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We close our notice of Dr. Palfrey's work, (a notice more brief and cursory than it claims and deserves,) with our sincere thanks for a compend so able, thorough, and scholarly, and with the earnest hope, that other engagements may not permanently alienate him from those departments of Biblical and theological learning, which his accurate habits of thought and a life of diligent and profound study have so admirably qualified him to enrich and adorn.
ART. III. Ueber die Moeglichkeit eines zwischen dem deutschen Zoll-Verein und den Vereinigten Staaten von America abzuschliessenden Handels und SchifffahrtsVertrags. (On the Possibility of a direct Treaty of Commerce and Navigation between the States of the German Tariff-League and the United States of America. "The German Quarterly," of January 1st, 1843.)
THE German Quarterly (Die Deutsche Vierteljahrsschrift) of the 1st of January, 1843, contains an elaborate article in support of certain opinions that coincide in a singular manner with the views expressed by Mr. Webster, at Baltimore, respecting reciprocity treaties, and combating with much energy the particular treaty of commerce and navigation, which now exists between the Hanseatic towns, Hamburg, Bremen, and Lubeck, on the one part, and the United States on the other. This reciprocity treaty, the writer declares, has proved entirely illusory in respect to the benefits expected from it for both countries. Germany, he says, secures to her large manufacturing population in Saxony and Westphalia no advantage that is not, by the mere operation of the tariff laws of the United States, equally shared by Great Britain and France; while the United States, by securing the market of the Hanse Towns for their great staples, have not yet gained a débouché in Germany. The United States have, by treaty, put the ships of Bremen, Hamburg, and Lubeck on the same footing as their own; but in return, they are not permitted to send their cotton, tobacco, and rice to the States of the German League, except on such terms as the latter may think prop
er; and the League, in judging of that propriety, looks to its own interests, and not to those of the Hanse Towns. We fully agree with the writer in the German Quarterly, though we may not share his views in respect to the maritime prospects of Germany.
"Whether Germany, within her present limits," says this writer, "will ever be able to become a maritime power, is a question which has been answered by enthusiasts in the affirmative, which has caused many a sardonic smile to the incredulous and doubtful, and which has been flatly denied by those who seem to be most deeply concerned in the matter. The South of Germany is in favor of a national navy; the North, and especially the States which border on the Baltic and the German Ocean, are against it. The difficulty is supposed to lie in the want of good harbours; but Embden, Brake, and a number of the small ports in the North Sea and the Baltic, might, with very little expense, be made naval stations. Hanover, Oldenburg, Mecklenburg, Prussia, and the Hanse Towns at the North, and the Austrian ports in the Adriatic Gulf, would give to a united German empire greater maritime advantages than are possessed by France, which, after all, has only the miserable port of Havre de Grâce in the British Channel for its principal Transatlantic trade, and Marseilles on the Mediterranean, which scarcely rivals Trieste, for the trade of the Levant. Germany, united into one nation, in all probability would possess greater advantages for commerce and navigation than any continental power of Europe, and would find in her custom-house regulations a sufficient means of making reprisals for either British, French, or American encroachments. She would then contain an eminently industrious population of nearly sixty-four millions, who, by the exclusion from their markets of any particular kind of foreign merchandise, would be able to obtain from any country such concessions to their commerce and navigation as would comport with their power and dignity."
Such are the political speculations of German writers of the present day. On this side of the Atlantic, we are disposed to ask, Will the powers of Germany ever be united, and, when so, will they be willing to make a favorable treaty of commerce and navigation with the United States? We think, from present indications, that the chances are in favor of such an event. No other country on earth has felt the evils of internal dissensions more severely than Germany; none other has, in consequence of its divisions into many in
dependent States, been brought so near the verge of destruction. The Germans now understand very well, that the Peace of Westphalia destroyed their national existence, and that, in this age of material philosophy, nothing short of an appeal to the immediate interests of the people and their princes can again unite them. The intended union of the material interests of the country, ever since the year 1830, has been used as a check on the democratic tendencies which began to manifest themselves at that period. Here was a common road, on which both the people and their rulers might travel side by side, and, as it was the only one which remained open to them, it was but reasonable to suppose that they would take it.
The mass of the German people looked upon the mere abstract theories promulgated by the French Republicans partly with suspicion and partly with horror; but they easily comprehended the immense advantages to be derived from a firm union among themselves, and from the abolition of the odious excise, which prevented free trade and intercourse between the different States. Louis Philippe gave the world an example of a judicious government. He occupied himself with plans for improving the condition of the middle classes, and, by that means, held both the remnant of the ancient nobles, and the lower orders in subjection. The example was too striking not to be followed in Germany. The education of the Germans had, for many years, been in advance of their physical means and comforts, a position, which, of all others, is most fraught with danger to the happiness and tranquillity of a people. Now was the time to furnish aids to their industry and to improve their social condition. Never was there a period more propitious for the establishment of a peaceful union; and, as if to guaranty a happy issue, two attempts of this sort had already been made and had succeeded. Bavaria and Wurtemberg had formed a commercial league, and the Hanse Towns, with this end in view, had made a proposition to Hanover, Oldenburg, and Hesse Cassel, which, we believe, was accepted, if not actually executed. Prussia at last proposed to place herself at the head of the movement, and, in spite of the political jealousies of the minor States, skilfully fanned and operated on by British and French agents, succeeded in establishing what was then called "The Prussian Tariff-League" (Der Preussische
- No. 122.
Zoll-Verein). * Had the British advocates of free trade at that time acted up to their theories, and shown any disposition to treat with the German States on principles of reci
For the information of a portion of our readers, we extract from a recent publication of Mr. Macgregor, an English writer of high authority, a brief account of the origin and nature of the German Tariff-League.
"This commercial union is, in fact, purely Germanic. The inconvenience of numerous customs-barriers formed not only impediments of the greatest injury to the national commerce and manufacturing interests of the several States, but the expense of maintaining a multitude of guards to prevent smuggling, and to secure the taxes levied upon commodities, was enormous in proportion to the revenue collected, while the moral effect was, at the same time, exceedingly pernicious.
"The maintaining numerous lines or circles of customs, necessary to secure any revenue from commodities entering or passing through the several small States of Germany, was attended with such grievous inconvenience and expense, that, in 1826, Saxe Weimar, Eisenach, Saxe Coburg, Saxe Gotha, Saxe Meiningen, Saxe Altenburg, Schwartzburg Sonderhausen, Saxe Rudolstadt, Anhalt Dessau, Reuss Schleitz, Reuss Greitz, Reuss Lobenstein Ebersdorf, with a total population of 894,778, entered into an union for a general line of customs-barriers to surround their extreme frontier; and, after deducting the whole expense of collection, to divide the net revenue, arising from the duties thus collected upon the importation or transit of foreign commodities, among the several States, in proportion to the respective population of each.
"This first union, which Prussia did not certainly originate, was called Der Mittel Verein,' and, in April, 1827 and 1828, Bavaria and Wurtemberg joined in a union of customs, with the view of not admitting any except the small States enclosed or partly enclosed within those kingdoms, into the association.
"Eventually, the kingdoms of Prussia, Bavaria, Wurtemberg, and Saxony, with Hesse Darmstadt and Hesse Cassel, signed, on the 22d of March, 1833, the celebrated Convention, called the Zoll-Verein,' or Union of Customs, the net revenue of which was to be divided among the several States, strictly in proportion to the numbers of their respective population.
"The Thuringian and other States which had not previously joined, except Baden, Nassau, and Frankfort, signed a Convention of Union with Prussia and the others on the 11th of May, 1833; Nassau and Baden joined on the 12th of May, 1835, and Frankfort united with it in the following year. In 1841, Brunswick and Lippe Schaumberg entered the League, and Luxemburg joined in January, 1842.
"The terms of this union may be stated in few words. A tariff was fixed upon, at which goods brought within the common barrier which enclosed these States should be taxed. Upon the payment of the duties imposed by this tariff at any part of the barrier, the goods were to be permitted to circulate, without further let or charge, throughout all parts of the States lying within the common border.
"A common standard of value was agreed upon, by which all money transactions were to be regulated; and, at the end of the year, the net proceeds received at the common barrier were to be divided between the States which composed the union, according to their respective population.
"The political effect of this union has been to create a perfect fusion of all small and conflicting interests into one grand confederation, having one common interest. By it, Prussia has nationalized in one great union Northern
procity, it is highly probable that they might have postponed the formation of the League; but the whole tendency of Germany toward such union was so palpable, that England could not permanently have prevented it.
At first, the liberal Deputies in the Chambers of Wurtemberg and Baden, and, for a while, those of Bavaria also, were opposed to the formation of a commercial union with an absolute power; but they were soon obliged to yield to the good sense of the community, and more especially of the industrious classes, whose instinctive judgment was much more correct than the philosophical conclusions of the literati. In vain did Hofrath Welker declare, in the Chamber of the Grand Duchy of Baden, that "the spinning of cotton and the working of iron did not render a people free." Experience had taught them, that it made them comfortable, that it improved the condition of the laborer, raised the rate of interest of the capitalist, and secured to the farmer a better price for his produce. Against such practical lessons, the metaphysical dissertations of political philosophers were as nothing, and only served to bring their theories, and the cause they were advocating, into disrepute. The improvement of the physical condition of the people was thus found to be one of the best means of checking the revolutionary tendencies of the age, and, having produced such unexpected results in France, was now seriously taken into consideration
and South Western Germany; she has acquired the friendly disposition of an intelligent moral population; and, by making the petty sovereignties chiefly dependent for their future revenues on the permanence of the union, she has rendered their fidelity to her in peace and war the future condition on which they can exist as sovereigns.
"It is, indeed, evident, that the spirit and object of this confederation have been to unite and strengthen Germany as one great nation, by throwing down those barricades of material warfare, and of international intercourse, as also the numerous lines of customs and customs-officers, which previously belted every large and petty State in Germany, the removal of which has laid open an uninterrupted intercourse from the frontiers of France and Belgium to those of Austria and Russia, and from the Alps to the Baltic.
"But it is not less in its political than in its commercial features, that the German Union has become a subject of interest to England. By opening to the subjects of its component States a free intercourse with each other, an intercourse which before that time had been vexed and restricted by numerous petty annoyances and fiscal objections, it created for German manufacturers a market of some 27,000,000 consumers, who had before that time been chiefly supplied by the foreigner, and it gave an impetus to national industry, which, from small beginnings, has increased until it has become a formidable rival to the trade of this country [England], and which in many instances it has succeeded in supplanting completely."