Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/537

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PRUSSIA


Prussia, the German common law (Gemeines deutsches Recht) in Schleswig-l-Iolstein, Hanover, and parts of the Rhine provinces, and the Code Napoléon generally on the Rhine and in Alsace-Lorraine. The Inllrgerliches Gesetzbuch has now put an end to the former anomalies. The criminal law was unified by the penal code (Strafgesetzbuch) of 1871 and the military penal code (militdr. Strafgesetzbuch) of 1872. A new penal code, promulgated in 1850, did away with the old patrimonial or seigniorial jurisdiction, and the administration of justice is now wholly in the hands of government. The courts of lowest instance are the Amtsgefichte, in which sits a single judge, accompanied in penal cases by two Schojen or la? assessors (a kind of jurymen, who vote with the judge). Cases o more importance are decided by the Landgerichte or county courts, in which the usual number of judges is three, while in important criminal cases a jury of twelve persons is generally empanelled. From the Landgerichte appeals may be made to the Oberlamiesgerichte or provincial courts. The Oberlandesgericht at Berlin is named the Kammergericht and forms the final instance for summary convictions in Prussia, while all other cases may be taken to the supreme imperial court at Leipzig. The judges (Richter) are appointed and paid by the state, and hold office for life. After finishing his university career the student of law who wishes to become a 'udge or to practise as qualified counsel (Rechtsanwalt, barrister and solicitor in one) passes a government examination and becomes a Referendarius. He then spends at least four years in the practical work of his profession, after which he passes a second examination, and, if he has chosen the bench instead of the bar, becomes an Assessor and is eligible for the position of judge. A lawyer who has passed the necessary examinations may at any time quit the bar for the bench, and a judge is also at liberty to resign his position and enter upon private practice. In all criminal cases the prosecution is undertaken by government, which acts through Staatsanwdlte, or directors of prosecutions, in the pay of the state.

Army.-The military organization of the monarchy dates from 1814 and provides that every man capable of bearing arms shall serve in the army for a certain number of years. The peace strength of the Prussian contingent of the imperial German army consisted, in 1905, of 20,646 officers (including surgeons),448,365 men and 82,786 horses. There were also 2196 farriers and shoe smiths. (For Navy, see GERMANY).

Religion.-The centre of the kingdom is solidly Protestant, the proportion of Roman Catholics increasing towards east and west and reaching its maximum on the Rhine and in the Slavonic provinces. East Prussia, however, with the exception of Ermeland, is Protestant. The Roman Catholics greatly outnumber the Protestants in the Rhine provinces (3 to 1), Posen, Silesia and West Prussia. All religious bodies are granted freedom of worship, and civil rights are not conditional upon religious confession.

The Evangelical or Protestant State Church of Prussia consists as it now stands of a union of the Lutherans and Calvinists, effected under royal pressure in 1817. According to the king this was not a fusion of two faiths but an external union for mutual admission to the Eucharist and for the convenience of using the same liturgy, repared under the royal superintendence. Those who were unable from conscientious scruples to join the union became Separatist or Old Lutherans and Old Calvinists, but their numbers were and are insignificant. The king is “ summus episcopus ” or supreme pontiff of the Church, and is represented in the exercise of his ecclesiastical functions by the minister of public worship and instruction. The highest authority for the ordinary management of the Church is the Oberkirchenrat or supreme church council at Berlin, which acts through provincial consistories and superintendents appointed by the Crown. Recent legislation has made an effort to encourage self-government and give a congregational character to the Church by the granting of a presbyterial constitution, with parish, diocesan, provincial and general synods. The clergy are appointed by the Crown, by the consistories, by private or municipal patronage, or by congregational election.

The hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church in Prussia consists of two archbishops (Cologne, Gnesen-Posen) and ten bishops. The prince-bishop of Breslau and the bishops of Ermeland, Hildesheim and Osnabruck are directly under the pope, and the bishoprics of Fulda and Limburg are in the archiepiscopal diocese of Freiburg in Baden. The higher ecclesiastics receive payment from the state, and the annual appropriation appearing in the budget for the Roman Catholic Church is as high as that made for the State Church. All the Roman Catholic religious orders in Prussia have bee; suppressed except those occupied with attendance on the sic

The relations of the state with the dissenting Christian sects, such as the Baptists, Mennonites and Moravian Brethren, are practically confined to granting them charters of incorporation which ensure 'them toleration. The Mennonites were ormerly allowed to pay an extra tax in lieu of military service, which is inconsistent with their belief, but this privilege has been withdrawn. The Old Catholics number about 30,000, but do not seem to be increasing.

The Jews belong mainly to the urban copulation and form 20 to 30% of the inhabitants in some of ti-ie towns in the Slavonic provinces. (For more exact details of the various religious creeds, see GERMANY.)

Education.~In Prussia education is compulsory, and the general levei attained is very high. Every town or community must maintain a school, supported by local rates and under the supervision of the state. By the constitution of 1850, all persons are permitted to instruct, or to found teaching establishments, provided thejgcan produce to, the authorities satisfactory proofs of their moral, scientific and technical qualifications. Both public and private educational establishments are under the surveillance of the minister of public instruction, and all public teachers are regarded as servants of the state (Staatsbeamte). No compulsion exists in reference to a higher educational institution than primary schools. All children must attend school from their sixth to' their fourteenth year. At the head of the administration stands the minister of public instruction and ecclesiastical' affairs, to whom also the universities are directly subordinated. The higher (secondary) schools are supervised by provincial Schulcollegia or school boards, appointed by government, while the management of the elementary and private schools falls within the jurisdiction of the ordinary Regierungen or civil government. This is carried out through qualified school inspectors, frequently chosen from among the clergy. The expenses of the primary schools (Volksschulen) are borne by the communes (Gemeinden), aided when necessary by subsidies from the state. The subjects of instruction are theology, reading, writing, spelling, arithmetic, the elements of geometry, history, geography and natural science, singing, drawing, sewing and gymnastics. All fees in the elementary schools are abolished. The number of illiterate recruits among those called upon each year to serve in the army affords a good test of the universality of elementary education. In 1899 the proportion of Analphabeti, or men unable to read or write, among the recruits levied was only 0-12 %. The teachers for the elementary schools are trained in normal seminaries or colleges established and supervised by the state, and much has been done of late years to improve their position. In most of the larger towns the elementary schools are supplemented by middle schools (Bilrgerschulen, Stadtschulen), which carry on the pupil to a somewhat more advanced stage, and are artly inf mended to draw off the unsuitable elements from the fiigher sc oo s.

The secondary schools of Prussia may be roughly divided into classical and modern, though there are comparatively few in which Latin is quite omitted. The classical schools proper consist of Gymnasia and Pragymnasia, the latter being simply gymnasia wanting the higher classes. In these boys are prepared for the universities and the learned professions, and the full course lasts for nine years. In the modern schools, which are divided in the same way into Realgymnasia and Realprogymnasia, and also have a nine years' course, Latin is taught, but not Greek, and greater stress is laid upon modern languages, mathematics and natural science. The three lower classes are practically identical' with those of the gymnasia, while in the upper classes the thoroughness of training is assimilated as closely as possible to that of the classical schools, t ough the subjects are somewhat altered. Ranking with the realgymnasia are the Oberrealschulen, which differ only in the fact that Latin is entirely omitted, and the time thus gained devoted to modern languages. The H éhere (or upper) Btirgerschulen, in which the course is six years, rank with the middle schools above mentioned, and are intended mainly for those boys who wish to enter business life immediately on leaving school.~ All these secondary schools possess the right of granting certificates entitling the holders, who must have attained a certain standing in the school, to serve in the army as one-year volunteers. The gymnasial “certificate of ripeness" (Maturitdtszeugniss), indicating that the holder has passed satisfactorily through the highest class, enables'a student to enroll himself in any faculty at the university, but that of the real gymnasium qualifies only for the general or “philosophical " faculty, and does not open the way to medicine, the Church or the bar. Considerable efforts are, however, now being made to have the real gymnasium certificate recognized as a sufficient qualification for the study of medicine at least. At any of these schools a thoroughly good education may be obtained at a cost seldom exceedin, in the highest classes, £5 per annum. The teachers are men of scholarship and ability, who have passed stringent government examinations and been submitted to a year of probation. The great ma'ority of the secondary schools have been established and endowed by municipal corporations. Prussia possesses ten of the twenty German universities (not including the lyceum at Braunsberg and the Roman Catholic seminary at Munster). The largest Prussian university is that of Berlin, while Breslau, Bonn, Gottin en and Halle are the next in size. The oldest is the university of Greifswald, founded in 1456. Like the schools the universities are state institutions, and the professors are appointed and paid by government, which also makes liberal annua grants for apparatus and equipment. The full obligatory course of study extends over three, and in the case oi medicine, four years. It is, however, not unusual for non-medical students also to spend four years at the university, and there is an agitation to make this compulsory. Students qualifying for