Imágenes de páginas


of Zemplin, in North Hungary. According / which Kossuth became "a dextrous and to Frey's account, he is not of true Magyar thoroughly accomplished notary,” bis diliblood; his father being described as gence was rewarded by an appointment that “Slovack noble,"* although so poor as to launched him at once into public life. Invit. depend for his subsistence on manual labor.ed by “several deputies," he proceeded to The family were Protestants; and it was to Presburg, then the seat of the Diet, to assist a minister of this religion, in an adjacent in reducing to legal form the business comvillage, that young Kossuth owed his first mitted to them by their constituencies. The education. The boy, we are told, attracted date of this engagement is not given; the pastor's notice when conversing with him, but it must have been some time-probably by showing “acute intelligence and a clear, three or four years—before 1835 ; nor are open understanding.” Of his early years we we told how the student became connected hear little that can be safely relied on. It is with the members who gave him this office. said, on the authority of “communications The fact itself, however, proves that Kossuth from some of his friends and comrades,” that while at the University must have made him. be “despised the company of the other self already known beyond its lecture-rooms children of the village," "and loved to spend as a youth of capacity and promise, through his hours in solitary musings on the banks of some relations not quite consistent with the the murmuring Ondawa." However this recluse life described by the writer of the may have been, such dreams could not have memoir. The emoluments of his charge “at lasted long. His teacher was called away once secured him the means of prosecuting to a distant cure; both his parents were his favorite studies with sufficient leisure; carried off by a pestilence that ravaged the while at the same time the business intrusted country; and the orphan boy had to seek his to him and the correspondence belonging to further support from some distant relatives. it were carried on with the utmost punctuality By their means he was placed in the Gym- and diligence.

* From this employment nasium of a neighboring town; where, we Kossuth derived a two-fold advantage :-he are told, he devoted himself with ardor and became, in the first place, known and trusted :success to studies, particularly of history, by the people, through his charge of preparand of this to the Hungarian beyond all ing the reports rendered by the deputies to others. The pride of his teachers, the first their constituents,—and in the second place, in his class, he neglected the sports of his age he acquired in it a thorough acquaintance for solitary researches into the past; but with the different parties in the sovereign when with his schoolmates, he gave early Diet of Hungary." proof of the eloquence which was one day to In this post, while satisfying his patrons, he echo throughout an entire nation. In 1826, rapidly gained the acquaintance and contiKossuth, eighteen years old, "feeling himself dence of other members. This appears from already big and strong enough to maintain the new employment in which we find him himself," left school for the University of engaged not long after his arrival at Presburg, Pesth. In “the excesses for which the The usual newspapers being forbidden to Magyar students were notorious” he took no print the transactions of the Diet in detail, part, -but labored hard at his chosen study the opposition members effected their publiof law; his leisure being still given to the cation to a certain extent by getting written favorite pursuit of history,—which now led reports lithographed; and these copies, cirhim to investigate the political constitutions culated as private letters, escaped the mutiof Europe, especially of France and of Eng- lation of the censor. It was now determined land. His subsistence the while was pro- to give to this private news-letter all the feabably earned by assisting richer students. tures of a regular journal, in which the busiIn oppressive poverty," says Frey, “in the ness of the Assembly should be not only reseverest need, Kossuth passed the fairest ported, but commented upon: and Kossuth season of his life.” It was no bad training was chosen for its editor.

“ With a courafor the future leader of a nation to have been, geous freedom of tone unheard until now, however sternly, laught in the first place to Kossuth discussed the proceedings (of the control himself.

Diet); and the opposition was delighted to After some years of this discipline, during have at length obtained an organ through

which its principles might be advocated in

the The Slovacks, of whom it is said there are up

presence of the entire nation." The Gor. ward of 2,000,000 chiefly in the north-east of Hun ernment of course “attempted as often as gary are of Slavonian origin.

possible to confiscate this journal ; maintain


ing that lithographed as well as printed works, citement. The Government, it is said, albelonged to the province of the press, and ways unable to prevent the return of liberals were equally liable to the censorship.” Af- in that quarter, hoped to procure at least the ter January, 1835, it was repeatedly seized, election of some one less formidable than in spite of the protests of the opposition ; but Kossuth had now become, by his " fiery imit still continued to appear, and found its way petuosity, the passionate glow of bis eloto every corner of the land, until the coup quence, and his unbounded influence with d'état of February the 6th,—when the Arch- the people.” The latter, it is said, compelled duke suddenly closed the Diet, and the Gov- the opposition to put him forward, at a time ernment seemed resolved to quell the spirit when that party still hesitated at naming a of opposition by severe and arbitrary meas- candidate peculiarly obnoxious to the ruling

Kossuth —who on the close of the powers. One would like to know something Diet had established a new journal, intended more of the process by which the humbly to report the proceedings in the local (county) born orator had thus early grown to be a faassemblies-came at once into collision with vorite of the people and a terror to its govthe royal authorities: and having disobeyed ernors. On this point, again, the memoir their mandate to cease the publication—in says nothing ; but we may conjecture that reliance on a renewed authority from the the influence first gained by his pen was afcommittee of the county of Pesth,-he was terward heightened by frequent public use “seized by soldiers in the night, and thrown of his powers as a speaker on topics of into a deep gloomy dungeon in the citadel popular interest. The manner of his reof Ofen.” To the severity of his treatment turn for the district of the capital at all events here is ascribed not only the ill health which leaves no doubt as to the position which he we find often afflicting him at a later stage of had now reached in the public eye, as one of his career, but also that vow of “ hatred and the foremost hopes of the liberal or national revenge sworn against the House of Haps- party. Kossuth, now in the flower of his burg, to the fulillment of which the whole age (41), at once took a commanding place of his subsequent life,” says Frey,“ has been among the opposition members of the Diet. devoted.” After an imprisonment of “more “Of this party Prince Louis Batthyany was than two years,” (again we are left to guess the leader, and its orator was Kossuth.” the date—which may have been between Early in 1848 the outbreak of the French 1838 and 1839,) he was liberated “at the Revolution gave the liberals new vigor. It close of the Diet, in one of those amnesties was from Kossuth's lips that the utterance of by which the Government fancies it may win their hopes and resolutions first electrified the favor of the people.” Hereupon, Kos- the Diet; and it is said that the arrival of the suth immediately connected himself with report of this speech at Vienna gave the sigthe most determined democrats of Hunga- nal to the popular outbreak in that city :-it ry.” The fruit of this union was the estab- is reported in the volume before us. We lishment of the Pesth Journal (Pesti Hirlap), have admired its eloquence, and what in Eng—which Frey says he edited“ as the organ land would be termed the “parliamentary of the radical party.” The newspaper" soon tact” with which on a dry financial subject obtained an immense circulation,”—and con- —a question touching the credit of the Huntinued in high repute so long as it was con- garian Bank—the whole aspirations and deducted by Kossuth ; who, however, resigned mands of the national party are brought into the editorship to other hands some time be the foreground by the orator.

On this ocfore the year 1845,—when we find him as a casion, and indeed throughout the whole speaker in the local assembly of Pesth, de- memoir, the historic eye will be struck with claiming in person against the unconstitutional evidences of a change in the nature of the system of the Government. Throughout the levers that now raise or depress the political two following years we may suppose that fortunes of Europe. New influences, it is Kossuth continued to distinguish himself as clear, are gradually usurping the once decia popular orator in these assemblies, and on sive authority of the sword. In this commosuch other occasions as presented themselves. | tion of Hungary—the land par excellence of The memoir is silent respecting this interval ; warlike impulses-we find the prominence of and the next notice of Kossuth which it af- relation and powers that can take root only fords is the important fact of his election in in peace continually brought to notice. Mat1847 as one of the two (opposition) deputies ters affecting credit, commerce and finance returned to the Diet for the county of Pesth, are seen to be quite as important as the mounder circumstances of more than usual ex- tions of armies in the field. They figure among the prime objects to be secured : and family since the battle of Mohacz in 1526, with some of these weapons a warfare has has always remained an independent monbeen waged between Austria and Hungary archy, - possessing its own constitution, not less formidable in effect on the state of which each succeeding king has been reboth combatants than the shock of hostile quired to ratify by a solemn oath at his troops. The Magyars' armed resistance has coronation. It has been alleged that until been roused by a leader whose panoply is not recent times the influence of Vienna tended the soldier's. Everything, in short, even in on the whole toward improvements in the this struggle, the issue of which must depend state of the nation at large; while the nobles, for the moment on the trial of military pow- to whom the constitution gave the chief ers, evinces the tendency of such forces, once power, resisted these as invasive of their supreme in determining the fortunes of war, special privileges. For the last thirty years, to fall into a secondary position hereafter. however, while a more popular element has

From the period at which we have now evidently been growing up, as well among arrived, the personal career of Kossuth is the aristocracy as by the formation in the merged in the fortunes of his country. Before towns of something like a middle class-inproceeding to seize some features of these, creasing grounds of complaints against Ausone may note that Kossuth, when raised to tria have been supplied by the system of the office as we shall presently see him in the Metternich cabinet in the government of this Ministry of Finance, came forward at the kingdom-which, although avoiding any same time as the editor of a newspaper bear- open breach of its independence, had the ing his own name (Kossuth Hirlapja); in effect of reducing it in reality to the condition which, during an interval of suspense, while of a mere province of the Empire. The imthe minister often found it needful to tem- position on Hungary of the Austrian comporize in act or to speak with courtly reserve, mercial system has long been one serious the journalist indulged himself in a bold ex- grievance of the kind against which the pression of his personal opinions and wishes, Hungarians have vainly protested; others with a combination of parts—both equally were the refusal of a special government avowed by the actor--which may be de- wholly residing at Pesth, -and the supreme scribed as without a precedent in the polit- direction of the affairs of the nation at Vienna, ical drama. A word on Kossuth's personal thus virtually excluding natives from the appearance, as we find it portrayed in the chief offices, and tending to give the whole frontispiece to Frey's memoir, will not be civil administration a foreign character. In unwelcome. The features, strongly marked short, the Hungarians charged Austria with and masculine, are decidedly handsome; the an obstinate refusal to comply with their form of the countenance is oval; a wide fore- just and moderate demands for various head and large quick eyes, under a brow liberal measures and necessary reforms; in gently arched, give the face an expression refusing which, they alleged, the spirit of the highly intellectual; the mouth is small,--and constitution was willfully suppressed, with the lips, slightly parted, bespeak an eager a view to the ultimate destruction of the intemperament. The nose, massive and aqui- dependence of the nation ; and they naturally line, springs boldly from between the eyes, seized on an occasion that favored the attainand is defined at its base by muscular outlines ment of hopes long deferred. which, with the moulding of the chin, imparts They no sooner heard of the Vienna revolt, a certain tone of firmness to features that which closely followed the French Revowould otherwise seem to promise more lution in February, 1848, than they hastened vivacity than resolution. The face altogether thither to take part in the movement. is not unworthy of a distinguished character; Kossuth-whose Presburg speech, we have and an air of individuality in the portrait in- seen, gave the first spark to the explosionduces us to place more reliance on its truth* was one of a numerous body of Magyars than we can afford to some of the written which a fleet of steamers poured into Vienna sketches in this volume.

on the 15th of March ; was rapturously Hungary, although its crown has been welcomed by the populace,--and immediately worn by successive members of the Austrian made himself conspicuous by haranguing the

citizens, imploring them “not to trust too * Our description, it will be seen, cannot apply to readily to the promises of a Court." The the ugly lithographed portrait of Kossuth now exhibited in the shop windows: which we hope is no

Emperor, already terrified by the outbreak of better than a caricature of the features of the “ De his Austrian subjects, at once conceded the fender."

demands laid before him by the Hungarian

deputation. " These were :--1. The for- On this chapter Frey's testimony, as ab mation of a special Hungarian ministry, hoste, may be quoted with some confidence. charged with both the external and internal interests of the nation, its industry, and its independent ministry, the bonds that tied the

"Since the time when Hungary had extorted finances, and with the execution of the Austrian monarchy together had become so fragile decrees of the National Assembly-or, in that the slightest touch, the least breath, threatenother words, an independent legislative ed to dissolve them. Hungary by that act had and administrative Hungarian Government. torn herself loose from the combination forned by 2. The transfer to Hungary of the adminis- the other (Austrian) states; and thereby had tration of the military frontier, hitherto in- made enemies not only of the many champions of trusted to the Aulič Council of War at the major part of the non-Magyar population of

the integrity of the Austrian dynasty, but also of Vienna."

Hungary, and of the Slavonic people of her apOn the return of the Hungarians to Pres- purtenant provinces. No wonder, then, that the burg, with the royal assent to these con- Slavonic population should have been filled with ditions, the Diet was dissolved. A new one, anxiety and apprehension, while Hungary by convened at Pesth on the 4th of July, in degrees proceeded to transform itself into a specific stalled a national ministry framed in virtue of Magyar State, since, by this change, they must the late concession. It was composed of

have seen their own nationality menaced. It is nine of the chief members of the liberal steps which made these apprehensions seem not ill

true that the Hungarian Ministry at first did take party. Its president was the same Louis founded. * * The notion of the Ministry was Batthyany already described as the head of that it could make all the Hungarians one united the opposition ;* and Kossuth was in the list people by Magyarizing them. To this end, the as Minister of Finance. "The new ministry,” | Latin language, hitherto employed in all official we read, was the flower of the intellect business, was abolished, and the Hungarian introof the Diet :”—“its soul was the Finance duced, not only in the courts of justice, but in the

schools and the Diet. This proceeding excited Minister, Kossuth.”

hate and bitterness in nearly all the Slavonic inAlthough the nation had thus nominally habitants of Hungary,—who seized on this as a gained its long-desired object, it soon appear- pretext to conceal their plans inimical to liberty ed that the difficulties inherent in its connec- under the show of alarm for their nationality.” tion with Austria were by no means solved by this victory. Others, raised by the same

The line of conduct which thus provoked spirit of popular self-assertion that had won reaction even in Hungary Proper, was not their cause, arose within the limits of the likely to be more acceptable to her Slavonic kingdom itself. The Magyar race is not the dependencies. Revolt soon broke out on the sole population of Hungary Proper.

We Theiss and Lower Danube. At the head of have already spoken of the number of Slo- the Croats stood the Ban Jellachich; and it vacks in the north-eastern region. In the is mainly to the consequences of their moveprovinces annexed to the kingdom, including ment-which the Austrian Emperor at first Slavonia, Croatia, Transylvania, Dalmatia, affected to discountenance as a revolt, but and the military frontier, the mass of the which the Court always secretly and afterpeople is Slavonian. The Magyar proportion ward openly encouraged that the total realtogether is rated at five millions out of an jection of the Hapsburg dynasty by Hunentire population of twelve. In the king gary is to be ascribed. This view of the dom of Croatia, especially, motions of so- question will not be found in Frey's memoir. called Panslavism had long troubled its But it appears, we think, clearly enough in relations with Hungary,-on questions of the all the facts which are here supplied by auofficial language, of education, finance, &c. thentic documents. The position of the latter, indeed, toward The National Assembly, we

are told, the Croats was

not very unlike that of mainly consisted of three parties :- 1st. A Austria toward the Magyars. In both cases section of the aristocracy (Magnates), liberal the supremacy claimed was obnoxious to its on the whole, but firmly attached to the objects,-in both the desired end was na

Austrian connection ; 2nd. A middle party, tional independence. The Slavonians now including the new Ministry, whose watchthought the time ripe for enforcing their word was the entire independence of a free claims also; while the new Hungarian Hungary,—if possible, under an Austrian Government showed a disposition rather to King, if not under some other sovereign or encroach than to concede.

form of sovereignty; 3rd. An extreme radi

cal or revolutionary party, represented by * Now a prisoner in the hands of the Austrians. some thirty members, the latter almost

wholly belonging to the Lower Chamber (or home rejoicing at the issue of an Imperial table, as it is called).

manifest, addressed to the “ Croats and SlaThe second and third of these parties soon vonians,”—denouncing the motions of Jelcame into collision,-on the question of the lachich as treasonous, warmly insisting on Hungarian troops serving in Italy, as the the rights of Hungary, and warning the Sla“ radicals” complained, against popular free. vonic and Croatian provinces to rebel no dom. The Ministers were not prepared on longer against her supremacy. But the this point to deny to the King what he was proclamation was disregarded ; and the Emconstitutionally entitled to command : and we peror's subsequent contradiction by positive find Kossuth emphatically pleading against acts of every word which he had said in it the demand for the recall of these troops; constitutes the fatal breach of faith on which nay, promising on certain conditions to urge the Hungarian nation justify their rejection the Diet to further reinforcements,—a pro-, of the House of Hapsburg. The July events ceeding that the editor finds it hard to rec- | in Vienna completed the rupture between the oncile with the thorough-going revolutionary Slavonian and Magyar parties. The final character or the avowed hatred to Austria defeat of Charles Albert was known there which he loves to assign to his hero. He early in August; and shortly afterward the explains his conduct as a feint to gain time so-called counter-revolution began. One for a complete Hungarian revolt; and im- mainspring of this, it soon became evident, putes to Kossuth an extreme of dissimula- was to be a Croatian army, raised and led by tion hardly reconcilable with “fiery impet- Jellachich. The difficulties of the Ministry uosity," in order to relieve him from the at Pesth-whether still desirous, or merely charge of willingness to subserve the ends of thinking it still expedient, to remain loyal to Austria in other quarters provided she would an Austrain King-daily increased. We frankly leave the Hungarians to govern them have already mentioned the war of finance selves—and, it may be added, would assist measures,—the reciprocal denunciations of them to put down the Slavonian rebellion.' Pesth and Vienna bank-notes-between the This soon grew to be the most serious mat- respective Ministries. In the cabinet of Viter they had to deal with. The ultra views enna the luckless Latour now began openly of Magyars and Slavonians were seen to be to foster insurrection in Hungary :-arms, irreconcilable. The Austrian Court, when cannon, and ammunition were supplied to appealed to by the former, professed its de- the Slavonian levies from Austrian arsenals. sire to support Hungary against the “rebels” The state of things grew worse until Septemon the Lower Danube ; and when Ban Jel- ber ;—when a last solemn mission was orlachich evaded the mandates from Vienna, dered to repair to Vienna, to protest against actually proclaimed him a traitor. But it its continuance, to obtain a definite answer was soon apparent that this was a mere pre- from the Emperor on the menacing preparatence of anger. The Emperor was power- tions of Jellachich, and to entreat him to reless in the hands of his “Camarilla." Its pair in person to his Hungarian kingdom. head, the Archduchess Sophia—described in The deputation was received with sullen rethese pages as “a Messalina,” who had en- In reply to the firm and ample stateslaved the Ban by her blandishments—had ment of their grievances, the Emperor read chosen this leader to restore the cause of a brief and evasive reply; while the courAbsolutism by the aid of the Slavonians; tiers, it is said, scarcely affected to conceal and advantage was eagerly taken of the um- air of contempt and triumph. The depbrage unwisely given by the Ministry at uties returned “with a red flag hoisted on Pesth to enlist the provinces on the Austrian the steamer” that bore them homeward. side. The alliance, at first secretly suspect- From Vienna they saw there was nothing to ed, was in time overtly proclaimed ; and the hope :—the independence of Hungary must civil war of races, which had been raging on thenceforth rest on the issues of war. On the frontier since the month of June, there the same day that the deputies reached Presupon virtually became one between the old burg (the 9th of September, 1848) “ Jelladespotism of Vienna and Magyar independchich crossed the Drave with an army of ence. The conflict grew more bloody and the 18,000 regular troops and a horde of Servian position of affairs more critical when Austria and Croatian robbers, 26,000 strong, -and, began to triumph in Italy. The Emperor, in the robber's fashion, without any previous indeed, while at his refuge in Innspruck, had declaration of war, in defiance of all national promised everything to a deputation from law, pressed on toward the heart of Hunthe Hungarian Assembly; and sent them gary.'


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