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Germany: Austria; Prussia; the New German Empire. page 2

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In March, 1888, the emperor William died, at 90 years of age, and was succeeded by his son as Frederick III. This admirable man, a successful warrior, the "Crown Prince" of the conflicts of 1866 and 1870, married to the Princess Royal of Great Britain, eldest child of Queen Victoria, was already suffering from an affection of the throat, and he died in the following June. No ruler was ever more deservedly and universally regretted, not for what he accomplished - since death deprived him of the chance of action - but for what he was and what he would surely have achieved. A brave and capable commander - "Our Fritz" of his devoted soldiers - he was a sincere lover of peace, kindly to his foes, modest in the hour of triumphant success. Patient to the last under the moral and physical torture of his dreadful malady, "Frederick the Noble" - no man ever more justly named - passed away in the presence of his household-servants, gathered weeping at the door. His last important public appearance was in June, 1887, when he rode, in the magnificent white uniform of the Cuirassiers of the Guard, at the side of the Prince of Wales, in Queen Victoria's first Jubilee procession. His stately figure, admired by all beholders, overtopped all others in that "Cavalcade of Princes," composed of 24 sons, sons-in-law, and grandsons of the British sovereign. His social, political, and religious ideas were the reverse of those cherished by the emperor William and his trusted chancellor. Cultured, broad-minded, liberal in the best and highest sense, he could not bear an autocratic system. Encouraging arts, sciences, and letters; loathing the prevalent Judenhetze, or hostility to Jews; eager to adopt every measure which might combine an imperial monarchy and a people in harmonious action for the good of all, he would have won the loftiest position on "Fame's eternal bead-roll" of the best rulers of mankind.

Frederick III., second emperor and eighth king of Prussia, was succeeded by his eldest son as William II. The young man soon gave proof of his extraordinary energy, versatility, and restlessness of character. Unwilling to be controlled or advised by any man of any age, ability, or experience, he dismissed Bismarck from his councils in 1890, and, with high notions of divine right, and strongly imbued with the spirit of militarism, he nevertheless adopted a liberal policy towards the socialists, allowing the lapse of the legislation adverse to them, and encouraging efforts in behalf of the working-classes. The world has been from time to time startled by the impulsive utterances of the emperor, but he has, at any rate, worked for European peace, and set an excellent example of domestic virtue. The opening, in June, 1895, of the Baltic Canal, was important for commerce in shortening the route for ships from western Europe to the northern ports.

The emperor Francis Joseph of Austria, a monarch regarded, after 50 years of power, with universal esteem, has shown that he does not resemble the Bourbon kings in incapacity to learn lessons from the past. Excluded, by the loss of Lombardy and Venetia, from a scene of former supremacy, the Austrian ruler and his ministers wisely sought political safety in consolidation of power to the north of the Alps. In 1867 constitutional freedom and a new independence were accorded to Hungary. The very composite dominions were divided into two parts. These were the Cisleithan or Sclavonic-German provinces - "Cisleithan" meaning "on this side the Leitha," a tributary of the Danube on the frontiers of the archduchy of Austria (the original nucleus of the empire); and the Magyar or "Transleithan" realm, to which the dependent territories of Croatia and Transylvania were now reunited. In June the emperor and empress were crowned "king and queen of Hungary" at Pesth, with the old historic rites, and the national feeling of the Hungarians was thus gratified. Hungary now had her own laws, parliament, ministers, and government, and the exclusive right of managing all affairs pertaining solely to herself. The ministers for affairs common to the whole empire - the army, foreign affairs, and finance - are responsible to neither parliament, but to a body called the Delegations, a parliament of 120 members, half chosen by the Austrian, half by the Hungarian legislature, as a connecting link between the two portions of the empire. Good use has been made by Hungary of the restored constitution, and of a long period of peace, in promoting civilisation by the establishment of an excellent system of elementary and higher education; by the construction of an admirable network of railways, now largely owned by the state; by the development of industry and commerce, the improvement of the judicature, and the institution of the Honveds ("land-defenders"), a body of men answering to the German "landwehr," for national defence, apart from the regular Austro-Hungarian army. The various nationalities - Servians, Wallachians, Germans, and others - enjoy equal political rights with the Magyars, and the country is in a fairly prosperous condition.

In Austria proper, the Cisleithan territories, constitutional freedom has greatly advanced. The Concordat of 1855 - 30 agreement with the Papacy which made Roman Catholicism a privileged religion, with a censorship of books and educational control - was annulled in 1868, and marriage was placed under the jurisdiction of the State. A greater degree of freedom was given to the press. Security against foreign foes has been sought in the adaptation of the military organisation to the Prussian model. The territory of the empire was increased in 1878, by the Treaty of Berlin, in the transference to Austrian administration of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a joint area of 23,000 square miles. Torn away from the ever-lessening Turkish empire in Europe, these regions have for 20 years enjoyed immunity from misrule.

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