Sand had succeeded, however, in forming around him a certain circle of Puritans, composed of about sixty to eighty students, all belonging to the group of the 'Burschenschaft' which continued its political and religious course despite all the jeers of the opposing group the 'Landmannschaft'. One of his friends called Dittmar and he were pretty much the chiefs, and although no election had given them their authority, they exercised so much influence upon what was decided that in any particular case their fellow-adepts were sure spontaneously to obey any impulse that they might choose to impart.
When, on the 26th of March, the news of Kotzebue's assassination came from Mannheim to Jena, the academic senate caused Sand's room to be opened, and found two letters one addressed to his friends of the Burschenschaft, in which he declared that he no longer belonged to their society, since he did not wish that their brotherhood should include a man about to die an the scaffold.
Menzel's student connection with the Jena Burschenschaft, his early published protest against the emptiness of recent German literature, and his polemic, entitled German Literature, and aimed at the imitators of Goethe and at Goethe's own lack of interest in German unification, attracted young Gutzkow, who had also been a member of the Burschenschaft, and prompted him to write and publish in his student paper a defense of Menzel against his critics.
His health broke, and when '48 came, he was an old man. His hair was white, and he walked the streets with a crutch. But he had saved a little money to send me to Jena. "He was proud of me. I was big-boned and fair, like my mother. And when I came home at the end of a Semester I can see him now, as he would hobble to the door, wearing the red and black and gold of the Burschenschaft.
In all the annals of our universities we cannot find any trace of a second attempt, and he who would impressively demonstrate what is now necessary for us will never find a better example. I refer to the old, primitive Burschenschaft. "When the war of liberation was over, the young student brought back home the unlooked-for and worthiest trophy of battle the freedom of his fatherland.
Many of us of the Burschenschaft will bear to the grave the marks of his Schlager. Von Kalbach went to Bonn, that university of the aristocrats, where he was worshipped. When he came to Berlin with his sister, crowds would gather to look at them. They were like Wodan and Freya. 'Donner'!" exclaimed Herr Korner, "there is something in blood, when all is said.
He was terrible in his fury, and I shiver now to think how we of the Burschenschaft trembled when we saw that our champion was driven back a step, and then another. You must know that it is a lasting disgrace to be forced over one's own line. It seemed as if we could not bear the agony.
The deeds of people like Jacques Clement, Ravaillac, Corday, Sand, and Caserio, are all of the same kind; hardly anyone will be found to-day to maintain that Sand's action followed from the views of the Burschenschaft, or Clement's from Catholicism, even when we learn that Sand was regarded by his fellows as a saint, as was Charlotte Corday and Clement, or even when learned Jesuits like Sa, Mariana, and others, cum licentia et approbatione superiorum, in connection with Clement's outrage, discussed the question of regicide in a manner not unworthy of Netschajew or Most.
This instinct hated the Burschenschaft with an intense hatred for two reasons: first of all on account of its organisation, as being the first attempt to construct a true educational institution, and, secondly, on account of the spirit of this institution, that earnest, manly, stern, and daring German spirit; that spirit of the miner's son, Luther, which has come down to us unbroken from the time of the Reformation.
These events occasioned a congress at Carlsbad in 1819, which took the state of Germany into deliberation, placed each of the universities under the supervision of a government officer, suppressed the Burschenschaft, prohibited their colors, and fixed a central board of scrutiny at Mayence, which acted on the presupposition of the existence of a secret and general conspiracy for the purposes of assassination and revolution, and of Sand's having acted not from personal fanaticism and religious aberration, but as the agent of some unknown superiors in some new and mysterious tribunal.