« AnteriorContinuar »
what he sees and hears. A more pleasant, instructive, and trustworthy traveller it has rarely been our good fortune to meet, or one whose accounts of the countries through which he has passed are more interesting or more important. We see and learn more of them in his pages than we could by visiting them ourselves, for he always seizes the right point of view, and shows you the precise things a Catholic traveller onght to see and become acquainted with.
The Abbot Mislin set out from Vienna on his pilgrimage to the Holy Places on the 24th of June, 1848, after the first red-republican revolution in that city, and just before the open revolt of Kossuth and the Magyars. His position at the court of Austria gave him a good opportunity of understanding the character and purposes of each, and his candor, independence, and obvious good faith render his statements worthy of all confidence. He loves Austria, indeed, and is strongly attached to the imperial family, but he is no blind idolater of Austrian policy, and though far from sympathizing with the false liberalisin of the age, he comments with great freedom on the acts of the imperial government. He is no enemy to Austria, but he is no flatterer of the Austrian government, which, though not censurable under the relations alleged by the revolutionists, had many and great faults, which no lover of freedom and Catholicity can palliate or disguise. The imperial family were pious and well disposed, but the administration was almost wholly in the hands of the enemies of the church. Happily, however, the government was forced by the rude shocks it received to recognize its errors, and the present einperor has already done much, and we trust he will do still more, to correct them. Even as a matter of sound policy, he should leave the church free, for it is only through her freedom and independence of the state that government, or even society, is practicable in any part of Christendom. The attempt to maintain society on atheistical principles, by chaining up the church, disparaging the clergy, ridiculing religion, and directing attention solely to worldly interests, roast beef and plumpudding, has signally failed, and we hope it will be long before a new crop of fools will be produced to renew it.
From Vienna the author passed through Hungary. As he visits Presburgh, the ancient capital of Hungary, the author makes some reflections and offers some details not without interest. The Hungarian revolution has not yet broken out, but it is on the eve of its explosion. The author sees clearly what is coming, and gives a brief and trustworthy account of the causes and nature of the struggle which was then prepared. He fully confirms the view which has been uniformly taken in this journal of the Hungarians and of their late rebellion against Austria.
“A few years ago I assisted at one of those turbulent Hungarian diets which preluded the present tempest. After a stormy session of the chamber of deputies, in which I had seen the Austrian government furiously attacked without hearing a single voice raised in its defence, save the official and almost indifferent voice of the president, I observed to the president, that it was impossible for an edifice to remain a long time standing which everybody conspired to demolish. “The Hungarians' (Magyars), he replied, “are ardent, vivacious, high-spirited, clamorous, and fond of opposition in-phrases. It is necessary to let them throw off their excess of fire and eloquence. My predecessor, who took every thing literally, died in endeavoring to restrain them, but I, who know them, leave them to act and speak in their own way. Whatever they may do or say, they are sincerely attached to their king, and let there come a real danger for the state, they will be its most courageous defenders.' The president left me very little convinced by his obser. vation.
“I love the Hungarians for their open and chivalric character. They are religious, brave, hospitable, prepossessing to strangers. When I first presented myself in the chamber of magnates, I knew nobody; a simple priest, I was at once received as a brother by many prelates and bishops, who came to meet me, and with whom I have remained ever since tenderly united. More lately I have obtained rank among the Hungarian clergy, who had for a long time opened to me both their arms and their hearts. But this year, 1848, the Hungarians have forgotten the recollections of 1741; they have forgotten that chivalric cry of loyalty and enthusiasm, Moriamur pro rege nostre Maria Theresia, which had remained as the symbol of their national character. It is true, Joseph II. but ill repaid the devotedness of this people; but, strange as it may seem, he is the idol of the revolutionary party. If he struck the people, he struck the church still harder, and the Brother Sacristan of Frederic the Great nas obtained the pardon of the sovereign who imposed on Hungary the German language, and carried away from Presburg the crown of St. Stephen.
“ A violent reaction has manifested itself in the late diets, not only against the German language, but also against the Latin, which was the language of public affairs; and they have substituted the Hungarian or Magyar language in its stead. In Europe generally this victory is regarded as the triumph of the liberal party; but it was in fact only the self-styled victory of a turbulent minority over the Catholic clergy and the Austrian government. This, however, is enough to render it popular with foreigners.
“ In Hungary, in a population of twelve millions and a half. there are not less than fifteen or sixteen distinct nationalities, each for the most part with a different language of its own. The Hungarians, or rather the Magyars, form only about one-third of the whole population. How embarrassing for a government to make itself understood in this tower of Babel! Usage had introduced the Latin. The Latin of Hungary had long been the subject of the railleries of those who did not know it; but, without being as pure as that of Cicero, it had the advantage of not being the idiom of the Illyrians, the Magyars, the Croats, the Wallachians, or the Saxons, and of being understood by all the nations of the earth. In the United States as in France, in England as in Germany, they can use a passport, or any other document, written in Latin; but if written in Hungarian, it would be as unintelligible as if written in Chinese or Sapscrit.
“In a political point of view, the triumph of the Magyar language has been, therefore, an act of oppression, and the liberals who committed it were so intolerant, as to wish to oblige the Croatian deputies present at the diet forth with to speak a language which they did not know. Through the intervention of the Austrian government, the Hungarian diet granted to Croatia the interval of two diets to provide herself with a language. Yet this decision did not prevent the Magyar liberals from hissing her deputies, as often as they attempted to avail themselves of this respite to defend the interests of their country in Latin.
“I insist on this fact, because it has been, not in itself, but in the tendencies it betrayed, the first cause of the misunderstanding between the Croats and the Magyars, and of the war which is on the point of breaking out between them. The triumph of the Magyar language in the parliament was a new irruption of the Magyars into Pannonia, the subjection of fifteen nationalities to one alone, or of eight millions of people of other races to four and a half millions of Magyars.
“The revolution in Vienna, last March, was hardly known at Presburg, before on the one hand the Hungarians attempted their separation from the empire, and on the other sought to incorporate with Hungary proper Croatia, Sclavonia, and Transylvania, so as to have a compact kingdom of fifteen millions of inhabitants. The diet, the ministry, the palatine, that is to say, the three constitutional powers, took the road to Pesth, under the direction of Kossuth, who soon absorbed them all, and summoned the Sclaves to unite with them. The Croats, with their Ban Jellachich at their head, who had heard it said that the revolution of Vienna was made in favor of all the nationalities of the empire, and therefore in favor of their own, declared that they would be to the Hungarians what the Hungarians wished to be to the Austrians, that is to say, independent, holding immediately from the crown alone.
“The Magyars take up arms to subject the Croats, and the Croats take up arms to defend themselves against the Magyars. Here are the two nations in face of each other, or, I prefer to say, two men, Kossuth and Jellachich, so completely is each identified with the cause he defends. The one, Kossuth, is an eloquent rhetorician, able to stir up the masses as the tempest stirs up the waves of the ocean; the other, Jellachich, a soldier, loyal and intrepid, electrifies an entire people, rude indeed, but brave and devout. The one fascinates by his discourses, the other by his example; the one is nourished by the discourses of the old French convention, which he admires, the other by the history of his country, which he loves; the one glorifies revolutions, the other glorifies liberty.”—pp. 21-24.
Wecommend this parallel between Kossuth and Jellachich to the admirers of the former. No one questions that Kossuth is a distinguished revolutionary orator, and in that sort of eloquence—the lowest in the scale and the easiest to be attained to—which is adapted to rouse up the evil passions, and stimulate the natural insubordination of an unreasoning and unscrupulous multitude, he stands preëminent. But of the lofty character of a true patriot, of a real lover of liberty, or of a wise and prudent statesman, he has as yet given us. no indication. His speeches in this country tire by their repetitions, and disgust by their egotism. His credit is every day diminishing, and if he ever leaves this country it will be as a small man in comparison with what he was esteemed when he first set his foot on our shores. He is far inferior, in all the qualities that fit him to be a leader of a revolutionary movement, to Joseph Mazzini, and can fill only a subordinate place under him. Our people have shown their usual bad taste in attempting to make him the object of their hero-worship. They love liberty, and delight to honor it in its representative, and for this we honor them. But in Kossuth they have selected a second-rate revolutionist,—a sort of Camille Desmoulins, or rather a Robespierre without Robespierre's incorruptibility in money matters, not the representative either of liberty or of a noble struggle in behalf of national independence. The Magyars were the oppressors, not the oppressed, and while they were seeking to render themselves independent of the empire, they were fighting to keep eight millions of Hungarians of other races in subjection to themselves. It was the Croats who were fighting for liberty, and who were the real champions of freedom. He who deserves our sympathies and honors is not Kossuth, but their noble chief, the Ban Jellachich. He loved his country and liberty, and knew how to defend both, and he deserves to have his name placed high on the list headed by our own Washington.
What we have cited was written in the month of June, 1848, after the revolution in Vienna, and before the outbreak of hostilities between Hungary and Austria, but by one who saw clearly what was to be expected, and fully comprehended the causes which were at work to ruin the Austrian empire. Since then, Austria, who appeared to us at that time utterly prostrate, whose empire we thought must be dissolved, and the German provinces be united to a new German empire embracing all Germany, the Italian be absorbed in an independent federative Italy, and the Sclavonic be in part merged in a new and independent kingdom of Poland, and in part incorporated with the Magyars, forming an independent and powerful kingdom of Hungary, -since then, we say, Austria has suppressed the revolt in Italy, put down the revolution in her hereditary states, and reduced the Magyars to submission. This has disappointed and enraged the revolutionists, for Austria was the key-stone of the old European edifice, and it was only by her destruction that it could be demolished.
Threatened with red-republicanism within, with continued revolt in her provinces, and having to oppose, not only her own rebellious subjects, but the combined power of the whole revolutions ry party of the continent, Great Britain, and the United States, Austria called upon Russia to assist her in putting down the rebellion in Hungary. Russia complied with her request, and the Magyars were finally defeated and reduced by the combined forces of Austria and Russia.
This assistance granted by Russia to Austria has been represented by the defeated revolutionists, Great Britain, and the United States, as an unauthorized and criminal intervention in the domestic affairs of independent nations, and the revolutionary ex-Governor Kossuth, liberated from a Turkish prison through the intervention of Lord Palmerston and Mr. Webster, calls upon us to give him material aid in reviving the suppressed revolution, and to unite with Great Britain and intervene so far as to prevent Russia from again intervening. He made the same demand of England, and found many of the English people ready to respond to it-in their toasts. This demand is the burden of all his speeches here, and their name is legion. Our government, if we may judge from the president's late message, was at first inclined to favor his revolutionary projects, and even to comply with his demand. Many of our citizens have