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ference of the Roman clergy. To this end two Religious
and Military bills were laid before the House—one by Dr. Mühl- Reform. feld, termed a “Religious Edict,” cancelling all existing relations between Church and State; the other by Dr. Herbst, the present minister of justice, less sweeping and more diplomatic in its details, termed the “ Confessional Laws."'* The office of Adjutant-General to the Emperor † was also abolished at this time (the 11th July, 1867), as it was proved beyond doubt that it was the real cause of most of the abuses of the military system in Austria.
The idea of a parliamentary ministry, which Baron Beust had twice broached without success, owing to the opposition of the parliamentary leaders, now again arose. This time it emanated from the Finance Commission, who were most desirous that such a ministry should be formed, in
* See Note IV.
+ The office of “ Adjutant-General ” (“ General Adjutantur”) must not be taken in the English sense of the word. It here means a military cabinet, in which the supreme military influence was in immediate and constant contact with the sovereign. It may be added that this influence was not always exclusively confined to military affairs, but also interfered to a lamentable extent with civil matters.
order to protect the interests of the western half of the empire in the arrangement with Hungary. Baron Beust on this occasion reminded the House that his previous attempts to create a responsible cabinet had been frustrated by its leaders, who had maintained that the question should be adjourned until the Hungarian compromise should have been accepted by Cis-Leithania. Owing to their oppo
sition, the matter had hitherto remained in abeyance, and they would, therefore, still be able to enjoy the advantage of participating, as members of the Reichsrath, in the constitutional regeneration of their country, without incurring any other than a moral responsibility for their acts. The House
then steadily resumed its labours. It passed the Ministerial law establishing ministerial responsibility, and a responsibility. most liberal enactment relative to the “right of Right of meeting. association;" and on the 25th of July, 1867,
adjourned to make place for the Cis and Trans
Leithan Commissioners who were to complete the Financial financial arrangements of the Hungarian Comarrangements promise. The meeting of this Commission was a between Hungary and source of great anxiety and difficulty to Baron Western Austria.
Beust, for he had to act as mediator, and as such it
was his duty to be most careful lest he should lay himself
open to the slightest charge of partiality. The Hungarians were quite unanimous in relying upon the concessions settled under the ministry of Esterhazy and Baron Beust, and honestly and ably supported by the late finance minister, Baron Becke, who had been obliged to do his utmost to diminish their claims. After very long and protracted negotiations, the final proportion of the contributions of the two halves of the Empire was determined upon. The amount was arrived at by taking the average for ten years of the sums paid by the Hungarian provinces, which gave a proportion of 28 per cent. It was decided, on this basis, that Hungary should pay 30 per cent. and Western Austria 70 per cent., and that Hungary should contribute annually a sum of 30,200,000 florins towards the payment of the interest of the State debt. This arrangement was, of course, far more favourable to Hungary than to Western Austria, as by it nearly the whole burden of the Austrian debt fell on the shoulders of the CisLeithan provinces. It must be admitted that the Austrian delegation showed great patriotic selfdenial in making this sacrifice to the solidarity of the Empire, for they could, with the same right as the Hungarians, have taken their stand against an excessive contribution to the interest of the national debt, on the ground that this debt had been contracted by an absolute government, and had never received the sanction of their Diet. In this manner the Cis-Leithan Commissioners agreed to the Hungarian proposals, and thereby contributed their share to the work of reconstructing the Austrian empire. On the 23rd of September, 1867, the final protocol of the financial arrangement was ratified, and the compromise with Hungary, subject to the decision of the Reichsrath, completed. The heavy financial burthen which Western Austria had so willingly accepted as her share, although it was, in fact, the only possible means of settling with Hungary, was attended with one most unfortunate result. Austria found herself in the painful
necessity of reducing the interest payable on her Reduction of debt, not that she for a moment conceived the idea the interest on the State of repudiating her responsibility, but that it was
out of her power—though, let us hope, only for a time-strictly to fulfil her engagements. We will
not attempt to discuss the expediency or rectitude of this step. It appears to us to have originated in a choice of evils; for had the arrangement with Hungary not been carried out, Austria would have been compelled, by the force of circumstances, to reduce, not the interest of her debt alone, but the capital also. As this question of Austrian finance has been discussed with considerable acrimony in our journals, it may not be uninteresting to our readers to know all the facts in connection therewith. We therefore subjoin the following despatches, which prove how deeply the Austrian prime minister regretted the course he was obliged to adopt, though at the same time he held out the hope that at some not far distant day he would be able to indemnify the foreign holders of the Austrian loan of 1865 for the loss they have suffered :
Le Baron de Beust au Prince de Metternich à Paris.
“ Vienne, le 26 mai, 1868. “ Parmi les mesures financières soumises à la considération du Reichsrath et qui doivent prochainement faire l'objet des délibérations de cette Assemblée, se trouve le projet d'un impôt sur la rente dont toutes les valeurs publiques autrichiennes seraient frappées sans exception.
“ L'annonce de cette mesure a provoqué de nombreuses