The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Rastatt

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RASTATT, räs'tät, or RASTADT, a town of Baden, Germany, on the river Murg, about four miles from the Rhine and about 15 miles southwest of Karlsruhe. It was formerly a fortress of the first rank but in 1892 the fortifications were dismantled. The town has manufactures of lace, tobacco and cigars. Pop. about 15,196. Rastatt was the scene of two diplomatic congresses in the 18th century. The first congress of Rastatt met in 1713 to arrange lerms of peace between the emperor and France, then still engaged in the war of the Spanish Succession. Peace was concluded 7 March 1714. In accordance with the terms of the treaty, signed by Marshal Villars and Prince Eugene, France gave up possession of the towns of Kehl, Freiberg and Breisach, and the electors of Cologne and Bavaria were reinstated in power. The terms of the Treaty of Utrecht (q.v.) were ratified. The second congress of Rastatt met in 1797 for the purpose of terminating hostilities between France and the empire. After negotiations had been prolonged for more than a year, war broke out again between France and the allies and the congress suspended its sessions (April 1799). As the French representatives, Roberjot, Bonnier and Debry left the city on the evening of 28 April they were set upon by a company of hussars wearing the Austrian uniform and the first two were murdered and the third sabred and left for dead in a ditch. The papers of the legation were carried off, but no other spoil was taken. This violation of the law of nations aroused the indignation and horror of all Europe. Many attempts have been made to fix the responsibility for the deed. Some have ascribed the crime to the Austrian government which was desirous of obtaining certain papers in the possession of the ambassadors; others maintain that the murderers were French émigrés, while others still assert that the act was instigated by Napoleon and other leaders of the War party in France for the purpose of exasperating the French people against Austria. In 1849 the town again became conspicuous as the stronghold of the Baden revolutionists.