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AUSTRIA-HUNGARY

and as years went by it was to become the National German party. They hoped by a common parliament to create the German feeling of a common Austrian nationality, by Constitu- German schools to spread the use of the German tionai language. Every grant of self-government party. to the territories must diminish the influence of the Germans, and bring about a restriction in the use of the German language; moreover, in countries such as Bohemia, full self-government would almost certainly mean that the Germans would become the subject race. This Avas a result which they could not accept. It was intolerable to them that just at the time when the national power of the non-Austrian Germans was so greatly increased, and the Germans were becoming the first race in Europe, they themselves should resign the position as rulers which they had won during the last three hundred years. They maintained, moreover, that the ascendency of the Germans was the only means of preserving the unity of the monarchy; German was the only language in which the different races could communicate with one another; it must be the language of the army, the civil service, and the parliament. They laid much stress on the historic task of Austria in bringing German culture to the half - civilized races of the east. They demanded, therefore, that all higher schools and universities should remain German, and that so far as possible the elementary schools should be Germanized. They looked on the German schoolmaster as the apostle of German culture, and they looked forward to the time when the feeling of a common Austrian nationality should obscure the national feeling of the Slavs, and the Slavonic idioms should survive merely as the local dialects of the peasantry, the territories becoming merely the provinces of a united and centralized state. The total German population was not quite a third of the whole. The maintenance of their rule was therefore only possible by the exercise of great political ability, the more so, since, as we have seen, they were not united among themselves, the clergy and Feudal party being opposed to the Liberals. Their watchword was the constitution of 1861, which had been drawn up by their leaders; they demanded that it should be restored, and with it parliamentary government. They called themselves, therefore, the Constitutional party. But the introduction of parliamentary government really added greatly to the difficulty of the task before them. In the old days German ascendency had been secured by the common army, the civil service, and the court. As soon, however, as power was transferred to a parliament, the Germans must inevitably be in a minority, unless the method of election was deliberately arranged so as to give them a majority. Parliamentary discussion, moreover, was sure to bring out those national differences which it was desirable should be forgotten, and the elections carried into every part of the empire a political agitation which was very harmful when each party represented a different race. The very first events showed one of those extraordinary changes of policy so characteristic of modern Austrian history. The decision of the Government on the constitutional question was really determined by immediate practical necessity. The Hungarians required that the settlement should be ratified by a parliament, therefore a parliament must be procured which would do this. It must be a parliament in which the Germans had a majority, for the system of dualism was directly opposed to the. ambitions of the Slavs and the Federalists. Belcredi, who had come into power in 1865 as a Federalist, and had suspended the constitution on the 2nd January, ordered new elections for the Landtags, which were then to elect deputies to an extraordinary Reichsrath which should consider the Ausgleich. The wording of the decree

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implied that the February Constitution did not exist as of law; the Germans and Liberals maintaining that it did exist, and that changes could only be inCrisis of troduced by a regular Reichsrath summoned in 1867. accordance with it, protested against the decree, and, in some cases, threatened not to take part in the elections. As the Federalists were all opposed to the Ausgleich, it was clear that a Reichsrath chosen in these circumstances would refuse to ratify it, and this was probably Belcredi’s intention. As the existence of the empire would thereby be endangered, Beust interfered; Belcredi was dismissed, Beust himself became ministerpresident in February 1867, and a new edict was issued from Vienna ordering the Landtags to elect a Reichsrath, according to the constitution, which was now said to be completely valid. Of course, however, those Landtags in which there was a Federalist majority, viz., those of Bohemia, Moravia, Carinthia, and Tirol, which were already pledged to support the January policy of the Government, did not acquiesce in the February policy; and they refused to elect except on terms which the Government could not accept. The first three were immediately dissolved. In the elections which followed in Bohemia the influence of the Government was sufficient to secure a German majority among the landed proprietors; the Czechs, who were therefore in a minority, declared the elections invalid, refused to take any part in electing deputies for the Reichsrath, and seceded altogether from the Landtag. The result was that Bohemia now sent a large German majority to Vienna, and the few Czechs who were chosen refused to take their seat in the parliament. Had the example of the Czechs been followed by the other Slavonic races it would still have been difficult to get together a Reichsrath to pass the Ausgleich. It was, however, easier to deal with the Poles of Beast’s Galicia, for they had no historical rights to compact defend ; and by sending delegates to Vienna they with the would not sacrifice any principle or prejudice any Poleslegal claim; they had only to consider how they could make the best bargain. Their position was a strong one; their votes were essential to the Government, and the Government could be useful to them; it could give them the complete control over the Ruthenians. A compact then was easily arranged. Beust promised them that there should be a special minister for Galicia, a separate board for Galician education, that Polish should be the language of instruction in all secondary schools, that Polish instead of German should be the official language in the law courts and public offices, Ruthenian being only used in the elementary schools under strict limitations. On these terms the Polish deputies, led by Ziemialkowski, agreed to go to Vienna and vote for the Ausgleich. When the Reichsrath met, the Government had a large majority; and in the House, in which all the races except the Czechs were represented, the Ausgleich was ratified almost unanimously. This having been done, it was possible to proceed to special of J86^ legislation for the territories, which were henceforward officially known as “ the territories represented in the Reichsrath.” A series of fundamental laws were carried, which formally established parliamentary government, with responsibility of ministers, and complete control over the budget, and there were included a number of clauses guaranteeing personal rights and liberties in the way common to all modern constitutions. The influence of the Poles was still sufficient to secure considerable concessions to the wishes of the Federalists, since if they did not get what they wished they would leave the House, and the Slovenians, Dalmatians, and Tirolese, S. II. — 3