4 NOVEMBER 1905, Page 5

regard the breaking up of "Austria," now so often dis-

cussed on the Continent, as a catastrophe, sure to produce some dangerous, and to Englishmen most unacceptable, results. The programme, however, if considered in detail, has an interest of its own. Baron Fejervary's business is to reconcile the Hungarian dynasty with the people of Hungary without giving up any prerogatives of the Crown, and his notion of the way to do it is evidently that which is slowly gaining acceptance among all absolutists. He offers the people an escape from their grievances, and especially their economic grievances, on condition of their leaving the Monarchy alone. He refuses to allow Hungary a separate Army, or to abandon the principle that as regards the Army the King, and not Parliament, is the final authority ; but he offers a list of reforms which to every Socialist on the Continent must seem most attractive.

Baron Fejervary proposes, for example, to supply any deficit in the Hungarian Treasury, not, as the German Emperor does, by increase in Customs and Excise, but by a graduated Income-tax, which, in- creased as it must be from time to time, must in the end squeeze out the landed aristocracy who at present rule Hungary, and who, as we under- stand the position, are, as in some districts of Ireland, liked for their pedigreei, and for what Lord Beaconsfield described as the "sustained splendour of their stately lives," but are detested because their interests and those of the peasantry collide. Then, because nine millions of the thirteen millions of Hungarians live, and live poorly, by the land, "the productivity of the land must be increased ; Government and mortmain lands must be split up and sold or let to individual proprietors or farmers on long leases ; small and medium landowners must be enabled by special institutions of credit to borrow at lower interest, and the whole system of agrarian credit must be reformed and adapted to the needs of an enlightened agrarian policy. That is an immense temptation for the peasant-owners and tenants, who are to have the lands of the State and of the Church divided among them, doubtless at a price, but at a price to be fixed by themselves ; for though universal suffrage is not to be granted at once, every man of twenty-four who can read and write is to be an elector, and primary education is to be "free, universal, and compulsory.' In other words, the peasantry are from the first to be the main factor in the creation of Parliaments, and within ten years they are, upon all questions except the Army and foreign affairs, to rule the country, and arrange for its economic interests as they please, even, as in another clause is specifically promised, to make their own economic treaties. As these immense concessions do not quite cover the wants of the great towns, Baron Fejervary further promises that manufactures shall be encouraged, "so that large factories may spring up." Hungarian crafts and house industries are to be "protected," and "the juridical position of workmen, private officials, and clerks must be improved. Children and workwomen must be legally protected, better provision must be made against sick- ness, accidents, and old age, workmen's dwellings must be erected in the large cities, and hospitals and sanatoria instituted for the working classes." Many of these reforms will be beneficial, and some others promised. in other clauses of the programme, such as improvements in the Magistracy and in the equality of all men before the law, are urgently required ; but the inten- tion of all is the same, to reconcile Throne and people by using the State as an instrument to secure a better distribution of physical comfort. If these promises are accepted and. not kept, the people, we may be sure, will punish the promise-breakers heavily, perhaps by insurrec- tion; while if they are accepted and kept, taxation must be immensely increased, and must, we imagine, be levied to a great degree from the aggregate wealth of the well- to-do. You cannot provide against sickness and old age, rehouse the people, grant them free education, and lend money to all peasants at low rates out of the revenue which has barely sufficed for a Monarchy conducted on the old lines, which, as we may see from the examples of Hungary itself, Naples before it was swept away, and Piedmont before it annexed Italy, were comparatively cheap lines. The public fortune is to be expended first of all on making the public comfortable. This has been for a considerable period the trend of all philanthropy; it is the central thought of Continental Socialism, ' the one which brings that party millions of votes ; and now we see it accepted by the heads of ancient dynasties. Baron Fejervary's programme has been accepted. by the ; Hapsburgs for Hungary, and it is foolish to believe that ; they could reject it if it were demanded by the peoples ' of the remainder of their States. We are not able to- day to discuss the idea, with its hundred ramifications, • at the necessary length ; but the well-to-do in this country and in America will do well to ponder its meaning' before they are threatened by a mass vote ; to decide whether they intend to accept it instead of individualism, which produceslfar more energy ; and to study patiently the working of the only possible alternative, an applica- tion of the great instrument of compulsory insurance on a scale and in directions which are at present undreamt of. The difference between the people of Great Britain and the Continent is very great; but even in this country we• are doubting whether we shall or shall not feed the children of the poor as well as educate them without charge, whether we shall not consider labour a kind of service to the State, and, therefore, pension the labourer in• old age, and whether we shall not borrow as for a great, war in order to enable the municipalities to rehouse the working people. The trend of change is all one way, and' the proposals of Baron Fejervary, who is a convinced Royalist working, or trying to work, a Parliament in the interest of a dynasty, may well help to give moderate men in England subjects for anxious thought.