His Royal Highness the Grand Duke of Baden does not like France.
He is wrong; and of the many reasons which condemn this feeling towards a powerful neighbour, it is sufficient to mention two, one of which is doubtless insignificant to a statesman, but the other must weigh heavily in the mind of a diplomat.
The Grand Duke has this year, like most of the sovereigns of Europe, learned to know the hospitality of France: he has been the guest of the head of the French government, and, on returning to his States, he has expelled from the language of his country the French words which have been Germanised by the frequentation of the two nations. This is the first reason which a diplomat will call a poor argument.
But will he treat as lightly that other point of view which will establish that the Grand Duchy of Baden lives commercially and industrially only through the neighbourhood of France? To which countries would Baden's exports go if France were not there to receive its products? Through which countries would the materials imported into the Grand Duchy pass more directly than through France? Is it necessary to describe the geographical position of the country, and to show it enclosed to the south by the Alps, to the west by the Rhine, to the east by the Black Forest, and to the north by the Mein and the Odenwald? Which people, if not the French, sends the most tourists and visitors to the banks of the Rhine and to the picturesque villages of the Black Forest during the whole summer?
And apart from these considerations, which are already very serious, there is a burning issue on which it would be dangerous to venture, but which we can at least point out. There is no valley in Europe more fertile, richer in production of all kinds, more populated, better endowed by nature than the Rhine valley. What could be more desirable than the complete possession of this Eden, and is it not to be feared for the small nation which occupies it only half, that it will awaken and justify, by an imprudent and impotent hostility, the pretensions of the more powerful and more warlike nation which is its co-sharer?
We can only glance into this abyss, which the Grand Duke should know and around which he should, for his own preservation, have placed a guard rail.
But are the people responsible for the faults of those whom force of circumstances has placed at their head? If it is true that a nation is dragged into a war initiated by the head of the state, and that it pays with its blood and money for the political elucidations of its sovereign, it would not be fair, in time of peace, to hold it responsible for the position which the sovereign takes with regard to the other nations of Europe, and to judge with prejudice the products of its industry. These honest Badeners, whose costumes we described in a previous issue, and whose great cordiality, unfailing honesty, and untiring activity we praised, have nothing in common with an old-fashioned and adroit policy of mine. Let us therefore forget the sovereign, and only concern ourselves with the people and the country.
The wealth of the Grand Duchy of Baden lies entirely in its agricultural industry. Vines and fruit trees, pastures and forests of pine, fir, larch, oak and beech cover the country. The vines produce the famous and worthy wines known as the crus du Lac, Margraviat and Reichenau. The fields produce cereals, tobacco, hops and especially rape. The pastures feed numerous herds, and there are so many fruit trees that they grow wild and form entire forests. Wood for building and heating comes down from the slopes of the Black Forest. The soil provides silver, albeit in small quantities, in Staufen and Badenweiler, cobalt in Wittichen, copper in Rippoldsau, iron in the vicinity of Kandern, manganese near Baünlingen and salt mines in Dünheim and Rappenau.
The population is one of the most compact known, with the most recent census showing almost 100 inhabitants per square kilometre, and is mainly engaged in agriculture and industry.
The manufacturing industry, however, has only expanded since the accession of the Grand Duchy to the Prussian Customs Union in 1835. The number of factories increased from 230 to 350, and instead of 7,800 workers there are 15,000. Of all the industries in which the inhabitants of the Black Forest engage, the most widespread and the most fruitful is watchmaking. Mr. Raoul Ferrère spoke about cuckoo clocks, without going into the details of their manufacture; he was content to point out the picturesque and charming side of these small boxes which one would gladly take for toys.
Together with straw hats, which are another important branch of Baden's industry, clocks and the famous kirschwasser are the main export products. In addition, there are the world-famous boxwood products that the Black Forest farmer makes with his knife during the long winter evenings, tobacco, madder and Manheim mirrors.
Exports amount to 60 million. The same applies to imports, which include colonial goods, silks, cotton bales and luxury goods.
Public education is compulsory and every village has at least one primary school. The University of Heidelberg, the Seminary of Freiburg, the School for the Young Blind in Bruchsal, the Institution for the Deaf and Dumb in Pforzheim, and the Faculties and Conservatories in Carlsrube are the principal establishments which enjoy a deserved favour and reputation.
As we walk through the various exhibition halls in the Grand Duchy of Baden, we will get a closer look at the products of the country.
Baden certainly occupies an honourable place among the German nations by virtue of its exhibition. After Prussia, Austria and Württemberg, it comes fourth, not without some interval, but with enough titles to overtake Bavaria, Hesse and Saxony.
In the Galerie du Travail, in the middle of the retrospective museum, Mr. Rau, the adviser to the Ministry of Trade, has exhibited a historical collection of models of agricultural implements. This collection, which is very curious, consists of one hundred and eighty-seven models of hand tools and ploughs, used at different times and by different peoples; its purpose is to demonstrate the metamorphosis of hand tools into draught equipment.
Tools from ancient Egypt, Borneo, Norway, Mexico, Spain, Etruria, Rome, Ceylon, Tibet, Morocco, Germany, the Caucasus, Persia and Japan - no country is left out. It is both instructive and entertaining. Among the art objects in Group I we noticed only the Norwegian Montagnards and Fishermen by M. Gude, and the historical scene by M. de Werner: "Conradin of Hohenstauffen and Frederick of Baden listening to the reading of their death sentence in the prison of Naples. "Landscape painting was especially cultivated by Baden artists, but it seems that they preferred to choose their viewpoints outside their homeland.
Printers, booksellers, paper merchants and photographers do not exceed an honourable average in their exhibition, so there is no need to mention them. In the class of musical instruments we shall mention Messrs. Welte, Heintzmann and Zaehringer, all three of whom manufacture complete orchestrions. An orchestrion takes the place of all instruments and performs in its most delicate nuances the overtures of our greatest composers. The workings are so complicated that Mr. Welte, for example, who works with a large number of workers, produces only 6 to 8 instruments per year. What visitor to the Exhibition has not stopped in the Baden hall to listen to the overture to Freyschütz or Zampa?
In the same group we must also mention the apparatus for treating and transporting the sick and wounded by Mr. Fischer, of Heidelberg, and the models of elastic anatomy by Dr. Ziegler, of Freiburg, which are executed in wax following the example of those of Dr. Auzoux, of which we spoke in connection with the rue de Lorraine.
In the group of furniture as an almost indispensable accessory of clock-making, Mr. Schultheiss exhibits enamelled copper and sheet metal dials. For a long time people tried to enamel sheet metal, but they had not yet succeeded in making the enamel on sheet metal as perfect as on copper, and in covering the metal with an even layer, without cracks and crazing; for several years the problem has been solved, and the enamel melted on sheet metal adapts itself better to the metal and does not deteriorate either through time, humidity or heat.
The cotton and wool fabrics of group IV are recommended for their durability. Mr. Hauser, from Lenzkirch, has invented a vegetable thread which is resistant to all solutions and alkaline acids. This lustrous thread is only raw cotton, but imitates silk perfectly.
Group V is represented as quantity if not as quality. All the products exhibited show an application and an activity which will not fail to be rewarded, in the future, by better results.
The grand duke also wanted to see his cannon featured at the 1867 Exhibition. The laurels of the Krupp cannon cause him insomnia; so Mr. Broadwell, of Carlsruhe, thought he would please his sovereign by exhibiting a cannon made of cast steel.
The exhibition of machine tools is very interesting and very complete. Messrs. Gschwind and Zimmermann, from Carlsruhe, sent especially a rich collection of machine tools for working wood and metals. The sewing machines of Mr. Beckh and Mr. Bassermann, Manheim, are both simple and ingenious. Finally, the Railway Construction Company in Carlsruhe exhibited a six-wheel locomotive, especially for freight trains. Since 1841, when this company was founded, 571 locomotives have left its workshops.
In the 7th group, we cannot ignore the coffee and chicory factory of Mr. Vœlcker, in Lahr, which has a branch in France, in Benfeld, producing, alone, 1 million kilos of chicory annually. 900 hectares are covered with this plant for the needs of Mr. Vœlcker's factory.
In the 10th group, we find only one exhibitor in class 91, Mr. Meidinger, who presents a stove made of earthenware and iron, economical in terms of cost and maintenance.
The galleries are visited without astonishment or enthusiasm, but the general impression is satisfactory. There is always a direct relationship between the character of a people and its products. This thesis is once again confirmed by the exhibition of the Grand Duchy of Baden. All the products of the country are distinguished by their solidity, and the loyalty of their manufacture.
The electorate of Hesse-Cassel and the landgraviate of Hesse-Homburg no longer exist. The annexationist pen of M. de Bismark has wiped them off the map of Europe. Only the Grand Duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt remains, thanks to the family relations of its princely house with the ruler of Russia. The ambition of the Prussian minister had to turn away from the road it had traced for itself, at least for a while. And frankly this is to be regretted by this little people, which aspires only to be drawn into the sphere of Prussia's gravitation, which is nothing, left to itself, and which might be something under the protectorate of a great power.
Rhenish Hesse forms the smallest portion of the duchy, but it is also the most populous and the most industrious. Mainz, which is the first fortress of the former Germanic Confederation, is also a free port established by Napoleon, and represents the only trade in the country. The only interesting exhibits in the Hessian galleries belong to Mainz.
The country is mountainous and not very productive, and has no particular industry which is a source of wealth for it.
In contrast to what we have noticed in all the countries of Germany, the furnishings in Hesse are executed with taste and elegance. In addition to carved wooden furniture, one can admire luxury furniture made of rosewood or rosewood, covered with velvet or silk. Oak and ivory tableware also occupy a large place, and objects made of deer horn cover the walls of an entire room.
Five or six rooms are of no interest, and we have to go as far as Mr. Finck's showcase and talk about the white wines of the Rhine, the Nierstein vintage, to find a subject worthy of mention! The qualities of finesse and bouquet of this wine are well known. Mr. Finck claims to obtain them by postponing the harvest until December. This is a test that none of our winegrowers has yet attempted.
Hesse has not exhibited anything in group X, which includes objects specially exhibited for the purpose of improving the physical and moral condition of the population. A sad conclusion!
©L'Exposition Universelle de 1867 Illustrée