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stored. Old things had passed away, yet nothing had become new. Metternich was an exile and his maxims of policy apparently in discredit. Yet the archimage of despotism might still in fact pull the strings: or at all events his policy was pursued by his disciples with formularies as barren, and with a hatred to independent nationalities as active as his own. To such men the concessions, as they were styled, to Hungary, but as they are more correctly termed the statutes of that kingdom, old or new, --- were especially obnoxious.
Of the more popular ministers none possessed oratorical talents, and all played a very insignificant part in the Constituent Assembly at Vienna. Latour, however, both from his relations to the Court and his administrative abilities, deserves more particular mention than his nominal colleagues are entitled to.
His activity, in spite of advanced age, in re-organising the army and commissariat, enabled Radetzky to assume the offensive in Italy, the Ban of Croatia to threaten Hungary, and the Servian rebels to maintain themselves against the Hungarian troops. His violent death in the October revolution created a void in the cabinet which has not yet been supplied; and the late successes of the insurgents are not more owing to their own valour than to the returning decrepitude of the Viennese war-office.
After what we have already stated, there can be no clearer fact in the history of modern Europe, than the constitutional independence of Hungary. Its present claims neither rest upon doubtful traditions, nor are buried in obscure and obsolete documents. Hungarian institutions are not merely title deeds, as old as the connexion of Hungary and Austria: but both in their spirit and their letter they have been solemnly recognised and renewed at every election or accession to the throne. There have been, indeed, in the interim, parties among the magnates as accessible to the baits of the Austrian cabinets, as our own Harleys and St. Johns were to the pensions of St. Germains; and there have been, on the part of the Hungarian people, suffering and selfsacrifice in defence of the Kaisar's throne. But the servility of the magnates was the crime or weakness of individuals or of a class : and the devotion of the people, while Prussian or French bayonets bristled on the frontier, became strenuous opposition, as often as the sovereign, unmindful of his coronation oath and solemn compacts, attempted to convert his constitutional kingdom into an Austrian dependency. Five times in the course of a single century (1606—1711), did the Hungarian people rise in defence of their constitution, and, of what was still dearer to them, their liberty of conscience. Their long struggles against misgovernment from Vienna present indeed many features in common with our own revolutions of 1640 and 1688. On the approach of foreign invasion they were as devoted to Kaisar as the cavaliers to Charles Stuart. In asserting their rights, they were as keen, vigilant, and unflinching as Pym, Hampden, and Somers.
The late Emperor, unsuited for his position by his imbecility and his scruples, was no sooner displaced, under, what in such cases is, the fiction of a resignation, than the veil was lifted up. His brother Francis Charles renounced. The nephew Francis Joseph, not twenty years of age, was immediately put on the throne, as if a constitutional throne were a mere matter of family arrangement. In the teeth of statute-law and historical warning, at a moment when the pillars of society were loosened, when within were fears' of anarchy and without were the gathering clouds and grim repose of Russian intervention, the councillors of the boy-emperor proposed at once to abolish Hungarian independence. The puppet of Stadion and Windischgrätz, he was instructed by his masters that Austrian Unity was imperfect so long as the laws and immunities, which his predecessors had sworn to maintain, were allowed to survive. Their destruction seemed an easy task to men whom experience could not teach and whom principle did not restrain. They tendered to their youthful sovereign the counsel of the ministers of Rehoboam. • To your tents, O Israel !' was the response of the Hungarians; but not until constitutional remonstrance had been exhausted, and after they had beheld their lands wasted by fire and sword.
It has been pretended that the recent concessions of the exemperor were extorted from him at a time when his freedom of action was suspended by revolutionary violence; and with equal falseness the Hungarians are supposed to have prejudiced their cause by fostering or joining in the disturbances at Vienna. In one sense, the extortion may be admitted; but it was to similar extortions, in not very dissimilar periods, that we owe the Great Charter, the Petition of Right, and the Declaration of Right. We can understand the validity of such a plea in the case of Charles I. while a prisoner at Hampton Court. He was excluded from his family, his advisers, his party, and his servants. His correspondence was intercepted, his studies, his recreations, and his very looks were jealously watched. But it has never been pretended that Ferdinand was in durance; or that the members of the Hungarian Diet, who came to Vienna, in March, 1848, had power to coerce or intimidate the sovereign in his own palace. If these “honourable members' possessed any supernatural influence, they must have exerted it in evoking the Kaisar from his palace, as ancient superstition imagined the gods might be evoked from Troy or Veii on the eve of their fall. For not many days after the arrival of these deputies, the emperor-king, accompanied by several members of his family and his court, repaired to Presburg to confirm these extorted laws; and, during his stay there, he received the Hungarian ministry and reviewed the national guards. The • imperial casuists,” says Count Teleki, have outstepped the • limits of absurdity. They condemn violence, and they still * consider legal the liberties which the Austrians conquered in • March, upon their barricades; and yet they condemn the laws of Hungary, voted peaceably by a deliberative assembly, and peaceably sanctioned by the Sovereign.' We think the Count might have stated the inconsistency in even stronger terms. The ex-emperor is represented as having been free to listen to the promptings of the re-actionists, free to annul institutions, and to violate his oath. But the moment he proceeds to confirm or enlarge a charter which recognised the ancient immunities of one portion of his subjects, and imparted civil and religious freedom to others, he is assumed to be under the incapacitation of restraint. The prospect of an integral union between the privileged and unprivileged classes of Hungary, justly alarmed the upholders of Austrian uniformity. It was a heavy blow and great discouragement to statesmen of the divide et impera school. The paternal government dreaded a united family. Therefore the emperor was in duress when he conceded - and a free agent when he recalled his concessions.
One concession, as regards Hungary at least, was illegal -- the concession of the Crown, without consultation or cognisance of the Diet, to one who is not the direct heir of the House of Hapsburg. The Hungarian constitution expressly declares that the
King cannot be discharged from the duties of sovereignty without the consent of the nation. And the Diet, as representing the nation, has the appointment of a regency, in case of the king's incompetence to discharge his functions. But it is no part of his functions to change the order of succession; and it is no proof of incompetence, we fear, whatever it may be of imperiousness, to perform an unconstitutional act. The Claudius resigns; the Agrippina of the day consummates her intrigues by procuring for her son a crown. But Francis Joseph, until his coronation at Presburg, is neither de jure nor de facto king of Hungary. He is at present, in the language of Hungarian law, a foreigner ;? and a mass of statutes enacts that no foreigner can take part in the administration of Hungary. Hereafter it
be advisable to cement the ancient union between Austria and Hungary in the person of a common sove
reign; but such reconcilement must be preceded by recognition of the compact which has conveyed to fourteen emperors the crown of Stephen.
As, however, it is a favourite plea with the Austrian cabinet and its partisans, that the concessions of 1848 were not only extorted from the emperor, but were also at variance with the spirit of the Hungarian constitution, and with the Pragmatic Sanction in particular, we will compare those concessions with the guarantees imposed upon Leopold II. in 1790 and accepted by his successor in 1792 ; and which, until recently, were the basis of the relations between Austria and Hungary.
The twenty-five articles of the · Diploma of Inauguration' in 1790, after generally affirming the independence of the crown, the laws, and the privileges of Hungary, proceed to decree, among other enactments, triennial convocation of the Diet, exclusion of foreigners — that is, of Austrians— from the government, and the residence of the emperor-king, during a portion of every year, in his Hungarian dominions. They declare that the king can neither make laws nor impose taxes without the consent of the Diet; and that royal proclamations, unless countersigned by one at least of the boards of the Hungarian government, are null and void.
There are many other details; but these alone are sufficient to show that the demands of the Hungarians in 1848 did not, as regards Austria at least, introduce any sudden or violent innovation into the federal relations between the two countries. It remains to be seen whether, in the interval of nearly sixty years (1790–1848), Austria fulfilled her portion of this compact, or Hungary has protested unreasonably and prematurely against her grievances.
This interval of more than half a century may be divided into two periods, - the first comprising the wars which followed the first French Revolution, and which ended in 1815; the second beginning from that date, and terminating with the present civil convulsions.
The former of these periods presents an exceptional, the latter a normal, aspect of Hungarian affairs. In the one the adage. silent leges inter arma — was once more exemplified; and the Hungarian nation was too much occupied with wars and rumours of wars to proceed regularly or zealously with constitutional or social reforms. Nay, the chivalrous nature of the people itself, and their loyalty to the Kaisar's throne, led them to submit to repeated and exorbitant demands for men and money, without exacting a corresponding redress of grievances. Francis I. — when the victories of Napoleon were shattering the unity of Austria- reminded the Diet of its response to Maria Theresa at a similar crisis; and, on each appeal, was met with equal devotion, if not with equal enthusiasm, even after the Hungarians were weary of a war in which they performed the giant's task and received the dwarf's reward. From 1796 to 1811 the Diets were convoked to grant supplies, and to be dismissed as soon as they spoke of grievances. For twenty years this unequal contest went on between a generous people and a prince who forgot nothing but his promises.
With the restoration of peace in 1815, a new era began for Hungary. In spite of wars, and levies, and bad government the kingdom had advanced in material prosperity; and it was expected that peace would afford leisure for carrying out the social and constitutional reforms, which the Commission of 1790 had recommended. But it was an era of brief promise and protracted disappointment. Austria, as a member of the Holy Alliance, was now more than ever determined to place Hungary upon the same footing with the Hereditary States. A court party was sedulously fostered in the country and the chambers; Austrian officers were put in command of Hungarian regiments; the bondage of the press was rigorously enforced; new shackles were imposed on trade; the currency was depreciated; for twelve years no Diet was summoned; and nearly every article of the constitution of 1790 was assailed by violence or evaded by intrigues. The arbitrary measures by which, in 1822 and 1823, the Austrian cabinet attempted to levy taxes and troops in Hungary, in express violation of the nineteenth article of Leopold II.'s · Diploma’ and of so many preceding charters, were arrested by the imposing attitude of the Diet in 1825. Francis I., upon this, retracted, apologised, and, by three additional articles, engaged to observe the fundamental laws of his Hungarian kingdom, to convoke the Diet at least triennially, and not to levy subsidies without its concurrence. From 1825 the movements of the Austrian government were less daring and more insidious. It tampered with elections, stimulated the hostile prejudices of the races, and augmented the number of its partisans in the Chamber or Table of the Magnates. Its success, however, in these arts was scarcely answerable to its diligence. The municipalities of Hungary, her county elections, and the temper of her country gentlemen opposed, in most cases, an effective barrier to the encroachments of absolutism. The nation needed only a strong impulse to complete its organisation ; and from the year 1827 dates that regular and active opposition which, under the title of the Hungarian party, withstood for twenty years (1827—1847) the assaults of despotic innovation, and is now supplying the