Engels in Neue Rheinische Zeitung November 1848

Raveaux’s Resignation. — Violation of the Swiss Frontier

Source: MECW Volume 8, p. 63
Written: by Engels on November 23, 1848;
First published: in the supplement to Neue Rheinische Zeitung No. 154, November 28, 1848.

Berne, November 23. Raveaux’s resignation from his embassy post’ is causing quite a sensation here and is unanimously approved. But great indignation has been caused by the German troops’ violation of the frontier at Sulgen, and still more by their commander’s cavalier apology. What! Thirty-five soldiers enter Swiss territory, weapons in hand, and force their way into a village. They surround a pre-selected house where a pre-selected refugee, Herr Weisshaar, is supposed to be hiding, and make as if to search it. They persist in their purpose despite being told repeatedly that they are on Swiss soil, threaten to use force and finally have to be driven off by peasants wielding cudgels and throwing stones. And despite those incontestable circumstances which prove beyond doubt that the attack was premeditated, the commander maintains that the troops did not know that they were on Swiss soil.

How then can we explain the strange fact that such a large detachment was commanded only by a non-commissioned officer, not at least by a lieutenant, as is otherwise invariably the case, particularly in Germany, which is teeming with lieutenants? How can we explain this, if not by the fact that the presence of an officer, who would certainly know that much geography, would have been far too compromising? The Swiss Government will certainly not rest content with an apology flung down so cavalierly after an insult so lightly committed. The Zurich authorities have already instituted an inquiry and the affair will probably end not with an apology from Switzerland to the Barataria’s Reich[73], but with the Barataria’s Reich apologising to Switzerland.