Page:Men of the Time, eleventh edition.djvu/1119

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1102

WILLIAM I.

at the Royal College of Surgeons ' and at the University of London. , Dr. Wilks has contributed papers } on AloohoUsm and Vivisection to ; the Contemporary Review and the . Nineteenth Century. He delivered I the Harveian Oration at the Boyal j College of Physicians, June 26, 1 1879. I

WILLIAM, Empebob of Gkb-

MANY AND KiNO OF PrCSSIA, SOU i

of Frederick William III. and of Princess Louise of Mecklenbui^- Strelitz, and brother to the late king of Prussia, born March 22, 1797, was educated as a soldier, and took part in the campaigns of 1813 and 1815 against France. In 1840 he was appointed Governor of Pomerania, which post he held till the revolution of 1848 broke out, when he took refuge in England. He was elected a member of the Constituent Assembly in May, IS4S, returned to Berlin, and took his seat in the Assembly, June 8, 1848, and was made Commander-in-Chief of the Prussian army acting against the revolutionary forces of Baden, in June, 1849. When the mind of his brother gave way, in 1858, the Prince was created Begent, and he immediately dismissed the Kreuz or aristocratic party, and adopted a liberal policy. His brother, Frederick William IV., dying with- out issue, Jan. 2, 1861, he succeeded, under the title of William I., to the crown, which he placed upon his own head at Konigsberg, Oct. 18, on which occasion he] emphatically asserted tlie doctrine of the "right divine of kings." The course of ]>olicy he pursued after he became king disappointed the liopes that wei*c formed regarding him. No i>oouer wiis he seated on the throne than he began a contest with the Chamber of Deputies, which gradu- ally became more critical, until, after Count-Bismarck-Schoenhau- sen had been appointed Prime Minister, in 1862, the feud threat- ened to end in civil war. -Fortu- nately for him the aggressive war

on Denmark waged by Austria and Prussia diverted the attention of his people from home affairs for a time J and, since the close of that war of aggression the king has proved by his firm attitude his fit- ness as a sovereign. Much against his inclination, he embarked on a still more ambitious scheme, and prepared to obtain supremacy in Germany by force of arms. For many years military preparations had been made, and early in 1866 the scheme was ripe for executi<m. A treaty of alliance was concluded with Italy, an ultimatum was for- warded to the smaller States in the north of Germany, and an immense army was set in motion. War was deckired against Austria, June 17, and, after a short campaign, in which W^Uliam I. and the royal princes took part, Austria was compelled to luake a humiliating peace. The powerful effects of the needle gun created quite a panic in the Austrian army, and her g^enerals found it would be useless to prolong the struggle. In 1867, the King of Prussia became the head of the powerful North German Confedera- tion, comprising 22 states, repre- senting a population of 29,(XK),000. The pwrt played by King William m the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-71 has been already described in the memoir of Prince Bismarck^ and therefore it will only be neoessaiy to state in this place that the result was the complete realisation of the Prime Minister's idea of united Germany, and that on Jan. 18, 18^, King WiUiam of Prussia was pro- claimed German Emperor, within the Hall of Mirrors, in the palace of the French Kings at Ver- sailles, in presence of the German princes, under the standards of the army before Paris, and surrounded by representatives of the different regiments. The meeting of the Emperors of Germany, Bussia, and Austria^ took place at Berlin in the autumn of 1872. In Oct. that year the Emperor William gave a ded-