« السابقةمتابعة »
dens; to the legal equality of all; and the right of every citizen to acquire and to hold landed property.
“In the Parliament of 1847, before the outbreak of the great European Revolution the Hungarian peasantry were emancipated and relieved from all urbarial burdens."
These laws were passed by the Diet in March, 1848, and obtained the reluctant sanction of the Emperor on April 11th. Thus were the measures of constitutional reform triumphantly successful through the influence of Louis Kossuth. *
3. The stirring news of the French revolution having reached Vienna at this period, the Emperor was compelled to issue a manifesto on March 4th, 1848, making large concessions to popular rights. The Sclavonic races in Hungary seem to have preferred Austrian rule, under a government of their own, to a continued union with the Hungarian Diet, which was under the influence of the Magyars. This hostility of the races led to the invasion of Hungary by the Croats under Jellachich; and Austria insidiously promoted the contest, if it did not originate it, † for the purpose of recovering the rights already conceded to Hungary. Austria soon became involved in the war, taking sides with the Croats and other Sclaves against the Magyars; but the latter gained victory after victory over both Croats and Austrians, and in the spring of 1849 drove the invaders from their soil. In April the independence of Hungary was declared, and Louis Kossuth, the master spirit of constitutional reform, as well as of the military campaign, was Governor of the kingdom.
4. On the 1st of May, 1849, so thoroughly had the Hungarians beaten Austria, that the Imperial edict announced that an appeal for aid had been made to Russia, and that the Czar “had readily
* The historian Alison says, “by unanimous votes of both houses, the Diet not only established perfect equality of civil rights and public burdens amongst all classes, denominations, and races in Hungary and its provinces, and perfect toleration for every form of religious worship, but, with a generosity perhaps unparalleled in the history of nations, and which must extort the admiration even of those who may question the wisdom of the measure, the nobles of Hungary abolished their own right to exact either labour or produce in return for the lands held by urbarial tenure, and thus transferred to the peasants the absolute ownership, free and for ever, of nearly half the cultivated land in the kingdom, reserving to the original proprietors of the soil such compensation as the Government might award from the public funds of Hungary. More than five hundred thousand peasant families were thus invested with the absolute ownership of from thirty to sixty acres of land each, or about twenty millions of acres amongst them. The elective franchise was extended to every man possessed of capital or property to the value of thirty pounds, or an annual income of ten pounds to every man who has received a diploma from a university, and to every artizan who employs an apprentice. With the concurrence of both countries, Hungary and Transylvania were united, and their Diets, hitherto separate, were incorporated. The number of representatives which Croatia was to send to the Diet was increased from three to eighteen, while the internal institutions of that province remained unchanged, and Hungary undertook to compensate the proprietors for the lands surrendered to the peasants, to an extent greatly exceeding the proportion of that burden which would fall upon the public funds of the province. The complaints of the Croats, that the Magyars desired to impose their own language upon the Sclavonic population, were considered, and every reasonable ground of complaint removed. Corresponding advantages were extended to the other Sclavonic tribes, and the fundamental laws of the kingdom, except in so far as they were modified by these acts, remained unchanged.
Kossuth says that “one of the chief political manæuvres of Metternich was ever and ever to oppress one nation by another. Vol. II.--No. 1.
granted it to a most satisfactory extent.” The physical power of this terrible ally soon overbore the Hungarian armies; and on the 11th of August Kossuth resigned his office, and on the 13th Görgey surrendered to the Russians. Thus fell Hungary, amidst the light and civilization of the nineteenth century.
5. The sequel to this brief sketch (relating to Kossuth,) is soon told. He was obliged to fly for refuge to Turkey, whose Sultan magnanimously refused to deliver him up to his blood-thirsty enemies. He was, however, detained in captivity. His eminent services in the cause of civil liberty enlisted the sympathies of the people of the United States towards him, as a prisoner of war, and the following resolutions were adopted by the American Congress : *
Whereas, the people of the United States sincerely sympathize with the Hungarian exiles, Kossuth and his associates, and fully appreciate the magnanimous conduct of the Turkish Government in receiving and treating these noble esiles with kindness and hospitality; and, whereas, it is the wish of the Sultan to permit them to leave his dominions, Therefore,
Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That the President of the United States be, and he hereby is requested to authorize the employment of some one of the public vessels, which may be now cruising in the Mediterranean, to receive and carry to the United States the said Louis Kossuth and his associates in captivity.
Our Government, being notified by the Sultan that Kossuth would be set at liberty on the first of September, sent the steam-frigate Mississippi to bear the illustrious Magyar to more genial shores.
Kossuth reached England on the 23d of October. His arrival created a profound sensation. His speeches at different places have been received with great applause, and have obtained an extensive circulation through the press, both in England and in this country. A perusal of his speeches produces the conviction that Kossuth is a man of gifted intellect, of a warm, sympathizing heart, enlightened in his general views of men and things, endowed with no ordinary power of impressing his opinions upon others, and possessing a sagacity, common sense and tact, which assist in forming a completeness of character suited to his position.*
The following extracts from his addresses in England may be interesting to the general reader.
"It is a glorious position the English race holds-almost the only one that is free--it is the only one, the freedom of which has neither to fear the changes of time, nor the ambition of man, provided it keeps to its institutions provided that the public spirit of the people continues to safe guard that which is best for the exigences of the time, and that their manly resolution never fails to meet those exigences in time. (Cheers.) This watchfulness and resolution being the chief guarantee of your country's greatness and happiness, I take for the most consoling hope to oppressed humanity; for I have the most firm conviction that the freedom and greatness of England are in intimate connection with the destinies and liberty of Europe. It is not without reason that my native land and all other oppressed nations look up to your example, as to the elder brother to whom the Almighty has not in vain imparted the spirit to guide
* These resolutions passed the Senate on the 26th of February, 1851, and the House of Representatives on the 30th of March.
the tide of human destiny. There is one thing that is a prominent feature in your race--a result of no small importance in our struggles—that the sentiments of this race are spreading over the world, and that it is not the least of the glories you call your own, that the people' of England appear to be resolved to take the lead in the new direction of the public opinion of the world, out of which the highest blessings will flow. The generous sympathy of the people of England, for my bleeding, struggling, down-trodden, but not broken, native land (loud cheers), is one, but not the only one manifestation, by which England shows she is ready to accept this glorious role of the elder brother of humanity. (Cheers.) This country, though it has not to fear any direct attacks on its own liberty, still knows that its welfare and prosperity, founded as they are on the continued development of your genius and industry, cannot be entirely independent of the condition of other nations. The people of England know that in neither social nor political respects can it be indifferent whether Europe be free, or groaning under Russia and her satellites; the people of England are conscious of their glorious position-it knows that, while it conserves its freedom, it cannot grant the privilege to Russo-Austrian despots to dispose of the fate of Europe, but must have its weight in the balance of the destinies of Europe, or England would no more be a European power. (Loud cheers.)"
"God has awarded two blessings to those whom he has elected: bliss in Heaven and freedom on carth. (Cheers.) May you all, may your nation be blessed by both these blessings. No man, aware of the value of his destiny, can live satisfied without freedom ; but he to whom God has granted freedom, he has got all, if he has got the mind and the will to use his freedom for the development of his happiness with so consistent an exertion as the English people do. This is the basis upon which England has grown a paradise on earth, on which the eye and the heart rest with joy, and which must strengthen the desire in every foreigner to become likewise free, and, by becoming such, to be endowed with the possibility of converting
other parts of the world into a paradise such as England is." (Applause.) During all my life I had but one leading idea liberty. It was the aim of my life-the aim of my existence—to secure its blessings to my people, though I knew these blessings but instinctively. Now that I behold England, I see how liberty ennobles men and beautifies nature. (Applause.)”
“Even Jesuitism, which in latter times has again begun to raise its head, is employed in support of Russia. We are in the neighborhood of a great country, which, unfortunately, does not enjoy the fruits of sorrowful times and great sufferings. The Jesuit party in France threaten that country with the Cossacks. Even here, in this glorious country, a question connected with this not long ago was agitated, as well in public opinion as in parliament. I know what is convenient to myself and due to you. I will not enter into that question. I will only state one curious coincidence~I am a Protestant. (Applause.) I am a Protestant, not only by birth, but by conviction. I am a humble member of a nation, the majority of which is composed of Catholics, and it is not the least glory of my nation that in all times we have fought and bled for religious liberty--Catholics as devotedly as Protestants. The rights and freedom of the Protestants were always strongly opposed by the house of Hapsburg. That house has always in history been closely united with the spirit of Jesuitism; but the freedom of Protestantism had been established by treaties gained by the swords of victorious Hungary. Scarcely had Russia restored the house of Hapsburg, by putting its foot on the neck of Hungary, when the first act of that house was to spill noble blood by the hands of the hangman; and its second was to destroy the rights of the Protestant religion in Hungary. The kings of Hungary, in former times, were always anxious not to allow any meddling of the court of Rome in the temporal affairs of the Catholic Church, and a glorious king, Mathias Corvinus, à Hungarian by birth, once used these words to the Pope :
-Your Holiness must remember that we bear two crosses on our ensign, and we will make our crosses pikes before we allow you to mix
yourself up with the affairs of our church.' Since Russia has restored the house of Hapsburg, for a brief time, the Jesuits have obtained full power to act."
“As to the practical result to which aggrieved humanity, and especially my poor country, said Kossuth, still looks forward with manly resolution, with unshaken courage
and hope—I repeat what I have elsewhere already said, when I said, let not your sympathies remain barren; help to carry my nation's cause to a happy issue. You have the power. Help! when I spoke so, I intended not to ask England to take up arms for our liberties. No, gentlemen, that is the affair of Hungary; we will provide for cur own freedom.(Cheers.) All I wish is, that public opinion should establish, as the ruling principle in the politics of England, the acknowledgment of the right of nations to dispose of their own affairs--not to give a charter to the Czar to dispose of whole nations (vehement and prolonged cheering); and not to allow the interference of Russia in the domestic concerns either of Hungary, or of whatever nation on the continent, because the freedom of all nations and the property of all countries is as dear to me as my own. Yes, these words I again, and again, and again repeat-here, in England, afterwards in the United States; and I must add that, from one of the most honoured members of the States of America I had lately, the other day, the honour of hearing sentiments which, once carried into effect, will give liberty to the world. * * I heard him state, in answer to this appeal, that he believed that younger brother of the English race would heartily give his support to England in protecting my people, by not admitting the interference of other nations. (Cheers.) I again
and again repeat that word—I repeat it with the faith of a martyr in his principles—I repeat it with the faith which removes mountains. I shall concentrate all the fire of my sentiments, I shall concentrate all the blood of my heart, and all the energies of my mind, upon this cause. I shall repeat these words high and loud, deep and solemn, till the almighty echo of public opinion, in repeating them, become like the thunder sound, before which the giant of human oppression falls. (Loud cheers.) Sooner, indeed, this feeble frame may succumbsooner it may succumb to the longing of this heart to see my fatherland independent and free; which longing beats everlastingly in my bosom, as the captive lion beats against his iron cage; but even then, the grass which grows over my grave will cry out to England and America, “Do not forget, in your proud security, those nations who are oppressed-do not grant a charter to the Czar to dispose of humanity—do not grant a charter to despots to drown liberty in Europe's blood-save the millions who otherwise must, the millions who will bleed; and, by not granting that charter, be the liberators of the world.”
"If to belong to the working classes implies a man whose livelihood depends on his own honest and industrious labour, then none among you has more right to call himself a working man than I so to call myself. I inherited nothing from
my dear father, and I have lived my whole life by my own honest and industrious labour. (Cheers.) This my condition, I consider to have been my first claim to my people's confidence, because well they knew, that being in that condition, I must intimately know the wants, the sufferings, and the necessities of the people. And so assuredly it was. It is therefore that I so practically devoted my life to procure and to secure political and social freedom to my people, not to a race, not to a class, but to the whole people; besides, I devoted all my life for many years, by the practical means of associations, to extend the benefit of public instruction to the working classes, and to forward the material welfare of the agriculturists, of the manufacturers, and of the trading men. (Cheers.). Among all the enterprises to that effect of that time of my life, when I was yet in no public office, but a private man, there is none to which I look back with more satisfaction and pride than to the association for the encouragement of manufacturing industry--to its free schools, to its exhibitions, to its press, and to its affiliations. Besides conferring immense material benefits, it proved also politically beneficial, by bringing in closer contact and more friendly relations the different classes of my dear native land, by interesting the work
ing classes in the public political concerns of our nation, and by so developing a strongly united public opinion to support me in my chief aim, which was conserving the municipal and constitutional institutions of my country—to substitute for the privileges of single classes the political emancipation of the whole people, and substituting freedom for class privileges—to impart to the people the faculty of making the constitution a common benefit to all—for all: in a word, to transform the closed hall of class privileges into an open temple of the people's liberty. (Loud cheers.)”
Kossuth is, in the Providence of God, a great man before the world. He is awakening sympathy in behalf of popular rights; forming a public sentiment against despotisin; rallying the oppressed and sorrowing, and holding forth to them on high a glorious ensign of hope. His name is identified with Liberty and Protestantism. He is the representative of Hungary, as Hungary is of the downtrodden nations. All the despots of Europe fear and hate himfrom the savage bear, who prowls from the Ural mountains, to the dastardly chanticleer of France, whose dunghill will yet fertilize the fields of freedom. The legions of anti-Christ are equally the foes of the man who has struggled against Jesuitism as well as absolutism. The Magyars understand the Austrian tie of despotic power and Popery. Their children, trained by Protestant schoolmasters, preached to by ministers of the Reformation, and living in the light of Hungarian patriotism, eschew the forms of Roman heresy. Kossuth avows himself a Protestant, not only by “education, but by conviction.” The Declaration of Hungarian Independence was fitly made in a church of the Reformation, and the sittings of the House of Assembly held in the chapel of the Protestant College at Debreczin. Despots and Jesuits are the two wings of the mighty army which is fighting against freedom and religion.
The great aim of Kossuth seems to be to promote an International League between Er.gland and the United States, whose moral [and physical] power shall be felt in preserving the rights of nations. This is a great idea ; but it is one foreign to our general policy. It may meet, however, with responses from many hearts. Hitherto we have had, with few exceptions, no special reasons to depart from the path of wisdom, marked out by Washington, which was adverse to the formation of “entangling alliances.' How long the Providence of God will protect us from the necessity of foreign war, is known only to Omniscience. That emergencies may arise to summon our nation to the battle field against foreign aggression, we are not disposed to deny. Perhaps the invasion of the Sandwich Islands by hypocritical and base France, might have justified the United States in saying, "Monsieur, allez chez vous. This is an unsettled point in the history of our affairs, which the Emigration Society of the State of California may probably help to adjust. We are not prepared, however, to admit at present the wisdom of the policy which the enthusiastic Magyar would have our country adopt. It would be fraught with many evils. The time is not yet for such a movement. Who would think of embarking United States troops for