Faust—This girl must win for me. Dost hear?
She from confession cometh here,
From every sin absolved and free;
I crept near the confessor's chair.
All innocence her virgin soul,
For next to nothing went she there;
O’er such as she I've no control.
Margaret—Heavens! only look! what have we here!
In all my days ne'er saw I such a sight!
Jewels! which any noble dame might wear.
For some high pageant richly dight!
How would the necklace look on me!
These splendid gems, whose may they be?
Were but the earrings only mine!
Thus, one has quite another air.
What boots it to be young and fair?
It doubtless may be very fine;
But then, alas, none cares for you,
And praise sounds half like pity too.
Gold all doth lure
Gold doth secure
All things. Alas, we poor!
Mephistopheles—By love despised. By hell's fierce fires I curse,
Would I knew aught to make my imprecation worse!
I'd yield me to the devil instantly,
Did it not happen that myself am he!
Where we to eliminate from Europe the German element western, it would almost unpeople its portion; for in all the countries adjacent to their Fatherland, and in many that lie beyond the seas, Germans, retaining their national customs and their national language, are rearing new empires or impressing on foreign communities the stability and vigor of their race. In the Austro-Hungarian dominions there are at least ten millions of Germans; in Holland, Belgium, France, and even in Russia they are also counted by the million, while in the United States, in Australasia, and in truth wherever men toil and traffic in the common pursuit of wealth, their influence is widely felt. The English, moreover, with their girdle of colonies encircling the earth, are essentially a German race, and of the words that form their language more than sixty percent are of German origin. Thus an account of the present empire includes but a part of the bodies politic which, though long desiring such a consummation, have only within recent years been welded together as a nation after many centuries of discord among rival creeds and rival governments. While holding aloof from each other in political institutions, they held aloof from all the world in their social and intellectual development; and here is the only people which, after emerging from barbarism, has attained to a leading position among the most enlightened of modern countries without such intermixture of foreign blood as could affect its identity of race or alter its habits and usages. This it is that gives to German history a deeper interest than belongs to mere dynastic changes; for impelled simply by its own latent strength, this mighty nation, though more than once on the verge of dissolution, has worked its way through countless obstacles to its present rank as the arbiter of Europe, as its foremost military power, and as one of the foremost in the arts of peace.
Many centuries before the Christian era the ancestral tribes of Germany migrated from the regions south of the Oxus to the plains of Scythia, and there remained for further centuries, leading a pastoral life, though tilling enough land to supply them with the coarse ground grain which with the flesh of beeves and goats was their only food. Domestic animals were their principal wealth, though they possessed also the precious metals, and knew how to work them into necklaces, rings, and other rude forms of jewelry. They could also fashion weapons and implements of bronze, but not of iron, and for navigation they had boats propelled by paddles, the use of sails and masts being as yet unknown. They had little in common with the native Scythian, whose home was in his wagon, for they lived in fixed habitations and held sacred the marriage tie, while among their judicial usages was trials by the ordeals of fire and water, the latter still maintained in the days of the Merovingian dynasty.
As flocks and herds increased the tribes moved westward, whether singly or in a body cannot be determined, first occupying Scandinavia, and then driving before them the Celtic races which had long been supreme in central Europe. They had no geographical organization, and as to their geographical distribution records are few and conflicting, the little that has come down to us being derived from the more civilized nations on their borders, for the Germans themselves had no literature and none but oral traditions. They were a warlike but unstoried people, the dread of their neighbors and the only one that successfully the confronted the Roman legions, the word Germans first used in a collective sense by Caesar and Tacitus, signifying according to some authorities shouters in battle, though more probably derived from ger, a lance or spear. Especially feared were the Cimbri and Teutones, the first of whom, after defeating five consular armies laid waste the region between the Rhone and the Pyrenees, causing panic and terror in Rome as though Brennus or Hannibal were at its gates. They were men of gigantic stature and powerful frame, with fierce blue eyes which looked straight at the foe without symptom of fear or flinching. For weapons they had long, heavy swords and double-pointed spears, and for defensive armor coats of mail wooden shields, and helmets resembling the heads of savage beasts with widely distended jaws. Their women followed them to war, some of them acting as priestesses, cutting the throats of prisoners over a brazen vessel, and drawing portents from the flowing blood.
They were a numerous tribe; for when finally defeated by Marius at the battle of Vercellae, the Cimbrian host extended for more than three miles on each face of a solid square. Of the Teutones also more than 200,000 were slain at Aquae Sextiae, where now is the town of Aix. Plunder was not their object; neither was it glory; but simply to find in the fertile plains of Italy a land where they could live in plenty and establish permanent homes.
In the descriptions of the German tribes as given by Caesar and Tacitus, both from personal observation, there is no essential difference, though written at an interval of more than a century and a half. Covering most of their territory was the great Hercynian forests, tenanted chiefly by strange and fearsome beasts, a land of swamps and thickets, where as it seemed no sunbeam penetrated. Yet somewhere amid this wilderness primeval were raised crops of rye and barley, and on its borders were mountains well stored with the useful metals. Lands were held in common or were partitioned by the leaders, no one being permitted to retain his holding more than a single year.
They lived in dwellings built of the trunks of trees, but without the prison-like enclosures of walled towns and villages. They were divided into hundreds, half of whom set forth for war and conquest, while the remainder attended to the cultivation of the soil with the labor of slaves and farm animals. At the end of each twelvemonth there was a change of occupations, the warrior turning farmer and taking charge of flocks and fields. There were four classes; first the nobles and freemen, for whom war and the chase or idleness were the only pastimes; then the freedmen, who served in the ranks but had no political privileges, and lastly the serfs, who were classed and treated with the brutes. Home life was sacred, and especially, as I have said, the marriage tie, the German swain offering the maiden of his choice not gold or jewelry but a yoke of oxen or a spirited steed, while the wife that was to be was expected to furnish in return a suit of armor or a supply of weapons. They had neither temples nor a professional priesthood, but prayed to their gods in groves and forests as did the ancient Britons, and their worship was strongly associated with the phenomena of nature, whose alternation of summer and winter, of storms and sunshine, with forces seemingly engaged in strife, suggested the existence of good and evil deities.
Among their better qualities were truthfulness and hospitality, the courage of the men and the chastity of the women; among their vices and failings were drunkenness, gambling, and impatience of discipline or restraint.
Though never completely subdued to the Roman yoke, there are during the opening centuries of the Christian era strong traces of Roman settlement and civilization. By several of the emperors, beginning with Augustus, fortresses and towns were established, where traders from the imperial city bartered for German products the gold and silver ornaments, the costly fabrics and delicate wines, of Italy. Vineyards and orchards dotted the banks of the Rhine and Moselle; agriculture was extended and agricultural systems improved; mines were opened and many new industries developed, while the customs and character of the people had been softened but not essentially changed.
Large levies were raised for the imperial armies amid these warrior bands, those who accepted service returning with wondrous stories of the splendor of the outer world, where they had learned not only the art of war but the weakness of the empire which their own countrymen were presently to overcome. In the third century the Germans were no longer in fear of Rome; in the fourth they began to look upon Rome as their prey; in the middle of the fifth century the Herulian chieftain Odoacer, at the head of the confederated tribes, was crowned monarch of the western empire.
Defeated by Theodoric, king of the eastern Goths, after series of obstinate contests, Odoacer presently disappears from the scene, after colonizing the region between the Alps and the Danube. As ruler over Italy and Germany, Theodoric was regarded by both nations as one of the wisest and mightiest of monarchs, and from far and near came appeals for his counsel and protection. He it was who first conceived the plan of uniting the several divisions under one great national league; but the time was not yet ripe; for western Europe, including Britain, together with northern Africa and the islands that lay between, were then ruled by a number of tribes having little in common except a common language, the power of Rome rapidly hastening to dissolution even in that which remained of her eastern empire. During this period the Germans relapsed almost into the condition of savages, spreading ruin and misery throughout the fairest regions of Europe, so that there is no more disastrous epoch in all the long annals of human suffering. As fierce in their hatred of learning as they were ferocious in the treatment of their enemies they, obliterated the priceless monuments of human intelligence, the precious fruits of human inquiry and thought as completely as they swept from the face of the earth the wealth the culture, and social institutions of Rome. Their ablest leaders regarded knowledge with contempt, their literature being restricted to the poetic imagery in which German bards related the deeds of German heroes while even Theodoric, surnamed, the Great, could not write his own name, his signature being appended by smearing with black a mould in which the letters were cut. Yet they were not altogether savages; for messages and gifts were interchanged between their courts; there were alliances and intertribal marriages and of commercial intercourse, there was at least sufficient, an unfailing test of civilization, to place them beyond the reproach of savagism.
Settling themselves in the Roman provinces, where they owned more than half the soil, the leading members of these conquering hosts became in due time landed proprietors, or nobles, ruling over but intermingling little with the older and more civilized communities in which they lived, with separate languages and separate laws, each according to their own traditions. While fierce and cruel as invaders, they were lenient as masters, relieving the people from most of the heavy burden of taxation imposed by Roman governors, and thus in a sense appearing as liberators rather than oppressors.
Gradually imitating the customs of the subject races, some of the German tribes became themselves effeminate, and especially the Vandals, whose domain was in northern Africa. In 533 Gelimer, their king, was defeated by Belisarius, the last of the Roman generals, whose lieutenant, Pharas, drove him into the fortress of Pappua. Summoned to surrender, the monarch refused, but sent with his answer the following request: "If you, O Pharas, would do me a favor, send me a loaf of bread, a sponge, and a harp.” Asking what meaned this strange petition, Pharas was told: "The king asks for bread because he has tasted none since entering Pappua; a sponge he would have to cool his head, now heated with wine, and a harp to accompany his songs of misfortune.” The request was granted; famine presently put an end to the siege, and Gelimer bound with silver chains was taken with all his treasures to Constantinople. Thenceforth the Vandals disappear from Africa, while the eastern Goths, after a sturdy resistance, were driven from Italy across the Alps and merged among kindred tribes.
Of Clovis, the first German monarch worthy of the name, of the Merovingian sovereigns, and of the Salian Franks, whose history is for several centuries virtually the history of Germany, I have spoken in connection with the annals of France. With the Austro-Hungarian Empire the political career of Germany has also much in common, and here it will suffice to refer only to such incidents and personages as are closely connected with the subject matter of this work. It was in the days of Charlemagne, as I have said, that, after a long period of dissension, the union of church and state was finally completed and symbolized through his coronation by the pope, and for other and weightier reasons history, coupling the epithet with the name itself, has accepted Charles the Great as the real founder of the German empire. It was his aim in life, and one from which he never swerved, to unite all the German tribes under a single government and a single church. If he did not entirely succeed, the impress of his reign was felt throughout the middle ages, while in life he was regarded as the source of all earthly authority, from him to be transmitted to sovereigns, nobles, and officials of every degree. In May of each year he presided over the great assembly of freemen, receiving from each his tributary offering, apart from which no taxes were levied; for the income from the crown lands sufficed for the expenses of his court.
Charles was a man of herculean build and with a wonderful capacity for work, dispatching business with a promptness of decision and action in which he had no superior, except perhaps Napoleon or Frederick the Great. He was the fiercest of warriors, fighting like the giants of the Nibelungenlied, yet mild and urbane in social intercourse. To the arts of peace he was no less devoted, gathering about him men of learning, founding schools, and encouraging so far as lay in his power the cause of popular education. His habits were of the simplest, and in attire he was equally plain, wearing only, except on state occasions, a homespun garment of linen over which in winter was a coarse Frisian cloak. His courtiers he laughed to scorn as they followed him to the chase in gorgeous raiment of oriental fabrics; for hunting was his favorite pastime, and next to it swimming in the baths of Aix, where was his favorite residence, though elsewhere he had several palaces. He traveled much, for the better superintendence of his public and private estates. With many potentates, both eastern and European, he interchanged friendly messages and costly gifts; but for himself he always preferred the ring of the sword to the ring of gold.
His faults were neither few nor small; but on these I need not dwell, remarking only that the Charlemagne of history and the Charlemagne of heroic legend were different personages, the one being a conqueror and statesman and the other a warrior-saint, above mortal wisdom and strength, invincible in war and incapable of error in judgment or infirmity of will. "His eyes," says the song of Holland, "shone like the morning star. Terrible to his foes he was merciful to offenders, an upright judge who knew all laws and taught them to his people as he had learned them from the angels, while bearing the sword as God's own servant."
But the scepter and sword of Charlemagne could be wielded by none but himself; and as we have seen the vast structure which he reared fell to pieces not many years after his death, presently to be rebuilt by stronger hands than those of his successors. With the death of Louis II in 875 the direct line of Charlemagne became extinct, though early in the following century we find on the throne a relative through the female branch in the person of Conrad of Franconia, a well meaning monarch but always under priestly rule. In the reign of Henry who succeeded him as the first of the imperial house of Saxony were again united all the dukedoms into which the kingdom had been divided, the monarch when on his deathbed summoning the nobles and exacting from them a pledge to acknowledge his son Otto as their sovereign. A glorious reign was that of Otto I, or Otto the Great as he was called, crowned at Aachen and girded with the sword of royalty by the archbishop of Mayence, while princes rendered him service as cup-bearers, stewards, and chamberlains.
Taking Charlemagne as his model, he treated the great lords as vassals, even asserting the power to depose them for failure in duty to himself or his empire.
It was during Otto's administration that the word Germans first came into general use as a national term, though before applied by way of distinction between those of Teutonic and Roman race. His many wars at an end, whereby he became the most powerful of European potentates, receiving from the pope the imperial crown of the Caesars, the emperor devoted himself to the internal affairs of his domain, the management of which was no easy task; for the royal estates were widely scattered, and much of their surface was covered with almost impassable forests. Proceeding from place to place, he sat in judgment on all difficult and important questions, minor controversies being decided by judges in accordance with tribal laws. At festivals he was surrounded by the nobles of the entire empire, bringing the voluntary gifts which, with the contributions of subjugated regions, formed the principal source of revenue. The Jews indeed paid a capitation tax, and a small income was derived from roads, rivers, and mines; but money was extremely scarce, and as in other feudal countries, tribute was rendered chiefly in service or in kind.
In the reigns of Otto II and III there is nothing that need here detain us, and with the death of their successor Henry II, in 1024, the dynasty of the Saxon monarchs comes to an end. In September of this year, as was the custom when the reigning family became extinct, the entire German people assembled on the plain near Kamba to choose for themselves a sovereign. Here were gathered the bishops and abbots the nobles and freemen of the five great tribes or nations,—the Saxons, Franks, Bavarians, Suabians, and the men of Lorraine—but of vassals there was not one, for though forming at least eighty percent of the inhabitants, they belonged only to the population and not to the people. The choice fell on Conrad, the elder of the two princes of Franconia, and for a century later the throne of Germany was filled by Frankish monarchs from the vine-clad banks of the Rhine. During this period Poland became a dependency and Switzerland an integral portion of the empire, while Burgundy rendered at least nominal allegiance. Near the close of the eleventh century came the first of the crusades, a disorderly throng of enthusiasts, whose zeal for the faith was shown chiefly by maltreating the Jews, being followed by the disciplined array of Godfrey of Boulogne, a prince of the empire, who wrested from the Saracens the holy sepulcher.
From 1138 to 1254 reigned the house of Hohenstaufen, of which Lothaire was the first sovereign, adding to his domain as a feudal appendage the kingdom of Denmark. A mighty monarch of this line was Frederick Barbarossa, that is to say Frederick the Redbeard, acknowledged by all European princes as the first among them. Though a great man, Frederick had his weaknesses, and among them was a love of titles, especially the title of Caesar. Marching into Italy he came to the assistance of Pope Adrian IV, then driven into exile by the monk Arnold of Brescia, capturing on his way several Lombard cities, some of which welcomed and others defied him.
On reaching Rome he was offered its sovereignty for a given consideration; but he preferred, as he said, "to give them iron rather than gold.” As the price of his coronation, however, he delivered to the chief pontiff the rebellious monk to be burned at the stake, and for this service received the coveted crown. Returning homeward, he chastised the robber knights who had grown bold during his absence; he rebuilt the city of Lubeck, making it the wealthiest emporium on the coast of the Baltic; and further to increase his possessions he married the only daughter of Count Reinald of Burgundy, a rich and beautiful heiress. Four other expeditions he made to Italy, destroying the town of Milan, and placing others under German governors with almost unlimited powers. Crowned king of Burgundy at Aries, he distributed the great dukedoms among relatives and favorites, subdividing them as far as possible, since from minor princes there was less to fear. Then at Mayence, in May 1184, he held festival on a magnificent scale, attended by the clergy and nobles of the realm, by foreign ambassadors and by freemen to the number of 70,000 in all. For this, celebration an imperial palace was erected on the border of Rhine surrounded with a city of many-colored tents, the ring of the emperors sword proclaiming the majority of his eldest son amid the splendor of a peaceful and united empire. Presently came the crusade in which he lost his life, though according to German legend he is not dead but sleepeth and in due time will reappear to establish anew the ancient glories of his monarch.
With Conradin, son of Conrad IV, ends the brilliant dynasty of the Hohenstaufens and the magnificence of the ancient German empire, presently to be revived but not until after the lapse of several centuries. Once more the land was divided into a number of petty stales and principalities loosely held together; and though the spirit of chivalry gilded the surface, in the heart of the kingdom was the canker of national decadence. The years that elapsed before the accession of the Hapsburgs, whose annals belong rather to Austria, were termed the great interregnum, competitors indeed appearing for the crown but not at the instance of the electoral princes, who looked with complaisance on the annihilation of imperial power as tending to increase their own. Yet they would sell the crown to the highest bidder, and during the lifetime of Conradin were even base enough to offer the bauble to Hermann von Henneberg, a wealthy and ambitious noble, working on his vanity and obtaining from him large sums of money in return for promises which they never intended to perform. Another aspirant to this shadow of royalty was Alfonso of Castile, who paid 20,000 marks in silver; and still another was Richard, duke of Cornwall, who sent from England, as is said, 32 tons of solid gold. Both were elected, to the scandal and disgrace of all true Germans, though Alfonso never appeared on the scene, and to Richard, except when his treasury was full, was never conceded so much as the authority of a sheriff.
Before turning to Prussian annals, let us glance for a moment at Germany during the Middle Ages, when feudal lords strove with monarchs for supremacy, while between them the people were ground into dust as beneath the nether millstone. In this mournful period the church was the only protecting and educating power; its numerous services and festivals gave to the life of the poor its only cheer, while the tall spires of majestic cathedrals, open for the worship of all, were visible far and wide throughout the land. Miracles were in plentiful supply, and if the clergy themselves were given to riotous living, their treasures, constantly increased by gifts and bequests, were none the less at the disposal of the sick and needy. Thus, notwithstanding the horrors of the inquisition, the church was in the main a benefit to the people, among whom its power steadily increased. The crusades had also a quickening influence, especially among the cities of Italy which long formed a portion of the German empire. Between them and the new kingdom whose capital was at Jerusalem an active trade was developed in the costly fabrics, weapons, and other rich products of the East, furnishing the gorgeous apparel and equipments which marked the age of chivalry. Thus Western Europe increased in wealth and learned the art of luxury, while as to intellectual culture several of the sciences were largely derived from the Saracens, so that the proud Christian began to ask himself in what respect he was their superior. Such were the only lasting results of the crusade preached by the mendicant monk who traveled through Europe mounted on an ass.
Between the medieval annals of France and Germany there was this essential difference; that in the former the great lords were crushed and the king ruled with almost absolute power, while in the latter the princes established their sovereignty, each in his own principality, and the empire was broken into fragments. For this condition of affairs the papacy was largely responsible, aiming as it did at the temporal supremacy of Europe, while the loose confederation of the German states offered tempting opportunities for the interference of the holy see. Foreseeing the danger threatened by ambitious nobles, it had been the policy of Charlemagne to place the more powerful duchies as far as possible under Episcopal control, hoping thus to strengthen the power and prerogatives of the throne; but he entirely overlooked the fact that these spiritual potentates owed to the supreme pontiff a far more binding allegiance than to himself. Moreover, as the secular head of the Roman monarchy, the ruler of Germany was ever liable to be regarded by the pope with jealousy and distrust, developing at times into actual hostility. Thus discord was fostered among the electoral princes, and through this influence it was that the empire became as a house divided against itself.
It was through the grants of valuable fiefs or the acquisition by other means of large estates that the princely families of Germany founded their numerous dynasties. Many whose possessions were not great enough to support this dignity accepted service under the more wealthy and powerful nobles, and chiefly from this class came the knights, or equestrian order. The knight, or, as in the German, ritter, was in fact a noble vassal, bound to his lord with the strongest bonds of allegiance even to the commission of crime and the forfeiture of life . Yet not only in Germany but in France, Normandy, and Italy, admission to this order was a coveted distinction, valor and untarnished honor being required of all its members, while among their duties was the protection of the weak and especially of women. Many of the knights had their separate castles, with drawbridge moat, and tower, but on a smaller scale than those of the higher nobility, in which were often courtyards spacious enough for the holding of tournaments. In the earlier days the chase was their pastime when, not engaged at court, in war, or in lovemaking. The woods abounded in such noble game as the stag, the elk, the fallow deer, and the fierce wild bulls which Charlemagne loved to hunt in the forests of Ardennes. To live the lives of freebooters was at first beneath their dignity; but as knighthood degenerated it became the custom to live "by the stirrup," that is to say by pillage and highway robbery. Thus the castles both of princes and knights were converted into dens of robbers whence armed bands fell on merchant convoys and captured their costly freights. There were none to prevent or punish them, and there was no protection for the weak, except banding together, or the payment of tribute in the form of taxes and tolls.
This was in truth the time when might was right, when order and law were at an end, when honesty was merely a name, and all sense of honor was lost.
Life and manners were rude in German cities and castles after the relapse which followed the age of chivalry, when with the customs of chivalry was extinguished all chivalrous sentiment. Respect for women gave place to contempt, and instead of knightly devotion were drunken orgies from which decent women were excluded. At the courts of princes vulgar ostentation demanded an expensive retinue of attendants, with richly caparisoned steeds, thus embarrassing the nobles with debt, the burden of which must be borne by their dependents; for knights must banquet and hold carousal though the peasantry starved. Often, however, the knights themselves were in danger of starvation; for bitter poverty lurked within their castle walls, where they lived with a handful of servants and a few famished horses and dogs, until, going forth like ravenous wolves, the plunder of some merchant train and the ransom of its owner supplied them with stolen funds. During this age of disorder multitudes were deprived of their homes; nor was there any inducement to make a home, men breaking loose from all family and local ties and filling the land with vagrants and vagabonds of all degrees. In the middle of the fourteenth century came the Black Death, the most destructive pestilence that ever overtook the human race, and accompanied with a moral pestilence more hideous than itself. Europe lost one-fourth of its population, and in Germany, as its historians relate, half the nation perished from its effects, many towns and villages being utterly depopulated, while richly freighted vessels drifted at sea with no living soul on board to tell of their awesome fate. For this visitation the Jews were blamed, poisoning the wells and springs, as was believed, with intent to destroy the Christians. Hence came persecution, all the more bitter in that many of the wealthiest and most enterprising citizens were Hebrews. At Strasburg two thousand were burned at the stake; at Cologne and elsewhere the Jewish quarter was sacked, the houses burned, and the inhabitants butchered, their effects being divided between the archbishop and the townsfolk according to the terms of a compact whose opening words are: "All the Jews in the city as well as in the province have been slain.”
"Their money,” says a chronicler of the times, "was the poison which slew the Jews,” who in some places, as at Worms and Mayence, shut themselves up in a body and put an end to their lives.
But let us turn from this somber picture, for such a condition of affairs could not long endure. After continuing for two years the pestilence was stayed, and society gradually returned to its normal condition, though the civilizing influences of generations had for the time been obliterated. With the invention of gunpowder the robber knights and their dens of plunder were swept away, and before the dawn of the reformation, the last vestige of this foul offshoot of the noble institution of knighthood had disappeared. Still there remained the religious orders, first among which were the knights of St. John and the knights templar, organized for the protection of pilgrims in the holy land. To these had been added during the third crusade a German order which later played an important part in history; for uniting with "the brethren of the sword,” still another and noble order, they conquered and colonized Livonia, and afterward settling in Prussia, founded the "little Germany” which presently became so great. Their career in the east at an end, all these orders grew wealthy through numerous gifts and grants, becoming one of the most powerful elements in the body politic, while the knights templar still form one of the richest and most influential fraternities in the world.
Many of the great cities of Germany owe their origin or restoration to the building of cathedrals, often in places remote from human habitations but bringing together workmen and worshipers whose wants afforded an opening for trade. Imperial palaces were the germs of other cities, and still others were established by wealthy princes, Henry the Lion, for instance, founding Brunswick in Saxony and Munich in Bavaria, while few attained to importance or prosperity through advantages of site or the superior energy of their earlier settlers. In the time of the earlier Frankish sovereigns German cities, apart from their cathedrals and Episcopal mansions, were little in advance of the towns of barbarous nations of the Dahomeans, let us say or of the New Zealand, Maoris.
They had neither walls nor pavements and their dwellings were small wooden huts, where throughout the long winter nights sleep was disturbed by the howling and snapping of wolves. They were peopled almost entirely by vassals, though men of knightly rank were among their merchants or landed gentry, the feudal lord being represented by a bailiff who usually lived in a castle near at hand. Gradually the lower classes were emancipated and began to make their influence felt, dividing themselves into guilds according to their trades each with a distinct and separate organization. During the long struggle between the emperors and princes they were always on the side of the former, receiving in return valuable franchises and privileges. Manufactures added largely to the wealth produced by farming; more comfortable homes were built, and the religious spirit of the times found expression in the rearing of costly and magnificent temples, whose towering spires are still among the landmarks of Germany. With prosperity came also enjoyment, especially in the form of festivals and parades, where the citizens fared sumptuously, doffing their peasants or tradesman’s garb for more expensive and showy attire.
Before the close of the middle ages there was a further improvement in the condition of affairs, municipal life in the fifteenth century being attended with comfort, enjoyment, and prosperity, further promoted by the holding of annual fairs. Besides richly endowed cathedrals and churches there were rathhauses, colleges, libraries, and other public buildings, many of them handsomely decorated. From wooden straw-thatched huts the dwellings had grown to several stories with towering roofs, the ground floors being usually occupied as stores. Here were carried on many branches of industry and art, as those of the goldsmith and silversmith, the weaver and armorer, the painter and sculptor. Rich families, proud of their wealth, held grand balls and banquets, to which the representatives of the guilds were among the invited guests. The guilds had also their entertainments, each with its separate banners, emblems, and uniforms, while the numerous church festivals were honored by the entire populace in stately and splendid processions. Silver vessels were commonly used at feasts, and a citizen’s wife considered herself poor indeed if she could not wear ornaments of gold.
By slow degrees the trade of Germany extended far and wide as substantial highways connected this central empire with the nations which girded its frontiers. By way of Italy came the costly products of the orient, the silks of China, the spices and gems of Arabia and India, and the richly wrought weapons of Damascus. These with their own fabrics they distributed throughout northern and eastern Europe, together with their wine and beer which the north must have but could not produce. Even Russia depended on Germany for a portion of her supplies, the merchants of Lubeck and other Baltic seaports shipping their goods to the remotest regions where adventurers had paved the way for German commerce and culture. Here the foundations were laid for the enormous volume of trade developed by the Hanseatic League, whose origin and operations will presently be further mentioned. Colonies were also established on conquered or abandoned lands, and peopled as they were by thrifty and diligent settlers soon developed into prosperous and powerful communities.
Thus it was that Berlin was founded, and thus Vienna, Prague, Frankfort-on-the-Oder, Landsberg, and other cities either came into existence or were exalted into great centers of population and wealth. To German colonization both Prussia and Austria owe much of it their past and present greatness, and as early as the thirteenth century German dominion extended over the entire region where today the German language is spoken.
Thus speaks Æneas Sylvius, afterward Pope Pius II, of German cities as he found them about the middle of the fifteenth century. "Cologne is not excelled in all Europe for the splendor of its churches and citizens houses, its wealth and its defensive strength. Strasburg is traversed, like Venice, with canals, but is far more pleasant and healthy. It has a cathedral of freestone with one finished spire, which hides its wonderful top in the clouds. Its city hall and even its private houses are such as no prince need be ashamed of. Augsburg is wealthy and well governed. Salzburg is magnificent; Regensburg is rich in sanctuaries and pious memories; but Vienna is the most splendid of all, the ambassadors of Bosnia declaring that the spire of St. Stephen’s alone was worth more than their kingdom. Its houses are of stone, with the richest of furniture and windows of glass, still a rare luxury. Dantzic is strong by land and sea and can send forth fifty thousand warriors; but Lubeck excels all northern cities in lofty buildings and handsome churches. In Franconia, Nuremberg shows from afar its majestic beauty, and the impression is strengthened on entering its gates and beholding its handsome streets and dwellings. Here are the venerable and beautiful churches of St. Sebald and St. Lawrence; the proud and strong castles of the emperors, and citizens' houses that seem built for princes. On the whole it may be asserted that no nation in Europe has cleaner or more agreeable cities than Germany, and their appearance is as fresh as if they were built but yesterday. The citizens too are soldiers and each one has a sort of armory in his house. The boys learn to ride before they can talk, and sit unmoved in the saddle when their horses run at full speed while the men wear their armor as lightly as their limbs. Surely you Germans might still be the masters of the world as, once you were, but for your many masters."
It will be observed that in this highly colored but not untruthful picture our medieval chronicler makes no mention of Berlin and other Prussian cities which have since attained to a foremost rank. As compared with Austria and the southern sections of the ancient German empire, the kingdom of Prussia is of comparatively modern date the materials, of which it has been built and free, its duchies, principalities, cities being of a most varied and heterogeneous character. If by Prussia was achieved the political regeneration of Germany, this is not due to superiority of race but rather to the accident of geographical position; for the greater portion of modern Prussia was originally occupied by Slavonic nations, with but a slight intermixture of pure Teutonic blood. Yet more perhaps to her subsequent blending of races than to any other cause does Prussia owe her supremacy among the great European powers, as a nation of scholars as well as a nation of soldiers.
Brandenburg, a region formerly extending eastward from the Elbe to the Vistula, was the kernel of the Prussian kingdom, and here about the middle of the twelfth century ruled Albert the Bear, a prince of the German empire with the self-assumed title of margrave, peopling his lands with Hollanders, and through careful drainage and husbandry converting swamps and sandy plains into fertile districts. His descendants ruled for nearly two centuries when, the line becoming extinct, Brandenburg passed into the hands of Louis the Bavarian, and soon afterward was absorbed in the dominions of Charles IV, who paid for it a certain sum of money, for here was a long coveted outlet to the Baltic sea. Recognized as an electorate in 1356, on the death of Charles it fell to the inheritance of his second son Sigismund, who being in need of funds, mortgaged this portion of his domain to his cousin Jodocus of Moravia. But Jodocus regarded it merely as a source of revenue, leaving the country to govern itself, so that wealthy citizens were plundered by the nobles, and neighboring powers helped themselves to such portions as lay convenient to their borders. Finally, in 1415, the electorate was conferred on Frederick VI of the house of Hohenzollern, whose origin is traced to an ancient Swabian family, and whose descendants, since 1701, have occupied the throne of Prussia.
Assuming the title of Frederick I the new elector restored order to a realm before under the control of robber barons, and whose peasantry had been reduced to a condition of feudal servitude. Passing over the intervening period, in 1608 the electorate fell to John Sigismund, who also inherited the duchy of Prussia, then merely a Polish fief, though formerly a portion of the domain conquered by the Teutonic knights, where were nearly threescore walled towns, as many castles, and several hundred villages.
After some further changes the Hohenzollern possessions were acquired by Frederick William, styled the Great Elector, whose energy and ability rose superior to a combination of adverse circumstances. A country which at his accession was divided against itself, laid waste by war, and without army or revenue worthy of the name, had become at his death second only to Austria among the divisions of the German empire, the champion of Protestantism, and a power that made itself felt in all European questions. Its area had increased to more than 40,000 square miles, with a population exceeding 1,500,000, a revenue increased fivefold, a goodly store of treasure, and an army of nearly 40,000 disciplined troops. Such was the state of Brandenburg-Prussia to which Friedrich III succeeded, a weak and frivolous prince, in whose administration there is little worthy of note except that at Konigsberg he was crowned or rather crowned himself King of Prussia, with the title of Friedrich I, amid ostentatious and costly ceremonies.
A man of other caliber was Friedrich Wilhelm I, the irate monarch whom Carlyle describes in graphic phrase. His first act was to reduce the expenses of court and civil list from 275,000 to 55,000 thalers, the former being the sum expended by his father, with a much larger amount spent on himself. His internal administration made of Prussia a model kingdom, though under purely arbitrary rule, for the estates were never consulted and ministers were little better than clerks. The condition of the peasantry was improved; their taxes were reduced, and the worst features of serfdom were abolished. Agricultural and other industries were carefully fostered and new branches of manufacture established, especially that of woolen cloths, a royal factory erected at Berlin supplying the entire army with uniforms. The foundation was laid of the common school system of Prussia which afterward became one of the best in the world; but, for literature, science, and art, or for higher culture in any form, there was no encouragement. Friedrich Wilhelm was one of the shrewdest and most economical of most practical, monarchs, ruling with patriarchal but somewhat tyrannous sway, for he was not only a military martinet but insisted on the most rigid discipline in all departments of civil administration. His chief care was the army, and on this he expended more than seventy percent of a revenue doubled during his reign, meanwhile storing in his treasury several millions of thalers; for none knew better than he that in war money was the first thing needed, and the second, and the third. All this with large family estates acquired by purchase, he left to his son Friedrich II, who twice escaping death at his father's hands, was spared for the great achievements which have won for him on history's page the well earned title of Frederick the Great.
In the two wars which gave to him the duchies of Silesia, Frederick exhausted the resources left him by his father, both in thalers and grenadiers; but in the interval of peace which followed he had ample leisure to replenish his treasury and to recruit his armies, entering on the Seven Years’ war with 150,000 men and a fund war with 11,000,000 thalers, afterward largely increased by British subsidies. Fighting as he did against all Europe, against a coalition which had at its command a population and revenue at least twenty times larger than his own, his campaigns, though not always successful were marvels of military skill. Except for her rank as a first-class power, and for the spirit of patriotism kindled by a series of brilliant victories, Prussia gained nothing by the war, and for these intangible results the cost was enormous. Nearly 200,000 men perished in the field and more than twice that number through famine and disease. Towns were destroyed or deserted; districts left uncultivated, and such was the scarcity of food that even seed-grain was used for bread. But Frederick was as great in peace as in war, speedily repairing war's ravages, advancing money to those in need, remitting taxes, repeopling the land with colonists, and meanwhile keeping clear of debt by a careful husbandry of his finances. Thus at his death in 1786 the kingdom contained an area of 75,000 square miles and a population of 5,500,000, with ample revenue, and with 60,000,000 thalers in the treasury.
During the reign of Frederick's nephew and successor the domain of Prussia was further enlarged through the partition of Poland and the acquisition of Anspach and Baireuth, increasing the area to 100,000 square miles and the population to 9,000,000 souls. That in the Napoleonic wars both territory and people were reduced by one half, was due to the timid neutrality of the then reigning monarch, Friedrich Wilhelm III. Had he joined Austria in her gallant but unsuccessful struggle against the legions of the great usurper, doubtless he might have turned the scale of victory; but Friedrich had no stomach for the fight, consenting to be used as the tool of Napoleon until forced single-handed into war. His armies were no longer those of Frederick the Great; they were poorly armed and equipped; they were widely distributed: and except for Blucher, there was not a single general who knew how to handle large masses of troops. The result was inevitable, the disastrous defeats at Jena and Auerstadt being followed by the shameful capitulation of fortresses and corps almost without striking a blow. Entering Berlin in triumph, Napoleon afterward dictated the humiliating terms, including the enormous indemnity imposed by the peace of Tilsit. Yet as was shown in the campaigns of 1813 and 1814, and again in the campaign which ended at Waterloo, there was excellent material in the Prussian ranks, needing only able commanders, for men will not fight when there are none to lead.
The congress of Vienna restored to Prussia most of her lost possessions, with the addition of a part of Saxony, the Rhineland, and Swedish Pomerania, the kingdom of Hanover forming a wedge which divided her empire in twain.
Notwithstanding her ragged western frontier, the work of consolidation was accomplished with little friction, and soon afterward Prussia began to break loose from the leading-strings of Austria, still the dominant power in the Germanic confederation. During the administration of Friedrich Wilhelm IV, notwithstanding his exaggerated ideas of the divine right of kings, constitutional government based on democratic principles was for the first time established in Prussia, while the old system of estates gave way to representative parliaments. Of the reign of Wilhelm I and his successors, of the Schleswig-Holstein episode, of the war of 1866, whereby Prussia became the head and Austria was excluded from the Germanic confederation, the incidents are too recent here to require more than passing reference. For many years after the Franco-Prussian war the history of Prussia was almost identical with that of Germany, with Bismarck as the central figure. Though his policy was essentially autocratic, ignoring all party and if need be parliamentary action, while having always in view the necessity of maintaining a strong central government, the imperial chancellor seldom failed to form such combinations as would suffice to carry his favorite measures. To him is largely due the increasing prominence of Germany as a colonizing power, and while this is nothing new, for such projects were entertained as far back as the time of the Great Elector, the colonial enterprises of the present day give promise of permanence and will probably become wide-reaching in effect.
Thus, in as brief phrase as the nature of the subject would permit, I have sketched the origin and development of the great German empire, now with a population exceeding 50,000,000 and with a territory of more than 200,000 square miles, for the most part in the very heart of Europe. Watered by seven large rivers and by innumerable smaller streams, of which at least threescore are navigable, the surface is strongly diversified and with the most varied of geological formations, the mountainous regions of the south and west gradually merging into the level plains of the north and east. The climate is temperate, except that in the extreme north the winters are long and severe, the temperature varying in portions of Prussia from 100 degrees to -30 degrees. The people are among the most orderly and industrious in the world, and of resources there is no lack; nor is there any country in which they are utilized to better advantage. While food products are insufficient for the country's needs, agriculture is conducted on scientific principles, with strict economic methods and plentiful diversity of farming the state in addition to numerous agricultural colleges and organizations, fostering the growth of husbandry and advancing its interests with rapid strides. Both in value and quantity the mining products of Germany are larger than those of any European nation, with the single exception of Great Britain next to which also the empire ranks in volume of manufactures. The finances of the country are in a sound condition with revenue, and expenditure about equally balanced, while as an offset to its public debt are large invested funds. To protect this mighty realm is an army which on a peace footing musters nearly 600,000 men and with a war strength exceeding 3,000,000, all trained and disciplined troops and of more than average intelligence. Of a navy of more than 100 vessels, about 30 are battle or port defense ships, and there are some 40 cruisers with 135 torpedo and other craft.
Such is the Fatherland of today, and no wonder that its sons are proud of their country, proud of its political greatness and material prosperity, and proud of the imperial part which it has played among the great sisterhood of nations. What Italy was in the days of the Roman empire, what Austria, Spain, and France were each in turn, that is Germany in these closing years of the nineteenth century; nor is there any reason to doubt that for many years to come she will be able to preserve the peace of Europe, of which she has so long been the recognized arbiter.
Turning to the cities of Germany, where wealth and all that wealth has created find their highest forms of expression, let us begin with Berlin, the metropolis of the empire, the seat of royalty and the third in size, among European capitals; yet as to origin one of the most obscure of German settlements, even the origin of its name being still in doubt. When we say that it was a colony established probably by Albert the Bear in the year 1170, and that in 1225 it received a charter from the resigning margrave, we have said about all that is known as to the founding of the imperial city. Situated in the midst of the sandy and marshy plain which borders on the river Spree, it is first mentioned in connection with the township of Koln, with which in 1307 it was united, the place then attaining to some importance and ranking next to Brandenburg, where dwelt the margraves. In the middle of the sixteenth century it had a population of at least 12,000, though reduced to half that number at the close of the Thirty Years' war. By the Great Elector was founded the new quarter named Dorotheenstadt in honor of his wife, and by him was opened the Lindenallee or avenue of lime-trees where is now the boulevard of that name. New settlers flocked into the town; new enterprises were promoted; commerce expanded rapidly, and then it was that the nucleus was formed of the royal library and art collections of Berlin.
King Friedrich I founded the quarter still known as the Friedrich-stadt, together with the chateau of Charlottenburg, churches and town halls, the academy, and the new palace of Berlin, now two centuries old. By Friedrich Wilhelm I substantial improvements were also made, but with no attempt at decoration; for this monarch loved well his thalers, and cared more for his "tobacco parliament" than for all the architectural garnishments in the world. Frederick the Great did much for his capital, though he seldom lived there, sparing neither time nor money in its extension and embellishment. Unfortunately he had a hobby for designing his own buildings, or essentially altering the designs prepared for him, very much to their detriment. The opera house, somewhat enlarged but otherwise little altered as to exterior plan, was erected during his reign. Among other of his structures were the cathedral, the library, the palace of Prince Henry, now the university buildings, and hundreds of the public and private mansions which have made of Berlin one of the most sightly of European cities. Industries and commerce were fostered; literature, art, and science woke to life, and to this period belong such men as Lessing, Nicolai, and Moses Mendelssohn.
Nevertheless Berlin suffered severely during the Seven Years’ war, and far more severely during its occupation by Napoleon, who dealt with it almost as harshly as Alaric or Genseric dealt with ancient Rome. Though rapidly repaired, the disasters of the Franco-Prussian war of 1806 left for the time a most depressing effect, and it was not until after the conclusion of peace in 1814 that the city began to assume its modern aspect. Few of the great public buildings in which Berlin is extremely rich belong to an earlier period, many of them being erected or completed during the reign of the emperor Wilhelm I and his successors. The rathhaus, for instance, was finished in 1869 at a cost, including its site, of $2,500,000, and the borse in 1863 at an outlay of $900,000, the New National gallery, the handsome Jewish synagogue, and other costly and elaborate structures belonging to a recent date. Most of them lie within a narrow compass, and if in architectural splendor Berlin is inferior to Paris, in no city in the world are so many imposing edifices near together.
Entering by way of the Brandenburg gate, we find ourselves in a city with more than 1,750,000 inhabitants living within an area of 25 square miles, for the most part in lofty dwellings intersected by hundreds of regular and spacious throughfares. It is one of the greatest commercial, financial, and manufacturing cities in Europe, an important railroad center, and with a busier water traffic than that which is conducted on the Rhine. Yet the people are not entirely given over to business; for there are more than 60 plazas and several public parks, among the most attractive of which is the Austellungspark, with its evening concerts and reproductions of classic structures, the Thiergarten, a wooded tract of more than 600 acres, extending beyond the gate. There are zoological gardens and aquaria, and there are more than a score of theaters, art, and education, with numerous halls for popular entertainments. Many temples of science are there, and charity is represented by hospitals, one of which is under the direct control of the empress. The absence of churches in Berlin is noticeable; the citizens are not a church-going folk, less than two per cent of the entire population attending service of any kind.
From the Brandenburg gate to the Royal castle extends a series of avenues, chief among which is the Under dem Linden, nearly 200 feet in width and so-called as I have said, from its rows of lime-trees These are the busiest and most beautiful of Berlin thoroughfares bordered as they are by stately mansions and fashionable, stores in the vicinity being many buildings rich in historic interest. Before passing into the Linden, let us glance at the gate itself; for it is a massive eighteenth century structure, more than 200 feet in width, erected in imitation of the Propylæa at Athens, and surmounted with a quadriga of Victory. Between the gate and the Linden is the Parisierplatz, so-named from the occupation of Paris by the Prussians and their allies in 1814. On its southern side is the former palace of Marshal Prince Blucher, now occupied by the president of the reichstag.
On the Linden itself we are confronted with a dazzling array of stately palaces and mansions, number one being the palace of Count Redern, number seven that of the Russian embassy, and so on for almost a mile in length. A little more than half way is the bronze equestrian statue of Frederick the Great, a masterly composition by Ranch, representing the monarch in his coronation robes, and with elaborate decoration of its granite pedestal in allegorical and historic figures. On one side of it is the palace of Wilhelm I, where on the 9th of March, 1888, the most powerful of all German sovereigns quietly passed from earth; on the other is the Academy building where both art and science are represented. Near at hand are the spacious University buildings, in whose gardens are tin statues of William and Alexander von Humboldt, with collections of medicinal and industrial plants. In addition to the class and lecture rooms required by 5,000 or 6,000 students, there are many structures connected with the university, including chemical laboratories, medical, zoological, botanical, and other museums and institutes. Of the Royal library nothing need be said as to its architectural plan, if in truth it can be said to have a plan; but its collections rank with the largest and most valuable in the world, including more than 1,000,000 printed volumes and 20,000 manuscripts. Among them are Gutenberg’s parchment Bible of 1450, the first work printed with movable types; there is also the manuscript of Luther's Bible, and an eighth century manuscript of the gospels, once the property of Charlemagne, and by him presented to a Saxon duke.
The Opera house faces the library on the opposite side of the Linden. Destroyed by fire in 1843, it was restored according to its original plan as first completed exactly a century before. The portico is composed of Corinthian columns, and on the tympanum is a group of allegorical figures relating to the drama. The interior is spacious and tastefully decorated; but the corridors and ante-rooms with their scant proportions contrast unfavorably with those of the grand opera house at Paris. Beyond is another group of palaces, including that of the empress Victoria, connected by an arch with the palace of the princesses. Not far away is the arsenal, one of the finest and most substantial buildings in Vienna, in the form of a square with a side of nearly 300 feet. There are fine sculptural decorations, and above the portal is a statue of its founder Friedrich I. In 1883 it was converted into a military museum, in which are historic collections of the weapons and enginery of war, with portraits and statues of famous warriors and mural and other paintings relating to the battle and the siege.
In line with the eastern extension of the Linden is the Schlossbrucke, one of fifty or more bridges that span the Spree, and one of the few possessed of architectural merit, its handsome parapet adorned with marble groups representing warrior life. A little beyond it is the Lustgarten, formerly used as a drill-ground, and in the center of which is an equestrian statue of Friedrich Wilhelm III, the figures on its pedestal representing, among other subjects, industry, science, art, and religion.
On the southern side of the Lustgarten, which at one time formed a portion of its grounds, is the Royal I castle, more commonly termed the Royal palace, a huge rectangular structure, or series of structures, solid, massive, and imposing, but with little of plastic or other exterior embellishment. Originally erected as a medieval chateau by one of the electors, though many times altered and enlarged, it is only within recent years that the buildings have been completed, additions restorations and renovations continuing from the middle of the fifteenth century almost until the present day, while the portion fronting on the Spree alone retains its original form. As now it stands the palace is a four-story edifice, 650 feet in length, 375 in depth, nearly 100 in height, and capped with a dome whose summit is about 330 feet above the pavement. It encloses several courts, monument of the war of 1870 one of them arcaded and another containing a group of St. George and the dragon in bronze. The portal of the west facade is a feeble imitation of the triumphal arch of Severus, and facing the Lustgarten are groups presented by the emperor Nicholas of Russia.
There are more than 700 apartments in the palace of the Hohenzollerns, some of them containing treasures more than sufficient to purchase the ransom of a score of princes. In all the state rooms are portraits of the royal family past and present; the reception rooms are handsomely decorated; there is the room in which the crown jewels were formerly kept, and there is a bridal chamber, still used by the newly wedded couples of royalty. But it is in the rittersaal, or ancient throne-room, that splendor, if somewhat barbaric splendor, reaches its climax. Here are thrones of pure silver, above which is the ponderous silver shield presented by the city of Berlin to Friedrich Wilhelm IV. Over the central door was built in the time of the earlier monarchs a gallery of solid silver, and on the sideboard, elaborately carved, is the massive gold and silver plate which adorned the tables of the first Prussian kings. From the ceiling is suspended the crystal chandelier beneath which stood Luther at the diet of Worms. Among other apartments worthy of mention are those where foreign princes are entertained, and the suites of the emperor Wilhelm II, formerly occupied by Frederick the Great Adjoining the white salon, with its chaste columnar and mural decorations and its marble statues of the twelve electors, is the palace chapel, adorned with frescos on a ground of gold, and with walls and pavement, altar pulpit and candelabra of Egyptian and other marbles.
In the picture gallery are portraits and scenes pertaining to Prussian history, and elsewhere are many excellent paintings of the French and Netherlands schools. Finally, the palace has its ghost—the white lady—whose appearance, as tradition relates, foretokens the death of some member of the royal family.
In the quarter known as Charlottensburg, an independent municipality but practically a portion of Berlin, is another Royal palace composed of a group of buildings one-third of a mile in extent. The central and oldest portion was completed in 1707, a wing being added some thirty years later, while the theater was erected in 1788. Its beautiful gardens, laid out in the finest style of landscape art, are open to the public, with whom they are a favorite promenade. Beyond them is the mausoleum where Kaiser Wilhelm I lies at rest, side by side with his parents and the empress Augusta. The figures in marble are among the finest of Ranch's compositions, that of the queen at once establishing his fame as a sculptor. Of the apartments of the palace the most interesting is the porcelain chamber where is a handsome collection presented by English merchants to Queen Sophia Charlotte. Among other palaces in Berlin are those of Prince Albert, of the princes Alexander and George, of Prince Leopold, and of the Princess Frederick Charles. Nor should we forget the plain but spacious mansion of Von Moltke, with little attempt at architectural embellishment; for as with Bismarck, the great Prussian strategist was not given to display.
There are two royal museums in Berlin, the old and, the new, the former on the Lustgarten, facing the castle and connected with the other by a covered corridor. The old museum erected, according to the inscription on its frieze by Friedrich Wilhelm III, for the study of all branches of antiquity and the liberal arts, is one of the largest and most imposing structures in Berlin, covering an area of 47,000 square feet. It is of Grecian architecture, with a portico of tall Ionic pillars approached by a spacious flight of steps, where are the famous equestrian groups of the Amazon by Kiss and of the Lion-slayer by Albert Wolf. On the walls of the portico are represented in symbolic figures the evolution and progress of the world from chaos to organic and developed life. Above the central portion of the building are colossal groups in bronze, and in front and in the vestibules is a profusion of statuary and frescos.
The gallery of antiquities, founded by Frederick the Great with the collection purchased from Cardinal Polignac, contained little of merit until the acquisition in 1879 of the Pergamum sculptures and later of the Saburow collection of Attic masterpieces. Worthy of note are the friezes of the altar of Zeus unearthed from the ruins of Pergamum, and more than 2,000 years old, the altar being erected in honor of a victory over the Gauls outside the city gates about 180 BC. Classical authors and heroes are plentiful, as also are the gods and demi-gods of ancient Rome and Greece. Demosthenes Herodotus and Euripides are here, and here are Scipio Africanus and Julius and Augustus Caesar, side by side with Apollo Venus and Athena. There are also sculptures of the Christian era, and in one of the chambers are chimney-pieces of Italian marble richly embellished, together with a number of small bronzes by Donatello and other famous artists. In the cabinet of coins are more than 200,000 specimens, Greek, Roman oriental medieval and modern, $150,000 being paid for two of the Greek and Roman cabinets. There are collections of Italian and German medals, the former dating back to the Middle Ages, and once the property of the grand duchess of Tuscany.
As a nucleus for the picture gallery was purchased in 1821, from an Englishman of that name, the Solly collection, the price being $550,000, and to this was added in 1874 the Suermondt collection for $250,000. Meanwhile additions were made, and are still being made, from many nations and from many schools, thus giving to the Berlin gallery its worldwide repute. While containing a leaven of masterpieces more than sufficient to raise it above mediocrity, the value of this gallery consists rather in its catholicity of style and era than in works of superior merit. Yet these are not few, and especially the works of early Italian, Dutch, and Flemish painters, though German, French, and Spanish art are also freely represented. Fra Angelico has here his ‘Last Judgment.’ Verrocchio his 'Madonna.' and Vivarini his altar-piece, the last however comparing feebly with the great winged altar-piece of the Van Eycks and with Leonardo da Vinci’s altar-piece of 'The Resurrection.' Correggio has his 'Leda,' one of the finest of his compositions; there are four of Raphael’s canvases, and a few of Titian’s portraits. Holbein's portrait of the merchant Gisze is one of the gems of the German collection. Albert Durer has several pictures, one of which, the Holzschuher portrait, was purchased in 1884 for $87,500. Peter Paul Rubens and his school are also represented the ' Rescue of Andromeda', and 'Diana at the Chase' being excellent specimens of his mythological studies, while Rembrandt with his scriptural subjects and Jacob von Ruysdael with his landscapes give tone to the Dutch school, of which in its formative period Frans Hals is an able exponent.
In architectural features the new museum does not compare, with its sister institution the exterior, being almost as void of taste as a United States government building, and this is saying much. It is redeemed, however, by its rich internal decorations so elaborate and artistic as to attract more attention than that which it contains. On the upper walls of the staircase are Kaulbach's series of mural paintings representing the great epochs in the history of the human race, from the confusion of tongues to the reformation. Arranged in twelve salons is a collection of casts of classical and medieval statuary, and there is a hall devoted to casts of German sculptures. In the Assyrian chamber are alabaster slabs representing in relief the monarchs and demons, the scenes of the battle and the chase as depicted in the Nimrud palace. There is also a Babylonian chamber, and one devoted to the antiquities of Asia Minor; hut the Egyptian museum is of most importance, especially for the additions contributed by Lepsius in 1848.
The cabinet of engravings and wood cuts extending from the fifteenth to the nineteenth century is one of the largest in the world, and includes many treasures from the famous collection of the duke of Hamilton, though perhaps its choicest treasure is a copy of Dante with illustrations executed by a Florentine artist in 1510. The antiquarium is filled with bronzes, terra-cottas, and vases, the last of great artistic value, especially in relation to Grecian art, for most of them were unearthed in the cities of Magna Graecia.
But that which is of most interest to the average visitor is the collection of gems and objects fashioned in the precious metals. In one of the cabinets is a cameo, nine by eight inches, representing the apotheosis of the emperor Severus. It was purchased for $9,000 and is classed as one of the most valuable in Europe. There is a suit of golden armor made for a Scythian chief, and there are antique golden ornaments from the Sabine mountains, with the silver plate discovered near the town of Hildesheim, near which was a Roman colony in the days of Augustus Caesar.
Among other museums in Berlin is the one used for ethnographical collections, a massive pentagonal structure on the ground floor of which is a portion of the Trojan remains unearthed by Schliemann. In the Industrial museum are displayed the manufactured products of many ages and countries, especially their art manufactures. In a collection of objects in which fire is not used are Gothic carvings in wood and medieval carvings in wood and ivory, with a chamber organ handsomely decorated, and Flemish and other tapestries interwoven with gold. There are also the richest of paneling and furniture of every pattern and date; there are beautiful specimens of enamel work, including some of the rarest specimens from Limoges belonging to the fifteenth century; there are textile fabrics of all descriptions, and pottery, porcelains, glassware, and metal work are liberally represented. In the goldsmith's art there is a rich service of antique plate, purchased for $165,000 and manufactured in the town of Luneburg several hundred years ago. There is silverware made by the most expert German craftsmen of the renaissance period, and there is church plate, both silver and gold belonging to the middle ages. There is also a collection of precious stones, and in a richly wrought cabinet made in 1617 for the duke of Pomerania are the choicest productions of Augsburg workers in gold.
The National gallery, designed as a Corinthian temple, stands in the midst of a square adorned with statuary and encircled with colonnades. It is a spacious and sightly structure, and in front of its portico are some excellent sculptural effects, including Calandrelli’s equestrian statue of its founder. The decorations of the interior are appropriate and rich, and the nucleus of the collection, some 250 pictures bequeathed to Wilhelm I during the time of his regency, has since been largely increased.
The Jewish synagogue is one of the finest specimens of ecclesiastical architecture. It is of oriental design, a gilded dome 160 feet in height rising above the narrow facade which somewhat mars its symmetry of outline. The interior, entered by doors of bronze separated by granite columns, is richly decorated with paintings and statuary, over which stained-glass windows shed a dim religious light. The oldest church is that of St. Nicholas, whose towers, choir, and nave date from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century, though with recent restorations.
The Jerusalemerkirche is a conspicuous edifice, as also are the churches of St. Michael and St. Thomas, both showing the combination of Romanesque designs with renaissance details which of late has found favor in Berlin. In all this great metropolis, with a population of nearly 2,000,000 souls, there are not more than 80 churches and chapels of all denominations; yet these, it would appear, are more than sufficient, for they are never overfilled, and seats are always at the disposal of those who are crowded out of beer gardens and beer saloons.
Among the business buildings of the metropolis, the borse is one of the most imposing, and also one of the first modern structures in which stone was used in place of brick. It is rich in columnar and sculptural decorations, the latter in the form of allegorical groups and figures. Passing through the ante-chamber with its statue of Kaiser Wilhelm I, we enter one of the largest halls in Europe devoted to business purposes, 340 feet in length and 90 in width, arcades dividing it into sections for the use of various branches of trade. Here and in the gallery are several thousand people during business hours, of which there are only two in the day. Another massive edifice is the Reichsbank, which may also be termed the bank of Prussia. It is a neat composition of the renaissance order, almost classic in simplicity of design.
The interior is richly decorated and above the main facade is Franz group of Germania protecting commerce industry and navigation. The rathhaus, like many other of Berlin's public buildings, is a composite structure of medieval outline but with renaissance details. In its tower, which is 245 feet in height, is one of the largest clocks in the world, with a dial-plate 15 feet in diameter, and in the main corridor are stained-glass windows with the arms of fourscore Prussian towns. The Festsaal, adjoining the council chamber, is the finest of its halls, with oaken doors elaborately carved and with massive candelabra depending from its coffered ceiling.
Except perhaps Paris, no city in the world is richer than Berlin in monumental and sculptural decorations. Of several I have spoken, as of Ranch's equestrian statue of Frederick the Great, one of the grandest monuments in Europe. In the Wilhelmsplatz, facing which is the palace of Prince Frederick Leopold, are represented in a group the generals who fell in the Silesian wars of Frederick the Great. In the Konigsplatz is Strack’s monument of victory, a magnificent column nearly 200 feet high, the gilded figure at the top being 40 feet in height. On its massive pedestal are reliefs in bronze commemorating the triumphs of 1870-1871, with those of earlier campaigns. In the Kreuzberg a gothic obelisk calls to mind the hard-won victories of 1813-1815. On the Kurfiirsten-brucke, leading to the old town, is a bronze equestrian statue of the Great Elector, a masterly composition, notwithstanding that its subject, with his Teutonic features and curly wig, appears at a disadvantage in his Roman garb. The Lion group in one of the public parks is finely modeled; but it is a somewhat over-scornful lion. In the Thiergarten are handsome marble monuments of Friedrich Wilhelm III and Queen Louise, their pedestals lavishly decorated with figures in relief. Not far away is the Goethe monument, the main figure standing forth in majestic outline and with allegorical figures of poetry and music at the base. In front of the Schauspielhaus, one of the principal theaters, is the Schiller monument, also with emblematic figures on the pedestal. Opposite the chamber of the Prussian deputies is a monument to Baron von Stein, the figures and reliefs on the pedestal representing wisdom, courage, truthfulness, and piety. Elsewhere in the streets and squares the churches, and cemeteries of Berlin, is preserved in marble and bronze the memory of the monarch’s statesmen, warriors, the men of letters, science and art whom the nation loves to honor.
Potsdam, almost near enough to Berlin to be included among its suburbs, has long been a favorite summer residence for German emperors and Prussian kings. The German Versailles it is styled, and well is the title deserved, for it is a city of palaces parks and pleasure-grounds, but a sleepy city withal, with no stir of business except for a few small manufactures, though of some political importance as the capital of the province of Brandenburg. It was but a village until the Great Elector established there his headquarters, building for himself a stately mansion surrounded with gardens and groves. But to Frederick the Great was due the inception of its modern splendor and for him was built, the palace of Sans Souci, and the New palace, now no longer new, with a number of residences for those whom he would have around him.
The park of Sans Souci was also made by Frederick, though enlarged by Friedrich Wilhelm IV.
It is laid out in the formal style of the period and somewhat over decorated with fountains and statuary, even artificial ruins being added for effect. The palace itself is but of one story, with lavish exterior embellishments in doubtful taste; yet there it was the great monarch loved to dwell. His apartments are preserved almost intact, and there are many things to remind us of the great warrior; the chair in which he died, the clock which stopped, as is said, at the moment of his death, and the only portrait for which he would consent to sit. The New palace, the former residence of the crown prince of Prussia and now the summer residence of the reigning emperor, is a massive brick structure, erected at a cost of $2,250,000, but of little architectural merit. It contains about 200 apartments, one of which, known as the shell saloon, is inlaid with shells, and its frieze adorned with precious stones. There is also a theater with accommodation for both of several hundred spectators, a concert chamber and a ballroom, them decorated in pictorial art.
The Royal palace is another extensive building without structural features worthy of note. The chambers formerly occupied by Frederick are hung with pictures by Watteau and other eminent artists. Here also, as in the New palace, are numerous relics, including his autograph notes, his writing-table, much stained with ink, and the cabinet with double doors where at times he dined with his friends beyond hearing of his attendants. Still another mammoth edifice is the Orangery, a palace of the Florentine order nearly a quarter of a mile in length and with statues in all the openings of its interminable facade. In front is a statue of Friedrich Wilhelm IV, and on the terrace are columnar statues of Flora and Ceres, with the group of the Farnese Bull. In the Raphael salon are many copies from the great master, with statuary by eminent German sculptors. In other apartments, and especially in the malachite saloon, there are also valuable works of art.
The Lustgarten, the Wilhelmsplatz, and other public pleasure-grounds are lavishly adorned with statues and busts of no artistic value. The park of Sans Souci is the favorite lounging place, an avenue leading to it from the Brandenburg gate, erected in 1770 in the form of a triumphal arch. At its entrance is the Friedenskirche, built in the style of the early Christian basilicas. At the foot of its clock-tower, 130 feet in height, are some choice Italian sculptures, and in the atrium are Rauch's group of 'Moses' and an excellent copy of Thorwaldsen’s 'Risen Christ.’ The interior is somewhat bare of aspect, though relieved by its Ionic columns of black marble, and by the mausolea of Friedrich IV and his wife, the angel guarding the tombs being one of Tenerani’s compositions.
West and a little to the south of Berlin is Magdeburg, the capital of the province of Saxony, and one of the strongest of German fortresses. From a small trading settlement in the ninth century, when Otho I established there a Benedictine convent, it has developed into one of the foremost of Saxon cities, but not without many reverses, especially during the Thirty Year’s war, when Tilly burned the city to the ground and massacred its inhabitants without regard to age or sex.
It is an historic city, and has been the home of many eminent men. Carnot, for instance, ending his days there in exile, and Luther when a schoolboy singing in its streets for his daily bread. The cathedral, erected in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, but with modern restorations, is a magnificent specimen of Gothic architecture blended with the Romanesque. Within are the tombs of Otho the Great and his wife Editha, to whom one of the chapels is dedicated, and a monument to Archbishop Ernest, by Peter Vischer, a famous Nuremberg sculptor. A still more ancient edifice is the Liebfrauenkirche, or church of Our Lady, a cruciform basilica dating from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Worthy of mention also is the equestrian statue of Otho the Great in front of the rathhaus, with allegorical and other figures, including those of the duke of Saxony and the margrave of Brandenburg.
Passing southward we come to Leipzig, a city of 375,000 people, the seat of the supreme courts of the empire, a literary and musical center, and next to Hamburg the most important commercial city in Germany. First known as a Slavonic settlement under the name Lipzk, that is to say the town of the lime-trees, it was here that the emperor Heinrich I built his castle about the year 920. During the latter half of the twelfth century it passed into the possession of the margrave Otho the Rich, and gradually developed into a flourishing town. Situated in the midst of a fertile plain intersected by the great highways of Europe, its trade was largely increased by the great fairs held there thrice a year, and still attended by 40,000 or 50,000 merchants and tradesmen from every quarter of Europe and from several Asiatic countries.
While their relative importance has diminished with the growth of facilities for communication, the actual volume of transactions has steadily increased, now probably exceeding 560,000,000 a year. Of still greater importance is the book trade, the largest in the world, surpassing London or Paris in number and value of sales. There are at least 700 booksellers and publishers in Leipzig, placing on the market at a moderate estimate 3,000 new works a year, while thousands of European firms are here represented by agents, members of the trade meeting annually during the jubilate or Easter fair to settle their accounts in their own exchange—the Buchhandler-borse.
The university of Leipzig, funded by a secession of students from Prague early in the fifteenth century, is one of the largest and most famous in Europe, with 4,000 pupils, 200 professors, and a library of 400,000 printed volumes and 5,000 manuscripts. The museum, opposite the New theater on the Augustusplatz, contains a collection of modern paintings representing several schools. There is also an industrial museum whose contents are rapidly increasing in importance. The Marktplatz is surrounded by lofty and antiquated buildings, among which the rathhaus is one of the most ancient. On the northern face of the square is Siemering’s War monument, surmounted by a figure of Germania, and with Wilhelm I seated on its pedestal surrounded by his generals on horseback. The Reformation monument was unveiled on the 400th anniversary of the birthday of Martin Luther, who once preached, as is said, from the stone pulpit of the Nikolaikirche, a sixteenth century edifice, and except for the Paulinerkirche, completed in 1240, the oldest in Leipzig.
Few German cities are richer in historic and modern interest than Dresden, since 1485 the capital of the Saxon kingdom and the residence of Saxon monarchs, though more than two centuries before that date it had become a place of note as the headquarters of the margrave Henry the Illustrious. But it was in the days of Frederick Augustus I and II, electors of Saxony and kings of Poland, that the town began to assume its present aspect. Augustus I, better known as Augustus the Strong on account of his physical powers, succeeded to the throne in 1694, and after many wars, in which he acquitted himself with credit, gave himself over to a career of dissipation. His court became famous as the most dissolute and luxurious in Europe; his revenues were squandered, and his capital enriched at the expense of his kingdom with the choicest treasures of art. At the time Saxony was a prey to the most unscrupulous and depraved of either sex, the minister Flemming, for example, bequeathing at his death $16,000,000; while the countess Cosel, the king's favorite mistress, wrung from him $20,000,000. In the green vaults, as the royal treasury was called, were dazzling heaps of precious stones, of gold and silver, an entire chamber being filled with pearls, with pillars of ostrich eggs, and with curious and costly objects of art manufacture, one of them, in which the figures were carved out of single pearls of enormous size, representing a harlequin in the act of belaboring a peasant.
In the Memoirs of the margravine of Bayreuth, and in Baron von Pollnitz’ Gallant Saxon, are descriptions of the fetes given at the time in honor of foreign princes and other guests. At Moritzburg there were festivals of Venus, Diana, and Neptune in the pleasure-grounds, the forests, and on the Elbe, the last including a procession of gondolas and brigantines, with sailors attired in silks and satins. There were also tournaments, masquerades, and fancy balls, in which the entire court and even court menials and common soldiers participated, transforming the country round into the scene of a theatrical display, or rather of theatrical buffoonery. At Muhlberg $6,000,000 was wasted on a single entertainment; at Dresden was a hall stored with ostrich and other plumes for occasions of festivity; for an allegorical picture were used 6,000 ells of cloth, and for an exhibition of fireworks 18,000 trunks of trees.
Augustus the Strong died in 1733, leaving many mistresses, and of children some 350, of whom his successor, Augustus II was the only legitimate son. By his favorite minister Bruhl, rather than by himself, was continued under the new elector the old system of extravagance and dissipation. In addition to vast estates, Bruhl received a yearly stipend of $50,000, and with this he held his court in royal fashion palace almost adjoining that of the king. The sons of nobles contended for the privilege of entering his service as pages, for upon those who served him were conferred the most honorable and lucrative offices.
Nearly all the supplies for his household and wardrobe were obtained from Paris; his suits of attire were numbered by hundreds, and he had an entire cabinet filled with Parisian perukes. To supply himself with funds he laid hands on everything that came in his way, even to the property of his wards, levying forced contributions on bankers and wealthy merchants, and giving them in return notes which could not be negotiated. Finally he was a traitor to his king and country, selling them to the highest bidder.
Still in existence and among the favorite promenades is the Bruhl terrace, laid out as a garden in 1738, and commanding one of the finest views of the Saxon capital, nestling amid avenues of trees in the center of a fair and fertile valley. The Royal palace, founded by Duke George in 1534 and surmounted by the highest tower in Dresden, was enlarged by Augustus the Strong into a huge and irregular edifice without regard to symmetry of design. The interior is even more lavishly decorated than in the days of which I have spoken, the ballroom containing scenes from Greek mythology, while in the banquet hall are many historic paintings, and in the chapel are masterpieces by Rembrandt. Guido Reni, Caracci, and Nicolas Poussin. The green vault yet contains one of the most valuable collections of jewelry, trinkets, and curiosities in the world, together with Limoges enamels, ivory carvings, crystal cuttings, and many specimens of ancient goldsmiths work. In the chamber of jewels there is a bow containing 660 diamonds, besides a series of weapons arranged with reference to the number of precious stones with which they are adorned. There is a golden tea-service; there are gold chains of many varieties; set in a hat-clasp is a green diamond more than 40 carats in weight, and an onyx more than seven inches in length is the largest in existence, so far as is known. Finally, in a group in enamel and gold of more than 130 figures resting on a silver plate, 15 feet in circumference, is represented the court of the grand mogul at Delhi. From the Japanese palace, where is now a library of 350,000 volumes rich in classic and historic literature, a collection of porcelains worth more than $1,000,000 has been transferred to the Johanneum museum, which also contains historic cabinets with many interesting relics.
But all the manifold attractions of Dresden sink into insignificance when compared with the art treasures contained in the picture gallery founded by Augustus the Strong, and now, under the name of the Dresden gallery, ranking with the Louvre, Uffizi, and other world-famous collections. It is contained in the museum completed from Semper’s designs in 1854, of the German school; a powerful subject is Franz Defreggers ' Scythe-forging for Tyrolese Insurgents; Von Leypold has the 'Old Bastion' and 'In the Mountains,’ and Richter some of his most finished genre sketches, among which is 'A Northern Home.'
The collection of engravings, of which there are about 450,000, illustrates the progress of this art from the earliest to the present time; and so with the casts, which show the development of plastic art beginning with the days of the Egyptians.
The Royal academy of art was founded in 1764 and in the Bruhl palace are held the exhibitions of the Saxon art union, one of the many art associations of Dresden, which is also well supplied with scientific and educational institutions. The Hof theater, covering more than a acre of ground, is one of the finest in Europe, the entrance in the semi-circular front being in the form of a castellated portico surmounted by a bronze quadriga. In the Grossergarten is a summer theater with a chateau containing a museum of antiquities, near which is a fine zoological garden. Of the bridges that span the Elbe the Alsenbrucke is one of the most massive, and the oldest is the Augustus bridge of thirteenth century date. Statuary is almost as plentiful as in the streets and squares of Berlin, among the finest specimens being the marble statue of Germania with allegorical figures on its pedestal. Of churches the most ancient is the Sophienkirche, a Gothic structure erected in the thirteenth century, but with recent restorations. The Frauenkirche, or church of Our Lady is a handsome edifice with rich interior decoration, the lantern of its dome rising more than 300 feet above the pavement. In the platz in front is the Luther monument, a bronze cast from the original statue erected at Worms.
Gotha, a few miles from the Thuringian forest, and forming with Coburg the residence of the dukes of Saxe-Coburg, was first known as a town in the twelfth century, when the abbot Gotthard, after whom it is named, surrounded with walls the village founded in the days of Charlemagne. On a hill more than 1,000 feet in height stands the castle of Friedenstein which Ernest the Pious completed in 1654. It is a huge and unwieldy structure, remarkable only for its contents, which include a library of 200,000 volumes and a cabinet of 75,000 coins.
To the museum on its southern terrace have been removed the picture gallery, the collection of 100,000 engravings, the 22,000 specimens in natural history, the casts and minerals, and the many Egyptian, Roman, and other antiquities formerly contained in the castle. Coburg has also its castle, where in 1530 Luther resided while translating the Prophets and the Psalms. Here also is Rosenau castle, the birthplace of Prince Albert, and one of the summer residences of the duke of Edinburgh.
Nuremberg, the commercial metropolis of southern Germany, and formerly one of the richest of the free imperial towns, has retained more than any other German city its medieval aspect, its ancient gateways and bridges, its narrow, tortuous streets, its antiquated dwellings, and even the walls and moat constructed in feudal times. Overlooking the town on its northern side is the Kaiserburg, a twelfth century castle with modern restorations, formerly the residence of German emperors and still used as the abode of royalty. Among many interesting churches the finest are those of St. Sebald and St. Lawrence, of which Aeneas Sylvius speaks, the shrine of the former with its statues and reliefs executed by Peter Vischer being one of the finest specimens of German art, while in the latter is a Gothic spire, the workmanship of Adam Krafft, remarkable for the delicacy and minuteness of its carvings.
In the rathhaus are frescos by Albert Durer, of whom there is an imposing statue in the Albrecht-Durerplatz, and in the Alderstrasse is the warriors’ monument, a granite column surmounted with a figure of victory, not far from which is a sixteenth century fountain with numerous figures in bronze. In the Germanic national museum are displayed in more than eighty chambers valuable collections of antiquities and historic sculptures and paintings.
Munich, originally the Villa Munichen, first became prominent in the days of Henry the Lion, who built there a custom-house and one of the first of German mints. In 1255 it became the capital of Louis the Severe, and, destroyed by fire in 1327, was rebuilt by Louis the Bavarian almost as it stood at the opening of the present century. Its better buildings, streets, and parks are of modern date, though with little of contrast or local coloring, all of the more costly edifices being copies of famous prototypes; so that it has been said, "One may study in Munich the architecture of 2,000 years." Yet in architectural grandeur the city ranks foremost among the minor capitals of Europe, while as a center of art, though of recent growth, it compares with Dresden and Berlin.
The finest buildings are for the most part on the Maximilianstrasse and Ludwigstrasse, both named after the monarchs by whom they were constructed. On the former are several palaces and theaters, the government buildings, the mint and the National museum, while at its eastern extremity is the Maximilianeum, a spacious edifice for the education of civil servants, its interior containing panoramic paintings of great scenes in the history of the world. Among the buildings on the Ludwigstrasse are the palaces of Prince Luitpold and Duke Max, the war office, the Odeon, and the Royal library, one of the largest in the world, with 1,300,000 printed volumes, 35,000 manuscripts, and the national archives of Bavaria in 550,000 documents. In the Marienplatz, in the center of the ancient quarter, are the old and new rathhouses, the latter one of the finest town halls in southern Germany, richly decorated with frescos, statues, and stained-glass windows. Here also is the cathedral with its lofty tower, a plain structure of the later Gothic, and of little interest except for its stained-glass windows, more than 60 feet in height. The Thai, a broad thoroughfare leading from the platz, terminates in the Isarthor with its sculptured frieze and pediment, and another beautiful gateway is the Propylsea, on the spacious Koenigsplatz.
In the Munich galleries of art are represented all the principal schools, being especially rich in the works of German, Dutch, and Flemish artists; but as they differ but little from other famous galleries previously described in these pages, it is unnecessary here to enter into detail. The old Pinakothek, or picture repository, is devoted chiefly to the old masters, and in this building, 500 feet long and representing somewhat the Vatican in design, is an enormous collection of engravings, drawings, and vases. In the new Pinakothek are modern paintings, though here also are Greek and Roman antiquities, and in the Glyptothek are sculptures and statuary from those of the Assyrian period to the works of Ranch and Thorwaldsen, including the famous Aeginetan marbles, among the finest specimens of archaic sculpture.
In the immense collections of the Bavarian national museum is illustrated the progress of industry and industrial art in all their branches and among all nations from prehistoric eras to the present time. From chambers devoted to the Stone Age and to the earliest workers in iron and bronze we pass by degrees to the Middle Ages, and thence to the renaissance and modern times, forming together the most complete and well proportioned exhibition of its kind in existence. Worthy of mention are the jewel casket from Bamberg cathedral, the robes of Bavarian sovereigns, the tapestries laces and embroideries, the ivory carvings, the vessels in Limoges enamel, the cabinets of silver and lapis lazuli, and those which are inlaid with tortoise-shell and mother-of-pearl. In the Ethnographic and other museums, and in the academy of Science, are other valuable collections, while at the head of educational institutions is the University, with 3,500 students.
Turning westward toward the Belgian frontier may first be mentioned Aix-la-Chapelle, or as in the German, Aachen. It is an historic town of Roman origin, and was the favorite residence of Charlemagne, who ended his days in the palace on the ruins of which was built the rathhaus with its magnificent coronation hall, where till the accession of Ferdinand I were crowned the German emperors. Here in this "free city of the holy Roman empire" were deposited the insignia of royalty now preserved in the imperial treasury at Vienna, and here several congresses and treaties changed the map and regulated the affairs of Europe. Yet in appearance it is a thoroughly modern town well built, and with the stir of business in its streets. The cathedral, its principal building, consists of two parts, distinct as to style and date. The older portion, originally the chapel of Charlemagne, burned by the Normans and restored by Otho III, is in the form of an octagon, terminating in a cupola and supported by massive pillars. In the gallery of the octagon is the imperial throne, composed of the marble slabs on which rested for nearly four centuries the remains of Charlemagne until his tomb was opened in the year 1000; for that was believed to be the final year of the world’s existence. The choir added in the fourteenth century, is an elegant composition, indicating a large and prosperous settlement.
The seat of a bishopric in the fourth century, it was raised by Charlemagne to an archbishopric, his chaplain Hildebald, building the old cathedral church and presenting it with a library which still exists.
The cathedral of Cologne is one of the purest as well as one of the most magnificent of Gothic edifices. It was the work of many centuries and of many and of many thousands of hands to give expression to this wondrous conception of genius. From plans drawn by Meister Gerard the foundation stone was laid in August, 1248; but the work progressed slowly, and it was not until 1322 that even the choir was consecrated, the nave and transepts belonging to the fifteenth century, at the end of which a roof was placed on the unfinished building, for all hope of completing it according to the original design was then abandoned. Gradually the building fell into decay; the lead was taken from the roof, and in 1796, during the French occupation, it was converted into a barn. But presently the kings of Prussia came to the rescue, and the work of restoration, begun in 1823, was continued at intervals until 1880, at a total cost of more than $5,000,000. On the 15th of October in that year its completion was celebrated in the presence of the emperor Wilhelm I and the sovereign princes of the empire.
It is a cruciform structure, 480 feet in length and 280 in width, its huge facades relieved by a profusion of turrets, buttresses, cornices, and gargoyles, and surmounted by the loftiest towers in Europe, more than 500 feet above the pavement. Of the interior, which covers more than an acre and a half of ground, the effect is extremely impressive, and the more so for its numerous and handsome stained-glass windows, the largest of which, over the western portal, was presented by Friedrich III. The cathedral is rich in columnar decorations, those above the southern entrance being the gift of Wilhelm I, carvings, statuary, paintings, frescos, and reliefs. In one of the choir chapels is the shrine of the kings, richly adorned with gold and precious stones; in others are monuments of the archbishops of Cologne; and especially fine is the mosaic pavement of the ambulatory with the armorial bearings of the electors. In the treasury are many priceless relics, including a sixteenth century osculum pacis and a seventeenth century monstrance, both glittering with pearls and precious stones, also the silver shrine of St. Engelberl and the golden reliquary of the magi, probably of twelfth century workmanship.
Other church buildings in Cologne are famed for their antiquity and for their monuments and works of art, St. Peter's, for example, containing above its high altar Ruben’s famous painting of the crucifixion of the apostle, while in the Golden chamber of the church of St. Ursula is the reliquary of the saint who, as tradition relates, was murdered at Cologne with thousands of virgin attendants.
Of secular buildings the rathhaus is one of the most interesting, the older portion dating from the fourteenth century, and built on the substructure of a Roman fortress. In the Hanssaal, or Hanseatic hall, where was probably held the first meeting of the Hanseatic league in 1307, are the figures and armorial bearings of many heroes and monarchs. South of it is the Gurzenich, completed in 1452 by the town council which expended thereon 80,000 florins, using it as a banqueting hall for the entertainment of distinguished guests. Here also met the German diet, and at some of the festivals royalty itself was present. The archbishop's palace is a handsome edifice and there are several literary and scientific institutions with three large theaters, and beyond the walls zoological and botanical gardens. Connecting Cologne with its suburb of Deutz on the opposite side of the river is a bridge of boats, some 1,400 feet in length, and near the cathedral an iron bridge is built across the stream, with a double line of rails and accommodation for ordinary traffic.
Bonn has become of late a favorite resort for visitors, with its handsome villas and gardens fronting on the banks of Rhine. It is an historic town, the site of a Roman fortress and military settlement frequently mentioned by Tacitus and probably founded by Drusus. In the middle of the thirteenth century it became the residence of the electors of Cologne, gradually increasing in importance, especially from the time when archbishops there held their magnificent courts, though not restricted to any one city; for these spiritual lords rivaled the princes of the land in luxurious living. The archbishop of Salzburg, for instance, surrounded himself with courtiers and chamberlains in his chateaux of Klessheim and Hellbrunn, where were theaters and menageries, parks and pleasure-grounds, fountains and grottos, with a profusion of undraped statuary. At a fete held in 1699 in honor of the wife of King Joseph, Archbishop Ernest ordered a grand battue, at which wild beasts were torn to pieces by hounds, the entertainment concluding with a ball and the presentation to the queen of a silver table and a costly mirror.
The Episcopal cellars, named after saints self-devoted to a life of abnegation, were filled with the richest of meats and the choicest vintages of the Rhine. Nor were the priests behind their superiors in the display and abuse of wealth; riding in gilded carriages drawn by six horses and attended with a train of cavaliers, lounging in the boudoirs of mistresses, and reclining at banquets where fingers glittering with diamonds were extended in benison over the feast provided for an order vowed to poverty.
The present town of Bonn contains some 40,000 inhabitants apart from its adventitious population. An electoral palace, completed about 1720, is now occupied by the university where are several faculties and some 1,400 students, who give to the town what little life it possesses. The library has 250,000 volumes, and there are antiquarian and natural history museums, an observatory and other departments in this famous seat of learning where many eminent men have studied and taught. The Munster is a cruciform church in the transition style of the later Romanesque, with a lofty octagonal tower above the intersection of the cross. In the platz on which it fronts is a statue of Beethoven, the house in which the great composer was born being converted into a museum. Not far away is the Marktplatz, with its columnar fountain erected in honor of one of the last of the electors.
Coblentz, which the Romans called Confluentes, or flowing together, whence its modern name, is a strongly fortified town of triangular shape at the junction of the Rhine and Moselle, with 26 forts and fortified camps sufficient for an army of 100,000 men. Though never a large town, it has been a place of importance since Drusus established there a military post a few years before the opening of the Christian era. In the middle ages it was the residence of the Prankish kings, and is now the capital of Rhenish Prussia, among its most ancient buildings being the castle of the electors of Treves erected in 1280, and now used for the manufacture of Japan-ware. In the Royal castle, or palace, built for the last of the electors are valuable works of art and art manufacture, including the Gobelins tapestries presented by Louis XVI to Frederick the Great. In the church of St. Castor built, in the early Lombard style by Louis the Pious, the sons of Charlemagne, meeting in 843, partitioned their empire into the three divisions of Germany, France, and Italy. The Liebfrauen-kirche is a fine specimen of medieval church architecture; and among other historic structures is the mansion of the Metternichs, where the great Austrian statesman was born in 1772. As a free port Coblentz has an extensive trade, especially its water traffic; a massive stone bridge first constructed by the elector Baldwin in 1344, spanning the Moselle, while a handsome railroad bridge with three iron arches, each with a span of 120 feet, leads to the opposite bank of the Rhine. A little further up the stream is "Fair Bingen on the Rhine", opposite to which, on a spur of the Niederwald, a wooded and vine-clad hill nearly 1,000 feet in height, is the national monument commemorating the foundation of the new German empire with a handsome statue of Germania holding the imperial crown, with the portraits of generals and the figures of departing and returning troops who fought in the war of 1870-1871.
To the eastward lies the city of Wiesbaden, with its royal palace and its famous springs visited annually by 100,000 patients and tourists; for both waters and climate are healthful and the accommodation is of the best.
Not far away is Frankfort-on-the-Main, in the midst of a spacious and fertile valley fringed with orchards and woodlands. Of this great commercial and financial center, whoso very atmosphere is redolent of wealth, the first mention is in the eighth century, when it became the seat of an ecclesiastical council, the Carlovingian monarchs later holding councils there. In the Middle Ages it was famous for its fairs, and later suffered many tribulations, especially in 1796 when bombarded by Kleber, who exacted a ransom of 8,000,000 francs: and again in 1848, when the Prussians imposed a fine of 6,000,000 florins. Nevertheless it prospered, and grew rich in culture as well as in material possessions, few cities of its size being so well supplied with institutions of science, literature, and art. The streets and squares are handsome, and adorned with the monuments of eminent men; as of Gutenberg and Goethe, the central figure in the former flanked by those of Fust and Schoffer, beneath which are allegorical figures of industry, science, poetry, and theology.
Since the removal of the ancient fortifications, new suburbs have been built in all directions, and in the old quarter a transformation has been wrought, quaint medieval buildings and intricate narrow streets disappearing with the progress of modern improvements. Yet there remain many interesting structures, among them the former home of the Rothschilds, a plain and dingy tenement on the Judengasse, or Jews’ street.
The cathedral, founded by Louis the German in 882, was rebuilt in the Gothic style in the thirteenth century, with later enlargements and renovations; for there was solemnized the coronation of the German emperors. Almost destroyed by fire in 1867, it was restored as far as possible from the original designs and with handsome interior decorations. Among other churches that of Leonhards, with a stained-glass window by Hans Holbein is the most ancient. To Johann Friedrich Stadel the Art institute owes its existence and its celebrity in the artistic world; this wealthy citizen of Frankfort bequeathing for the purpose his collection of paintings and engravings, his real estate, and 1,200,000 florins in money. The Bethmann museum contains among its choicest works Dannecker’s ‘Ariadne,’ and the original model of Thorwaldsen's 'Alexander the Great.' In the Rothschild museum is a magnificent display of ancient gold and silver plate, of gems and cameos, of enamels and pique work in tortoise-shell, and of carvings in ivory and wood. In the town library, with 250,000 volumes and many Abyssinian and other rare manuscripts, are a Gutenberg Bible of 1455, and the autographs of Luther, Wallenstein, Melanchthon, Schiller, and others of historic and literary fame. The opera house, with its imposing facades and profusion of sculptural and mural decorations, ranks among the finest in Germany. In the Romer, or rathhaus, the former name suggestive of historic associations, is the chamber where the emperors were elected, and the hall where the coronation festivities were held. Hospitals and other charitable institutions are numerous; and there are zoological and other gardens, most beautiful of which is the Palmengarten, planted with the palms which formed the collection of the duke of Nassau.
At Darmstadt, a few miles south of Frankfort, is the residence of the grand-duke of Hesse-Darmstadt, and the seat of provincial government. Founded in the eleventh century, it did not rise above the rank of a village until in 1479 it became one of the possessions of the house of Hesse. The new town owes its origin to the grand-duke Louis I whose columnar monument adorns one of its most spacious squares. There are two large ducal palaces, a library of more than 500,000 volumes, a theater, a picture gallery, and scientific, historical, and other associations.
A little further to the south and west is the town of Worms, one of the oldest and in the middle ages one of the most important of German cities, where in 1521 was held the famous diet at which Luther pleaded his cause in the presence of Charles V, the electors, and a brilliant assemblage of princes and nobles, concluding with the words: "Here I stand, I cannot act otherwise, God help me! Amen.” In somewhat tardy recognition of the efforts of the great reformer is his statue in the Lutherplatz, in the midst of a monumental group erected in 1868. Of the original cathedral only portions of its round towers have been preserved, the present structure dating from the twelfth century, except a few later additions. Over the southern portal are sculptures representing scriptural and allegorical subjects, and in the baptistery within are finely executed reliefs presented by the ancient nobility of Worms.
Carlsruhe, or Karlsruhe, that is to say Charles' rest, was famous of old for the castle erected by the margrave Charles William in 1745, and around which the town was built. On its site now stands the ducal palace, for this is the capital of the grand-duchy of Baden. It is a large but unpretentious building in front, of which, in a square laid out with gardens and fountains is a bronze statue of the grand- duke Charles Frederick. Adjacent to the palace are the court theater and a hall of art with a few works of merit and many that cannot so be termed; a building in the Friedrichsplatz containing the grand-dukes' collections of Greek and Roman antiquities, vases, weapons, and other relics, with a library of 170,000 volumes.
In one of the valleys in the heart of the Black Forest is the favorite watering-place, and until recent years the favorite gambling-place of Baden-Baden, whose springs were known to the Romans, the remains of Roman vapor baths having been unearthed near what is known as the New castle, though a fifteenth century structure and with subterranean dungeons. Here lived the margraves of Baden after 1479, removing in that year from the old castle whose ruins still crown the rock whence issue the hot springs, 29 in number, and with a temperature of 115 degrees to 150 degrees. Of the several bath-houses the baths are most in fashion, a handsome edifice, but suggesting rather a museum building than the purpose which it serves. There is also an elegant Conversation hall, with a music stand nearby; and a picture-gallery, theater, and library afford additional pastimes for the 50,000 visitors who sojourn each year among the 15,000 residents. There are spacious pleasure-grounds, gardens, and promenades, carefully planned and preserved; for the place is under the care of the grand-dukes, who rule as hereditary monarchs.
At the base of the Black Forest range, and in the midst of the fertile plain bounded by the vine-clad Kaiserstuhl, is the city of Freiburg, founded by Duke Berthold II about the year 1090, and now forming a portion of the grand-duchy of Baden.
The cathedral or minster, erected mainly in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, is not only one of the finest Gothic structures in Germany, but one of the most perfectly finished and handsomely decorated. Its tower, nearly 400 feet in height, is a marvel of architectural skill, the transition from its massive square base to an octagonal bell-tower surmounted by a graceful spire of perforated masonry showing the finished touch of a master's hand. Opposite is the Kaufhaus, or Merchants' hall, also an ancient building, with vaulted and columnar portico, above which is a balcony with projecting turrets painted with coats-of-arms. On the Schlossberg stood two medieval castles, destroyed during the Bavarian war of succession, their ruins being now surround with pleasure- grounds.
In beauty of environment few German cities compare with Heidelberg, the remains of whose ancient chateau, the grandest in all the empire, still overlook the noble stream that skirts these wooded heights. It is of vast extent, and its ivy-clad ruins are linked with many historic associations, especially during the Thirty Year’s war; thereafter it was dismantled by the French, and though presently restored, was finally destroyed by lightning. The modern castle is a composite structure in the form of a square, enclosing a court whose fountain is adorned with granite pillars from one of Charlemagne’s palaces. The portion known as Otto Henry's building ranks among the finest renaissance structures in Germany; and little inferior to it is the Fredericks building, both being rich in sculptural and other decorations. Here also is an antiquarian museum, and the famous Heidelberg tun, with a capacity of 50,000 gallons. The university, where are some 1,200 students and a library of 450,000 volumes with many ancient manuscripts is one of the oldest in Europe, the cradle of German science, and, still a prominent seat of learning, although it may have lost some of the influence and prestige enjoyed in the past.
Strasburg is the capital of Alsace, as is Metz of German Lorraine; both of them cities of historic fame, and now ranking among the strongest of European fortresses. The former, originally a Celtic and then a German settlement, was occupied as a Roman camp in the year 9 AD, and during the middle ages became one of the wealthiest and most powerful of the free cities of the German empire. Though for nearly two centuries one of the provincial capitals of France it has maintained, its German aspect, language, and customs; and still in existence are many of the quaint old-fashioned buildings of feudal days, with their elaborate carvings and their Gothic gables and facades, among them the former home of Gutenberg, on the ground floor of which is now a boot and shoe store.
On the Kaiserplatz is the Imperial palace, a spacious modern structure rich in sculptural embellishments, and with a lofty dome above the audience chamber surmounted by colossal figures of heralds. The university, a noble edifice with handsomely decorated vestibules and aula, has an extensive library, a large number of Greek and Roman casts, and a few masterpieces by Quintin Matsys, Van Dyck, and others. There are several museums and academies; and in the old Episcopal palace is the town library, whose precious collection of manuscripts and incunabula was destroyed in the bombardment of 1870.
But the center of attraction is the cathedral, where are represented nearly three centuries of medieval architecture, from 1179, when the building was founded by Bishop Conrad, to 1439, when the open spire was reared at a dizzy height above the tall octagonal tower. Especially beautiful is the western facade, with its elaborate tracery and its rose window more than 40 feet in diameter. Sculptural decorations are plentiful, those above the portals representing scenes from the creation and redemption ranking among the finest specimens of Gothic art. The effect of the interior, its lofty pillars and spacious nave and aisles, is greatly increased by the subdued light of richly colored windows of fifteenth century execution. In the southern transept is the famous astronomical clock which regulates itself and adapts its motions to the changing seasons of the year. A skeleton strikes the hours and an angel the quarters, the latter represented by the figures of boyhood, youth, manhood, and old age.
On the northern arm of the Elbe, nearly 100 miles from its mouth, was erected by Charlemagne a frontier block-house, around which clustered for protection the wooden huts of perhaps a score of farmers. Such was the origin of Hamburg, now the greatest commercial city on the continent of Europe, and one of the foremost in population and wealth. While rich in historic records, there are few historic remains; for Hamburg is a thoroughly modern city, though not attaining to its present position without many serious reverses. Joining the Hanseatic League, of which it was one of the principal members, it continued in the main to prosper until the time of the Napoleonic wars, when its losses, especially during the occupation by Davoust, exceeded $50,000,000. In 1842 a conflagration swept away more than 4,000 buildings, the burned quarter being partially rebuilt through a loan of $12,000,000 obtained on the city's credit. Then came the financial panic of 1858, followed by other monetary crises, the effects of which quickly disappeared before the growth of commerce and manufactures.
As a banking center Hamburg has few superiors; it is also the great outlet for German emigration, more than 50,000 persons embarking yearly for foreign lands, mainly for the United States. The borse, with its daily gathering of several thousand merchants and brokers, is the focal point for wholesale transactions, as is the new market for retail purchases. Art has its home in the Kunsthalle, where are many of the works of ancient and modern masters. Among churches, that of St. Nicholas, built at a cost of $1,000,000 obtained chiefly by shilling subscriptions, is remarkable for its tower, 470 feet in height, and not far below it is that of St. Michael, its interior unsupported by pillars though with room for 6,000 worshippers. The Binnen-alster and its neighborhood, a sheet of water lined with tree-planted avenues and quays, with palatial hotels and handsome residences, is the most attractive quarter of a city well provided with pleasure-grounds and means for public recreation.
Lubeck is a town of historic interest, especially as the former head of the Hanseatic league, a great commercial and political association which in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries included as many as seventy cities, subduing entire provinces and dictating terms to powerful monarchs, while its fleets held control of the northern sea and of the maritime traffic of northern Germany. At one time the trade of Europe and even of England was virtually in the hands of the league, the Guildhall in London being named after the hall of the merchants' guild in Cologne, where was the largest depot for Hansa goods. At Bruges, at Bergen, at Novgorod, and elsewhere were other depots through which were exchanged the products of every quarter of the world; but only on the terms prescribed by Hansa merchants, to whom princes, nobles, and lords, both temporal and spiritual, were compelled alike to submit.
In modern Lubeck, entered by the Holstenthor, a handsome medieval gateway, are still many of the buildings erected in the days of its former greatness, its gabled houses, its Gothic churches, and its venerable rathhaus where Hansa diets were held in the Hanseatic hall. The museum has a moderate collection of historic and artistic specimens, including some beautiful altar-screens and ivory tablets. The cathedral, founded by Henry the Lion and completed in 1173 has a tower nearly 400 feet in height, and its interior is rich in altar-pieces and other decorations. The church of St. Catherine is also an ancient structure, with lofty nave and elevated choir adorned with stained-glass windows.
Hanover, notwithstanding the narrow crooked streets and old-fashioned houses of its ancient quarter, was famous of old for its palaces; for the people of this great commercial and manufacturing city depended almost entirely on the monarchs and nobility of the former kingdom. The royal palace, originally a seventeenth century structure, contains a picture gallery and a number of curiosities, while in the palace of Ernest Augustus is a valuable historic collection. In the schloss or chateau of Herren- hausen, with its open-air theater, its monuments, fountains, and hot-houses, and its garden of 120 acres profusely adorned with statuary, Georges I and II of England held their simple and inexpressibly stupid court. By Hermann Kestner was presented to the museum which bears his name cabinets of Egyptian, Greek, and Roman antiquities, together with a liberal sum for building purposes, its treasures being further increased by the purchase of rare books and medieval works of art. In the new quarter are many spacious squares flanked by modern residences, as the George square with its statue of Schiller and the Waterloo square with its tall column of Victory, on which inscribed names Hanoverians struggle with Napoleon.
A little to the southeast of Hanover is the quaint historic town of Hildesheim, probably of Roman origin, for near it was unearthed a complete service of plate belonging to the Augustan era. Created by Charlemagne the seat of a bishopric, in the tenth century Bishop Bernward taught these people the art of working in metals, for which the place was throughout the middle ages. The narrow, irregular streets, encircled with ramparts now converted into promenades, are lined with old Gothic buildings curiously carved and with projecting upper stories of which the Roland hospital may serve as a type. The cathedral is rich in antiquities, among which are the bronze doors executed by Bishop Bernward, and his column of Christ with reliefs while representing the history of its subject, in the treasury are antique silver crosses, croziers, statues altars, and reliquaries. The church of St. Godehard’s, with its massive pyramidal towers, is one of the finest specimens of Romanesque architecture, and little inferior, to it is the church of St. Magdalene, where are the tomb and monument of the bishop, together with some of his art works. The rathhaus, which dates from 1443, contains the archives of the town.
Brunswick, founded in 851 by Duke Bruno of Saxony after whom it was named, is still almost contained within the line of fortifications erected by Henry the Lion, though now converted into gardens and promenades.
The ducal palace, occupied by Prince Albert of Prussia, is a handsome modern edifice, its portal crowned with a replica of Rietschel’s famous quadriga, destroyed by f ire in 1865 as was the palace itself. The Ducal museum, whose collections date from the seventeenth century, is especially strong in the works of the Dutch and Flemish schools. There is also a fine display of enamels, old Italian majolicas, coins and medals, jewelry and gems, silver statuettes, ivory carvings, and articles in tortoise-shell and mother-of-pearl. Of church buildings the most imposing is the cathedral of St. Blaise, founded in 1173 by Henry the Lion; educational and charitable institutions are numerous, and among the most imposing monuments is that of Brunswick's fated chieftain, Duke Frederick William, who fell at Quatre Bras.
And here we will take our leave of the Fatherland, though much might be added to what has already been said; for of German cities and towns, palaces and cathedrals, princes and principalities, there is no end, albeit the estates of a score of nobles would not suffice for a good-sized farm in Australia. Within the last half century more has been done for the well-being of the people than was accomplished by all the great lords who dwelt in the schlosses of the castled Rhine, and in no country do existing conditions contrast more favorably with those which prevailed in the middle ages, when titled freebooters and margraves greedy of gain ground into the dust a starving and ignorant peasantry. To the latter life was a burden and death the penalty of resistance to oppression too grievous to be borne, though even this was better than long years of hopeless toil and destitution. "Oh God!" exclaimed a youth led forth to execution, "must I die so young, and only twice in my life have I had my bellyful." Things have changed in Germany since the days of the margraves.
Miscellany—William II is one of the wealthiest of European sovereigns and spends money freely on his hobbies, among which are fast horses, carriages, and his magnificent steam-yacht, the Hohenzollern. In his stables opposite the royal castle in Berlin are about 350 horses and more than that number of carriages, some of the latter of historic interest, as the one which Frederick I used at his coronation and that which was made for Frederick the Great, heavily gilded and embellished with mythological scenes. The handsomest is the bridal coach, in blue and cream colors, made in 1863. In glass cases are trappings, bridles, and bits of gold and silver, with the ostrich plumes used on state occasions. Many of the minor potentates are also very wealthy, especially Frederick William I, grand-duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, and Prince Heinrich of the principality of Reuss-Greitz.
Queen Frederick of Prussia is the owner of a necklace valued at $175,000, her mother, Queen Victoria, being content with one of inferior quality, worth less than half that amount. The empress of Russia has one of the most beautiful necklaces in the world, made of several rows of pure white pearls whose price was probably not less than $120,000. More precious, but not more beautiful ornaments are those of the baronesses, Adolphe and Gustave de Rothschild, costing together some $400,000, though their exact value cannot be estimated, for the jewelers of these wealthy and titled dames have orders to bring to them the finest stones that come into their hands, to form new rows for their necklaces. To a sister of M. Thiers belongs a necklace which required 30 years and $75,000 to collect. The most valuable necklace in existence is that of Madame Leblanc, with stones of brilliant luster and beautiful shape, carefully graduated in size. It was sold for $400,000, but repurchased for reasons that need not here be mentioned. On the throne of the Vatican is a single pearl worth $100,000. Of black pearls the empress of Austria has the finest collection, and next to it is the one contained in the casket of the tzarina of Russia.
In the Frankfort Judengasse lived Meyer Anselm, whose surname was Rothschild, who had won for himself the reputation of an honest man as well as that of a money-changer of unusual dexterity, being able by the touch of his fingers alone to tell the value of any foreign coin. To him one day in 1793 came the landgrave of Hesse Cassel, in terror of the red republicans of France, begging him to take and keep safe his money and jewels. There was a million pounds sterling in silver, which the Jew might use without interest if he would only keep it safely. In such a manner was this done by the faithful Meyer Anselm, that when the prince returned he was overjoyed to find his treasures safe, so that he heralded far and near the honesty of the Jew, whose fortune was thereby made. By constant stirring Meyer Anselm's small pile grew great, and on his death bed he made his five sons swear that they would remain faithful Jews, that they would do business in company, and increase money but never divide it. Then Anselm, Solomon, Nathan, Charles, and James divided the world among them and went forth to conquer. Nathan to England, James to Paris, Solomon to Vienna, Charles to Naples, while Anselm remained at Frankfort. Arriving at Manchester with $100,000, in six years Nathan made it a million and moved to London. As adroit as he was audacious, he began his career with the government. He used every means to obtain the first news, bred and trained carrier pigeons, and secured the swiftest vessels. When the battle of Waterloo was fought he was on the ground and reached London a day or two before the government got the news, greatly to his profit. James did well in Paris, as indeed did all the brothers.
One of the richest men in Germany is Gerson Von Bleichroeder, whose father, the president of a small banking establishment, was selected by one of the Rothschilds as his Berlin agent in 1829. Bleichroeder was honored with the friendship of Bismarck who was not slow to recognize the importance of his firm and in return was idolized by the great financier, whose reputation became world-famous. Bismarck, while a wealthy man, was by no means a millionaire according to our modern notions, his entire income after he became possessed of Friedrichsruhe being less than $10,000 a year, of which at least one-third was consumed by mortgages on his estates.
Speaking of wealthy families, what shall he said of the Fuggers? Alas! for the mutability of earthly affairs, whether of nations or families, whether of monarchs or plain men. A Swabian family, whose founder was John Fugger, a master-weaver of Graben, near Augsbui , they were at the time of the grand monarchs Maximilian and Charles V what the Rothschilds, and Barings, and Couts, and Astors Vanderbilts and Rockefellers are at a later day. As the Fuggers became princes the lucre which made them so became filthy—that is theoretically and conventionally but not really. John, the son of John, was also a weaver, whose fortune when he died in 1409 was only 3,000 florins. The second John had two sons, Andrew and Jacob; the former married well, was called the rich Fugger, and founded a line of nobility, which became extinct in 1583. After the death of the latter, his sons, Ulrich, George and Jacob, became very wealthy, weaving and working mines and marrying and lending money to monarchs. Maximilian was glad to give them tin empty titles which they coveted in return for their hard ducats. Charles V did not disdain their hospitality during the diet of Augsburg in 1530. But in buying nobility the honest Fuggers did perhaps as well, and were as worthy of the so-called honor, as were those who obtained it through piracy or other robbery and murder; for though of the wealth of the Fuggers we now hear little, there still remain the highly respectable houses of Fugger-Kirchberg and Fugger-Babenhausen.
Watches were, as I have said, among the many inventions of the people of Nuremberg during their prosperous days of the fifteenth century. The first one was made in 1477 and was accounted as among the wonders of the world, though always out of time. It sold for $1,500 as money is now valued, and the same price was demanded for others, since each one was an entire year in the making. Nuremberg eggs they were called, being oval in shape, for it was not until two or three centuries later that horizontal watches came into use.
In the cellar of the Hotel de ville, in Bremen, were deposited in 1624 a dozen large cases of rosenwein, each named after one of the apostles, the wine of Judas being most in repute. It is kept chiefly for the use of the burgomasters of the city, who when entertaining distinguished guests may send for a bottle of it, but for a single bottle only; for it is an expensive drink. Costing originally 500 rix-dollars a case, it is estimated that it the interest on this sum, together with that of the cost of storage and other charges, were compounded for the intervening period of more than 270 years, it would be worth about 2,700,000 rix-dollars a bottle, or 270,000 rix-dollars a glass. Luxuries are costly even among the thrifty sons of the Fatherland.
In the neighborhood of Solnhofen are some of the largest slate quarries in the world, worked at intervals since the days of the Roman occupation, and in 1895 with 3,000 workmen still extracting slate of the quality used for table slabs, lithographing, and other purposes. Here was unearthed a fossil bird known as the archaeopteryx, and sold, as is said, to the museum of the Freie Deutsche Hochstift for $9,000. This is probably the largest sum ever paid for a bird; but it was worth the price, for the specimen is supposed to be some 50,000,000 years old.
At the town of Aix there was invented in 1346 what was termed "an iron barrel to shoot thunder,” and a few years later there were in the armory at Nuremberg guns which threw missiles of metal or stone. While by some the invention of gunpowder is attributed to the Chinese and by others to the Arabs, it was only fine powder that they made, the manufacture in grains suitable for warfare being probably discovered by Berthold Schwarz, a Franciscan monk of Mayence. Its use was long regarded with abhorrence; but with improvements in f ire-arms its value was gradually established, and certain it is that gunpowder rendered a great service to mankind during the middle ages, if only by sweeping away the robber knights with their dens of plunder.
The Bavarian civil list amounts to nearly $1,500,000 a year; that of Saxony to $600,000; Baden $250,000; Hesse the same; Saxe Coburg Gotha $185,000; Prussia nearly $4,000,000, and that of Wurttemberg comes to $450,000. When Duke Albert of Wurttemberg comes to the throne with the great estates of his grandfather, Archduke Albrecht of Austria which he is to inherit, he will be one of the richest kings in Christendom.
Toward the end of the fifteenth century most of the German courts had their alchemists, and especially that of Rudolph II, where princes engaged in the search, the elector of Saxony devoting his entire life to this futile art. If all matter was derived from the philosopher's stone then why not gold, which could certainly be made to order, if only the secret were known. It was even asserted that gold could be extracted from the bodies of the Jews, two dozen of which would be required to produce an ounce of the metal. In the middle of the eighteenth century Francis I had alchemists in his service, and by the use of burning glasses attempted to convert small diamonds into one large brilliant.
Germany makes 600,000 tons of beet sugar every year.
The Berlin sapphire weighs six ounces and is valued at $16,000,000.
Germany's crop of potatoes is 21,000,000 tons a year.
The Krupp estate at one time employed 19,600 laborers.
One of the principal events of 1895 was the opening of the Kiel Canal connecting the Baltic with the North Sea, beginning at Holtenau on the bay of Kiel, passing through the province of Schleswig-Holstein, and with its terminus at the mouth of the Elbe. It is 61 miles in length and at the surface nearly 200 feet in width, allowing vessels to pass at any point by day or night as it is lighted by electricity. It was eight years under construction and cost about $40,000,000 on which, as was estimated, the tolls would pay at least a moderate interest; for the traffic between Baltic and North Sea ports is 18,000,000 tons a year, the distance from Hamburg to the Baltic being shortened by 400 miles, and from Antwerp and Amsterdam 240 miles. On the 20th of June it was opened amid imposing ceremonies, a procession of steamers, royal yachts, war vessels, and other craft representing many nations passing through the canal. At its head was the Hohenzollern with Emperor William on board.
Hamburg is at the head of the German shipping trade, with a tonnage of about 12,000,000, or almost as much as that of all other ports combined. Most of the maritime commerce is conducted by foreign and especially British vessels; for the mercantile marine is small, but of excellent quality. As to figures, the commerce of Germany cannot readily be estimated, since the free-port territories are excluded from the customs frontier, which is thus considerably smaller than the political frontier, while through the league known as the Zollverein, commerce is subject to special regulations practically applying to the entire country. Imports may be stated at somewhat over $1,000,000,000 a year and exports at $800,000,000, the former consisting largely of food products and the latter of manufactured goods. In this is not included the transit trade, amounting to about $300,000,000. An attempt was recently made to raise the price of grain for the benefit of the agricultural classes, but without success. The only way to relieve the farmer would be to lighten his load of taxation, rendered the more grievous by the building of $40,000,000 canals, the hoarding of gold against the contingency of war, and the maintenance of an enormous army in which the sons of the farmer must serve while their father is taxed for their support, and loses besides the benefit of their assistance.
Of nearly 30,000 miles of railroad, all but 3,000 belong to the government, paying four and a half percent on an invested capital of $3,000,000,000. The emperor has his private train costing $750,000, one of the cars containing a reception saloon richly adorned with works of art. Street car companies must pay handsomely for their privileges, a Berlin company recently giving its check for $250,000 for the right to cross the Linden at a single point. There are 80,000 miles of telegraph lines, and probably 65,000 telephone stations, of which latter there were but 1,500 in 1881.
Only six percent of the area of Germany is classed as unproductive, agricultural lands amounting to 90,000,000 acres, while 34,000,000 acres of forest under care of the state are a source of considerable revenue. Except in very favorable years, the 5,300,000 farms, orchards, and vineyards do not yield enough food and wine for home consumption, though of cereals the crop averages 15,000,000 tons, of potatoes 25,000,000, and of sugar beets 10,000,000 tons. Tobacco is largely cultivated in the southern provinces, and of hops there are raised sufficient for a moderate export, besides keeping busy many thousands of breweries whose output exceeds 1,000,000,000 gallons a year. Farm animals are in plentiful supply, some provinces having 1,500 head of the larger kinds to every 1,000 inhabitants.
Chiefly in Saxony and the Hartz mountains is produced silver to the value of $15,000,000 a year, and of gold $2,750,000. Lead is found in greatest abundance near Aix-la-Chapelle, and more than half the European supply of zinc is furnished by Germany, while of copper the production is large, though insufficient for home requirements. In Saxony, Hanover, and Thuringia are some of the largest salt works in the world, the total annual yield of potassic and rock salt exceeding 2,000,000 tons. Of coal the output is 70,000,000 to 75,000,000 tons from fields that are practically inexhaustible, the six largest districts now in operation containing deposits estimated at 45,000,000,000 tons, while in Upper Silesia is a still larger supply. Thus while American coal may possibly be exported to England during the coming century, we cannot look upon Germany as one of our prospective customers, at least for some 2,000 years to come. Iron ores are equally abundant, though few of the mines are in the neighborhood of collieries and thus their working is restricted. Yet German foundries and ironworks produce at the rate of 6,000,000 tons a year and to the value of $180,000,000. Of steel the production has increased enormously with exports of at least 150,000 tons, while more than that quantity goes into home consumption. Most of it is made at the famous Krupp works in Essen, where at one time were 20,000 workmen.
Of German art industries I have already spoken, Berlin and Munich being the principal centers of art manufacture, though in many other cities special branches are conducted. For the making of textile fabrics there are about 500,000 establishments, large and small, most of them producing cottons and woolens, not of the finer grades but cheap and durable. Silk weaving is on a considerable scale, though the materials are almost entirely imported. Of refined sugar the production is 800,000 tons a year, and in other departments the output is very large, for, as I have said, Germany ranks next to England as a manufacturing country.