Danish Senate, ceded the Sovereignty over the Gottoi-p portion
of the Duchy of Schleswig to the Duke of (Holstein-Gottorp)
and granted a diploma of Sovereignty by which the Duke and
his male descendants were released from all feudal obligations
as vassals of Denmark, and the Sovereignty was ceded to
them. The King at the same time ceded to himself as Lord
of the Royal Duchies of Schleswig the Sovereignty over it,
with an express reservation of the reversionary interests of
the Crown of Denmark in the Duchies npon the extinction of
the respective Male Lines. The cession of the Sovereignty
was then limited to the mole descendants of the Duke, so
that the Fief was not abolished, but the sovereignty sub modo
transferred. The King of Denmark, however, had no power
whatever over the Sovereignty.
In 1660, the succession to the Ci'own of Denmark, which
was till then elective, became hereditary in the male and
female descendants of Frederick III, subsequently regidated
by the Lex Regia in 1665.
This change in the succession to the Crown of Denmark
could only allect the succession in the Sovereignty of the
266 TPIE DANISH SUCCESSION.
Duchy of Schleswig as far as it followed the succession to the
Crown of Denmark.
It might in accordance with the Lex Eegia descend to
females, although the succession in the Lordship might stiU
be governed by the Feudal Law.
In 1721, the re-union of the Gottorp Duchy with the Eoyal
Duchy of Schleswig took place, and formal homage to the Kin^
of Denmark as sovereign, Lord Paramount of the Duchy, was
rendered " Secundum tenorum legis regias." It is a serious
question whether the Royal and Gottorp portions of the Duchy
were then united as one allodial Duchy with the kingdom of
Denmark, so as to become subject to the same lawof Hereditary
Succession, or whether the Gottorp portion was merely re-
incorporated with the Royal portion, and the ancient feudal
Constitution of the entire Duchy continued.
In 1773, the Grand Duke Paul renounced, as head of the
elder Gottorp Line, all his rights to the Duchy of Schleswig
in favour of the King of Denmark and the Heirs of the
Crown. The head of the younger Gottorp Line had abeady
done the same in 1750.
Catherine of Russia, in the provisional Treaty of 1767,
undertook that all the surviving Princes of the House of
Holstein Gottorp should renounce, and by theTreaty of 1773
the Counties of Oldenburg and Delmenhorst were ceded by
the King of Denmark in exchange, as an endowment for the
EXCLUSION OF THE CLAIMS OF THE LINE
The pretensions of the Augustenburgs, in one shape or
another,, cover the whole of this extensive field, yet they
have never been raised in any manner. They are the only
Pretenders who can become dangerous, through the exclusion
of the Duchies from the settlement and their consequent
alienation, and the support they might receive from Germany.
These consequences have struck all the Danish writers, but
every step has been avoided to close the door.
Considering the case from a Russian point of view, there
are various considerations which coincide to render this
ambiguity desirable. The first of these is the opportunity of
a new Civil War in Denmark : this is a matter which ailects
not Denmark alone, but Prussia also and Germany. Here is
a lever for the convulsion of those countries, and from it may
not be improbably worked out a Russian intervention at
Berlin. Independently, however, of tlipse ulterior objects,
there were reasons so strong as to amount to a necessity, for
excluding the discussion of those claims at the present mo-
ment : they consist in^-
1. The Agnatic Succession in the Duchies.
2. The Cognatic Succession in the Kingdom.
3. The Reversion of Oldenburg and Delmenhorst.
4. The Heirship-General.
The first point would have raised the question of the
Integrity of the Monarchy, M^hich Russia had to settle as a
preliminary matter, so as to get the Ducliies through the
Kingdom, or the Kingdom through Holstein.
The second would have interfered with the nomination of
Prince Christian, the Agnatic Line coming before as Cognatic
(the mother of the present Duke had indeed given a renun-
ciation, but we know what value attaches to such instru-
The third is of the gravest importance, for, if only raised,
the Holstein claims fell to the ground.
As to the Heirship-General it was impossible for Russia to
have pronounced herself either way. If she admitted the
claim she acknowledged a branch that came in before herself.
If she rejected it on the plea of the Line having come off
before Hereditary Right was established, she deprived her-
self of that ground, should it prove to be desirable to
The civil war enabled her, through the animosity of the
parties, to put aside at once those inconvenient discussions
and a numerous line of claimants. The powers of Europe
were, however, not under the influence of local passions, and
whatever the part taken by the Augustenburgs in the civil
war, no judicial steps have been taken to deprive them of
their rights. The shield of the Duke of Augustenburg is
suspended amongst those of the other Knights Commanders
of thcDanish Order of the Elephant.
The Diet of Copenhagen and the Banish
The resistance of the Danish Diet, which has ah-eady led
to three Dissolutions of that Body, was not made to the
Treaty, but arose entirely out of the manner in which tlte
measure was presented to it.
The Diet itself was Provisional and Provincial ; the
Duchies were not represented. On the 28th of the pre-
vious January, a Royal Proclamation had promised the Insti-
tution of a General Diet : there was no reason why this
promise should not have been fulfilled, and every reason for
fulfilling it before submitting a fundamental matter which
as every one felt could not be settled in a partial assembly.
The Constitution required that no change in the succession
should be adopted except by three-fourths of the votes ; the
Body which had to vote required to have existence. This
objection was put forward as a preliminary one.
It may have been very unwise to force so grave matter in
80 indecorous a manner, but from this fact alone, a sinister
purpose need not be inferred. If the Danish Government
had no other object than the adhesion of the Diet to the
Treaty, it could have floated over the preliminary objection
by rendering the measure in other respects acceptable. It,
however, treated this Constitutional body harshly and insult-
ingly ; told it that no advice would be accepted at its hands;
informed it that the measure to which its assent by anticipa-
tion was required, should not even be presented to it ; * and
* "Although the communications which the Government has
made to us allow us no ground to hope that tlie act will be presented
for the adoption of the Diet, &c." â€” Re;port, p. 6i.
DIET OF COPENHAGEN. 269^
that it was required to utter a simple " Yes," or a simple
" No" to the Royal message,* which Royal message in ex-
press terms abolished Hereditaky Right !
We have not to seek far for the object in view. A Con-
stitution was very necessary for Russia in Denmark, generally
for the creation of faction, and immediately for giving an
apparently national sanction to the Treaty : but it w^s not
desirable that that Constitution should have or acquire,
vigour, or that a sense of independence, or a consciousness of
power should arise amongst the people. Here was an oppor-
tunity of crushing that Constitution by the weight of Europe.
The objects of the Danish Government, though distinct,
coincide; they coidd not fail to profit by the occasion
thus aflbrded them, of bringing into coincidence the dis-
positions of the Diet with the will of the Cabinet. In
fact the Cabinet was absolute from the moment, it would say
" unless you answer by an unconditional * Yes,' we dissolve,
and will go on dissolving till you have said it," It is Eng-
land whose influence is called into action in this matter ; and
it is exerted in reference to a measure, into which the British
Parliament has never inquired, and respecting which it has
received neither documents nor explanation.
The first Dissolution took place, nominally indeed, in con-
sequence of the failure of another measure which the govern-
ment might have easily carried. This was a bill for the exten-
sion of the Custom Lines, so as to include Hol&tein, to which
the Diet objected solely because the Duchies were not repre-
sented ; the government was beaten on some details in the
Lower House by three, and the Upper was known to be
t "That if the male issue of King Frederic III should fail, all
hereditary right according to tlie ai-iicles 27â€”40 of the said royal
law shall he abolislied, and the succession for all the territories which
are now miited under the Danish cro^^^l be transferred on the head
of His Highness Prince Cliristian, in this way that His isseue, mal
after male, of lawful marriage, shall succeed to the crown in accor-
dance with tlie law of primogenitiire, and the Agnatic liue^ euccei-
feioc."â€” i%a^ Message, Uh Oct., 1852.
370 THE DANISH SUCCESSION.
favourable, but it was never submitted to them. By meanÂ»
of a conference tiie trifling objections of the Lower House
would have been removed.
The new Diet was elected with a view to the message, and
the government was favoured in an extraordinary manner by
an internal schism. Denmark has long been distracted by an
agitation which may be rendered intelligible to the reader by
the term " Tenant-Right," although it more properly belongs
to the class of dissensions which formerly afflicted Gallicia
and Hungary, and still afflict Wallacliia and Moldavia. The
popular party had the command of the Lower House, and
having been the most violent in the war, it was now most
zealous for the Eoyal message.
The new Diet which met in March, 1853, was, neverthe-
less, prepared for resistance, and surrender was imperiously
required by the government in the name of a " European,
necessity,"* and they were unambiguously threatened in case
of contumacy, with the withdrawal of a Constitution which
they were so little qualified to possess ; lest such menaces,
should be mistaken for the mere desires of a faction, or
associated with the pm'poses of Eussia, the Times lent the
willing aid of its thunders to batter unhappy Denmark in
the name of constitutional freedom and the enlightened
opinion of the British people.f
The previous Diet had appointed a Commission of twenty-
* " At the opening of the Eeiehstag, at Copenhagen, the Prime
Minister read the Royal Address of the 4th October last, respecting
the regulation of the Succession. As the Ministry presumed that the
proposed succession was the right one, it would not admit of any
alteration, as that would appear as if the King intended to break the
engagements he had contracted with the G-i*eat Powers. To show to
the Diet the opinion of Foreign Cabinets of the former discussions,
he would lay all the correspondence on the unconditional approval of
the motion was a European Necessity." â€” Altona Mercury.
t Eor instance, on the 12th of February the Times^ after speaking
of the Danish Constitution as one of the satisfactory results of 1848,
says : â€”
"But it is not less essential to the maintenance and success oftket^
DIET OF COPENHAGEN. Â«71
five members to examine the small pampUet of forty pages,
â– which is all that was considered necessaiy for their en-
lighteronent, and which has not even been presented to the
English Parliament. That Commission drew up three separate
Beports : the first two signed by sixteen members was un-
favourable to the absolute " Yes." All accepted v\dth joy the
nomination of the Duke of Glucksburg. Opposition took
their chief stand upon the Lex Regia abolished by the message,
and presented the singular anomaly of opposing the Crown
by means of a charter of unlimited despotic power. But the
most remarkable part of the story is, that they appeal to the
Treaty against the Message !
These opinions were reechoed in the New Diet, and the
government measm'e was opposed by forty-five to ninety-seven
votes, which, as three-fourths was required, was its rejection.
On this the Diet was again dissolved.
Having been present at the election of the next one, I can
speak from personal observation. The prevailing sense was
that of fatigue, the intimate conviction that of helplessness.
** In God's name let the matter be settled :" such was the
expression on every one's lip. In Copenhagen there were out
of nine districts but two contests, and one of these was a
mere personal competition. In those districts w^here there
was a contest but a small number of the electors voted :
institutions that the elective Assembly should pursue a rational and
poetical course with reference to the important questions which have
recently occupied not only the Danish Cabinet, but the great powers
of Em'ope ; and nothing is more calculated to tceaJcen the due au'
ihontg of the representatives of t/ie nation than a disposition to
tacrijice the public engagements and common interests of the monarchy
to a spirit of narrow and exclusive party feeling. We have taken so
much interest in the gallant struggle of the Danes against the party
which sought to eifect the dissolution of the monarchy, and in the
establishment of those Uberal institutions in Denmark which no
people is better quahfied to enjoy, that we hope the observations we
may venture to make on this ParHamentary crisis in their affau's will
be favourably received before the country proceeds to the business of
the elections on the 2Gth of February/,'*
272 THE DANISH SUCCESSION
it was a matter of surprise that one opposition member was
returned. Such being the state of the capital, judge of
the provinces. Not a single landed proprietor was returned
for the Lower House. The rancour of the Tenant-Eight
question combining with the rage for the Gliicksburg suc-
cession, excluded the distinguished men who had figured in
the former Diets, and not one of the liberal members who had
voted against the government was re-elected.
It is different with respect tp the other House. It is also
elected, but indirectl}^ that is to say, by electoral colleges, as
in France. In this body the proprietors are represented, and
consequently the two bodies are balanced against each other,
or will be so upon the Tenant-Eight question, where each will
vote separately, while on that of succession, the two being
united, the opposition of the Upper House will be over-
powered. Thus then whilst the process of rapid and reiterated
dissolution is employed to coerce the Diet into a concurrence
of will with the ministry, the forms of a constitutional assent
are obtained to a measure extorted by violence ; and the
authority of the powers of Europe is employed to effect
a violence not contemplated in the act by which it- has been
Had the Government still been despotic, commiseration
might have been awakened ; but now, when in consequence
of this act, Denmark comes to be used against England, she
will no longer be looked upon as a suffering victim but
treated as a willing instrument, and we will proceed as here-
tofore to complete her subjection, by partition, if need be, or
Denmark had a beneficent Despotism, that has disap-
peared ; she was gratified with a liberal Constitution, tixat
is trodden down; she had an established Succession, that
is broken up : by the blood she has spilt in a civil broil fifty
millions of dollars have been added to her debt. Such are
the results of Constitutional Diplomacy !
If the past conduct of the Diet did encourage abroad the
hope that by its means the errors of the London Treaty
DIET OF COPENHAGEN. 273
might be repaired, that hope is now extinguished : if the
matter is now to be taken up, it can only be by England
herself. There is now no possibility of mistake on any
point ; the statement of the case, which appeared so incre-
dible when first made, is now re-echoed from every quarter.*
* " Lord Clarendon's declaration iii the Upper House is liere [Ber-
Sn] declared to be utterly false. He stated that 'the Emperor of Russia
had acceded to the London Treaty settling the Danish Succession
without bringing forward the slightest imdue pretension.' The state
of the case is exactly the reverse of what Lord Clarendon stated. By
the London, as well as by the Warsaw Protocol, the whole of the
Danish dominions are menaced with falling under the Russian
sceptre. Germany may look forward to see Russia a member of
the German Confederation in respect to the Duchies of Ilolstein and
Lauenburg. It is wonderful how people can shut their cyea to
anything so evident." â€” Aacliener Zeitung^^wxc'Zii]!.
So much for Bei'lm : now for Vienna : â€”
" No man can shut his eyes to the tendency of the reigning House
of Russia to introduce itself into the Germanic Confederation in its
quahty of Sovereign of the Duchies of Holstein and Lauenburg, over
which it pretends that it will have to exercise power after the death,
of Prince Christian of Gliicksburg. The danger for the future fortune
of Prussia is consequently imminent, and that is the reason why the
Cabinet of Berlin would be most unwise to remain neutral in the
Eastern question.''* (\) â€” Wanderer of Vienna, 2ith June.
., The Allgemeine ZeUung, June 23d, has the following : â€”
"There appears to be a settled resolution at Copenhagen to
ffespatdh all the pending questions as rapidly and sine sirepitu as
possible. The royal message has indeed been read for the fu'st time
at the second meeting, in spite of the opposition of Lindberg. The
former prime minister, A. W. Moltke, has actuaDy adopted the
motion formerly brought in by Oersted. But there is considerable
scruple as to its effect ; hence in fact that motion will not settle any-
thing, for the Danish Diet is but a provincial diet ; it cannot resolve
for Sclilcswig, nor for Holstein either, and the Succession will not
be settled for the collective Monarcliy any more than for th.e
Duchies, The Treaty of the 8th of May will step in with all its
difficulties and embarrassments. There is in fact no doubt that
England has of late attended very seriously to the Sound, and
although David Urquliart is not properly to be considered as an
agent of the Administration, yet you may rely upon his being the
representative of no inconsiderable share of public opinion on the
274 THE DANISH SUCCESSION.
The Danish nation has just spirit enough left to pretend
to assume as its own will, the violence it suiters, and thus
loses the only chance of that support on which in their hearte
they yet rely. " Surely England will at last see to what she
is bringing us," said one of the leading men in a conver-
sation which had commenced with the stout assertion that
the Treaty was an excellent measure and calculated to heal
the wounds of Denmark. The answer to this melancholy
avowal and pitiable appeal, could only be : " England acted
when she was ignorant : now she is informed, but committed;
three Administrations and five Foreign secretaries are partners
in the deed." The Danes too are committed. Terrible word
is that " committed " â€” dead lock of a political mechanism,
possessed of functions and destitute of ends.
other side of the Gernfan Ocean. Tlie new English minkter,
Mr. Buchanan, arrived at Copenhagen on the IStii inst., and he
is understood to have very decided instructions. An English
squadron is expected in the Baltic. In consequence of all this.
Count Charles Moltke is said to entertain a desire of resigning as
minister for Schleswig. It is supposed, and no doubt the supposi-
tion is founded in fact, that the measures which for upwards of a
year have been showered down upon the Duchies, and the aimoat
desperate complaints which are echoed back to the capital will only
tend to embitter and to alienate the minds, and will necessitate the
Government to fall back upon Russia. The late prime minister, all
but in plain words, proclaimed this dependence upon Russia, in his
place in the Diet."
The position of Austria in the North and in the
South, as affected by the Treaty of the Wi
Austria, above half a century ago, exclianged the Nether-
lands for a position on the Adriatic ; from the North, where
the increasing consistency of an Extrinsic Power closed the
door to ambition, she turned to the South and East, hoping
to reap in the expected dissohition of a great Empire a har-
vest of maritime power and military strength.
Her retreat from the North has enabled Russia to extend
over Germany a controlling influence, and her advance on
the South has brought her into collision with Turkey, now
perceived to be possessed of great and increasing strength.
Placed by an internal distribution of ,a few Turkish soldiers
at the mouth of the Cattaro, under the necessity of having
to struggle to gain back, through external and compro-
mising aid, the cession made to her formerly by France, she
has discovered that the Ottoman Empire, instead of an in-
heritance to be divided, affords the basis on which to con-
struct a system of defensive policy for the future.
The events of Poland, those more recent and alarming
of Hungary, the usurpation of the Danube, and the habit of
subverting Governments introduced amongst the Nations
of the West, present so many additional reasons for seeking
to escape from the control of her ally, and for looking in
Turkey for friendship which will afford real support upon
I In a word, aggrandisement must be abandoned abroad, and
276 THE DANISH SUCCESSION.
the doctrine of uniformity surrendered at home. Nor is this
idea unfamiliar to the Austrian Cabinet. Prince Svvartzenburg
has tojd Germany that she "has nothing to fear from
the strength of Austria, but much to apprehend from her
weakness." Austria is only weak because her own subjects
dread her doctrine of uniformity, and her neighbours her
designs of aggrandisement.
The Treaty of the 8th of May, 1852, for the Danish
Succession, has now recast the relations of the Powers of
Europe, by the prospective union of that Crown with the
Crown of Russia, and indeed the fact . of having used the
Powers of Europe for effecting this arrangement, gives her a
present ascendancy not far removed from possession. It is
important, therefore, for Austria to consider, before it is too
late, the consequences to herself of this change.
Like the Dai'danelles, the aggressive Forcer of the Sound,
from its possession by a weak or inoffensive State, has re-
riained latent : we have to look at that position now no
less in its offensive than its defensive character.
The Eussian frontiers springing across Prussia will be
brought to the West of Berlin and Vienna, to within 400
miles of Paris, and two days by steam to the Thames.
To these frontiers she yill be able, by steam, to transfer in
a couple of days, regiments and armies, which a few hours
can bring by rad to Berlin, and a couple of days over the
whole of Germany.
Possessing the Sound, the entrance of the Baltic will be
practically and dljilomatically closed. Her navy will then
possess an internal Sea where it will be unattackable, and
whence it may issue at pleasure.
This revolution touches Austria in the most sensitive
point. Her reliance against France was on the maritime
power ot Britain : held in check, as England will now be,
that security is withdrawn.
The conversion of the Baltic into a close Sea affects almost
as immediately Stockholm as Copenhagen itself. Holding-
Denmark and the Baltic, she has in fact virtually incorporated
the Northern as well as the Southern Scandinavian Peninsula,
and the North, in a block, falls into her hands.
It is not merely Denmark which she is to acquire, but aha
the Duchies of SchleÂ»iclg and Kolstein, which, even if Den-
mark had been singly inherited, might have afforded a check
upon her : the Treaty, declaring those to be inseparably
united, places the whole in her hands.
The Duchies, not Denmark, give her the Eyder, the mouths
of the Elbe, and the position of Rensburg ; in a word, tlie
hold over the commerce of Germany by its main river arteries,
and over the will of Germany by access to the railways, for
the transfer of her troops.
It will be evident, that what may remain of independence
in Prussia will now vanish, and that that government can be
no more than a Subsidiary Office wearing the deceptive mask