Изображения страниц
[merged small][ocr errors]

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 honesly; or to in. vade and overpower Hungary by military force. A transcript of this letter, in the Arch oke's handwriting, was afterwards found among his papers when he fed 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 unani. mous 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 enaciment which converted the peasants into freeholders of ihe soil, guit of all the old feudal bur. dens. 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 up 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 minisiry at Vienna ruled over Hungary. In September, as the King would neither allow troops to be raised in Hungary, nor the Hungarian regimients 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. 2, solemnly disavowed any connexion with Jellachich's movement; yet, on Sept. 4, 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. 9, 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. 14, but still eluded any practical result by refusing to put down Jellachich. Meanwhile, Sept. 16, despatches were intercepted, in which Jellachich tharked 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, plunder. ing, slaughtering. Sept. 25, 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 eló. quence of Kossuth, which, with the aid of only 3,000 regular troops, met and repulsed Jellachich at Sukoro, Sept. 29, and chased him out of their country. But Latour was far too deep in guilt to recede. royal rescript of October 3, dissolved the Hungarian Diet, forbade all municipal action, superseded the VOL. 111.-DEC., 1849.


judicial tribunals, declared Hungary under martial law, and appointed Jellachich civil and military governor of that country, with discretionary power of life and death, and 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. 6) 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. Windischgratz, the agent in this work, joined his forces to those of Auersperg, who, meanwhile, had sheltered Jellachich.

Ai 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 75,000 strong beside their reserves, they fought and lost the battle of Schwechat, Oct. 30. This was the first and last battle fought by the Hungarians on Austrian soi), fought only against those who were protecting a ruihless enemy, who had desolated Hungary by countless outrages; yet this is trumpeted by the Austrians as Hungarian aggression. Jellachich (Nov. 2) entered Vienna in triumph, and was intrusted with a great army in the course of the whole war that followed. It is, then, impossible to doubt that the Austrians had supplied him with arms, money, and authority from the beginning, and that they began this bloody war by combined violence and treachery, while Hungary was in profound peace.

VII. The cabinet now tried to obtain from Ferdinand a direct permission 10 carry into detail the rescript of October 3, 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 moiher, the Archduchess Sophia, who was so identified by the Viennese with the cabinet as to be called 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 Hun. gary! 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 archduchess and cabinet seemed 10 have triumphed.

VIII. On March 4, 1849, Count Stadion published his new constitution for susing down Hungary into a part of the Austrian empire. If previously Hun. gary 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 Ilungarians 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 every where 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 legis. lating well for it. Fonrthly, it was enacted without the pretence of law, by the mere stroke of Count Stadion's pen. If the Hungarian constitution, four. teen 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? If they admitted such a right in the Austrian crown, in six months a new ordinance might reduce them under a pure despotism. In the face of wrong so intense, it is not worth while to name secondary grievances; but it was most bitterly felt that such was the reward of the constant loyalty of Hungary to the house of Hapsburg, and such the sequel to that solemn act by which Ferdinand had so happily ratified their recent glorions reforms!

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 practised 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 Wallechs, Catholics and Proteslants, Greeks and Jews, nobles, traders and peasants, rich and poor, progressionists and conservatives. Ferdinand was still regarded as their legitimate, but unlawfully deposed King.

IX. Between the Theiss and the Marosch, Kossuth organized the means of fabricating arms and money; and in the course of March and April a series of tremendous battles took place in which the Austrians were some fifteen times defeated, and, without a single change of fortune, their armies, 130,000 strong, were swept out of Hungary with immense slaughter. Only certain fortresses remained in their power, and those were sure to fall by mere lapse of time. The Austrian cabinet was desperate at losing a game in which it had risked so much. Its more scrupulous members had retired, including Stadion himself. Bloodier generals were brought forward, and the intervention of Russia (long promised, and granted as early as February in Transylvania) was publicly avowed. 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 April, after reciting the acts of perfidy and atrocity by which the house of Hapsburg had destroyed its compact with the nation, solemnly pronounced that house to have forfeited the crown. During the existing crisis, Kossuth, according to the Constitutional precedent, was made Governor of ihe 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. Bui has Eugland 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 Haps. burg 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 encroach. ment. 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 inde. pendence of Hungary, as we ever had for recognising the Emperor of Austria as King of Hungary at all. We have grievously neglected our duty by su. pineness; but the Emperor of Russia has perpetrated a breach of international jaw, most cruel and dreadful; only less wicked than the outrage of Austria, because it was not also treacherous and ungrateful. Indignation and pity for the Hungarians is for a moment swallowed up by admiration, when we contrast their humane generosity toward prisoners of war with the ferocious cruelty of the Austrians toward ihe armed and unarmed of both sexes.

XII. The English crown is peculiarly affected by these events; because they destroy the confidence of nations in the oaths of Princes; especially con. sidering that Hungary was the only great community on the continent, whose ancient liberties had not been violently and treacherously annihilated by its King. No guarantees of right any longer exist, except those which have been wrested out by popular violence, and established on some doctrinaire basis. The aristocracy of England are deeply concerned, when the only remaining continental aristocracy possessed of constitutional rights and taking the lead of a willing nation, is remorselessly trampled under foot. Our commonalty is concerned, when deprived of commercial intercourse with fourteen millions of agriculturists. Our religious feelings are shocked, when Hungarian zeal for universal toleration is overridden 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 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 the 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 high-handed crime under which Hungary still lies bleeding, we proclaim impunity and recognition to every unprincipled marauder.


" Widdin, (TURKEY,) Sept. 20. "Your Excellency is no doubt already informed of the fall of my country, unhappy Hungary, assuredly worthy of a better fate.

"li was not prompted by the spirit of disorder, or the ambitious views of faction; it was not a revolutionary leaning which induced my native country to accept the mortal struggle maintained so gloriously, and brought, by nefarious means, to so unfortunate an end.

" Hungary has deserved from her kings the historical epithet of 'generous nation,' for she never allowed herself to be surpassed in loyalty and faithful adherence to her sovereigns by any nation in the world.

“Nothing but the most revolting treachery, the most tyrannical oppression,

and cruelties unheard of in the words of history-nothing but the infernal doom of annihilation to her national existence preserved through a thousand years, through adversities so numerous—were able to rouse her to oppose the fatal stroke aimed at her very life, to enable her to repulse the tyrannical assaults of the ungrateful Hapsburghs, or to accept the struggle for life, honour, and liberty, forced upon her. And she has nobly fought the holy battle, in which, with the aid of Almighty God, she prevailed against Austria, whom we crushed to the earth, standing firm even when attacked by the Russian giant in the consciousness of justice, in our hope in God, and in our hope, my Jord, in the generous feelings of your great and glorious nation, the natural supporter of justice and humanity throughout the world. But this is overwhat tyranny began, has been by treachery concluded. On all sides abandoned, my poor country has fallen, not through the overwhelming power of two great empires, but by the faults, and I may say treason, of her own sons.

"To these untoward events, I pray God, that my unhappy country may be the only sacrifice; and that the true interests of peace, freedom, and civilization through the world may not be involved in our unhappy fate.

“Mr. Francis Pulasky, our diplomatic agent in London, has received ample information as to the cause of this sudden and unlooked-for change in the affairs of Hungary, and is instructed to communicate it to your excellency, if you are graciously pleased to receive the same. It is not antipathy to Ausiria, though so well merited at the hands of every Hungarian, but a true conviction which makes me say, that even Austria has lost far more by her victory-gained through Russian aid-than she would have lost in merited defeat through honourable arrangement. Fallen from her position of a first-rate power, she has now forfeited her self-consistency, and has sunk into the obedient instrument of Russian ambition and of Russian commands.

“Russia only has gained at this sanguinary game; she has extended and strengthened her influence in the east of Europe, and threatens already in a fearful manner, with outstretching arms, not only the integrity, but the moral basis of the Turkish empire.

“ May it please you, my lord, to allow me to communicate to your excel. lency a most revolting condition which the Turkish government, at the suggestion of Russia, is about to impose upon us, poor houseless exiles.

"I, the governor of unhappy Hungary, after having, I believe, as a good citizen and honest man, fulfilled to the last my duties to my country, had no choice left me between the repose of the grave and the inexpressible anguish of expatriation.

“Many of my brethren in misfortune had preceded me on the Turkish ter. ritory. I followed thither in the hope that I should be permitted to pass to England, and there, under the protection of the English people—a protection never yet denied to persecuted man-allowed to repose for a while my wearied head on the hospitable shore of your happy island.

“But even with these views, I would rather have surrendered myself to my deadliest enemy, than to cause any difficulty to the Turkish government, whose situation I well knew how to appreciate, and therefore did not intrude on the Turkish territories without previously inquiring whether I and my companions in misfortune would be willingly receiv

eived, and the protection of the Sultan granted to us.

"We received the assurance that we were welcome guests, and should enjoy the full protection of his majesty, the Padisha, who would rather sacrifice 50,000 men of his own subjects ihan allow one hair of our heads to be injured.

" It was only on this assurance that we passed into Turkish territory, and according to the generous assurance we were received and tended on our journey, received in Widdin as the Sultan's guests, and treated hospitably

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »