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non-Catholic could not be appointed to any of the regular University chairs, and a Jew was ineligible to the bench of judges. Article 4 gives every tax-paying citizen in a given parish the right of vote in the municipal elections. Hitherto the “Ġemeindegenossen' i.e., temporary inhabitants, were excluded from voting. It further declares that the freedom of migration is only restricted by the duty of service in the army. This provision was to prevent wholesale migrations from the country in the case of war being proclaimed. Article 5 asserts the competency of Parliament to restrict, in the interest of the public weal, the right of inheritance, and to dispose of inherited property as it shall think fit. This is directed against Article 29 of the Concordat, which provides that the property of the Church is its own for ever, and cannot be alienated without consent of the Pope. Article 8—the Austrian Habeas Corpus-declares the freedom of every citizen's person. A citizen, viz., can only be properly apprehended after a magisterial sentence. If confined under suspicion for more than forty-eight hours, the official responsible for the confinement is liable to a fine or imprisonment. Article 9 declares the freedom of every citizen in his own house. A private house can only be searched on the authority of a magisterial* warrant. Article 10 provides that no private letter may be opened without express sanction of a magistrate or in case of war. Article 11 gives to every recognized corporation or society the right of petition. This restriction of the right of petition is justified on the plea that, without it, an insignificant minority might represent its views as those of the community in a given parish or province. Article 12 guarantees the freedom of public meeting under the restrictions of the law passed November, 1867: Article 13 the freedom of the press. The text of this article runs as follows : Every citizen has the right to express freely his opinions in word or writing within the limits laid down by law. The Press may not be subjected to censorship, nor have its rights restricted by any system of concessions. This requires some explanation. By censorship’ is meant condemnation of a book or journal before it has been published. It is still open to the magistrate to confiscate' any book, or any number of a newspaper which contains false news or unconstitutional articles. The difference is that, before the law, a writer could be condemned unheard; now, 'confiscation’ must be based on a distinct charge, from which there may be a subsequent appeal. Article 16 declares the right of any religious society, not recognized by law, to hold meetings in a private house : Article 17 the freedom of science and education from religious trammels. Article 19– the Magna Charta of the minor nationalities—declares, “All nationalities under the dominion of the State have equal rights. Each different race has the right to preserve its own nationality and language. The State recognizes all languages spoken in a given province as equal in the public schools, the public offices, and public life generally. Where more than one language is spoken the authorities are to provide that each citizen receives the requisite State assistance for education in his own tongue, without being forced to learn any other.'
* The word magisterial is used in preference to judicial as a translation for ‘richterlich. But it must be remembered that magistrates in the English sense do not exist in Austria. These • Richter ' are rather under-judges.
The remaining three State ground-laws are of less iinportance. The second was aimed at the ecclesiastical tribunals established by the Concordat. It ordained that all jurisdiction should be administered for the future in the name of the Kaiser by officers appointed directly by him. The third provided that every officer of the State should swear obedience on entering office to the State laws in question. The fourth instituted a supreme judicial court, “Reichsgericht,' which was to be a final court of appeal in all questions arising (1) between the judicial and executive bodies; (2) between the Landtage and the central executive; (3) between two Landtage of separate provinces ; (4) between Landtag and Reichsrath.
Finally a laiv, ‘Reichsgesetz,' was passed defining the constitution and competence of the various legislative bodies. The delegations were to be competent in all questions affecting the relations of the empire with foreign countries, whether diplomatic or commercial. Secondly, they were to have the direction of the imperial military system. Thirdly, they were to have the control of all the finances requisite for these purposes. The Cisleithanian Delegation was to be constituted after the fashion of a federal assembly. That is to say, the Reichsrath was not to choose directly the sixty best men it could nominate for the
purpose; but each nationality represented was to elect a given number of members. Thus the deputation of the Bohemian Landtag was to choose ten delegates, that of the Moravian seven, and so on.
The Reichsrath reserved to itself the following powers: (1) of voting the men required for the army (Recrutenbewilligungsrecht); (2) of voting the supplies for the army and foreign office; (3) the right of examining and accepting diplomatic or commercial treaties signed by the authority of the delegates ; (4) the regulation of the schools, universities, the press, public meetings, the mint, sanitary laws, police-courts, courts of justice, postal, telegraphic, and railway systems, and a few other
subjects subjects of less importance. Everything else was left to the Landtage.
A short criticism of this remarkable law will not be thought out of place. One is at first inclined to characterize the whole scheme as an ingenious arrangement for making government impossible. The system sanctions the existence of twenty-one * Parliaments ; namely, eighteen Landtage, a Reichsrath, and the two Delegations, which, by a slight stretch of the imagination, may, perhaps, be regarded as one body. Each of these Parliaments has a sphere of its own, in which it is completely independent of the rest. Nay, more; each is provided with the means of most effectually paralysing the action of the other. Let us take a few instances. The delegations may declare so many men necessary for the defence of the country, and so much money requisite for their maintenance. The Reichsrath may refuse to grant the men or the supplies, or both.
both. Again, the Reichsrath may make general arrangements for the management of the schools, the Landtage may refuse to carry them out. Again, the Landtage may make regulations of their own, the Reichsrath may refuse to give them the money to bring them into effect. The only Parliament which represents the unity of the State has not the power of voting a man or a kreuzer; the only ministers which represent the unity of the State (viz., the three Reichsminister) are not responsible to the body which votes the supplies. The wonder is not that such a system should fail to work smoothly, but that it should succeed in working at all.
But there is another side to the picture. A constitution is not built in a day, least of all in a State composed as Austria is composed. It must not be forgotten that the December constitution, as it is called, was Austria's first honest attempt to combine State-unity with popular freedom. The great Kaiser Joseph II., bad spent a lifetime in striving to weld together the heterogeneous elements of the empire by mechanical means, but was forced on his death-bed to confess that his labours had been in vain. After the popular movements of 1848 the Vienna statesman, Bach, took in hand the same task. With an army of soldiers and officials he strove to convert Austria into a centralized State after the pattern of modern France, but two days -the days of Magenta and Solferino—undid the painful work which it had taken ten years to build up. What Bach had attempted to attain by absolutism, Schmerling tried to accomplish by a pretended appeal to the popular voice. This states
* This is exclusive of the three parliaments of the other half of the empire; the Reichstag and the Hungarian and Croatian Landtage.
man knew that the provinces were inveterately opposed to all schemes of centralization, and that no direct appeal to the country could give him a parliamentary majority pledged to any such scheme. He therefore contrived, by means of his famous system of groups, to obtain a fictitious parliamentary majority, while, by a strict censorship of the press and prohibition of public meeting, he silenced all extra-parliamentary complaints. The refusal of the Hungarians and Croatians to sit in a House thus constituted at last brought this Rump Parliament into contempt, and, after a reign of four years, the February constitution came to an untimely end. Then followed the so-called Sistirungsperiod, * when the policy of centralization was given up without anything being put in its place, a policy which succeeded in irritating all parties and satisfying none, presided over by a man whose weak concessions gave more annoyance than the hostile measures of his predecessors. Finally, in the spring of 1867, Beust came into
power, and the new constitution which has been described in the above sketch was brought into existence. This constitution, while retaining the group-system of voting, throws away the other crutches on which the February constitution had rested. It neither bids for the corrupt support of the Church, nor puts an undue pressure on the liberty of the press and of public meeting. It is centralizing in spirit without being despotic in origin.
Before criticizing it, then, too harshly, we must consider the immense difficulty of the problem it attempts to solve. Austria is composed of a number of small nations, several of which, as e.g., Bohemia and Hungary, have separate histories of their own, and none of which, if we except the two central counties of Austria proper, are bound to the rest by any ties but those of common interest
. No bonds of blood, of language, or of literature, bind the German to the Czech or Slovenian. The several provinces are inspired by a warm provincial patriotism, but a common Austrian patriotism there is none. In addition to these the cause of centralization is inextricably bound up in the minds of the whole non-German population with the cause of despotism. The vast majority know of no freedom but local freedom, and view even a constitutional Reichsrath as an instrument for the suppression of their local rights. This is enough to show the delicacy of the task which the statesmen of 1867 took in hand. How far they succeeded will be seen from the succeeding narrative. But before entering on the history of
* I.e., the period when the February constitution, without being abrogated, was allowed to fall into abeyance.
the great fight between the centralists and the autonomists, which commenced in the autumn of 1868, and the end of which is not yet, it will be well to conduct the campaign with the clerical party to its close.
In the spring of 1868 the Reichsrath again met, and the Upper House took in hand the marriage and education laws, which had passed the Lower House in the preceding session. The public took the greatest interest in the debate, as the fate of the Concordat was supposed to depend on the acceptance or rejection of these laws. Not only the galleries and the stairs, but the streets leading to the House, were filled with an excited crowd, and each member who left the chamber was breathlessly questioned by the people outside wie unsere Sachen oben stehen?' The following interesting account of this famous three days' debate is extracted from the German review Unsere Zeit,' May number, 1869:
· The Austrian Herrenhaus has every reason to look back on those three days with pride. It exhibited such a high degree not only of statesmanlike capacity but of speaking power, that the feudal-clerical Graf Thun, instead of winning the laurels he expected, received humiliations without number. On the one side were men, who after bending long years under the clerical yoke, were at last able to stand boldly forth before their countrymen and utter the thoughts with which their “hearts had long been hot within them.” On the other side were men, who after being supported for years by the Imperial bayonets and the Imperial police, were now left to fight their own battles—to maintain by argument what had before been maintained for them by force. The utter hollowness of the episcopal phrases, contrasted with the complacency with which they were uttered, the triumphant emphasis with which Prince-Cardinal Schwarzenberg, after a faltering speech "full of vain words signifying nothing," descended the tribune exclaiming “ Genirt mich gar nicht, wenn die Herren lachen ” (the noble lords' laughter won't discompose me) might have seemed fit subject for a comedy, if one could have forgotten the tragedy to which it formed the sequel. . . .
• The division was à drama in itself. It was the afternoon of Saturday, the 21st of March. As each name was called out, there was a breathless silence in the House, and storms of applause arose if the answerer gave his vote against the Concordat, the result being instantly passed from mouth to mouth till it reached the street, where it was received with fresh hurrahs. At last the numbers were known. The motion for adjournment was lost by 65 to 34, and the fate of the Concordat could be said to be sealed. Once more Austria’s good genius had prevailed.'
The bishops were so disgusted at the results of this division that they refused to appear again during the debates of the