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CHAPTER XXXV.

SKETCHES OF POLITICAL CHARACTER.

I. ANTAGONISM.

" Il n'y a pas de tâche plus compliquée, plus embarrassante et plus ingrate á la fois que celle de tracer le caractère d'un peuple."-Ivan Golovine.
" La flatterie éblouit, aveugle et n'éclaire point."-Ivan Golovine.
" Ce ne sont pas ceux qui découvrent les maux de leur patrie qui en sont les ennemis, cc sont ceux qui la flattent."-Bernardin de St. Pierre.

I WRITE these and many of the following lines in Klausenburg, where I have received much kindness from all sides. Many may think it strange for me to state this, after exposing the present opinions, and may look upon it as a publication of my own ingratitude ; but, in the first place, I do not find anything ungrateful in alluding to what I consider weak points in the political conduct of a people from whom I have received hospitality ; and, secondly, my reason for dating these remarks from Klausenburg, is to show the English-and, should I find one, the Hunga- rian reader also-that what is said has not been dictated by foreign inimical suggestion, or by any unkind feeling on my own part; indeed, this latter would be absolutely impossible. On the contrary, these opinions are expressed while I am still under the influence of a thousand courtesies and most winning attentions, of all which, no one can be more susceptible or more sincerely grateful for, than myself. Though drawn involuntarily towards all these kind friends, by the true amiability of heart, which seems one of their distinguishing characteristics, their exclusiveness, and consequent one-sidedness on all party questions, struck and even pained me; for the harsh, unjust, uncompromising judgment uttered on such occasions against an opponent, seemed so at variance with that warm, openarmed hospitality, which could only emanate from generous feeling, and goodness and largeness of heart. It always affected me like a dissonance.


The bitter feeling existing among the Hungarians towards the German population is so intense, that, in all concerning the latter, it utterly blinds and deprives them of the capacity to form a reasonable judgment.*35_1

35_1 * I am aware that I have alluded to this subject in a former chapter, but the matter is too important to be passed over thus cursorily ; I therefore return to it.

I know nothing like it, except the fanatical antipathy of the Protestants against Catholics, as it existed in England some years ago, which distorted every circumstance relating to the other creed. For all the Saxons do, the Hungarians see the worst and most inimical motives ; indeed you will never, by any chance, hear a Hungarian speak well-he always speaks villainously ill-of any political opponent. On every other point he is sensible ; but though he decries inconsistency and anything like injustice in others, he is in politics the most unjust and unreasonable being you can find. Just as on every occasion he presupposes the worst intentions on the part of Government, so he clings to the belief that, towards him, the Saxons collectively are hostilely inclined ; he will not, for a moment, listen to anything that might tend to modify such opinion. This, too, being a part of the programme or political creed, it may not be eliminated or dispensed with.

Now, I happen to know, that this unfriendly feeling does not exist. It is true, the Saxons are resolved not to place themselves under a government whose seat is Pesth ; but they are, almost to a man, desirous of approach- ing theHungarians, and joining with them in furthering the common weal; it is the sincere wish of the best men of the nation. This is the truth, though, for party purposes it may be found suitable to scout it as something which no man in his senses could possibly believe.

As a stranger, I had fair opportunities of learning men's feelings and opinions : to me, as to an indifferent lookeron,-a bystander belonging to neither one side nor the other,-all spoke openly ; expressing without reserve their likes and dislikes, and the view they took of others' good qualities or failings. The Hungarians did this, and the Saxons too. The latter had no reason whatever for deceiving me as to their disposition toward the Hungarians; there would have been absolutely no sense or meaning in doing so. On all occasions they quite freely pointed out and dwelt on what they considered a fault in the tactics of the Hungarians, and the weak points in their character; and as freely acknowledged how desirable it was for them-the Saxons-that, in political matters, both should march together;*35_2 that it might be so, was the wish expressed by all. I heard but one opinion about it ; indeed, the prevalence of kindly sentiments, go where or speak with whom I might, took me by surprise : I was prepared to find the contrary. As to an inimical feeling, I can ho- nestly assert that, except in a single instance, no expression was ever uttered which could betray even its slum- bering existence; yet there was every opportunity for doing so. The Saxons saw I was well disposed toward themselves, appreciating the order and intelligence I found amongst them, and they might therefore not unnaturally have inferred the existence, perhaps, of a prejudice against the other population, and a readiness on my side to become a partisan.

35_2* To say the truth, I found among the Saxons rather an exaggerated opinion of the superiority of the Hungarians-in all regarding action and politics-to themselves, and very often a feeling, that was enthusiastic, in favour of their fellow-citizens. This, however, only shows the power of their presence, and how winning a charm they exercise.

This subject is of importance, because, as long as such senseless antagonism exists, the welfare of all must suffer. I have no hope of converting the Hungarians, for experience has shown me how, when inconvenient to them, they are determined not to be convinced; but I will describe what the real state of things is, that it may be known. For no one will say the unpremeditated expression of opinion, such as I heard, is not reliable ; that would imply a conspiracy, more cunningly devised and more speedily organized than has ever been recorded, or than it could enter the head of any man to imagine.

Beside the numerical advantage that the presence of the Hungarians, in the legislative assembly, would afford the Saxons, they wish it for other reasons. " The Hungarians," they say, " are greatly superior to ourselves in political education ; they are quicker to perceive the bearing of a great question, and far more dexterous in handling it. As public speakers, there is no comparison between them and us. The Hungarian is eloquent, and by his fire and ardour carries his hearers irresistibly along with him." " The Hungarian," said a Saxon to me one day, "bears aloft the standard of freedom, and thus, even when fighting for his own rights only, we and others are gainers, as he proclaims and upholds liberty. They (the Hungarians) have a courage and resoluteness which we have not, and show also an unselfish disregard of consequences, when maintaining a principle, which does them honour. Such example could not be without a beneficial influence on ourselves. Their patriotism inspires and supports them, and even when on a wrong tack, we cannot help admiring the feeling which enables them to make any sacrifice."

But I give, word for word, some of their observations:--

" For the country, it is a great misfortune that the Hungarians do not enter the Chamber;*35_3 they are all men of great capacity."

35_3 * This the Hungarians know very well, and it pleases them that their absence is so felt ; they chuckle at the defeats of the Saxons in the House of Representatives, unmindful of the evil occasioned by retarding wise legislative enactments. In their resolve to cede nothing, they act just like Rakotzi with his pretensions. See, ante, p. 116.

" They would certainly be in the majority. They would fight against the clerical party, and would introduce liberal ideas. They would make firm, and build up, the Constitution."

"In the Reichsrath, the Hungarians would serve immensely the whole empire, for they have among them admirable men."

"It is most sad that we cannot meet and go with them, for they are an element of culture in the land."

"We will go forward alone if they will not go with us, but we would rather go with them."

" The Hungarians might play a great part (in the Chamber and the Senate), from their position as men of property; and because of their adroitness (Gewandtheit) and political tact."

" How well I can understand what the Magyar feels at an invasion of his old authority ! I feel for him, because I know what we felt when the Wallacks were given equal rights with ourselves,-rights which till then we alone had had."

"The Hungarians-our brothers, the Hungarianshave unfortunately got into a dilemma. They cannot well go back, but the Emperor cannot do so either. "Tis a gallant, an excellent nation!" (" Es ist ein ganz wackeres Volk, ein vortreffliches !")

Even for the destruction of Sz. Reen, which the Hungarians, for no reason whatever, burned to the ground, a Saxon clergyman found extenuating circumstances. " I excuse that," he said ; " it was in the beginning, and there was no order or discipline." He knew that, though a burgher, named Lutsch, was nailed by the ears to his own house-door by them, such things will happen in civil war ; and that a whole nation is not to be made answerable for the isolated atrocities committed by an infitriated mob.*35_4

35_4* I happen to have in my hand a proof of the unwillingness of the Saxons to do the Hungarians an injustice, or to let an imputation rest upon them, when undeserved. I was talking on political matters with a nobleman whom I esteem most highly, and whose regard and friendship I value, as they deserve to be. It was the day of my departure from Trausylvania, and only an hour before I left Klnnsenburg. He, full of zeal, was striving to convince me on certain questions, and, seeing that I still held to my opinions, nt was , a source of regret to him that there was so little time for further argument. In maintaining my views, I brought forward cer- tain facts, as I thought, but which he positively denied ; I, on my part, was so sure of their correctness (though it will be seen later that I had misunderstood my informant, and was wrong) that to prove to him they were so, I promised to write to my authority, and to abide by the result. " For you, as well as myself," I said, " must acknowledge the unimpeachable character of the man ; his position, as well as his opportunities for information at the time referred to, make whatever lie says reliable." (What I had asserted was, that the Hungarian authorities at Szász Régen had enforced the use of the Hungarian language in the German schools and in the German church.) I therefore wrote to ask, was it so, or was it not ? The answer follows:-

"During During you stay in Sächsisch Regen, we spoke together in presence of -, about the question, whether, in the revolutionary years 1848, 1849, any Hungarian authority whatsoever ordered that the Hungarian language should be made the exclusive medium of instruction in church and schools, and whether in other places, which were not Hungarian, such order was given ? Although at that time I was - and -, and, consequently, had every opportunity of knowing, had it occurred in either case, no instance of the kind ever came to my knowledge ; nor do any of the protocols, which are open to my inspection, show that such order was given.
"Since receiving your letter, I have made inquiries elsewhere with regard to your question,-and this is the reason why my answer has been delayed,-but in no place whatever have I heard of even the temporary existence of such an ordinance ; on the contrary, in the decree of the 21st February, No. 2068/848 of the Articles of the year 1847, is specially called to remembrance, in which it is said, `In those places where the discourse from the pulpit is held in Hungarian, the correspondence of the clerical with the lay authorities of the Hungarians and Szekler, is to be carried on in the Hungarian language. The clerical authorities of the Confession of Augsburg, both in the so-called King's Land, as well in the middle of the Hungarian nation, shall, on the other hand, continue to use the language they have been, till now, accustomed to," i. e. they were to employ the German tongue.
"It is true we, at that time, were often forced to hear the 'threat, we should not be allowed much longer to speak our Saxon or German. Indeed, some Hungarians of the neighbourhood-but these, we must remember, were only of the lower sort-bad made choice of the houses in Sächsich Regen, where, as soon as the Saxons were driven away, they intended to dwell. Such threats and pretensions, however, originated with certain ultras only, and cannot, therefore, possibly, in any way whatever, be charged to the Hungarian nation."

The clergyman, Stephen Roth, was shot by the Hungarian Government in 1848, because lie was a German, and strenuously opposed the union with Hungary : this, of course, was not a praiseworthy act, but it is one of those which occur in all intestine struggles. I have heard the circumstance casually alluded to by the Saxons with words of regret at his loss, but without rancour. When a like occurrence happens to the other party, it is told over and over again on every occasion. In this respect, the Hungarians always remind me of an acquaintance who, whenever he meets with something disagreeable, exclaims, " Such a thing could only happen to me."

Of a well-known Hungarian nobleman, as decidedly Hungarian-and consequently as decidedly anti-German -as it is possible to be, I have heard Saxons say : "I respect him highly, he is a truly gallant gentleman."

" Nicht wahr ? das sind prächtige Leute, ritterlich, gastfreundlich !" (They are famous fellows, are they not ? chivalrous, hospitable !) said once a Saxon to me, with generous warmth; yet he who spoke was in politics re- solutely opposed to them ; and one who had fought against them in the revolution told me, in order that I might have a just opinion of Hungarian character, " Der Ungar ist hochherzig; jedermann muss ihn achten." (The Hungarians are magnanimous ; it is impossible not to respect them.)

These expressions are, I think, sufficiently indicative of Saxon sentiments and opinions. They are a few only of those I heard pronounced by Germans ire every part of the province.

With the Hungarian, every question becomes crystallized into one of nationality : this warps his judgment, for he thus regards even those which are most diverging from one sole special point of view. Argument is then at an end, and a rabid state begins. A quality which by some was thought characteristic of Sir Robert Peel, " amenability to good reasoning, from whatever quarter it came,"*35_5 he lacks totally.

35_5` Companions of my Solitude,' p. 228.

Owing to this extreme party-feeling, the Hungarian is not at all reliable in his statement of a case ; circumstances which tell against him are left out altogether. All relate their story in one way, and keep to it. They do not observe the same honesty in dealing with political questions as they would consider themselves bound to do in transactions of social life. Like Lord Bacon, in his explanations of natural phenomena, they presuppose certain conditions which are to their purpose, and having posed these, argue accordingly. Consequently, the version given is rather in accordance with the presupposition than with the reality. The Hungarian loves especially to dwell on the " historische Standpunkt "-to take his stand on history. Against this nothing is allowed to have weight : neither civilization, culture, nor expediency. On the other hand, however, he does not heed the "historische Standpunkt," when it tells against his wishes. The fact that Transylvania was definitively separated from Hungary when it fell to Austria is disregarded. Because, before that, the countries belonged together, and because he would wish the addition, in order that Hungary may be aggrandized, the Hungarian demands that they shall be so considered now.

How verrannt he is, how he has "wedged himself in" among a certain set of notions, I had frequently an opportunity of observing; he abides by a decision in face of the most undeniable evidence. Here is one example : every possible assistance was rendered to the starving emigrants from Hungary by their countrymen in Transylvania ; the Saxons, I was told, did nothing for them. The Hungarians, also, gave notice to these poor wanderers that they were not to go to the Germans for relief. Thinking it hardly possible that help should have been refused, I inquired of various Protestant clergymen, if it were so or not. " Whenever they came, they were assisted," was the reply. " Here," said one, " sometimes ten or twelve came in an hour; at every house they got something, corn, bread, flour, etc. I have myself given in money 20,1." I afterwards told the ream of my inquiry. The reply was, " Es thut uns Weh, das zu hören"-It pains us to hear such things (said of us by the Hungarians).

In considering the relation of the two people, there is something more to be taken account of besides the dif- ference of nationality. The Hungarians form the Faubourg de St. Germain of Transylvania. It is, therefore, not merely the Hungarian who has to do with the Saxon, but the noble in juxtaposition with the free and law-pro- tected plebeian. There is, therefore, a gap existing between the two here as elsewhere, and this has not been sufficiently kept in view. No blame on account of it is to be attached to the Hungarian as such ; it is not a fault pertaining to his nationality, but a natural consequence existing in every mixed society all over the world, even where the political atmosphere, which all alike breathe and live in, tends to make disparities cease.

Between two classes, living in separate worlds, with differing tastes and views and occupations, there cannot be much sympathy. Belgravia and Little Britain do not feel drawn towards each other,-it would be unreasonable to expect it, or that they should have many points of interest in common. "Der langweilige Sachse,"the tiresome Saxon,-says the Hungarian of his neighhour; and it is no wonder that the more elegant man of the world finds him so; neither would my Lady Duchess find Mrs. Nupkins, Mr. and Airs. Raddell, or the society of Miss Stiggs, all of Ebenezer Terrace, City Road, very amusing, though they arc worthy people and "highly respectable." The difference of education causes this; and that it should be so, unless carried too far, is no reproach. The Magyar is light and sprightly, while the Germans are slow and plodding.

But the Hungarian nobleman, as we have seen, is beginning to occupy himself with what, till now, lie left the commoner to do : he attends to his estate, and tries to improve the breed of pigs and sheep ; the growth and preparation of hemp ; to establish a trade in wine, and to get a better price for his rape-seed. He bestirs himself and works. Thus the noble has begun to quit his exclusive sphere ; he occupies himself with the simple pursuits of the simple citizen, and finds an interest in the same results as he ; he will, therefore, be able to comprehend him better. They are walking in the same path, and, by doing so, might, if they chose, approach each other. In the Senate, too, would the Hungarian but enter there, he might, with his powerful eloquence, call attention to certain aids to trade, now that his own experience and his own interests have shown him their necessity.

When he refused to take his place in the Chamber, lie hardly, perhaps, foresaw all the bearings of the act,-that he was thus cutting himself off from promoting enactments which, in his new position as trader, would tend to benefit himself in the directest manner, viz. by increasing his revenue.

The dislike-the hatred, I may say-of the Hungarian is felt most strongly for the Saxon of Hermannstadt ; he is, in truth, different from those of the other Saxon towns.*35_6 This the inhabitants of Kronstadt, Bistritz, and Sz. Reen also allow. In former times the Saxon of Hermannstadt looked on himself as a patrician; and hence it is possible, though I cannot assert it, that somewhat of the bearing which such a sense of greater importance would give, descended to, and was retained by, a later generation. If so, this might also help to account for the dislike spoken of, as anything approaching only to super ciliousness would be especially offensive to a Hungarian. Being the seat of Government, a large bureaucracy is established at Hermannstadt ; and, in the mother-country as well as here, the bureaucrat has an impress of his own. He has especially all those qualities which are contrary to the Hungarian nature ; and his being here an organ of Government, is an additional reason for the Hunga rian's aversion. Then the fact that Hermannstadt is looked on as "the capital" makes him of Klausenburg not a little wroth.

35_6* "Taken altogether, the Saxon is good by nature, but the ` bureau Saxon' is quite different," said a Hungarian to me. We must not forget either, that in the Saxon the Hungarian sees a German, and it is against what is German that all his antipathies are turned. In Canada, it is the same with the French and English inhabitants. At Quebec (see ` Ilocheiaga') it is strikingly perceptible; there the two races do not blend, nor here either. This dislike to the "bureau Saxon," as my acquaintance calls him, cannot be wholly without foundation ; for I find among my notes the following memorandum relating to the Saxons:-" Alai y of diem arc dissatisfied with their own nation ; with the ` Beamten''' (civil officers).

This rivalry plays a part in the railway question, which unfortunately is still pending; the Hungarians want the road to enter Transylvania by Klausenburg, the Saxons by Hermannstadt. Irrespective of other facts, each party would oppose the wish of the other, if it were only on account of the question which shall be the "capital." Just as the Hungarians are most irate against the Hermannstadters, so, too, I should say, it is these latter who are; least amicably inclined towards the Hungarians. The position of the Saxons here brings this feeling with it; they are more influenced than the inhabitants of the other German towns, and less free in their opinions and views.

After what is written above, it is but fair to give also the view the Hungarians take of Saxon character, when called upon to show itself in any political question,-a view which certainly is justified by experience. The Hungarians, like all who look for an ally, demand in that ally decision of character, so that when the hour of trial comes there may be no doubt as to his resolution. Unless we can place full reliance on him who is to act with us, it is far better to be alone. The Hungarian can neither comprehend, nor will tolerate, that petty personal considerations should stand in the way of action that has once been resolved on; being himself ready to make any sacrifice for his convictions, he expects the same willingness in another who, up to a certain point, has marched along with him. Having also, in a high degree, what in German is called "Selbstgefühl," or feeling of his own personality, he has no exaggerated respect for, or servile fear of mere authority, or its representatives in office.*35_7 Now in all this the Saxon differs from him. In former times, I am inclined to believe the difference was less than at present, for the German then was, morally and physically, constantly in action ; had he not been, lie would have succumbed, and have lost irretrievably the fortunate position he occupied among the other dwellers in the land. Ile was obliged to show a bold face to authority and power in order to remain what he was, and this helped to give and to maintain a self-confidence which was rather forced upon him by circumstances than au original inherent feature in his character.-j-35_8 But the Transylvanian Saxon of to-day is unlike his ancestor; the Hungarians say that, as a political ally, lie is unreliable ; but this accords with the constitution of the German mind,-there is no self-reliance, no decision, no quickness of action ; it tries, and doubts, and tests, and re-examines, and at the last discovers, just when bold action is wanted, that the moment for action is not yet come.

35_7The Germans, aware of their weakness, and their propensity to bow to every petty representative of authority, say of themselves: " Mit dem Hut in der Hand,
Kommt der Deutsche durch das Land."
("Hat in hand,
The German makes his way through the land.")

35_8-j-''i This verifies what was said by Varnhagen von Fnse, that the Germans are dependent upon outward influence. It is the revolutions in oilier lands which spur diem to action. Tn all the late popular movements, the motive power came from abroad: but for tliet, they would still have gone on patiently enduring.

There is something unmanly in this indecision, and, to a character impetuous and prompt for action, like the Hungarian, it causes something like pity and contempt. It was said above, that there is no hostility on the part of the German population towards the Hungarian, and I firmly believe it ; but from what I have been told, by Saxons themselves, it would seem that in former times a certain jealousy did exist, giving rise to chafing when the two parties came in contact with each other. Then, also, it was the bureaucrat with whom the noble had to do, and on whom, consequently, the whole amount of his dislike was concentrated. The Hungarian studied law, and the constitution of his country; he understood both well. Among the Saxons, it was only those in office who knew anything of law or government ; all the others had their own business to attend to, and left public affairs to those whom they had delegated for the purpose. These officers were brought, not unfrequently, into collision with the Hungarian at public meetings, or in the law- courts, and the latter made them always feel the difference between the noble and a citizen. The Saxons, in return, lost no opportunity of annoying or prejudicing the Hungarian. The Government, in all emergencies, sought to win them to their side, under the plea that they were Germans, and that both spoke a common tongue ; and thus, for the sake of advantage or favour, as well as out of spite for the slights they had to endure, the Saxon bureaucrats were always ready to act inimically toward the Hungarian,-a feeling, however, which was not shared by the Saxon people at large.

It is quite intelligible, that whatever divergent feelings existed between the two people, they should have been collected into a focus in the servant of Government. For as such, he felt bound to be opposed to one who resisted the authority of which he was, in some sort, a representative ; added to which, the native self-sufficiency of the bureaucrat would, of itself, incline him to make the most of his position, and show his importance. This, of course, must have been most galling to the independent nobleman ; and it was intended to be so.

In earlier days, when Saxon municipal institutions were scattered throughout the land, such collisions were continual, helping to keep up, or rather to increase, the original antipathy. Now, all being changed, there is no opportunity for their occurrence; the plan of Government, too, being more concentrated, the "bureau Saxons" are fewer, and are confined to a single town.

As was said above, the hostility toward the Hungarian, where it did exist, was that of a class. That the inimical feeling should continue still, on the part of the Hungarians, with the old intensity, maybe accounted for in two ways. In the first place, there is more ardour in their nature than in the German ; and, once hating, they would feed the passion, and hate on unabatingly. Then we must not forget, that as regards social position, the Saxons have lost nothing, while that of the Hungarians is changed for the worse : they are the losers, and he who loses always feels bitterness. Self-debarred from office, like the royalist noblesse in France, they are without power or authority, and this to men accustomed to rule must sorely vex, and cause continual rancour. They chafe perhaps the more, because the restriction is self imposed; because the step taken was a false one, the effects of which have fallen on themselves.

The history of both people, and their present position, are remarkable, and so interesting and instructive that they well repay attentive study. They are as different as possible in nature, education, aims, and political views. In character, they are as unlike as the Irish and Scotch indeed, I have often thought that the buoyant Hungarian, swayed easily by passion, resembled the former; while the Saxon, toilsome, thrifty, and methodical, frequently reminded me of him of the north country; the two are like gold veins in a rock, surrounded by baser stuff. Yet, from different causes, induced however by themselves, each has sunken in importance; while that other people (the Roumains), whom they once looked upon as dross, threatens soon to overwhelm them both.

NOTE.-

The figures on the annexed Maps, as well as on that at page 277, indicate the percentage of the respective populations in the several districts.




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