previous next
[11] and concentrating all power in his own hands.
chap. I.} 1763
As a reformer, he therefore failed in every part of his dominions; and as he brought no enduring good to Hungary, but rather an example of violating its constitution, so we shall find the Austrian court the only great European power which, both as an ally of England and an enemy to republics, remained inflexibly opposed to America. Yet the efforts of Joseph the Second, ill-judged and vain as they were, illustrate the universality of the new influence.1

The German empire, of which he was so soon to be the head, was the creature and the symbol of the Middle Ages. Its life was gone. The forms of liberty were there, but the substance had perished under the baleful excess of aristocracy. The emperor was an elective officer, but his constituents were only princes. Of the nine electors, three were Roman Catholic Archbishops, owing their rank to the choice of others; but their constituents were of the unmixed nobility, to whom entrance into the electoral chapters was exclusively reserved. The sovereignty of the empire resided, not in the emperor, but in the great representative body of the whole country, or Diet, as it was called, which was composed of the emperor himself, of about one hundred independent prelates and princes, and of delegates from nine and forty independent towns. These last, besides the free cities of Bremen and Hamburg, had internally not only municipal liberties, but self-government, and were so many little republics, dotted throughout the land, from the Rhine to the Danube. But in the Diet, their votes counted as

1 Klopstock: An den Kaiser, Werke, II. 51.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Hungary (Hungary) (1)
Hamburg (Hamburg, Germany) (1)
Breme (Bremen, Germany) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Klopstock (1)
Kaiser (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: