1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Arnim, Harry Karl Kurt Eduard von, Count
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Arnim, Harry Karl Kurt Eduard von, Count
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ARNIM, HARRY KARL KURT EDUARD VON, Count (1824-1881), German diplomatist, was a member of one of the most numerous and most widely spread families of the Prussian nobility. He was born in Pomerania on the 3rd of October 1824, and brought up by his uncle Heinrich von Arnim, who was Prussian ambassador at Paris and foreign minister from March to June 1848, while Count Arnim-Boytzenburg, whose daughter Harry von Arnim afterwards married, was minister-president. It is noticeable that the uncle was brought before a court of justice and fined for publishing a pamphlet directed against the ministry of Manteuffel. After holding other posts in the diplomatic service Arnim was in 1864 appointed Prussian envoy (and in 1867 envoy of the North German Confederation) at the papal court. In 1869 he proposed that the governments should appoint representatives to be present at the Vatican council, a suggestion which was rejected by Bismarck, and foretold that the promulgation of papal infallibility would bring serious political difficulties. After the recall of the French troops from Rome he attempted unsuccessfully to mediate between the pope and the Italian government. He was appointed in 1871 German commissioner to arrange the final treaty with France, a task which he carried out with such success that in 1871 he was appointed German envoy at Paris, and in 1872 received his definite appointment as ambassador, a post of the greatest difficulty and responsibility. Differences soon arose between him and Bismarck; he wished to support the monarchical party which was trying to overthrow Thiers, while Bismarck ordered him to stand aloof from all French parties; he did not give that implicit obedience to his instructions which Bismarck required. Bismarck, however, was unable to recall him because of the great influence which he enjoyed at court and the confidence which the emperor placed in him. He was looked upon by the Conservative party, who were trying to overthrow Bismarck, as his successor, and it is said that he was closely connected with the court intrigues against the chancellor. In the beginning of 1874 he was recalled and appointed to the embassy at Constantinople, but this appointment was immediately revoked. A Vienna newspaper published some correspondence on the Vatican council, including confidential despatches of Arnim’s, with the object of showing that he had shown greater foresight than Bismarck. It was then found that a considerable number of papers were missing from the Paris embassy, and on the 4th of October Arnim was arrested on the charge of embezzling state papers. This recourse to the criminal law against a man of his rank, who had held one of the most important diplomatic posts, caused great astonishment. His defence was that the papers were not official, and he was acquitted on the charge of embezzlement, but convicted of undue delay in restoring official papers and condemned to three months’ imprisonment. On appeal the sentence was increased to nine months. Arnim avoided imprisonment by leaving the country, and in 1875 published anonymously at Zürich a pamphlet entitled “Pro nihilo,” in which he attempted to show that the attack on him was caused by Bismarck’s personal jealousy. For this he was accused of treason, insult to the emperor, and libelling Bismarck, and in his absence condemned to five years’ penal servitude. From his exile in Austria he published two more pamphlets on the ecclesiastical policy of Prussia, “Der Nunzius kommt!” (Vienna, 1878), and “Quid faciamus nos?” (ib. 1879). He made repeated attempts, which were supported by his family, to be allowed to return to Germany in order to take his trial afresh on the charge of treason; his request had just been granted when he died on the 19th of May 1881.
In 1876 Bismarck carried an amendment to the criminal code making it an offence punishable with imprisonment or a fine up to £250 for an official of the foreign office to communicate to others official documents, or for an envoy to act contrary to his instructions. These clauses are commonly spoken of in Germany as the “Arnim paragraphs.” (J. W. He.)