1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Andrássy, Julius (Gyula), Count

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ANDRÁSSY, JULIUS (Gyula), Count (1823–1890), Hungarian statesman, the son of Count Károly Andrássy and Etelka Szapáry, was born at Kassa in Hungary on the 8th of March 1823. The son of a Liberal father, who belonged to the Opposition at a time when to be in opposition was to be in danger, Andrássy at a very early age threw himself into the political struggles of the day, adopting at the outset the patriotic side. Count István Széchenyi was the first adequately to appreciate his capacity, when in 1845 the young man first began his public career as president of the society for the regulation of the waters of the Upper Theiss. In 1846 he attracted attention by his bitter articles against the government in Kossuth’s paper, the Pesti Hirlap, and was returned as one of the Radical candidates to the diet of 1848, where his generous, impulsive nature made him one of the most thorough-going of the patriots. When the Croats under Jellachich invaded Hungary, Andrássy placed himself at the head of the gentry of his county, and served with distinction at the battles of Pákozd and Schwechat, as Görgei’s adjutant (Sept. 1848). Towards the end of the war Andrássy was sent to Constantinople by the revolutionary government to obtain at least the neutrality of Turkey during the struggle. After the catastrophe of Vilagós he migrated first to London and then to Paris. On the 21st of September 1851 he was hanged in effigy by the Austrian government for his share in the Hungarian revolt. He employed his ten years of exile in studying politics in what was then the centre of European diplomacy, and it is memorable that his keen eye detected the inherent weakness of the second French empire beneath its imposing exterior. Andrássy returned home from exile in 1858, but his position was very difficult. He had never petitioned for an amnesty, steadily rejected all the overtures both of the Austrian government and of the Magyar Conservatives (who would have accepted something short of full autonomy), and clung enthusiastically to the Deák party. On the 21st of December 1865 he was chosen vice-president of the diet, and in March 1866 became president of the sub-committee appointed by the parliamentary commission to draw up the Composition (commonly known as the Ausgleich) between Austria and Hungary, of which the central idea, that of the “Delegations,” originated with him. It was said at that time that he was the only member of the commission who could persuade the court of the justice of the national claims. After Königgrätz he was formally consulted by the emperor for the first time. He advised the re-establishment of the constitution and the appointment of a responsible ministry.

On the 17th of February 1867 the king appointed him the first constitutional Hungarian premier. It was on this occasion that Deák called him “the providential statesman given to Hungary by the grace of God.” As premier, Andrássy by his firmness, amiability and dexterity as a debater, soon won for himself a commanding position. Yet his position continued to be difficult, inasmuch as the authority of Deák dwarfed that of all the party leaders, however eminent. Andrássy chose for himself the departments of war and foreign affairs. It was he who reorganized the Honved system, and he used often to say that the regulation of the military border districts was the most difficult labour of his life. On the outbreak of the Franco-German War of 1870, Andrássy resolutely defended the neutrality of the Austrian monarchy, and in his speech on the 28th of July 1870 warmly protested against the assumption that it was in the interests of Austria to seek to recover the position she had held in Germany before 1863. On the fall of Beust (6th of November 1871), Andrássy stepped into his place. His tenure of the chancellorship was epoch-making. Hitherto the empire of the Habsburgs had never been able to dissociate itself from its Holy Roman traditions. But its loss of influence in Italy and Germany, and the consequent formation of the Dual State, had at length indicated the proper, and, indeed, the only field for its diplomacy in the future-the near East, where the process of the crystallization of the Balkan peoples into nationalities was still incomplete. The question was whether these nationalities were to be allowed to become independent or were only to exchange the tyranny of the sultan for the tyranny of the tsar. Hitherto Austria had been content either to keep out the Russians or share the booty with them. She was now, moreover, in consequence of her misfortunes deprived of most of her influence in the councils of Europe. It was Andrássy who recovered for her her proper place in the European concert. First he approached the German emperor; then more friendly relations were established with the courts of Italy and Russia by means of conferences at Berlin, Vienna, St Petersburg and Venice.

The recovered influence of Austria was evident in the negotiations which followed the outbreak of serious disturbances in Bosnia in 1875. The three courts of Vienna, Berlin and St Petersburg had come to an understanding as to their attitude in the Eastern question, and The “Andrássy Note”.their views were embodied in the despatch, known as the “Andrássy Note,” addressed on the 30th of December 1875 by Count Andrássy to Count Beust, now Austrian ambassador to the court of St James’s. In it he pointed out that the efforts of the powers to localize the revolt seemed in danger of failure, that the rebels were still holding their own, and that the Ottoman promises of reform, embodied in various firmans, were no more than vague statements of principle which had never had, and were probably not intended to have, any local application. In order to avert the risk of a general conflagration, therefore, he urged that the time had come for concerted action of the powers for the purpose of pressing the Porte to fulfil its promises. A sketch of the more essential reforms followed: the recognition rather than the toleration of the Christian religion; the abolition of the system of farming the taxes; and, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where the religious was complicated by an agrarian question, the conversion of the Christian peasants into free proprietors, to rescue them from their double subjection to the great Mussulman landowners. In Bosnia and Herzegovina also elected provincial councils were to be established, irremovable judges appointed and individual liberty guaranteed. Finally, a mixed commission of Mussulmans and Christians was to be empowered to watch over the carrying out of these reforms. The fact that the sultan would be responsible to Europe for the realization of his promises would serve to allay the natural suspicions of the insurgents.[1]

To this plan both Great Britain and France gave a general assent, and the Andrássy Note was adopted as the basis of negotiations. When war became inevitable between Russia and the Porte, Andrássy arranged with the Russian court that, in case Russia prevailed, the status quo should not be changed to the detriment of the Austrian monarchy. When, however, the treaty of San Stefano threatened a Russian hegemony in the near East, Andrássy concurred with the German and British courts that the final adjustment of matters must be submitted to a European congress. At the Berlin Congress in 1878 he was the principal Austrian plenipotentiary, and directed his efforts to diminish the gains of Russia and aggrandize the Dual Monarchy. The latter object was gained by the occupation of Bosnia-Herzegovina under a mandate from the congress. This occupation was most unpopular in Hungary, both for financial reasons and because of the strong philo-Turk sentiments of the Magyars, but the result brilliantly justified Andrássy’s policy. Nevertheless he felt constrained to bow before the storm, and placed his resignation in the emperor’s hands (8th of October 1879). The day before his retirement he signed the offensive-defensive alliance with Germany, which placed the foreign relations of Austria-Hungary once more on a stable footing.

After his retirement, Andrássy continued to take an active part in public affairs both in the Delegations and in the Upper House. In 1885 he warmly supported the project for the reform of the House of Magnates, but on the other hand he jealously defended the inviolability of the Composition of 1867, and on the 5th of March 1889 in his place in the Upper House spoke against any particularist tampering with the common army. In the last years of his life he regained his popularity, and his death on the 18th of February 1890 was universally mourned as a national calamity. He was the first Magyar statesman who, for centuries, had occupied a European position. Breadth of view, swift resourcefulness, and an intimate knowledge of men and things were his distinguishing qualities as a statesman. Personally he was the most amiable of men; it has been well said that he united in himself the Magyar magnate with the modern gentleman. His motto was: “It is hard to promise, but it is easy to perform.” If Deák was the architect, Andrássy certainly was the master-builder of the modern Hungarian state.

By his wife, the countess Katinka Kendeffy, whom he married in Paris in 1856, Count Andrássy left two sons, and one daughter, Ilona (b. 1859), who married Count Lajos Batthyány. Both the sons gained distinction in Hungarian politics. The eldest, Tivador (Theodore) Andreas (b. 10th of July 1857), was elected vice-president of the Lower House of the Hungarian parliament in 1890. The younger, Gyula (Julius, b. 30th of June 1860), became under-secretary in the Wekerle ministry in 1892; in 1893 he became minister of education, and in June 1894 was appointed minister in attendance on the king, retiring in 1895 with Wekerle; in 1898, with his elder brother, he left the Liberal party, but returned to it again after the fall of the Bánffy ministry; he is the author of Ungarns Ausgleich mit Österreich vom Jahre 1867 (Ger. ed., Leipzig, 1897), and a work in Hungarian on the origins of the Hungarian state and constitution (Budapest, 1901).

See Andrássy’s Speeches (Hung.) edited by Béla Lederer (Budapest, 1891); Memoir (Hung.) by Benjamin Kállay (Budapest, 1891); Necrology (Hung.) in the Akad. Ertesitö, Evf. 14 (Budapest, 1891); Recollections of Count Andrássy (Hung.), by Máno Kónyi (Budapest, 1891).  (R. N. B.) 

  1. Hertslet, Map of Europe by Treaty, No. 456, vol. iv. p. 2418.