Page:The voice of an oppressed people.pdf/55

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burgs were turned out of Germany, the Hohenzollerns became the leaders of Germany. The national craving of all Germans for unity now became a practical reality; Prussia, who had prepared for it by her military and economic policy finally achieved it in 1871 through the defeat of France. It would have been natural that Austria, after 1866, should have sought and found her strength in the development and unity of her various nations; but the Habsburgs were unable to give up their absolutist and imperialist leanings.

In 1866 the Prussian invaders of Bohemia published a proclamation acknowledging her right to full national independence, just as they recognized the same right to Hungary. But the Czechs turned a deaf ear and continued in their democratic and national endeavours of 1848; their politicians worked in the common Parliament and in the Diets for the federalization of the Empire, and in this they were supported by the non-German nations, the Germans being the protectors of centralism. But the dynasty came to an agreement with the Magyars, and the Dual system was designed to assure the hegemony of the Germans in Austria and of the Magyars in Hungary.

The Czech leaders, with Palacky, the "Father of the Nation," at their head, answered the illogical transformation of Austria into "Austria-Hungary" by paying an official visit to the ethnographic exhibition in Moscow in 1867, and thus proclaiming a radical national and Slav policy. Next year at the Diet the Czech deputies issued their famous Declaration, re-stating the historic rights of Bohemia.

Vienna answered by a fierce persecution. The common law was suspended and martial law introduced and administered by a General specially selected by Francis Joseph himself. But all the ferocity and cruelty employed did not crush the resistance of the leaders and the people. The Emperor had to yield, and he did so by appointing a new ministry presided over by Count Hohenwart, to conclude an agreement with the Bohemian nation. In a solemn rescript