Works of Frederick Engels

The Press and the German Despots

Source: MECW Volume 3, p. 417;
Written: at the end of January and the beginning of February 1844;
First published: in The Northern Star No. 325, February 3, 1844.

Our readers are aware of the rapid progress in Germany of Republican and Communist principles, which progress has of late excited unusual terror amongst the crowned brigands and their advisers of that great confederation of nations [i.e., the German Confederation]. Additional measures of repression are, therefore, being called into operation to check the growth of these “dangerous doctrines”, particularly in Prussia. It appears that in the year 1834, a secret Conference of Plenipotentiaries was held at Vienna, when a Protocol was agreed to, but which has only recently been published, imposing most absolute restrictions upon the press, and proclaiming and enforcing the “right divine” of Princes over all legislative and other popular bodies whatsoever. As a specimen of the “Holy Alliance” principle of this atrocious Protocol, we may state that the eighteenth article provides that

“Princes who are menaced on the part of their states by any infringement of the orders laid down by the decree of the Diet of 1832, are to dissolve these states, and to obtain military aid in support from the rest of the confederation.” [178]

We may add, as a proof of how the fairness and freedom of the press is understood in Prussia, that strict orders have been given to the censors at Cologne, Münster, and other Catholic towns, not to permit the republication of any parts of the Irish trials now in progress.[179] One German journal wished to send a reporter or correspondent to Dublin; but there was no hope of being allowed to publish even his letter. No matter, liberty shall yet be triumphant, despite their dungeons and bayonets.