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Third at all events, they have scarcely been fitted by personal character to maintain their precarious post, in critical times, at the entrance of Italy; still less fit to guide the development of a growing and busy nation. They have been wanting, less to the traditional policy of their house, than to those exigencies of change which a changing world imposed upon them. Some one has said that the world is divided between the representatives of Themistocles and those of his friend: one man can fiddle, and another can turn a small city into a great nation : but he who can do neither only cumbers the earth. These princes could do neither. They were deficient in political energy - and not less deficient in those more humane graces which have placed other Italian sovereigns at the head of peaceful civilisation. Turin, the capital of the most powerful Italian monarchy, has, until very recently, always fallen in literature, art, and learning far behind the other great Italian cities, though these were much less favoured in a political point of view. It has had less to attract foreigners, and less to afford ground for national pride to its citizens. Its sovereigns, even with the best intentions, had few or no points of contact with the people. They were military martinets in a nation, brave indeed, but without warlike tendencies : religious bigots, ruling over religious, but gentle and enlightened subjects. Hence, in revolutionary times, although their cause was maintained with steady discipline to the last, they never met with zealous loyalty : their retreat from the continent was witnessed without a struggle, their return without a triumph. As the signs of decay multiplied about the ancient line, the fatal and ill-omened Order which broods over the decline of dynasties established itself in its palaces; and the progeny of Victor Amadeus, the implacable enemy of the Jesuits, died out in the odour of Jesuitry.
In 1831 the branch of Savoy Carignan (that which counts Prince Eugene among its heroes) was called to the throne in the person of the late king, Charles Albert, - a singular instance, in genealogy, of the effect of the Salic law; for Charles Albert was eight generations removed from the common stock of Charles Emanuel the First. Our concern on the present occasion is not with the strange and chequered events which, since that accession, have once more fixed European attention on the ancient line of Savoy. But respect for the fallen and unfortunate may excuse one parting tribute to the self-dethroned sovereign. When the politics of 1848 are forgotten, he may yet be remembered as the greatest benefactor his island of Sardinia has ever known, - the author of the abolition of its feudal system. This great object be effected without violence or injustice. The rights of the feudal
with the strange fixed Europe Fallen and
1849. Charles Albert: Abolition of Feudal System in Sardinia. 229
owners were purchased by the Crown, and the dues converted into money payments. Existing interests were carefully protected, while the emancipation of the peasantry was fully carried out,
That feudal system introduced, it is said, by the Pisans — had been for centuries the bane of Sardinia. Its evil effects, as well as its oppressive usages, have, no doubt, here as well as elsewhere, formed a favourite topic of popular exaggeration. That a Sardinian peasant, for instance, was obliged, only fifty years ago, to kneel on all-fours in order to give his lord a seat on his back whenever he was tired, — although the story is very seriously repeated by Mr. Tyndale, -sounds to us a little too much like some of the romances respecting French feudalism, which were current in the time of the first National Assembly. But the mischief of a system under which more than three fourths of the land was held by absentee nobles, chiefly resident in Spain, and which at once prevented the formation of a local gentry and the improvement of the condition of the peasantry, scarcely requires to be magnified by the aid of invention. Since the abolition (which was completed only in 1838) some disappointment has been manifested, as usual in such cases, by the poorer classes, who had formed exaggerated notions of the advantages of emancipation; and far too little time has passed to test the progress which the island may have made under the measure: but there can be little doubt of the ultimate success of a plan founded in justice, and modelled after the successful experience of other countries. Sardinia is now, for the first time, placed in a position to avail herself of those high advantages of situation, soil, and climate with which Providence has favoured her.
ART. IX.-1. The Cause of Hungary stated. By Count
LADISLAUS TELEKI. Translated from the original French,
by WILLIAM BROWNE. London: 1849. 2. De l'Intervention Russe. Par le Comte LADISLAS TELEKI.
lre et 2nde Feuille. Paris: 1849. 3. De l'Esprit Publique en Hongrie, depuis la Revolution Fran
çaise. Par A. DEGERANDO. Paris : 1848. 4. A Narrative of Events in Vienna, from Latour to Windisch- grätz. By BERTHOLD AUERBACH. Translated by JOHN
EDWARD TAYLOR; with an Introduction and Appendix.
London: 1849. 5. Ludwig Kossuth ; Dictator von Ungarn. Mannheim : 1849. 6. Der Krieg in Ungarn. Dargestellt von Oscar FóDÁL.
Mannheim : 1849.
THE events of the last ten months have awakened, both in
diplomatists and nations, a lively interest in the affairs of Eastern Europe. Since the Turkish columns melted away before Lorraine and Sobieski under the walls of Vienna, no transactions of equal moment with the present war in Hungary have attracted the eyes of the West to those remote provinces of Christendom. While every dispatch may give a new aspect to the contest, it would be absurd to speculate with any confidence on its issue, or even to enter largely upon its details. But many of our readers will perhaps thank us for placing briefly before them some of the facts and features of the struggle between the cabinet of Vienna and the Hungarian nation, — a struggle which, particularly since the armed assistance of Russia has been invoked, involves new destinies for all the parties engaged in it, and will probably be felt in its consequences throughout the civilised world.
The question now brought to the arbitrament of force, is historical, political, and economical. It is of ancient date, of immediate interest, and of great prospective significance. We shall accordingly survey it under each of these aspects — aiming rather to dispose of some current fallacies, than to comprise within our narrow limits the contemporaneous, and even daily changes of the scene.
The first and most prevalent error is, that of regarding Hungary as a province of Austria. The crowns, it is true, have been united since the year 1526; but the realms were always distinct. When England took from Hanover a common sovereign, its own
national independence was not more completely recognised. In Count Ladislaus Teleki's pamphlet, the Hungarian Manifesto,' will be seen the coronation oath, which has been administered during a period of more than three centuries by the diets at Presburg to fourteen monarchs of the House of Hapsburg. This oath was taken by Ferdinand I., the first elective prince of that family to whom the Hungarian sceptre was confided — when the battle of Mohacs (A. D. 1526) had extinguished the royal line of Jagellon. It was taken by Ferdinand V., the present ex-emperor, on his coronation in 1830 (he was crowned in his father's lifetime); and it is a touching incident in the history of this unfortunate prince, that, on being urged by his ministers to suppress the Hungarian constitution, his conscience answered: * But my oath !! His reason was clouded; but a moral instinct recalled to him the fact, that his Hungarian dominions were held by virtue of a compact; that an oath to preserve and transmit their immunities had preceded his consecration; and that the crown of St. Stephen was the symbol of an independent nation. 6- The pedigree of their immunities during the long space of three centuries, (1526-1848) continued unimpaired. The coronation oath had been renewed in 1687, when the elective crown was entailed on the House of Hapsburg; it was fully recognised by the Pragmatic Sanction in 1723, when the right of succession to the Austrian domains was extended to the heirs female of Charles VI.; and because Joseph II., who combined the projects of a Siéyes with the temper of a despot, had attempted to elude or invade it, it was imposed, in 1790, with fresh guarantees, upon his successor Leopold. In 1816 and 1825 Francis I. fared no better than his predecessors in his endeavours to change the relations between Hungary and Austria.
By Article X. of the enlarged compact, entered into between the Hungarian people and Leopold in 1790, it was declared that · Hungary was a country free and independent in her
entire system of legislation and government; that she was not subject to any other people or any other state; but that she . should have her own separate existence and her own constitu
tion, and should consequently be governed by kings crowned according to her national laws and customs.' This article, a corollary and complement to the statutes of nearly three antecedent centuries, was confirmed once more by the ex-emperor Ferdinand, in his character of King of Hungary, on the 11th of April, 1848; and at the same time there was added the guarantee of an independent ministry, responsible to the Diet alone, with the Palatine as viceroy. The Hungarians believed in the sanctity of the royal word; but it appears by a letter from the Archduke Stephen to the emperor, dated 24th of March, 1848, that the royal word was not intended by the imperial advisers to be a real security. The Viennese cabinet secretly reserved the liberty of retracting its concessions on the first opportunity; and accordingly the Archduke proposes in that letter three methods of abrogating the Hungarian immunities — a peasants' war to be excited against the nobles, - a commissioner to be armed with martial law,-or a temporary compromise with Count Batthyany, the then head of the Hungarian ministry. The proposals of the Archduke, however tempting and consonant with the feelings of the Court-party, were not then accepted. For the more violent alternative the Austrian cabinet was not ready: and a fraud of its own devising was already in preparation. • The policy of the Austrian camarilla at this period was to gain time and to patch up such a ministry as should compromise nothing, yet help to save appearances. The first Viennese revolution had just exploded; Radetzky had not yet retrieved the fortunes of the empire in Italy: the army was partially disorganised, and public credit low. In the meanwhile the recent conversion of the absolute monarchy into a constitutional one had not been of a kind to discourage the Court-party or affect the spirit of the government, least of all in its federal relations. The Court had made a few nominal changes in the mechanism of administration, but had retained the substance of power. The Aulic council of war became the ministry of war: the Aulic exchequer the ministry of finance: and although Count Sedlnitzky, the obnoxious minister of police, fled for his life, the veteran Metternich was succeeded in the department of foreign affairs by his friend and former associate Count Ficquelmont. All the other ministers, the presidents, and the old bureaucracy remained in office. Subsequently, indeed, growing discontent and continual émeutes led in the course of the summer to new ministerial combinations: Counts Kollowrath and Taafe, Barons Kübeck and Sommaruga retired; and, at length, the real ruler of Austria, the Archduke Ludwig himself. They were replaced by Pillersdorf, Dobblhof, Schwarzer, Hornbostl, &c. - men who enjoyed some degree of popularity, but who had neither the confidence of the Court nor direct communication with the emperor. All real business, in the meantime, passed through the hands of Baron Wessenberg: and the only persons really in the confidence of the Court were Latour, first minister of war, Krauss, minister of finance, and, at a later period, Bach, minister of justice. They alone were intrusted with the secret, — that government was merely lying by for a favourable moment when the constitution was to be neutralised and absolutism re