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from Turkey. It was evidently his policy to pre-
We cannot, however, bring ourselves to believe Prussia. that the now more friendly feeling of Russia towards Austria is as yet shared by Prussia. That self - satisfied and adventurous nation, judging others by herself, cannot imagine that her late foe has banished all ideas of vengeance. Perhaps, indeed, the Prussian rulers, intent on finding a
mote in their neighbour's eye, ignore the beam in
The mote would in this case be a pardonable longing for retaliation—the beam, an entirely unwarrantable rapacity; a wish to ignore the territorial line determined by treaty, and thus once more to give free scope to an insatiable ambition. This is but hypothesis on our part, and we can only justify it by the recollection of the now famous despatch from Count Usedom. -Count Bismarck's agent in Florence---to General La Marmora, * in which the Prussian statesman suggested that Austria should be “stabbed to the heart." The energetic Prussian Prime Minister must have been much surprised at the tough cat-like vitality of Austria after the blow which was to have been fatal to her. His astonishment must, we think, greatly have resembled that of the spectators of the Indian basket trick, when, after the juggler has made the fearful thrust, the supposed victim walks away unhurt. But let us be charitable, and assume that Count Bismarck's dismay at the unexpected result was greater than his anger, and that he is inclined to look upon Count Beust rather in the
* See Note VII.
light of a political conjuror than in that of a diplomatic adversary. It was not easy for a statesman in Austria, more especially for one who was not Austrian born, to introduce at once a forget-andforgive policy amidst a nation still smarting under defeat, without rendering himself liable to the reproach of bartering its dignity. To make humble overtures to the Court of Berlin, and obsequiously solicit an alliance, was naturally not to be thought of; and, even for argument's sake, putting the national honour out of the
question, overtures were rendered absolutely impossible by the very principle which Count Bismarck had made the sine quâ non of the Treaty of Prague : “ that common interests between Austria and Prussia should cease to exist." All that the Austrian Prime Minister could do was to endeavour to pour oil on the troubled waters, and avail himself of every opportunity, consistent with the dignity of the State intrusted to his care, of once
, again promoting friendly feelings between the rival powers.
In November, 1866, Baron Beust expressed, in the following despatch to Count Wimpffen, the Austrian ambassador at Berlin, the
wish for the speedy revision, agreeably with Art. XIII. of the Treaty of Prague, of the commercial treaty of the 11th April, 1865, in order to reduce the customs dues and facilitate trade :
(Translation from the German.)
“ Vienna, November 8, 1866. “ Since it is provided by Art. XIII. of the Treaty of Prague that negotiations should as speedily as possible be entered into for a revision of the Commercial and Customs Treaty of the 11th of April, 1865, in the sense of granting increased facilities to the mutual intercourse of the two countries, and as it cannot be desired on either side, in view of the stipulated period of six months, that industrial circles should be allowed to remain in uncertainty any longer on this point, you will on an early occasion bring this important question to the consideration of the Prussian Government, and endeavour to ascertain whether, and how soon, it would be disposed to give effect, on its side, to the above agreement “It is not necessary for me to point out to you, that the
] wish lately expressed in the highest quarters for a restoration of the friendly relations between Austria and Prussia could be thus fulfilled in the easiest way, and at the same time in that which would most rapidly impress itself on the public feeling of both countries; and we doubt the less of the inclination of the Prussian Government to give a ready assistance to this work, as according to trustworthy accounts the parties concerned, both in Prussia and in Austria, wish these negotiations to be opened as soon as possible.
“I look forward with great interest to your report on this subject, and am, etc."
The friendly negotiations suggested in this despatch were postponed from circumstances of no political import. We cannot, however, doubt that the entente cordiale was delayed
was delayed by the publication of the secret treaty, offensive and defensive, made between Prussia and the Southern German States in August, 1866.* The sagacity of Baron Beust at once discovered that the tendency of this secret treaty was to nullify one of the most important clauses in the subsequent Treaty of Prague, inasmuch as it bound the weaker power to be entirely subservient to the stronger in all future wars, whereas the Peace Treaty expressly stipulated the independent international existence of the Southern German States. The natural consequence was that he unhesitatingly expressed his opinion on this palpable contradiction, in as temperate a manner as could be expected. His views hereon are clearly stated in the following despatches to Count Wimpffen, in Berlin, dated March 28th, 1867, to the Imperial
See Note VIII.