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like manner, it was impossible for the Austrian Government to establish a mutual understanding with a population which felt itself attracted-alike by the ties of race, language, and geographical position—to another political union. Nay more, as long as the occupation of the Italian provinces remained as a blot on the Imperial escutcheon, it was impossible for the Government to command any genuine sympathy from any of its subjects. But with the close of the war with Prussia these two difficulties—the relations with Germany and the relations with Italy—were swept away. From this time forward Austria could appear before the world as a Power binding together for the interests of all, a number of petty nationalities, each of which was too feeble to maintain a separate existence. In short, from the year 1866 Austria had a raison d'être, whereas before she had none.
It is proposed in the following remarks, first to describe Austria as she was after Sadowa ; secondly, to give an account of the main events which have accomplished her political transformation ; thirdly, to describe her as she is, and to glance at the probable future which awaits her.
A short preliminary account of the complicated political machinery obtaining in Austria will be necessary, inasmuch as ignorance on this point would render much of what is to follow unintelligible. Briefly then, the Empire is divided into a number of provinces, and the population of each province into three groups or classes. The first group consists of the great landlords (Grossgrundbesitzer), the second of the commercial men belonging to the towns, markets, and trade-guilds, the third of the inhabitants of the country parishes (Landgemeinde). Each of these groups has the privilege of electing a certain number of members to the provincial Parliament (Landtag). To take a typical instance (for the proportions vary in the different provinces), in Bohemia the great landlords elect 70 members, the towns and markets 87, and the country parishes 79. In addition to this, the archbishop and bishops of each province sit in the Landtag by right of office. The great landlords elect their members, as a rule, en masse ; the remaining two groups are divided into a number of voting-divisions, each of which has the right of electing a certain definite number of members. Thus the country parishes are grouped together into political circles (Wahlbezirke), and each circle elects one member. "The competence of the Landtage is twofold. They are (1) supreme in certain questions of local administration; (2) they elect from their own body members for the Reichsrath, or central Parliament, which meets in Vienna, The method of election is as follows. The three groups or classes are
all represented by certain fixed numbers. Thus, in Bohemia, the great landlords send 15, the towns 20, and the parishes 19 members to the Reichsrath. But the members of the three groups do not respectively choose their own delegates. The whole Landtag votes in each case, but its election is confined, as the case may be, to one of the groups.
group-system was the invention of Schmerling, who was Premier in 1861, and its object was to give an artificial preponderance to the landlords, whose votes were most easily influenced by Court persuasion. The Reichsrath consists of an Upper and Lower House (Herren- und Abgeordnetenhaus). The Upper House contains (i) a number of hereditary peers of different ranks, (2) the Prince Cardinals and Archbishops of the Empire, (3) a certain number of life-peers, among whom may be found well-known statesmen, lawyers, generals, poets, &c. The Lower House contains 203 members-a certain definite number being elected by the Landtag of each province, Bohemia sending 54, Galicia 38, Moravia 22, Lower Austria 18, &c.
Perhaps no country since the days of the late Roman Empire ever found itself in a more wretched condition than Austria in the winter of 1866. An ecclesiastical despotism had for years crushed all the free thought of the nation : a civil despotism had crushed all its political life, and had now added to its many sins the crowning sin of a crushing military failure. Popular education was by legal sanction in the hands of the priests : there was no Ministerial responsibility: Parliament had lost control even of the public purse; and a heavy deficit threatened national bankruptcy. In addition to these evils the different nationalities, which had hitherto been kept in order by the sword, showed open signs of revolution, and the weak policy of Belcredi's Ministry had neither the strength to control, nor the sagacity to pacify them.
It was under these auspices that Baron Beust, on the 7th of February, 1867, took office under Franz Joseph. His programme may be stated as follows.
He saw that the day of centralism and imperial unity was gone past recall, and that the most liberal Constitution in the world would never reconcile the nationalities to their present position, as provinces under the always detested and now despised Empire. But then came the question-Granted that a certain disintegration is inevitable, how far is this disintegration to go? Beust proposed to disarm the opposition of the leading nationality by the gift of an almost complete independence, and, resting on the support thus obtained, to gain time for conciliating the remaining provinces by building up a new system of free government. It would be out of place to give a detailed account of the wellknown measure which converted the . Austrian empire' into the · Austro-Hungarian monarchy.' It will be necessary, however, to describe the additions made by it to the political machinery. The Hungarian Reichstag was constructed on the same principle as the Austrian Reichsrath. It was to meet in Pesth, as the Reichsrath at Vienna, and was to have its own responsible ministers. From the members of the Reichsrath and Reichstag respectively were to be chosen annually sixty delegates to represent Cisleithanian and sixty to represent Hungarian interests — twenty being taken in each case from the Upper, forty from the Lower House. These two • Delegations,' whose votes were to be taken, when necessary, collectively, though each Delegation sat in a distinct chamber, owing to the difference of language, formed the Supreme Imperial Assembly, and met alternate years at Vienna and Pesth. They were competent in matters of foreign policy, in military administration, and in Imperial finance. At their head stood three Imperial ministers—the Reichskanzler, who presided at the Foreign Office, and was ex officio Prime Minister, the Minister of War, and the Minister of Finance. These three ministers were independent of the Reichsrath and Reichstag, and could only be dismissed by a vote of want of confidence on the part of the Delegations.
The · Ausgleich' or scheme of federation with Hungary is, no doubt, much open to criticism, both as a whole and in its several parts. It must always be borne in mind that administratively and politically it was a retrogression. At a time in which all other European nations—notably North Germany-were simplyfying and unifying their political systems, Austria was found doing the very reverse. It is easy to point out the inconvenience of a state of things which makes an annual transfer of the seat of Government necessary, and forces the Imperial Parliament and Ministry to reside every other year at a distance from the Ambassadors of the foreign Courts. It might be urged that it was foolish to gratify Hungarian vanity by making a second capital, and absurd to have no single chamber where members of each kingdom could debate in common on subjects of Imperial interest. The true answer to these objections is, that the measure of 1867 was constructed to meet a practical difficulty. Its end was not the formation of a symmetrical system of government, but the pacification of Hungary. The Magyars, who with their feudal institutions and commercial backwardness are still semi-barbarians, required the concession of the capital as a sign and symbol of their independence. They refused to admit the constitution of a supreme Imperial assembly, because they foresaw that German would be spoken in such an assembly, and were unwilling
to own the superiority of the German to the Magyar tongue. Hence the justification of these and similar irrational clauses of the measure is first their necessity, and secondly their success. Before 1867 Hungary was a discontented province, kept in order by German troops: it is now the most contented and patriotic part of the empire.
The only part of the scheme which is open to really serious objection is the financial part. In this question the Hungarians must be considered as having made an unworthy use of their strong political position. In 1867 the Austrian national debt amounted to 3046 million florins, the yearly interest being 127 millions. To this large interest the Hungarians, who plaintively urged that the virgin credit of the new kingdom must not start with a burden greater than it was able to bear, refused to contribute more than 29} millions. Throughout the negociations they persisted in putting the question, not what it was just that Hungary should pay, but what Hungary, with advantage to herself and without injury to her political future, could pay. Through this concession the remaining provinces were burdened with a debt which they were positively unable to meet, and the Hungarians must be held mainly answerable for the disastrous repudiation of 1868, of which they had ingeniously avoided the direct responsibility.
It was further provided that from January, 1868, to December, 1877, the military and other common expenses connected with the Foreign and Finance Department should be defrayed by the two halves of the empire, in very different proportions. Cisleithania was to pay 70, Hungary only 30 per cent. Thus the latter was put in possession of half the power in the Imperial system, with less than a third of the burdens attaching to that power.
Of the defects which have been noticed in the dual system, viz., the double capital, the absence of a single supreme Parliament, and the financial anomaly-it may be observed that the second only is irremediable. As confidence in the Government increases, it may well be hoped that the Hungarians themselves will recognize the inconvenience of a double administrative centre and the uselessness of a financial prerogative, which, inasmuch as it lacks its due counterpart of financial responsibility, could never be practically exercised without leading to discontent, if not to revolution.
From this point the internal history of the two halves of the empire flows in two different channels. Graf Andrassy, the Hungarian Premier, had a comparatively easy task before him. There were several reasons for this. In the first place, the predominance of the Magyars in Hungary was more assured than that of the Germans in Cisleithania. It is true that they numbered only 5,000,000 out of the 16,000,000 inhabitants ; but in these 5,000,000 were included almost all the rank, wealth, and intelligence of the country. Hence they formed in the Reichstag a compact and homogeneous majority, under which the remaining Slovaks and Croatians soon learnt to range themselves. In the second place, Hungary had the great advantage of starting in a certain degree afresh. Her government was not bound by the traditional policy of former Vienna ministries, and by the manæuvre we have noticed it had managed to keep its financial credit unimpaired. In the third place, as those who are acquainted with Hungarian history well know, Parliamentary institutions had for a long time flourished in Hungary. Indeed the Magyars, who among their many virtues can hardly be credited with the virtue of humility, assert that the world is mistaken in ascribing to England the glory of having invented representative government, and claim this glory for themselves. Hence one of the main difficulties with which the Cisleithanian Government had to deal was already solved for Graf Andrassy and his colleagues.
For this reason, it will be the main object of the following pages to describe the birth and growth of political freedom on the Austrian side of the Leitha, the parallel events that took place in Hungary being merely introduced by way of contrast and illustration.
The Reichsrath which met on May 22, 1867, was, in every way one of the most memorable in the history of Austria. Each of the members then assembled must have felt that their country was in the midst of a terrible crisis, and that it depended mainly on their exertions to save that country from ruin. The speech from the throne, after expressing a hope that the scheme of federation with Hungary would be sanctioned by the House, announced the intention of the Government to re-establish ministerial responsibility and to bring the military department once more under the authority of Parliament. The Reichsrath's first fight was with the generals. It will be hardly credited that a colossal scheme for the fortification of Vienna, the cost of which would amount to a million and a half of our money, had been set on foot by the Commander-in-chief without a word of consultation with the representatives of the people. Baron Becke, the new Minister of War, declared openly in the House that he was first made acquainted with the proceedings by the public journals. Austrian Constitutionalism may be said to date from the day that Beust, now feeling he bad a Parliament to back him, summarily stopped the works and abolished the College of