Cyclopædia of Political Science, Political Economy, and the Political History of the United States
LUXEMBURG. The grand duchy of this name, whose capital of the same name was formerly celebrated as a fortress, is subject to the king of Holland as its sovereign; but, beyond this, the grand duchy has nothing in common with the Batavian kingdom. The state of Luxemburg has an area of about 2,587 square kilometres, with a population numbering a little more than 200,000, nearly nine-tenths of whom speak German. With the exception of 580 Protestants and about as many Jews, the people profess the Catholic faith. The government is representative. According to the constitution of Oct. 11, 1868, and the electoral law of November 30 of the same year, the legislative body is composed of only one chamber of forty deputies, elected directly by the people in as many election districts, twenty members being elected every third year. The sovereign is represented by a prince of his family, who is styled the lieutenant of the king grand duke. The government is composed of a minister and several directors general. The revenue amounts to about 7,200,000 francs, and is slightly in excess of the expenditure. The grand duchy would therefore have no debt had it not borrowed $240,000 to build railroads. A portion of this debt has been repaid.
—Luxemburg has not been favored by nature, and it is not very rich in agricultural wealth, but certain other interests are flourishing, especially the production of iron, which, in 1869, exceeded 924,000 tons (911,165 in 1870), worth about $700,000. The Franco-German war of 1870-71 naturally retarded commerce; but in 1869 the railroad transported 1,624,457 tons of merchandise, 381,000 of which were carried from place to place in the interior of the country, 259,000 were received into the country from abroad, 732,000 were sent out of the country, and the rest was transient freight. The same year the postal service distributed about 700,000 letters, 425,000 copies of newspapers, and 12,000 postal orders, without considering letters containing valuables. There were received into and sent out of the country about 27,000 to 28,000 telegrams.
—These figures show that this country is not very important, but its geographical situation and the walls which surrounded its capital gave it for a time an exceptional importance. Entering the Germanic confederation in 1815, the grand duchy remained in it until its dissolution in 1866. After the war between Prussia and Austria, the independence of Luxemburg seemed threatened, and it was feared for a moment that it would become a cause of war between France and Germany. But this difficulty was settled by a treaty, signed in London March 11, 1867, between the six great powers and the king grand duke. We give herewith the articles of this treaty, according to the Bulletin des Lois.
—Art. I. His majesty, the king of Holland, grand duke of Luxemburg, retains the rights which attach the said grand duchy to the house of Orange-Nassau, in virtue of the treaties which have placed this state under the sovereignty of his majesty the grand duke, his descendants and successors. The rights which the direct line of the house of Nassau has to the succession to the grand duchy, in virtue of these same treaties, are maintained. The high contracting parties accept and take cognizance of the present declaration.
—Art. II. The grand duchy of Luxemburg, with the limits determined by the act annexed to the treaty of April 19, 1839, under the guarantee of the courts of France, Austria, Great Britain, Prussia and Russia, shall henceforth constitute a perpetually neutral state. It shall be obliged to observe this same neutrality toward all other states. The high contracting parties pledge themselves to respect the principle of neutrality stipulated by the present article. This principle is and shall continue under the sanction of the collective guarantee of the powers signing the present treaty, with the exception of Belgium, which is itself a neutral state.
—Art. III. The grand duchy of Luxemburg, having been made neutral by the terms of the preceding article, the maintenance or establishment of fortified places upon its frontiers becomes unnecessary and aimless. Wherefore it is agreed, with common consent, that the city of Luxemburg, which in the past was considered as a federal fortress, shall no longer be a fortified city. His majesty the grand duke reserves the right to maintain in this city sufficient troops to assure the maintenance of good order.
—Art. IV. Conformably to the stipulations contained in articles II. and III., his majesty the king of Prussia declares that his troops now in garrison in the fortress of Luxemburg shall be ordered to evacuate that place immediately after the ratification of this present treaty. He will begin to remove simultaneously the artillery, the munitions and everything which forms part of the equipment of the said fortified place. During this removal there shall remain there only the number of troops necessary to insure the safety of the materials of war and to effect their removal, which shall be completed in the shortest possible space.
—Art. V. His majesty, the king grand duke, in virtue of the rights of sovereignty which he exercises over the city and fortress of Luxemburg, pledges himself, on his part, to take the measures necessary to convert the said fortified place into a free city, by destroying what his majesty shall judge sufficient to fulfill the intentions of the high contracting parties expressed in article III. of the present treaty. The work necessary for this purpose shall commence immediately after the withdrawal of the garrison. It shall be effected with all due regard for the interests of the city's inhabitants. His majesty the king grand duke promises, moreover, that the fortifications of the city of Luxemburg shall not be rebuilt in the future, and that no military force shall be maintained or established there.
—Art. VI. The powers who sign the present treaty agree that the dissolution of the Germanic confederation having likewise brought about the dissolution of the ties which united the duchy of Limburg, collectively with the grand duchy of Luxemburg, to the said confederation, it follows that the agreements mentioned in articles III., IV. and V. of the treaty of April 19, 1839, between the grand duchy and certain territories belonging to the duchy of Limburg, have ceased to exist, the said territories continuing an integral part of the kingdom of Holland.
—Although separated from Germany as a state, Luxemburg remains united to the revenue system of that country in accordance with the combination agreed upon in the treaty of Oct. 20-25, 1865, according to which the grand duchy formed part of the Prussian group as a member of the zollverein. This treaty was confirmed in the convention of June 11, 1872, by which the grand duchy contracted with those managing the railroads of Alsace-Lorraine to manage the Luxemburg lines in place of the French eastern company, and upon the same conditions, to Dec. 31, 1912. And it was expressly agreed by article XIV., that the royal contracting parties should not use their right to denounce the treaty of the customs union (Oct. 20-25, 1865), so long as the Luxemburg railroads should continue under the same management as those of Alsace-Lorraine. We must add that, after it had been declared neutral by the treaty of 1867, the grand duchy was obliged to introduce the restrictions indicated in article II., which read as follows: "The German government pledges itself never to use the Guillaume-Luxemburg railway for the transportation of troops, arms, munitions or stores of war, and not to use it in any war in which Germany shall be engaged, for provisioning troops, in a manner incompatible with the neutrality of the grand duchy, and in general not to allow by means of the management of these railroads, any act that would not be in perfect accord with the duties incumbent on the grand duchy as a neutral state."
—BIBLIOGRAPHY. König, Das Luxemburger Land, Diekirch, 1850; Livering, Statistique du Grand-Duché de Luxembourg, Luxemburg, 1865; Reuter, De l'industrie agricole dans la province de Luxembourg, Luxemburg, 1875.
Return to top