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1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Wesselényi, Miklós, Baron

< 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica

WESSELÉNYI, MIKLOS, Baron (1796-1850), Hungarian statesman, son of Baron Miklós Wesselényi and Ilona Cserei, was born at Zsibó, and was educated at his father's castle by Mozes Pataky in the most liberal and patriotic direction. In 1823 he permanently entered public life and made the acquaintance of Count Stephen Széchenyi whose companion he was on a long educative foreign tour, on his return from which he became one of the leaders of the liberal movemeilt in the Upper House. In 1833 appeared his Balitéletek (Prejudices), which was for long a prohibited book. He was the foremost leader of the Opposition at the diet of 1834, and his freely expressed opinions on land-redemption, together with his efforts to give greater publicity to the debates of the diet by printing them, involved him in two expensive crown prosecutions. He was imprisoned at Grafenberg, whither he had gone to be cured of an eye trouble, and two years later became quite blind. Subsequently he did much for agriculture, children's homes and the introduction and extension of the silk industry in Hungary. The events of 1848 brought him home from a long residence abroad, but he was no longer the man he had been, and soon withdrew again to Grafenberg. He died on the 21st of April 1850, on his way back to Hungary.

See Ferencz Szilágyi, Life and Career of Baron Nicholas Wesselényi the Younger (Hung. Budapest, 1876).

 (R. N. B.)