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session. Hence the marriage law, as well as the school law, were passed by large majorities.
Encouraged by this success the Lower House set to work at the third bill indicated in Herbst's programme, which was to decree the equality of all religions in the eyes of the law “interconfessionelles Gesetz.' This bill provided that, in the case of children whose parents had died without expressing their wishes on the subject, the sons should be brought up in the father's, the daughters in the mother's religion. At the age of fourteen, however, the child was to be allowed to choose for itself. Infidelity was no longer to incapacitate a citizen for inheritance : the preaching of infidel, i. e., unchristian, doctrines no longer to constitute a misdemeanour. No citizen was to be compelled to contribute to the services, or to send his child to the schools, of a church to which he did not belong. No priest was to be able to deny the right of burial to a member of another religious sect in cases where either the family claiming the right had a private vault, or where the churchyard was the only one in the parish. This important law, the last clause of which especially put an end to a series of scandals which had for a long time been a disgrace to the country, was passed without difficulty by both Houses.
In the meantime the bishops had not been idle. Their first attempt was to bring a petition against the three bills to the Kaiser over the heads of the Ministry. Franz Joseph treated this attempt with becoming dignity, by referring the petitioners to his constitutional advisers. Their next resort was, as might have been expected, to Rome. The Pope determined to make use of all his spiritual weapons, and, on the 22nd of June, launched a characteristic allocution at the heads of the Austrian rebels. In this document the three laws in question were denounced as "destructive, abominable, and damnable. Therefore,' so runs the allocution, on the strength of our Apostolic authority, we anathematize these laws, in particular all such clauses as are directed by the Austrian Government against the rights of the Church : and we declare the laws by virtue of this same authority to be null and void.' Popes have often taken foolish and impolitic steps, but it remained for Pope Pius IX. openly to urge the subjects of a Catholic kingdom in the nineteenth century to rebellion against their Government. The allocution proved as unsuccessful as it was gross. It is true that the bishops adhered faithfully to the instructions of their chief. Riccabona of Trient declared that any one who submitted to the May laws was a despiser of the Son of God. Schwarzenberg directed his clergy, in a pastoral letter to the four
Bohemian bishops, to refuse confession and absolution to any couple joined by a civil marriage. But the mass of the laity rose up in indignation against the proceedings of the Pope and his advisers. Addresses poured in from every large town in the empire denouncing the Romish pretensions, and expressing sympathy with the Government. In fact the priests defeated their own ends by the extravagance of their measures, and hastened to bring about a crisis which a conciliatory policy might have indefinitely delayed. The final act which closed the campaign between Church and State is known to every one. In July, 1870, Graf Beust abrogated the Concordat.
It is now proposed to pass from the field of clerical agitation to a more important and interesting question. The contest between the Pope and Count Beust could have had but one end. The Pope's pretensions were an anachronism, and the struggle only interests us as illustrating one of the main intellectual movements which characterize the age in which we live. It is otherwise with the question at issue between the federalists and the centralists. It is not too much to say that of all the countries on the face of the earth, Austria is the one which at the present moment offers most to the study of the political philosopher, The statesmen now engaged in reconstructing her have few, if any, precedents to fall back on.
If they succeed in their enterprise, they will have solved the most difficult problem of practical politics of which the present century has been a witness.
In order to make good this statement" a few statistics will be necessary. Cisleithanian Austria contains a population of 19 millions, of which 6 millions are Germans, while the remaining 11 millions belong to the Slavonian race. In eight of the Austrian provinces, viz., in Bohemia, Moravia, Galicia, Krain, Istria, Gorz, Triest, and Dalmatia, the Slaves constitute the large majority of the population. If they were represented in Parliament according to their numbers, 117 of the 203 members of the Reichsrath would be Slaves, the remaining minority of 86 representing the other nationalities. How different the facts of the case are, any one who knows anything of Austrian politics can testify. The question then naturally arises, how is it that these Slaves possess so little political significance?. The inquiry admits of many answers. The cause of their political insignificance is to be traced to a peculiar combination of historical, geographical, ethnological, religious, and social circumstances. In the first place they have stood almost uniformly in respect of the Italians in Istria and Triest, and in respect of the Germans elsewhere in Austria, in the relation of conquered to conquerors. In the second place, the Slaves are scattered over the face of
the empire, the Czechs in the north, the Poles in the east, the Slovenians in the south, and have thus lost the opportunity of political contact. In the third place, they do not all speak the same language nor profess the same religion, the Ruthenians of Galicia e.g., belonging to the Eastern Church. Lastly, they compose for the most part the peasantry of the country, and possess, with the exception of the Poles, no influential middle class and no national nobility.
Of the Austrian Slaves, about 5,000,000 are Czechs, 2,320,000 Poles, 3,000,000 Ruthenians, 1,200,000 Slovenians. To be added to these are 600,000 Italians, and a small number of Rumanians in the Bukowina. All these stocks have a distinct individuality of their own, and many of them, as e.g., the Poles and Czechs, have a past history to look back on.
The Poles are the people which have identified themselves least with the empire to which they belong. The one thought of the Polish patriot is the restoration of his country to its lost rights. At the same time, they have been treated, at least of late years, with great consideration by the Government, and have never carried their opposition to any extreme length. The tie which binds them to Austria is their hatred of Russia. They know that the disintegration of Austria would probably involve their annexation to the hated Russian, and hence their support can be reckoned on in the most perilous questions of foreign politics. The late President of the Cisleithanian Ministry, Graf Potocki, is a Pole; the Polish members are treated very much like the Irish members in our Commons, and are left to decide questions of purely Polish policy for themselves; many politicians hope by a coalition between the Germans and Poles to overbear the opposition of the remaining Slaves.
The Czechs, like the Poles, have a certain history of their own. The student of history will remember that Bohemia was originally a settlement of the Marcomanni, a German tribe who migrated there in the 5th century. This Teutonic stock was, however, overflooded towards the close of the same century by a new migration of Slavish tribes, who displaced the original inhabitants in very much the same way as the Saxons displaced the Britons in our own island. The heads of these tribes formed the beginning of the Czechish nobility. The semi-barbarous Slaves who thus obtained a footing in the country were Christianized and civilized by a new influx of German merchants and German clergy. In process of time the prosperity of these settlers and the favour shown to them by the Kings of Bohemia drew down on them the envy of the Czechs, and in the 16th century began that terrible persecution, which, assuming the form of
a religious a religious war between Hussites and Catholics, in reality was a contest between the two races for the supremacy in Bohemia. The Hussites prevailed, and the Czechs were for a long time dominant. Then came the still more terrible days when the sword of the German Kaiser brought retribution for the blood shed by the Hussites, and reinstated Germanism and Catholicism in their ancient place. Since those times until a comparatively late date the Czechs had much right to consider themselves an oppressed race. The policy of persecution, as is almost always the case, gave fresh life and energy to the nationality which it was its
purpose to destroy. Long the Czechs bore their sorrows in secret. At last the revolutionary year of 1848 seemed to offer them fresh hopes of liberation from the yoke under which they chafed. Their ambition was to come forward as the leaders of the Austrian Slaves, and to win for themselves, the Slovenians and Croatians, the place in the Austrian constitution to which their numbers entitled them. But the chilling years of Bachian despotism followed, and once more they relapsed, if not into apathy, at least into sullen silence. Then the February constitution once more raised their hopes. In spite of Schmerling's artificial group-system, which procured him a German majority from Bohemia and Moravia, the Czechs took their places in the Reichsrath, hoping, with the help of the Hungarians and Croatians, to be able to offer a successful resistance to the Germans. But the Hungarians and Croatians, as we have seen, refused to appear, and the Czechs, finding themselves in a hopeless minority, left the Reichsrath, never since then to enter it again. Again the ‘Sistirungspolitik' of Belcredi raised their hopes. They had secured a majority in the Bohemian and Moravian Landtage, and intended in the extraordinary Parliament to be convoked under that Minister's auspices to enter the campaign against centralism and dualism, reckoning on the support of the Hungarians in their resistance to the centralists, and on the support of the Germans in their resistance to the dualists. Once more they were doomed to be disappointed. Count Beust came into power, and, after passing the 'Ausgleich’with Hungary, with the help of a German majority raised by an unsparing use of Court influence and the Schmerlingian groups, reduced them again to an impotent minority. They saw the German party once more victors over the whole line, and once more retreated to their old position of dogged resistance. It was in vain that the December constitution offered them freedom. They refused to eat of the feast which they had had no hand in preparing. It is not our intention to give a detailed account of the modes in which their resistance asserted itself, in the Landtag, in
the school, in the press, in the public meeting; it has been deemed sufficient to describe the constitution which was offered them, to attest the discontent with which it was met, and to trace the causes of this discontent.
One thing must be carefully borne in mind by anyone who is really anxious to understand the character of this long quarrel. It does not follow that, because the Germans have generally identified themselves with the party of intellectual and religious progress, this particular political principle which they advocate is a more liberal one than that of their opponents. The love of domination is apt to obscure the judgment of the most impartial minds, and the German race, wise and peaceable as it for the most part is, shares the common failing. A foreigner in Austria is peculiarly apt to be misled in their respect. Almost all the literature that he reads is German, and bears the stamp of the German ideas. He finds the federalists allied with the clerical and reactionary party, he listens to the quaint claims which they prefer on the grounds of the historical rights of the kingdom of Bohemia and the indefeasible privileges' of the Landtage, he naturally compares the provinces of Austria to the counties, the Landtage to the Municipal Assemblies, of his own country, and decides that the Reichsrath is perfectly right in disallowing such preposterous claims. He is apt to forget that though unity of language and political institutions is an undoubted advantage, the forcible spread of this unity is as undoubted an evil : that freedom is one thing, the forcible propagation even of the freest ideas another. He must strip such phrases as the Mission of Teutonism,' the superiority of Western civilization,' of their vague surroundings, and lay bare to view the unlovely realities - the race-domination and race-hatred—which they serve to disguise. Still more must he be on his guard against such phrases, when under the form of a spurious Darwinism, they attempt to assume a philosophical garb. No more flagrant contravention of Nature's principle of selection can be imagined, than a system of persecution, which instead of gradually substituting higher for lower forms of life, kindles in the decaying forms an artificial vigour, and so counteracts the process
which it is its aim to further. The proportion of the Czechs to the Germans in Bohemia and Moravia, says Von Helfert, is actually greater now, after all the efforts of successive Kaisers and Kanzlers, than it was a century ago.
Again it is important not to be misled by those main stumblingblocks to the formation of an impartial judgment-political analogies. To an Englishman the Austrian-German will reply • We repress the Czechs on the same principle that you repress