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LIBRARY

THE UNIVERSITY
OF CALIFORNIA

SANTA BARBARA

FROM THE LIBRARY
OF F. VON BOSCHAN



THE REALM



OF



THE HABSBURGS



BY THE SAME AUTHOR

IMPERIAL GERMANY

B Critical Stut>v

OF

FACT AND CHARACTER

Cheap Edition. Cloth, 2s. 6d. ; Paper, 2s.



WILLIAM HEINEMANN, 2. Bedford Street, Strand



THE REALM



OF



THE HABSBURGS



BY



SIDNEY WHITMAN



" O wer weiss,
in dcr Zeitcu Hintergrunde schlummert ;"

Schiller : Don Carlos



LONDON
WILLIAM HEINE M A N N

'893

[All rights resen ■



3n affectionate /iftcmon}

OF

H. F. W.



>$< Nice, January 26, 1884



CONTENTS



INTRODUCTORY .



I. PAST AND PRESENT



II. THE GERMANS .
III. THE CZECH

TV. THE HUNGARIANS



V. THE JEW



VI. THE VIENNESE .

VII. THE EMPEROR .
VIII. THE NOBILITY .

ix. the nobility {continued)

X. THE ARMY

XI. THE ARMY {continued)

XII. THE PRIEST



PAGE
I

IO

21

35

46

75

92

1 1 1

129

146
164

'75
188



XIII. THE AUSTRIAN MIDDLE CLASSES



207



viii CONTENTS

cnAP. PAGE

XIV. THE AUSTRIAN MIDDLE CLASSES {continued) . 221

XV. THE AUSTRIAN MIDDLE CLASSES (continued) . 24I

XVI. THE PEASANT 26 1

XVII. WOMANKIND IN AUSTRIA-HUNGARY . . 278

XVIII. CONCLUSION 296



THE

REALM OF THE HABSBURGS

INTRODUCTORY

. ... ov yap ol nXartls,
Oi'S' (vpvvctiToi (f)a>T€S (KTCpaXearaToi'
'AAAVh (ppovovvTes ev Kparnvtrt iravraxov *

Sophocles (Ajax)



To many Englishmen the very term " Austria," or —
as this at one time most powerful country in Europe
is called since the Covenant of 1867! — "Austria-
Hungary," conveys a somewhat hazy geographical
as well as political idea. And this is the case



* '• For not the stout or the broadbacked men are the most
sure ; those rather who keep their wits come everywhere to the
front."

t The Covenant of 1867 (Law of December 21), re-constituted
the Empire as two inseparable and constitutional monarchies,
hereditary in the House of Habsburg-Lorraine ; it gave Hungary
important separate State Rights, and perpetuated the llabsburg
dominion under the denomination of Austria-Hungary.

A



2 THE REALM OF THE HABSBURGS

notwithstanding that England and Austria have
been allies on many momentous occasions and fought
side by side on many a hard-fought field. Who
will say, too, that to-morrow some political compli-
cation may not again suddenly concentrate the
attention of Europe on the banks of the Danube ?
The country itself is comparatively seldom visited
by tourists * from the west of Europe, and is even
less read about. Thus it is that this most fertile,
as well as most picturesque, part of the Continent —
lavishly endowed as it is by Nature — is as little
known to us as, are the character of its inhabitants,
their many racial distinctions, and their varied social
and political life.

Yet there never was a time in which it was more
imperative than it is at present to investigate the
psychological aspect of things in the wide domain
of the national life of neighbouring peoples. The
electric telegraph, the network of railways, the
extraordinary impulse given to production of every
kind all the world over, are all by degrees bringing
about a state of affairs in which the struggle for
existence among communities as among individuals,
seems destined to become acute. We are beins'
brought so near to one another that we can no longer
afford to ignore each other's existence ; but the
struggle thus looming in the future has not hitherto

* The so-called Salzkammergut and the Tyrol are exceptions
to the above statement. According to the statistics for 1890,
German-speaking Tyrol alone boasted 190,575 visitors during the
year, who spent over seven million florins in the country. The
statistics of Italian-speaking Tyrol are not given.



INTRODUCTORY 3

led to much mutual knowledge of character or of
institutions.

The following pages are mainly intended to be a
small contribution to the study of the psychology of
nations, and to show, among other things, how even
classic virtue may be insufficient in the battle of
life, the palm of which is now more than ever
allotted to the " fittest."



II

Austria is a country which stands geographically,
economically, as well as politically, midway between
the past and the present. Geographically Austria
borders on the west on highly developed Germany,
while on the east it touches stagnation. In parts
of Austria the past in all its phases is still blended
with the present in proportions hardly to be met
with elsewhere in Europe. For whilst the tourist
can traverse Hungary by rail, by virtue of the new
/one tariff, for less money than he can travel first-
class from Dover to Calais, in this same Hungary
over half a million of haud ploughs made of wood
still furrow the fertile soil.*

In England, the Royalty of the Plantagenets,
Tudors, and Stuarts has given place to a mild form
of social regal presidency — an amiable but arduous
leadership, through the mazes of Society's cotillon.
Seated on the throne of the Austria of to-day is the

'Die Land wirthschaft Ungarns. '' Prof. Dr. E. v. Rodiczky.



4 THE REALM OF THE HADSDURGS

same family which held sway there in the days of
our Hantagenets. And, although the despotic rule
of those days has given place to the prevailing
milder form of representative government, yet the
fervid loyalty of past ages, elsewhere dead, still
survives in the hearts of the soil-nurtured Austrian
peasant, of the town -bred citizen, and of the noble
in his princely ancestral home.

With us the distinctive garb of the people has
long disappeared, together with the class life of the
rural population. A visitor coming to England,
fresh from Austria, must be surprised to see the
lower orders— particularly the women — dressed in
the soiled and bedraggled left- off finery of the
middle classes. Among Austria's many nationalities,
each still retains its characteristic picturesque garb
and its traditional customs.

In Germany, as in England, an enormous increase
in the population of great towns is everywhere
apparent, in its results gradually undermining the
old landmarks of the people, which connected them
with the soil from which they sprang. In Austria,
on the other hand, all these elements of modern
change have had less play and their influence is far
less evident.

In republican France, the Revolution has swept
away the once powerful landed aristocracy, and
reduced the Catholic prelate to a small fixed salary.
In Austria there are still territorial magnates, whose
wealth and the extent of whose possessions vie with
those of our greatest landowners. There are



INTRODUCTORY S

Princes of the Church in Austria as well as in
Hungary, whose incomes make even our Arch-
bishops' princely salaries appear small by com-
parison.

That, however, which must chiefly attract the
interest of the politician towards Austria is the fact
of her rupture with her autocratic past, and her
embarking- upon the broad waves of modern
Liberalism. This is the most stupendous experiment
of political patent-medicine methods — as opposed to
gradual and natural evolution — that is to be met
with in the wider fields of political history.

Ill

Some of us can remember the easy-going pre-
1866 days — the closing epoch of the older rigirru
— when the pick of Austria's crack regiments could
be seen doing garrison duty as far west as Frank-
fort-on-the-Main. The Austrians, Prussians, and
Bavarians mounted guard on alternate days. But
people had no eye for the cold mechanical Prussian
goose-step, and for those raw, beardless Prussian
recruits, who looked so fagged, and were said to
have such a distressing time of it under the iron
discipline of the brutal drill-sergeant. The uniforms
of the latter, too, were dull to look upon ; they
fitted badly, and emphasised the angularity of the
big bones of the wearers. We did not then know
that the Austrians, besides being picked troops, were
long-service men, who naturally contrasted favour-



6 THE REALM OF THE IIABSBURGS

ably with Pomeranian recruits. And who could help
admiring the well-knit Austrian — many of them
swarthy fellows from the Italian provinces of Lom-
bardy — who seemed to combine the natural grace of
the Southern with the chivalric bearing of the
flower of the Teutonic race ?

Those were days when the great thinker, Arthur
Schopenhauer,, used to eat enough for three at the
table d'hote of the Hotel d'Angleterre. There he
might be seen sitting at the bend of the triangular
dinner-table surrounded by dishes, which the waiters
slyly piled up before and around him, and which he
testily pushed aside. His was a queer old gorilla
face, with the bristling hair and the keen flashing
eyes ; but philosophy in his case evidently did not
lead to disdain of the creature comforts of life.
Down at the further end of the table, towards the
door, the Austrian cavalry officers congregated.
We only heard, many years afterwards, from Chal-
lemel-Lacour, the French writer and diplomatist,
that the wily old philosopher used day by day to
make a silent bet with himself that those gay
cavalry men would never talk at table of any other
subject than women, horses, and their chances of
regimental preferment. Neither did it particularly
attract our attention when we saw now and again a
Prussian officer sitting among them, for few of the
Prussians could afford the luxury of the table
d'hdti at the Hotel d'Angleterre. liut now it all
floods back on one's memory ; a spare, wiry figure,
with cold, steel-grey eyes, politely but decisive!}-



INTRODUCTORY 7

laying clown the law on some subject or other to the
ill-concealed discomfiture of his Austrian listeners
— quietly nonplussed by the outcome of wider
knowledge and cool perception of fact. There in a
nutshell lay the key to much that was hidden still
from the majority, but was soon to be revealed to
all alike.



IV

Only a few brief years later, and all Europe is
breathless, for the Angel of Death is at work, reap-
ing his grim harvest amid the golden cornfields of
Bohemia. His servants were first the bullet and
then the cholera. It is a sultry summer eve, and
the Prussians are busy installing themselves for the
night in the little town of Podol, around and in
which a tough encounter with the enemy had taken
place during the day. Suddenly the alarm is given,
the drums beat — the Austrian s are coming on in
fall force, a part of the renowned Iron Brigade
among them, to turn the Prussians out of Podol.
There they come, along the high-road, and here
stand the Prussians, holding the bridge that com-
mands the road leading back into the town. The
needle-guns are ready, and at the dry word of com-
mand whole lines of the brave Austrians bite the
dust ! But on come others over tin- dead and dying,
and again the needle-gun rattles its death-knell
into the quivering lines of stout human hearts.
The road is blocked up with the dead as by a



8 THE REALM OF THE HABSBURGS

parapet. At last silence and the night supervene.
The Austrians have left their killed and wounded
behind, and disappeared in the darkness. The
Prussian cavalry ride up and see the ghastly heaps
of dead and dying intermingled.

" Du lieber Gott," says a Prussian officer — possibly
the very grey-eyed debater of Frankfort table d'liotc
days — " if that is the senseless way they are going
to lead these poor fellows to the slaughter, we shall
not have much to fear in this business."

" Ah, Kam'rad," calls out a wounded Austrian
officer, " you manage to keep your asses in the rear
— we have got ours, alas ! in front."

And the birth-throes of a new era long prepared
are being laboured through in agony on these very
plains of Bohemia in the course of a few short weeks.
Amid the ripe cornfields the wounded Austrian is
seen limping along, supported by his stick, his
uniform still dyed with the blood and dirt of the
battle-field, a prisoner in his own country ! *

Who can wonder at the disgust of the old ex-
Emperor, Ferdinand, living quietly iu retirement at
Prague ? When they told him that the victorious
Prussians were coming, and that he had better take
to flight, he is reported to have said : " If that is
all the good you have done, you need not have
taken the trouble to make me abdicate in '48."

* The campaign of 1S66 was the last one fought in Europe
under the old barbarous system of helplessness with regard to
the care for the wounded. Austria-Hungary joined the Geneva
Red Cross Association immediately after it.



INTRODUCTORY 9

Where is now your heroism, your chivalry ? Not
even a word of recognition for the willing sacrifice
of your good honest bones. " If that is all you
have got to show, we have not much to fear ! "

Surely the portent of this did not confine itself to
the plains of Bohemia, nor even to the time of its
occurrence. . The lesson is to be read to-day ! Thus
shall the blind devotion of the past prove unavailing
— go down before highly organised discipline in time
to come, whilst the many lull themselves into false
security, fondly believing in a millennium of peace
and inanition.



CHAPTER I

PAST AND PRESENT
Austria erit in orbe ultima



The Realm of the Habsburgs is an old country in
many other senses than that of antiquity of origin.*
Austria is old by the tenacity of her tradition, and
by the still unchanged character of her inhabitants
amid the latest political innovations. While
England and France are to-day so coloured by
modern civilisation that scarcely more than dead
stones remain to recall even the comparatively recent
period of mediasval chivalry, almost everything in
Austria has still a flavour of ages long since passed
away.

There must be something soothing in the peaceful

* The name of Oesterreich, originally applied to the territory
situated above and below the river Enns, is not mentioned in
history much before the year one thousand of our era. It first
occurs in a deed of gift in the reign of Count Henry the Strong,
who ruled over the province in question about the year 994 A. d.
It is about a thousand years since first mention is made of the
name of Hungary.



PAST AND PRESENT n

retirement of the picturesque old Austrian towns,
which has so often acted as an attraction to legiti-
mate nionarchs " out of work," and bade them seek
refuge on Austrian soil in preference to any other.
The Duchess of Berry, Charles X., the late Duke of
Chambord, and, lastly, the late King of Hanover, all
ended their days on Austrian territory. Decadence
and decay lose much of their terrors amid scenery,
the effect of which is to remove our thoughts from
earthly vanities. It is only in accordance with the
fitness of things that a long line of kings of another
powerful monarchy of the past — that of Poland —
should also have found their last resting-place in
Austria.*

As in the case of Poland, the history of Austria
is inseparably connected with that of its monarchs.
In truth, we have here the history of one and the
same family registering the ups and downs, the
sunshine and storm, which have affected the fortunes
of millions of human beings for six centuries t and
marked the destiny of a realm, the sway of which
was at one time more extensive than the rest of
Europe combined.

At the time of the Reformation, her rule was so
extensive that the Emperor Charles the Fifth could
boast — as Queen Victoria may to-day — that the sun
never set in his dominions. Even in our time, the
Emperor of Austria-Hungary rules over 41,000,000

The king.s of Poland are buried in Cracow,
ince 1278, the dale <>r the battle of Marchfeld, in which
Rudolph of Habsburg defeated Ottokar, king of 13ohernia.



12 THE REALM OF THE HABSBURGS

human beings, distributed over an area of about
240,000 square miles ; the greatest number of souls
and the largest extent of territory, if we except
Russia, under the direct sway of any one monarch
in Europe.

II

The Hohenstaufen, the Habsburgs,* and the
Hohenzollerns are the three great royal Houses round
which has revolved the political history of the middle
of Europe during the last eight hundred years.
All three are of Germanic blood, all three are
descended from families whose ancestral castles,
strange to say, were situated in close propinquity to
one another in the south-west of Germany. Though
identical in origin, however, their part in history has,
on the contrary, been widely divergent.

The Hohenstaufen Emperors, nearly 800 years ago,
endeavoured to play the great national part which
has fallen to the lot of the House of Hohenzollern
in our time. " Frederick the Second, the ablest and
most accomplished of the long line of German Cassars,
had in vain exhausted all the resources of military
and political skill in the attempt to defend the rights
of the civil power against the encroachments of the
Church. The vengeance of the priesthood had
pursued his House to the third generation, Manfred

* Habsburg (originally Habichtsburg, that is, Hawkscastle), an
old German family, which takes its name from the old Swiss
castle of Habsburg, now in ruins, situated on the river Aar in the
Canton of Aargau.



PAST AND PRESENT 13

had perished on the field of battle, Conradin on the
scaffold."* They were in truth before their time,
and to the Habsburg dynasty fell the succession to
the dignity of Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire.
But whereas the Hohenstaufen had perished fighting
for essentially German ideals against the temporal
power of Rome, the Habsburgs became great by
direct co-operation with Catholicism.

There was a time, during the Reformation, when
the power and with it the supremacy of the
Habsburg rule was seriously imperilled ; but the
regeneration of Catholicism during the sixteenth
and seventeenth centuries strengthened the founda-
tions of Habsburg power and ensured their successive
possession of the elective dignity of Holy Roman
Emperors of German nationality, down to the final
collapse of the Holy Roman Empire itself.

It is beyond our province to dwell even in
outline on the record of what is, broadly speaking,
the history of the human race for a long period. All
through succeeding centuries we find the power of the
Church as the basis of the Catholic State, which in
its turn is supported in its autocratic character by
the priesthood of Rome — notably the Jesuits.
Throughout this period Catholicism is seen work-
ing side by side with the House interests, the so-
called House policy of the Habsburgs. And this
continues down to the time when the latter
are confronted by an antagonistic force of a



* Lord Macaul.iy : E.ssay on Kanke's History of the Topes.



i 4 THE REALM OF THE HABSBURGS

similar kind — namely, the expansive ambition of the
Royal 1 louse of France.

From the time of Charles the Fifth down to our
own, the policy of France was almost solely
directed towards the humbling of the power, which
uniting the Netherlands, Burgundy (in part) and
Spain under its sway, had taken a French king
prisoner in battle.

We all know how the growth of French power,
only rendered possible by the internal dissensions of
the Teutonic race which lasted for several centuries,
gradually forced the House of Habsburg from their
possessions in the Netherlands, Spain, and even the
Rhine, until the work of Richelieu was crowned,
and the Habsburgs were compelled to give up most
of the immense territories which they had gained
by a succession of prudent marriages.

This, however, is beside our purpose, as also is
the trite assertion that if the Uabsburg dynasty
had not invariably been guided by dynastic rather
than by broader national considerations, a Habs-
bursr Kaiser might still be crowned in Frankfort-on-
the-Main, and Metz and Strasburg need never have
formed part of France. The history of the world is
as full of " might have been " as the life of any
humble inhabitant of our planet.



Ill

The result is all that concerns us. The Catholic
Habsburgs were unable to dim the glorious German



PAST AND PRESENT i;

national traditions attaching to the memory of the
Hohenstaufen. These embodied an idea, which the
Habsburgs ever failed to realise, and this idea
became engrafted on and found nourishment in the
spirit of Protestantism. The Catholic and politi-
cally egotistic character of the House of Habsburg
failed to awaken that sympathy in their fortunes
which would have been necessary in order to bring
the genius of Germany to identify its interests with
those of Austria. That Germany should do so was,
perhaps unconsciously, the ambition of the Emperor
Joseph II. He endeavoured to break with priest
power and inaugurate a new era. But although he
was never tired of asserting that he was above all
a German Sovereign, the sufferings of centuries
made Germany deaf to his words. Nor was he
one of those historic personages capable of changing
the current of history. He perhaps foresaw that
Catholicism meant in the end severance from the
best intellect of Germany. Nature had not, however,
fitted him for great political work. He would
actually rush out at night to assist in extinguishing
a fire in Schonbrunn, whilst the kingdom of Bohemia
was aflame with war brought about by his state-
manship.

In this way, then, originated a split in the great
central Teutonic Empire of Europe, and it has been
left to our time to witness the final result — namely,
the severance of Protestant and national Germany
from the Catholic House dominion of the Habs-
burgs.



16 THE REALM OF THE HABSBURGS

In this instance the fortunes of one autocratic
and Catholic family have swayed a mighty period
of the past. By a strange coincidence its eclipse
was almost coeval with the great economical, intel-
lectual, and political evolution in the midst of which
we are all living to-day.

The political factors of the past are no longer
the leading ones in the life of nations at the
present time. The attachment of the Germans
to the head of the Holy Roman Empire died out
with the Thirty Years' War. The loyalty of the
Austrians for their monarch is still strong, but it is
no longer as of yore their only guiding star — not
even when backed by Catholicism. Human pas-
sions are ever the same, though they run in different
grooves : but human institutions, human ideals, these
change with the times.

Now, if in the past the history of a great por-
tion of Europe may be fairly identified with the
history of one ruling family, such is unlikely to be
the case in the near future.

Autocracy in Europe has had its day ; modern
revolution has rendered this an anachronism. And
as if to make its reappearance, even in Catholic
countries, doubly impossible, the Catholic Church is
no longer to be relied upon as the ally of autocratic
monarchy as opposed to the social and political
aspirations of communities or nationalities. The
expansion of the individual, even when united with
a strong feeling of attachment to the Sovereign, has
evoked aspirations among the masses which must



PAST AND PRESENT i 7

lead to acuter perceptions and desires. The grow-
ing acuteness of the economical struggle for life has
necessitated universal education as a weapon to
meet its conditions.

The outcome of this and of many other factors of
our day has been a renewal of the feeling of race
and nationality, which, though always existent, was
formerly forced more into the background by the
supreme importance of community of faith or loyalty
to a Sovereign. Nowadays the elements of political
economy have supplanted the figment of loyalty —
even of creed — from the first rank of popular
interests. And this remains a fact even where
Catholicism — the strongest of all religious creeds —
is supreme. Thus we note Protestant leaders con-
trolling a Catholic race agitation in Ireland ; Pro-
testant clergymen inciting their flocks in Alsace to
remain faithful to the lost connection with Catholic
French nationality. So, too, in Austria, we see a
rivalry of races, supplanting almost every traditional
influence of the past : whilst the Catholic Church
marches on amid the ddbris of discarded autocratic
shibboleths. The individual is no longer satisfied
with the knowledge of being the unit of a great
Empire, as is more or less the case for the moment
in Germany. The particularism which statesmen
have striven to stamp out in Germany, and which
has given place to the class war of socialism, is to-
day the rising tide in Austria, though its source
and character are different. It is not an attachment


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