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publicist, holding in common with Seeley that history should be practical and the historical workshop a laboratory of political hygiene. His own opinions, which were of the National Liberal type, vehemently Prussian and Protestant, were held and enunciated with great vigour during a long and busy life. As a political pamphleteer he was certainly unequalled in his generation, for he took large views and was the master of a manly and robust style, sometimes touched with irony and always marked by conviction. His best short pieces denounced the Medieval Empire as an extravagant and disastrous folly, and (at some expense of historic justice) depicted Austria as the destroyer and Prussia as the constant champion of German interests. But his fame rested upon two long historical books, each of which in a sense marked an epoch. We do not now read Sybel's French Revolution,' which was in truth a political pamphlet designed to unmask the baseness and cruelty of the French, the cowardice and treachery of Austria, and the loyal courses of the Prussian monarchy in a distracted age.
We do not read it, partly because its political estimates are biassed, and partly because the book is dull and heavy, wanting alike in psychological insight and graphic power. But nevertheless we have all profited by Von Sybel's admirable researches. He was the first historian to attempt a complete study of the documentary evidence for the Revolution, the first to bring out the importance of the Polish question as a factor determining the course of European affairs, and the first who paid serious attention to the economic side of revolutionary history.
His second long work, on the `Foundation of the German Empire,' being an unstinted eulogy of Bismarck, earned for him the dislike of the present Emperor, and exclusion from the Archives of Berlin. The brief to which he wrote would have perplexed a moralist, but Sybel was too hardened a Prussian to permit himself the luxury of a fastidious conscience. He defends the second partition of Poland and is at elaborate pains to argue the Prussian case for the annexation of the Danish Duchies. Von Roon, who was a blunt soldier, did not see the need of professorial apologies. The question of the Duchies,' he said truly, 'is not a question Vol. 223 --No. 443.
of right but a question of force, and we have the force.' To rob first and excuse afterwards was the classical process whereby Prussia had grown, and the successful thief was always more honoured than his apologist. Je prends d'abord,' said Frederic II ; je trouverai toujours des pédants pour prouver mes droits'; and Bismarck had no more difficulty in finding his pedant than the robber of genius who established the greatness of Prussia on the stolen provinces of Silesia and Posen.
The graphic quality, which is so singularly lacking in Sybel, was amply supplied in the work of a deaf and passionate Saxon who has been described by some as the Macaulay and by others as the Carlyle of Germany. Heinrich von Treitschke was a man entirely devoid of some properties commonly held to be essential to the adequate writing of history. He was generally lashed up to a white heat of indignation, and consistently insulting to large and respectable bodies of the genus Man-to the English and French nations, to the Jewish race, and to all who professed socialist or radical opinions. Violent in his capacity for theological execration--for he preached his political doctrines with fanaticism-he created misgivings among many German scholars, including Ranke, who drew a line between the publicist and the historian. But the man was a genius. His history of the German confederation from 1815 to 1848 is one of the most delightful and brilliant achievements of modern prose literature. The little courts and the big courts, the wandering idealising students with their patriotic songs, their duels, their gymnastic clubs and sentimental absurdities, the newspaper men and the junkers, the special characteristics of manner, physique and tradition by which the inhabitants of one part of Germany may be distinguished from another-all this and much more he paints for us with such wealth of illustration, such vitality, and so easy a mastery of men and things, that there is no other historical book upon any period from which Germany and all that Germany means can be so well understood.
So far I have spoken of Treitschke merely as a lively descriptive artist, but Treitschke was a great deal more; he was not even principally an artist, and of course still less a man of science. If we wish to classify this
astonishing master of eloquence, we must think of him as a prophet, delivering, as all true prophets must, one message and one message only to his age, and repeating himself now in one form, now in another, but always on a sustained note of fiery and even reckless intellectual courage. And the message was in essence identical with the creed of Mommsen, Droysen, Sybel—the necessity for a strong Germany, united under the Prussian sceptre and informed by the Prussian spirit.
Of this doctrine Treitschke was certainly the most influential, even if he was not the most learned, exponent. His lectures at Berlin, spiced with malicious sallies at the English, the Jews and the socialists, were one of the established entertainments of the capital and widely celebrated in the student world of at least six nations. Nobody could complain that the Professor's teaching was lacking in the quality of directness. He knew exactly where he stood and whither he intended to lead his flock. A single idea informed his whole teaching. If he praised Hegel as the first political head among the German philosophers,' it was because the Hegelian philosophy glorified the State. If Byron was held up as a shining example to cosmopolitan decadents like Heine, it was because to the banished aristocrat England still remained the first country in the globe.' The State was the ultimate good, patriotism the supreme virtue; and the main problem for the teacher was to develop the State-sense in a people remarkably deficient in political coherence. What matter if there were some exaggeration ? To a nation like the German the call of the State must be bawled through a megaphone.
In the light of this governing principle, common to Aristotle, Machiavelli and Hegel, Treitschke expounded the ethics of German imperialism to a generation steadily becoming more and more conscious of its inner unity, its military strength, and its great future in the world. He did not hesitate to glorify war as a necessary and elevating influence on national progress, and at all times and seasons preached with reverential emotion the gospel of material power. For Prussia his enthusiasm knew no bounds, for he held that she had performed every great achievement in German politics since the Peace of Westphalia. The true test of a man, as of a nation,
was capacity for sacrifice. But if we ask the oracle to what ultimate end, we obtain no very clear or satisfactory response.
That Treitschke has been the principal literary organ of a very brutal type of imperialism should not blind us to the many elements of real moral grandeur contained in the body of his writing. Perverted, overstrained, violently prejudiced, as he undoubtedly was, nobody has paid more unstinted reverence to the proud and heroic forms of human temperament. And the example of Carlyle is sufficient to show that a philosophy of politics fundamentally opposed to the specific Christian virtues may be so held and propagated as to exercise, upon the whole, a fortifying influence on the brain and will by bringing into relief the sterner beauties of human character, by insisting on the seriousness of life, and by exciting a more active sense of its duties and responsibilities. So it was with Treitschke, who, with less of mystic depth, had more of practical sense and elasticity than Carlyle. The generation for which he wrote welcomed and needed the stimulus of his genius; and, though in many ways his influence is greatly to be deplored, in others it was good, not only as giving to the study of politics a large and imaginative outlook, but also because it helped to arouse an intelligent interest in the conduct of public affairs.
The present constitution of the German Empire, with its unequal federalism, its Prussian predominance, its aristocratic social structure, its vast system of militarism combined with universal suffrage, is so anomalous a mixture of medieval and modern principles that, were it not for the fact that Professors in Germany are state servants, we might be surprised at its having received a general measure of academic assent. Treitschke, like Alexander Hamilton, would have preferred a unitary state to a federation and was ill-pleased with the Reichstag. Yet, upon the whole, being at once aristocrat, militarist and monarchist, he was well satisfied with the polity as it finally left the shaping hands of Bismarck. As we learn from Mr Davis' excellent volume,* his early enthusiasm for liberty grew cooler with the passage
* H. W. C. Davis, The Political Thought of Treitschke'; Constable, 1914.
of years. Free education, local self-government, a free acceptance of reasonable laws by the citizens of a national state-such was the ultimate residuum of his liberalism. For party strife and parliamentary government he cherished an infinite contempt, and regarded such institutions as entirely unfit for Germany.
Indeed part of his intellectual activity was devoted to combating the notion, which was not uncommon in the middle years of the last century, that the political salvation of Germany was to be found in English Constitutionalism. This or something like it had been the belief of the great Dahlmann, Treitschke's master in history and the creator of the still-born Constitution of 1848. And it was because English liberalism was at once so seductive and yet so incompatible with the Prussian spirit, that all who stood near to the mind of Bismarck determined to discredit it with every weapon at their command. How basely the campaign was conducted by their hero is concealed in many volumes by Sybel but amply revealed by the voluble Busch. Nor can we be surprised if the professor of patriotic history in Berlin did not fall short of his political chieftain in his efforts to weaken that sentimental attraction of the Germans to England which was really a deadly sin, nothing less than the sin against the Holy Ghost.' In this congenial operation Treitschke was assisted first by the patent sympathy of the English people for the Danes in the affair of the Duchies and then by the English neutrality during the Franco-Prussian War. That Great Britain should refuse to strike in with Prussia appeared to him a crowning demonstration of baseness. The last for mammon,' he writes, 'has stifled every feeling of honour, every feeling of right and wrong; cowardice and sensuality take shelter behind that wondrous theological rhetoric which to us free German heretics is the most repulsive of all the defects in the English character. We seem to hear that reverend snuffle when we see the English press turn up pious eyes full of indignation against the unchristian and warlike nations of the Continent.'
In so viewing history from the strictly patriotic and nationalist standpoint, without the barest attempt to understand either the general complex of international relations or the great and inspiring features of alien