Life and Times of Stein: Or, Germany and Prussia in the Napoleonic Age - Vol. 1

By Sir J. R. Seeley | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV.
WITHIN THE LINE OF DEMARCATION.

STEIN describes the last stage of his career as a provincial governor in these words: 'In the year 1796 I obtained the post of Superior President of the Westphalian Chambers at Wesel, Hamm, and Minden; in this province, after a revision undertaken with the College of the Chamber itself, I achieved the laying down of the road from Bielefeld to Minden, the improvement of the navigation and communications of the Weser; several alterations in the linen factories were attempted; lastly, the alleviation of villenage was taken into consideration, but not in the revolutionary spirit which cancels all rights. When the secularizations followed through the Resolution of the Imperial Deputation I was charged with that of the Foundations of Münster and Paderborn. It was accomplished with leniency, forbearance, and loyalty; the native officials were retained, if they were in any way efficient, and the harshness of the thing was as much as possible softened.' These few sentences are all that Stein allots to a period of nine years, nor indeed does this period offer much memorable incident properly belonging to his biography. This last promotion of 1796, which he again owed to the steady patronage of Heinitz, united under his superintendence, as we have remarked, all the Chambers of the then Westphalian possessions of Prussia. The territories united under Stein's control amounted to 182 (German) square miles, with a population of half a million souls. He now took up his residence in Minden, and here, August 2nd, 1796, a daughter was born to him, who was named Henriette, and became in course of time Countess Giech.

He had now an opportunity of continuing, on a greater scale, the engineering enterprises he had begun at Wetter. He did not lose a moment in forming the plan of carrying the great road he had constructed in the County Mark from Bielefeld

-73-

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