Page:The voice of an oppressed people.pdf/53

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.



the Slavs not only geographically but culturally, he demanded that every Slav, in the cause of "reciprocity," should learn at least one Slav language besides his own. Meanwhile Safarik, the well-known archælogist, revived Slav antiquity and history, Palacky wrote the first scientific history of his nation, and dwelt more especially upon the universal meaning of the Bohemian Reformation.

The remarkable character of the Czech national revival is shown by the philosophic and religious attitude of its leaders. Dobrovsky, the follower of Josephinism, though a Catholic priest and even a Jesuit, became a free thinker; Kollár and Palacky were both Protestants—the first a follower of Herder, the latter of Kant; Jungmann, the great philologist, was a Voltairian. Kollar and Safarik were Slovaks; Slovakia, having received the Hussite emigrants and adopted the Hussite Reformation, became the natural supporter of the Bohemian revival.

In sympathy with the general European movement the Bohemian nation passed in 1848 from national literature to national politics. The revolution of Paris broke out on 21 February. On the 29th the news reached Prague; and on 11 March the first popular meeting was held, after two centuries of political extinction, and formulated the national demands.

As early as 1812 the Bohemian Diet, then a close aristocratic body, demanded the restitution of the rights of the kingdom of Bohemia, though of course in vain. But the rising in 1848 had the desired effect. On 8 April the Emperor, as King of Bohemia, issued the "Bohemian Charter," according national rights and promising future political independence. But the constitutional innovations of 1848 proved but a very brief interlude; the revolution was suppressed alike in Vienna, Prague and Budapest. Absolutism, Centralism and Germanisation resumed their sway. Meanwhile Ferdinand was superseded by Francis Joseph, whose long and sinister régime had already been