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ALSACE AND LORRAINE.

TO THE EDITOR. Sir,— A far more friendly feeling appears to exist now between tho inhabitants of the last two provinces in regard to their submission to the German Empire, as we find by last reports that the present Emperor William 11. and his august consort were most cordially received at Strasburg and Metz. If we go back into history, it cannot be disputed that these two provinces were originally German. The common language of the people has always been German—in course of time mixed with a patois of French. More than a thousand years ago Charlemagne divided his vast monarchy between his three sons—Karl to have Germany, Ludwig to have France, and, as a wise and far-seeing statesman, and to have a power between France and Germany for future protection of the latter, Alsace and Lorraine was given to his son Lothar; therefore the old name Lothringen, or, as we call it in English, Lorraine. Already in the ne’xt generations history tells us of wars between the successors of Ludwig and Lothar, as France wanted Metz to command the river Moselle and Strasburg to dominate the Rhine. However, up to the time of Louis XIV. the German Empire kept possession of the two provinces; and then when the German Empire was at its very lowest, Louis XIV., by bribery and corruption, got possession of those provinces, and they belonged to France thence till 1870, when the late Emperor William 1., the victorious, again annexed them to Germany. To understand this properly I can only refer to Professor Gervinns (the greatest historian of our century, who died a few years ago), who says : “Germany and tho Empire, so called ‘ the Holy Roman Empire,’ was never before in such a miserable condition than at the time of Louis XIV. Every paltry prince—or in particular the spiritual Electors of Treves and Mayence—openly defied the Emperor, and made treaties with the King of France, and accepted his bribes; consequently it stands to reason that the two rich countries of Alsace and Lorraine, after being the seat of war between France and Germany for many centuries, preferred to be annexed to a’then strong Power, as France, for future protection, instead of depending for the same on the weak Holy Roman and German Empire, whose Emperors for generations considered it as their highest duty to ruin the Protestant religion, not regarding the consequences, if the people wanted religious freedom. The people of these two provinces greeted Louis XIV. as their true friend, and truly faithful they and their posterity have been to France. The King had the great policy to leave them full religious liberty, as they were mostly Protestants, and even when he revoked the Edict of Nantes, granted by his ancestor, Homy IV., in all France, he did not interfere with the two provinces—and well Prance has paid him for this. Generals, statesmen, and scientific gentlemen from these German provinces have been the glory of France, Some of Napoleon’s best generals were from Alsace—namely, Kellennau, Ney, Kleber, Sebastian!, Weltman, and others; and in the present French Parliament we find many original German names.” Now, if I may offer an opinion, it appears to me that the people of Alsace and Lorraine want a strong, stable Government, which the German Empire offers them. Of course, much will depend on the tact of the present Emperor in pushing tho young men of these provinces forward in the army and in his Cabinet, the same as Louis XIV. and Napoleon did, and by such means the present and next generations of Alsace and Lorraine will soon learn to submit to the government of a strong Power, as Germany is in her present state. That Germany is a strong power is shown by the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria, and Italy; and if we to this add the pt'esbnt

friendly feeling between England and Germany, these four Powers should bo able to say, like Louis XIV, did; “No cannon shall be fired in Europe without my permission.” All the same, let na hope that the peace of Europe may not lie disturbed in our time, although things look very dark at present. I venture to suggest that if war is necessary, Germany, in her Emperor, has a commandcr-in-chief of no mean abilities and the very best generals, and, combined with Austria and Italy, and perhaps with England, she can defy France and Russia at any time. As the present Emperor William 11, says: “We Germans fear God, and nobody else in the world,” May his utterance prove true, in case of the great misfortune of a European war breaking out.—l am, etc,, J.H. Dunedin, September 11.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18890914.2.31.13.1

Bibliographic details

ALSACE AND LORRAINE., Issue 8012, 14 September 1889, Supplement

Word Count
782

ALSACE AND LORRAINE. Issue 8012, 14 September 1889, Supplement

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