Ebooks, Fiction, Non-Fiction 1000s of Free books and stories online to read now ~ Main Page




Berlin and Vienna by James Morgan Hart


The pre-eminence of London and Paris in the European world is unquestioned, and, so far as we can foresee, permanent. Although England is withdrawing herself more and more from the affairs of the Continent, and becoming a purely insular and quasi-Oriental power—although France has lost the lead in war and politics, and does not seem likely to regain it—yet the capitals of these two countries hold their own. In the accumulation of wealth and population, in science, letters and the arts, London and Paris seem to be out of reach of competition. Other cities grow, and grow rapidly, but do not gain upon them. Even Berlin and Vienna, which have become so conspicuous of late years, will remain what they are—local centres rather than world-centres. The most zealous friend of German and Austrian progress can scarcely claim for Berlin and Vienna, as cities, more than secondary interest. Nevertheless, these minor capitals are not to be overlooked, especially at the present conjuncture. One of them is the residence of the most powerful dynasty in Europe: the other is the base of an aggressive movement which tends to free at last the lower Danube from Mohammedanism. If, as is possible, the courts of Berlin and Vienna should decide to act in concert, if the surplus vitality and population of the German empire, instead of finding its outlet in the Western hemisphere, should be reversed and made to flow to the south-east, we should witness a strange recuscitation of the past. We should behold the Germanic race, after two thousand years of vicissitude, of migration, conquest, subordination and triumph, reverting to its early home, reoccupying the lands from which it started to overthrow Rome. The Eastern question, as it is called, forces itself once more upon the attention of Christendom, and craves an answer. Twenty years ago it was deferred by the interference of France and England. France is now hors de combat, and England has better work elsewhere. Berlin, Vienna and St. Petersburg have the decision in their hands. It would be a waste of time to speculate upon coming events. Even the negotiations plying to and fro at this moment are veiled in the strictest secrecy. Possibly no one of the trio, Bismarck, Andrassy and Gortschakoff, dares to look beyond the hour. The question may be deferred again, but it must be decided some day upon a lasting basis. Stripped of unessentials, it is a question of race-supremacy. The downfall of European Turkey being conceded as a foregone conclusion, which of the two races, the Slavic or the Germanic, is to oversee and carry out the reconstruction of the region of the lower Danube? Is Russia, already so immense, to place herself at the head of Panslavism and extend her borders to the Dardanelles? Or is Austria, backed by North Germany and aided by the Hungarians and the Roumanians, to resume her mediæval office as marchia orientalis and complete the mission for which she was called into being by Charlemagne? A question which even the most prophetic of politicians would hesitate to answer. Yet, in any case, it is possible that Vienna and Berlin may become the centres of a great Pangermanic reflux not unlike the efflux that swept over Northern Gaul and England in the fifth century. In view of such a possibility it behooves us to study these two capitals more closely—to consider their origin and growth, their influence and their civic character.

Their history exhibits in many respects a marked parallelism. Each was founded as a frontier-city, as the outpost of aggressive civilization. Each has shared to the full the vicissitudes of the dynasty to which it was attached. Each has ended in becoming the centre and capital of an extensive empire. On the other hand, the differences between them are no less significant. Vienna is the older of the two. It can claim, in fact, a faint reflex of the glory of the old Roman world, for it was founded as a castrum and military colony by Vespasian in the first century of our era. This ancient Vindobona was the head-quarters of the thirteenth legion, which was replaced in the next century by the more famous tenth, the pia fidelis. Until the fifth century, Vindobona and the neighboring Carnuntum (not far from the modern Pressburg) were the seats of Roman power along the middle Danube. But when the empire fell, they fell with it. For centuries all traces of Vienna are lost. The valley of the Danube was the highway for Goth and Slave, Avar and Hun, who trampled down and ruined as they advanced or receded. Not until the Carolingian era do we find indications of a more stable order of things. The great Carl, having consolidated all the resources of Western Europe under his autocratic will, having crushed the Saracens and subdued the Saxons and Bavarians, resolved to make the Danube as well as the Rhine his own. The idea was stamped with genius, as all his ideas were, and the execution was masterly. The Frankish leudes, with their Saxon and Bavarian auxiliaries, routed the Avars in battle after battle, and drove them back beyond the Raab and the Theiss. The "eastern marches" became, and have remained to this day, the bulwark of Christendom. Carl's successors in Germany, the Saxon and Franconian emperors, continued the work. In the year 996 we find the word Ostar-rîch (OEsterreich) appearing for the first time. From 976 to 1246 the duchies were in the possession of the Babenberg family. In 1276 they were annexed by Rudolph of Habsburg. Ever since then they have constituted the central possession of the house of which he was the founder.

Prior to the middle of the twelfth century Vienna appears to have been a town of little importance. In fact, the precise time when the name Wien first occurs is in dispute. Giesebrecht discovered it in documents purporting to date from the beginning of the eleventh century, but the genuineness of the documents is doubted by most historians. The town is mentioned several times in the Nibelungenlied, and described as existing in the times of Etzel (Attila, king of the Huns). But this is undoubtedly the invention of popular fancy. The Nibelungenlied was put into its present shape between the middle and the end of the twelfth century. The poet has changed more than one feature of the original saga, has blended, not unskillfully, primitive Teutonic myth with historic personages and events of the early Middle Ages, and has interpolated sayings and traditions of his own times. The Viennese of the twelfth century sought, with pardonable vanity, to invest their town with the sacredness of antiquity. But we can scarcely allow their claims. On the contrary, we must deny all continuity between the Vindobona of the fourth and the Wien of the twelfth century. The Roman castrum disappeared, the Babenberg capital appeared, but between the two there is an unexplored gulf. Yet this incipient Vienna, although only the capital of a ducal family that had a hard fight at times for existence, holds an honorable position in the annals of German literature. The Babenberg dukes were generous patrons of the Muses. Their court was frequented by minnesingers and knights-errant. Their praises were sung by Walther von der Vogelweide, Ulrich von Lichtenstein and others. Walther, in his ode to Duke Leopold, has almost anticipated Shakespeare, when he sings—

His largess, like the gentle rain,

Refresheth land and folk.

Vienna and the memorable Wartburg in Thuringia were the acknowledged centres of taste and good breeding. They were the courts of last resort in all questions of style, grammar and versification.

It will not be necessary to follow the growth of Vienna in detail during the last six hundred years. The dangers to which the city was exposed from time to time were formidable. They came chiefly from two quarters—from Bohemia and from Hungaro-Turkey. Charles IV. and Wenzel favored the Bohemians at the expense of the Germans, and preferred Prague to Vienna as a residence. The Czechish nation increased rapidly in wealth and culture until, having embraced the doctrines of Huss, it felt itself strong enough to assert a quasi-independence. The Hussite wars which ensued in the fifteenth century ended in the downfall of Bohemia. But the Austrian duchies, and even Bavaria and Saxony, did not escape without cruel injuries. More than once the fanatic Taborites laid the land waste up to the gates of Vienna. The Reformation, a century later, did not take deep root in Austria. At best it was only tolerated, and the Jesuit reaction, encouraged by Rudolph II. and Matthias, made short work of it. The Thirty Years' war gave Ferdinand II. an opportunity of restoring Bohemia to the Roman Catholic communion. The victory of the White Hill (1620) prostrated Bohemia at his feet: the Hussite preachers were executed or banished, the estates of the nobility who had taken part in the rebellion were confiscated, and the Catholic worship reinstated by force of arms. So thoroughly was the work done that Bohemia at the present day is, next to the Tyrol, the stronghold of Catholicism. But Ferdinand's success, complete to outward appearance, was in reality a blunder. The Czechish and the German nationalities were permanently estranged, and the former, despoiled, degraded, incapacitated for joining the work of reform upon which the latter has finally entered, now constitutes an obstacle to progress. While the Austrian duchies are at present extremely liberal in their religious and political tendencies, Bohemia and Polish Galicia are confederated with the Tyrol in opposing every measure that savors of liberalism. Bohemia has been surnamed the Ireland of the Austrian crown.

The union of Hungary with the house of Habsburg has always been personal rather than constitutional. The Hungarians claimed independence in all municipal and purely administrative matters. Moreover, during the Thirty Years' war, and even later, a large portion of the land was in possession of the Turks and their allies, the Transylvanians, with whom the Hungarians were in sympathy. The first great siege of Vienna by the Turks was in 1529—the last, and by far the most formidable, in 1683. The city escaped only through the timely assistance of the Poles under Sobieski. Ten years later the tide had changed. The Austrian armies, led by Prince Eugene, defeated the Turks in a succession of decisive battles, and put an end for ever to danger from that quarter. Hungary and Transylvania became permanent Austrian possessions.

Amid such alternations of fortune the growth of Vienna was necessarily slow. In 1714, after six centuries of existence, its population amounted to only 130,000. The city retained all the characteristics of a fortress and frontier-post. The old part, or core, now called the "inner town," was a compact body of houses surrounded by massive fortification-walls and a deep moat. Outside of this was a rayon or clear space six hundred feet in width, separating the city from the suburbs. These suburbs, Leopoldstadt, Mariahilf, etc., now incorporated with the inner city in one municipal government, were then small detached villages. From time to time the rayon was encroached upon by enterprising builders, with the connivance of the emperor or the garrison commander. The disastrous wars with France at the end of the last century and beginning of the present were in reality a gain to Vienna. Napoleon's bombardment and capture of the city in 1809, before the battle of Wagram, demonstrated conclusively that the fortifications were unable to withstand modern artillery. Accordingly, after the general European peace had been established by the Congress of Vienna, the city was declared officially by the emperor to be no longer a fortification. But the walls and ditch, so far as they had not been injured by the French, were still suffered to remain: they were substantially intact as late as 1848, and were strong enough to enable the revolutionists who had possession of the city to hold it for forty-eight hours against the army of Prince Windischgrätz.

The final reconstruction of the city was not begun in earnest until 1857, and occupied ten years or more. The walls were leveled to the ground, the moat was filled in, a broad girdle-street (the Ringstrasse) laid out to encircle the inner city, and the adjacent ground on either side was converted into building-lots. In this brief space of time Vienna was changed from a quasi-mediæval town to a modern capital of the most pronounced type. The Ringstrasse became a promenade like that of the old Paris boulevards, but broader, grander and lined with palatial edifices no whit inferior to the French. The metamorphosis is so startling that a tourist revisiting the city after an absence of twenty years would have difficulty in persuading himself that he was indeed in the residence of Maria Theresa, Joseph II. and Metternich. No American city can exhibit a like change in the same time. Our cities, although expanding incessantly, have preserved their original features. Even new Chicago, springing from the ashes of the old, has not departed from the former ground-plan and style of building. And no American city can point to a succession of buildings like the Franz Joseph Barracks, the Cur Salon with its charming park, the Grand Hôtel and the Hôtel Impérial, the Opera-house, the Votive Church, the new Stock Exchange, and the Rudolf Barracks. When the projected House of Deputies, the City Hall, and the University building are completed, the Ring street will deserve to stand by the side of the Rue de Rivoli and the Champs Élysées. The quondam suburbs (Vorstädte), eight in number, are now one with the city proper. Encircling them is the mur d' octroi, or barrier where municipal tolls are levied upon articles of food and drink. Outside of this barrier, again, are the suburbs of the future, the Vororte, such as Favoriten, Fünfhaus, Hernals, etc. The growth of the population is rapid and steady. In 1714 it was 130,000, in 1772 only 193,000. A century later, in 1869, it had risen to 811,000 (including the Vororte); at the present day it can scarcely fall short of 1,000,000.

Not in population and adornment alone has Vienna progressed. Much has been done, or at least projected, for the comfort and health of the residents and for the increase of trade. The entire city has been repaved with Belgian pavement, the houses renumbered after the Anglo-American fashion. The railroads centring in the city are numerous, and the stations almost luxurious in their appointments. But the two chief enterprises are the Semmering aqueduct and the Danube Regulation. The former, begun in 1869 and completed in 1873, would do honor to any city. It is about fifty miles in length, and has a much greater capacity than the Croton aqueduct. The pure, cold Alpine water brought from two celebrated springs near the Semmering Pass, flows into the distributing reservoir on the South Hill, near the Belvedere Palace, at an elevation of one hundred and fifty feet above the city. The pressure is great enough to throw a jet nearly one hundred feet high from the fountain in the Schwarzenberg Square. The Danube Regulation, as its name implies, is an attempt to improve the navigation of the river. The Danube, which in this part of its course has a general flow from north-west to south-east, approaches within a few miles of Vienna. Here, at Nussdorf, it breaks into two or three shallow and tortuous channels, which meander directly away from the city, as if in sheer willfulness, and reunite at the Lobau, as far below the city as Nussdorf is above it. The "regulation" consists in a new artificial channel, cut in a straight line from Nussdorf to the Lobau. In length it is about nine miles, in breadth about twelve hundred feet: the average depth of water will be not less than ten feet. It was begun in 1869 and finished in April, 1875. This new channel, which passes the Leopoldstadt suburb a short distance outside the late exhibition grounds, will render unnecessary the transshipment of goods and passengers at Nussdorf and the Lobau respectively, and will also, it is hoped, prevent the inundations by which the low region to the north of the river has been so often ravaged.

Berlin is inferior to Vienna in antiquity and in variety of incident and association. The capital of the present German empire consisted originally of two small rival towns, or rather villages, standing almost side by side on opposite banks of the Spree. The elder, Cöln, was incorporated as a municipality in 1232: the other, Berlin, is mentioned for the first time in 1244. Both names are of Vendic (Slavic) origin, and designated villages of the hunting and fishing Vends, who were dispossessed by German colonists.

Cöln-Berlin, the marches of Brandenburg, East and West Prussia—in fact, all the now Germanized lands to the east of the Elbe—owe their Teutonic character to a great reflux, a reconquest so to speak, which is barely mentioned in the usual textbooks of German history, yet which is one of the most noteworthy phenomena in the development of modern Europe. At the beginning of the fourth century German tribes (German in the widest sense of the term) occupied the broad expanse from the Rhine to the Dwina and the head-waters of the Dnieper. A century later they had receded as far as the Vistula. Still another century later, about 500, the German linguistic domain was bounded on the east by the Ens, the Bohemian Hills, the upper Main, the Saal and the Elbe. The downfall of the Thuringian kingdom was the occasion of Slavic encroachments even on the left bank of the Elbe between Stendal and Lüneburg. This German recession, which boded the Slavization not only of Eastern but also of Central Europe, was due to various causes, many of which are veiled in the impenetrable darkness which still hangs over the early Middle Ages. The chief causes were undoubtedly the Germanic migration over the Roman world and the settlement of the Franks in Northern Gaul and the Saxons in England.

But with the Carolingian dynasty came a new era. Charles Martel, Pepin and Charlemagne aspired to universal monarchy. Not content with France, Northern Spain, Italy and Germany proper, Charlemagne, as we have already seen, recaptured the middle Danube. His successors in Germany, the Saxon, Franconian and Swabian emperors, continued the impulse, but gave it in the main a different direction. Instead of moving toward the south-east, where they would have encountered stubborn opposition from the already compact Hungarian nationality, they chose for their field of colonization (or recolonization) the east and north-east. Throughout the eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth and fourteenth centuries we observe a strong and unremitting tide of German peasants, burghers and knights flowing through and over Brandenburg, Pomerania, Mecklenburg, Silesia, the Prussian duchies, and even into Lithuania, Curland, Livonia and Esthonia. We have here an explanation of the want of interest taken by the Germans in the Crusades. While the kings of England and France, the barons and counts of Brabant and Italy, were wasting their substance and the blood of their subjects in hopeless attempts to overthrow Mohammedanism on its own ground, the Germans were laying the foundations—unconsciously, it is true—of a new empire. The lands wrested from the Slaves were to be the kingdom of Frederick the Great. The work was done thoroughly, almost as thoroughly as the Saxon conquest of Britain. The Obotrites, Wiltzi, Ukern, Prussians, Serbs and Vends were annihilated or absorbed. The only traces of their existence now to be found are the scattered remnants of dialects spoken in remote villages or small districts, and the countless names of towns bequeathed by them to their conquerors. These names are often recognizable by the terminations in and itz. The most conspicuous factor in this labor of colonization was the Teutonic order of chivalry, transferred to the Baltic from Palestine. Königsberg, Dantzic, Memel, Thorn and Revel were the centres or the advanced posts of the movement. At the end of the reign of the grand master Winrich von Kniprode (1382) the Germanization of the region between the Elbe and the Niemen—the Polish province of Posen perhaps excepted—may be regarded, for all practical purposes, as finished. The acquisition of Brandenburg by the Hohenzollerns only solidified the conquest and guaranteed its future. It is safe to assume that even a large share, perhaps the greater share, of Poland itself would have been overrun in like manner but for the Hussite wars and the Thirty Years' war. The unfortunate Peace of Thorn (1466), whereby the lands of the Teutonic order and of the Brethren of the Sword became—in name at least—fiefs of the Polish crown, was due to internal dissensions among the German colonists and also to the distractions in Bohemia.

This apparent digression was necessary to a right understanding of the character of Berlin and its neighborhood in comparison with Vienna. Berlin was at the start a frontier post, but, unlike Vienna, it soon ceased to be one. Colonization and conquest left it far to the rear as an unimportant and thoroughly German town. The border-land of language and race was advanced from the Spree to the Niemen and Vistula. The language of these north-eastern districts is worthy of note. The knights of the Teutonic order were chiefly from South Germany, the inferior colonists from Low Germany of the Elbe, Weser and Rhine. Hence the necessity for a lingua communis, a mode of expression that should adapt itself to the needs of a mixed population. The dialect which proved itself most available was one which stood midway between High (South) and Low (North) German, and which itself might almost be called a linguistic compromise—namely, the Thuringian, and more especially in its Meissen form. This "Middle German," as it was styled, became the official language of Prussia, Silesia and the Baltic provinces. All very marked dialectic peculiarities were discarded one by one, until the residuum became a very homogeneous, uniform and correct mode of conventional speech. It will not surprise us, then, to perceive that the Curlanders, Livonians and Prussians (of the duchies) speak at the present day a more elegant German than the Berlinese, whose vernacular is strongly tinged with Plattdeutsch forms from the lower Elbe. A similar phenomenon is to be observed in our own country. We Americans, taken as a nation, speak a more correct English—i.e., an English freer from dialectic peculiarities—than the English themselves. We have but one conventional form of expression from Maine to California, and whatever lies outside of this may be bad grammar or slang, but is certainly not dialect.

The most important event in the history of the twin municipalities, Cöln-Berlin, was a change of dynasty. In 1415-18, Frederick of Hohenzollern, burgrave of Nuremberg, was invested with the margravate of Brandenburg and the electoral dignity. The Hohenzollerns, a few exceptions aside, have been a thrifty, energetic and successful family. Slowly, but with the precision of destiny, their motto, "From rock to sea"—once apparently an idle boast—has realized itself to the full, until they now stand foremost in Europe. It would pertain rather to a history of the Prussian monarchy than to a sketch like the present to trace, even in outline, the steps by which Brandenburg annexed one after another the Prussian duchies of the Teutonic order, Pomerania, Silesia, the province of Saxony, Westphalia, and in our own days Hanover and Hesse-Cassel. So far as Berlin is concerned, it will suffice to state that its history is not rich in episode or in marked characters. It long remained the obscure capital of a dynasty which the Guelfs and Habsburgs were pleased to look down upon as parvenu. During the Thirty Years' war, in which Brandenburg played such a pitiable part, Berlin was on the verge of extinction. By 1640 its population had been reduced to 6000. Even the great elector, passing his life in warfare, could do but little for his capital. His successor, Frederick I., the first king of the Prussians, was more fortunate. To him the city is indebted for most of its present features. He was the originator of the Friederichsstadt, the Friederichsstrasse, the Dorotheenstadt, the continuation of the Linden to the Thiergarten, the arsenal, and the final shaping of the old castle. In 1712 the population was 61,000. The wars of Frederick the Great, brought to a triumphal issue, made Berlin more and more a centre of trade and industry. To all who could look beyond the clouds of political controversy and prejudice it was evident that Berlin was destined to become the leading city of North Germany and the worthy rival of Vienna. Even the humiliation of Jena and the subsequent occupation by Napoleon were only transitory. Berlin, not being a fortified city, was spared at least the misery of a siege. After the downfall of Napoleon, Prussia and its capital resumed their mission of absorption and expansion. The "Customs Union" accelerated the pace. In 1862 the population was 480,000; in 1867, 702,437; in 1871, 826,341. At present it is in excess of Vienna. The Austrian and French wars have given to its growth an almost feverish impulse.

A comparison of Berlin and Vienna in their present state will suggest many reflections. We have seen that they resemble each other in origin, rate of growth and actual size. In their composition, however, they differ widely. The population of Berlin is homogeneous, devotedly attached to the Hohenzollern dynasty, enterprising in trade and manufactures, thrifty and economical. It spends far less than it earns. For upward of half a century it has been subjected to the most careful military and scientific training. Moreover, Berlin is the geographical and political centre of a thoroughly homogeneous realm. We cannot afford to encourage any delusions on this point. It has become of late the fashion among certain French writers and their imitators to sneer at the Prussians as semi-Slaves, to call them Borussians, and contrast them with the so-called Germans proper of Bavaria, Swabia and the Rhine; whereas the fact of ethnography is that the Prussians are an amalgamation of the best—that is, the hardiest and most enterprising—elements of all the German districts. The purest blood and the most active brains of the old empire left their homes on the Main and the Weser to colonize and conquer under the leadership of the Teutonic order. The few drops of Slavic blood are nothing in comparison. Slavic names of towns and villages do not prove Slavic descent; else, by like reasoning, we should have to pronounce "France" and "French" words implying German blood, and "Normandy" an expression for Norse lineage. So far from being composite, Berlin is ultra German. It is more national, in this sense, than Dresden, where the Saxon court was for generations Polish in tastes and sympathies, and where English and American residents constitute at this day a perceptible element; more so than Bremen and Hamburg, which are entrepôts for foreign commerce; more so than Frankfort, with its French affiliations. The few Polish noblemen and workmen from Posen only serve to relieve the otherwise monotonous German type of the city. The French culture assumed by Frederick the Great and his contemporaries was a mere surface varnish, a passing fashion that left the underlying structure intact. Furthermore, Berlin is profoundly Protestant. The Reformation was accepted here with enthusiasm, and its adoption was more of a folk-movement than elsewhere, Thuringia alone excepted. By virtue of its Protestantism, then, Berlin is accessible to liberal ideas and capable of placing itself in the van of progress without breaking abruptly with the past. Its liberalism, unlike that of Catholic Paris, does not lead to radicalism or communism. Finally, it is to be borne in mind that Berlin, having become the official capital, must of necessity attract more and more the ablest men from all quarters of the empire—the members of the imperial Diet, politicians, lobbyists, bankers, speculators and their satellites. Along with the good, it is true, comes much of the bad. Berlin is unquestionably the present goal for needy and unscrupulous adventurers of the worst sort. Not a few pessimists, native and foreign, have made the fact a text for dismal prognostications of the city's future degeneracy. Yet this is taking a shortsighted and unjust view of things. The great mass of the population is still sound to the core. The unsettled state of monetary and social relations cannot but be transitory, and compulsory education and military service cannot but operate in the future as they have done in the past. So long as the garde-corps remains what it is, the flower of the army, it will be idle to speak of the degeneracy of Berlin. We must not forget that only five years ago, at Mars la Tour, Brandenburg and Berlin regiments fought the most remarkable battle, in many respects, of modern times.

On almost all the points above indicated Vienna is the direct opposite of Berlin. It is not homogeneous in itself, neither is it the centre of a homogeneous empire; its population is not thrifty nor enterprising; it is Catholic, and not Protestant. The Hohenzollerns have achieved their success by hard fighting. With the exception of the original marches of Brandenburg there is scarcely a district in the kingdom of Prussia that has not been wrested from some enemy and held as the spoils of war. This policy of forcible annexation or robbery, as the historian may be pleased to call it—while inconsistent with principles of equity, has had nevertheless its marked advantages. Perceiving that the sword alone could keep what the sword had won, the Hohenzollerns have ever striven to identify their dynastic interests with the well-being of their people, to make their régime one of order and improvement, to repress the power of the nobility without crushing its spirit, to adjust a satisfactory compromise between centralization and local independence, and to stamp their own uncompromising spirit upon each individual subject. Hence their success in creating a nation out of provinces. Every Prussian has always felt that he was a member of one indissoluble commonwealth. The Habsburgs, on the contrary, have grown great through marriage. Their policy is aptly expressed in the oft-quoted phrase, Bella gerant alii, tu felix Austria nube. Regarding their sway as a matter of hereditary succession and divine right, they have been content to let each province or kingdom remain as it was when acquired, an isolated Crown dependency. They have not put forth serious and persistent efforts to weld the Tyrol, the Austrian duchies, Bohemia, Galicia, much less Hungary, in one compact realm. They have done even worse. They have committed repeatedly a blunder which the Hohenzollerns, even in their darkest days, never so much as dreamed of—namely, the blunder of hounding down one province or race by means of another. They have used the Germans to crush the Bohemians, the Poles to thwart the Germans, the Hungarians to check all the others, and the Croats to defeat the Hungarians. From this has resulted a deplorable conflict of races. The present emperor, Francis Joseph, appears to the eye of the close observer a man bent beneath the hopeless task of reconciliation. He is called upon to bear the accumulated evils of centuries of misrule.

Vienna is a faithful reflex in miniature of Austria in general. The heedless or untrained tourist, misled by names and language and the outward forms of intercourse, may pronounce the city a most delightful German capital: he may congratulate himself upon the opportunity it gives him of reviving his reminiscences of the old German emperors and contrasting their times with the present. But the tourist, were he to go beneath the surface, would discover that he is treading upon peculiar ground. We have only to scratch the Viennese to find something that is not German. We shall discover beneath the surface Hungarian, or Slavic, or Italian blood. A very large portion of the population, perhaps even the greater portion, speaks two, three or four languages with equal facility. New York excepted, no great city will compare with Vienna for medley of speech and race. The truth is, that the city still retains its early character as a frontier-post, or, to speak more correctly, it is the focus where the currents from North-eastern Italy, South-eastern Germany, Bohemia, Galicia and Hungary converge without thoroughly intermingling. The conventional German used by the middle and lower classes is interspersed with terms borrowed from the other languages, with dialectic idioms, provincialisms and peculiarities of pronunciation that cause it to sound like an unfamiliar tongue.

In outward appearance the city is not less diversified than in population. The gay bustle of the streets, the incessant roll of fiacres, the style of dress, the crowded cafés remind one more of Paris than of Germany. The cuisine and ways of living and the architecture here and there have borrowed freely from Italy and France. A certain fondness for gorgeous coloring and profuse ornamentation is due to Hungarian influence. The bulbous cupolas surmounted with sharply tapering spires, irreverently nicknamed Zwiebel-Thürme ("onion-towers"), are evidently stragglers from Byzantium, and contrast sharply with the rich Gothic of St. Stephen's and the new Votive Church. By the side of Vienna, Berlin is painfully monotonous. Few of the public buildings can be called handsome, or even picturesque. The plaster used for the outer coating of the houses is apt to discolor or flake off, so that the general aspect is that of premature age. Worthy of note is the new city hall, a successful effort to make an imposing and elegant structure of brick. In the neighborhood of the Thiergarten the private residences evince taste and refinement. Taken all in all, Berlin has not yet shaken off its provincialism, and is far behind Vienna in drainage, water-supply and paving. The Berlinese have much to do and undo before they can rightfully call their city a Weltstadt.

In the matter of economy, at least, they are worthy of all praise. No other community spends less in proportion to its income. From the emperor down, each person seems to count his pence. This self-denial, which borders at times on parsimony, is the result of training and circumstances. The soil in the eastern part of the kingdom, and especially around Berlin, is not fertile. It yields its crops only to the most careful tillage. Moreover, prolonged struggles for political existence and supremacy, with the necessity of being on the watch for sudden wars and formidable invasions, have sharpened the wits of the Berlinese and taught them the advisability of laying by for a rainy day. The Viennese, on the contrary, live rather for the passing hour. Austria is favored with an agreeable climate and an extremely fertile soil. The immediate vicinity of Vienna is highly picturesque and invites to merrymaking excursions, while life in the city is a hunt after pleasure. The court and the nobility, once proverbial for wealth, set an example of profuse expenditure which is followed by the middle and even the lower classes.

Were it possible, by passing a magic wand over the Austrian duchies and Vienna, to transform them into a Brandenburg or a Silesia, the Eastern question would be much simplified. The entire valley of the lower Danube, Hungary not excepted, suffers from a want of laborers. Agriculture, mining and manufactures are in a primitive state unworthy of the Middle Ages. The exhibition from Roumania at Vienna in 1873, although arrayed tastefully, was a lamentable confession of poverty and backwardness. Even Hungary, anxious to display her autonomy to the best advantage, could show little more than the beginnings of a change. The actual condition of the lower Danube is a reproach to European civilization. Everything seems to be lacking—good roads and tolerable houses, kitchen and farming utensils, workshops of the most rudimentary sort, clothing, popular education, the first conceptions of science. Germany is the only source from which to expect assistance in the spread of material comfort and spiritual enlightenment, for Germany alone has population and education to spare. Yet that part of Germany which is nearest at hand is not adequate of itself to the task. The Austrians have not such a preponderancy of numbers and influence within their own borders as would qualify them for conducting successfully a great movement of colonization. Besides, it must be admitted, with all due respect to the many good qualities of the Austrians, that colonists should be of "sterner stuff"—should have more self-denial, greater capacity for work and more talent for self-government. In these particulars the North Germans are unquestionably superior. The improved condition of Roumania (Moldavia and Wallachia) under Prince Charles of Hohenzollern teaches us what may be accomplished by an energetic administration. During the past ten years the army has been drilled and equipped after the Prussian fashion, the finances placed on a tolerable footing, and practical independence of Turkey asserted. At the Vienna exhibition Roumania was the only one of the nominally-vassal states that did not display the star and crescent. Were the prince unrestrained by respect for Austrian and Prussian diplomacy, and free to lead his well-disciplined army of fifty thousand men into the field, he would give the signal for a general uprising in Bosnia and Servia, and thus probably succeed in severing all the Christian provinces from the Porte.

In one essential feature the Germanization of Prussia in the Middle Ages differed necessarily from any like movement now possible along the Danube. The Vends, Serbs and other Slaves were heathens, and their overthrow and extermination was a crusade as well as a conquest. The Church consecrated the sword, the monk labored side by side with the knight. Such is not the case in the Danube Valley. Whatever value we may set upon the Christianity of the Slovenes, Herzegovinians, Bulgarians and Roumanians, we certainly cannot call them heathens. They belong to the Roman Catholic, to the Greek, or to the Greek United Church, although their worship and religious conceptions are strongly tinged with reminiscences of Slavic paganism. Neither is a conquest, in the military sense, possible. Public opinion in Europe has learned to look with abhorrence on such violent measures, not to speak of the mutual jealousies of Austria, Russia and Germany. The question is rather one of peaceful colonization, of the introduction of Germans in large numbers, and the gradual adoption of Western improvements. Without some strong influx of the sort the mere separation of the Danubian principalities from Turkey would be only a halfway measure. It would put an end to the outrageous tyranny of the Turkish governors, but it would not ensure industrial and intellectual progress. And if Germany does not undertake the work, where else is aid to be looked for? We see what the Germans have done for us in the valleys of the upper Ohio and Mississippi. We have only to imagine a like stream of population rolling for twenty years along the Danube. Some of the conditions there are even more favorable than they have been with us. The German colonist in America has been confronted from the start by a civilization fully equal to his own. In the Danubian principalities he would rise at once to a position of superiority. The cessation of German immigration would be undoubtedly a loss to America, but its diversion to the south-east would be a great gain to Europe. It would settle, perhaps, for ever, the grave question of race-supremacy—it would enable Austria to become a really German power, and Vienna a really German city. Last, but not least, it would reclaim from Mohammedanism and barbarism lands that were lost to Christian culture only five centuries ago in a moment of shameful weakness.