ページの画像
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors]

gination of his followers; a golden chain with a picture of the Emperor, a writing in gold letters which he called an imperial patent. The revolt was accompanied with great atrocities, and was repressed with equal cruelty. Horya was executed by the wheel, a hundred and fifty of his people after their country« fashion,' that is, impaled alive. These horrors worked powerfully on the sensitive mind of Joseph, which was by this time lapsing into fixed disgust and weariness of life.

It was mainly to shake off the pressure of disappointment at home that he rushed into the Turkish war, only to see thousands of his soldiery perish of fever in the marshes of the Lower Danube, and an Austrian army, for the first time since the rescue of Vienna, retreat in disorderly dispersion before the unbelievers. Then came the successful progress of the Belgian revolt, a revolt of which the cause was as undeniably rightful, as the conduct and agents were contemptible; begun by the drunken students of Louvain shouting for better beer, bread, . and tobacco, and orthodox doctrine and discipline, continued by a coalition of priest-led zealots and empty democrats. Conquered at last, he had to withdraw reforms and restore privileges, even with greater precipitation than he had evinced in the first part of his career. In a few months, all his greater innovations were cancelled, except the abolition of serfdom and the toleration edict. He could not survive his broken hopes and outraged authority. By whatever name his last disease might pass in the physician's catalogue, over-exertion, dropsy of the chest, malaria fever brought back from the Turkish frontier- the true cause, a broken heart, was plain enough to all. Yet he retained to the last, both the fundamental heroism of his character, and his clear conviction of the righteousness of his cause. I know my own heart;' he wrote, “I am convinced

in my innermost soul of the purity of my intentions; and I • hope, that when I am no more, posterity will examine, aye and judge, more considerately, more justly, and more impartially than the present age, what I have done for my people.'

• Here lies Joseph II.,' is his well-known self-composed epitaph, 'who failed in everything he undertook.' They were the words of disappointment, not of truth. The greatness of what he achieved has been under-estimated, only because measured by the gigantic scale of what he projected. The two great measures which we have just noticed alone suffice to immortalise him : the liberation of the Leibeigeners, which has remained an accomplished fact; and the Edict of Toleration, which, however it may have appeared at times to be menaced, has never as yet been seriously encroached upon. But these form only a part of what his empire has to thank him for. As his latest biographer (Röse) observes, much of what he retracted was lost in form only, but preserved in substance. Independently of mere political theory, the importance of his administrative changes is fully recognised by Austrian statesmen, who know the practical necessity of unity of action on the part of the central power. The obstinate and compact strength opposed by Austria to the invasions of Napoleon, is mainly attributed by some to the solidity which his reforms communicated to her executive; and Count Ficquelmont, in his recent writings, appeals to the occurrences of 1848, as bearing the most decisive evidence to the correctness of his judgment of her prospects and requirements. The national system of education, often admired even by those least in love with Austrian institutions, is mainly the result of his regulations. The good which he did by the removal of feudal and municipal obstructions to industry, it is scarcely possible to over-estimate. Without believing what some affirm,—that the population of Austria increased by onefourth in the ten years of his reign, while its revenue undoubtedly doubled - we have no doubt that a great and simultaneous increase of population and wealth bore incontestable evidence to the soundness of his economical measures.

Has posterity yet attained that impartiality respecting him for which he prayed? Placed beyond the sympathies of both the great leagues of modern thinkers, he has been condemned and satirised by liberals as an absolutist-by the partisans of reaction as a demagogue. With courtiers and statesmen it was the fashion, particularly during the revolutionary era, to sneer at him as a mistaken though sincere visionary. There was, at all events, one class among whom his memory was long and fondly cherished: and it was that to the sympathies of which he would best have loved to make his appeal. The Austrian peasantry of German blood are at once an eminently loyal race, and one on which affection and kindness are rarely thrown away. They were never misled in their judgment of him. Even when they were kneeling before the carriage of the Pope, they had no idea that they were assuming an attitude of opposition to their friend and Emperor. No royal name lives among them at this day, in reverential tradition, so truly as that of Kaiser Joseph. Their estimate of him cannot be better expressed than in the simple apologue which is still popular in Austria. The peasantry of a Styrian village are assembled to discuss the news of the Emperor's death. They will not believe it,-it is a lie of the court nobles, the lawyers, the lazy friars. While they are debating, information is brought of the revival, bit by bit, of the old order of things: the Carthusians have returned to the neighbouring abbey, the Capuchins have resumed their rounds, the Forstmeister and the gamekeeper have reoccupied their lodges, and the steward is sitting at the receipt of feudal dues. The oldest peasant rises and takes off his hat, Then Joseph is • dead indeed, -may Heaven have mercy on his soul.'

Sixty years have since elapsed, and the prolific house of Hapsburg-Lorraine has furnished two numerous generations of princes, several distinguished for civic virtues, and one at least of high military renown; but no spirit like that of Joseph, or his mother, has animated the race since his remains descended to the vaults of the Capuchins, nor has anything occurred to refute the saying of Kaunitz, that it takes ' a hundred years to

make an Austrian great man.' We should have wished, had space permitted, to follow Dr. Vehse through his last volume, bringing the internal history of the monarchy to our own times, and showing the connexion of the present with the past. We should then have seen, how the long struggle with France purified away, as it were, whatever there was of encroaching and arbitrary in the foreign policy of Austria, and substituted for it a strong principle of self-sufficing forbearance. We should have seen how the same events raised into life, for the third time, the military monarchy, and created that heroic army, itself almost a nation, of which the endurance and constant fidelity are among the most remarkable features of political history in our age; whose soldierly spirit is the one living principle of unity in that miscellaneous empire. We should recognise, in the long administration of Metternich, one painful endeavour to maintain the status quo, by a temperate and self-denying policy without, but by unsparing and unsleeping repression within: a repression the less endurable because enforced by statesmen who had no faith in its effects, like religious persecution by unbelievers. For all the while, as we have said above, these have seemed to labour under the consciousness that the elements of that stability, to which they sacrificed all other considerations, were temporary only. And so matters remain to this day, notwithstanding the unquestionable strength which the cause of order, as understood in Austria, has derived from the mad outbreak of 1848 and its first consequences. There are indeed many who imagine, though recent events have made the trade of prophesying more hazardous than ever, that those events may have brought the catastrophe nearer. Many of the manifestations of local feeling then elicited may now appear irrational enough. We may smile as we please on the recollection of Austro-Germans raving about the Frankfort Parliament and the National Fleet; haughty Magyars preaching French democracy, with one foot trampling on the Wallach and the other on the Croat; fierce military borderers brandishing their sabres not as of old for plunder and provant, but for Federalism, and Panslavism, and all the inconceivable dreams of the German Professorate. But the practical question for our day is, whether the events to which we refer have increased that mutual repulsion between the several races through which the strength of the central government is now mainly preserved, or whether they have been taught something of the necessity of union, and of forming mutual and balanced leagues for their support. If the latter be really the case, the map of Europe can hardly long remain as it is. And those politicians, both within and without Austria, who wish to avert such an end, and at the same time look beyond the probable duration of a throne supported by bayonets and a bundle of States tied together by red tape, have to consider the double alternative which now deeply occupies many minds, whether Austria must revert to the centralising policy of Joseph, substituting by degrees liberty for repression, as becomes the age, and creating an Austrian nation through and beneath Austrian institutions, or must have recourse, in due measure, to that federal principle which has had such triumphant results elsewhere. Either project is full of difficulties, but neither, perhaps, beyond the reach of practical accomplishment, if the energy which Austria has shown in self-assertion and defence were turned towards internal reform, and courageous concessions made to that spread of political will and intelligence which is inevitably transforming the community, there as elsewhere, from an inert mass to a living body.

Art. II.-1. Cases illustrative of Oriental Life and the Application of English Law to India, decided in the Supreme Court at Bombay. By Sir ERSKINE PERRY, late Chief

Justice. London: 1853. 2. On the Geographical Distribution of the principal Languages

of India, and the Feasibility of introducing English as a Lingua Franca. By the Hon. Sir ERSKINE Perry, President. (From the Journal of the Bombay Branch of the

Royal Asiatic Society, January, 1853.) Осв CR readers need not be alarmed by the titles of the works

prefixed to this Article, for we have not the least intention of writing an essay on Jurisprudence or a dissertation on Philology. The object we have in view is only to call such inVOL. XCVIII. NO. CXCIX.

D

formation as they contain respecting the condition of the diverse, and the many millions for whom the British Parliament is now called upon to form an administration; one of the most important and difficult questions, and certainly the very largest, that ever any Government had to deal with.

We ‘may begin with a rapid sketch of the country for which we are called on to frame a government. Between our own dominions and those of dependent or tributary princes, it is roughly computed to contain an area of a million and a quarter of square miles, of which probably one half, and by far the most fertile part, is our own, including nearly the entire sea coast. Our Indian territory contains every climate, from the torrid zone, eight degrees from the equator, to the temperate, reaching to nearly the thirty-fifth of north latitude; and this, to say nothing of varieties arising from the elevation of the land above the sea — from table lands, two thousand feet high, to mountain valleys of the height of eight thousand. Politically and economically considered, the most important feature of the whole land of India is the long and wide valley watered by the Ganges, its affluents, and branches. In this fertile and extensive valley have sprung up the most advanced civilisations ; and the ruling religion of India, with its castes and its strange manners and institutions. It is the possession of more or less of it that has enabled, both native powers and foreign intruders, to make conquests over other parts of India. We have ourselves been in possession of the whole of it for half a century, and of the part of it most remarkable for fertility, for nearly a whole century; and it may be safely asserted that it is through the resources which this valley has yielded, — contributed, too, as they have been, by a population of wonderful and unexampled docility, - that we have been enabled at length, to achieve the entire conquest of India.

The population of all India has been estimated at 150,000,000, of which two-thirds are British subjects, the majority of them having been so for very nearly a century. This is the vast multitude for whom we are about to frame a constitution. The density of the population in our territory is exceedingly various, depending, except at the principal seats of commerce, on the quality of the land; some portions of the valley of the Ganges being as thickly peopled as any part of China, or of the plains of Belgium or Lombardy, while others have hardly a density equal to that of an island of the Pacific. Populousness, and civilisation too, it may be added, are, for the most part, concomitant.

The great population which we have alluded to is composed

« 前へ次へ »