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fore that the state of affairs which has existed in Vienna for the last seven years, and has entirely put a stop to the normal working of parliamentary government, is not likely to come to an end ; on the contrary, it probably will become, with only a few short intervals of respite, the permanent condition of Austria. There appears to be no way out of this difficulty, except by conferring on the different Austrian provinces a considerable measure of autonomy on the federal principle. This appears to be a natural solution which forces itself on the mind ; so much so that a move in this direction was made very soon after a Constitution was granted to Austria. The first constitutional Cabinet having made an attempt to pass an electoral law which would have favoured the Germans in Austria, the Polish, Slovene, and Italian members of the House at once and “en masse” left Parliament. The consequence of this singular strike was that the Cabinet fell, and that the succeeding Cabinet at once adopted the federalistic ideas of Count Belcredi, and began to try to come to an understanding with the Bohemians and the Poles. The third Cabinet, presided over by Count Hohenwart, had also strong federalistic tendencies, and efforts were made to increase the influence of the provincial “landtags” and to give a greater degree of autonomy, especially to Bohemia and Galicia. It would be tedious to follow step by step the course of Austrian affairs down to the present time; but the facts which have been mentioned suffice to show that the rise of federalistic tendencies are a natural consequence of the existing situation. Yet to this day Austria is not more advanced in this direction than it was thirty years ago; and this state of immobility is likely to continue as long as the life of the present Emperor lasts, who was born and bred an Austrian German and will die the same. No good can come of this abnormal condition of Austrian affairs. It certainly does not lead to the consolidation of the internal situation, and this weakens the State as regards its international position, and makes it less capable of fulfilling its European mission of maintaining the balance of power in the centre of Europe. Let us now examine the situation in Hungary. Here again I find it necessary to make a few preliminary observations in connection with the history, the laws, and the rights of Hungary, and with respect to the position it occupies in the Monarchy of the Habsburgs. Hungary as a State is more than a thousand years old. Next to England, it is the oldest constitutional monarchy in the world. The English Magna Charta was drawn up in 1215, and the Hungarian “golden " charta was signed in 1222. As a Power it has been more than once one of the greatest on the continent of Europe. There were times when, in addition to the present kingdom of Hungary, which includes Hungary proper, Transylvania, Croatia, and Sclavonia, the kingdom comprised Lower Austria (Vienna included), Styria, Moravia, Galicia, Bessarabia, Rumania, Servia, Bulgaria, Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Dalmatia. It was a military State at a time when the military power of other States was as yet very small. Every noble was under an obligation to rise in arms with a prescribed number of followers according to his estate. These nobles assembled under the banners of the counties in which their properties were situated ; each county had its captain and its lieutenants, and the whole military force was under the command of the Palatine, or, in many instances, under a captain-general of the kingdom. It was well for Europe that the most easterly Christian State was such a strong military power; for the current of migration, which sometimes swept right across Europe, did not stop with the migration of the Hungarians themselves when they came at the end of the ninth century and inspired such terror in all central Europe as far as the east of France that it became a portion of the Church service to pray “de sagittis Hungariorum libera nos, Domine !” Long after this period the Cumanians came, and the Iasigi, and then the terrible Tartars, who swarmed across the continent with such violence that they would have exterminated all Europe if the wave of invasion had not died away on the plains of Hungary. Last of all came the Turks, no longer as a mere migratory swarm, but as an organised military power, of such overwhelming strength that it swept everything before it. If Hungary had failed to maintain the fight for the cause of civilisation and Christendom, the greater portion of Europe would no doubt have been subjugated, for the reason that the Turks came with regular armies of two or three hundred thousand men, with a regular corps of artillery possessing several hundred guns, and that at a time when the presence of a single culverin here and there was a remarkable exception. All the States of Europe were then at that particular stage of development when the regal power was gradually subduing the great feudal lords, who ceased to have great resisting force, though the regal power was not as yet sufficiently consolidated. It was also the period of the progressive organisation of the citizens and peasantry under the protection of monarchy in opposition to the temporal and spiritual lords. No State of Europe except Hungary was in a position in the fifteenth century to resist the overwhelming power of the Moslem. Hungary did resist, but nearly bled to death in the fight on behalf of civilisation and Christendom which lasted for more than two hundred years. Unfortunately for Hungary its national dynasty (the Arpads) died out, and, the throne being elective, the State was weakened by more than two centuries of constant agitation, renewed on every occasion when a new king had to be elected. Chance would have it that on the two occasions when the crown of Hungary was worn by exceptionally great men, namely, by Louis of Anjou, and Mathias Hunyadi (Corvinus), they both should die without leaving legitimate male descent. The wide field provided for the exercise of rival ambitions whenever the throne of Hungary became vacant, caused strenuous efforts to be made by every claimant, which not only exercised a permanently demoralising influence, but also gave rise to jealousies and rivalries, and to the growth of powerful electors, whose strength became a source of weakness to the State. It was a misfortune for Hungary that the overwhelming power of the Turks reached its highest point under Sultan Sulejman II., who succeeded the first khalifa, the “terrible” Selim. Had King Mathias Corvinus lived a half century later he would have been a match for Sulejman, and the Moslem would have been repulsed and made powerless for a time ; but Louis II. was one of the weakest kings of Hungary, inclined only to gratify the whim of the moment. For instance, on one occasion he remitted the whole enormous sum which Bishop Hippolytus of Este owed to the State in consideration of his handing over to him a falcon which he coveted, and its keeper. This king met the great Sultan with a force which did not amount to one-fifth of the Turkish army, and, yielding to the rashness of his lieutenants, refused to listen to the warning of those who advised him to avoid battle and to await the arrival of the forces of the Captain-General of the Kingdom, John Zapolya, who com— manded an army almost equal in number to that of the Sultan, and moreover had with him all the armoured knights of the kingdom. Zapolya was a brave and able leader who had formerly repeatedly repulsed the attacks of the Turks; consequently the feather-brained lords surrounding the king were jealous of him, and feared that if they waited till he could join, the glory of defeating Sulejman “the magnificent” would be his. The battle was fought at Mohacs, which is still called by the people “the grave of Hungarian independence.” The whole army of the king was cut down, and he himself died, symbolising the death of the Hungary that was . . . and will be again, if God so wills it ! The number of armed men who were slain at Mohacs was small as compared with the armed force of the kingdom; but a king had to be elected, and Zapolya (who was elected “rival-king” about the same time as Ferdinand of Habsburg), instead of fighting after Mohacs, devoted himself solely to the furtherance of his ambitious designs on the crown. The whole country was disorganised and a prey to the Moslem as well as to the “foreigner” who came from Vienna.
Ferdinand, the first Habsburg King of Hungary, made no serious attempt to defend the country against the Turkish invasion. He carried on a feeble desultory warfare against the Turks and the rival-king Zapolya, and twenty years later, when he was elected Emperor in lieu of his elder brother, Charles V. (who abdicated and retired to a monastery, where he spent his time in trying to make clocks agree, in which he succeeded no better than in his attempts to make kings agree), ceased to trouble himself much about Hungary, limiting his activity to the violation of its laws and constitution, and to the payment of an annual tribute to the Sultan, in order to be left, as far as possible, in tranquil possession of no more than one-third of his once powerful kingdom.
The successors of this prince, with the single exception of the present King Francis-Joseph, who since 1867 has proved himself to be a perfectly constitutional and righteous sovereign, persistently made use of the power of the Empire and of the Imperial hereditary States to threaten and offend, and abolish, if possible, the constitutional freedom, rights, and privileges of Hungary, which were entirely at variance with the autocratic rule by which all the other constituent countries were governed, where no law was known except the Imperial will ; whereas the proud Magyar insisted on having his corpus juris respected, and would never submit to be deprived of his liberty and his religion.
Every century had its outbreak; in the seventeenth century there was that of Bocskay; in the eighteenth of Rakoczi ; in the nineteenth of Kossuth, when “idiot number 2 " (Tsar Nicolas so called himself at Warsaw, pointing to the statue of “idiot number 1,” John Szobieszki, King of Poland, who saved the Habsburgs) sent two armies in 1849 to help the Emperor of Austria who had been thoroughly beaten by Louis Kossuth. The Hungarian war of independence came to an end at Vilagos, and seventeen years of despotism followed, on the subject of which Kossuth spoke to many an indignant and enthusiastic audience in England.
This period also came to an end when Imperial Austria was beaten in Italy in 1859, beaten in Germany in 1866, and brought to the verge of military, moral, and financial bankruptcy. It was then that the Emperor Francis-Joseph perceived that he was going the wrong way to work, and frankly decided to give up despotism : a decision to which he honestly adhered. A reconciliation was thereupon sought with Hungary, and the Hungarian Diet, led by Francis Deak, agreed to it on condition that the fundamental laws, which were built up on the basis established in 1848, should be sanctioned by the Sovereign; that he should first be crowned according to the old laws of the kingdom, and should swear to observe the Constitution and laws of the land. The Hungarians, at the same time, made it a condition that a Constitution and liberty should also be granted to Austria, thereby giving a wonderful proof of international fraternity, for which, however, they did not get much thanks from the Austrians. The Hungarian Constitution of 1867 was drawn up on the principle that the Habsburg monarchy should thereafter be composed of two independent States, Austria and Hungary, each having equal rights and equal autonomy. Each State was to have a Parliament of its own, and a responsible Parliamentary Government perfectly independent of that of the other. Each Parliament was empowered to pass such laws as it thought proper on any and every subject with the exception of the common affairs of the monarchy. These common affairs were to be war and foreign affairs, and the Minister of War and the Foreign Minister were to be common to the two States and to reside where the Sovereign resides. Both these matters were to be controlled, discussed, and determined by Delegations elected every year by each Parliament. These Delegations sit and vote separately, but if their votes disagree they sit and vote together. The result is something closely resembling a central Parliament, and, to make the resemblance more perfect, the sittings of the Delegations are opened with an address from the Crown ; whereas the sovereign has never delivered an address, either as Emperor or King, either to the Reichsrath of Vienna or to the Parliament of Budapest.
The Party of Independence having always refused to sit in a central Parliament, refuses for the same reason to sit in the Delegation ; but the other parties of the Hungarian Parliament take part in it, on the pretext that it is merely a commission appointed by Parliament itself, though no Parliamentary commission has ever began its sittings with an address from the Crown, and no such commission has ever possessed legal rights