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ART. III.-1. Geschichte Oesterreichs seit dem Wiener Frieden,
1809. Von ANTON SPRINGER. In zwei Theilen. Leipzig:
S. Hirzel, 1865. 2. Drei Jahre Verfassungsstreit. Beiträge zur jüngsten Geschichte
Oesterreichs. Von einem UNGAR. Leipzig : Brockhaus, 1864. 3. Die Sonderstellung Ungarns vom Standpunkte der Einheit
Deutschlands. Leipzig: Brockhaus, 1860. 4. Hungary and Transylvania : with Remarks on their Condition,
Social, Political, and Economical. By John Pager, Esq.
Murray, 1839. 5. Researches on the Danube and the Adriatic; or, Contributions
to the Modern History of Hungary and Transylvania, Dalmatia, and Croatia, Servia, and Bulgaria. By A. A. PATON,
F.R.G.S. London: Trübner & Co., 1862. 6. Transylvania : its Products and its People. By CHARLES
BONER. London, 1865. 7. Land und Leute in Ungarn. Von Dr. ERASMUS SCHWAB.
Leipzig, 1865. 8. Die Nationalitäten-Frage. Von Josef Freiherrn von Eötvös.
Aus dem ungarischen Manuscripte übersetzt. Von Dr. Max
hooksellers the one and asked he went' his very
MR. BONER, in the first chapter of his very agreeable book on Transylvania, tells us that he went one day into a bookseller's shop at Vienna, and asked for a map of that country. On examining the one which was handed to him, he observed to the bookseller, 'that the different divisions of the districts were not marked.' That is no matter,' said the man, quite gravely; 'in a week perhaps all may be changed. If I were to give you the map you want, before you reached Transylvania, very likely everything might be altered.
The answer was a sensible one enough, and the bookseller's words hold good not only of the boundaries of Transylvanian districts, but of almost everything in the Austria of to-day, except the natural features of the land. All is in a state of chaos,-a chaos out of which, we ardently hope, and hall believe, that a new and far fairer empire may arise, but a chaos which no one would attempt to describe in detail, and the ultimate outcome of which no wise man would attempt to predict, except in the broadest and most general terms. It can hardly be doubted, however, that all through 1866, the affairs of Austria will engage the earnest attention of all those for whom European politics have any interest, and in this belief we have thought it not undesirable to lay before our readers such a sketch of recent Austrian history, as may enable them to judge for themselves
as to the bearing of the events which will follow each other in that country, through the successive months of a year, which can hardly fail to determine whether Austria is, or is not, during the remainder of the nineteenth century, to have any claim to her traditional epithet of Felix.'
We shall not, of course, shrink from expressing our opinions upon the most important questions relating to the Empire, which are now demanding, or will soon demand, solution; but we shall express those opinions with the utmost diffidence, and in the fullest conviction that the statesmen who shall conduct Austria happily through the next two decades of her history, will have to deal with a succession of problems as difficult as any which have ever called forth political genius and administrative ability.
An attempt to sketch the recent history of Austria has been much facilitated by the publication of the Geschichte Oesterreichs seit dem Wiener Frieden, 1809, by Professor Springer of Bonn, the second volume of which appeared a few months ago. This elaborate and most able work terminates with Görgei's surrender at Vilagos in August 1849, and we have used it as our guide down to the Revolution of 1848. The period from 1849 to the present day is hardly yet historical, but there is, of course, no lack of information with regard to it in pamphlets and articles, some of the best of which we have either noted above, or will refer to in the proper place. Upon Hungary, which is at this moment the most interesting part of the Empire, the English reader is fortunate in possessing two works, written by no common men, from very different points of view. These are the travels of Mr. Paget and of Mr. Paton. The first of these books was published in 1839, and the author looks at the politics of that period like a Hungarian Whig, if, indeed, we can properly apply a term taken from our own party warfare, to that of a country so dissimilar. Numerous and important as are the events which have occurred in Hungary since Mr. Paget's volumes were given to the public, they still deserve to be read; and it is strange that so useful a work should not have sold more extensively than we have reason to believe it has done.
Mr. Paton, so well known for his travels in the Eastern peninsula, visited Hungary immediately after the surrender at Vilagos, and remained a considerable time in the country. His book is extremely useful as a corrective to the one-sided accounts which were so freely supplied to our press by the Kossuthian propagandists in London. He is by no means disposed to justify the violent reasures of centralization which were introduced under the auspices of M. Bach; but his sketches of that politician, as well as of Schwartzenberg, appear to us much too favourable. At the same time, we think that no one who attempts to form an opinion about recent Austrian history, exclusively from English authorities, would do at all wisely to neglect a careful perusal of what this most intelligent, painstaking, and wellinformed author has to say upon the unpopular side.
Mr. Boner writes rather as a traveller and observer of manners than as a politician, but in all that he says about politics he evidently desires to be thoroughly impartial, and his observations must be taken as 'evidence to go to a jury,' in favour of the system which prevailed from 1861 till last September. Great insight into the real wants of the Hungary of to-day is given by the work of Dr. Erasmus Schwab, of which, so far as we are aware, only the first volume has appeared. This gentleman was for eight years a schoolmaster in Northern Hungary, during which period he not only came to know intimately the district in which he was settled, but travelled on foot in various parts of the country, and became familiarly acquainted with all ranks and classes. The book is full of conversations, which bear the stamp of truth, and is a most valuable contribution to our knowledge.
The modern history of Austria may, for our purpose, be considered to commence with the reign of Joseph II. The imperial philosopher had drunk long and deep at the fountains of eighteenth-century enlightenment, and hastened, as soon as he became the sole ruler of his hereditary dominions, to carry his revolutionary ideas into effect. He saw around him an array of provinces connected with each other by their common allegiance to himself, and by the influence of long habit or artificial arrangements. Scattered across Europe from the English Channel to the half-barbarous regions where the Crescent and the Cross carried on a ceaseless warfare, the possessions of the House of Austria were bound to each other by few of those links which usually hold together a body politic. The critical eye could distinguish only one feature which was common to them all. They were all behind the age; they were all governed rather by custom than by right reason. Everywhere there was a clergy, always obscurantist, always jealous of the civil power, and but too often inclined to persecute. Everywhere there was a nobility, penetrated sometimes with rays from the sun of Paris, but for the most part thinking of little except the preservation of its own privileges. Everywhere there was a peasantry, oppressed and unhappy, subject, in some districts, to feudal exactions, and in others bound by customs different from, but not less unjust than, those of feudalism. Into this world of unreason and of wrong the Emperor determined to introduce regularity and common-sense. That he may have been influenced to some extent by personal motives, we do not care to deny ; nay, rather, we have no doubt that he expected his own position to be materially improved by the change. Still his motives, although mixed, were mainly good, and he has hardly yet received from his countrymen, or from Europe, as much praise as he merits. In laying his plans, however, Joseph II. characteristically omitted to allow for the disturbing influence of two forces,—the blind attachment of ignorance to old usages, and that regard for traditional rights, even when they work ill, which is one of the best features of half-civilized communities. These two forces were quite enough to break up the whole of his elaborate scheme for the reconstruction of Austria, the former acting chiefly in the Germanic and Germanized provinces, the latter in Hungary.
In that country the fierce and intractable spirit of the ruling class showed itself immediately, but in the other Crown lands the storm did not burst in its full fury until the Emperor was in his grave, although he had to recall most of his acts. It was left for Leopold to receive from all the assemblies of the Germanic and Germanized provinces earnest representations as to the ruinous consequences which would follow if the peasants were not replaced in their old state of vassalage, if the privileges of the nobles were not extended and increased, if the Jews, Freethinkers, Protestants, and foreigners were not once more oppressed, if pilgrimages were any longer discouraged, if the schools were not again put under the control of ecclesiastics, and if the old privileges in matters of taxation were not immediately restored.
To some of these representations the Government listened with pleasure, to others it turned a deaf ear, and in all cases it acted on the principle of keeping as much as possible of the Josephine legislation, when that legislation was favourable to the central authority, but surrendering as much of it as it well could, when what it surrendered was favourable to popular rights and the freedom of opinion.
The movement in Hungary was far more serious, for here the Government had to do, not with discontented nobles, but with an angry nation. The popular belief as to the relations between the king and the people of Hungary was summed up in the phrase- Princeps est qui jurat, qui jurata servat, et qui coronatus est. Now Joseph 11., intending to introduce great changes in Hungary, and not wishing to incur the charge of perjury, had never taken the oaths, and had never been crowned. Many of the changes which he had introduced were excellent, but in introducing them he had not only altogether exceeded his powers, but had given a fair colour to the assertions of those who maintained that, under the circumstances, it was no longer necessary that the Hungarian crown should rest on the brow of a prince of the House of Hapsburg-Lorraine. The Emperor wisely yielded on most points, and agreed even to the assembling of the Diet in 1790. Before it came together he had breathed his last. His two successors had much to do to calm the agitation which he had caused, but they succeeded for a time, and the real results of the reaction from his centralizing legislation did not appear till the winds were loosed in the days of the Emperor Ferdinand
The liberal innovations of Joseph 11. had been the result of his personal convictions, and these were by no means shared by the counsellors who surrounded his successor. It did not suit them, however, to allow the nobility to reap the full advantage of the reaction, and to get into their hands a large share of the power which had been hitherto vested in the high officials. They fell back accordingly upon the venerable Austrian maxim, · Divide et impera,' and checked the rising ambition of the Provincial Estates by favouring the pretensions of the peasants. By this poliey they contrived to bring back things to a state of stable equilibrium; and to careless observers, the Empire, when it passed into the hands of Francis, in 1792, did not appear materially different from that which had acknowledged the sway of Maria Theresa. Those who could look deeper saw that the legislation and the general principles of government were full of inconsistencies and contradictions, the Josephine maxims and ideas coming into perpetual collision with the State traditions. It was not till the days of Schwartzenberg and Bach, that, as we shall see hereafter, a consistent and logical attempt was made to expel the liberal poison which had been introduced by Joseph II. Leopold, Francis, and Ferdinand all lived upon expedients; and the more intelligent of their servants saw, every day more and more clearly, that sooner or later a crash would come. The time, however, was not yet, and the echoes of the first French Revolution in Austria were not very loud or long-resounding, while the war which followed afforded ample excuse for letting internal reforms alone.
The policy of Leopold, as might have been expected from his antecedents in Tuscany, only seems illiberal when compared with that of his immediate predecessor; but it was succeeded by a policy, consciously and intentionally illiberal in the highest possible degree. During the first-eighteen years of his long reign, the Emperor Francis was, perforce, obliged to entertain the plans of military or other reform, of which the Archduke Charles was at one time the conspicuous advocate. But his knowledge of the treachery of so near a relative was not likely