it
Of his early youth , all that can be said , passed away in that insignificant manner which forms at the same time the characteristic and the bane of all princely education in Germany . From 1823 , the year of his birth , to 1 S 38 , he remained in the paternal palace under the charge of tutors , whose bounden duty it was to carefully instil into him as inflated an idea as possible of the unlimited nature of his rights and privileges as future sovereign , and to render the very restricted royal road to knowledge which a German monarch generally for the
treads as little tiresome as could be princely traveller . After this preliminary course , he was for a short time sent to Dresden to a private institute , and from thence to the university at Bonn , where he went through the usual programme of follies indulged in by students with dynastic immunities . Scarcely , however , had he fairly plunged into the vortex of frivolities , when he was suddenly snatched from the scene of his collegiate escapades , to be installed sovereig n at Schwerin , where Ins father had unexpectedly expired , and left a crown for the plaything . of an inexperienced youth of nineteen
years . This happened in 1842 , since which time young Friedrich Franz has governed his principality m the real old style of the Mecklenburg patriarchs . It ought-to be here observed that but few German countries have furnished a more convenient soil for the growth of paternal despotism than this blessed Mecklenburg , which , before 1848 , was in itself a rococo world in miniature . The peasantry were there kept under the lash more stringently than in the eastern provinces of Prussia , where the Junkers ruled , at that time , almost omnipotent . The towns ,
though possessing some remnants of nieduoval privileges , had for the most part succumbed to the influence of that antiquated spirit of political beadledom , which the Germans designate under the untranslatable monosyllable of Zopf . There was an easy-going , neycr-hurry way of doing things at Mecklenburg , which made it tho laughing-stock of the slowest third-rate residence of a petty German sovereign . A pudding-headed race of noble landed proprietors stretched itself in impudent sufferance on the benches of the Diet , treating with cavalier contempt tho canaille of tho towns and villages . The political atmosphere of the country was quite opaque with tho misty traditions of the past' . It was as if Mecklenburg had been preserved by artifi c ial means to afford this modern generation an amusing tableau viiHtvt of pig-tailod customs and manners , which had long since been swept into limbo in
othor parts of the world . Our Fricdrich Franz , fresh from tho commers , with his . " commilitoncs" of Bonn , exhibited a wonderful aptitude iu assuming the genuine oldfashioned airs of government . Ho carried on the administration with a vigorous application of tho aooustomed patriarchal and buroauoratio whip , and tho good Mecklenburg " Dobbin" trottodon quietly enough , showing only by an occasional kick that even liis amount of patience was nearly oxpended . Moanwhilo , pur giddy young prinoo lived gaily , and enjoyed himself to tho full of his bent , keeping up tho roputatiou gained by his ancestor of tho same name , whom tho popular song doscnbod » as Mooklonburg ' e l'Yiodrieh Franz , Vntor ( lea
Vnterlnndsa counlot that gives a meaning to tho designation of " Father of tho Fatherland , which it would , bo highly irrovorentiul in us to explain hero moro fully .
Biographies Of German Princes. No. Viii....
On these unwritable matters we had better preserve the rule we have laid down when speaking , in former biographies , of the private life of German princes—viz . to pass over the subject as quickly as possible , and to confine ourselves to the marital unions officially recorded in the Gotha Almanac Friedrich Franz , then , is married to the Princess Auguste Mathilde Wilhelmine , daughter of the late Henry the Sixty-third of Reuss-Sehleiz-^ oestritz , a petty dynasty which boasts of a pedigree dating from almost antediluvian ages , but whose territories , a German saying informs us , " can be put in a rat-hole , " or , as Heine has it a " stick sometimes to the boots of the traveller . " To those of our readers not erudite in the
mysteries of heraldic lore , and who , therefore , will be puzzled to understand the meaning of the number sixty-three appended to the name of the father of the Grand-Duchess of Mecklenburg , we will explain that , for centuries past , all the male offshoots oi the different Houses of Reuss receive the baptismal cognomen of Henry , and that they are all duly numbered , irrespective of the reigning head of the family . It is stipulated that the elder branch is thus to count as far as a hundred ( C . ) , and then to recommence with number I . ! This will give a clue to the formidable array of Roman figures
tacked to those Henrys of Reuss , Reuss-Greiz , Reuss-Sehleiz , Reuss-Lobenstein , Reus-Koestritz , Reuss-Koestritz-Koestritz , and so forth . There is one among this noble army of Henrys now living who rejoices in the numerals LXXIV . The race is altogether famous for the eccentricity of its members . A few years before 1848 , the most serene Henry the Seventy-second informed hissubjects that he had at last discovered the truesystem of government , " after having for twentyyears galloped abottt an his principte . " But to return to the Grand ^ Duke of
Meeklenburg-Schweriu . In 1848 he was overtaken , like all his purple-clad brethren , by the revolutionary storm .. It burst upon him the more unexpectedly as hispeople had been held ia such long and thoroug h , . subjection that their capacity for resistance might well have been doubted . The peasantry-r-r-that longsuffering , sturdy population of Mecklenburg- — which had hitherto been the sport and prey of erery Junker and arrogant bailiff , suddenly exhibited rather ugly signs of acting for themselves . The better portion of the middle classes , also , were up and stirring , Friedrich Franz and his pack of " Hitters had to give in to the popular demands . Feudalism , iii its most repulsive forms , was destroyed .
A "Constituent Assembly" rose in Mecklenburg ^ whose first business it was to abolish , mediaeval privileges , and to settle the institutions of the country on a new basis . In the following years of reaction , Friedricb Franz eagerly lent nis hand to the overthrow of therevolutionary conquests . His troops took part in the * campaign against the popular movement of Baden \ and the Palatinate , but a very scanty allowance of laurels fell to their share . They were rather roughly handled by the democratic insurgents , and lost men > and guns with an inconvenient rapidity . Duringthe late Russian war , however , the Grand-Duke
was again seized with another martial fit . Absurdly enougli , lie , of all German princes , declared at the * Diet of Frankfort for an active support of the Qzar Nicholas , whilst the other German Governments advised a strict neutrality . This little performancein tho Bombastes lino was , of course , a very safe * ono for the illustrious warrior , and attended with ) no risk to ' his royal person or property . Tho Grand-Duke felt pretty certain 'that he should be * in an > immense minority , and his fire-eating proposals * never likely to be put to the test . So he calculated on makiug a favourable impression on tho Czar of all the ltussias by an exhibition of valour in hiabehalf , that would oosfc very little and entail no unpleasant consequences .
The connexion between the Mecklenburg dynasty and Russia , it may be said en passant , is one of oldf standing . Peter I . morb than onco entertained the idea of buying in toto the Mecklenburg principality ; and , in fact , tho purchase was near enough being completed . The descendants of the miserable huoksterwho had shown himself willing to entertain ? this proposal of barter , have on all emergencies proved faithful to the spirit that animated their forefathor . There are strong family tios , moreover ,, whioh continue to keep tho two branches of the dynasty at Sohwerin and Sbrelitz in tho due obscrvanoo of tho Muscovite formula . Thus tho late Mooklenburg prince , Fricdrioh £ < ouis , was married to Helena Paulowna , daughter of Paul I . of liusem .
Leader (1850-1860), Jan. 1, 1859, page 19, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/l/issues/cld_01011859/page/19/