Page images

course hitherto pursued, and giving to the Resolution of the 8th of March a new and unexpected scope, without the assignment of any cause, an immediate and express recognition is demanded from His Majesty's Government; these motions they consider themselves the less in a position to accede to, seeing that the demands involved in the said Resolution have received an interpretation that would render any administration or government in accordance with existing laws and prescriptions utterly impossible. Should the United Committees have sought occasion for this

proceeding in the motion once brought forward by the Government of the Grand Duchy of Oldenburg, His Majesty's Government must first of all refer back to their exposition of the actual status in their note presented to the Diet on the 10th of September last. It is therein shown how the budget for the Duchies of Holstein and Lauenburg, as inserted in the Legal and Ministerial Gazette of the 3rd July, 1860, is a simple repetition and putting together of financial statements formerly adopted, seeing that, in so far as Holstein is concerned, by Royal Patent of 25th September, 1859, independently of any foreign influence, and exclusively by a sovereign decision of His Majesty the King, long before the Resolution of the 8th of March, and consequently at a period when the Diet had not yet laid claim to any competence in respect of the common finances, the share of Holstein in the general income and expenditure for the biennial financial period of 1860 to 1862 had already been fixed.

Any objection, therefore, to the so-called State-Budget of 3rd July, 1860, would be an objection to the Royal Patent of the 25th September, 1859, which, however, even from the point of view assumed in the Resolution of the 8th of March, could seek a foundation only by attributing a retrospective force to that Resolution. But such an interpretation of the said Resolution would not only be incompatible with the most indubitable sovereign rights of His Majesty the King, but also, as above urged, be in direct contradiction to the tenor of the said Resolution, the object of which was simply to set forth a stipulation deemed desirable by the German Diet for the further procedure of His Majesty's Government, therefore for the future; a stipulation, moreover, avowedly acknow. ledged, in every statement, to be a new one. If, in order, to a certain extent, to explain this contradiction, it has been remarked in the Report of the Committee (sub III), that the said patent was at the time unknown to the Diet, and could not therefore have been alluded to in the Resolution, it must be mentioned that the note of the Danish Ambassador of the 2nd of November, 1859 (printed on page 78 of last year's Protocol), had already stated word for word as follows:



“His Majesty has thus already fixed, by a Royal Resolution, the budget of the Duchy of Holstein, in so far as the general concerns of the monarchy are affected, for the ensuing financial period, within the specified guarantees."

And in the statement made at the sitting of the 8th of March, prior to the passing of the Resolution (page 168 of last year's Protocol), it was thus expressly said and announced :

Therefore, as His Majesty also during the last meeting of the Council of the Empire, ensured the independence of the Duchies of Holstein and Lauenburg in respect of the Resolutions of the Council, so the budget for the Duchy of Holstein was already fixed for the ensuing biennial financial period by a special Royal Resolution, prior to the opening of the same, in so far as it affects the common concerns of the monarchy.”

In the face of this repeated and complete statement of the case in point, and upon which, at present, so great a stress is laid, His Majesty's Government can the less admit that the Diet has been left uninformed of the law containing that determination seeing that the patent was published forthwith as such, and precisely in such a way that the Diet, if it wanted occasion for passing a Resolution on the so-called State Budget of the 3rd July, 1860, would have derived it therefrom.

If the motion in question makes mention of the supposed rights of the Duchy of Lauenburg as regards this State Budget, it must be remarked in conclusion that, on the one hand, for Lauenburg also the needful Ordinances had been issued by Royal Patent of 25th September, 1859; on the other hand, that the special financial position of that province is of so peculiar a nature, that the setting before them of the general budget would not be of the slightest interest to the Lauenburg Estates, so that they have never expressed such a wish, either in the representation addressed to the Diet, or to His Majesty's Government.

In case His Majesty's Goverument should not feel themselves in a position to comply with the requirements of the two first points of the motion in question, the united Committees have proposed that the procedure entered upon in compliance with the Resolution of 12th August, 1858, be once more adopted.

The execution proceedings initiated by the Resolution of the Diet of 12th August, 1858, were, as was then insisted upon by the Danish Ambassador (page 995 of the Protocols), scarcely formally justified by the legislation of the Confederation, which affords no ground for the self-determined combination of the Commission of Execution with a Committee appointed for the management of a special matter, nor yet for the right to set the said Commission in action without a formal resolution of the Diet, and without repeated

investigation into the state of the case. For these reasons alone His Majesty's Government would be obliged to enter a protest against connecting that former initiation with proceedings upon this basis. But thereto must be added the far weightier consideration, that the Resolution of 12th August, 1858, clearly contemplated the execution proceedings upon totally different premises, and for a totally different object from such as would accompany their present resumption. At that time the various constitutional provisions in the Duchies of Holstein and Lauenburg objected to by the Diet were still maintained in force by His Majesty's Government, and the object of the Resolutions was to effect the abrogation of those provisions. This object was soon after completely attained by the publication of the Royal Patent of 6th November of the same year; and should proceedings in execution be again entered upon under such entirely altered circumstances, those proceedings would not only have to commence with the first stage as prescribed by the regulations as to executions, but they must also state, and define the limits of, that demand alone, which the Diet resting upon the Federal laws makes the object of the execution and the purport of the ultimatum.

Hence, in the present state of affairs, His Majesty's Government could regard executionary measures on the part of the Confederation only as a proceeding not in conformity with its constitution, and consequently as beyond the competence of the Diet.

The sole object of such a proceeding now could only be to bring about a new and final arrangement of the relation of Holstein and Lauenburg towards the monarchy at large. But, on the one hand,

, this task is not facilitated for His Majesty's Government, inasmuch as the Diet, which objected to those provisions of the Constitution that have been abrogated, on the scoro that such provisions in their opinion infringed upon the parity of rights and the independence of the two Duchies, have not yet precisely defined these general ideas, liable as they are to such diversified interpretation. On the other hand, the question is not simply of what concerns Holstein and Lauenburg, but of the position of these Duchies in and with regard to the entire monarchy, in so far, therefore, of its constitutional affairs in general, and in this respect, as a matter of course, the settlement of these questions no longer lies within the legal competence of the Confederation.

Under these circumstances, His Majesty's Government had a right to expect that the Diet, which, moreover, can have found no special cause for intervention in respect of Holstein, either on any any application from the Holstein Estates, or in the undertaking of a particular guarantee (vide Final Act of Vienna Article LXI), wonld have granted the time peedful for the solution of this difficult problem. The more so, seeing that a further proceeding on the part of the Confederation in the path entered upon, unforeseen as it has been by His Majesty's Government, renders a normal solution next to impossible; and His Majesty's Government, to their very great regret, cannot but recognize therein, not alone a violation of the former resolutions, but also of the spirit and letter of the fundamental laws and Treaties binding upon all the members of the Confederation, and above all an infringement of the rights secured to His Majesty the King by those very laws and Treaties.

In consequence hereof, the Ambassador has been charged by his Government to record his vote against the motion in question, and referring to preceding statements and protestations, once more to enter a solemn protest against the same, in behalf of the sovereign rights of the King his most gracious master.

The Netherlands for Luxemburg and Limburg. The same reasons which precluded the King-Grand-Duke from voting in favour of the motions, whereon a division took place at the 27th sitting, of 12th August, 1858, equally prevent His Majesty in the present instance from acceding to the motion of the United Committees under consideration, exclusively directed to the resumption of the proceedings then initiated. His Majesty cannot arrive at the conviction that the Diet has a right to pass resolutions or to make motions so seriously encroaching upon the constitutional and administrative concerns of the Duchies of Holstein and Lauenburg; resolutions in compliance with which even financial laws actually promulgated are to be declared null and void.

His Majesty, on the contrary, entertains the firm conviction that those concerns can be settled only in the way of accommodation, and that in the course they have taken since the participation of the Commission of Execution in the deliberations of the Holstein. Lauenburg Committee, they cannot arrive at a successful issue.

Even though the Royal-Ducal Government has made certain promises as to the position which is to be secured to the two Duchies in the general Constitution of the Danish Monarchy, it does not, in the judgment of the Dutch Government, lie in the province of the German Diet to make a one-sided settlement of the nature of that position, or to introduce it by force.

But an essentially conciliatory course seems requisite herein, and a meeting of Plenipotentiaries from the parties interested, with a view to attempt an accommodation, would be at once judicious and to the purpose.

In this respect it has not escaped the observation of His Majesty the King-Grand-Duke, that the Holstein Estates have not for a long while applied direct to the Confederation, so that there is no state

[ocr errors]

ment of grievances or formal motion of any sort whatever on the part of the Estates themselves before the Diet, nor is there any evidence that advances of a conciliatory character have been made on the part of the Estates towards the Sovereign of the Danish Monarchy.

Such being the case, His Majesty cannot be induced to yield his assent to motions which, under existing circumstances, he is convinced could only lead to dubious and critical consequences, with regard to the internal and external relations of the German Confederation.

His Majesty the rather deems it incumbent upon him, in his position in the Confederation, to express at once his view and his desire, that during and even beyond the proposed 6 weeks interim, endeavours to effect a reconciliation should be made in the manner above suggested.

His Majesty is perfectly assured, that with the present rapid progress of events, neither party will deem too rigid a persistency in presumed prescriptive rights advisable, but rather that both will be inclined to avoid by conciliatory steps serious, or at all events deeply to be deplored conflicts, between the Confederation and one of its most important members.

The Ambassador, in conclusion, is directed to declare that his Government cannot undertake any responsibility for the consequences of the proposed resolutions.

CORRESPONDENCE between Great Britain, Austria, Ba

varia, Denmark, France, Germanic Confederation, Hamburgh, Hanover, Prussia, Saxony, and Sweden, respecting the Affairs of the Duchies of Schleswig and Holstein.*—1861.

[Continued from Vol. L. Page 1172.]

No. 96.—Mr. Murray to Lord J. Russell.-- (Received January 14.) MY LORD,

Dresden, January 11, 1861. I HAVE the honour to transmit herewith, for your Lordship’s information, the translation of M. de Beust's speech on the Holstein question in the Saxon Chambers on the 7th instant.

I have, &c. Lord J. Russell.


* Laid before Parliament, 1861.

« PreviousContinue »