27 JULY 1850, Page 15


MAX SCHLESINGER'S WAR IN HIINGABY.• THESE volumes are written in a style very different from what in England we are accustomed to associate with the idea of an his- torical work ; and this manner leads to some inconsistency in the order of the narrative, over and above what is produced by a dis- cursive tendency of mind. In his opening and. several other parts, Schlesinger's method is very like that of the historical romance since Scott; with this difference, that the obscure or unknown persons of the historian vanish from the scene, and do not like the hero of fiction emerge from mist into effulgence. The sketches of the various classes of Hungary remind one of the travelling littera- teur, whose manner induces the reader to suspect that ho cares less for accuracy than effect. The arrangement, as we have hinted, is somewhat defective, so that the narrative is occasionally crude; and Max Schlesinger is more at home in discussing politics, sketch- ing a politician, depicting the scenery of the country and the habits of its people, or in narrating some remarkable personal adventure, than in seizing the political philosophy of the Hungarian revolution, or lucidly presenting the strategical plans and military tactics that caused the Austrians to fail so ignominiously in the first campaign, and rendered the second. campaign so hopeless from the outset. The book, however, is the most literary emanation that has appeared upon the subject. It presents a complete and striking if not a criti- cal account : though obviously leaning towards Hungary, and pos. sessing extremely liberal views, the writer is not altogether blinded to the faults of the Hungarians, the errors of his friends, or the military merits of his enemies. Although the warlike story is imperfect, —rather a picture of individual deeds or results effected at critical moments by particular divisions, than a story of the campaign,—still it furnishes a better idea of the probable causes of military conclusions than any other book we have seen. In the political part, where the author is stronger, he shows, without wish- ing to show, that the revolution was ill planned and ill conducted; that its object at the outset was not distinctly perceived, or if secretly determined on, was of doubtful attainment in itself, and if attainable, presenting enormous obstacles to be overcome. Max Schlesinger's hero Kossuth drops down in his pages, obviously against his will, to an. able agitator and powerful rhetorician. He appears an Hungarian Lamartine, wielding at will a public meet- ing in times of excitement, but with wild political ideas, no dear mode of effecting them, and wanting determination in critical times. We have said that the military materials are not sufficient to form a satisfactory judgment. So far as they go, the ill success of Hungary seems attributable to inferiority of force—to a want of requisite means for the purpose in view. The failure of the Austrians in the first campaign appears owing to the errors of their commanders ; one of which was a violation of the fundamental military maxim, "never despise an enemy." In the second campaign it does not seem that the Hungarians had a chance. Whenever Gorgey encountered Haynau, he was beaten, although even his enemies allow that his tactics were skilful and his per-. sonal exertions wonderful. It was the same in all other directions (except with Bern for a while, in Transylvania); only the other leaders were forced back with less fighting than the army under Gorgey. This view, if true, disposes of the alleged treason of G6rgey. He may have committed an error in besieging Buda to expel the Austrians from the capital, instead of marching on Vien- na; but it seems idle to suppose that he did this merely to show that he "too could reduce fortresses,' or refused to invade Austria because the plan "had been formed. by Dembinski and approved by Kossuth." It is probable, too, that he committed faults in not moving with sufficient swiftness to succour other generals. But it must be remembered that this would only have retarded the result, not have altered it. Whenever Gorgey contended with Haynau, he was beaten through the inferiority of force ; the armies opposed to the Russians had no chance. It is clear Gorgey did not surrender till the only resource left was a desperate and hopeless battle. Ills fault, and a very grievous one, was that he did not stipulate for an amnesty under Russian guarantee. Hungary, however, was beaten less by the military force than the moral or political ; thus again proving the truth of Napoleon's maxim It seems evident that the Hungarian Liberals began upon the principle of indifference, if not selfishness. The Viennese or Austrians were looked upon coldly ; the Selaves, Croats, &c., were to be ruled and civilized. by Hungary, for their good. The first demand, (a separate independent Ministry, which was granted,) though probably constitutional, was, if a reality, incompatible with imperial government : if a name, it would be a drag to adminis- tration and a source of corruption ; as might be secant the Minis- try of Scotland under the Stuarts, and in Ireland down to the -Union if not to this day. Still it gave a sort of constitutional colour to the first campaign : because the army was acting by orders from the constituted authorities regularly representing the King of Hungary. They had perhaps a de-jure right, as they clearly had the de-facto power, to expel foreign armies ; but had they crossed the frontier and advanced upon Vienna, they would have invaded a foreign state. Metaphysically speaking, the King of Hungary is different from the Emperor of Austria: the Hungarian Diet and Ministry might have declared war against the Crown of Austria in the name of the Crown of Hungary; but this would have been too

• The War in Hungary, 1848-1/349. By Max Schlesinger. Translated by John Edward Taylor. Edited, with Notes and an Introduction, by Francis Polarity. In two volumes. Published by Bentley.

refined for general comprehension, and the articles of pacification difficult to arrange 9nally had Vienna been reached. The declaration of independence obviated this difficulty ; but it came too lite, offend- ed loyal Hungarians, and destroyed the actual constitution, without putting anything in its place. It had the further effect of making the Hungarians legally rebels and traitors ; which, acting as they did under constituted powers, we cannot think that they were before. The Hungarian war, in fact, originated in impulse, not calculation ; and that impulse was too Magyarish in its purposes. As a military action, it can hardly be said to have had a base (be- yond the place it could make such for the time being) ; it had no objective or goal for in the outset Vienna did not seem to occur ; and had Giirgey in April 1849 marched on the capital, it is difficult to see what he was to do there, in a military sense, or even in a political sense. It is true, the ca.pture of the capital by the vic- torious Hungarians, fraternizing with the Republicans in Germany, and holding out the hand of fellowship to revolutionists every- where, might have been followed by consequences not easy to fore- see, during which Hungary would have been lost sight of, and the house of Hapsburg have stood in the same category as the elder Bourbons. But this was hicobinie,a1 propagandism, not Magyar constitutional resistance ; and it does not seem ever to have been contemplated. Had it been, the most favourable opportunity was in the autumn of 1848, when the Hungarians had defeated the army of the Ban and driven it across the frontier, while Vienna

i was n open revolt, and the Imperial family had fled. Of the chivalry, the gallantaT, the splendour, the hospitality, the courage, and the love of liberty of the Hungarian noble or gentleman, no one doubts. Of his ideas of true constitutional freedom, or the zeal with which that or Hungarian independence has been maintained first through Turkish and then German domina- tion for some hundred years past, doubts may be entertained. Neither does the Hungarian peasantry or people reflect high credit on their "natural superiors." Something should be deducted for the forced 'vivacity and straining after effect of the litterateur ; but this sketch of a large class of peasantry must have some foundation in truth—and very like the Red Indians or half-breeds of Spanish America the people look.

"The Csikos is a man who from his birth, somehow or other, finds him- self seated upon a foal. Instinctively the boy remains fixed upon the animal's back, and grows up in his seat as other children do in the cradle." "The boy grows by degrees to a big horse-herd. To earn his livelihood, he enters the service of some nobleman, or of the Government, who possess in Hungary immense herds of wild horses. These herds range over a tract

of many German square miles, for the most part some level plain, with wood, marsh, heath, and moorland ; they rove about where they please, multiply,

and enjoy freedom of existence. Nevertheless, it is a common error to imagine that these horses, like a pack of wolves in the mountains, are left to themselves and nature, without any care or thought of man. Wild horses, in the proper sense of the term, are in Europe at the present day only met with in Bessarabia; whereas the so-called wild herds in Hungary may rather be compared to the animals ranging in our large parks, which are attended to and watched. The deer are left to the illusion that they enjoy the most un- bounded freedom ; and the deer-stalker, when in pursuit of his game readily

gives in to the same illusion. Or, to take another simile, the reader has only to picture to himself a well-constituted free state, whether a republic or a monarchy- is all one. "The Csikos has the difficult task of keeping a watchful eye upon these herds. He knows their strength, their habits, the spots they frequent; he knows the birthday of every foal, and when the animal, fit for training, should be

taken out of the herd. He has then a hard task upon his hands, compared with which a Grand-Ducal wild-boar hunt is child's play ; for the horse has not only to be taken alive from the midst of the herd, but of course safe and sound in wind and limb. For this purpose, the celebrated whip of the Csikos serves him: probably at some future time a few splenslid specimens of this instru- ment will be exhibited in the Imperial Arsenal at Vienna, beside the sword of Scanderberg and the Swiss morning-stars.' "This whip has a stout handle from one and a half to two feet long, and a cord which measures not less than from eighteen to twenty-four feet in length. The cord is attached to a short iron chain, fixed to the top of the handle by an iron ring. A large leaden button is fastened to the end of the cord, and similar smaller buttons are distributed along it at distances, ac- cording to certain rules derived from experience, of which we arc ignorant.

Armed' with this weapon, which the Csikos carries in his belt, together with a short grappling-iron or hook, he seta out on his horse-chase. Thus

mounted and equipped, without saddle or stirrup, he flies like the storm- wind over the heath, with such velocity that the grass searely bends under the horse's hoof; the step of his horse is not heard, and the whirling cloud of dust above his head alone marks his approach and disappearance. Although

familiar with the use of a bridle he despises such a troublesome article of luxury, and guides his horse with his voice, hands, and feet—nay, it almost

seems as if he directed it by the mere exercise of the will, as we move our feet to the right or left, backwards or forwards, without its ever coming into our head to regulate our movements by a leather strap.

"In this manner for hours he chases the flying herd, until at length he succeeds in approaching the animal which he 18 bent on catching. He then

swings his whip round in immense circles, and throws the cord with such dexterity and precision that it twines around the neck of his victim. The leaden button at the end, and the knots along the cord, form a nootie, which draws closer and tighter the faster the horse hastens on.

"See how he flies along with outstretched legs, his inane whistling in the wind, his eve darting fire, his mouth covered with foam, and the dust whirling aloit on all sides ! But the noble animal breathes shorter, his eye grows wild and staring, his nostrils are reddened with blood, the veins of his neck are distended like cords, his legs refuse longer service—be sinks ex- hausted and jmwerless, a picture of death. But at the same instant the pur- suing steed likewise stands still and fixed as if turned to stone. An instant, and the Csikos has flung himself off his horse upon the ground, and inclining his body backwards, to keep the noose tight, he seizes the cord alternately with the right and left hand, shorter and shorter, drawing himself by it nearer and nearer to the panting and prostrate animal, till at last coming up to it he flings his legs across its back. He now begins to slacken the noose gently,. allowing the creature to recover breath : but hardly doee the horse feel this relief, before he leaps up, and darts off again in a wild course' as if stall able to escape from his enemy. But the man is already bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh ; he site fixed upon his neck as if grown to it, and makes the horse feel his power at will, by tightening or slackening the cord. A

second time the hunted animal sinks upon the ground ; again he rises, and again breaks down, until at length, overpowered with exhaustion, he can no longer stir a limb. • * * *

"The foot-soldier who has discharged his musket is lost when opposed to the Csikos. His bayonet, with which he can defend himself against the Uhlans and Hussars, is here of no use to him : all his practised manceuvres and skill are unavailing against the long whip of his enemy, which drags him to the ground, or beats him to death with its leaden buttons ; nay, even if he had still a charge in his musket, he could sooner hit a bird on the wing than the Csikos, who, riding round and round him in wild bounds, dashes with his steed first to one side then to another, with the speed of lightning, so as to frustrate any aim. The horse-soldier, armed in the usual manner, fares not much better; and wo to him if he meets a Csikos singly ! better to fall in with a pack of ravenous wolves."

Of the Servian swine-herd we have heard something of late, both in history and romance ; because this was the vocation of Kern George, the Servian Liberator. In Hungary the swine-keeper does not seem to be so respectable a person.

"The Kanner is a swineherd, whose occupation, everywhere unpoetical and dirty, is doubly troublesome and dirty in Hungary. Large droves of pigs migrate annually into the latter county from Serbia, where they still live in a half-wild state. In Hungary they fatten in the extensive oak-forests, and are sent to market in the large towns, even to Vienna, and still further.

"It is a true enjoyment to live in these shady forests. The oak attains a finer and more luxuriant growth on the Hungarian soil than in any part of Germany. The hogs find food in profusion, and commbilly stuff themselves to such a degree that they lose all desire for roving about ; so that dog, mas- ter, and ass, lead a comparatively easy life, and are left to the quiet enjoyment of nature. But the lot of the Kellam is a pitiable one when, at the close of summer, he has to drive his swine to market. From Debreczin, nay even from the Serbian frontier, he has to make a journey on foot more toilsome than was ever undertaken by the most adventurous traveller, pacing slowly over the interminable heaths in rain, storm, or under a burning sun, behind his pios, which drive into his face hot clouds of dust. Every now and then a hog has stuffed itself so full as to be unable to stir from the spot; and there it lies on the road without moving' whilst the whole caravan is obliged to wait for half a day or longer, until the glutted animal can get on his legs again ; and when at length this feat. is accomplished, frequently his neigh- bour begins the same trick. There is truly not a more toilsome business in

the wide world than that of a Kamm. •

"The fokos is a hatchet, with a long handle, which the Kanasz hurls with great dexterity. Whenever he desires to pick out and slaughter one of his hogs, either for his own use or for sale the attempt would be attended with danger, in the half-savage state of these animals, without such a wea- pon. The fokos here assists him ; which he flings with such force and pre- cision, that the sharp iron strikes exactly into the centre of the frontal bone of the animal he has marked out : the victim sinks on the earth without uttering a sound, and the drove quietly proceeds on its way. That he can strike down a man with equal precision at eighty to a hundred paces, is proved by the gallows at the entrance of the forest—the three-legged monu- ment of his dexterity. During recent events, too, the surgeons of the Aus- trian army will readily furnish the Kanasz and Csikos with certificates of their ability and skill.'

This is from a clever sketch of the "wild hussar." Rnglan.d might be included in the military observation at the opening.

• "France, Russia, Prussia, and other countries, have introduced the Hus- sars into their armies ; but these soldiers are merely Russian, French, and Prussian cavalry, dressed in the Hungarian laced jacket : they want the spirit, the horse, and—the 'Magyar Isten.' For this reason, the Hungarian Hussar will not acknowledge them as brethren and whenever he comes in contact with foreign .Hussars, he lets them feel in battle the full force of his contempt. A story is told, that during a campaign against the French in the war with Napoleon, the bivouacs of the Prussian and Hungarian Hus- sars were near to one another. A Prussian came over to his neighbours in a familiar way with a ghee of wine, and drank it to the health of his bro- ther hussar.' But the Hungarian gently pushed the glass back, and stroked his beard, saying, 'What brother ? —no brother—I hussar—you jack- pudding.' "This expression is not to be mistaken for a brag. The Hungarian hus- sar is no fanfaron like the French Chasseur, but he is conscious of his own powers, like a Grenadier of the Old Imperial Guard. The dolmany, the csako, and the csizma, have grown to his body ; they form his holyday dress even when off duty—the national costume transferred into the army ; and as he is aware that this is not the case in other countries, the foreign Hus- sar's dress is in his eyes a mere servant's livery; and logically the man is not altogether wrong.

"The Hussar, like the Magyars in general, is naturally good-tempered. The finest man in the service, he is at the same time the most jovial com- panion in the tavern, and will not sit by and empty his glass by himself when a Bohemian or German comrade at his side has spent all his money. There is only one biped under the sun who is in his eyes more contemptible and hateful than any animal of marsh or forest. This is the Banderial Hus- sar—that half-breed between Croat and Magyar, that caricature of the true Hussar, who serves in the cavalry, as the Croat in the infantry, of the Military Frontier. Never was an Hungarian Hussar known to drink with a Banderial Hussar; never will he sit at the same table : if he meets a snake he crushes it under foot—a wolf he will hunt in the mountains—with a buffalo he will fight on the open heath—with a miserable horse-stealer he will wrestle for a halter' but as for the Banderial Hussar, he spits in his face wherever he meets him. -

"It was at Hatvan, or at Tapjo-Bicske, that Hungarian and Banderial Hussars were for the first time in this war—the first time perhaps in the recollection of man—opposed to one another in battle. If looks could slay, there would have been no need of a conflict, for the eyes of the liagyarsahot death and contempt at their unworthy adversaries. The signal of attack sounded ; and at the same instant, as if seized by one common thought, the Hungarian Hussars clattered their heavy sabres back into the scabbard, and with a fearful imprecation such as no German tongue could echo, charged weaponless and at full speed their mimic caricatures whom fate had thrown in their way.. The shock was so irresistible, that the poor throats could make no use of their sabres against the furious onset of their unarmed foe : they were beaten down from their saddles with the fist, and dragged off their horses by their dolmanys ; those who could save themselves fled. The Hussars disdained to pursue them ; but they complained to their Colonel at having been opposed to such a rabble." "