The New International Encyclopædia/Bitter, Karl Hermann

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BIT'TER, Karl Hermann (1813-85). A Prussian statesman and writer on music. He was born at Schwedt, Province of Brandenburg, and studied law and cameralistics at Berlin and Bonn. He served as the plenipotentiary of Prussia on the Danube Commission from 1856 to 1860, was prefect of the Department of Vosges during the Franco-Prussian War, and subsequently became minister of finance (1879) — an office in which he displayed exceptional ability. He increased the indirect duties derived from the so-called tobacco monopoly and the tax on spirits and malt, introduced the ‘Börsensteuer’ (tax on the bourse), and concluded the commercial treaty with the city of Hamburg by which that city entered the German Customs Union. He reëstablished the stability of the Prussian finances, and took a prominent part in bringing the railroads of Germany under Government control. He resigned in 1882, in consequence of differences with Bismarck. His literary activity was confined almost exclusively to works on music.