Manifesto of the Swiss Diet to the Sonderbund

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Manifesto of the Swiss Diet to the Sonderbund (1847)
Swiss Federal Diet (Eidgenössische Tagsatzung / Diète fédérale), translated by M. J. Mayers

This manifesto of 20 October 1847 was addressed to the insurgent Sonderbund by the Diet on the eve of the Sonderbund War, the 1847 civil war in Switzerland. The following translation of an excerpt of the original German text was published in the book by M. J. Mayers, Note-book of the late civil war in Switzerland (John W. Parker, London, 1848).

Swiss Federal Diet (Eidgenössische Tagsatzung / Diète fédérale)667710Manifesto of the Swiss Diet to the Sonderbund1847M. J. Mayers

After dwelling on the inadmissibility and unconstitutional character of the Sonderbund, the proclamation proceeds to set forth:

Confederates! You apprehend dangers to threaten the rights and liberties, as well as the faith and Church which have come down to you from a long line of ancestry. Hut we give you hereby the most solemn assurances, that there exists not on our part the remotest intention of exposing those your precious privileges to the least danger or jeopardy. How, indeed, were it possible to suppose, that the Federal Executive could be moved to the commission of any wrong against confederates; and more especially those, who, for the most part, are the primitive and original founders of the Swiss Confederation.

The Diet has no desire to oppress any member of the Confederacy, or to annihilate the cantonal independence, or violently to destroy the existing Federal Pact, or to create a unitary Republic, or, in general, to endanger your liberties, privileges, and religion. On the contrary, it will in all fidelity seek to afford to all the cantons alike, that protection and security to which they are entitled, and have a right to expect from confederates.

Therefore, we would entreat you, confederates, to renounce the separate alliance, which, as far as it includes objects comprehended in the Federal-Pact, is rendered unnecessary; and as for other purposes it is inadmissible and illegal. We would have you to remember, that such separate alliances are opposed both in the letter and spirit to our most ancient compacts and engagements. The existing Pact is sufficient to afford you all necessary protection in your rights, immunities, and liberties. Persist, then, no longer in a position which is at variance with the fundamental laws of the Confederation; and which, as it divides the country into two hostile camps, is apt to imperil our liberty and independence from without.

The Federal Representatives, whom, according to the ancient usages of our country, we send among you, will endeavour, personally, to urge these topics on your attention. We entreat you to receive them as confederates, and to listen to them in a spirit of confidence. At the same time, we would have you to consider also, what a great and serious responsibility you would incur, if you should continue to disregard the decision the Diet has arrived at — on constitutional grounds — and the present friendly monition, which we adress to you. It would not be easy to calculate all the unhappy consequences that would result to you, to us, and to the whole country from your continued resistance to the federal authority. It depends upon you to avert such a disastrous catastrophe. And we hope, that you will be guided by such counsels, as are in accordance with the duties you owe to the Confederation, as are necessary to the peace and order of the whole country, and to your own cantons. Let us be one common brotherhood, united in one common bond of alliance. What we desire is to see the reign and supremacy of law and order; and the peace and security of the community. We entreat you to help us in the accomplishment of this federal duty, and in the attainment of these great and public objects.

God preserve and protect our dear native land!

This work was published before January 1, 1929, and is in the public domain worldwide because the author died at least 100 years ago.

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