German Travel Writers’ Narratives on Ireland from Before the 1798 Rising to After the Great Famine- Texts Edited, Translated and Annotated by Eoin Bourke
24 Moritz Hartmann (1850)
The writer and journalist Moritz Hartmann (1821-1872) was born to German- speaking Jewish parents in the Czech village of Trhové Dušniky [Duschnik]. After the 1848 Revolution he was elected by the German community of the northern Bohemian town of Litomice (Leitmeritz) to represent them at Germany’s first but short-lived democratic parliament in Frankfurt, where along with Jakob Venedey he aligned himself with the Democratic Left. A warrant was issued for his arrest after he joined the barricade fighting in Vienna in October 1848. He narrowly escaped arrest and possible execution, returned to Frankfurt and joined the so-called Rump Parliament in Stuttgart, which was broken up by Württemberg Dragoons on the 18th of June 1849, bringing Germany’s mid-19th-century attempt to achieve democracy to an ignominious end. As Hartmann was now wanted by the police throughout both the German territories and the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, he was forced into political exile, first to Switzerland and then to England. He felt an aversion to the rigid class structure of English society. As he wrote in a letter to his friend Karl August Varnhagen von Ense on 18th April 1850: The whole nation consists of social strata that lie and press down on one another like alluvial deposits. It is only the pressure downwards that unites them! Each of the lower classes, of course, tries to push its way upwards, but not volcanically in order to regenerate society but rather, like the other upper classes, in order to press downwards from above. In...
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