Page:1902 Encyclopædia Britannica - Volume 26 - AUS-CHI.pdf/47

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A U STRIA- HUNGARY

but all parties agreed on a declaration1 in which the final demands of the Poles were drawn up; they asked that NationalPowers °f th® Galician Landtag should be ism in much increased, and that the members from Galicia and Galicia should cease to attend the Reichsrath on Bohemia. (iiSCUgSion 0f those matters with which the Galician Landtag should be qualified to deal. If these demands were not granted they would leave the Reichsrath. In Bohemia the Czechs wrere very active; while the Poles were parading their hostility to Russia in such a manner as to cause the emperor to avoid visiting Galicia, some of the Czech leaders attended a Slavonic demonstration at Moscow, and in 1868 they drew up and presented to the Diet at Prague a “ declaration ” which has since been regarded as the official statement of their claims. They asked for the full restoration of the Bohemian kingdom; they contended that no foreign assembly was qualified to impose taxes in Bohemia ; that the Landtag was not qualified to elect representatives to go to Vienna, and that a separate settlement must be made with Bohemia similar to that with Hungary. This declaration was signed by eighty-one members, including many of the feudal nobles and bishops.2 The German majority declared that they had forfeited their seats, and ordered new elections. The agitation spread over the country, serious riots took place, and with a view to keeping order the Government decreed exceptional laws. Similar events happened in Moravia, and in Dalmatia the revolt broke out among the Bocchese. Before the combination of Clericals and Federalists the ministry broke down; they were divided among themPariiaselves; Counts Taaffe and Potocki wished mentary to conciliate the Slavonic races—a policy breakdown recommended by Beust, probably with the symof 1870. pathy of the emperor; the others determined to cripple the opposition by taking away the elections for the Reichsrath from the Landtags. Taaffe and his friends resigned, but the majority did not long survive. In March 1870, after long delay, the new Galician demands were definitely rejected; the whole of the Polish club, followed by the Tirolese and Slovenians, left the House, which consequently consisted of 110 members—the Germans and German representatives from Bohemia and Moravia. It was clearly impossible to govern with such a parliament. Not four years had gone by, and the new constitution seemed to have failed like the old one. The only thing to do was to attempt a reconcilation with the Slavs. The ministry resigned, and Potocki and Taaffe formed a Government with this object. Potocki then entered on negotiations, hoping to persuade the Czechs to accept the constitution. Rieger and Thun were summoned to Vienna; he himself went to Prague, but after two days he had to give up the attempt in despair. Feudals and Czechs all supported the declaration of 1868, and would accept no compromise, and he returned to Vienna after what was the greatest disappointment of his life. Government, however, had to be carried on; the war between Germany and France broke out in July, and Austria might be drawn into it; the emperor could not at such a crisis alienate either the Germans or the Slavs. The Reichsrath and all the Landtags were dissolved. This time in Bohemia the Czechs, supported by the Feudals and the Clericals, gained a large majority; they took their seats in the Landtag only to declare that they did not regard it as the legal representative of the Bohemian kingdom, but merely an informal assembly, and refused to elect delegates for the Reichsrath. The Germans in their turn now left the Diet, and the Czechs voted an address 1 1

The documents are printed in Baron de Worms, op. cit. It is printed in the Europ&ischer Geschichtskalendar, 1868.

19

to the Crown, drawn up by Count Thun, demanding the restoration of the Bohemian kingdom. When the Reichsrath met there were present only 130 out of 203 members, for the whole Bohemian contingent was absent; the Government then, under a law of 1868, ordered that as the Bohemian Diet had sent no delegates, they were to be chosen directly from the people. Twenty-four Constitutionalists and thirty Declaranten were chosen; the latter, of course, did not go to Vienna, but the additional twenty-four made a working majority by which the Government was carried on for the rest of the year. But Potocki’s influence was gone, and as soon as the European crisis was over, in February 1871, the emperor appointed a ministry chosen not from the Liberals but from the Federalists and Clericals, led by Count Hohenwart and Schaffle, a German professor chiefly known for his writings on political economy. They attempted to solve the problem by granting to the Federalists all their demands. So long as parliament was sitting they were kept in check; as soon as it had voted supplies and the Delegations had separated, they ordered new elections in all those Landtags where there was a Liberal majority. By the help of the Clericals they won enough seats to put the Liberals in a minority in the Reichsrath, and it would be possible to revise the constitution if the Czechs consented to come. They would only attend, however, on their own terms, which were a The Ministry complete recognition by the Government of the ^a^o/,en* claims made in the Declaration. This was agreed to; and on the 12th September, at the opening of the Landtag, the Governor read a royal message recognizing the separate existence of the Bohemian kingdom, and promising that the emperor should be crowned. It was received with delight throughout Bohemia; and the Czechs drew a draft constitution of fundamental rights. On this the Germans, now that they were in a minority, left the Landtag, and began preparations for resistance. In Upper Austria, Moravia, and Carinthia, where they were outvoted by the Clericals, they seceded, and the whole work of 1867 was on the point of being overthrown. Were the movement not stopped the constitution would be superseded, and the union with Hungary endangered. Beust and Andrassy warned the emperor of the danger, and the crown prince of Saxony was summoned by Beust to remonstrate with him. A great council was called at Vienna (Oct. 20), at which the emperor gave his decision that the Bohemian demands could not be accepted. The Czechs must come to Vienna, and consider a revision of the constitution in a constitutional manner. Hohenwart resigned, but at the same time Beust was dismissed, and a new Cabinet was chosen once more from among the German Liberals, under the leadership of Prince Anton Auersperg, whose brother Carlos had been one of the chief members in the Burger Ministerium. For the second time in four years the policy of the Government had completely changed within a few months. On 12th September the decree had been published accepting the Bohemian claims; before the end of the year copies of it were seized by the police, and men were thrown into prison for circulating it. Auersperg’s ministry held office for eight years. They began, as had the Burger Ministerium, with a vigorous Liberal centralizing policy. In Bohemia they succeeded ^uers. at first in almost crushing the opposition. In perg’smin1872 the Landtag was dissolved ; and the whole istry, 1871 influence of the Government was used to procure to ,879‘ a German majority. Roller, the governor, acted with great vigour. Opposition newspapers were suppressed; cases in which Czechish journalists were concerned were transferred to the German districts, so that they were tried by a