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that a storm was about to burst when they heard of the disturbances in the Austrian capital upon the 13th of March, followed, as they soon were, by the resignation and flight of Prince Metternich.
The words of Kossuth on the 1st of March marked, as we have seen, the end of the old order.' From that moment the great agitator abandoned himself to the impulses of the moment, and, partly acted on by events, partly exercising a reflex action upon them, hurried along his strange and meteoric course, till the day when, in the great church at Debreczin, amidst the plaudits of a multitude which had gone wild with excitement, he proclaimed the dethronement of the House of HapsburgLorraine and the independence of Hungary.
The events of the 1st of March 1848 at Presburg were followed by six weeks crowded with events of the most exciting and important character, the array of which was closed by the Emperor's going in person to that city, and formally sanctioning a series of resolutions of a highly revolutionary character, which had been passed under the influence of the orator, who had attained in a few days a world-wide reputation. These are the laws of 1848, about which we have heard so much. We give a précis of them, taken from the work called Hungary and its Revolutions, with a Memoir of Kossuth, which affords, on this head, more detailed information than the work of Professor Springer.
The substance of the resolutions passed in this Diet, and confirmed by the King, was as follows :--That the executive power should be exercised through the Ministry alone. That the Palatine, in the absence of the King, should be invested with all royal power, excepting the appointments of the dignitaries of the Church, officers of the army, the high barons of the kingdom, and the disposal of the army when out of Hungary. That every member of the Cabinet should be responsible for his official acts, liable to impeachment by the Chamber of Deputies, and to be tried by a committee from the Chamber of Magnates. That the sessions of the Diet be held at Pesth, and the laws sanctioned during the session by the King. That perfect equality of rights, as well as of public burdens, should be established among all the people of Hungary, without distinction of class, race, or denomination. That the franchise should be extended to every man possessing property to the value of three hundred florins, or an income of one hundred ; to every one who had received a diploma in a university; and every artisan who employed an apprentice. That with the concurrence of both countries, Hungary and Transylvania, and their Diets, should be incorporated. That the number of representatives sent by Croatia to the Diet should be increased from three to eighteen, and the internal institutions of that province remain the same as before. That the military. frontiers of Hungary, or border troops, should be placed under the authority of the Hungarian Minister of War.'
We do not propose to enter into any detail as to the events of the revolutionary period, which occupied nearly the whole of 1848 and 1849. The direct influence of the transactions which then occurred upon the history of Austria, during the last sixteen years, has not been so great as might have been expected, and if we were to attempt to describe with any minuteness the elements which then came to the surface, and which may be expected to work in various ways during the years that are coming, we should be carried far beyond the limits to which even the longest article can be extended. Through the complications of the eventful months which followed the flight of Prince Metternich, we know no more sober guide than Professor Springer, and for no period of recent history is a sober guide more wanted. Greater issues were decided before Sebastopol, far larger masses of men were hurled against each other in the American civil conflict, but no war of our time has ever approached in romantic interest that which was waged in 1848 and 1849 upon the plains of Hungary.
The English public was plentifully supplied, from 1850 to 1854, with the narratives of rival generals, and with the pamphlets, sometimes disguised in the form of history, of the contending parties; but we know no narrative and no political treatise in English, referring to these events, which we could venture to recommend, without advising the reader to follow up its perusal with that of a work of diametrically opposite tendency.
The two great gains which the moral earthquake of 1848 brought to Austria were, that through wide provinces of the Empire, and more especially in Hungary, it swept away the sort of semi-vassalage in which the peasantry had been left by the Urbarium of Maria Theresa, and other reforms akin to, or founded upon it, and introduced modern in the place of middleage relations between the two extremes of society. Secondly, it overthrew the policy of do-nothing,--a surer guarantee for the continuance of abuses than even the determination, which soon manifested itself at head-quarters, to make the head of the State more absolute than ever.
After the taking of Vienna by Windischgrätz, the National Assembly had, on the 15th of November 1848, been removed from the capital to the small town of Kremsier, in Moravia. Here it prolonged an ineffective existence till March 1849, when
the Court Camarilla felt itself strong enough to put an end to an inconvenient censor, and in March 1849 it ceased to exist. A constitution was at the same time promulgated, which contained many good provisions, but which was never heartily approved by the ruling powers, or vigorously carried into effect,
—the proclamation of a state of siege in many cities, and other expedients of authority in a revolutionary period, easily enabling it to be set at nought. The successes of the reaction in other parts of Europe, and above all the coup-d'état in Paris, emboldened Schwartzenberg to throw off the mask; and on the last day of 1851, Austria became once more a pure despotism.
The young Emperor had taken · Viribus unitis' for his motto; and his advisers interpreted those words to mean that Austria was henceforward to be a State as highly centralized as France,
-a State in which the Minister at Vienna was absolutely to govern everything from Salzburg to the Iron Gate. The hand of authority had been severely felt in the pre-revolutionary period, but now advantage was to be taken of the revolution to make it felt far more than ever. In Hungary, for example, which had, as we have seen, always proved intractable, even when the Germanic provinces were living in contented servitude, it was fondly imagined that there would be no more trouble. The old political division into counties was swept away; the whole land was divided into five provinces; and the courtiers might imagine that from henceforth the Magyars would be as easily led as the inhabitants of Upper Austria. These delusions soon became general, but they owed their origin, partly to the enthusiastic ignorance of those who were at the head of the army, and partly to two men, about whom we must say a word. The first of these was Prince Schwartzenberg, the son of the generalissimo of the Allied Armies in the campaign of 1814. Bred to diplomacy, he was the Austrian Minister at Naples when the revolution broke out in that capital, then served for a short period under the imperial flag in northern Italy, and shortly afterwards returned to the centre of affairs, to animate the drooping spirits of the Court. Several of his sayings will be remembered, and they show a certain amount of shrewdness and insight; but there is nothing recorded, either of his words or actions, which bears evidence of a high capacity for statesmanship, to say nothing of wisdom or matured political ability. He had energy and power of will; nor would it be difficult to draw a parallel between him and Count Bismark, although we are bound to say that the latter has given much greater proof of talent. In audacity, however, there is little to choose between them; and in the Systole and Diastole' of German politics, the Prussian
statesman played in 1865, to the disadvantage of Austria, just the same part which the Austrian statesman played in 1850 to the disadvantage of Russia. Those who are tempted to attach too much importance to such triumphs of audacity should remember how much easier it is to cut knots than to unravel them, and wait to see the end.
Whether Prince Schwartzenberg might have developed any higher powers if his life had been prolonged, we cannot say. He died suddenly in April 1852.
More space to develop his energies,' we might almost say * More rope to hang himself,' was given to Alexander Bach, who succeeded the conservative, but able, and by no means bigoted Stadion, when the health of that statesman broke down in 1849. Bach was born in 1813, and was the son of a provincial employé under the department of Justice, who, however, eventually removed to the capital, where he established a thriving business as an attorney. His son began life as a clerk in his father's office, studied the law with success, and became a Doctor Juris. He then travelled, and ultimately succeeded his father. Before 1848 he was so conspicuous, both as a jurist and as a reformer, that he was called to take the portfolio of Justice in the Ministry which came into power in May 1848. His behaviour in this office gave much offence to the extreme revolutionary party; and during the disturbances which marked the month of October in that year, his life was in some danger. Whether it was that the experiences of that stormy time cooled his reforming ardour, or whether it was that the temperature of that ardour had been always exaggerated, or whether, as his enemies assert, he distinctly changed sides to further his own purposes,—or whether again he was gradually led further than he meant to go down the slope of reaction, we need not here inquire; but certain it is, that after the first successes of the Court he soon became one of its most trusted agents. His two leading ideas were to cover the whole Empire with a German bureaucracy, and to draw closer the ties which connected the Court of Vienna with that of Rome. In his view, and in that of the ecclesiastics who acted with him, much of the evil that prevailed in the Empire could be traced to the anti-religious influences which had acted on the mind of Joseph II.; and it was under his auspices, and those of Count Leo Thun, that Austria made that extraordinary retrograde movement which was announced to Europe by the conclusion of the Concordat. If absolutism in Austria had a fair trial from the 31st of December 1851 to the Italian war, it is to Bach that it was owing; and if it utterly and ludicrously failed, it is he more than any other man who must bear the blame.
allest not been briticile tionis
organizatio 1859, only which
Already, in 1849, the bureaucracy had been re-organized, but in 1852 new and stricter regulations were introduced. Everything was determined by precise rules,-even the exact amount of hair which the employé was permitted to wear upon his face. Hardly any question was thought sufficiently insignificant to be decided upon the spot. The smallest matters had to be referred to Vienna, if their settlement had not been provided for in the instructions previously issued. The higher officials were directed to keep an accurate record of the political dispositions of their subordinates, and the non-official citizens were subjected almost as completely to the despotism of these subordinates, as they were to that of their superiors. The result of all this was, that in spite of many improvements upon the prerevolutionary system in matters of detail, and a greatly increased vigour at head-quarters, the internal affairs of the Empire soon fell into hopeless confusion. The finances, which had been thrown into terrible disorder by the events of the Revolution, and by the expenses attendant on the menacing attitude adopted towards Prussia in 1850, showed no tendency to recovery. The new Communal organization was put off from year to year, and was at last promulgated in 1859, only to be found absurd and unworkable. The new criminal code, which was one of the few things actually accomplished during this period, revived obsolete punishments, was particularly severe upon the press, and in all respects disgraceful. The same may be said of the Concordat, concluded in 1855, of which the best that can be told is, that it has never been so fully carried out as its promoters desired, and that it was a most efficient instrument in exciting hatred against the party to which it owes its origin. The best thing between the pacification of Hungary and October 1860, was the remodelling of the system of public instruction by Count Leo Thun,-a statesman who, although his opinions led him to promote the views of the Ultramontane party, had yet sufficient firmness not to let it drag him further than he wished to go, and sufficient enlightenment to see that the state of the Austrian schools and universities was simply disastrous and intolerable. In general, however, the politicians of the reactionary period showed themselves singularly incapable of translating their ideas into accomplished facts, partly, perhaps, from want of ability, but much more because the task which they had set themselves was absurd and impossible. It was a time of great activity in the public offices, of endless instructions, counter-instructions, revised counter-instructions, and so forth; and when we learn that between 1849 and 1860 the medical department of the army was re-organized four times, the artillery and engineers three times, the Judge-advocate's depart