1922 Encyclopædia Britannica/Szilagyi, Desider
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SZILAGYI, DESIDER (1840-1901), Hungarian statesman and jurist, was born at Nagyvarad (Grosswardein) on April 1 1840. He studied law at Budapest, Vienna, and in Germany, and early attracted attention by his articles on law and politics. As head of a section in the Hungarian Ministry of Justice he travelled on a commission from the Government to England to study there the conditions of the administration of justice, of which he had a knowledge then equalled by few. Brought up wholly in Liberal ideas, Szilagyi took a conspicuous part in the codification work of the Ministry of Justice. Deputy in 1871, professor of public law and politics at Budapest University in 1874, he was in 1877 one of the leaders of the Opposition, which, however, he left in 1886. In 1887 he was returned to Parliament by Pozsony (Pressburg) as an independent member. He became Minister of Justice in 1889. From this time to 1894 he directed his efforts principally towards a radical reform of the whole administration of the courts. In 1894 he took a conspicuous part in ecclesiastical legislation, with which his name is permanently connected. Article XXXI. of the Law of Civil Marriage, and articles XXXII. and XXXIII. on the religion of the children and on State registration, were the result of his active cooperation. After the appointment of Baron Banffy, the former president of the Hungarian House of Deputies, as prime minister, Szilagyi was elected president of the House on Jan. 21 1895, which office he retained until 1899. A man of extensive knowledge, spotless character and wide vision, and a brilliant orator, he was one of the most considerable of the Hungarian statesmen of his day. He died on July 3 1901.
See Szilagyi's Speeches (4 vols., in Hungarian, Ed. Fayer).
- (E. v. W.)