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Austria was there mooted. But this idea, like the one which had led to the assembly of the German princes, was not destined at that time to be realized. Count Rechberg was intrusted with the portfolio of Foreign Affairs, and he immediately involved Austria, as the ally of Prussia, in the predatory and unjust war of Schleswig-Holstein. Here, again, the Saxon Minister was called upon to play a prominent part. He was sent by the Germanic Confederation, as their delegate, to the Conference of London, and there won the esteem of all who had occasion to come in contact with him. On the retirement of Count Rechberg from office, the name of Baron Beust was again introduced into the political combinations formed at Vienna, but was set aside by the appointment of Count Mensdorff. At the critical moment when the war of 1866 had become imminent, and when the Prussian armies had already commenced their march upon Saxony and Bohemia, the name of the Saxon statesman was once more mentioned at Vienna. But it was then too late. The events of that disastrous war were far too rapid to admit of the possibility of a change in the Cabinet at such a crisis. At last the Imperial decree called upon Baron Beust to undertake the ministry of Foreign Affairs. But at what a moment, and under what conditions, did he enter upon his arduous and responsible task! A war had just been waged which, for speedy victories on one side, and fearful reverses on the other, is unparalleled in the annals of history. The din of battle had hardly ceased, its smoke had scarce cleared away, the people's hopes had been replaced by the sullenness of despair ; Austria had lost all confidence in herself and her future. An important Vienna journal of the day graphically described the state of affairs as follows :-“M. de Beust, at the moment when he is called upon to take charge of affairs, finds a great empire in a condition of material exhaustion and neglect, and, what is still worse, in a state of absolute and most lamentable prostration.” This was a true sketch of the internal state of the country. The wounds the war had inflicted on the material welfare of the Northern Provinces were still gaping. A senseless and unscrupulous paper circulation had caused a stagnation of trade at home, and an improvident financial policy had greatly injured the credit of the Empire abroad. The conflict amongst the nationalities which had been called forth by the violent suspension of the rights which had been constitutionally guaranteed to them, was still raging ; Austria's power was broken, her authority destroyed, her armies defeated and almost annihilated, the position she had for centuries held in Germany lost. Earnest statesmen already entertained the idea of her dismemberment, which was feared even by those who most wished for her integrity. Without friends, or aid of any kind, her people were helpless, prostrate, and discouraged. Such was the political and social position which Baron Beust had to face on becoming Minister. A sad inheritance indeed, and rendered still sadder by the fact that the political situation imposed upon him the necessity of acting in concert with those very persons who were almost entirely responsible for this lamentable state of things. His advent to office shed a ray of hope through the darkness ; political parties rallied round him, not because they trusted him implicitly, but simply because they looked upon him as the man who alone, in so fearful a storm, might possibly be able to pilot the ship into harbour and avert its threatened destruction. No historian has as yet written upon that The “inhibi

tion period.” unfortunate epoch, termed the “inhibition period,” when by a stroke of the pen the Constitution of 1861 was suspended. Even at the present day the real motives which caused that Constitution to be done to a sudden death are veiled in mystery. The men of that disastrous period were Count Esterhazy, the Hungarian, and Count Belcredi, the Austrian Minister. It is possible that their intentions may have been good; but they still cannot escape the merited reproach of having been the first to cause general dissatisfaction throughout the empire by suddenly withdrawing the people's newly-acquired constitutional rights, and recklessly involving Austria in a twofold

· war, at a moment when her material and moral strength were both insufficient for the task. People in Austrią, have become accustomed to regard Count Belcredi as the father of the Act suspending the Constitution, simply because he countersigned the Imperial decree. Far be it from us to detract

in the least from Count Belcredi's claim to the merit of having originated this extraordinary Act, which, for arbitrariness, might be compared with Cromwell's violent and imperious dissolution of the Rump Parliament. If we assign him a second place in this political drama, it is because “Palmam

qui meruit ferat;" the first belongs of right to Count Ester- Count Esterhazy. It was the latter that conceived

the great idea of “inhibition;" when Count Belcredi entered the Cabinet, the Act was prepared, and only required confirmation. Count Esterhazy's statesmanship was as astute as it was energetic. His object was simply to re-establish absolute rule, with its feudo-clerical supporters, as it had existed before 1848. A sort of political Rip Van Winkle, he seemed to have passed the last twenty years in sleepy ignorance of men and events, and to have awoke suddenly in the belief that, as with himself, all had remained in statu quo. He was, however,

, too much of a Hungarian not to know that to set aside entirely the Hungarian Constitution would be a matter of absolute impossibility. He therefore proposed to leave the Hungarian Diet intact as it had existed prior to 1848, taking care not to make

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