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the highest international questions were debated was utterly changed. At Vienna, in 1814, the diplomatists had been really the primary, the sovereigns only secondary personages; while at the interview of Munchengratz, between Nicholas and the Emperor Francis, in 1833, the great autocrat appeared to look upon Prince, Metternich as hardly more than a confidential clerk. The dull monotony of servitude which oppressed nearly the whole of the Empire was varied by the agitations of one of its component parts. When the Hungarian Diet was dissolved in 1812, the Emperor had solemnly promised that it should be called together again within three years. Up to 1815, accordingly, the nation went on giving extraordinary levies and supplies without much opposition. When, however, the appointed time was fulfilled, it began to murmur, and very soon the Government discovered that, instead of dealing with a single Diet assembled at Presburg, it was engaged in the still more hopeless task of attempting to coerce a miniature Diet in every county in the kingdom. The inhabitants of more civilized portions of the monarchy—the Viennese themselves, for example, —could be amused and kept in good humour without thinking of politics; but to the Hungarians the excitement of political life was a necessity. It was as hopeless to try to eradicate from their minds the desire for free political discussion as it has been found in many districts of Western Europe to root out the attachment to particular forms of religion, which were not to the taste of the ruling powers. Year by year the agitation went on increasing, till at last the breaking out of the Greek revolution, and the threatening appearance of Eastern politics, induced Prince Metternich to join his entreaties to those of many other counsellors, who could not be suspected of the slightest leaning to constitutional views. At i. the Emperor yielded, and in 1825, Presburg was once more filled with the best blood and most active spirits of the land, assembled in Parliament. Long and stormy were the debates which ensued. Bitter was, from time to time, the vexation of the Emperor, and great was the excitement throughout Hungary. In the end, however, the Court of Vienna triumphed. Hardly any grievances were redress. ed, while its demands were fully conceded. The Diet of 1825 was however not without fruit. . The discussion which took place advanced the political education of the people, who were brought back to the point where they stood at the death of Joseph II., that is, before the long wars with France had come
to distract their attention from their own af. fairs. The hands of the party which, while it wished to preserve the old constitution as against Austria, saw that that constitution required amendment, were greatly strengthened, and France and England were taught for the first time to sympathize with the liberal aspiration of a country which had most truly, up to that time, been “Terra Incognita.” Sharp as was the contest between the Government and the people in Hungary, it caused little excitement in the provinces on the western bank of the Leitha. The tranquil surface of the public mind was, however, rippled by the Greek revolution. There was too little classical knowledge in Austria to call forth such enthusiasm as was excited in England, or even in North Germany, but some memories of the Turkish wars remained, and in Prague the Czechish population, which was beginning to awake from a sleep of two centuries, did not forget that in Bosnia, in Servia, and in other districts of the eastern Peninsula, men, of blood and language nearly allied to their own, were suf. fering under a yoke from which they had themselves only been saved by the exploits of a Sclavonic hero—the gallant John Sobieski. There were not wanting, also, in the Germanic provinces, persons of a conservative turn of mind, who dreamt of compensating the losses of the mediatized princes by cutting up Roumelia, Bulgaria, and other such outlandish districts, into little principalities for those injured potentates, while others, who thought that the only two things which the well-disposed in Central Europe wanted were “the Word of God and a navy,” fancied that both those good things might be brought to them if only the Turk could be driven back “to his old Asian seats.” For the first four years of the war, the Austrian Government spared no pains to show its contempt for these illusions. Ypsilanti was shut up in Munkacs. No phil-Hellenes were allowed to pass through Austria to the scene of the conflict, and Austrian subjects were protected against the Greek cruisers in carrying contraband of war to their enemies, while the utmost publicity was given in the official organs to every piece of news which was calculated to influence public opinion against the Greeks. All this, as we have seen, was slightly modified in the last years of the war, but the general result was that the Greek revolution had very little effect in stimulating a desire for liberty in Austria. Far more formidable was the wave of sentiment which was propagated over the country by the Polish struggle of 1831. In Hungary the storm rose very high, and the county meetings offered large supplies in men and money to the Government if it would take the field on the side of the insurgents; but Hungary did not stand alone, and more especially in Bohemia the public mind was very deeply stirred. In that province the successes of the Poles were considered as national glories by a population which, while it dreamt of a great Pan-Sclavic future, amusingly enough forgot that this was, from a Pan-Sclavic point of view, but a civil war-one portion of the illustrious and high-destined family cutting the throats of the other. The Austrian Government secretly encouraged the Revolution of 1831, just as it encouraged the more recent Revolution which we have so lately witnessed. So good an opportunity of weakening the Colossus which overshadowed the Empire, it was not in human nature to lose; but even if it had not wished well to the movement, it would have found it difficult openly to take the side of Russia. The hopes and sorrows of the Poles touched a chord in Austria which no other revolution had struck there. We see in this the first great political result of that spirit of nationality, which was evoked in many of the provinces by the essentially German legislation of Joseph II. Of this we shall have more to say hereafter. For the present, the effect was only a wave of sympathy, which rolled across the Empire. The slumbers of Austria were not yet over. The systEM dragged its slow length along. Little or nothing was done for the improvement of the country. Klebelsberg administered the finances in an easy and careless manner. Conspiracies and risings in Italy were easily checked, and batches of prisoners sent off from time to time to Mantua or Spielberg. Austrian influence rose ever higher and higher in all the petty Courts of the Peninsula; and even Nicholas, in his hatred of revolution, was induced, contrary to the old traditions of Russia, to aid the advance of Austrian garrisons farther and farther towards the south. In other regions, Russia or England might be willing to thwart him, but in Italy Prince Metternich might proudly reflect that Austria was indeed a “Great Power.” The French Revolution of 1830 was at first alarming; but when it resluted in the enthronement of a dynasty which called to its aid a “Cabinet of repression,” all fears were stilled. The Emperor Francis continued to say, when any change was pro; posed, “We must sleep upon it,” and died in 1835 in “the abundance of peace.” The masses of Vienna, when they, raged against Prince “Mitternacht" in 1848 were under a great mistake—a mistake which they WOL. XLIV.
shared with their betters in most countries. They fancied that he was the pivot round which the whole State machine revolved, and that without him it could not exist. In truth, however, the period of Prince Metternich's highest influence in European politics extends from 1814 till the rising of the twin, but adverse stars of Canning and of Nicholas. The liberal policy of the one, and the purely bayonet policy of the other, were both fatal to the ascendency of a system which was based upon diplomatic intrigue. As far as Austria herself was concerned, Prince Metternich's influence was unimpaired, within his own department, up to the death of the Emperor Francis, in 1835; and although the testament in which that monarch recommended the veteran statesman to his successor, as the most faithful of his adherents, turned out to be a forgery, it doubtless expressed his real opinions.
It was no secret in Vienna that the harmless and amiable Ferdinand, who, at the age of forty-two, succeeded his imperial father, was quite unequal to the duties which absolute power imposes upon him who wields it. The necessity of providing some substitute had been long foreseen, but had, characteristically enough, not been provided for, as anything seemed better than agitating the minds of men by a premature announcement to all the Empire of the sovereign's weakness. After many months spent in discussion and intrigue, Prince Metternich, Count Kolowrat, and the Archduke Louis were formed into a triumvirate, and became for a time the virtual rulers of Austria. Kolowrat had long been the right-hand man of the Emperor Francis in the management of internal affairs, and the imagination of the multitude had quite erroneously invested him with a halo of liberalism, so that he passed for the antithesis of Metternich, whose name had been long a byword for his opposition to all reform. In truth, Kolowrat, although more educated than his master, shared the narrow views of the Emperor, and was little better, as far as his public character was concerned, than the civil equivalent of Kutschera, the notorious adjutant, whose name we have already mentioned. The Archduke Louis had no higher idea of governing than to take care that everything should be done as it had been done in the time of his brother, whose passion for inefficient activity in the details of administration he fully shared. It was under the auspices of these three personages that the old order in Austria dragged itself towards its doom. The systEM, which two of them had done much to create, they kept to the end. Day by day it became less suited to the wants of the time, and day by day the gulf between the people and their governors became wider and wider. As years passed on, it seemed as if the noisy but wholly ineffective clatter of the State machine had lulled those who managed it into sleep. Metternich, more especially after his diplomatic mishaps in the year 1840, became quite superannuated, and the real business of his office passed into the hands of Ficquelmont and other secondary persons. Meanwhile dissatisfaction, and even insubordination, were spreading in the most diverse shapes over every province. In the Tyrol, it was the clergy who felt themselves sufficiently strong to force the Government to come to terms. The Emperor Francis, it must be remembered to his honour, had, while he professed, and doubtless entertained, highly orthodox opinions, walked in the paths of Joseph II., so far as the relations of the Church and the State were concerned, and asserted his own supremacy with sufficient sternness. The reins were now somewhat looser, and the wary ecclesiastics soon saw their advantage. It was in 1837, two years after the death of Francis, that the eleven years' contest about the Protestants of the Zillerthal ended in those unfortunate persons accepting the hospitality of the King of Prussia, and leaving their own beautiful valley to seek an ...i. in Silesia, after undergoing a long course of molestation, which was equally opposed to the Josephine laws and to the federal obligations of the Austrian Empire. The conduct of the Government in this matter was determined rather by weakness than by evil will, and it showed itself almost equally powerless in dealing with opponents of a very different kind. Long before the death of the Emperor Francis, the national spirit in Hungary had, as we have seen, become thoroughly aroused; but in the Diet, which assembled in 1832, and continued to sit till 1836, symptoms of a far more serious kind became visible than any which had been seen in 1825. . The old patriotic party, which had only thought of defending the ancient constitution, with all its merits and abuses, against the encroachments of the Kaiser, was now pushed aside by a new party, which aimed at procuring for Hungary a series of reforms which should make her a liberal State after the Western model. It was in this Diet that the grievances, which had been formulized by the Diet of 1790, first came on for serious debate. These were, according to Paget, who was himself in Hungary at this time— “That Dalmatia, Transylvania, Galicia, and Lodomeria should be re-incorporated with Hun
gary; that the military frontiers should be placed under the command of the Palatine, and governed by Hungarian laws; that the duty on salt should be reduced ; that the edicts of Government to officers of justice should be discontinued; that the laws respecting the taxes on the clergy should be observed ; that the Hungarian Chancery should be made really, not merely nominally, independent of the Austrian Chancery; that the coinage should bear the arms of Hungary, and that the exportation of gold and silver should be prevented; that the paper money should be abolished, and a return made to a metallic currency; that the Hungarian language should be used in all official business; that the fiscal estates, such as have fallen to the Crown on the extinction of the families to whom they were granted, should, as the law directs, be given only as the reward of public services, and not sold, as at present, to the highest bidder; and, lastly, that spies should not be employed and trusted by the Austrian Government.”
But the discussion of grievances was not all. New names and new projects appeared. It was now that Kossuth first made himself conspicuous, not by his speeches—for his subordinate position, as the mere delegate of a magnate's widow, did not give him the right to vote, and hardly the right to speak, but by the system of reporting which he organized. It was in this Diet toothat the good Stephen Széchenyi first proposed the building of a chain-bridge to unite Pesth with Buda, a proposal which, unimportant as it appears at first sight, contained the germ of a complete political and social revolution. Some of our readers may remember the long bridge of boats which in the summer of 1847, and perhaps for some time later, connected the two halves of the Hungarian capital. If so, they must have observed that while most of the persons whose dress and appearance showed that their position in society was a humble one, paid toll as they passed the bridge, most of those who appeared to belong to the higher ranks passed without challenge. The immunity which the Hungarian nobilis, who was in ninetynine cases out of a hundred in no respect what we call a noble, but merely a freeman, or member of a privileged class, and indeed often a pauper, enjoyed at this bridge, was a type of the immunity which he boasted from all dues and taxes whatever which were borne by the misera contribuens plebs. Széchenyi proposed that, with a view to defray the expense of the new bridge, the nobles should abdicate, as far as it was concerned, their special privilege; and it was clear that when such a privilege was abandoned in any one instance for the sake of the public weal, its final abolition was only a matter of time. The proposition was car
ried, as were also several other measures of reform, and with this Diet the preparation for the Hungarian Revolution may be considered to have begun. The flowing tide of liberal sentiment in Hungary was soon aided by an agitation, chiefly amongst the Magyar population of Transylvania, which in 1834 forced the Government to convoke the Tramsylvanian Diet, which had, contrary to law, been left unsummoned for twenty-three years. The leader of the patriotic movement in Transylvania, the impetuous. Wesselyeni, the true son of his father, who had been shut up for four years in Kufstein for storming the castle of an obnoxious neighbour, soon passed beyond safe limits, and was imprisoned by the Government, a fate which also befell Kossuth, and some young men who had tried to walk in his steps. But these measures only tended to increase the unpopularity of the ruling powers, and to sow disaffection wider. The lead in the movement was taken by the Magyars, who comprised a very much larger portion of the privileged class than any of the other numerous nationalities which inhabit Hungary. Unfortunately for them, their pre-eminence was too undisputed, and day by day the agitation assumed more of a Magyar character, while it became evident that the victory of the movement party would be anything but a triumph for the Sclave, or the Rouman population. A national revival which had taken place amongst the Sclavacks, or Sclaves of north-western Hungary, had taken the form partly of a passive resistance to the exaggerated claims of the Magyars, partly of a controversy with the Czechs of Prague, as to the respective merits of the Sclavack and Czechian dialects. But the linguistic enthusiasm of the Croats, another branch of the great Sclave family, soon became more formidable. For generations there had existed a party in Croatia which resisted what it considered the exaggerated claims of the Presburg Diet, and aimed at giving greater power to the minor Diet, which assembled at Agram. A long controversy had been waged about the relations to Croatia and Hungary respectively, of the district between the Save and the Danube, which is usually known as Sclavonia, and about the port of Fiume in the Adriatic. These, and other ancient matters of dispute, were of course called into new life when the Magyars proposed to abolish the use of the Latin, which had for ages been the language of business in Hungary, and to oblige every one who wished the smallest possible public office throughout the whole of Hungary to speak Magyar, thereby confining in practice the use of all other languages to the family circle.
It is possible that the reaction in favour of their own nationality among the Croats might not have reached a dangerous height if it had not been for the efforts of Louis Gai, a journalist of great talent, who, after having been brought up at a German university, returned to Croatia, and started a newspaper, with the view of advocating the claims of his countrymen to become the leaders of the great Illyrian movement, which was to embrace not only Dalmatia, Croatia, and Sclavonia, but also a large portion of European Turkey. Increased experience of the world soon showed Gai that his dreams were at least premature, but he roused an enthusiasm which was artfully taken advantage of by men who were looking nearer home, to excite the Croats to resist the encroachments of the Magyar majority in the Presburg Diet. When, therefore, that majority succeeded, in 1844, in getting the Vienna authorities upon their side, and in making Magyar the official language of the whole of Hungary, the irritation of the Croats became very bitter, and they were in consequence a ready instrument in the hands of the Austrian Government, some years later, in opposing the ultra-Magyar party, by force of arms, although there is no evidence to show that, at the moment of which we are speaking, the policy of Vienna was dictated by any views about the use to which the Croats might be put if the worst came to the worst in Hungary. Indeed, the evidence is all the other way. The men of the systEM followed their wonted habit, and thought of nothing but keeping things quiet. “If the Hungarians were to ask for the moon,” it was, truly said at this time, “I verily believe that the Austrian Government would not refuse their request, but would only say that the matter required mature consideration.” While the linguistic controversy was inflaming the passions of the Magyars, and exciting anti-Magyar feelings through all the non-Magyar populations of Hungary, a number of other irritating questions were being discussed in successive Diets, in the county meetings, and in the press, which last, chiefly through the instrumentality of Kossuth, had suddenly grown into a great power. There was the question of the religious education to be given to the children of mixed marriages, a most important matter in a country where the Protestants are so numerous. This subject of dispute, after a long struggle with the Ultramontanes, was settled in a liberal sense. There was the question of the abolition of the immunities of the mobiles in matters of taxation, of the increase of the political power of the urban communi
ties, of the better ordering of the counties, of the criminal law, of improving the material condition of the country, with many others. Discussion gradually opened the eyes of nearly all politicians to the necessity of making vast changes in Hungary, and three parties slowly separated themselves and fell into rank. These were (1.) the Conservatives, led by the Chancellor Apponyi, who wished for a strongly centralized government of the absolutist kind, the drivingwheel of which should be in Vienna; (2) the Liberals, led by Deak, who wished for a government of the constitutional kind, based on a reform of the old institutions of Hungary, the driving-wheel of which should be the Diet; (3.) a party whose views were as yet indeterminate, but which became, in 1848–49, the revolutionary and democratic party, and which, in the Diet of 1847, was led by Kossuth. Count Stephen Széchenyi became a sittle before this time identified with the Conservative party, much in the same way in which we have seen M. Michel Chevalier gradually become an out-and-out imperialist, because he thought that through the Conservatives and the Vienna government his plans for the material amelioration of the country would best be carried Out. An important section of the second party was led by Baron Joseph Eötvös, who, pos: sessing a far deeper knowledge of political science than most of his countrymen, and entitled, from his wide and varied knowledge, to take rank among the best of his contemporaries, looked with impatience on the many follies and atrocities of the old Hungarian system, which he has satirized in The Village Notary, and would have desired to govern Hungary on a more centralized system, the driving-wheel of which should be the Diet, j and made into a parliament after the English manner. These parties met in the Diet of 1847, and in its discussions were being gradually shaped and moulded. What forms they all, and especially the third, might ultimately have taken if the Revolution had not, in February 1848, broken out in Paris, it is impossible to say, but that event acted in Hungary, as in so many other places, like a torch in a powder magazine. On the 1st of March 1848, Kossuth rose and said, “There are moments when the Legislature must not only demand reforms, but also ward off dangers.” With these words the curtain fell upon the old party contests, The interest which attaches to all that is passing in Hungary at the present moment, has induced us to trace the course of events in that country at far greater length than it
will be necessary to do those of the rest of the Empire. The assemblies of the nobles in the provinces on this side the Leitha, more especially in Bohemia and Lower Austria, began also during this period to show symptoms of discontent. Their efforts were, as was perhaps natural, chiefly directed to obtain greater liberty, and some substantial share of political power for their own class; but their members were by no means unaffected by the liberal aspirations of more advanced countries. Many of them were more or less familiar with French and English literature, or had travelled in Western Europe; and their efforts, if barren of immediate political advantage to themselves, nevertheless cast further discredit upon the system, by showing not only its inapplicability to modern exigencies, but, in some cases, its distinct opposition to still unrepealed laws. The nobility was the only class, which could give voice to its complaints, but the professional and commercial classes suffered at least equally. The systEM had succeeded in repressing, but not in crushing, the intelligence of the Empire. There grew up after the year 1815, very slowly and gradually, a race of men to whom the articles of the Court journalists and the verses of the Court poets were wholly intolerable. There was a time when the self-satisfied saying,
represented the creed of all the Germanspeaking subjects of the Kaiser; but that delusion had hardly outlived the Emperor Francis, and by the year 1840 had quite vanished away. The censorship was now felt to be an evil which was only endurable because it was so constantly evaded. It had become, indeed, to a great extent inoperative; for so surely as a work was pronounced harmless by the censor, the public refused to buy it, and so surely as a work printed in Leipzig or Hamburg obtained the distinction of a “ damnatur,” it was sure to be smuggled in scores over all the northern frontiers. Instead of the literature of the Romanticists, some of whom had looked lovingly to Austria, and had even selected it for their habitation, there were now the spirit-stirring verses of Count Auersperg (Anastasius Grun), whose Spaziergånge eines Wiener Poeten attacked the existing state of things in no measured way. The Government itself was obliged to call in the assistance of strictly prohibited journals, if it wished to defend itself with effect; for to the statements of the authorized organs no credence at all was attached. The schools
were everywhere in an utterly wretched con