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A proclamation, couched in terms of mildness and of amity, was issued by Prince Schwarzenberg, the Austrian commander-in-chief; and at the same time Count Capo d'Istria declared, on his arrival in Zurich, that the monarchs could not recognise a neutrality which, in the existing situation of Switzerland, must be nothing more than nominal. The armies of the allied powers hoped to find none but friends there. Their majesties pledged themselves solemnly not to lay down their arms until they should have secured the restoration to Switzerland of the territories wrested from her by France - a pledge which we shall presently see was adhered to but indifferently. They disclaimed all wish to meddle with her internal constitution; but at the same time could not allow her to remain under foreign influence. They would recognise her neutrality from that day in which she became free and independent.
The Austrian army marched over the Rhine on the 21st of December, 1813, through the territories of Bâle, Aargau, Solothurn, and Bern, into France. During the first months of the following year the burdens and even the dangers of war were felt very severely in the northern and western parts of Switzerland, particularly in Bâle, which received much annoyance from the obstinate defence of Hüningen, and the hostile disposition of the commander of that place. Geneva, too, while she welcomed in anticipation the new birth of her ancient independence, saw herself suddenly surrounded with the actual horrors of warfare, and threatened with a regular siege. The continual passage of large bodies of troops brought malignant fevers and maladies in their train, and it became more and more difficult to supply them with provisions.
On the entrance of the Austrian troops, Bern set the example of abolishing the Act of Mediation, and reclaimed the restoration of the predominance which she had previously enjoyed in the Helvetic body. The example was followed first by Solothurn and Fribourg, and then by Lucerne. In Zurich, too, the diet declared the Act of Mediation, by virtue of which it was sitting, null and void, and drew up a plan for a new confederation of the nineteen cantons. But this was not enough for some of the men in power at that time, who demanded nothing short of the restoration of the old league of the thirteen cantons, and had already summoned the Pays de Vaud and the Aargau to return under the government of Bern. These cantons, however, resolutely rejected the proposal.
The diet, which was again convoked at Zurich and consisted of delegates newly elected by all the nineteen cantons, was now the only feeble bond which kept the Helvetic body together. Interested voices were raised on every side for annihilating or mutilating the last constructed cantons, which for sixteen years had enjoyed the boon of freedom and independence. Zug demanded a part of its former subject lands from the Aargau; Uri, the Valle Levantina from the canton of Ticino; Glarus, the district of Sargans from the canton of St. Gall; the prince abbot Pancrace, his former domains and sovereignties in the Thurgau; Schwyz and Glarus combined to demand compensation for their privileges over the districts of Utznach, Gaster, Wesen, and Ersatz; Unterwalden, Uri, and Schwyz united in a similar demand for compensation for the sovereign rights which had formerly been possessed by them in Aargau, Thurgau, St. Gall, and on the Ticino.
In these cabals and commotions Zurich, Bâle, and Schaffhausen displayed the least of prejudice or passion; while the Aargau and the Vaud showed themselves worthy of their freedom by the spirited resolution of their people. In the lands and towns of Bâle, Solothurn, and Zurich it was proposed to espouse the cause and rally round the standard of the Aargau. Bern, however, avoided open hostilities, and even offered to recognise the independence
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[1815 A.D.] of the Vaud on certain conditions, which were rejected by the latter. Aargau now made menacing demonstrations, and a dangerous ferment showed itself in the Oberland. Here, as in many other places, the jealousy and suspicion of the various parties came into play, in proportion as discussion was broached on the limits to be assigned to the rights of the people and their governments. News was daily received of scattered plots and insurrections, of imprisonments and banishments, in various places. The town of Solothurn called for the protection of a Bernese garrison against the threatened attacks of its own people. Swiss troops were precipitately despatched to the banks of the Ticino to prevent the breaking out of civil war; while other troops were sent into the canton of St. Gall to put an end to a scene of absolute confusion.
While Switzerland was thus given up to a state of such disquietude that blood had already flowed in more than one district, and the gaols of several towns were filled with prisoners, the plenipotentiaries of the great powers were sitting in congress at Vienna, to establish the peace of Europe on a durable foundation. The allies had already allowed the addition to the Helvetic body of Geneva, as well as of the Valais, and the Prussian, principality of Neuchâtel. Swiss delegates made their appearance with equal promptitude in the imperial metropolis on the Danube, as they had done eleven years before in the capital of France.
But the politics of Europe moved no faster at Vienna than those of Switzerland did at the diet of Zurich. No settlement of Swiss affairs had been made, when the sudden news of Napoleon's landing from Elba and his triumphal march through France awakened European diplomacy once more from its slumbers. The diet called to arms the half contingent of fifteen thousand men for the defence of the frontiers. Two battalions of the Vaud were detached hastily to Geneva, and the same canton received as friends and comrades the troops of Bern, against which it had taken up arms a month before. The most important elements of discord seemed to have disappeared the most inveterate enemies to be reconciled.
On the 20th of March, 1815, the definitive arrangements of the allied powers were promulgated. The existing nineteen cantons were recognised, and the increase of their number to two-and-twenty confirmed, by the accession of Geneva, Neuchâtel, and the Valais. The canton of Vaud received back the Dappenthal, which had been taken from it by France. Bienne and the bishopric of Bâle were given to Bern by way of compensation for its former sovereign rights over the Vaud. One moiety of the customs received in the Vale Levantina was assigned to Uri; the prince abbot Pancrace and his ci-devant functionaries were indemnified with 8000 florins yearly. A decision was also given on the indemnification of those Bernese who had possessed jurisdictions in the Pays de Vaud, and on many other points in dispute. The complaints of the Grisons alone were disregarded Chiavenna, the Valtellina, and Bormio, which had now become the property of Austria, were neither restored nor was any compensation for them given, notwithstanding the clause to the contrary in Prince Schwarzenberg's proclamation.
The cantons now remodelled their respective constitutions in the midst of agitations of all kinds. Those in which the supreme power is assigned to the Landsgemeinde for the most part removed the restrictions on the popular prerogative, which had been introduced by the Act of Mediation, and approximated anew to pure democracy. In the city cantons the capitals recovered, though in various modifications and proportions, a preponderance in the system of representation. Even in these privileged places, however,
many friends of the public weal remained true to the conviction tried and proved by past experience (and about to receive after no long period additional confirmation from the march of events) that participation of the lesser towns and rural districts in public functions was a requisite condition for the permanence of tranquillity; and that the members introduced from these remoter parts of the country would form vigorous roots of the slender stem of authority, and fix them wide and deep in a republican soil.
SWITZERLAND DEVELOPS ALONG NEW LINES
In 1817, the confederates were led by the invitation of the emperor Alexander into a signal deviation from the policy of their forefathers. They entered into a close alliance with Austria, Russia, and Prussia; and allowed themselves to be mixed up with the system of the great powers, by giving their adhesion to the Holy Alliance, unmindful of the lessons left by the Swiss of old times.
On the conclusion of the War of Liberation from Napoleon, an opinion which the allied powers had encouraged by their promises became prevalent through great part of Germany-that the efforts of the people should be requited by the grant of representative constitutions. The realisation of this object was pursued by open and secret means, which soon aroused attention and mistrust on the part of the governments. Investigations were set on foot, followed up by penal inflictions; and many of the accused parties made their escape into Switzerland. A similar course was taken by some Italians, on the suppression of the Piedmontese revolts and the abortive revolution of Naples. Natives of France, moreover, who had given offence to their government, either by republican principles or by adherence to the cause of Napoleon, in like manner sought a place of refuge in Switzerland. These occurrences did not fail to give umbrage to several cabinets, which was increased by the friendly welcome and assistance afforded to the fugitives from Greece. It never seemed to occur to foreign potentates what a blessing in the vicissitudes of European affairs was the existence of a land to which political victims of all parties might resort as an inviolable sanctuary.
The year 1823, that of the French invasion of Spain under Louis XVIII, seemed an epoch of especially unfriendly dispositions in more than one European court against Switzerland. There were personages who would willingly have used these dispositions to effect some limitation of Helvetic independence; but their influence was either insufficient for that purpose in the cabinets to which they belonged, or Europe seemed as yet not ripe for success in such an experiment. Meanwhile the remonstrances and demands of continental powers afforded matter of anxious consultation to the Helvetic diet; and their usual subjects of discussion were increased by two new topics - foreign police and surveillance of the press.
It was resolved that both these points touched the prerogatives of the separate cantons, and therefore did not admit of decision at any general diet. An invitation was accordingly issued to the governments of all the cantons, exhorting them to adopt vigorous measures, in order that nothing might find its way into newspapers and journals inconsistent with proper respect to friendly governments. With regard to foreign police it was proposed to take measures for preventing the entrance or residence of such strangers as had left their country on account of crimes or efforts at disturbance of the public repose; and for providing that no foreigners should be
[1817-1823 A.D.] admitted except such as could show certificates or passports from their respective governments.
In many of the cantons these demands were met by a ready alacrity not only to urge their execution in their full extent but even to improve on them by subjecting discussion of domestic as well as of foreign affairs to strict surveillance. On the other hand, in more enlightened parts of the confederacy, it was thought that public discussion and the old right of sanctuary should be guarded from every species of encroachment. The diets continued to busy themselves with deliberations on both subjects. Returning tranquillity diminished the uneasiness of the cabinets; and, by consequence their inquisitive and minute attention to Switzerland. Individuals lost the importance which had formerly been ascribed to them, and the sojourn of strangers in Switzerland again became freer. The press occasioned more prolonged discussions at the diets and in several of the councils; but in the midst of these it obtained more and more freedom, and in some districts shook off all its former restrictions.
During these years an interest in church affairs diffused itself amongst laymen, as well as amongst theologians by profession. In the educated classes religious indifferentism became less frequent; while the genuine spirit of tolerance made progress. This tendency, like every other widely extended mental movement, had its questionable as well as its pleasing features. Shocking ebullitions of fanaticism are reported to have taken place in Zurich, Bern, and other cantons. A footing was gained in Fribourg and the Valais by the revived order of Jesuits; and the friends of human improvement could not regard without anxiety their influence in ecclesiastical matters and in education.b
REACTION AND REFORM; EFFECTS OF THE REVOLUTION OF JULY
The reaction making itself manifest throughout Europe in the third decade of the nineteenth century appeared also in the individual cantons of Switzerland and in its general government. The same disparity between the rights of the nobility and those of the people which existed in northern Germany was to be found here. As we have seen, the cantons for the most part had an aristocratic government in which a few favoured families, the patricians, had so decided a preponderance that there was hardly a shadow of representation of the people. As at an earlier period in other countries there had been a distinction between Stadt and Amt (city and subject land), so at this time in Switzerland the same distinction was still made between Stadt and Landschaft (city and rural district). The citizens belonging to the latter were permitted to send but a few members to the "great council" of a
With such privileges in the hands of the patrician families the administration of the state was as bad as possible. Offices were apportioned more according to birth than merit, the finances were not always managed in the interests of the state. The evils of the administration of justice had become proverbial. Federal laws for the regulation of domestic intercourse and commerce were not thought of. The diet which met at one of the three leading places (Vororte) -- Bern, Zurich, and Lucerne - did not fall behind the German diet in reactionary sentiment, adhered closely to the system of Metternich and sent its men as mercenaries to France and Naples that it might provide appointments as officers for the young patricians.
The younger generation, such as was growing up at the universities and
elsewhere, would not content itself with such republics. Everywhere the opposition of the liberals was becoming active against the rule of the oligarchies. Since the uprisings in northern Germany, especially, the demand for constitutional reforms became still more general. Societies were formed and the liberal press did not tire in proclaiming the principles of the new era; political equality, abolition of all privileges, equal representation for all the citizens of a canton, freedom of the press, etc. Bern, at that time the chief place (Vorort, capital), whose govern
ment was the most aristocratic of all, September 22nd, 1830, sent a circular letter to the governments of the cantons urging them to proceed against the press and to hold fast to the old constitutions. This only fanned the flame. In the months of October and November assemblies of the notables and of the people were held in almost all the cantons, the principles of new constitutions were determined upon, and in a few weeks the governments were forced to accept them.
Already before the revolution of July, in May, 1830, the oligarchal - ultramontane government in Ticino was overthrown and a different one erected on a democratic basis. The new constitution was accepted by the people in March, 1831. Events took a similar course in Zurich, where it was chiefly a matter of the relation of the rural districts (Landschaft) to the too powerful city; in Aargau, St. Gall, Lucerne, Solothurn, Fribourgwhere the hierarchical aristocracy, supported by the Jesuits and congregationalists (Congregisten) who had been driven out of France, mustered out soldiers but was overthrown together with everything belonging to it; in Vaud - where, acting with the hot-bloodedness of Frenchmen, the people called out to the great councillors (Gross-räthe) of Lausanne, "Down with the tyrants!" and established a radical constitution; in Schaffhausen and in Bern - where the deposed government for a time had the mad plan to maintain itself by help of the discharged Swiss soldiers of Charles X; in Bâle-where bloody encounters twice occurred, and where for the adjustment of the quarrel federal troops had to take station, the great council of the city consented rather to a separation from the rural districts than conform to their demands. Thus there were formed here in 1832 the two half-cantons, Bâle (city) and rural Bâle (with its government at Liestal). Similar desires for separation also showed