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By royal I do not mean kings and emperors only, or queens and empresses. I should have very little to tell of them. But royal, as is well known, has a wider meaning. The families of all reigning sovereigns, whether grand dukes, dukes, princes, landgraves, electors, etc., are royalty, nay even certain mediatized families, families that have ceased to be reigning, and which are very numerous on the Continent, claim the same status, and may therefore intermarry with royal princes and princesses. Princes and princesses may also marry persons who are not royalty, but in that case the marriage is morganatic-a perfectly good and legal form of marriage both from an ecclesiastical and civil point of view, only that the children of such marriages, though perfectly legitimate, cannot succeed to the throne; in many cases no great loss to them. It has been my good fortune to see a good deal of royalty during the whole of my life. I say "good fortune" on purpose, for, with all the drawbacks inherent in court life, royal persons enjoy some great advantages. Their position is assured and well defined. It requires no kind of self-assertion, and wherever they appear, they have no equals, no rivals, and hardly any enviers. They know that their presence always gives pleasure, and that every kind word or look from them is highly appreciated. They seldom have any inducement to try to appear different irom what they are, or to disguise what they think or feel. What is the use of being a bishop, Stanley used to say, except that you can speak your own mind! The same applies to crowned heads, and if some of them, and it may be some bishops also, do not avail themselves of their privilege, it is surely their own fault. No doubt, if a bishop wants to become an archbishop, he has to think twice about what he may and what he may not say. But a king or a prince does not generally want to become anything else, and as they want nothing from anybody, they are not likely to scheme, to flatter, or to deceive. What
ever people may say of the atmosphere of courts and the insincerity of courtiers, the sovereign himself, if only left to himself, if only seen in his own private cabinet, is generally above the vitiated atmosphere that pervades his palace, nor does he, as a rule, while speaking with perfect freedom himself, dislike perfect freedom in others.
Of course there are differences among royalty as well as among commonalty. Some sovereigns have become so accustomed to the daily supply of the very cheapest flattery, that the slightest divergence from the tone of their courtiers is apt to startle or to offend them. Still most human beings like fresh air.
And have we not known persons who display their initres and shake their crosiers before our faces, far more than kings their crowns and their sceptres? There is a whole class of people in ordinary life who have become something, and who seem always to be thanking God that they are not as other men are. They have ceased to be what they were, quite unaware that even in becoming something, there ought always to be or to remain something that becomes or has become. They seem to have been created afresh when they were created peers, temporal or spiritual.
But we must not be unfair to these new creations or creatures. I have known bishops, and archbishops too, in England, who, to their friends, always remained Thirlwalls or Thomsons, and in the second place only Bishops of St. David's or Archbishops of York. My friend Arthur Stanley never became a dean. He was always Stanley; Dean of Westminster, if necessary. If he had been what he ought to have been, Archbishop of Canterbury, he would never have ceased to be A. P. Stanley, his chuckle would always have been just the same, and if his admirers had presented him with a mitre and crosier, he would probably have put the mitre on his head sideways, and said to his friends what another bishop is reported to have said on a similar occasion: "Thank you, my friends, but a new hat and an alpaca umbrella would have been more useful than a mitre and a
crosier." With regard to royal person- dren Dessau was our world. When
I was a child, the town of Dessau,
There must be something to hedge a king. While most people have to move in a crowd, and hold their own even in a mob-and it is difficult to move with ease when you are hustled and pushedroyal persons are never in a crowd, and have never to adopt a position of selfdefence or self-assertion. Still there is a difference between royal persons also. Some of them with all their dignity manage to hide their crown in every-day life; others seem always conscious that it is there, and that they must not condescend too low, lest it should tumble from their head.
But the duke himself was a splendid example of uprightness, fairness, and justice. He belonged to one of the oldest reigning families in Europe. The Hohenzollern, and even the Hohenstaufen, were but of yesterday compared with the glorious ancestors of the Ascanian princes. They did not actually claim descent from Ascanius, the son of Aeneas, nor from Askenas, the grandson of Japhet, though some crazy genealogists may have done so; but there is no flaw in their pedigree from the present duke to Albrecht the Bear, Markgrave of Brandenburg in 1134 Some people would probably say that he belonged to a totemistic age. The duke whom I knew, and who died in 1871, was the eighteenth successor of this Albrecht the Bear, and though his possessions had been much reduced in the course of centuries, he knew what was due from him to his name, and to
My first acquaintance with royalty was at Dessau, my native town. Much has been written to ridicule the small German princes and their small courts. And it cannot be denied that the etiquette kept up by the courtiers, and the nobility, in some of the small capitals of Germany is ludicrous in the extreme. But there is in the sovereigns themselves an inherited dignity, a sentiment of noblesse oblige, which demands respect. The reigning duke of AnhaltDessau was to us boys a being by himself, and no wonder. Though the Duchy was so small that on one occasion a troublesome political agitator, who had been expelled from the Duchy, threatened to throw stones and break the duke's windows as soon as he had crossed the frontier, to us chil
Scholars are just now writing learned essays as to whether the idea of the apotheosis of Augustus came to the Romans from Greece or from Egypt, or whether it may be a survival of fetishism. It may have had a much more homely origin. To the common people in the villages round Dessau, I feel sure that the duke was little short of a god, provided always that they knew what was meant by a god. He might not have created the world, even Divus Augustus was not credited with that tour de force; but there was nothing else, I believe, that the peasants would have thought beyond the power of their duke. To us children also, the duke, the duchess, and all the members of the ducal family, were something quite different from the rest of the world, and some of these impressions of our childhood often remain for life. When their carriage passed through the streets, everybody stood still, took off his hat, and remained bareheaded till they had passed. There was nothing servile in all this, as little as there is in a Frenchman signing himself Votre trèsobéissant serviteur, for no one ever thought at that time that it could be otherwise. Nor am I at all certain that this outward respect for a sovereign is a mistake, for in honoring their sovereign, people after all but honor themselves. Whether he is supposed to be a sovereign by the grace of God, or by hereditary right, or by the voice of the people, he represents the country and the people; he is their duke, their king, their emperor, and if they wish to see him honored by others, they must not fail to honor him themselves. When I saw the other day a king passing through the streets of his own capital, and no one touching his hat, I thought, "What a low opinion these people must have of themselves." Even as boys at school we felt a pride in our duke, and though we knew scraps only of the glorious history of his ancestors, knew how they had borne the brunt of the battle, in all the greatest episodes of the history of Germany.
the blood of his ancestors. forgot it. He was a tall and very handsome man, very quiet, very selfcontained, particularly during the later part of his life, when his increasing deafness made any free intercourse between him and his friends and officials extremely difficult. He worked as hard as any of his ministers, and no wonder, considering that everything, whether important or not, had finally to be decued by him. As he had been much attached to my father, and as my grandfather was his president or prime minister, he took some interest in me when I was a boy at school in Dessau, and I can remember standing before him and looking up to him in his cabinet with Lear and trembling, although nothing could be kinder than the handsome old man with his deep voice and his slowly uttered words, but he seemed to move in an atmosphere of his own, far removed from the life of his subjects. The ducal castle at Dessau was a grand old building, a quadrangle open in front, with turrets that held the staircases leading up to the reception rooms. Some of his ancestors had been highly cultivated men, who had travelled in Italy, France, and England, and had collected treasures of art, which were afterwards stored up in the old palace (Schloss) at Dessau, and in several beautiful parks in the neighborhood that had been laid out a hundred years ago after the model of English parks. The orange trees (Orangerie) in those parks and gardens were magnificent, and I do not remember having seen such an abundance of them anywhere else; but they suddenly began to wither and die, and even replanting them by their heads and letting the roots grow as new branches does not seem to have saved them.
The duke and his highly cultivated duchess were the little gods of Dessau. They seemed to live on their own Olympus. Everything depended them; everything, such as theatre, concerts, or any public amusements, had to be provided out of their private purse. No wonder that the people looked up to them, and that whatever they did was considered right, whatever they said was repeated as gospel.
Little is said of these numerous small principalities in the history of Germany, but without them German history would often be quite unintelligible,
and Germany would never have had so intense a vitality, would never have become what it is now. No doubt there was also an element of danger in them, particularly during the first half of this century, when as members of the German Confederation they could band together and support either Austria or Prussia in their fatal rivalry. But that danger is past, thanks chiefly to Bismarck's policy, and for the future the smaller principalities that have escaped from his grasp will form the most useful centres of life, and are not likely to be absorbed by Prussia, if well advised. There was a time during the AustroPrussian war in 1866 when everybody expected that Anhalt, being almost an enclave of Prussia, would share the fate of Hanover, Nassau, and the Electorate of Hessia. The reigning duke had the strongest sympathies for Austria. But he had a clever minister, who showed him that there were only two ways open to him under the circumstances, either to abdicate of his own free will, and make as advantageous an arrangement with Prussia as possible, or to say yes to whatever demand was made from Berlin. He chose the latter alternative, and it is reported that it was of him that Bismarck said: "I know what to do with my enemies, but what to do with my friends, I don't."
I cannot resist the temptation of giving here a short sketch of the really glorious history of the duchy and the Dukes of Anhalt, such as it was known to us as boys. Nor should it be supposed that I exaggerate the importance of my native duchy. I doubt, indeed, whether there is any reigning house now that can produce such a splendid record as Anhalt. If it has remained small and lost much of its former political influence, that is due chiefly to a law of inheritance which prevailed in the ducal family. Instead of making the eldest son the ruler of the whole duchy, it was the custom to divide the land among all the princes. Thus instead of one Duchy of Anhalt there were four duchies, Anhalt-Dessau, Anhalt-Cöthen, Anhalt-Zerbst, and AnhaltBernburg, some of them again subdivided. From time to time the duchies were reunited, and so they are at
present, the other branches having died out in 1863, when the late Duke Leopold Friedrich united them permanently into one duchy.
If we go slowly back into the past, and that seems to me the real task of the historian, we shall find that there is no critical epoch in the history of Germany, and of the history of the world, where we do not meet with some of the princes of the small Duchy of Anhalt, standing in the very front of the fight. I only wonder that no one has yet attempted to write a popular history of the four principalities of Anhalt, in order to show the share which they took in the historical development of Germany. I have tried to refresh my memory by reading a carefully written manual, "Anhalt's Geschichte in Wort und Bild," by Dr. Hermann Lorenz, 1893, but instead of quoting his opinion, or the opinions of any historians, as to the personal merits and the historical achievements of the princes of Anhalt, whether as warriors or as rulers, I shall try to quote, wherever it is possible, the judgments pronounced of them by some of their contemporaries, whose names will carry greater weight.
The beginning of the nineteenth century was dominated by Napoleon's invasion and almost annihilation of Germany. Dessau was then ruled by Prince Leopold Friedrich Franz (17401806). He had done an immense amount to raise both the material and the intellectual status of his people, and had well earned the name he is still known by, of "Father Franz." Many of the princes of that time were far in advance of the people, and met, as he did, with considerable difficulty in overcoming the resistance of those whom he wished to benefit by his reforms. He had travelled in Holland, England, and Italy. He avoided France, which he said was dangerous to young princes. and yet he was enlightened enough to erect a monument to Rousseau in his beautiful park at Wörlitz. He loved England. "In England," he used to say, "one becomes a man." Nor did he travel for pleasure only. While in England, he studied agriculture, architecture, gardening, brewing, and various other manufactures, in order to intro
duce as many improvements as possible among his own people. In Italy he studied art, both ancient and modern, under Winckelmann, and this great antiquarian was so delighted with the young prince and his companion that he spoke of their visit as the appearance of two young Greek gods. At that time it was still possible to buy old classical statues and old Italian pictures, and the young prince gladly availed himself of his opportunities as far as his financial resources allowed, and brought home to Dessau many valuable treasures of ancient and modern art. These he arranged in his various palaces and museums, all open to the people, and in the beautiful parks and gardens which he had created after English models in the neighborhood of his capital. After a hundred years some of these parks, particularly that of Wörlitz, can vie with some of the finest parks in England. Like the neighboring duchy of Weimar, Dessau soon attracted visitors from all parts of Germany. Goethe himself and his enlightened patron, the Duke Karl August, were often the guests of the Duke of Dessau, and Goethe has in several places spoken in rapturous terms of the beauties of Wörlitz, and the charm of the duke's society. Wieland, Lavater, Matthison, and other celebrities often passed happy days at Dessau as guests of the duke.
But after Duke Franz had spent all his life in embellishing his land and inspiring his subjects with higher and nobler ideals, the Napoleonic thundercloud, which had long threatened Germany, burst over his head, and threatened to destroy everything that he had planted. After the battle of Jena in 1806 Prussia and the whole of Germany were at the mercy of the great French conqueror, and Napoleon, with his army of one hundred thousand men, who had to be lodged and fed in every town of Germany through which they passed, appeared at Dessau on October 21, 1806. The old prince had to receive him bareheaded at the foot of the staircase of his castle. My mother, then a child of six, remembered seeing her own grand and beautiful prince standing erect before the small and pale Corsican. The
prince, however, in his meeting with the emperor, was not afraid to wear the Prussian order of the Black Eagle on his breast, and when he was asked by Napoleon whether he too had sent a contingent to the Prussian army, he said, "No, sir." "Why not?' asked the emperor. "Because I have not been asked," was the answer. "But if you had been asked?" continued the peror. "Then I should certainly have sent my soldiers," the prince replied; and he added, "Your Majesty knows the right of the stronger." This was a not very prudent remark to make, but the emperor seems to have liked the outspoken old man. He invited him to inspect with him the bridge over the Elbe which had been burnt by the Prussians to cover their retreat. He demanded that it should be rebuilt at once, and on that condition he promised to grant neutrality to the duchy. Nay, before leaving Dessau, in the morning he went so far as to ask his host whether he could do anything for him. "For myself," the prince replied, "I want nothing." I only ask for mercy for my people, for they are all to me like my children."
The next critical period in the history of Germany is that of Frederick the Great, marked by the Seven Years' War (1756–1763) and the establishment of Prussia as one of the great powers of Europe.
Here again we find a prince of Anhalt as one of the principal actors. The instrument with which Frederick the Great won his victories was his welldrilled army, and the drill master of that army had been Leopold, Fürst zu Anhalt, the field-marshal of Frederick's father. At the head of his grenadiers and by the side of Prince Eugène, Prince Leopold of Dessau had won, or helped to win, the great battles of Höchstadt, Blindheim (corrupted to Blenheim), Turin, and Malplaquet in the War of the Spanish Succession, and had thus helped in establishing against the overweening ambition of Louis XIV.what was then called the political equilibrium of Europe. The Prussian field-marshal was known at the time all over Germany as the "Alte Dessauer," and through Carlyle's Life of Frederick