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History of Modern Europe 1792-1878 by C. A. Fyffe

Part 14 out of 21

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been unrecognised and shouted down, was called into the Tribune, but could
speak only a few words for tears. The Assembly voted him its thanks for his
famous song, "What is the German's Fatherland?" and requested that he would
add to it another stanza commemorating the union of the race at length
visibly realised in that great Parliament. Four days after the opening of
the General Assembly of Frankfort, the Prussian national Parliament began
its sessions at Berlin. [420]

[Europe generally in March, 1848.]

At this point the first act in the Revolutionary drama of 1848 in Germany,
as in Europe generally, may be considered to have reached its close. A
certain unity marks the memorable epoch known generally as the March Days
and the events immediately succeeding. Revolution is universal; it scarcely
meets with resistance; its views seem on the point of being achieved; the
baffled aspirations of the last half-century seem on the point of being
fulfilled. There exists no longer in Central Europe such a thing as an
autocratic Government; and, while the French Republic maintains an
unexpected attitude of peace, Germany and Italy, under the leadership of
old dynasties now penetrated with a new spirit, appear to be on the point
of achieving each its own work of Federal union and of the expulsion of the
foreigner from its national soil. All Italy prepares to move under Charles
Albert to force the Austrians from their last strongholds on the Mincio and
the Adige; all Germany is with the troops of Frederick William of Prussia
as they enter Holstein to rescue this and the neighbouring German province
from the Dane. In Radetzky's camp alone, and at the Court of St.
Petersburg, the old monarchical order of Europe still survives. How
powerful were these two isolated centres of anti-popular energy the world
was soon to see. Yet they would not have turned back the tide of European
affairs and given one more victory to reaction had they not had their
allies in the hatred of race to race, in the incapacity and the errors of
peoples and those who represented them; above all, in the enormous
difficulties which, even had the generation been one of sages and martyrs,
the political circumstances of the time would in themselves have opposed to
the accomplishment of the ends desired.

[The French Provisional Government.]

[The National Workshops.]

France had given to Central Europe the signal for the Revolution of 1848,
and it was in France, where the conflict was not one for national
independence but for political and social interests, that the Revolution
most rapidly ran its course and first exhausted its powers. On the flight
of Louis Philippe authority had been entrusted by the Chamber of Deputies
to a Provisional Government, whose most prominent member was the orator and
poet Lamartine. Installed at the Hôtel de Ville, this Government had with
difficulty prevented the mob from substituting the Red Flag for the
Tricolor, and from proceeding at once to realise the plans of its own
leaders. The majority of the Provisional Government were Republicans of a
moderate type, representing the ideas of the urban middle classes rather
than those of the workmen; but by their side were Ledru Rollin, a
rhetorician dominated by the phrases of 1793, and Louis Blanc, who
considered all political change as but an instrument for advancing the
organisation of labour and for the emancipation of the artisan from
servitude, by the establishment of State-directed industries affording
appropriate employment and adequate remuneration to all. Among the first
proclamations of the Provisional Government was one in which, in answer to
a petition demanding the recognition of the Right to Labour, they undertook
to guarantee employment to every citizen. This engagement, the heaviest
perhaps that was ever voluntarily assumed by any Government, was followed
in a few days by the opening of national workshops. That in the midst of a
Revolution which took all parties by surprise plans for the conduct of a
series of industrial enterprises by the State should have been seriously
examined was impossible. The Government had paid homage to an abstract
idea; they were without a conception of the mode in which it was to be
realised. What articles were to be made, what works were to be executed, no
one knew. The mere direction of destitute workmen to the centres where they
were to be employed was a task for which a new branch of the administration
had to be created. When this was achieved, the men collected proved useless
for all purposes of industry. Their numbers increased enormously, rising in
the course of four weeks from fourteen to sixty-five thousand. The
Revolution had itself caused a financial and commercial panic, interrupting
all the ordinary occupations of business, and depriving masses of men of
the means of earning a livelihood. These, with others who had no intention
of working, thronged to the State workshops; while the certainty of
obtaining wages from the public purse occasioned a series of strikes of
workmen against their employers and the abandonment of private factories.
The chocks which had been intended to confine enrolment at the public works
to persons already domiciled in Paris completely failed; from all the
neighbouring departments the idle and the hungry streamed into the capital.
Every abuse incidental to a system of public relief was present in Paris in
its most exaggerated form; every element of experience, of wisdom, of
precaution, was absent. If, instead of a group of benevolent theorists, the
experiment of 1848 had had for its authors a company of millionaires
anxious to dispel all hope that mankind might ever rise to a higher order
than that of unrestricted competition of man against man, it could not have
been conducted under more fatal conditions. [421]

[The Provisional Government and the Red Republicans.]

[Elections, April 23.]

The leaders of the democracy in Paris had from the first considered that
the decision upon the form of Government to be established in France in
place of the Orleanist monarchy belonged rather to themselves than to the
nation at large. They distrusted, and with good reason, the results of the
General Election which, by a decree of the Provisional Government, was to
be held in the course of April. A circular issued by Ledru Rollin, Minister
of the Interior, without the knowledge of his colleagues, to the
Commissioners by whom he had replaced the Prefects of the Monarchy gave the
first open indication of this alarm, and of the means of violence and
intimidation by which the party which Ledru Rollin represented hoped to
impose its will upon the country. The Commissioners were informed in plain
language that, as agents of a revolutionary authority, their powers were
unlimited, and that their task was to exclude from election all persons who
were not animated by revolutionary spirit, and pure from any taint of
association with the past. If the circular had been the work of the
Government, and not of a single member of it who was at variance with most
of his colleagues and whose words were far more formidable than his
actions, it would have clearly foreshadowed a return to the system of 1793.
But the isolation of Ledru Rollin was well understood. The attitude of the
Government generally was so little in accordance with the views of the Red
Republicans that on the 16th of April a demonstration was organised with
the object of compelling them to postpone the elections. The prompt
appearance in arms of the National Guard, which still represented the
middle classes of Paris, baffled the design of the leaders of the mob, and
gave to Lamartine and the majority in the Government a decisive victory
over their revolutionary colleague. The elections were held at the time
appointed; and, in spite of the institution of universal suffrage, they
resulted in the return of a body of Deputies not widely different from
those who had hitherto appeared in French Parliaments. The great majority
were indeed Republicans by profession, but of a moderate type; and the
session had no sooner opened than it became clear that the relation between
the Socialist democracy of Paris and the National Representatives could
only be one of more or less violent antagonism.

[The National Assembly, May 4.]

[Riot of May 15.]

[Measures against the National Workshops.]

The first act of the Assembly, which met on the 4th of May, was to declare
that the Provisional Government had deserved well of the country, and to
reinstate most of its members in office under the title of an Executive
Commission. Ledru Rollin's offences were condoned, as those of a man
popular with the democracy, and likely on the whole to yield to the
influence of his colleagues. Louis Blanc and his confederate, Albert, as
really dangerous persons, were excluded. The Jacobin leaders now proceeded
to organise an attack on the Assembly by main force. On the 15th of May the
attempt was made. Under pretence of tendering a petition on behalf of
Poland, a mob invaded the Legislative Chamber, declared the Assembly
dissolved, and put the Deputies to flight. But the triumph was of short
duration. The National Guard, whose commander alone was responsible for the
failure of measures of defence, soon rallied in force; the leaders of the
insurgents, some of whom had installed themselves as a Provisional
Government at the Hôtel de Ville, were made captive; and after an interval
of a few hours the Assembly resumed possession of the Palais Bourbon. The
dishonour done to the national representation by the scandalous scenes of
the 15th of May, as well as the decisively proved superiority of the
National Guard over the half armed mob, encouraged the Assembly to declare
open war against the so-called social democracy, and to decree the
abolition of the national workshops. The enormous growth of these
establishments, which now included over a hundred thousand men, threatened
to ruin the public finances; the demoralisation which they engendered
seemed likely to destroy whatever was sound in the life of the working
classes of Paris. Of honest industry there was scarcely a trace to be found
among the masses who were receiving their daily wages from the State.
Whatever the sincerity of those who had founded the national workshops,
whatever the anxiety for employment on the part of those who first resorted
to them, they had now become mere hives of disorder, where the resources of
the State were lavished in accumulating a force for its own overthrow. It
was necessary, at whatever risk, to extinguish the evil. Plans for the
gradual dispersion of the army of workmen were drawn up by Committees and
discussed by the Assembly. If put in force with no more than the necessary
delay, these plans might perhaps have rendered a peaceful solution of the
difficulty possible. But the Government hesitated, and finally, when a
decision could no longer be avoided, determined upon measures more violent
and more sudden than those which the Committees had recommended. On the
21st of June an order was published that all occupants of the public
workshops between the ages of seventeen and twenty-five must enlist in the
army or cease to receive support from the State, and that the removal of
the workmen who had come into Paris from the provinces, for which
preparations had already been made, must be at once effected. [422]

[The Four Days of June, 23-26.]

The publication of this order was the signal for an appeal to arms. The
legions of the national workshops were in themselves a half-organised force
equal in number to several army-corps, and now animated by something like
the spirit of military union. The revolt, which began on the morning of the
23rd of June, was conducted as no revolt in Pans had ever been conducted
before. The eastern part of the city was turned into a maze of barricades.
Though the insurgents had not artillery, they were in other respects fairly
armed. The terrible nature of the conflict impending now became evident to
the Assembly. General Cavaignac, Minister of War, was placed in command,
and subsequently invested with supreme authority, the Executive Commission
resigning its powers. All the troops in the neighbourhood of Paris were at
once summoned to the capital, Cavaignac well understood that any attempt to
hold the insurrection in check by means of scattered posts would only end,
as in 1830, by the capture or the demoralisation of the troops. He treated
Paris as one great battle-field in which the enemy must be attacked in mass
and driven by main force from all his positions. At times the effort
appeared almost beyond the power of the forces engaged, and the insurgents,
sheltered by huge barricades and firing from the windows of houses, seemed
likely to remain masters of the field. The struggle continued for four
days, but Cavaignac's artillery and the discipline of his troops at last
crushed resistance; and after the Archbishop of Paris had been mortally
wounded in a heroic effort to stop further bloodshed, the last bands of the
insurgents, driven back into the north-eastern quarter of the city, and
there attacked with artillery in front and flank, were forced to lay down
their arms.

[Fears left by the events of June.]

Such was the conflict of the Four Days of June, a conflict memorable as one
in which the combatants fought not for a political principle or form of
Government, but for the preservation or the overthrow of society based on
the institution of private property. The National Guard, with some
exceptions, fought side by side with the regiments of the line, braved the
same perils, and sustained an equal loss. The workmen threw themselves the
more passionately into the struggle, inasmuch as defeat threatened them
with deprivation of the very means of life. On both sides acts of savagery
were committed which the fury of the conflict could not excuse. The
vengeance of the conquerors in the moment of success appears, however, to
have been less unrelenting than that which followed the overthrow of the
Commune in 1871, though, after the struggle was over, the Assembly had no
scruple in transporting without trial the whole mass of prisoners taken
with arms in their hands. Cavaignac's victory left the classes for whom he
had fought terror-stricken at the peril from which they had escaped, and
almost hopeless of their own security under any popular form of Government
in the future. Against the rash and weak concessions to popular demands
that had been made by the administration since February, especially in the
matter of taxation and finance, there was now a deep, if not loudly
proclaimed, reaction. The national workshops disappeared; grants were made
by the Legislature for the assistance of the masses who were left without
resource, but the money was bestowed in charitable relief or in the form of
loans to associations, not as wages from the State. On every side among the
holders of property the cry was for a return to sound principles of finance
in the economy of the State, and for the establishment of a strong central
power.

[Cavaignac and Louis Napoleon.]

[Louis Napoleon elected Deputy but resigns, June 14.]

General Cavaignac after the restoration of order had laid down the supreme
authority which had been conferred on him, but at the desire of the
Assembly he continued to exercise it until the new Constitution should be
drawn up and an Executive appointed in accordance with its provisions.
Events had suddenly raised Cavaignac from obscurity to eminence, and seemed
to mark him out as the future ruler of France. But he displayed during the
six months following the suppression of the revolt no great capacity for
government, and his virtues as well as his defects made against his
personal success. A sincere Republican, while at the same time a rigid
upholder of law, he refused to lend himself to those who were, except in
name, enemies of Republicanism; and in his official acts and utterances he
spared the feelings of the reactionary classes as little as he would have
spared those of rioters and Socialists. As the influence of Cavaignac
declined, another name began to fill men's thoughts. Louis Napoleon, son of
the Emperor's brother Louis, King of Holland, had while still in exile been
elected to the National Assembly by four Departments. He was as yet almost
unknown except by name to his fellow-countrymen. Born in the Tuileries in
1808, he had been involved as a child in the ruin of the Empire, and had
passed into banishment with his mother Hortense, under the law that
expelled from France all members of Napoleon's family. He had been brought
up at Augsburg and on the shores of the Lake of Constance, and as a
volunteer in a Swiss camp of artillery he had gained some little
acquaintance with military life. In 1831 he had joined the insurgents in
the Romagna who were in arms against the Papal Government. The death of his
own elder brother, followed in 1832 by that of Napoleon's son, the Duke of
Reichstadt, made him chief of the house of Bonaparte. Though far more of a
recluse than a man of action, though so little of his own nation that he
could not pronounce a sentence of French without a marked German accent,
and had never even seen a French play performed, he now became possessed by
the fixed idea that he was one day to wear the French Crown. A few obscure
adventurers attached themselves to his fortunes, and in 1836 he appeared at
Strasburg and presented himself to the troops as Emperor. The enterprise
ended in failure and ridicule. Louis Napoleon was shipped to America by the
Orleanist Government, which supplied him with money, and thought it
unnecessary even to bring him to trial. He recrossed the Atlantic, made his
home in England, and in 1840 repeated at Boulogne the attempt that had
failed at Strasburg. The result was again disastrous. He was now sentenced
to perpetual imprisonment, and passed the next six years in captivity at
Ham, where he produced a treatise on the Napoleonic Ideas, and certain
fragments on political and social questions. The enthusiasm for Napoleon,
of which there had been little trace in France since 1815, was now
reviving; the sufferings of the epoch of conquest were forgotten; the
steady maintenance of peace by Louis Philippe seemed humiliating to young
and ardent spirits who had not known the actual presence of the foreigner.
In literature two men of eminence worked powerfully upon the national
imagination. The history of Thiers gave the nation a great stage-picture of
Napoleon's exploits; Béranger's lyrics invested his exile at St. Helena
with an irresistible, though spurious, pathos. Thus, little as the world
concerned itself with the prisoner at Ham, the tendencies of the time were
working in his favour; and his confinement, which lasted six years and was
terminated by his escape and return to England, appears to have deepened
his brooding nature, and to have strengthened rather than diminished his
confidence in himself. On the overthrow of Louis Philippe he visited Paris,
but was requested by the Provisional Government, on the ground of the
unrepealed law banishing the Bonaparte family, to quit the country. He
obeyed, probably foreseeing that the difficulties of the Republic would
create better opportunities for his reappearance. Meanwhile the group of
unknown men who sought their fortunes in a Napoleonic restoration busily
canvassed and wrote on behalf of the Prince, and with such success that, in
the supplementary elections that were held at the beginning of June, he
obtained a fourfold triumph. The Assembly, in spite of the efforts of the
Government, pronounced his return valid. Yet with rare self-command the
Prince still adhered to his policy of reserve, resigning his seat on the
ground that his election had been made a pretext for movements of which he
disapproved, while at the same time he declared in his letter to the
President of the Assembly that if duties should be imposed upon him by the
people he should know how to fulfil them. [423]

[Louis Napoleon again elected, Sept. 17.]

[Louis Napoleon elected President, Dec. 10.]

From this time Louis Napoleon was a recognised aspirant to power. The
Constitution of the Republic was now being drawn up by the Assembly. The
Executive Commission had disappeared in the convulsion of June; Cavaignac
was holding the balance between parties rather than governing himself. In
the midst of the debates on the Constitution Louis Napoleon was again
returned elected, to the Assembly by the votes of five Departments. He saw
that he ought to remain no longer in the background, and, accepting the
call of the electors, he took his seat in the Chamber. It was clear that he
would become a candidate for the Presidency of the Republic, and that the
popularity of his name among the masses was enormous. He had twice
presented himself to France as the heir to Napoleon's throne; he had never
directly abandoned his dynastic claim; he had but recently declared, in
almost threatening language, that he should know how to fulfil the duties
that the people might impose upon him. Yet with all these facts before it
the Assembly, misled by the puerile rhetoric of Lamartine, decided that in
the new Constitution the President of the Republic, in whom was vested the
executive power, should be chosen by the direct vote of all Frenchmen, and
rejected the amendment of M. Grevy, who, with real insight into the future,
declared that such direct election by the people could only give France a
Dictator, and demanded that the President should be appointed not by the
masses but by the Chamber. Thus was the way paved for Louis Napoleon's
march to power. The events of June had dispelled any attraction that he had
hitherto felt towards Socialistic theories. He saw that France required an
upholder of order and of property. In his address to the nation announcing
his candidature for the Presidency he declared that he would shrink from no
sacrifice in defending society, so audaciously attacked; that he would
devote himself without reserve to the maintenance of the Republic, and make
it his pride to leave to his successor at the end of four years authority
strengthened, liberty unimpaired, and real progress accomplished. Behind
these generalities the address dexterously touched on the special wants of
classes and parties, and promised something to each. The French nation in
the election which followed showed that it believed in Louis Napoleon even
more than he did in himself. If there existed in the opinion of the great
mass any element beyond the mere instinct of self-defence against real or
supposed schemes of spoliation, it was reverence for Napoleon's memory. Out
of seven millions of votes given, Louis Napoleon received above five,
Cavaignac, who alone entered into serious competition with him, receiving
about a fourth part of that number. Lamartine and the men who ten months
before had represented all the hopes of the nation now found but a handful
of supporters. Though none yet openly spoke of Monarchy, on all sides there
was the desire for the restoration of power. The day-dreams of the second
Republic had fled. France had shown that its choice lay only between a
soldier who had crushed rebellion and a stranger who brought no title to
its confidence but an Imperial name.

CHAPTER XX.

Austria and Italy--Vienna from March to May--Flight of the Emperor--
Bohemian National Movement--Windischgrätz subdues Prague--Campaign
around Verona--Papal Allocution--Naples in May--Negotiations as to
Lombardy--Reconquest of Venetia--Battle of Custozza--The Austrians enter
Milan--Austrian Court and Hungary--The Serbs in Southern Hungary--Serb
Congress at Carlowitz--Jellacic--Affairs of Croatia--Jellacic, the Court
and the Hungarian Movement--Murder of Lamberg--Manifesto of October 3
Vienna on October 6--The Emperor at Olmütz--Windischgrätz conquers
Vienna--The Parliament at Kremsier--Schwarzenberg Minister--Ferdinand
abdicates--Dissolution of the Kremsier Parliament--Unitary Edict--
Hungary--The Roumanians in Transylvania--The Austrian Army occupies
Pesth--Hungarian Government at Debreczin--The Austrians driven out of
Hungary--Declaration of Hungarian Independence--Russian Intervention--
The Hungarian Summer Campaign--Capitulation of Vilagos--Italy--Murder of
Rossi--Tuscany--The March Campaign in Lombardy--Novara--Abdication of
Charles Albert--Victor Emmanuel--Restoration in Tuscany--French
Intervention in Rome--Defeat of Oudinot--Oudinot and Lesseps--The French
enter Rome--The Restored Pontifical Government--Fall of Venice--
Ferdinand reconquers Sicily Germany--The National Assembly at Frankfort--
The Armistice of Malmö--Berlin from April to September--The Prussian
Army--Last days of the Prussian Parliament--Prussian Constitution
granted by Edict--The German National Assembly and Austria--Frederick
William IV. elected Emperor--He refuses the Crown--End of the National
Assembly--Prussia attempts to form a separate Union--The Union
Parliament at Erfurt--Action of Austria--Hesse Cassel--The Diet of
Frankfort restored--Olmütz--Schleswig-Holstein--Germany after 1849--
Austria after 1851--France after 1848--Louis Napoleon--The October
Message--Law Limiting the Franchise--Louis Napoleon and the Army--
Proposed Revision of the Constitution--The Coup d'État--Napoleon III.
Emperor

[Austria and Italy.]

The plain of Northern Italy has ever been an arena on which the contest
between interests greater than those of Italy itself has been brought to an
issue, and it may perhaps be truly said that in the struggle between
established Governments and Revolution through out Central Europe in 1848
the real turning point, if it can anywhere be fixed, lay rather in the
fortunes of a campaign in Lombardy than in any single combination of events
at Vienna or Berlin. The very existence of the Austrian Monarchy depended
on the victory of Radetzky's forces over the national movement at the head
of which Piedmont had now placed itself. If Italian independence should be
established upon the ruin of the Austrian arms, and the influence and
example of the victorious Italian people be thrown into the scale against
the Imperial Government in its struggle with the separatist forces that
convulsed every part of the Austrian dominions, it was scarcely possible
that any stroke of fortune or policy could save the Empire of the Hapsburgs
from dissolution. But on the prostration or recovery of Austria, as
represented by its central power at Vienna, the future of Germany in great
part depended. Whatever compromise might be effected between popular and
monarchical forces in the other German States if left free from Austria's
interference, the whole influence of a resurgent Austrian power could not
but be directed against the principles of popular sovereignty and national
union. The Parliament of Frankfort might then in vain affect to fulfil its
mandate without reckoning with the Court of Vienna. All this was indeed
obscured in the tempests that for a while shut out the political horizon.
The Liberals of Northern Germany had little sympathy with the Italian cause
in the decisive days of 1848. Their inclinations went rather with the
combatant who, though bent on maintaining an oppressive dominion, was
nevertheless a member of the German race and paid homage for the moment to
Constitutional rights. Yet, as later events were to prove, the fetters
which crushed liberty beyond the Alps could fit as closely on to German
limbs; and in the warfare of Upper Italy for its own freedom the battle of
German Liberalism was in no small measure fought and lost.

[Vienna from March to May.]

Metternich once banished from Vienna, the first popular demand was for a
Constitution. His successors in office, with a certain characteristic
pedantry, devoted their studies to the Belgian Constitution of 1831; and
after some weeks a Constitution was published by edict for the
non-Hungarian part of the Empire, including a Parliament of two Chambers,
the Lower to be chosen by indirect election, the Upper consisting of
nominees of the Crown and representatives of the great landowners. The
provisions of this Constitution in favour of the Crown and the Aristocracy,
as well as the arbitrary mode of its promulgation, displeased the Viennese.
Agitation recommenced in the city; unpopular officials were roughly handled
the Press grew ever more violent and more scurrilous. One strange result of
the tutelage in which Austrian society had been held was that the students
of the University became, and for some time continued to be, the most
important political body of the capital. Their principal rivals in
influence were the National Guard drawn from citizens of the middle class,
the workmen as yet remaining in the background. Neither in the Hall of the
University nor at the taverns where the civic militia discussed the events
of the hour did the office-drawn Constitution find favour. On the 13th of
May it was determined, with the view of exercising stronger pressure upon
the Government, that the existing committees of the National Guard and of
the students should be superseded by one central committee representing
both bodies. The elections to this committee had been held, and its
sittings had begun, when the commander of the National Guard declared such
proceedings to be inconsistent with military discipline, and ordered the
dissolution of the committee. Riots followed, during which the students and
the mob made their way into the Emperor's palace and demanded from his
Ministers not only the re-establishment of the central committee but the
abolition of the Upper Chamber in the projected Constitution, and the
removal of the checks imposed on popular sovereignty by a limited franchise
and the system of indirect elections. On point after point the Ministry
gave way; and, in spite of the resistance and reproaches of the Imperial
household, they obtained the Emperor's signature to a document promising
that for the future all the important military posts in the city should be
held by the National Guard jointly with the regular troops, that the latter
should never be called out except on the requisition of the National Guard,
and that the projected Constitution should remain without force until it
should have been submitted for confirmation to a single Constituent
Assembly elected by universal suffrage.

[Flight of the Emperor, May 17.]

[Tumult of May 26.]

The weakness of the Emperor's intelligence rendered him a mere puppet in
the hands of those who for the moment exercised control over his actions.
During the riot of the 15th of May he obeyed his Ministers; a few hours
afterwards he fell under the sway of the Court party, and consented to fly
from Vienna. On the 18th the Viennese learnt to their astonishment that
Ferdinand was far on the road to the Tyrol. Soon afterwards a manifesto was
published, stating that the violence and anarchy of the capital had
compelled the Emperor to transfer his residence to Innsbruck; that he
remained true, however, to the promises made in March and to their
legitimate consequences; and that proof must be given of the return of the
Viennese to their old sentiments of loyalty before he could again appear
among them. A certain revulsion of feeling in the Emperor's favour now
became manifest in the capital, and emboldened the Ministers to take the
first step necessary towards obtaining his return, namely the dissolution
of the Students' Legion. They could count with some confidence on the
support of the wealthier part of the middle class, who were now becoming
wearied of the students' extravagances and alarmed at the interruption of
business caused by the Revolution; moreover, the ordinary termination of
the academic year was near at hand. The order was accordingly given for the
dissolution of the Legion and the closing of the University. But the
students met the order with the stoutest resistance. The workmen poured in
from the suburbs to join in their defence. Barricades were erected, and the
insurrection of March seemed on the point of being renewed. Once more the
Government gave way, and not only revoked its order, but declared itself
incapable of preserving tranquillity in the capital unless it should
receive the assistance of the leaders of the people. With the full
concurrence of the Ministers, a Committee of Public Safety was formed,
representing at once the students, the middle class, and the workmen; and
it entered upon its duties with an authority exceeding, within the limits
of the capital, that of the shadowy functionaries of State. [424]

[Bohemian national movement.]

[Windischgrätz subdues Prague, June 12-17.]

In the meantime the antagonism between the Czechs and the Germans in
Bohemia was daily becoming more bitter. The influence of the party of
compromise, which had been dominant in the early days of March, had
disappeared before the ill-timed attempt of the German national leaders at
Frankfort to include Bohemia within the territory sending representatives
to the German national Parliament. By consenting to this incorporation the
Czech population would have definitely renounced its newly asserted claim
to nationality. If the growth of democratic spirit at Vienna was
accompanied by a more intense German national feeling in the capital, the
popular movements at Vienna and at Prague must necessarily pass into a
relation of conflict with one another. On the flight of the Emperor
becoming known at Prague, Count Thun, the governor, who was also the chief
of the moderate Bohemian party, invited Ferdinand to make Prague the seat
of his Government. This invitation, which would have directly connected the
Crown with Czech national interests, was not accepted. The rasher
politicians, chiefly students and workmen, continued to hold their meetings
and to patrol the streets; and a Congress of Slavs from all parts of the
Empire, which was opened on the 2nd of June, excited national passions
still further. So threatening grew the attitude of the students and workmen
that Count Windischgrätz, commander of the troops at Prague, prepared to
act with artillery. On the 12th of June, the day on which the Congress of
Slavs broke up, fighting began. Windischgrätz, whose wife was killed by a
bullet, appears to have acted with calmness, and to have sought to arrive
at some peaceful settlement. He withdrew his troops, and desisted from a
bombardment that he had begun, on the understanding that the barricades
which had been erected should be removed. This condition was not fulfilled.
New acts of violence occurred in the city, and on the 17th Windischgrätz
reopened fire. On the following day Prague surrendered, and Windischgrätz
re-entered the city as Dictator. The autonomy of Bohemia was at an end. The
army had for the first time acted with effect against a popular rising; the
first blow had been struck on behalf of the central power against the
revolution which till now had seemed about to dissolve the Austrian State
into its fragments.

[Campaign around Verona, April-May.]

At this point the dominant interest in Austrian affairs passes from the
capital and the northern provinces to Radetzky's army and the Italians with
whom it stood face to face. Once convinced of the necessity of a retreat
from Milan, the Austrian commander had moved with sufficient rapidity to
save Verona and Mantua from passing into the hands of the insurgents. He
was thus enabled to place his army in one of the best defensive positions
in Europe, the Quadrilateral flanked by the rivers Mincio and Adige, and
protected by the fortresses of Verona, Mantua, Peschiera, and Legnano. With
his front on the Mincio he awaited at once the attack of the Piedmontese
and the arrival of reinforcements from the north-east. On the 8th of April
the first attack was made, and after a sharp engagement at Goito the
passage of the Mincio was effected by the Sardinian army. Siege was now
laid to Peschiera; and while a Tuscan contingent watched Mantua, the bulk
of Charles Albert's forces operated farther northward with the view of
cutting off Verona from the roads to the Tyrol. This result was for a
moment achieved, but the troops at the King's disposal were far too weak
for the task of reducing the fortresses; and in an attempt that was made on
the 6th of May to drive the Austrians out of their positions in front of
Verona, Charles Albert was defeated at Santa Lucia and compelled to fall
back towards the Mincio. [425]

[Papal Allocution, April 29.]

[Naples in May.]

A pause in the war ensued, filled by political events of evil omen for
Italy. Of all the princes who had permitted their troops to march
northwards to the assistance of the Lombards, not one was acting in full
sincerity. The first to show himself in his true colours was the Pope. On
the 29th of April an Allocution was addressed to the Cardinals, in which
Pius disavowed all participation in the war against Austria, and declared
that his own troops should do no more than defend the integrity of the
Roman States. Though at the moment an outburst of popular indignation in
Rome forced a still more liberal Ministry into power, and Durando, the
Papal general, continued his advance into Venetia, the Pope's renunciation
of his supposed national leadership produced the effect which its author
desired, encouraging every open and every secret enemy of the Italian
cause, and perplexing those who had believed themselves to be engaged in a
sacred as well as a patriotic war. In Naples things hurried far more
rapidly to a catastrophe. Elections had been held to the Chamber of
Deputies, which was to be opened on the 15th of May, and most of the
members returned were men who, while devoted to the Italian national cause
were neither Republicans nor enemies of the Bourbon dynasty, but anxious to
co-operate with their King in the work of Constitutional reform.
Politicians of another character, however, commanded the streets of Naples.
Rumours were spread that the Court was on the point of restoring despotic
government and abandoning the Italian cause. Disorder and agitation
increased from day to day; and after the Deputies had arrived in the city
and begun a series of informal meetings preparatory to the opening of the
Parliament, an ill-advised act of Ferdinand gave to the party of disorder,
who were weakly represented in the Assembly, occasion for an insurrection.
After promulgating the Constitution on February both, Ferdinand had agreed
that it should be submitted to the two Chambers for revision. He notified,
however, to the Representatives on the eve of the opening of Parliament
that they would be required to take an oath of fidelity to the
Constitution. They urged that such an oath would deprive them of their
right of revision. The King, after some hours, consented to a change in the
formula of the oath; but his demand had already thrown the city into
tumult. Barricades were erected, the Deputies in vain endeavouring to calm
the rioters and to prevent a conflict with the troops. While negotiations
were still in progress shots were fired. The troops now threw themselves
upon the people; there was a struggle, short in duration, but sanguinary
and merciless; the barricades were captured, some hundreds of the
insurgents slain, and Ferdinand was once more absolute master of Naples.
The Assembly was dissolved on the day after that on which it should have
met. Orders were at once sent by the King to General Pepe, commander of the
troops that were on the march to Lombardy, to return with his army to
Naples. Though Pepe continued true to the national cause, and endeavoured
to lead his army forward from Bologna in defiance of the King's
instructions, his troops now melted away; and when he crossed the Po and
placed himself under the standard of Charles Albert in Venetia there
remained with him scarcely fifteen hundred men.

[Negotiations as to Lombardy.]

[Reconquest of Venetia, June, July.]

It thus became clear before the end of May that the Lombards would receive
no considerable help from the Southern States in their struggle for
freedom, and that the promised league of the Governments in the national
cause was but a dream from which there was a bitter awakening. Nor in
Northern Italy itself was there the unity in aim and action without which
success was impossible. The Republican party accused the King and the
Provisional Government at Milan of an unwillingness to arm the people;
Charles Albert on his part regarded every Republican as an enemy. On
entering Lombardy the King had stated that no question as to the political
organisation of the future should be raised until the war was ended;
nevertheless, before a fortress had been captured, he had allowed Modena
and Parma to declare themselves incorporated with the Piedmontese monarchy;
and, in spite of Mazzini's protest, their example was followed by Lombardy
and some Venetian districts. In the recriminations that passed between the
Republicans and the Monarchists it was even suggested that Austria had
friends of its own in certain classes of the population. This was not the
view taken by the Viennese Government, which from the first appears to have
considered its cause in Lombardy as virtually lost. The mediation of Great
Britain was invoked by Metternich's successors, and a willingness expressed
to grant to the Italian provinces complete autonomy under the Emperor's
sceptre. Palmerston, in reply to the supplications of a Court which had
hitherto cursed his influence, urged that Lombardy and the greater part of
Venetia should be ceded to the King of Piedmont. The Austrian Government
would have given up Lombardy to their enemy; they hesitated to increase his
power to the extent demanded by Palmerston, the more so as the French
Ministry was known to be jealous of the aggrandisement of Sardinia, and to
desire the establishment of weak Republics like those formed in 1796.
Withdrawing from its negotiations at London, the Emperor's Cabinet now
entered into direct communication with the Provisional Government at Milan,
and, without making any reference to Piedmont or Venice, offered complete
independence to Lombardy. As the union of this province with Piedmont had
already been voted by its inhabitants, the offer was at once rejected.
Moreover, even it the Italians had shown a disposition to compromise their
cause and abandon Venice, Radetzky would not have broken off the combat
while any possibility remained of winning over the Emperor from the side
of the peace-party. In reply to instructions directing him to offer an
armistice to the enemy, he sent Prince Felix Schwarzenberg to Innsbruck to
implore the Emperor to trust to the valour of his soldiers and to continue
the combat. Already there were signs that the victory would ultimately be
with Austria. Reinforcements had cut their way through the insurgent
territory and reached Verona; and although a movement by which Radetzky
threatened to sever Charles Albert's communications was frustrated by a
second engagement at Goito, and Peschiera passed into the besiegers' hands,
this was the last success won by the Italians. Throwing himself suddenly
eastwards, Radetzky appeared before Vicenza, and compelled this city, with
the entire Papal army, commanded by General Durando, to capitulate. The
fall of Vicenza was followed June. July. by that of the other cities on the
Venetian mainland till Venice alone on the east of the Adige defied the
Austrian arms. As the invader pressed onward, an Assembly which Manin had
convoked at Venice decided on union with Piedmont. Manin himself had been
the most zealous opponent of what he considered the sacrifice of Venetian
independence. He gave way nevertheless at the last, and made no attempt to
fetter the decision of the Assembly; but when this decision had been given
he handed over the conduct of affairs to others, and retired for awhile
into private life, declining to serve under a king. [426]

[Battle of Custozza July 25.]

[Austrians re-enter Milan, Aug. 6.]

Charles Albert now renewed his attempt to wrest the central fortresses from
the Austrians. Leaving half his army at Peschiera and farther north, he
proceeded with the other half to blockade Mantua. Radetzky took advantage
of the unskilful generalship of his opponent, and threw himself upon the
weakly guarded centre of the long Sardinian line. The King perceived his
error, and sought to unite with his the northern detachments, now separated
from him by the Mincio. His efforts were baffled, and on the 25th of July,
after a brave resistance, his troops were defeated at Custozza. The retreat
across the Mincio was conducted in fair order, but disasters sustained by
the northern division, which should have held the enemy in check, destroyed
all hope, and the retreat then became a flight. Radetzky followed in close
pursuit. Charles Albert entered Milan, but declared himself unable to
defend the city. A storm of indignation broke out against the unhappy King
amongst the Milanese, whom he was declared to have betrayed. The palace
where he had taken up his quarters was besieged by the mob; his life was
threatened; and he escaped with difficulty on the night of August 5th under
the protection of General La Marmora and a few faithful Guards. A
capitulation was signed, and as the Piedmontese army evacuated the city
Radetzky's troops entered it in triumph. Not less than sixty thousand of
the inhabitants, according to Italian statements, abandoned their homes and
sought refuge in Switzerland or Piedmont rather than submit to the
conqueror's rule. Radetzky could now have followed his retreating enemy
without difficulty to Turin, and have crushed Piedmont itself under foot;
but the fear of France and Great Britain checked his career of victory, and
hostilities were brought to a close by an armistice at Vigevano on August
9th. [427]

[The Austrian Court and Hungary.]

The effects of Radetzky's triumph were felt in every province of the
Empire. The first open expression given to the changed state of affairs was
the return of the Imperial Court from its refuge at Innsbruck to Vienna.
The election promised in May had been held, and an Assembly representing
all the non-Hungarian parts of the Monarchy, with the exception of the
Italian provinces, had been opened by the Archduke John, as representative
of the Emperor, on the 22nd of July. Ministers and Deputies united in
demanding the return of the Emperor to the capital. With Radetzky and
Windischgrätz within call, the Emperor could now with some confidence face
his students and his Parliament. But of far greater importance than the
return of the Court to Vienna was the attitude which it now assumed towards
the Diet and the national Government of Hungary. The concessions made in
April, inevitable as they were, had in fact raised Hungary to the position
of an independent State. When such matters as the employment of Hungarian
troops against Italy or the distribution of the burden of taxation came
into question, the Emperor had to treat with the Hungarian Ministry almost
as if it represented a foreign and a rival Power. For some months this
humiliation had to be borne, and the appearance of fidelity to the new
Constitutional law maintained. But a deep, resentful hatred against the
Magyar cause penetrated the circles in which the old military and official
absolutism of Austria yet survived; and behind the men and the policy still
representing with some degree of sincerity the new order of things, there
gathered the passions and the intrigues of a reaction that waited only for
the outbreak of civil war within Hungary itself, and the restoration of
confidence to the Austrian army, to draw the sword against its foe.
Already, while Italy was still unsubdued, and the Emperor was scarcely safe
in his palace at Vienna, the popular forces that might be employed against
the Government at Pesth came into view.

[The Serbs in Southern Hungary.]

[Serb Congress at Carlowitz, May 13-15.]

In one of the stormy sessions of the Hungarian Diet at the time when the
attempt was first made to impose the Magyar language upon Croatia the
Illyrian leader, Gai, had thus addressed the Assembly: "You Magyars are an
island in the ocean of Slavism. Take heed that its waves do not rise and
overwhelm you." The agitation of the spring of 1848 first revealed in its
full extent the peril thus foreshadowed. Croatia had for above a year been
in almost open mutiny, but the spirit of revolt now spread through the
whole of the Serb population of Southern Hungary, from the eastern limits
of Slavonia, [428] across the plain known as the Banat beyond the junction
of the Theiss and the Danube, up to the borders of Transylvania. The Serbs
had been welcomed into these provinces in the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries by the sovereigns of Austria as a bulwark against the Turks.
Charters had been given to them, which were still preserved, promising them
a distinct political administration under their own elected Voivode, and
ecclesiastical independence under their own Patriarch of the Greek Church.
[429] These provincial rights had fared much as others in the Austrian
Empire. The Patriarch and the Voivode had disappeared, and the Banat had
been completely merged in Hungary. Enough, however, of Serb nationality
remained to kindle at the summons of 1848, and to resent with a sudden
fierceness the determination of the Magyar rulers at Pesth that the Magyar
language, as the language of State, should thenceforward bind together all
the races of Hungary in the enjoyment of a common national life. The Serbs
had demanded from Kossuth and his colleagues the restoration of the local
and ecclesiastical autonomy of which the Hapsburgs had deprived them, and
the recognition of their own national language and customs. They found, or
believed, that instead of a German they were now to have a Magyar lord, and
one more near, more energetic, more aggressive. Their reply to Kossuth's
defence of Magyar ascendency was the summoning of a Congress of Serbs at
Carlowitz on the Lower Danube. Here it was declared that the Serbs of
Austria formed a free and independent nation under the Austrian sceptre and
the common Hungarian Crown. A Voivode was elected and the limits of his
province were defined. A National Committee was charged with the duty of
organising a Government and of entering into intimate connection with the
neighbouring Slavic Kingdom of Croatia.

[Jellacic in Croatia.]

At Agram, the Croatian capital, all established authority had sunk in the
catastrophe of March, and a National Committee had assumed power. It
happened that the office of Governor, or Ban, of Croatia was then vacant.
The Committee sent a deputation to Vienna requesting that the colonel of
the first Croatian regiment, Jellacic, might be appointed. Without waiting
for the arrival of the deputation, the Court, by a patent dated the 23rd of
March, nominated Jellacic to the vacant post. The date of this appointment,
and the assumption of office by Jellacic on the 14th of April, the very day
before the Hungarian Ministry entered upon its powers, have been considered
proof that a secret understanding existed from the first between Jellacic
and the Court. No further evidence of this secret relation has, however,
been made public, and the belief long current among all friends of the
Magyar cause that Croatia was deliberately instigated to revolt against the
Hungarian Government by persons around the Emperor seems to rest on no
solid foundation. The Croats would have been unlike all other communities
in the Austrian Empire if they had not risen under the national impulse of
1848. They had been murmuring against Magyar ascendency for years past, and
the fire long smouldering now probably burst into flame here as elsewhere
without the touch of an incendiary hand. With regard to Jellacic's sudden
appointment it is possible that the Court, powerless to check the Croatian
movement, may have desired to escape the appearance of compulsion by
spontaneously conferring office on the popular soldier, who was at least
more likely to regard the Emperor's interests than the lawyers and
demagogues around him. Whether Jellacic was at this time genuinely
concerned for Croatian autonomy, or whether from the first, while he
apparently acted with the Croatian nationalists his deepest sympathies were
with the Austrian army, and his sole design was that of serving the
Imperial Crown with or without its own avowed concurrence, it is impossible
to say. That, like most of his countrymen, he cordially hated the Magyars,
is beyond doubt. The general impression left by his character hardly
accords with the Magyar conception of him as the profound and far-sighted
conspirator--he would seem, on the contrary, to have been a man easily
yielding to the impulses of the moment, and capable of playing
contradictory parts with little sense of his own inconsistency. [430]

[Affairs of Croatia April 14-June 16.]

Installed in office, Jellacic cast to the winds all consideration due to
the Emperor's personal engagements towards Hungary, and forthwith permitted
the Magyar officials to be driven out of the country. On the 2nd of May he
issued an order forbidding all Croatian authorities to correspond with the
Government at Pesth. Batthyány, the Hungarian Premier, at once hurried to
Vienna, and obtained from the Emperor a letter commanding Jellacic to
submit to the Hungarian Ministry. As the Ban paid no attention to this
mandate, General Hrabowsky, commander of the troops in the southern
provinces, received orders from Pesth to annul all that Jellacic had done,
to suspend him from his office, and to bring him to trial for high treason.
Nothing daunted, Jellacic on his own authority convoked the Diet of Croatia
for the 5th of June; the populace of Agram, on hearing of Hrabowsky's
mission, burnt the Palatine in effigy. This was a direct outrage on the
Imperial family, and Batthyány turned it to account. The Emperor had just
been driven from Vienna by the riot of the 15th of May. Batthyány sought
him at Innsbruck, and by assuring him of the support of his loyal
Hungarians against both the Italians and the Viennese obtained his
signature on June 10th to a rescript vehemently condemning the Ban's action
and suspending him from office. Jellacic had already been summoned to
appear at Innsbruck. He set out, taking with him a deputation of Croats and
Serbs, and leaving behind him a popular Assembly sitting at Agram, in
which, besides the representatives of Croatia, there were seventy Deputies
from the Serb provinces. On the very day on which the Ban reached
Innsbruck, the Imperial order condemning him and suspending him from his
functions was published by Batthyány at Pesth. Nor was the situation made
easier by the almost simultaneous announcement that civil war had broken
out on the Lower Danube, and that General Hrabowsky, on attempting to
occupy Carlowitz, had been attacked and compelled to retreat by the Serbs
under their national leader Stratimirovic. [431]

[Jellacic, the Court, and the Hungarian Government.]

It is said that the Emperor Ferdinand, during deliberations in council on
which the fate of the Austrian Empire depended, was accustomed to occupy
himself with counting the number of carriages that passed from right and
left respectively under the windows. In the struggle between Croatia and
Hungary he appears to have avoided even the formal exercise of authority,
preferring to commit the decision between the contending parties to the
Archduke John, as mediator or judge. John was too deeply immersed in other
business to give much attention to the matter. What really passed between
Jellacic and the Imperial family at Innsbruck is unknown. The official
request of the Ban was for the withdrawal or suppression of the rescript
signed by the Emperor on June 10th. Prince Esterhazy, who represented the
Hungarian Government at Innsbruck, was ready to make this concession; but
before the document could be revoked, it had been made public by Batthyány.
With the object of proving his fidelity to the Court, Jellacic now
published an address to the Croatian regiments serving in Lombardy,
entreating them not to be diverted from their duty to the Emperor in the
field by any report of danger to their rights and their nationality nearer
home. So great was Jellacic's influence with his countrymen that an appeal
from him of opposite tenor would probably have caused the Croatian
regiments to quit Radetzky in a mass, and so have brought the war in Italy
to an ignominious end. His action won for him a great popularity in the
higher ranks of the Austrian army, and probably gained for him, even if he
did not possess it before, the secret confidence of the Court. That some
understanding now existed is almost certain, for, in spite of the
unrepealed declaration of June 10th, and the postponement of the Archduke's
judgment, Jellacic was permitted to return to Croatia and to resume his
government. The Diet at Agram occupied itself with far-reaching schemes for
a confederation of the southern Slavs; but its discussions were of no
practical effect, and after some weeks it was extinguished under the form
of an adjournment. From this time Jellacic held dictatorial power. It was
unnecessary for him in his relations with Hungary any longer to keep up the
fiction of a mere defence of Croatian rights; he appeared openly as the
champion of Austrian unity. In negotiations which he held with Batthyány at
Vienna during the last days of July, he demanded the restoration of single
Ministries for War, Finance, and Foreign Affairs for the whole Austrian
Empire. The demand was indignantly refused, and the chieftains of the two
rival races quitted Vienna to prepare for war.

[Imminent breach between Austria and Hungary.]

[Jellacic restored to office, Sept. 3. He marches on Pesth.]

The Hungarian National Parliament, elected under the new Constitution, had
been opened at Pesth on July 5th. Great efforts had been made, in view of
the difficulties with Croatia and of the suspected intrigues between the
Ban and the Court party, to induce the Emperor Ferdinand to appear at Pesth
in person. He excused himself from this on the ground of illness, but sent
a letter to the Parliament condemning not only in his own name but in that
of every member of the Imperial family the resistance offered to the
Hungarian Government in the southern provinces. If words bore any meaning,
the Emperor stood pledged to a loyal co-operation with the Hungarian
Ministers in defence of the unity and the constitution of the Hungarian
Kingdom as established by the laws of April. Yet at this very time the
Minister of War at Vienna was encouraging Austrian officers to join the
Serb insurgents. Kossuth, who conducted most of the business of the
Hungarian Government in the Lower Chamber at Pesth, made no secret of his
hostility to the central powers. While his colleagues sought to avoid a
breach with the other half of the Monarchy, it seemed to be Kossuth's
object rather to provoke it. In calling for a levy of two hundred thousand
men to crash the Slavic rebellion, he openly denounced the Viennese
Ministry and the Court as its promoters. In leading the debate upon the
Italian War, he endeavoured without the knowledge of his colleagues to
make the cession of the territory west of the Adige a condition of
Hungary's participation in the struggle. As Minister of Finance, he spared
neither word nor act to demonstrate his contempt for the financial
interests of Austria. Whether a gentler policy on the part of the most
powerful statesman in Hungary might have averted the impending conflict it
is vain to ask; but in the uncompromising enmity of Kossuth the Austrian
Court found its own excuse for acts in which shamelessness seemed almost to
rise into political virtue. No sooner had Radetzky's victories and the fall
of Milan brought the Emperor back to Vienna than the new policy came into
effect. The veto of the sovereign was placed upon the laws passed by the
Diet at Pesth for the defence of the Kingdom. The Hungarian Government was
required to reinstate Jellacic in his dignities, to enter into negotiations
at Vienna with him and the Austrian Ministry, and finally to desist from
all military preparations against the rebellious provinces. In answer to
these demands the Diet sent a hundred of its members to Vienna to claim
from the Emperor the fulfilment of his plighted word. The miserable man
received them on the 9th of September with protestations of his sincerity;
but even before the deputation had passed the palace-gates, there appeared
in the official gazette a letter under the Emperor's own hand replacing
Jellacic in office and acquitting him of every charge that had been brought
against him. It was for this formal recognition alone that Jellacic had
been waiting. On the 11th of September he crossed the Drave with his army,
and began his march against the Hungarian capital. [432]

[Mission of Lamberg. He is murdered at Pesth, Sept. 28.]

The Ministry now in office at Vienna was composed in part of men who had
been known as reformers in the early days of 1848; but the old order was
represented by Count Wessenberg, who had been Metternich's assistant at the
Congress of Vienna, and by Latour, the War Minister, a soldier of high
birth whose career dated back to the campaign of Austerlitz. Whatever
contempt might be felt by one section of the Cabinet for the other, its
members were able to unite against the independence of Hungary as they had
united against the independence of Italy. They handed in to the Emperor a
memorial in which the very concessions to which they owed their own
existence as a Constitutional Ministry were made a ground for declaring the
laws establishing Hungarian autonomy null and void. In a tissue of
transparent sophistries they argued that the Emperor's promise of a
Constitution to all his dominions on the 15th of March disabled him from
assenting, without the advice of his Viennese Ministry, to the resolutions
subsequently passed by the Hungarian Diet, although the union between
Hungary and the other Hereditary States had from the first rested solely on
the person of the monarch, and no German official had ever pretended to
exercise authority over Hungarians otherwise than by order of the sovereign
as Hungarian King. The publication of this Cabinet memorial, which appeared
in the journals at Pesth on the 15th of September, gave plain warning to
the Hungarians that, if they were not to be attacked by Jellacic and the
Austrian army simultaneously, they must make some compromise with the
Government at Vienna. Batthyány was inclined to concession, and after
resigning office in consequence of the Emperor's desertion he had already
re-assumed his post with colleagues disposed to accept his own pacific
policy. Kossuth spoke openly of war with Austria and of a dictatorship. As
Jellacic advanced towards Pesth, the Palatine took command of the Hungarian
army and marched southwards. On reaching Lake Baloton, on whose southern
shore the Croats were encamped, he requested a personal conference with
Jellacic, and sailed to the appointed place of meeting. But he waited in
vain for the Ban; and rightly interpreting this rejection of his overtures,
he fled from the army and laid down his office. The Emperor now sent
General Lamberg from Vienna with orders to assume the supreme command alike
over the Magyar and the Croatian forces, and to prevent an encounter. On
the success of Lamberg's mission hung the last chance of reconciliation
between Hungary and Austria. Batthyány, still clinging to the hope of
peace, set out for the camp in order to meet the envoy on his arrival.
Lamberg, desirous of obtaining the necessary credentials from the Hungarian
Government, made his way to Pesth. There he found Kossuth and a Committee
of Six installed in power. Under their influence the Diet passed a
resolution forbidding Lamberg to assume command of the Hungarian troops,
and declaring him a traitor if he should attempt to do so. The report
spread through Pesth that Lamberg had come to seize the citadel and bombard
the town; and before he could reach a place of safety he was attacked and
murdered by a raging mob. It was in vain that Batthyány, who now laid down
his office, besought the Government at Vienna to take no rash step of
vengeance. The pretext for annihilating Hungarian independence had been
given, and the mask was cast aside. A manifesto published by the Emperor on
the 3rd of October declared the Hungarian Parliament dissolved, and its
acts null and void. Martial law was proclaimed, and Jellacic appointed
commander of all the forces and representative of the sovereign. In the
course of the next few days it was expected that he would enter Pesth as
conqueror.

[Manifesto of Oct. 3.]

[Tumult of Oct. 6 at Vienna. Latour murdered.]

In the meantime, however confidently the Government might reckon on
Jellacic's victory, the passions of revolution were again breaking loose in
Vienna itself. Increasing misery among the poor, financial panics, the
reviving efforts of professional agitators, had renewed the disturbances of
the spring in forms which alarmed the middle classes almost as much as the
holders of power. The conflict of the Government with Hungary brought
affairs to a crisis. After discovering the uselessness of negotiations with
the Emperor, the Hungarian Parliament had sent some of its ablest members
to request an audience from the Assembly sitting at Vienna, in order that
the representatives of the western half of the Empire might, even at the
last moment, have the opportunity of pronouncing a judgment upon the action
of the Court. The most numerous group in the Assembly was formed by the
Czech deputies from Bohemia. As Slavs, the Bohemian deputies had
sympathised with the Croats and Serbs in their struggle against Magyar
ascendency, and in their eyes Jellacic was still the champion of a national
cause. Blinded by their sympathies of race to the danger involved to all
nationalities alike by the restoration of absolutism, the Czech majority,
in spite of a singularly impressive warning given by a leader of the German
Liberals, refused a hearing to the Hungarian representatives. The Magyars,
repelled by the Assembly, sought and found allies in the democracy of
Vienna itself. The popular clubs rang with acclamations for the cause of
Hungarian freedom and with invectives against the Czech instruments of
tyranny. In the midst of this deepening agitation tidings arrived at Vienna
that Jellacic had been repulsed in his march on Pesth and forced to retire
within the Austrian frontier. It became necessary for the Viennese
Government to throw its own forces into the struggle, and an order was
given by Latour to the regiments in the capital to set out for the scene of
warfare. This order had, however, been anticipated by the democratic
leaders, and a portion of the troops had been won over to the popular side.
Latour's commands were resisted; and upon an attempt being made to enforce
the departure of the troops, the regiments fired on one another (October
6th). The battalions of the National Guard which rallied to the support of
the Government were overpowered by those belonging to the working men's
districts. The insurrection was victorious; the Ministers submitted once
more to the masters of the streets, and the orders given to the troops were
withdrawn. But the fiercer part of the mob was not satisfied with a
political victory. There were criminals and madmen among its leaders who,
after the offices of Government had been stormed and Latour had been
captured, determined upon his death. It was in vain that some of the
keenest political opponents of the Minister sought at the peril of their
own lives to protect him from his murderers. He was dragged into the court
in front of the War Office, and there slain with ferocious and yet
deliberate barbarity. [433]

[The Emperor at Olmütz.]

[Windischgrätz marches on Vienna.]

The Emperor, while the city was still in tumult, had in his usual fashion
promised that the popular demands should be satisfied; but as soon as he
was unobserved he fled from Vienna, and in his flight he was followed by
the Czech deputies and many German Conservatives, who declared that their
lives were no longer safe in the capital. Most of the Ministers gathered
round the Emperor at Olmütz in Moravia; the Assembly, however, continued to
hold its sittings in Vienna, and the Finance Minister, apparently under
instructions from the Court, remained at his post, and treated the Assembly
as still possessed of legal powers. But for all practical purposes the
western half of the Austrian Empire had now ceased to have any Government
whatever; and the real state of affairs was bluntly exposed in a manifesto
published by Count Windischgrätz at Prague on the 11th of October, in
which, without professing to have received any commission from the Emperor,
he announced his intention of marching on Vienna in order to protect the
sovereign and maintain the unity of the Empire. In due course the Emperor
ratified the action of his energetic soldier; Windischgrätz was appointed
to the supreme command over all the troops of the Empire with the exception
of Radetzky's army, and his march against Vienna was begun.

[Windischgrätz conquers Vienna, Oct. 26-Nov. 1.]

To the Hungarian Parliament, exasperated by the decree ordering its own
dissolution and the war openly levied against the country by the Court in
alliance with Jellacic, the revolt of the capital seemed to bring a sudden
deliverance from all danger. The Viennese had saved Hungary, and the Diet
was willing, if summoned by the Assembly at Vienna, to send its troops to
the defence of the capital. But the urgency of the need was not understood
on either side till too late. The Viennese Assembly, treating itself as a
legitimate and constitutional power threatened by a group of soldiers who
had usurped the monarch's authority, hesitated to compromise its legal
character by calling in a Hungarian army. The Magyar generals on the other
hand were so anxious not to pass beyond the strict defence of their own
kingdom, that, in the absence of communication from a Viennese authority,
they twice withdrew from Austrian soil after following Jellacic in pursuit
beyond the frontier. It was not until Windischgrätz had encamped within
sight of Vienna, and had detained as a rebel the envoy sent to him by the
Hungarian Government, that Kossuth's will prevailed over the scruples of
weaker men, and the Hungarian army marched against the besiegers. In the
meantime Windischgrätz had begun his attack on the suburbs, which were
weakly defended by the National Guard and by companies of students and
volunteers, the nominal commander being one Messenhauser, formerly an
officer in the regular army, who was assisted by a soldier of far greater
merit than himself, the Polish general Bem. Among those who fought were two
members of the German Parliament of Frankfort, Robert Blum and Fröbel, who
had been sent to mediate between the Emperor and his subjects, but had
remained at Vienna as combatants. The besiegers had captured the outskirts
of the city, and negotiations for surrender were in progress, when, on the
30th of October, Messenhauser from the top of the cathedral tower saw
beyond the line of the besiegers on the south-east the smoke of battle, and
announced that the Hungarian army was approaching. An engagement had in
fact begun on the plain of Schwechat between the Hungarians and Jellacic,
reinforced by divisions of Windischgrätz's troops. In a moment of wild
excitement the defenders of the capital threw themselves once more upon
their foe, disregarding the offer of surrender that had been already made.
But the tide of battle at Schwechat turned against the Hungarians. They
were compelled to retreat, and Windischgrätz, reopening his cannonade upon
the rebels who were also violators of their truce, became in a few hours
master of Vienna. He made his entry on the 31st of October, and treated
Vienna as a conquered city. The troops had behaved with ferocity during the
combat in the suburbs, and slaughtered scores of unarmed persons. No
Oriental tyrant ever addressed his fallen foes with greater insolence and
contempt for human right than Windischgrätz in the proclamations which, on
assuming government, he addressed to the Viennese; yet, whatever might be
the number of persons arrested and imprisoned, the number now put to death
was not great. The victims were indeed carefully selected; the most
prominent being Robert Blum, in whom, as a leader of the German Liberals
and a Deputy of the German Parliament inviolable by law, the Austrian
Government struck ostentatiously at the Parliament itself and at German
democracy at large.

[The Parliament at Kremsier, Nov. 22.]

[Schwarzenberg Minister.]

In the subjugation of Vienna the army had again proved itself the real
political power in Austria; but the time had not yet arrived when absolute
government could be openly restored. The Bohemian deputies, fatally as they
had injured the cause of constitutional rule by their secession from
Vienna, were still in earnest in the cause of provincial autonomy, and
would vehemently have repelled the charge of an alliance with despotism.
Even the mutilated Parliament of Vienna had been recognised by the Court as
in lawful session until the 22nd of October, when an order was issued
proroguing the Parliament and bidding it re-assemble a month later at
Kremsier, in Moravia. There were indications in the weeks succeeding the
fall of Vienna of a conflict between the reactionary and the more liberal
influences surrounding the Emperor, and of an impending _coup d'etat_:
but counsels of prudence prevailed for the moment; the Assembly was
permitted to meet at Kremsier, and professions of constitutional principle
were still made with every show of sincerity. A new Ministry, however, came
into office, with Prince Felix Schwarzenberg at its head. Schwarzenberg
belonged to one of the greatest Austrian families. He had been ambassador
at Naples when the revolution of 1848 broke out, and had quitted the city
with words of menace when insult was offered to the Austrian flag.
Exchanging diplomacy for war, he served under Radetzky, and was soon
recognised as the statesman in whom the army, as a political power, found
its own peculiar representative. His career had hitherto been illustrated
chiefly by scandals of private life so flagrant that England and other
countries where he had held diplomatic posts had insisted on his removal;
but the cynical and reckless audacity of the man rose in his new calling as
Minister of Austria to something of political greatness. Few statesmen have
been more daring than Schwarzenberg; few have pushed to more excessive
lengths the advantages to be derived from the moral or the material
weakness of an adversary. His rule was the debauch of forces respited in
their extremity for one last and worst exertion. Like the Roman Sulla, he
gave to a condemned and perishing cause the passing semblance of restored
vigour, and died before the next great wave of change swept his creations
away.

[Ferdinand abdicates, Dec. 2. Francis Joseph Emperor.]

[Dissolution of the Kremsier Parliament, March 7, 1849.]

[The Unitary Constitutional Edict, March, 1849.]

Schwarzenberg's first act was the deposition of his sovereign. The
imbecility of the Emperor Ferdinand had long suggested his abdication or
dethronement, and the time for decisive action had now arrived. He gladly
withdrew into private life: the crown, declined by his brother and heir,
was passed on to his nephew, Francis Joseph, a youth of eighteen. This
prince had at least not made in person, not uttered with his own lips, not
signed with his own hand, those solemn engagements with the Hungarian
nation which Austria was now about to annihilate with fire and sword. He
had not moved in friendly intercourse with men who were henceforth doomed
to the scaffold. He came to the throne as little implicated in the acts of
his predecessor as any nominal chief of a State could be; as fitting an
instrument in the hands of Court and army as any reactionary faction could
desire. Helpless and well-meaning, Francis Joseph, while his troops poured
into Hungary, played for a while in Austria the part of a loyal observer of
his Parliament; then, when the moment had come for its destruction, he
obeyed his soldier-minister as Ferdinand had in earlier days obeyed the
students, and signed the decree for its dissolution (March 4, 1849). The
Assembly, during its sittings at Vienna, had accomplished one important
task: it had freed the peasantry from the burdens attaching to their land
and converted them into independent proprietors. This part of its work
survived it, and remained almost the sole gain that Austria derived from
the struggle of 1848. After the removal to Kremsier, a Committee of the
Assembly had been engaged with the formation of a Constitution for Austria,
and the draft was now completed. In the course of debate something had been
gained by the representatives of the German and the Slavic races in the way
of respect for one another's interests and prejudices; some political
knowledge had been acquired; some approach made to an adjustment between
the claims of the central power and of provincial autonomy. If the
Constitution sketched at Kremsier had come into being, it would at least
have given to Western Austria and to Galicia, which belonged to this half
of the Empire, a system of government based on popular desires and worthy,
on the part of the Crown, of a fair trial. But, apart from its own defects
from the monarchical point of view, this Constitution rested on the
division of the Empire into two independent parts; it assumed the
separation of Hungary from the other Hereditary States; and of a separate
Hungarian Kingdom the Minister now in power would hear no longer. That
Hungary had for centuries possessed and maintained its rights; that, with
the single exception of the English, no nation in Europe had equalled the
Magyars in the stubborn and unwearied defence of Constitutional law; that,
in an age when national spirit was far less hotly inflamed, the Emperor
Joseph had well-nigh lost his throne and wrecked his Empire in the attempt
to subject this resolute race to a centralised administration, was nothing
to Schwarzenberg and the soldiers who were now trampling upon revolution.
Hungary was declared to have forfeited by rebellion alike its ancient
rights and the contracts of 1848. The dissolution of the Parliament of
Kremsier was followed by the publication of an edict affecting to bestow a
uniform and centralised Constitution upon the entire Austrian Empire. All
existing public rights were thereby extinguished; and, inasmuch as the new
Constitution, in so far as it provided for a representative system, never
came into existence, but remained in abeyance until it was formally
abrogated in 1851, the real effect of the Unitary Edict of March, 1849,
which professed to close the period of revolution by granting the same
rights to all, was to establish absolute government and the rule of the
sword throughout the Emperor's dominions. Provincial institutions giving to
some of the German and Slavic districts a shadowy control of their own
local affairs only marked the distinction between the favoured and the
dreaded parts of the Empire. Ten years passed before freedom again came
within sight of the Austrian peoples. [434]

[Hungary.]

[The Roumanians in Transylvania.]

The Hungarian Diet, on learning of the transfer of the crown from Ferdinand
to Francis Joseph, had refused to acknowledge this act as valid, on the
ground that it had taken place without the consent of the Legislature, and
that Francis Joseph had not been crowned King of Hungary. Ferdinand was
treated as still the reigning sovereign, and the war now became, according
to the Hungarian view, more than ever a war in defence of established
right, inasmuch as the assailants of Hungary were not only violators of a
settled constitution but agents of a usurping prince. The whole nation was
summoned to arms; and in order that there might be no faltering at
headquarters, the command over the forces on the Danube was given by
Kossuth to Görgei, a young officer of whom little was yet known to the
world but that he had executed Count Eugène Zichy, a powerful noble, for
holding communications with Jellacic. It was the design of the Austrian
Government to attack Hungary at once by the line of the Danube and from the
frontier of Galicia on the north-east. The Serbs were to be led forward
from their border-provinces against the capital; and another race, which
centuries of oppression had filled with bitter hatred of the Magyars, was
to be thrown into the struggle. The mass of the population of Transylvania
belonged to the Roumanian stock. The Magyars, here known by the name of
Szeklers, and a community of Germans, descended from immigrants who settled
in Transylvania about the twelfth century, formed a small but a privileged
minority, in whose presence the Roumanian peasantry, poor, savage, and
absolutely without political rights, felt themselves before 1848 scarcely
removed from serfdom. In the Diet of Transylvania the Magyars held command,
and in spite of the resistance of the Germans, they had succeeded in
carrying an Act, in May, 1848, uniting the country with Hungary. This Act
had been ratified by the Emperor Ferdinand, but it was followed by a
widespread insurrection of the Roumanian peasantry, who were already
asserting their claims as a separate nation and demanding equality with
their oppressors. The rising of the Roumanians had indeed more of the
character of an agrarian revolt than of a movement for national
independence. It was marked by atrocious cruelty; and although the Hapsburg
standard was raised, the Austrian commandant, General Puchner, hesitated
long before lending the insurgents his countenance. At length, in October,
he declared against the Hungarian Government. The union of the regular
troops with the peasantry overpowered for a time all resistance. The towns
fell under Austrian sway, and although the Szeklers were not yet disarmed,
Transylvania seemed to be lost to Hungary. General Puchner received orders
to lead his troops, with the newly formed Roumanian militia, westward into
the Banat, in order to co-operate in the attack which was to overwhelm the
Hungarians from every quarter of the kingdom. [435]

[The Austrians occupy Pesth, Jan. 5, 1849.]

On the 15th of December, Windischgrätz, in command of the main Austrian
army, crossed the river Leitha, the border between German and Magyar
territory. Görgei, who was opposed to him, had from the first declared that
Pesth must be abandoned and a war of defence carried on in Central Hungary.
Kossuth, however, had scorned this counsel, and announced that he would
defend Pesth to the last. The backwardness of the Hungarian preparations
and the disorder of the new levies justified the young general, who from
this time assumed the attitude of contempt and hostility towards the
Committee of Defence. Kossuth had in fact been strangely served by fortune
in his choice of Görgei. He had raised him to command on account of one
irretrievable act of severity against an Austrian partisan, and without any
proof of his military capacity. In the untried soldier he had found a
general of unusual skill; in the supposed devotee to Magyar patriotism he
had found a military politician as self-willed and as insubordinate as any
who have ever distracted the councils of a falling State. Dissensions and
misunderstandings aggravated the weakness of the Hungarians in the field.
Position after position was lost, and it soon became evident that the
Parliament and Government could remain no longer at Pesth. They withdrew to
Debreczin beyond the Theiss, and on the 5th of January, 1849, Windischgrätz
made his entry into the capital. [436]

[The Hungarian Government at Debreczin.]

[Kossuth and Görgei.]

The Austrians now supposed the war to be at an end. It was in fact but
beginning. The fortress of Comorn, on the upper Danube, remained in the
hands of the Magyars; and by conducting his retreat northwards into a
mountainous country where the Austrians could not follow him Görgei gained
the power either of operating against Windischgrätz's communications or of
combining with the army of General Klapka, who was charged with the defence
of Hungary against an enemy advancing from Galicia. While Windischgrätz
remained inactive at Pesth, Klapka met and defeated an Austrian division
under General Schlick which had crossed the Carpathians and was moving
southwards towards Debreczin. Görgei now threw himself eastwards upon the
line of retreat of the beaten enemy, and Schlick's army only escaped
capture by abandoning its communications and seeking refuge with
Windischgrätz at Pesth. A concentration of the Magyar forces was effected
on the Theiss, and the command over the entire army was given by Kossuth to
Dembinski, a Pole who had gained distinction in the wars of Napoleon and in
the campaign of 1831. Görgei, acting as the representative of the officers
who had been in the service before the Revolution, had published an address
declaring that the army would fight for no cause but that of the
Constitution as established by Ferdinand, the legitimate King, and that it
would accept no commands but those of the Ministers whom Ferdinand had
appointed. Interpreting this manifesto as a direct act of defiance, and as
a warning that the army might under Görgei's command make terms on its own
authority with the Austrian Government, Kossuth resorted to the dangerous
experiment of superseding the national commanders by a Pole who was
connected with the revolutionary party throughout Europe. The act was
disastrous in its moral effects upon the army; and, as a general, Dembinski
entirely failed to justify his reputation. After permitting Schlick's corps
to escape him he moved forwards from the Theiss against Pesth. He was met
by the Austrians and defeated at Kapolna (February 26). Both armies retired
to their earlier positions, and, after a declaration from the Magyar
generals that they would no longer obey his orders, Dembinski was removed
from his command, though he remained in Hungary to interfere once more with
evil effect before the end of the war.

[The Austrians driven out of Hungary, April.]

The struggle between Austria and Hungary had reached this stage when the
Constitution merging all provincial rights in one centralised system was
published by Schwarzenberg. The Croats, the Serbs, the Roumanians, who had
so credulously flocked to the Emperor's banner under the belief that they
were fighting for their own independence, at length discovered their
delusion. Their enthusiasm sank; the bolder among them even attempted to
detach their countrymen from the Austrian cause; but it was too late to
undo what had already been done. Jellacic, now undistinguishable from any
other Austrian general, mocked the politicians of Agram who still babbled
of Croatian autonomy: Stratimirovic, the national leader of the Serbs, sank
before his rival the Patriarch of Carlowitz, a Churchman who preferred
ecclesiastical immunities granted by the Emperor of Austria to independence
won on the field of battle by his countrymen. Had a wiser or more generous
statesmanship controlled the Hungarian Government in the first months of
its activity, a union between the Magyars and the subordinate races against
Viennese centralisation might perhaps even now have been effected. But
distrust and animosity had risen too high for the mediators between Slav
and Magyar to attain any real success, nor was any distinct promise of
self-government even now to be drawn from the offers of concession which
were held out at Debreczin. An interval of dazzling triumph seemed indeed
to justify the Hungarian Government in holding fast to its sovereign
claims. In the hands of able leaders no task seemed too hard for Magyar
troops to accomplish. Bem, arriving in Transylvania without a soldier,
created a new army, and by a series of extraordinary marches and surprises
not only overthrew the Austrian and Roumanian troops opposed to him, but
expelled a corps of Russians whom General Puchner in his extremity had
invited to garrison Hermannstadt. Görgei, resuming in the first week of
April the movement in which Dembinski had failed, inflicted upon the
Austrians a series of defeats that drove them back to the walls of Pesth;
while Klapka, advancing on Comorn, effected the relief of this fortress,
and planted in the rear of the Austrians a force which threatened to cut
them off from Vienna. It was in vain that the Austrian Government removed
Windischgrätz from his command. His successor found that a force superior
to his own was gathering round him on every side. He saw that Hungary was
lost; and leaving a garrison in the fortress of Buda, he led off his army
in haste from the capital, and only paused in his retreat when he had
reached the Austrian frontier.

[Declaration of Hungarian Independence, April 19.]

The Magyars, rallying from their first defeats, had brilliantly achieved
the liberation of their land. The Court of Vienna, attempting in right of
superior force to overthrow an established constitution, had proved itself
the inferior power; and in mingled exaltation and resentment it was natural
that the party and the leaders who had been foremost in the national
struggle of Hungary should deem a renewed union with Austria impossible,
and submission to the Hapsburg crown an indignity. On the 19th of April,
after the defeat of Windischgrätz but before the evacuation of Pesth, the
Diet declared that the House of Hapsburg had forfeited its throne, and
proclaimed Hungary an independent State. No statement was made as to the
future form of government, but everything indicated that Hungary, if
successful in maintaining its independence, would become a Republic, with
Kossuth, who was now appointed Governor, for its chief. Even in the
revolutionary severance of ancient ties homage was paid to the legal and
constitutional bent of the Hungarian mind. Nothing was said in the
Declaration of April 19th of the rights of man; there was no Parisian
commonplace on the sovereignty of the people. The necessity of Hungarian
independence was deduced from the offences which the Austrian House had
committed against the written and unwritten law of the land, offences
continued through centuries and crowned by the invasion under
Windischgrätz, by the destruction of the Hungarian Constitution in the
edict of March 9th, and by the introduction of the Russians into
Transylvania. Though coloured and exaggerated by Magyar patriotism, the
charges made against the Hapsburg dynasty were on the whole in accordance
with historical fact; and if the affairs of States were to be guided by no
other considerations than those relating to the performance of contracts,
Hungary had certainly established its right to be quit of partnership with
Austria and of its Austrian sovereign. But the judgment of history has
condemned Kossuth's declaration of Hungarian independence in the midst of
the struggle of 1849 as a great political error. It served no useful
purpose; it deepened the antagonism already existing between the Government
and a large part of the army; and while it added to the sources of internal
discord, it gave colour to the intervention of Russia as against a
revolutionary cause. Apart from its disastrous effect upon the immediate
course of events, it was based upon a narrow and inadequate view both of
the needs and of the possibilities of the future. Even in the interests of
the Magyar nation itself as a European power, it may well be doubted
whether in severance from Austria such influence and such weight could
possibly have been won by a race numerically weak and surrounded by hostile
nationalities, as the ability and the political energy of the Magyars have
since won for them in the direction of the accumulated forces of the
Austro-Hungarian Empire.

[Russian intervention against Hungary.]

It has generally been considered a fatal error on the part of the Hungarian
commanders that, after expelling the Austrian army, they did not at once
march upon Vienna, but returned to lay siege to the fortress of Buda, which
resisted long enough to enable the Austrian Government to reorganise and to
multiply its forces. But the intervention of Russia would probably have
been fatal to Hungarian independence, even if Vienna had been captured and
a democratic government established there for a while in opposition to the
Court at Olmütz. The plan of a Russian intervention, though this
intervention was now explained by the community of interest between Polish
and Hungarian rebels, was no new thing. Soon after the outbreak of the
March Revolution the Czar had desired to send his troops both into Prussia
and into Austria as the restorers of monarchical authority. His help was
declined on behalf of the King of Prussia; in Austria the project had been
discussed at successive moments of danger, and after the overthrow of the
Imperial troops in Transylvania by Bem the proffered aid was accepted. The
Russians who then occupied Hermannstadt did not, however, enter the country
as combatants; their task was to garrison certain positions still held by
the Austrians, and so to set free the Emperor's troops for service in the
field. On the declaration of Hungarian independence, it became necessary
for Francis Joseph to accept his protector's help without qualification or
disguise. An army of eighty thousand Russians marched across Galicia to
assist the Austrians in grappling with an enemy before whom, when
single-handed, they had succumbed. Other Russian divisions, while Austria
massed its troops on the Upper Danube, entered Transylvania from the south
and east, and the Magyars in the summer of 1849 found themselves compelled
to defend their country against forces three times more numerous than their
own. [437]

[The summer campaign in Hungary, July-August, 1849.]

[Capitulation of Vilagos, August 13.]

[Vengeance of Austria.]

When it became known that the Czar had determined to throw all his strength
into the scale, Kossuth saw that no ordinary operations of war could
possibly avert defeat, and called upon his countrymen to destroy their
homes and property at the approach of the enemy, and to leave to the
invader a flaming and devastated solitude. But the area of warfare was too
vast for the execution of this design, even if the nation had been prepared
for so desperate a course. The defence of Hungary was left to its armies,
and Görgei became the leading figure in the calamitous epoch that followed.
While the Government prepared to retire to Szegedin, far in the south-east,
Görgei took post on the Upper Danube, to meet the powerful force which the
Emperor of Austria had placed under the orders of General Haynau, a soldier
whose mingled energy and ferocity in Italy had marked him out as a fitting
scourge for the Hungarians, and had won for him supreme civil as well as
military powers. Görgei naturally believed that the first object of the
Austrian commander would be to effect a junction with the Russians, who,
under Paskiewitsch, the conqueror of Kars in 1829, were now crossing the
Carpathians; and he therefore directed all his efforts against the left of
the Austrian line. While he was unsuccessfully attacking the enemy on the
river Waag north of Comorn, Haynau with the mass of his forces advanced on
the right bank of the Danube, and captured Raab (June 28th). Görgei threw
himself southwards, but his efforts to stop Haynau were in vain, and the
Austrians occupied Pesth (July 11th). The Russians meanwhile were advancing
southwards by an independent line of march. Their vanguard reached the
Danube and the Upper Theiss, and Görgei seemed to be enveloped by the
enemy. The Hungarian Government adjured him to hasten towards Szegedin and
Arad, where Kossuth was concentrating all the other divisions for a final
struggle; but Görgei held on to his position about Comorn until his retreat
could only be effected by means of a vast detour northwards, and before he
could reach Arad all was lost. Dembinski was again in command. Charged with
the defence of the passage of the Theiss about Szegedin, he failed to
prevent the Austrians from crossing the river, and on the 5th of August was
defeated at Czoreg with heavy loss. Kossuth now gave the command to Bern,
who had hurried from Transylvania, where overpowering forces had at length
wrested victory from his grasp. Bern fought the last battle of the campaign
at Temesvar. He was overthrown and driven eastwards, but succeeded in
leading a remnant of his army across the Moldavian frontier and so escaped
capture. Görgei, who was now close to Arad, had some strange fancy that it
would dishonour his army to seek refuge on neutral soil. He turned
northwards so as to encounter Russian and not Austrian regiments, and
without striking a blow, without stipulating even for the lives of the
civilians in his camp, he led his army within the Russian lines at Vilagos,
and surrendered unconditionally to the generals of the Czar. His own life
was spared; no mercy was shown to those who were handed over as his
fellow-prisoners by the Russian to the Austrian Government, or who were
seized by Haynau as his troops advanced. Tribunals more resembling those of
the French Reign of Terror than the Courts of a civilised Government sent
the noblest patriots and soldiers of Hungary to the scaffold. To the deep
disgrace of the Austrian Crown, Count Batthyány, the Minister of Ferdinand,
was included among those whose lives were sacrificed. The vengeance of the
conqueror seemed the more frenzied and the more insatiable because it had
only been rendered possible by foreign aid. Crushed under an iron rule,
exhausted by war, the prey of a Government which knew only how to employ
its subject-races as gaolers over one another, Hungary passed for some
years into silence and almost into despair. Every vestige of its old
constitutional rights was extinguished. Its territory was curtailed by the
separation of Transylvania and Croatia; its administration was handed over
to Germans from Vienna. A conscription, enforced not for the ends of
military service but as the surest means of breaking the national spirit,
enrolled its youth in Austrian regiments, and banished them to the
extremities of the empire. No darker period was known in the history of
Hungary since the wars of the seventeenth century than that which followed
the catastrophe of 1849. [438]

[Italian affairs, August, 1848-March, 1849.]

[Murder of Rossi, Nov. 15. Flight of Pius IX.]

[Roman Republic, Feb. 9, 1849.]

[Tuscany.]

The gloom which followed Austrian victory was now descending not on Hungary
alone but on Italy also. The armistice made between Radetzky and the King
of Piedmont at Vigevano in August, 1848, lasted for seven months, during
which the British and French Governments endeavoured, but in vain, to
arrange terms of peace between the combatants. With military tyranny in its
most brutal form crushing down Lombardy, it was impossible that Charles
Albert should renounce the work of deliverance to which he had pledged
himself. Austria, on the other hand, had now sufficiently recovered its
strength to repudiate the concessions which it had offered at an earlier
time, and Schwarzenberg on assuming power announced that the Emperor would
maintain Lombardy at every cost. The prospects of Sardinia as regarded help
from the rest of the Peninsula were far worse than when it took up arms in
the spring of 1848. Projects of a general Italian federation, of a military
union between the central States and Piedmont, of an Italian Constituent
Assembly, had succeeded one another and left no result. Naples had fallen
back into absolutism; Rome and Tuscany, from which aid might still have
been expected, were distracted by internal contentions, and hastening as it
seemed towards anarchy. After the defeat of Charles Albert at Custozza,
Pius IX., who was still uneasily playing his part as a constitutional
sovereign, had called to office Pellegrino Rossi, an Italian patriot of an
earlier time, who had since been ambassador of Louis Philippe at Rome, and
by his connection with the Orleanist Monarchy had incurred the hatred of
the Republican party throughout Italy. Rossi, as a vigorous and independent
reformer, was as much detested in clerical and reactionary circles as he
was by the demagogues and their followers. This, however, profited him
nothing; and on the 15th of November, as he was proceeding to the opening
of the Chambers, he was assassinated by an unknown hand. Terrified by this
crime, and by an attack upon his own palace by which it was followed, Pius
fled to Gaeta and placed himself under the protection of the King of
Naples. A Constituent Assembly was summoned and a Republic proclaimed at
Rome, between which and the Sardinian Government there was so little
community of feeling that Charles Albert would, if the Pope had accepted
his protection, have sent his troops to restore him to a position of
security. In Tuscany affairs were in a similar condition. The Grand Duke
had for some months been regarded as a sincere, though reserved, friend of
the Italian cause, and he had even spoken of surrendering his crown if this
should be for the good of the Italian nation. When, however, the Pope had
fled to Gaeta, and the project was openly avowed of uniting Tuscany with
the Roman States in a Republic, the Grand Duke, moved more by the
fulminations of Pius against his despoilers than by care for his own crown,
fled in his turn, leaving the Republicans masters of Florence. A miserable
exhibition of vanity, riot, and braggadocio was given to the world by the
politicians of the Tuscan State. Alike in Florence and in Rome all sense of
the true needs of the moment, of the absolute uselessness of internal
changes of Government if Austria was to maintain its dominion, seemed to
have vanished from men's minds. Republican phantoms distracted the heart
and the understanding; no soldier, no military administrator arose till too
late by the side of the rhetoricians and mob-leaders who filled the stage;
and when, on the 19th of March, the armistice was brought to a close in
Upper Italy, Piedmont took the field alone. [439]

[The Match campaign, 1849.]

[Battle of Novara, March 23.]

The campaign which now began lasted but for five days. While Charles Albert
scattered his forces from Lago Maggiore to Stradella on the south of the
Po, hoping to move by the northern road upon Milan, Radetzky concentrated
his troops near Pavia, where he intended to cross the Ticino. In an evil
moment Charles Albert had given the command of his army to Chrzanowski, a
Pole, and had entrusted its southern division, composed chiefly of Lombard
volunteers, to another Pole, Ramorino, who had been engaged in Mazzini's
incursion into Savoy in 1833. Ramorino had then, rightly or wrongly,
incurred the charge of treachery. His relations with Chrzanowski were of
the worst character, and the habit of military obedience was as much
wanting to him as the sentiment of loyalty to the sovereign from whom he
had now accepted a command. The wilfulness of this adventurer made the
Piedmontese army an easy prey. Ramorino was posted on the south of the Po,
near its junction with the Ticino, but received orders on the commencement
of hostilities to move northwards and defend the passage of the Ticino at
Pavia, breaking up the bridges behind him. Instead of obeying this order he
kept his division lingering about Stradella. Radetzky, approaching the
Ticino at Pavia, found the passage unguarded. He crossed the river with the
mass of his army, and, cutting off Ramorino's division, threw himself upon
the flank of the scattered Piedmontese. Charles Albert, whose headquarters
were at Novara, hurried southwards. Before he could concentrate his troops,
he was attacked at Mortara by the Austrians and driven back. The line of
retreat upon Turin and Alessandria was already lost; an attempt was made to
hold Novara against the advancing Austrians. The battle which was fought in
front of this town on the 23rd of March ended with the utter overthrow of
the Sardinian army. So complete was the demoralisation of the troops that
the cavalry were compelled to attack bodies of half-maddened infantry in
the streets of Novara in order to save the town from pillage. [440]

[Abdication of Charles Albert.]

Charles Albert had throughout the battle of the 23rd appeared to seek
death. The reproaches levelled against him for the abandonment of Milan in
the previous year, the charges of treachery which awoke to new life the
miserable record of his waverings in 1821, had sunk into the very depths of
his being. Weak and irresolute in his earlier political career, harsh and
illiberal towards the pioneers of Italian freedom during a great part of
his reign, Charles had thrown his whole heart and soul into the final
struggle of his country against Austria. This struggle lost, life had
nothing more for him. The personal hatred borne towards him by the rulers
of Austria caused him to believe that easier terms of peace might be
granted to Piedmont if another sovereign were on its throne, and his
resolution, in case of defeat, was fixed and settled. When night fell after
the battle of Novara he called together his generals, and in their presence
abdicated his crown. Bidding an eternal farewell to his son Victor
Emmanuel, who knelt weeping before him, he quitted the army accompanied by
but one attendant, and passed unrecognised through the enemy's guards. He
left his queen, his capital, unvisited as he journeyed into exile. The
brief residue of his life was spent in solitude near Oporto. Six months
after the battle of Novara he was carried to the grave.

[Beginning of Victor Emmanuel's reign.]

It may be truly said of Charles Albert that nothing in his reign became him
like the ending of it. Hopeless as the conflict of 1849 might well appear,
it proved that there was one sovereign in Italy who was willing to stake
his throne, his life, the whole sum of his personal interests, for the
national cause; one dynasty whose sons knew no fear save that others should
encounter death before them on Italy's behalf. Had the profoundest
statesmanship, the keenest political genius, governed the counsels of
Piedmont in 1849, it would, with full prescience of the ruin of Novara,
have bidden the sovereign and the army strike in self-sacrifice their last
unaided blow. From this time there was but one possible head for Italy. The
faults of the Government of Turin during Charles Albert's years of peace
had ceased to have any bearing on Italian affairs; the sharpest tongues no
longer repeated, the most credulous ear no longer harboured the slanders of
1848; the man who, beaten and outnumbered, had for hours sat immovable in
front of the Austrian cannon at Novara had, in the depth of his misfortune,
given to his son not the crown of Piedmont only but the crown of Italy.
Honour, patriotism, had made the young Victor Emmanuel the hope of the
Sardinian army; the same honour and patriotism carried him safely past the
lures which Austria set for the inheritor of a ruined kingdom, and gave in
the first hours of his reign an earnest of the policy which was to end in
Italian union. It was necessary for him to visit Radetzky in his camp in
order to arrange the preliminaries of peace. There, amid flatteries offered
to him at his father's expense, it was notified to him that if he would
annul the Constitution that his father had made, he might reckon not only
on an easy quittance with the conqueror, but on the friendship and support
of Austria. This demand, though strenuously pressed in later negotiations,
Victor Emmanuel unconditionally refused. He had to endure for a while the
presence of Austrian troops in his kingdom, and to furnish an indemnity
which fell heavily on so small a State; but the liberties of his people
remained intact, and the pledge given by his father inviolate. Amid the
ruin of all hopes and the bankruptcy of all other royal reputations
throughout Italy, there proved to be one man, one government, in which the
Italian people could trust. This compensation at least was given in the
disasters of 1849, that the traitors to the cause of Italy and of freedom
could not again deceive, nor the dream of a federation of princes again
obscure the necessity of a single national government. In the fidelity of
Victor Emmanuel to the Piedmontese Constitution lay the pledge that when
Italy's next opportunity should arrive, the chief would be there who would
meet the nation's need.

[Restoration in Tuscany.]

[Rome and France.]

[French intervention determined on.]

The battle of Novara had not long been fought when the Grand Duke of
Tuscany was restored to his throne under an Austrian garrison, and his late
democratic Minister, Guerazzi, who had endeavoured by submission to the
Court-party to avert an Austrian occupation, was sent into imprisonment. At
Rome a far bolder spirit was shown. Mazzini had arrived in the first week
of March, and, though his exhortation to the Roman Assembly to forget the
offences of Charles Albert and to unite against the Austrians in Lombardy
came too late, he was able, as one of a Triumvirate with dictatorial
powers, to throw much of his own ardour into the Roman populace in defence
of their own city and State. The enemy against whom Rome had to be defended
proved indeed to be other than that against whom preparations were being
made. The victories of Austria had aroused the apprehension of the French
Government; and though the fall of Piedmont and Lombardy could not now be
undone, it was determined by Louis Napoleon and his Ministers to anticipate
Austria's restoration of the Papal power by the despatch of French troops
to Rome. All the traditions of French national policy pointed indeed to
such an intervention. Austria had already invaded the Roman States from the
north, and the political conditions which in 1832 had led so pacific a
minister as Casimir Perier to occupy Ancona were now present in much
greater force. Louis Napoleon could not, without abandoning a recognised
interest and surrendering something of the due influence of France, have
permitted Austrian generals to conduct the Pope back to his capital and to
assume the government of Central Italy. If the first impulses of the
Revolution of 1848 had still been active in France, its intervention would
probably have taken the form of a direct alliance with the Roman Republic;
but public opinion had travelled far in the opposite direction since the
Four Days of June; and the new President, if he had not forgotten his own
youthful relations with the Carbonari, was now a suitor for the solid
favours of French conservative and religious sentiment. His Ministers had
not recognised the Roman Republic. They were friends, no doubt, to liberty;
but when it was certain that the Austrians, the Spaniards, the Neapolitans,
were determined to restore the Pope, it might be assumed that the
continuance of the Roman Republic was an impossibility. France, as a
Catholic and at the same time a Liberal Power, might well, under these
circumstances, address itself to the task of reconciling Roman liberty with
the inevitable return of the Holy Father to his temporal throne. Events
were moving too fast for diplomacy; troops must be at once despatched, or
the next French envoy would find Radetzky on the Tiber. The misgivings of
the Republican part of the Assembly at Paris were stilled by French
assurances of the generous intentions of the Government towards the Roman
populations, and of its anxiety to shelter them from Austrian domination,
President, Ministers, and generals resolutely shut their eyes to the
possibility that a French occupation of Rome might be resisted by force by
the Romans themselves; and on the 22nd of April an armament of about ten
thousand men set sail for Civita Vecchia under the command of General
Oudinot, a son of the Marshal of that name.

[The French at Civita Vecchia, April 25, 1849.]

[Oudinot attacks Rome and is repelled, April 30.]

Before landing on the Italian coast, the French general sent envoys to the
authorities at Civita Vecchia, stating that his troops came as friends, and
demanding that they should be admitted into the town. The Municipal Council
determined not to offer resistance, and the French thus gained a footing on
Italian soil and a basis for their operations. Messages came from French
diplomatists in Rome encouraging the general to advance without delay. The
mass of the population, it was said, would welcome his appearance; the
democratic faction, if reckless, was too small to offer any serious
resistance, and would disappear as soon as the French should enter the
city. On this point, however, Oudinot was speedily undeceived. In reply to
a military envoy who was sent to assure the Triumvirs of the benevolent
designs of the French, Mazzini bluntly answered that no reconciliation with
the Pope was possible; and on the 26th of April the Roman Assembly called
upon the Executive to repel force by force. Oudinot now proclaimed a state
of siege at Civita Vecchia, seized the citadel, and disarmed the garrison.
On the 28th he began his march on Rome. As he approached, energetic
preparations were made for resistance. Garibaldi, who had fought at the
head of a free corps against the Austrians in Upper Italy in 1848, had now
brought some hundreds of his followers to Rome. A regiment of Lombard
volunteers, under their young leader Manara, had escaped after the
catastrophe of Novara, and had come to fight for liberty in its last
stronghold on Italian soil. Heroes, exiles, desperadoes from all parts of
the Peninsula, met in the streets of Rome, and imparted to its people a
vigour and resolution of which the world had long deemed them incapable.
Even the remnant of the Pontifical Guard took part in the work of defence.
Oudinot, advancing with his little corps of seven thousand men, found
himself, without heavy artillery, in front of a city still sheltered by its
ancient fortifications, and in the presence of a body of combatants more
resolute than his own troops and twice as numerous. He attacked on the
30th, was checked at every point, and compelled to retreat towards Civita
Vecchia, leaving two hundred and fifty prisoners in the hands of the enemy.
[441]

[French policy, April-May.]

Insignificant as was this misfortune of the French arms, it occasioned no
small stir in Paris and in the Assembly. The Government, which had declared
that the armament was intended only to protect Rome against Austria, was
vehemently reproached for its duplicity, and a vote was passed demanding
that the expedition should not be permanently diverted from the end
assigned to it. Had the Assembly not been on the verge of dissolution it
would probably have forced upon the Government a real change of policy. A
general election, however, was but a few days distant, and until the result
of this election should be known the Ministry determined to temporise. M.
Lesseps, since famous as the creator of the Suez Canal, was sent to Rome
with instructions to negotiate for some peaceable settlement. More honest
than his employers, Lesseps sought with heart and soul to fulfil his task.
While he laboured in city and camp, the French elections for which the
President and Ministers were waiting took place, resulting in the return of
a Conservative and reactionary majority. The new Assembly met on the 28th
of May. In the course of the next few days Lesseps accepted terms proposed
by the Roman Government, which would have precluded the French from
entering Rome. Oudinot, who had been in open conflict with the envoy
throughout his mission, refused his sanction to the treaty, and the
altercations between the general and the diplomatist were still at their
height when despatches arrived from Paris announcing that the powers given
to Lesseps were at an end, and ordering Oudinot to recommence hostilities.
The pretence of further negotiation would have been out of place with the
new Parliament. On the 4th of June the French general, now strongly
reinforced, occupied the positions necessary for a regular siege of Rome.

[Attempted insurrection in France, June 13.]

[The French enter Rome, July 3.]

Against the forces now brought into action it was impossible that the Roman
Republic could long defend itself. One hope remained, and that was in a
revolution within France itself. The recent elections had united on the one
side all Conservative interests, on the other the Socialists and all the
more extreme factions of the Republican party. It was determined that a
trial of strength should first be made within the Assembly itself upon the
Roman question, and that, if the majority there should stand firm, an
appeal should be made to insurrection. Accordingly on the 11th of June,
after the renewal of hostilities had been announced in Paris, Ledru Rollin
demanded the impeachment of the Ministry. His motion was rejected, and the
signal was given for an outbreak not only in the capital but in Lyons and
other cities. But the Government were on their guard, and it was in vain
that the resources of revolution were once more brought into play. General
Changarnier suppressed without bloodshed a tumult in Paris on June 13th;
and though fighting took place at Lyons, the insurrection proved feeble in
comparison with the movements of the previous year. Louis Napoleon and his
Ministry remained unshaken, and the siege of Rome was accordingly pressed
to its conclusion. Oudinot, who at the beginning of the month had carried
the positions held by the Roman troops outside the walls, opened fire with
heavy artillery on the 14th. The defence was gallantly sustained by
Garibaldi and his companions until the end of the month, when the breaches
made in the walls were stormed by the enemy, and further resistance became
impossible. The French made their entry into Rome on the 3rd of July,
Garibaldi leading his troops northwards in order to prolong the struggle
with the Austrians who were now in possession of Bologna, and, if possible,
to reach Venice, which was still uncaptured. Driven to the eastern coast
and surrounded by the enemy, he was forced to put to sea. He landed again,
but only to be hunted over mountain and forest. His wife died by his side.
Rescued by the devotion of Italian patriots, he made his escape to Piedmont
and thence to America, to reappear in all the fame of his heroic deeds and
sufferings at the next great crisis in the history of his country.

[The restored Pontifical Government.]

It had been an easy task for a French army to conquer Rome; it was not so
easy for the French Government to escape from the embarrassments of its
victory. Liberalism was still the official creed of the Republic, and the
protection of the Roman population from a reaction under Austrian auspices
had been one of the alleged objects of the Italian expedition. No
stipulation had, however, been made with the Pope during the siege as to
the future institutions of Rome; and when, on the 14th of July, the
restorations of Papal authority was formally announced by Oudinot, Pius and
his Minister Antonelli still remained unfettered by any binding engagement.
Nor did the Pontiff show the least inclination to place himself in the
power of his protectors. He remained at Gaeta, sending a Commission of
three Cardinals to assume the government of Rome. The first acts of the
Cardinals dispelled any illusion that the French might have formed as to
the docility of the Holy See. In the presence of a French Republican army
they restored the Inquisition, and appointed a Board to bring to trial all
officials compromised in the events that had taken place since the murder
of Rossi in November, 1848. So great was the impression made on public
opinion by the action of the Cardinals that Louis Napoleon considered it
well to enter the lists in person on behalf of Roman liberty; and in a
letter to Colonel Ney, a son of the Marshal, he denounced in language of
great violence the efforts that were being made by a party antagonistic to
France to base the Pope's return upon proscription and tyranny. Strong in
the support of Austria and the other Catholic Powers, the Papal Government
at Gaeta received this menace with indifference, and even made the
discourtesy of the President a ground for withholding concessions. Of the
re-establishment of the Constitution granted by Pius in 1848 there was now
no question; all that the French Ministry could hope was to save some
fragments in the general shipwreck of representative government, and to
avert the vengeance that seemed likely to fall upon the defeated party. A
Pontifical edict, known as the Motu Proprio, ultimately bestowed upon the
municipalities certain local powers, and gave to a Council, nominated by
the Pope from among the persons chosen by the municipalities, the right of
consultation on matters of finance. More than this Pius refused to grant,
and when he returned to Rome it was as an absolute sovereign. In its
efforts on behalf of the large body of persons threatened with prosecution
the French Government was more successful. The so-called amnesty which was
published by Antonelli with the Motu Proprio seemed indeed to have for its
object the classification of victims rather than the announcement of
pardon; but under pressure from the French the excepted persons were
gradually diminished in number, and all were finally allowed to escape
other penalties by going into exile. To those who were so driven from their
homes Piedmont offered a refuge.

[Fall of Venice, Aug. 25.]

[Sicily conquered by Ferdinand, April, May.]

Thus the pall of priestly absolutism and misrule fell once more over the
Roman States, and the deeper the hostility of the educated classes to the
restored power the more active became the system of repression. For liberty
of person there was no security whatever, and, though the offences of 1848
were now professedly amnestied, the prisons were soon thronged with persons
arrested on indefinite charges and detained for an unlimited time without
trial. Nor was Rome more unfortunate in its condition than Italy generally.
The restoration of Austrian authority in the north was completed by the
fall of Venice. For months after the subjugation of the mainland, Venice,
where the Republic had again been proclaimed and Manin had been recalled to
power, had withstood all the efforts of the Emperor's forces. Its hopes had
been raised by the victories of the Hungarians, which for a moment seemed
almost to undo the catastrophe of Novara. But with the extinction of all
possibility of Hungarian aid the inevitable end came in view. Cholera and
famine worked with the enemy; and a fortnight after Görgei had laid down
his arms at Vilagos the long and honourable resistance of Venice ended with
the entry of the Austrians (August 25th). In the south, Ferdinand of Naples
was again ruling as despot throughout the full extent of his dominions.
Palermo, which had struck the first blow for freedom in 1848, had soon
afterwards become the seat of a Sicilian Parliament, which deposed the
Bourbon dynasty and offered the throne of Sicily to the younger brother of
Victor Emmanuel. To this Ferdinand replied by a fleet to Messina, which
bombarded that city for five days and laid a great part of it in ashes. His
violence caused the British and French fleets to interpose, and hostilities
were suspended until the spring of 1849, the Western Powers ineffectually
seeking to frame some compromise acceptable at once to the Sicilians and to
the Bourbon dynasty. After the triumph of Radetzky at Novara and the
rejection by the Sicilian Parliament of the offer of a separate
constitution and administration for the island, Ferdinand refused to remain
any longer inactive. His fleet and army moved southwards from Messina, and
a victory won at the foot of Mount Etna over the Sicilian forces, followed
by the capture of Catania, brought the struggle to a close. The Assembly at
Palermo dispersed, and the Neapolitan troops made their entry into the
capital without resistance on the 15th of May. It was in vain that Great
Britain now urged Ferdinand to grant to Sicily the liberties which he had
hitherto professed himself willing to bestow. Autocrat he was, and autocrat
he intended to remain. On the mainland the iniquities practised by his
agents seem to have been even worse than in Sicily, where at least some
attempt was made to use the powers of the State for the purposes of
material improvement. For those who had incurred the enmity of Ferdinand's
Government there was no law and no mercy. Ten years of violence and
oppression, denounced by the voice of freer lands, had still to be borne by
the subjects of this obstinate tyrant ere the reckoning-day arrived, and
the deeply rooted jealousy between Sicily and Naples, which had wrought so
much ill to the cause of Italian freedom, was appeased by the fall of the
Bourbon throne. [442]

[Germany from May, 1848.]

[The National Assembly at Frankfort.]

[Archduke John chosen Administrator, June 29.]

We have thus far traced the stages of conflict between the old monarchical
order and the forces of revolution in the Austrian empire and in that
Mediterranean land whose destiny was so closely interwoven with that of
Austria. We have now to pass back into Germany, and to resume the history
of the German revolution at the point where the national movement seemed to
concentrate itself in visible form, the opening of the Parliament of
Frankfort on the 18th of May, 1848. That an Assembly representing the
entire German people, elected in unbounded enthusiasm and comprising within
it nearly every man of political or intellectual eminence who sympathised
with the national cause, should be able to impose its will upon the
tottering Governments of the individual German States, was not an unnatural
belief in the circumstances of the moment. No second Chamber represented
the interests of the ruling Houses, nor had they within the Assembly itself
the organs for the expression of their own real or unreal claims. With all
the freedom of a debating club or of a sovereign authority like the French
Convention, the Parliament of Frankfort entered upon its work of moulding
Germany afresh, limited only by its own discretion as to what it should
make matter of consultation with any other power. There were thirty-six
Governments in Germany, and to negotiate with each of these on the future
Constitution might well seem a harder task than to enforce a Constitution
on all alike. In the creation of a provisional executive authority there
was something of the same difficulty. Each of the larger States might, if
consulted, resist the selection of a provisional chief from one of its
rivals; and though the risk of bold action was not denied, the Assembly, on
the instance of its President, Von Gagern, a former Minister of
Hesse-Darmstadt, resolved to appoint an Administrator of the Empire by a
direct vote of its own. The Archduke John of Austria, long known as an
enemy of Metternich's system of repression and as a patron of the idea of
German union, was chosen Administrator, and he accepted the office. Prussia
and the other States acquiesced in the nomination, though the choice of a
Hapsburg prince was unpopular with the Prussian nation and army, and did
not improve the relations between the Frankfort Assembly and the Court of
Berlin. [443] Schmerling, an Austrian, was placed at the head of the
Archduke's Ministry.

[The National Assembly. May-Sept.]

In the preparation of a Constitution for Germany the Assembly could draw
little help from the work of legislators in other countries. Belgium, whose
institutions were at once recent and successful, was not a Federal State;
the founders of the American Union had not had to reckon with four kings
and to include in their federal territory part of the dominions of an
emperor. Instead of grappling at once with the formidable difficulties of
political organisation, the Committee charged with the drafting of a
Constitution determined first to lay down the principles of civil right
which were to be the basis of the German commonwealth. There was something
of the scientific spirit of the Germans in thus working out the
substructure of public law on which all other institutions were to rest;
moreover, the remembrance of the Decrees of Carlsbad and of the other
exceptional legislation from which Germany had so heavily suffered excited
a strong demand for the most solemn guarantees against arbitrary departure
from settled law in the future. Thus, regardless of the absence of any
material power by which its conclusions were to be enforced, the Assembly,
in the intervals between its stormy debates on the politics of the hour,
traced with philosophic thoroughness the consequences of the principles of
personal liberty and of equality before the law, and fashioned the order of
a modern society in which privileges of class, diversity of jurisdictions,
and the trammels of feudalism on industrial life were alike swept away.
Four months had passed, and the discussion of the so-called Primary Rights
was still unfinished, when the Assembly was warned by an outbreak of
popular violence in Frankfort itself of the necessity of hastening towards
a constitutional settlement.

[The Armistice of Malmö, Aug. 26.]

[Outrages at Frankfort, Sept. 18.]

The progress of the insurrection in Schleswig-Holstein against Danish
sovereignty had been watched with the greatest interest throughout Germany;
and in the struggle of these provinces for their independence the rights
and the honour of the German nation at large were held to be deeply
involved. As the representative of the Federal authority, King Frederick
William of Prussia had sent his troops into Holstein, and they arrived
there in time to prevent the Danish army from following up its first
successes and crushing the insurgent forces. Taking up the offensive,
General Wrangel at the head of the Prussian troops succeeded in driving the
Danes out of Schleswig, and at the beginning of May he crossed the border
between Schleswig and Jutland and occupied the Danish fortress of
Fredericia. His advance into purely Danish territory occasioned the
diplomatic intervention of Russia and Great Britain; and, to the deep
disappointment of the German nation and its Parliament, the King of Prussia
ordered his general to retire into Schleswig. The Danes were in the
meantime blockading the harbours and capturing the merchant-vessels of the

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