ANCIENT SWISS LAKE DWELLINGS, ZURICH LAKE. (From
Design by Dr. F. Keller.)
The Story of the Nations
THE STORY OF SWITZERLAND
NEW YORK G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS London: T. FISHER
UNWIN 1890 Copyright, 1890 by G. P. Putnam's
Sons Entered at Stationer's Hall, London By T. Fisher
Unwin Press of G. P. Putnam's Sons New York
THE STORY OF THE NATIONS
12MO, ILLUSTRATED. PER VOL., $1.50
THE EARLIER VOLUMES ARE
THE STORY OF GREECE. By Prof. Jas. A. Harrison THE STORY
OF ROME. By Arthur Gilman THE STORY OF THE JEWS. By Prof.
Jas. K. Hosmer THE STORY OF CHALDEA. By Z. A. Ragozin THE
STORY OF GERMANY. By S. Baring-Gould THE STORY OF
NORWAY. By Prof. H. H. Boyesen THE STORY OF SPAIN. By E.
E. and Susan Hale THE STORY OF HUNGARY. By Prof. A.
Vámbéry THE STORY OF CARTHAGE. By Prof. Alfred J.
Church THE STORY OF THE SARACENS. By Arthur Gilman THE
STORY OF THE MOORS IN SPAIN. By Stanley Lane-Poole THE
STORY OF THE NORMANS. By Sarah O. Jewett THE STORY OF
PERSIA. By S. G. W. Benjamin THE STORY OF ANCIENT EGYPT.
By Geo. Rawlinson THE STORY OF ALEXANDER'S EMPIRE. By
Prof. J. P. Mahaffy THE STORY OF ASSYRIA. By Z. A.
Ragozin THE STORY OF IRELAND. By Hon. Emily Lawless THE
STORY OF THE GOTHS. By Henry Bradley THE STORY OF
TURKEY. By Stanley Lane-Poole THE STORY OF MEDIA,
BABYLON, AND PERSIA. By Z. A. Ragozin THE STORY OF
MEDIÆVAL FRANCE. By Gustave Masson THE STORY OF
MEXICO. By Susan Hale THE STORY OF HOLLAND. By James E.
Thorold Rogers THE STORY OF PHŒNICIA. By George
Rawlinson THE STORY OF THE HANSA TOWNS. By Helen
Zimmern THE STORY OF EARLY BRITAIN. By Prof. Alfred J.
Church THE STORY OF THE BARBARY CORSAIRS. By Stanley
Lane-Poole THE STORY OF RUSSIA. By W. R. Morfill. THE
STORY OF THE JEWS UNDER ROME. By W. D. Morrison. THE
STORY OF SCOTLAND. By James Mackintosh.
For prospectus of the series see end of this volume
G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS, NEW YORK AND LONDON
RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED TO PROFESSOR GEORG VON
WYSS AND PROFESSOR G. MEYER VON KNONAU
For many reasons, some of which are obvious to the least thoughtful,
the history of Switzerland is peculiarly interesting, and not least so to
English-speaking peoples. In the first place, the "playground of
Europe" is every year visited by large numbers of British and
Americans, some of whom indeed are familiar with almost every
corner of it. Then to the Anglo-Saxon race the grand spectacle of a
handful of freemen nobly struggling for and maintaining their freedom,
often amidst enormous difficulties, and against appalling odds, cannot
but be heart-stirring. To the citizen of the great American republic a
study of the constitution of the little European republic should bring
both interest and profit—a constitution resembling in many points that
of his own country, and yet in many other respects so different. And
few readers, of whatever nationality, can, we think, peruse this story
without a feeling of admiration for a gallant people who have fought
against oppression as the Swiss have fought, who have loved
freedom as they
have loved it, and who have performed the well-nigh incredible feats
of arms the Switzers have performed. And as Sir Francis O. Adams
and Mr. Cunningham well point out in their recently published work on
the Swiss Confederation, as a study in constitutional history, the
value of the story of the development of the Confederation can hardly
Few of the existing accounts of Swiss history which have appeared in
the English language go back beyond the year 1291 a.d., the date of
the earliest Swiss League, and of course Switzerland as a nation
cannot boast of an earlier origin. But surely some account should be
given of the previous history of the men who founded the League. For
a country which has been occupied at different periods by lakemen,
Helvetians, and Romans; where Alamanni, Burgundians, and Franks
have played their parts; where Charlemagne lived and ruled, and
Charles the Bold fought; where the great families of the Zaerings, the
Kyburgs, and Savoy struggled; and whence the now mighty house of
Habsburg sprang (and domineered)—all this before 1291—a country
with such a story to tell of its earlier times, we say, should not have
that story left untold. Accordingly in this volume the history of the
period before the formation of the Confederation has been dwelt upon
at some little length. It should be mentioned, too, that in view of the
very general interest caused by the remarkable discovery of the
Swiss lake settlements a few years ago, a chapter has been devoted
to the subject.
Mindful, however, of the superior importance of the
formation and progress of the Confederation, an endeavour has been
made to trace that progress step by step, showing how men differing
in race, in language, in creed, and in mode of life, combined to resist
the common enemy, and to build up the compact little state, we now
see playing its part on the European stage. The whole teaching of the
history of the country may be summed up in Mr. Coolidge's words, in
his "History of the Swiss Confederation" (p. 65). "Swiss history
teaches us, all the way through, that Swiss liberty has been won by a
close union of many small states." And Mr. Coolidge adds an opinion
that "it will be best preserved by the same means, and not by
obliterating all local peculiarities, nowhere so striking, nowhere so
historically important as in Switzerland."
It remains to add a few words as to the authorities consulted by the
writers of this little volume. The standard Swiss histories have
naturally been largely used, such as those of Dr. Carl Dändliker,
Dierauer, Vulliemin, Daguet, Strickler, Vögelin, and Weber
("Universal History"). Amongst other histories and miscellaneous
writings—essays, pamphlets, and what not—may be mentioned
those of Dr. Ferdinand Keller, Wartmann, Heer, Heierli, Von Arx,
Mommsen, Burkhardt, Morel, Marquardt, Dahn, Büdinger, Secretan,
Von Wyss, Meyer von Knonau, Schweizer, Finsler, Roget, Bächtold,
Marcmonnier, Rambert, Hettner, Scherer, Roquette, Freytag,
Pestalozzi, Schulze, and Kern. Amongst the English works consulted
are Freeman's writings, the Letters of the Parker Society, Adams and
"Swiss Confederation," Coolidge's reprint from the "Encyclopædia
Britannica" of the article on the "History of the Swiss Confederation,"
Bryce's "Holy Roman Empire," &c.
The authors are indebted for most kind and valuable assistance to
several eminent Swiss scholars. To Prof. Georg von Wyss and Prof.
Meyer von Knonau special thanks are due, whilst Prof. Kesselring,
Herr J. Heierli, and others, have shown much helpful interest in the
progress of the work. They also owe many thanks to Dr. Imhoof, who
has most kindly furnished them with casts from his famous collection
of coins; and to the eminent sculptors, Vela and Lanz, who have
given permission to use photographs of their latest works for
Zurich and Folkestone, July, 1890.