Imágenes de páginas

that the constitution of Hungary could never be free from the eternal machinations of the Austrian cabinet until constitutional government was established in the foreign possessions of the crown, so as to restore the legal status of the period at which the Diet freely conferred the royalty on the house of Hapsburg. This vote paralyzed the Austrian authorities. Vienna rose against Metternich, and a revolution took place there. A constitution and a national guard were enacted. The Hungarian Diet immediately claimed for itself also a responsible ministry. This was granted without delay, and Count Louis Batthyany was made premier. But on the very same day, March 15, Jellachich was appointed Ban of Croatia. In a letter to Vienna, dated March 24, 1848, the Archduke Stephen, Viceroy of Hungary, is found to have suggested three modes of destroying the Hungarian constitution: either to excite the peasants against the nobles, as in Gallicia, and stand by while the parties slaughter each other; or to tamper with Batthyany's honesty; or to invade and overpower Hungary by military force. A transcript of this letter, in the Archduke's handwriting, was afterward found among his papers when he fled from Pesth, and was officially published, with all the necessary verifications. The Austrians have not dared to disown it. Before March ended a deputation of all the leading members of both houses from Hungary appeared in Vienna, carrying to the King their unanimous claim that he would consent to various bills. In these the greatest constitutional change was the restoration of the old union between the Diets of Hungary and of Transylvania. But socially the most important laws were the equalizing of all classes and creeds, and the noble enactment which converted the peasants into freeholders of the soil, quit of all the old feudal burdens. This bill had passed both the houses by Feb. 4, 1848, before the French Revolution had broken out; so little had that great event to do with the reforming efforts of the Hungarians. The Austrian cabinet, seeing their overwhelming unanimity, felt that resistance was impossible. Accordingly, Ferdinand proceeded with the Court to Presburg, and ratified the laws by oath. This is the reform of April 11, 1848, which all patriotic Hungarians fondly looked upon as their charter of constitutional rights, opening to them the promise of a career in which they should emulate Great Britain, as a pattern of a united, legal, tolerant, free, and loyal country.

VI. Croatia is a province of the Hungarian Crown; and there Jellachich, as Governor, openly organized revolt against Hungary, by military terrorism, and by promising Slavonic supremacy. On Batthyany's urgency, King Ferdinand declared Jellachich a rebel, and exhorted the Diet to raise an army against him; but always avoided finally to sanction their bills. Meanwhile Radetzky defeated Charles Albert. Jellachich dropped the mask of Croatianism, and announced to Batthyany that there should be no peace until a ministry at Vienna ruled over Hungary. In September, as the King would neither allow troops to be raised in Hungary, nor the Hungarian regiments to be recalled from Italy for home defence, a Hungarian deputation was sent to the Austrian Diet; but it was denied admittance by aid of the Slavonic party. To catch stray votes (it seems), Latour, Austrian Minister at War, in the Diet, Sept. 2d, solemnly disavowed any connection with Jellachich's movement; yet, on Sept. 4th, a royal ordinance (officially published in Croatia only,) reinstated Jellachich in all his dignities; who, soon after, crossed the Drave to invade Hungary, with a well-appointed army 65,000 strong. As he openly showed the King's commission, Batthyany resigned, Sept. 9th, since he did not know how to act by the King's command against the King's command. No successor was appointed; and the Hungarian Diet had no choice but to form a committee of safety. To embarrass them in this, the King reopened negotiation with Batthyany, Sept. 14th, but still eluded any practical result by refusing to put down Jellachich. Meanwhile, Sept. 16th, dispatches were intercepted, in which Jellachich thanked Latour for supplies of money and material of war. The Hungarian Diet published them officially, and distributed them by thousands. But Hungary was still unarmed, and Jellachich was burning, plundering, slaughtering. September 25th, Lamberg was sent to Pesth, in the illegal character of Imperial Commissary of Hungary, but was immediately murdered by the rage of the populace. Masses of volunteers were assembled by the eloquence of Kossuth, which, with the aid of only 3,000 regular troops, met and repulsed Jellachich at Sukoro, Sept. 29th, and chased him out of their country. But Latour was far too deep in guilt to recede. A royal rescript of October 3rd, dissolved the Hungarian Diet, forbade all municipal action, superseded the judicial tribunals, declared Hungary under martial law, and appointed Jellachich civil

and military governor of that country, with | Archduchess and Cabinet seemed to have discretionary power of life and death, and triumphed. an expressly unlimited despotism. It likewise distinctly announced the determination of the Crown to incorporate Hungary into Austria. Troops from Vienna were publicly ordered by Latour (Oct. 6th) to march against the Hungarians. This order, coupled with alarm inspired by the approach of Jellachich (whose defeat was kept secret), led to the émeute in Vienna, in which Latour was murdered, a murder which was made a pretext for bombarding Vienna, and destroying the newly-sanctioned constitution. Windischgrätz, the agent in this work, joined his forces to those of Auersperg, who meanwhile had sheltered Jellachich.

At all this the Hungarians were so infuriated that, after deposing the generals (who were believed traitorously to have allowed Jellachich to escape), with inferior artillery, and with forces not half of the Austrians, who were 75,050 strong besides their reserves, they fought and lost the battle of Schwechat, Oct. 30th. This was the first and last battle fought by the Hungarians on Austrian soil, fought only against those who were protecting a ruthless enemy, who had desolated Hungary by countless outrages; yet this is trumpeted by the Austrians as Hungarian aggression. Jellachich (Nov. 2d) entered Vienna in triumph, and was entrusted with a great army in the course of the whole war that followed.

VII. The Cabinet now tried to obtain from Ferdinand a direct permission to carry into detail the receipt of Oct. 3rd, and seize Hungary by right of conquest. But as Ferdinand began to be troubled with religious scruples, they resolved to depose him, and put his nephew on the throne-a youth of eighteen, educated by the Jesuits, and accustomed to obey his mother the Archduchess Sophia, who was so identified by the Viennese with the Cabinet as to be cailed the Lady Camarilla.

By intrigue of some sort they induced the half-witted Emperor to sign the act of his own abdication, and at once seated Francis Joseph in his place, who, not having taken the coronation oath, might be assured by his directors that he committed no wrong in invading the laws and constitution of Hungary! An Austrian army marched into the country, and in the course of January and February overran and occupied it as far as the Theiss eastward and as high as the Morosch northward the Russians meanwhile penetrated into Transylvania. The usurpation of the

VIII. On March 4, 1849, Count Stadion published his new constitution for fusing down Hungary into a part of the Austrian empire. If previously Hungary had been under Russian despotism, this constitution would have seemed highly liberal, and from an Austrian point of view such it was; but to the Hungarians it was an intolerable slavery. First, it virtually annihilated their municipalities, and subjected their police to Vienna. Next, it would have enabled the Austrian cabinet to put in Austrian civil and military officers everywhere in Hungary—an innovation as odious to the Hungarians as would French police magistrates, excisemen, overseers, colonels and lord lieutenants, be to the English nation. Thirdly, it swamped their parliament among a host of foreigners, ignorant of Hungary and its wants, and incapable of legislating well for it. Fourthly, it was enacted without the pretence of law, by the mere stroke of Count Stadion's pen. If the Hungarian constitution fourteen times solemnly sworn to by kings of the House of Hapsburg, was to be thus violated, what possible security could the nation have for this newfangled constitution of Stadion, if it were ever so good in itself?

On reviewing the constitutional question, it was clear to the Hungarians, first, that Ferdinand had no legal power to abdicate without leave of the Diet, which leave it was impossible to grant, since, in the course of nature, Ferdinand might yet have direct heirs; secondly, that if he became incapacitated, it was the right of the Diet to appoint a regent; thirdly, that if Ferdinand had died, Francis Joseph was not the heir to the Hungarian crown, but his father, Ferdinand's brother; fourthly, that allegiance is .not fully due to the true heir until he has been crowned; fifthly, that if Francis Joseph had been ever so much the true heir, and had been ever so lawfully crowned, the ordinances would be a breach of his oath, essentially null and void, and equivalent to a renunciation of his compact with the people; sixthly, that even to Austria the ministry of Stadion-or, rather, the Archduchess--was no better than a knot of intriguers, which had practiced on the clouded intellect of the sovereign to grasp a despotism for itself, while over Hungary it had no more ostensible right than had that of Prussia or France. All Hungary, therefore, rose to resist--Slovachs and Magyars, Germans and Wallachs, Catholics and Protestants, Greeks and Jews, nobles, traders, and

peasants, rich and poor, progressionists and | had for recognizing the Emperor of Austria conservatives. Ferdinand was still regarded as King of Hungary at all.

as their legitimate, but unlawfully deposed King.

XII. The English crown is peculiarly affected by these events; because they destroy IX. Between the Theiss and the Morosch, the confidence of nations in the oaths of prinKossuth organized the means of fabricating ces; especially considering that Hungary arms and money; and in the course of March was the only great community on the Contiand April a series of tremendous battles took nent, whose ancient liberties had not been place, in which the Austrians were some fif- violently and treacherously annihilated by its teen times defeated, and without a single king. No guarantees of right any longer exchange of fortune their armies, 130,000 ist, except those which have been wrested strong, were swept out of Hungary with im-out by popular violence, and established on mense slaughter. Only certain fortresses re- some doctrinaire basis. The aristocracy of mained in their power, and those were sure England are deeply concerned, when the only to fall by mere lapse of time. The Austri- remaining continental aristocracy possessed an Cabinet was desperate at losing a game of constitutional rights, and taking the lead in which it had risked so much. Its more of a willing nation, is remorselessly trampled scrupulous members had retired, including under foot. Our commonalty is concerned, Stadion himself. Bloodier generals were when deprived of commercial intercourse brought forward, and the intervention of Rus- with fourteen millions of agriculturists. Our sia (long promised, and granted as early as religious feelings are shocked, when HungaFebruary in Transylvania) was publicly avow-rian zeal for universal toleration is overridden ed. This act finally alienated from Austria every patriotic Hungarian.

X. Upon the entrance of the Russians with the consent of Francis Joseph, the Hungarian Parliament, on the 14th of April, after reciting the acts of perfidy and atrocity by which the house of Hapsburg had destroyed its compacts with the nation, solemnly pronounced that house to have forfeited the crown. During the existing crisis Kossuth, according to constitutional precedent, was made Governer of the country.

XI. We all know how Hungary, deprived of her ports, taken by surprise, isolated and abandoned, has been overwhelmed by the combined hosts of her unscrupulous foes. But has England nothing to say to this?

For three centuries at least Hungary has been a prominent member of the European family of nations. Her constitutional union to the house of Hapsburg has been a notorious public fact; and in the Emperor of Austria, as King of Hungary, Europe has long seen a powerful barrier against Russian encroachment. That Hungary is not Austria -that the Emperor of Austria has no right in Hungary except as its Constitutional King -is as public a fact in Europe as that Hanover was never part of England. When Hungary proclaimed to us that the Emperor of Austria was no longer her King--that she had found the house of Hapsburg traitorous, and had legally deposed it; and when the Hungarian nation had, by a unanimous effort, actually expelled her invaders-there was the very same reason for our acknowledging the independence of Hungary, as we ever

by the Romanist bigotry of Austria. Our liberties are endangered by the spectacle of two sovereigns tearing in pieces a noble nation from pure hatred of its constitutionalism which nine centuries have not made sacred in their eyes. The security of all Europe is endangered by the virtual vassalage of Austria to Russia, which this calamitous outrage has entailed; for Austria is now so abhorred in Hungary that she cannot keep her conquest except by Russian aid. Every one foresaw this from the beginning; the government of Vienna knew it, as well as that of St. Petersburg. Such are the results of the conspiracy of an Austrian cabinet against their Emperor, against his kingdom of Hungary, against the new-born liberties of Vienna, and against the balance of power in Europe.

XIII. What remains for England to do, but firmly to declare to Austria:-"Until we see the Constitution as it was before October, 1848, re-established in Hungary, we do not acknowledge your position in Lombardy; for Hungary had a far better right to her national existence and independence than you to your empire over the foreign Lombards?"

A military tyrant may at any moment commit an act of rapine with summary speed; sage and moderate by-standers need time to learn and judge of the case. If we extend the doctrine of faits accomplis to the highhanded crime under which Hungary still lies bleeding, we proclaim impunity and recognition to every unprincipled marauder.

their skillful arrangement and power of rapid analysis. But their tendency to acquiesce in the most unscrupulous policy, when suc


tears are still too recent for the children of proscribed parents t, accept the Reign of Terror, as it is accepted and reverenced by


peasants, rich and poor, progressionists and I had for recognizing the Emperor of Austrio

the very same reason for our acknowledging | tion to every unprincipled marauder. the independence of Hungary, as we ever

« AnteriorContinuar »