Page images

established. To the piston rod are attached two beams bearing the rods of pumps, which raise the water by successive stages from the deepest parts of the mine. There are three of these machines, each of which raises 1790 cubic feet of water, from a depth of six hundred feet, in an hour. The water employed in working the machine makes its escape by the same adit with that which it has raised. These machines, it is evident, work on the principle of the Hydrostatic Paradox, in the same way as Bramah's press. The perpendicular pipe, in which the water descends, transmits its pressure, through a horizontal tube, to the under surface of a piston of larger diameter than itself, so that it has the advantage of acting with a force proportional to a column of the height of two hundred and seventy feet, and of a diameter equal to that of the wide tube; a force, of course, far greater than its own weight. Though the mechanical advantage derived from this construction must be great, the time for producing the effect wanted, will be increased just in proportion to that advantage, or in the proportion of the section of the wide tube to the section of the small one. The date of this machine is 1749, which shows the great mistake of those who suppose that Bramah was the first who applied this principle to the elevation of great weights. The force of this machine is enormous, though the rapidity of working may not correspond to it. A column of water two hundred and seventy feet deep, is equivalent, by its simple pressure, to about eight atmospheres and a half. What additional force it derives from the comparative sections of the tubes, Dr Bright's description does not enable us to ascertain.

The next object of attention was the capital, Buda, the residence of the Palatine, and the seat of Government. It contains upwards of thirty thousand inhabitants; while, on the opposite bank of the Danube, and connected with it by a bridge of boats, lies the city of Pesth, already of nearly equal magnitude, and rapidly increasing. Its chief ornaments are the National Museum, dedicated to the Natural History of Hungary, with an extensive library, open to the public, and an observatory, recently erected upon a hill rising from the river: great attention has been paid to procure the instruments from Munich, and to render their supports independent of the building. The University, which has a library of fifty thousand volumes, is attended by seven hundred students; amongst them are to be found Jews, as well as Christians of all denominations, complete toleration being allowed throughout the kingdom.

The Government of Hungary, ever since the year 1687, has been a monarchy, hereditary in the House of Austria, limited

by the representatives of the privileged orders assembled in the Diet. The king possesses, however, great and independent power. He assembles and prorogues the Diet at pleasure; and derives, from various sources, a revenue sufficient for the ordinary demands of the State, without being obliged to apply to his people for subsidies or soldiers;-the necessity which usually operates as a check to the throne in limited monarchies. He appoints all officers of state, civil and military, except the Palatine, and the two keepers of the crown. He nominates all the clergy, who enjoy their temporal advantages from his appointment, independent of the Pope's confirmation, which only regards their spiritual functions; and there lies no appeal from him to the Holy See in matters of religion. He alone can grant patents of nobility, and bestows charters of freedom on cities.

The privileged orders are the Nobles, the Clergy, and the Free towns.

The Nobles, who have assumed the title of Populus, have maintained the same privileges which they enjoyed in the time of the Crusades. They are free from all burdens of the State, on condition of serving the King in war; not, however, without the sanction of the Diet. They alone possess landed property, with the power of holding baronial courts, which decide all questions between them and their vassals. A noble cannot be arrested, except for murder or high treason, until he has disregarded repeated summons to give himself up. No peasant or citizen can obtain justice against a noble but through another noble, or the magistracy of a free town; while confiscation of his property, or even death, awaits the individual who violates the person of a noble. The dignity of Magnat, or Superior Noble, is either hereditary, or derived from certain offices of state. Of the former, there are four princes, ninety-nine counts, and eighty-eight barons. Of the latter, the chief is the Palatine, who is chosen for life by the Diet, from four candidates named by the King: He is regent during a minority, president of the upper chamber of the Diet, and names the Vice-Palatine, who commands the nobles when assembled for war. The Viceroy, Chief Judge, Bannus or governor of Croatia, Dalmatia, and Sclavonia, and the Tavernicus or president of the court of appeal, are also of this class. The Magnats enjoy the privilege of sitting individually in the Diet, or sending a proxy when they cannot attend in person. The established religion of Hungary is Catholic; rendered, however, as already stated, entirely subject to the King. No bishop or archbishop can even make. a will without the consent of the King, to whom devolves all unbequeathed property of the clergy. Latterly, no bishop has been allowed to receive from his diocese more than 4000l. per


annum; the remainder of the revenue being applied to the relief of the inferior clergy, who are but slenderly provided for. The dignitaries of the church sit with the Magnats in de Diet: The chapters of the body of the clergy send their propotion of representatives with the nobility of the counties. These dig nitaries are usually younger sons of noble families; while the inferior clergy are from the citizens of the free towns, or more wealthy of the peasantry.

There are also other religions in Hungary, not only tolerated, but enjoying the same political privileges as the Established church. The United Greek Church, although retaining some peculiar ceremonies, acknowledges the Pope as its head, and is therefore classed with the Roman Catholic; but the Evangelical, the Reformed, and the United Greek Churches, enj a freedom which might excite a feeling of shame in governments which boast of the toleration and liberty of conscience granted to their subjects. Our author has given an interesting abstract of their rights in the following passage.

The foundation of these rights is laid in the treaty of Vienna in 1606, and in that of Lintz, in 1645. All laws, privileges and orders, since enacted in contradiction to these treaties, are null and void; as is also the protest of the Catholic clergy, and some laymen, entered at the assembly of the States in 1791, against the new elict of religion. The Evangelical religious worship is, throughout every part of Hungary, free and open (Dalmatia, Croatia, and Sclavonia excepted, where the professors of this faith are neither capable of holding estates, nor of filling offices), wherever the contributors are in sufficient numbers, and possessed of sufficient wealth, to support a preacher and church. They are eligible to all offices of State, and to all employments; on entering upon which, they shall no longer be required to swear by "the Virgin Mary, and all her saints, "

&c. &c.

The United Greek Church is still more highly privileged: its bishops have a seat in the Diet, and are independent of the King; while their spiritual concerns are under the jurisdiction of a Patriarch chosen by the Greek Church itself. There are but few divisions into sects in Hungary; but there is one too remarkable to be passed over in silence. In Transylvania, there is a body of Unitarians, estimated at thirty-two thousand.

The towns which have obtained their freedom by a Royal charter, form the last division of the privileged orders, and enjoy nearly the same rights as the Nobles. They can hold landed property; and they send representatives to the Diet. The citizens are exempt from tolls, are eligible to all offices, their VOL. XXXI. No. 61. P

persons are sacred, and they elect their own magistrates: But they are subject to have troops quartered upon them; and cannot, individually, possess land, unless they have a patent of nobility.

The whole country is divided into Comitatus, or Counties, which hold meetings for the regulation of their own affairs, and to which the wishes of the King are usually submitted. If the assemblies of the Comitatus refuse to accede to the royal demands, the Diet is assembled, and has the power of deciding without appeal.

The Diet which is assembled for the coronation of a King, the election of a Palatine, and once in five years, or as much oftener as the King desires, for the consideration of state affairs, consists of nearly seven hundred members, divided into four classes. I. The High Catholic Clergy. II. The Magnats. III. The inferior Nobles and Ecclesiastical Chapters, represented by the Deputies of the Comitatus. IV. The Deputies of the free towns. These four classes are arranged in two chambers. In the upper chamber sit the Clergy and, Magnats, with the Palatine as president. In the lower chamber sit the Deputies of the Comitatus and free towns, as also the proxies of such Magnats as are absent: the president of this chamber is a noble, who represents the King.

The Diet waits upon the King or his commissioners in the palace, where his wishes are made known to it: After being separately considered in each Chamber, and put to the vote, the decision is drawn up by the Lower Chamber, and laid before the Throne. If sanctioned, it is read in the assemblies of the Comitatus, and becomes law. If the Diet and the King cannot agree, the proposed measure falls to the ground. The two Chambers confer by means of deputies; and each order giving as its vote the voice of the plurality of its own members, the question is decided by the majority of the orders. The Diet, with consent of the King, can alter all laws, except those which affect the succession to the throne, and the exemption of the nobility from taxation.

The King has at his disposal a standing Army of sixty thousand men, which is maintained by the peasantry and free towns: With the consent of the Diet he can also call forth the Insurrection of the Nobles, who, on some of these occasions, have brought forty thousand men into the field. The most curious part of the Military establishment is the militia, intended as at barrier against the Turks, which occupies the Croatian frontier. Every father of a family holds a certain portion of land from the Government, for which he pays a small land-tax, furnishes

his quota to the public magazines, and is bound to take the field when required. While in the field he is maintained, and the land-tax remitted in proportion to his military service. The land descends to the eldest son; and, if there are no male heirs, reverts to the Crown. Sixty or more of these landholders unite into a family, under a Patriarch of their own choice, to whom they yield implicit obedience. All the labour and gains of this family are in common; and no one can quit it without being punished as a deserter. Several of these families united, form a company, under the orders of a captain; and several companies constitute a regiment, commanded by a colonel. The whole economy of this extensive district is military; the agricultural labours are directed by corporals; the courts of justice are composed of commissioned officers; and the whole is subject to the Council of War at Vienna. The force which can be called out is estimated at eighty thousand men; and the line which they are intended to protect, at six hundred miles.

The Revenue derived by Austria from Hungary is calculated at three millions sterling. Of this, five hundred thousand pounds are levied as a direct tax upon the peasantry and free towns; the remainder is produced by rights of the Crown, independent of the Diet. The chief of these are the crown lands, the monopoly of salt, the coinage, the gold and silver mines, the customs, fines, the income of vacant bishopricks, the tax paid by Jews for the right of residence, and the post. The burden imposed upon the peasants and citizens in maintaining and transporting troops and stores, is estimated at three hundred thousand pounds additional.

Although some of the orders enjoy privileges detrimental to the general interests of the country, yet the voice of the Diet in making laws, and in the imposition of taxes, and, above all, the unlimited freedom of religious opinion, render the government of Hungary far superior to the despotic systems which surround it. We must now, however, turn to the dark side of the picture, in which we shall find the Peasant at the mercy of his lord, and bearing the whole burden of the State, without a single privilege; a statement fully borne out by the following account of his relation, to the King and Nobles.

The manner in which land is possessed and distributed in this country, is very singular. No man can possess lands who is not a noble of Hungary. But as all the family of a nobleman are also noble, it is supposed that, in every twenty-one individuals in the nation, one is of this class. The lands descend either entire and undivided to the eldest son, or are equally divided amongst the sons, or, in some cases, amongst the sons and daughters; so that many of the

« PreviousContinue »