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Lajos Kossuth:
Champion of Liberty

The books published about Lajos (Louis) Kossuth number in the thousands, with hundreds of them written by Anglo-American authors. No other Hungarian has ever achieved world-wide fame such as his, and probably none ever will. In his time he was dubbed "The Torch of Liberty", "The Hero of Freedom" and the "Human Tornado." The French called him "Kossuth, la Révolution," and in America a memorial coin was issued in his honor imprinted with the legend: Kossuth, the Washington of Hungary. Some journalists compared him to Moses, and an editorial in a New York newspaper even went so far as to call him the greatest man who ever lived, next to Jesus Christ. More modestly, the Magyar people called him Kossuth Apánk (Our father, Kossuth), and practically every Hungarian agrees that he was the most famous of all the Magyars.

Paradoxically, the origin of this most famous Magyar is contested by the Slovaks who claim that Kossuth's name was derived from a Slovak word that means "buck". This theory is contradicted by etymologists who say Kossuth's name is really of Turkish-Mongolian origin, derived from the word "Kosot".

Since at least 1263, when King Béla IV granted the Kossuth family the patent of nobility and the right to use the noble predicate udvardi, the Kossuths have considered themselves Magyar nobles.

In September of 1802, Lajos Kossuth was born in the village of Monok in Upper Hungary, the only son of László Kossuth, an impoverished nobleman and lawyer. Kossuth's mother, Karolina Weber, came from a family of German colonists in Upper Hungary. Thus, Kossuth was half German; he spoke and wrote German as well as he did Hungarian. He also learned Slovakian as a child. Kossuth's father would read the Hungarian Bible to his family. At home he spoke Hungarian to the children, German to his wife. Slovakian to the servants. So Lajos and his four sisters grew up trilingual, as was the case with most families in that region of Upper Hungary (Felvidék or Highlands) where Hungarian noblemen, German colonists and Slovak peasants lived side by side.

Kossuth received an excellent education. In addition to the Latin and Greek taught in school, he learned French from a private tutor. As class valedictorian he delivered his first oration in Latin at an outstanding Lutheran high school. From there he went to study law at Sárospatak College, a militantly Calvinist institution which had the reputation of being far more "Hungarian" than the other colleges in Hungary. Influenced by the works of Herder, Schiller and Rousseau, Lajos dreamed of becoming the champion of the oppressed.

One incident during his college years while he was the most eminent student of Professor Kövy, a strict disciplinarian, reveals Lajos' revolutionary spirit.

Once Kövy threatened severe punishment for any of his students who dared to come to his lectures half asleep. With Kossuth as their ringleader the students rebelled at this violation of their individual rights and threatened to go on strike unless Kövy apologized, an unheard-of demand. However, after a confrontation with Kossuth, the dreaded, unapproachable Kövy decided to retreat.

He apologized to his class but, turning to his best student, said: "Kossuth, unless you take counsel with yourself, you will yet become a maximus perturbator - a great rebel."

At the age of 21 Kossuth became a practicing lawyer whose superior judgement impressed his father so much that the old lawyer often deferred in his opinion to his son.

A Delegate without a Voice

In 1825, the year Széchenyi made his grand entrance onto Hungary's political scene, Kossuth, 11 years his junior, made his own mini-entrance as a county politician for the affairs of Zemplén County, where his eloquence soon attracted attention.

In 1832 he became an absentee delegate ("ablegatus absentium"), representing a certain Baron Hunyadi at the national Diet of 1832 in Pozsony (present-day Bratislava). At this turning point of his life, Kossuth was 30 years old. His youth was behind him, but his political career lay ahead. The Diet of 1832 was dominated by the three giants of the period: Count István Széchenyi, Baron Miklós Wesselényi and Ferenc Deák, known to posterity as the "Sage of the Homeland" (a haza bölcse). A fourth man, Ferenc


Kölcsey, a noted Hungarian poet and author of the national anthem, also played an important role in the deliberations of the Diet.

Kossuth was most impressed by Wesselényi, whose thundering denunciation of the Viennese government excited him. As an absentee delegate, Kossuth could only observe the proceedings, having no right to speak. However, he found a brilliant substitute for his muted voice: the pen.

A Novel Weapon - Forged by the Pen

With the approval and help of Wesselényi and others, Kossuth began writing daily summaries of the meetings of the Lower House and recruited young jurists to copy and mail his reports to all the counties in Hungary. This venture was unprecedented and circumvented the government's ban on printed reproductions of the Diet's proceedings, which were sprinkled with frequent denunciations of the government in Vienna. One of Kossuth's scribes was Mór Jókai, who later became Hungary's most famous novelist.

Kossuth sent out 334 lengthy reports while the Diet was in session, and thus became thoroughly acquainted with the intricacies of Hungarian politics. More important, the man who had entered the halls of the Diet as an obscure substitute delegate in 1832 had become a national celebrity by the time the session was over.

After the Diet adjourned, Kossuth moved to Pest and immediately launched a new journal entitled Municipal Reports (Törvényhatósági Tudósítások), a biweekly account of the activities of Hungary's counties. (The county system in Hungary was similar to that in England.) The journal enabled the counties of Hungary to co-ordinate their activities, and also succeeded in amplifying Kossuth's voice. One English author a contemporary or Kossuth, wrote that "Kossuth's journal, like the wand of a magician, had raised a spirit in the land. It had united hearts and hands in the cause of justice and patriotism." The tone of the reports was becoming increasingly militant in crusading for reforms and speaking out against absolutism and corruption.

By 1837, however, the government had had enough of Kossuth's activities. He was arrested, charged with disloyalty and sedition, and imprisoned for three years.

Imprisonment - a Blessing in Disguise

Vienna could not have done Kossuth a greater favor. His imprisonment gave him the opportunity for long hours of quiet contemplation which invigorated his mind and deepened his understanding of domestic and international problems. Of that period Kossuth said: "It was three years lost from my life, but all my life afterwards gained from it."

Kossuth's most important achievement in prison was mastering the English language, which later became a magic weapon in conquering the heart of the Anglo-Saxon world. He used an old grammar book and the works of Shakespeare, which not only provided him with a knowledge of the language but also taught him Shakespeare's deep insight into the human heart. In fact, Kossuth absorbed a deeper philosophy and perhaps more political wisdom from the works of the English master than he would have found in all the political literature that he was prohibited from reading in prison. It was the play The Tempest which most intensely fired his imagination.

Kossuth's years in prison were fruitful in a more personal way as well. One of his regular visitors was Teréz Meszlényi, a lady from Pozsony whom he had met only once before his imprisonment. Teréz was 30 at the time, serious, intelligent, well-read and dignified, though not beautiful. Her soul and dedication to Kossuth captured his heart and he married her after his release, when he was 38.


Their marriage was lasting and harmonious and blessed by two sons and a daughter

A Militant Journalist

Emerging from prison, Kossuth found himself in dire financial straits from which he was extricated fortuitously when Otto Landerer invited him to take over as editor of his political paper the Pesti Hírlap (Journal of Pest). According to one theory, Landerer was an agent of the Viennese government and offering Kossuth the position was a means of keeping him on a leash and of destroying his halo as a political martyr. In any case, Landerer set one condition: Kossuth must avoid dealing with certain political questions in his paper. But anyone who thought Kossuth could be muzzled this way was wrong. On the contrary, as editor of the Pesti Hírlap his talent was unleashed. Now he had not only his pen as a weapon, but also his own paper.

While avoiding forbidden subjects, he decried the condition of the peasantry, pushed for the reunion of Hungary and Transylvania, exposed corruption on municipal and state levels, and in general spotlighted problems that required attention. In doing so, Kossuth founded Hungarian journalism and became the most influential man in the country.

The most burning emotional issue of the time was the question of language, and Kossuth did not hesitate to use his paper to the fullest in tackling it. Before 1832, the Diet had been a Tower of Babel where Latin, German and Hungarian mingled in confusion, though the speeches were generally delivered in Latin or German. But one was a dead language and the other the language of a foreign nation, at a time when twice as many people in the country spoke Hungarian as any other language.

In 1832 a law was therefore enacted making Hungarian the only language to be used in future sessions of the national Diet. In 1843, as a result of an aggressive campaign by Kossuth in the Pesti Hírlap, the Diet passed a new law making Magyar the exclusive language of instruction in schools.

Considering that the Magyars far outnumbered any other nationality living in Hungary at the time, and that Magyar was the most highly developed language, these laws would seem to be logical and, to a degree, justified steps toward establishing the dominance of the language of the Magyars in their own country. In reality, they proved to be fateful steps for both the nation and Kossuth because they clashed with a political phenomenon of the age: the rise of nationalism.

Set against the background of ethnic disharmony described in the previous chapter, it was not surprising that the law supported by Lajos Kossuth and enacted by the Diet in 1843 touched off a heated battle. Although the Magyars were the "statecreating" nation in Hungary, they did not constitute an "absolute" majority.

In the 1840's, Hungarians represented 47 per cent of the population as compared to 75 per cent before the Turkish occupation. Heavy Magyar losses followed by large-scale foreign colonization in the 18th century brought about a dramatic change in the composition of Hungary's population, so much so that non-Magyar elements represented 53 per cent of the inhabitants.

Under such circumstances, the Magyars were faced with a dilemma: should they give in to the rising demands of the various nationalities, and risk breaking the country up into splinter groups? Or should they try to reassert Hungarian dominance to prevent territorial disintegration? The Hungarian leadership opted for the second choice, which was perhaps an inevitable reaction springing from the instinct for self-preservation. But when the Magyars resorted to nationalism as a "cure," it only further inflamed the nationalist instincts of the other groups to the detriment of all peoples involved.

Although Kossuth was a partisan of Magyarization, he did not side with the ultra-Hungarian patriots who were trying to force the Hungarian language on everyone instead of restricting its compulsory use to official communications. "Hate." he wrote, "can never produce love: if we would spread our nationality, let us not frighten those nearest to us: sound policy and Christian charity alike condemn such a proceeding."

Kossuth again called for moderation when he remarked in the Pesti Hírlap in 1842:

In Hungary, Magyar must become the language of public administration, whether civil or ecclesiastic, of the legislative and executive branches of the government, of justice, of public safety, of the police, of direct and indirect taxation and of the economy.

To demand less than this would he weakness, to demand more, tyranny: both would mean suicide on our part.

Kossuth was perfectly willing to let the minorities develop their own languages and customs as long as they recognized that there was only one nation under the Holy Crown: the Hungarian nation.

Only in the case of Croatia, which for many centuries had been an associate state of Hungary, was Kossuth willing to make an exception. He even proposed that the two be separated completely, although when Emperor-King Joseph II forcibly did this at the end of the 18th century and annexed Croatia to Styria, Austria, the Croatians protested loudly against this act of tyranny, and never rested until they were reunited with Hungary.


But despite Kossuth's relative moderation, he was considered the apostle of Hungarian nationalism by friend and foe alike.

Széchenyi attacked him severely in the Kelet Népe (The People of the East), warning that Hungarian democracy and nationalism as heralded by Kossuth would lead to racial and class war. "If one understands and speaks Hungarian, it does not necessarily mean that he is a Hungarian." Széchenyi declared. "Knowledge of a language is far from the feeling of being Magyar; the twirl of the tongue is not the beat of the heart."

In a speech delivered in 1842 at the Academy of Sciences, Széchenyi further warned: "Do not do unto others, what you would not wish done unto you." In a prophetic utterance, he accused Kossuth of "goading" all the other races under the Crown of Saint István "into madness against the Magyar nation."

Baron Miklós Wesselényi also joined the language debate in his Summons in 1843, sharing the opinion that if everyone in Hungary, including minorities, were guaranteed equal rights by a liberal amendment to the constitution, the nationalities would not lend ear to agents of absolutism.

While the language question was the most emotional issue that Kossuth dealt with in the Pesti Hírlap, he was fighting on a wide front ranging from the reduction of feudal rights to the full emancipation of the peasants. By now he had become the unchallenged leader of the Liberal Party, the party of reform. Finally, as the government tried to stem the tide of agitation, Kossuth was compelled to resign as editor of the Pesti Hírlap.

But the tide could not be halted and the year 1847 marked an important milestone in Kossuth's career. After a bitter campaign he was elected representative of Pest in the national Diet, where he spearheaded the movement for reform.


The following year was a turning point in the political history of Europe in general and of Hungary in particular. Revolution swept through the continent, starting in Paris in February and continuing with the uprising in Italy. When news of the revolution in Paris reached him, Széchenyi, the eternal pessimist, wrote in his diary: "Tout est perdu" - "All is lost." (Most of Széchenyi's diary is written in French or German, with only a few entries in Hungarian.)

In the long run Széchenyi may have been right, but in the short run just the opposite happened: all was won. Triggering the epochal change was a great speech by Kossuth on March 3 in Pozsony in which he demanded the following sweeping reforms:

1. Freedom of the press and abolition of censorship

2. Appointment of a Hungarian ministry

3. An annual Diet elected by universal suffrage

4. Equality of all in the eyes of the law

5. Formation of a National Guard

6. Taxation of the clergy and the nobles

7. Suppression of feudal rights

8. Elected juries for criminal cases

9. Creation of a national bank

10. Creation of a national army

11. Liberation of political prisoners

12. Union of Hungary and Transylvania

Kossuth's speech. dubbed the "inaugural address of the revolution," was promptly translated into German and distributed in Vienna the next day, stirring up great excitement among the citizens who were also seeking a change from the feudal oppression symbolized by Prince Metternich.

Kossuth's verbal bombs actually exploded earlier in Austria than they did in Hungary. In addition to supporting Kossuth's demands for Hungary, the Austrians demanded similar rights for themselves. On March 13, a full-fledged revolution broke out in Vienna and bloody demonstrations forced the government to dismiss Metternich, who escaped death only by fleeing Vienna dressed in peasant garb. Also dismissed were the Minister of Police and Count George Apponyi, Chancellor of Hungarian Affairs.

In Pozsony on March 14, the conservative Upper House of the Diet accepted Kossuth's demands and formed a delegation to take his proposed Address to the Throne to King Ferdinand in Vienna so the reforms contained in the twelve points could be granted.

An Epochal Day in Hungarian History: March 15, 1848

The most dramatic events of March 15 took place in Buda-Pest while Louis Kossuth was in Vienna. The hero was not Kossuth, the main actor in the revolutionary drama, but an uninvited supporting actor in the person of the poet Sándor Petfi.

Among all the literary lights who illuminated Hungary at that time, Petfi was the youngest and the most brilliant. If the others - including Ferenc Kazinczy, Dániel Berzsenyi, József Katona, the two Kisfaludy brothers who had preceded him and his contemporaries such as Mór Jókai, János Arany, Mihály Tompa and Mihály Vörösmarty - were like stars shining in the Hungarian firmament. Petfi was a comet shooting across the sky with the radiance of his powerful poetry. Never were his words delivered with more dramatic effect than on March 15, 1848, when they became the overture to revolution.


On the morning of March 15, Petfi and his friend, Mór Jókai, addressed a group of young men who had assembled in the Café Pilvax and who would later become known as the Youth of March (a márciusi ifjak). Aroused by the clarion calls for the rebirth of the nation, they were ready to start freeing it from its chains.

Jókai spoke first. He read a proclamation echoing Kossuth's 12 points, and thunderous applause followed each one. But this was only a prelude to the ecstasy created when Petfi stepped forward and declaimed his Nemzeti Dal (National Song):

Talpra magyar, hí a haza!
Itt az idő. most vagy soha!
Rabok legyünk, vagy szabadok?
Ez a kérdés, válasszatok!
A magyarok istenére
Esküszünk, hogy rabok tovább
Nem leszünk!

Magyars, rise, your country calls you!
Meet this hour, whate'er befalls you!
Shall we freemen be, or slaves?
Choose the lot your spirit craves!
By Hungary's holy God
Do we swear,
Do we swear that servile chains
We'll no more bear!

Carried away by the passion of the moment, the chanting multitude swarmed to Lederer and Heckenast, the largest printing shop in town, and seized control. There thousands of leaflets containing the twelve demands and Petfi's "National Song" were printed and distributed among the people.

By afternoon, Buda-Pest had become a cauldron of patriotic activity and excitement which could not be cooled by the continuous heavy rainfall. "A good omen, some said, "for it also rained in Paris, in Palermo and in Vienna when the revolutions broke out there." At first umbrellas could be seen, but they all disappeared when Jókai challenged the crowd: "Patriots! If we are so afraid of being pelted by rain, what will we do to protect ourselves from the hail of bullets that might fly our way in an hour or so?"

At 3:00 p.m. Petfi spoke to some 10,000 demonstrators from the steps of the National Museum and recited his "National Song," accompanied by the crowd which now knew it by heart. Then the demonstrators marched to City Hall to have their demands adopted by the City Council.

Tricolors were hung from every window to greet the dawn of a new epoch.

In the evening the National Theater scheduled a performance of Bánk Bán, a drama by József Katona which had been blacklisted by the government.

It was a memorable evening for everyone present,148

but most of all for Jókai who, in addition to inspiration, found love. After Jókai had addressed the audience from the stage, Hungary's most famous actress, Róza Laborfalvi, also wearing a rosette, approached the young writer and kissed him warmly. Jókai fell in love with her on the spot and they were soon married. No wonder he considered the stage an "altar" that day.

(Sándor Petfi, the foremost poet in Hungarian literature, was killed in action against the Russians in the battle of Segesvár at the age of 26.)

Apparent Victory

March 15 witnessed not only the bloodless revolution of the Magyars in Buda-Pest but also the triumphal entry into Vienna of a 250 man Magyar delegation led by the hungarophile Palatine Archduke Stephen and Lajos Kossuth.

The crowd cheering them was especially delirious because only a few hours before Kossuth's arrival, the Emperor had promised Austria a new constitution, an act which the people attributed to Kossuth's speech of March 3.

The next day, Emperor-King Ferdinand received the Hungarian delegation which submitted the Hungarian demands for sanctioning. After a day of bargaining the demands were accepted, including the appointment of an independent Hungarian Ministry under Count Lajos Batthyány, a close friend of Kossuth and president of the Opposition Circle in Pest. It was not an easy accomplishment, because a clique led by the Archduchess Sophie, mother of Franz Joseph, the heir to the throne, and including Archdukes Louis and Francis Charles, tried to prevent acceptance of the Hungarian demands. Ferdinand, a weakwilled monarch, had accepted them only when the Palatine threatened to resign.

With the approval from Vienna, the Diet in Pozsony put the revolutionary reforms into effect within three short weeks, and Ferdinand V sanctioned the bills on April 11. Thus the foundation of a new Hungary was laid as a result of a bloodless, peaceful and lawful revolution.

Through the emancipation of serfs of all nationalities the free population of Hungary was increased by many millions. For the peoples of the Hungarian Basin, the rainbow of a new and happier era seemed to appear on the horizon.

But it was not to be.

The Nationalities Incited Against Hungary

Hardly had Ferdinand V given his assent to the formation of the new government, when a clique in the Court, which historians called the camarilla, began its intrigues to undermine the reform work of the new Hungarian Ministry.

As a principle they used "divide and conquer,"' as a weapon they used the idea of the age: nationalism,


and as a tool, the nationalities. In the fever of reforms and equality, the various ethnic groups were eager to carve out for themselves a piece of Hungary itself.

The first counter-move from Vienna occurred on March 27 with the sanctioning of the proclamation by the Croats of Josip Jellachich as Ban (vice-roy) of Croatia. Jellachich would spearhead an armed intrusion into Hungary some months later.

From then on, Vienna's handling of Hungarian affairs became ambiguous. "There were indeed two governments." said Deák, "the one manifest, while the doings of the other were kept secret even from Austrian ministers."

Jellachich's first act on the road to war was to deny that the Hungarian government had any authority over Croatia-Slavonia. In retaliation Kossuth, as Minister of Finance, stopped provisioning the Zagreb Central Command (which was legally under Hungary) on June 1, 1848.

Trouble was also brewing among the Serbs. On April 8, 1848, a Serbian delegation arrived in Pozsony from South Hungary, purportedly to express their thanks for the new reforms which had freed the Serbian peasantry from serfdom. However their leader, Stratimirovitch, stunned Kossuth by asking whether it was compatible with the new equality for the Serb to secede from Hungary to unite with Serbia beyond the border. Since this would have meant the mutilation of the country, Kossuth replied: "In that event let the sword decide between us.

A few weeks later, Serbian peasants went on a rampage in the area of Nagy-Kikinda, claiming thousands of Hungarian lives. The revolt was suppressed, but in mid-May a Serbian National Assembly was convoked by Metropolit Rajasich in Karlócz to demand their union with Croatia under Austrian rule.

At the same time, the Wallachians (Rumanians) in Transylvania began to stir. In the presence of 15,000 Wallachians in Balázsfalva, their leaders - Janku, Bornucz and Saguna - opposed the official use of Hungarian, and demanded a separate territory, a national assembly and a redistribution of estates.

In the North the Slovaks generally supported the Magyars. Only a handful, headed by Stur followed Vienna's call, becoming agents of Panslavic agitation under Czech leadership. In June 1848, it was mainly the Czechs who initiated a Panslavic Congress in Prague.

While storm clouds gathered all over the horizon, Kossuth delivered the most dramatic speech of his career on July 11, 1848. Speaking to the Diet, he summoned his nation to arms, beginning his oration with these words:

In ascending the platform to demand of you the saving of our country, the awesome magnificence of the moment weighs oppressively on my bosom. I feel that God has placed into my hands the trumpet for arousing the dead, who may relapse into eternal death if they still be sinners and weak, but who, if the vigor of life is still within them, may waken to eternity.

Gentlemen! The fate of the nation at this moment is in our hands, With your decision on my motion. God has placed you in the position of arbiter over the life or death of Hungary...

In his speech Kossuth asked for increase in the country's armed forces to 200,000 men, with 40,000 to be mustered immediately. To provide for this army, he asked for 42 million forints in taxes, of which eight to ten million would be due the first year.

Kossuth had not yet finished his speech when the deputies sprang to their feet to roar their approval: Megadjuk! Megadjuk! (We approve! We approve!)

Seeing their enthusiasm, Kossuth concluded: "This is my request! You have risen to a man, and I prostrate myself before the nation's greatness. If your energy in execution equals the patriotism with which you have made this offer, I venture to affirm that even the gates of hell shall not prevail against Hungary..."

This burst of patriotic enthusiasm stands alone in the history of Hungarian parliaments. Liberals and conservatives, moderates and ultra-nationalists pressed forward to grasp the hand of the orator. All the passionate expression which is inherent in the nation's language was called forth on this occasion. Some broke into tears, old men and young, friends and foes embraced.

The new unity was expressed not only by the words


of the Diet, but also by the deeds of the people. Following Kossuth's call, both rich and poor rushed to offer their cherished jewels, gold, and silver to help cover the printing of Hungarian banknotes.

The rest of the summer was spent in desperate diplomatic attempts by Premier Lajos Batthyány and Ferenc Deák to come to a compromise with the most formidable Croatian leader, Jellachich. The mediations were conducted through Vienna which, in the beginning. acted ambiguously. At first Emperor-King Ferdinand V fired off an angry manifesto to the Croats in general and to Jellachich in particular addressing them thus:

Croats and Slavonians!

You who united with the Crown of Hungary for eight centuries, have shared all the fates of this country,

you who owe to this very union the constitutional freedom which, alone among Slavonic nations you have been enabled to preserve,

you have disappointed our hopes!

You who not only have shared in all the rights and liberties of the Hungarian constitution, but, who besides - in just recompense of your loyalty, until now stainlessly preserved - were lawfully endowed with peculiar rights, privileges and liberties, by the grace of our illustrious ancestors.

and who, therefore, possess greater privileges than any of the subjects of our sacred Hungarian Crown.

In the last sentences of his manifesto the King ordered Jellachich removed from office both as Ban and as military commander.

Exactly three months later, however, Jellachich was reinstated and Ferdinand virtually gave him a green light for an incursion into Hungary.

The Assault on Hungary Begins - The War of Independence

The Hungarian government resigned in protest over Ferdinand's about face on September 10. The next day Jellachich crossed the Hungarian frontier with 40,000 troops. In order that the country might retain an executive government, the Diet formed a Committee for National Defense (Honvédelmi Bizottmány) with Kossuth as its most influential member. Kossuth became the heart and soul of the movement to accelerate the formation of the Honvéd Army, which had been in the making since spring. His charisma and oratorical magic inspired an unprecedented patriotic fervor, which prompted tens of thousands to report for the defense of the country. Jellachich on


his march toward Buda-Pest was beaten decisively by improvised Honvéd units at Pákozd on September 29. Pursued by the Honvéds, he was forced to retreat to Austria with his remaining troops.

In October a new revolution broke out in Vienna, and the revolutionaries called upon the Magyars to join forces with them. However, this movement collapsed when the united forces of Prince Windisch-Graetz and Ban Jellachich captured Vienna, after repulsing a Magyar attempt to relieve the city at Schwechat. In the meantime, the Austrian General Puchner began a campaign to wrest power away from the Magyars in Transylvania.

With Windisch-Graetz's victory in Vienna, the whole fabric of the revolutionary movement seemed to collapse. The old order was re-establishing itself - paradoxically with a new ruler, the 18 year-old Archduke Franz Joseph, the son of Archduchess Sophie, an arch-enemy of the Hungarians. He replaced Ferdinand who was forced to abdicate. According to the constitution, Hungary should have been consulted about the change in monarchs but was not, because it was now considered a province of the Habsburg Empire. Of the attitude of the Hungarian Diet, Kossuth could say with perfect truth:

We have rebelled against no government we have not broken our allegiance; we have no desire to separate from the Austrian Empire, we desired no concessions and no innovations: we were satisfied with what was ours by law.

It was a pronouncement of academic value; the time had come when arms spoke louder than even the loftiest of declarations.

The Imperial troops began to invade Hungary from the north to the west. The Wallachians rebelled in Transylvania, and the Croats marched against Buda-Pest from the south as did the Serbs under their nationalist leader, Stratimirovitch.

In the following months it seemed that the well-trained Austrian army, strengthened by Croatian units and helped by the nationalities' movements, would make short order of Hungarian resistance. The Honvéds and the National Guard were still ill-equipped and without battle experience. Confidently the official Vienna Gazette wrote:

The Magyar tribe is now being thrown back upon its geographical territory. and the Kingdom of Hungary, such as it has been lies in the agonies of death after existing for a thousand years. Its history has ended: its future belongs to Austria!

In January 1849, Windisch-Graetz occupied Buda-Pest whence the Hungarian army, led by General Arthur Görgey, withdrew without engaging in battle. The capital was evacuated in an orderly fashion. Kossuth took the Holy Crown and the bank note press to Debrecen, which became the temporary seat of government. After the capture of Buda-Pest, Lajos Batthyány and Ferenc Deák made one last effort at a compromise peace, but Windisch-Graetz demanded unconditional surrender. "I shall not cease my operations," he declared, "before the unconditional surrender of Hungary. Only then will I allow a delegation of the Magyars to implore the Emperor for mercy." Then he ordered the arrest and imprisonment of Count Lajos Batthyány, the chief peace envoy. At the same time Windisch-Graetz reported to the Emperor that after giving up Buda-Pest without a fight, the Honvéd and voluntary units would probably scatter during their retreat.

Windisch-Graetz had every reason to be self-assured. Other Hungarian forces had just been defeated at Mór and Bábolna by General Schlick while, by the end of November, General Puchner had taken control over almost all of Transylvania. Windisch-Graetz also issued a proclamation to the Hungarian people declaring that the occupation of Buda-Pest had sounded the death knell of the Revolution. He appealed to the Hungarians to surrender and enjoy the blessings of peace.

After the battle of Kápolna at the end of February,


1849, he reported to the Emperor: "the rebel hordes appeared at Kápolna in awesome numbers. I dispersed them and destroyed the large majority. The rest fled across the Tisza. I hope to reach Debrecen in a few days and take possession of that nest of insurrection."

Windisch-Graetz's report reached Vienna at the end of February. On March 6 Emperor Franz Joseph proclaimed for the Habsburg Monarchy a new constitution according to which Hungary ceased to exist as an independent state.

Habsburg Euphoria Turns into Humiliation

The echo of the Emperor's declaration was still reverberating when Franz Joseph received a surprising communication from General Windisch-Graetz:

I had repeatedly called Your Majesty's attention to the insufficient number of troops under my command... My cavalry suffers a great deal in the clashes with the Hussars, who have recently appeared in greater numbers due to the improved ability of the Magyars to hold their own. Therefore I dare to implore Your Majesty with the greatest humility to put two cavalry regiments at my disposal...

What did happen here? 'What had happened was that after initial birth-pangs, the Honvéd army had finally come to life. Following the first chaotic months of the War of Independence, Kossuth succeeded in creating a formidable Honvéd force.

The reprisals began in Transylvania where Kossuth, with a master stroke, appointed Joseph Bem, the legendary Polish exile general as commander in chief. Bem, a diminutive man but a great strategist, defeated Puchner's troops and the Wallachian insurgents in a series of battles and drove General Urban's 25,000 Austrian troops across the Carpathians into Bukovina. As a result, the remaining Imperial army withdrew from Transylvania. after which General Bem proclaimed general amnesty for those who had fought on the Austrian side.

In Hungary proper the Honvéds led by Damjanich - a Serb by birth whose love for Hungary made him the most ardent defender of the country - defeated General Ottinger's cavalry troops in a surprise attack at Szolnok. But this was only the beginning.

Now, the controversial Arthur Görgey, who was to become one of the war's greatest generals, stepped in. On March 20, 1849, Görgey gave the order to begin what is known as the Magyar Spring Offensive with three powerful army corps under Klapka, Damjanich and Aulich. Commencing with the rollback of the great Schlick's army, victory followed victory, with the dashing Hussar cavalrymen serving as the cutting edge of the Magyar army. To cite a contemporary account, "The Hungarian Hussar, the best cavalryman in the world, overrode the enemy like a wild boar trampling corn."

In retaliation, the three generals, Windisch-Graetz, Jellachich and Schlick, attempted to strangle Görgey's divisions by forming a wide ring around them in the Isaszeg-Hatvan area East of Pest, but Görgey foiled them with a daring Hussar attack which cut through the ring. Then, turning against the enemy's flanks at Isaszeg. he forced the Austrian troops back to the Austro-Hungarian frontier hammering them at Vác, Óbecse, Nagysalló, Komárom and other towns along the way.

Although the chief hero of the Spring Offensive was Görgey, it was Kossuth who fueled the fighting men's spirit; it was "Kossuth's Song" that the Honvéds sang when they marched. Kossuth had knelt on the battlefields to give thanks for victory or ask God for strength and hope in defeat. After the decisive battle at Isaszeg, he had exclaimed: ''Our valiant army is driving from your frontiers the enemy who dared to say that Hungary has ceased to exist and will never


exist again..." Months ago I prophesied that Hungary's freedom would blossom out of tyranny. And so it has.

But the country's freedom was short-lived. On April 14 a fateful event took place in Debrecen. In answer to Franz Joseph's hasty proclamation on March 6 declaring Hungary to be an Austrian province, the Diet dethroned the Habsburg Dynasty and elected Kossuth as Governing President of Hungary. Two weeks later the Emperor sent Tsar Nicholas an urgent request for armed intervention against Hungary.

The Russians Save Austria from Defeat

Görgey might have been able to capture Vienna before the arrival of Russian troops, but Kossuth, blundering, ordered him to lay siege to Buda instead. He succeeded after 17 days of bloody fighting, hut the liberation of Buda from its heroic defender, General Heinzi, proved to be a Pyrrhic victory.

The rest of the War of Independence was a hopeless fight to delay the inevitable against overwhelming odds. In June, 1849, a joint Austrian-Russian offensive threw 370,000 men and 1200 guns against Hungary's 152,000 Honvéds armed with only 450 guns. The Russian attack, directed by Paskievitch, came from the north and the east with 200,000 troops along almost the same routes the Mongols had used six centuries earlier. The desperate efforts of Görgey and Bem were to no avail. On July 2 at Ács, Görgey personally led a daring attack with his best Hussar regiments, and suffered a severe head wound. Some believed that he had sought to die there on the battlefield.

Although Görgey did not die, another great man did: Sándor Petfi, the 26 year-old poet-laureate of the nation. Fighting under General Bem, he lost his life in a battle against the Cossacks at Segesvár on July 31. His body was never found. Petfi's prophetic poem Egy gondolat bánt engemet ("One Thought Torments Me") thus came to a tragic fulfillment:

One thought torments me: that I lie

Upon a featherbed to die!

Slowly wither, slowly waste away.

Flowerlike, the furtive earthworm's pray;

Like a candle slowly to be spent

In an empty, lonely tenement.

My life, let me yield

On the battlefield!

'Tis there that the blood of youth shall flow from my heart,

And when, from my lips, last paeans of joy but start.

Let them be drowned in the clatter of steel,

In the roar of the guns,. in the trumpet's peal,

And over my still corpse

Shall horse after horse

Full gallop ahead to the victory won,

And there shall I lie to be trampled upon.

(Transl'd. by E.B. Pierce and E. Delmár)

The last poem he wrote before his death was: Szörny id ("Terrible Time"), an apocalyptic lament over the Magyar tragedy.

Clouding these last months was the rivalry between the war hero Görgey, and the hero of liberty Kossuth. Görgey was a brilliant, but sardonic soldier. He despised politicians, yet he had a grudging admiration for Kossuth: "Only Kossuth has real faith in the Revolution. He is indeed, a classic character. What a pity he is not a soldier.." he wrote.

On August 9, 1849, Bem was wounded in a lost battle at Temesvár. Two days later Kossuth resigned, transferring his power to Arthur Görgey. It thus fell to Görgey to surrender. On August 13 his forces laid down their arms before the Russians at Világos.

After the surrender at Világos, all but one of the Magyar fortresses capitulated. The stronghold of Komárom, defended by 20,000 men under General György Klapka, held out against the concentrated assaults of 50,000 besiegers for seven more weeks. It was in October that Komárom ceased to resist and only after Klapka was able to extract from the Austrian general, Haynau, conditions which included general amnesty for Klapka's soldiers, the issuing of passports for those who wanted to leave the country, a month's pay for the defenders and an extra 500,000 forints - all in Austrian currency - to pay off financial obligations incurred during the siege. After the capitulation, Klapka went into exile.

A large number of Hungarian leaders had left Hungary earlier after the surrender at Világos, following the example of Kossuth who crossed into Turkish-held territory at Orsova on August 18,1849, but not before the Holy Crown of Hungary had been buried secretly under an old willow tree.

In leaving Hungary Kossuth delivered a short speech of farewell:

"Forgive me, Hungary, forgive me who am now condemned to wander because I strove for your welfare. Forgive me who can no longer call anything free save this little strip of your soil where I now kneel with a handful of your loyal sons. Forgive me that so many of your sons have shed their blood for you because of me. I wanted a free nation, enjoying a freedom that only God can give. My principles were those of George Washington. I love you, Europe's most loyal nation."


Kossuth in Exile

Kossuth's exit from Hungary did not mark his political end, but rather signaled his entrance into the wider world whose limelight focused on him as on few men before.

When, on the 18th of August, 1849, Kossuth crossed the frontiers of Turkey at Orsova accompanied by 4000 fugitives, he intended to go on to Constantinople. However, the group was detained in Vidin (now a city in Bulgaria) by its Pasha, who otherwise treated Kossuth and his entourage as guests of the Sultan. Vidin became a haven for exiles when Kossuth was joined by Bem, Perczel, Mészáros, Dembinsky, Szemere, Guyon, Kmetty and many others including Polish and Italian exiles. No sooner did the news of their arrival reach Constantinople, than the ambassadors of Russia and Austria demanded their extradition. To escape such a fate, it was suggested that the exiles adopt the Islamic religion, and thereby become Turkish citizens. Only about five per cent of fugitives chose this option, including General Bem, who became the Governor of Aleppo the following year. Kossuth refused to convert.

Within weeks, Austria offered amnesty to those soldier-exiles who were in the lower ranks, and 3000 of them accepted and returned home.

It was not long before Kossuth and his companions became the center of international attention and growing controversy. Sympathy toward Hungarians, negligible in foreign capitals during the War of Independence, now grew day by day, achieving astonishing proportions. At the time, Klapka's continuing and heroic resistance in Komárom inspired admiration for the Hungarian cause. The Magyars' stand against the Austrians and Russians was compared to the Spartans' stand against the Persians at Thermopylae under Leonidas. Kossuth and his followers were seen as shining symbols of freedom fighting the powers of darkness. When the Austrians and Russians poised their forces at the Turkish border to pressure the Sultan for extradition, twenty-four British and French warships moved into the waters near Istanbul to protect the Ottomans from Austro-Russian intervention.

However, the Russian threat counted heavily with the Sultan, and, to placate the Tsar, he ordered Kossuth to be interned at Kutahia, Anatolia, along with forty of his followers. This action did not deter Kossuth from pursuing his aim of engineering a revolution against the Austrians in Hungary. This, in addition to calling the world's attention to Russia's sinister plans involving Europe, was to remain his lifelong ambition

Although officially Kossuth was a prisoner, the Turks accorded him the respect and honor due a chief of state. He was allowed to continue a feverish correspondence, and his wife and three children were allowed to join him on January 15, 1850.

In the meantime, the ripples of international sympathy for Kossuth and his companions grew to tidal-wave proportions. Their long detention so stirred the English people that forty-five cities, including London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Birmingham and Manchester petitioned the British government on behalf of the Hungarian exiles.

Briefly, it seemed that Kossuth would be freed through British intervention. But Kossuth, who began to view America as another possible source of help, was exhorted by László Teleki, his envoy in Paris, to go to North America for a few months. "There public opinion is on our side. You could secure guns,


money, and everything else for an army..." he wrote.

Sympathy for the Hungarian cause was strong indeed in America. So strong in fact, that Kossuth's "liberation" from Turkish exile was made possible by the American Senate's unanimous invitation to sail to America aboard an American warship. The frigate USS Mississippi was sent into Turkish waters cruising up and down the Bosporus for weeks until the Sultan permitted Kossuth to leave Turkey.

On September 15, Kossuth, his wife and children and forty-two of his comrades boarded the American warship amid great fanfare, the Hungarian tricolor hoisted up its mast. A triumphant voyage across the Mediterranean followed, with stops at Spezia and Marseilles. At both ports, popular demonstrations attended by many thousands acclaimed Kossuth as the hero of the free world and the enemy of tyrants. Along the coastline, wherever his ship passed, bonfires lit up the mountain tops.

Kossuth decided not to leave Europe without "interesting British public opinion in the cause of Hungary." He disembarked in Spain and then proceeded to England, while his comrades continued their voyage across the Atlantic.

England Mesmerized by Kossuth's Oratory

When Kossuth set foot on English soil on October 23, 1850, he received an ecstatic welcome by a throng of tens of thousands in Southampton. Within days, three hundred towns had sent him invitations to be their guest, despite the government's official restraint. On October 29, after being greeted in London by the Lord Mayor, Kossuth addressed an enthusiastic audience in Guild Hall. His appearance and comportment helped to win the sympathy of the Anglo-Saxon world. Kossuth's presence moved the normally undemonstrative English to exuberance.

Two factors contributed enormously to Kossuth's popularity: his amazing mastery of English as displayed with his magnificent gifts of oratory, and his comprehensive knowledge of conditions in England. Both the upper and lower classes sympathized with him and through him with Hungary's cause. According to Kossuth's English contemporary, Justin McCarthy:

The failure of the Hungarian rebellion through the intervention of Russia, called up a wide and deep feeling of regret and indignation in this country... Kossuth was received with an enthusiasm such as no foreigner except Garibaldi alone has ever drawn in our time from the English people...

He had mastered our tongue as few foreigners have ever been able to do, but what he had mastered was not the common colloquial English of the streets. The English he spoke was the noblest in its style. Kossuth spoke the English of Shakespeare. He could address a public meeting for an hour or more with a fluency not


inferior seemingly to that of Gladstone... and in a seriously expressive stately, powerful English, which sounded as if it belonged to a higher time and to loftier interests than ours...

Of all the invitations Kossuth received, none was more sensational and controversial than the one from Lord Palmerston. Since England was a monarchy and on good terms with Austria, Palmerston's warm recognition of Kossuth, a republican revolutionary, was an affront to Austria. Even more so was his condemnation "of the absolutist monarchs of Europe" whom he called "hardheaded tyrants and despots, hateful and loathsome murderers." He uttered these words a year after the Austrian General Haynau, who had led a bloody and sadistic crackdown in Hungary in the aftermath of the surrender, was visiting London and was attacked and beaten by the workers of Barclay Brewery so severely that he had to be hospitalized. Palmerston resigned rather than render the apology demanded by the Queen and the Prime Minister, Russell.

Kossuth left England for America at the peak of his fame. But beyond enormous sympathy for the Hungarian cause, he obtained no concrete results. He also failed to bring about unity among the Hungarian exiles living in England, which, considering the character of the Magyars, was not surprising.

Kossuth in America

As Kossuth was still crossing the Atlantic on the steamship Humboldt, Congress began to deliberate "upon the most expedient way of affording a national reception to Governor Kossuth."

Government protocol notwithstanding, it was the people who determined the manner of Kossuth's welcome, and this was nothing short of phenomenal from the very day he landed in New York City on December 6, 1851. His ship's passage through New York Bay sounded like approaching thunder with artillery firing salvos all along the coastline from Brooklyn Heights to Jersey City where 100 guns were fired in his honor. At overcrowded Castle Garden, the Mayor greeted Kossuth, addressing him as "the enlightened representative of Hungarian independence, the champion of human progress, and the eloquent advocate of universal freedom."

According to a contemporary report, "the people went into a frenzy at the sight of Kossuth, their enthusiasm bordered on delirium." Because of the continuous uproar, he was unable to speak; for the people it was enough to see him standing with folded arms as he faced the multitude earnestly, dressed in a black velvet frock coat, with a sword at his side, seemingly overwhelmed by the magnificence of the moment. Then the procession moved to City Hall with hundreds of thousands lining the streets, greeting their hero with ear-splitting cheers. All along the way the Hungarian tricolor, joining the Stars and Stripes, hung from the windows. Before City Hall Kossuth and the dignitaries with him reviewed a parade of troops marching before them for ninety minutes without interruption.

U.S. Senator Chauncey M. Depew recalled Kossuth's arrival this way:

There are few scattered moments in life when the heights and depths of significance of the occasion become too great for utterance, when the thrill of electric sympathy touches the whole country at once and brings its inhabitants to their feet with a spiritual shock. Three of these have happened in my time; the surrender at Appomatox, the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and the landing of Kossuth.

Charles Summer, the anti-slavery champion, remarked:

I remember the landing of Kossuth. The admiration, the enthusiasm and the love of the people which had been gathering force and momentum during the voyage


across the Atlantic, gave him an ovation which only two men had ever received -Washington and Lafayette.

Ralph Waldo Emerson greeted Kossuth's arrival with these words:

We only see in you the angel of freedom crossing the sea and land, crossing parties and nationalities, private interests and self-esteem, dividing populations wherever you go and drawing to your heart only the good.

Kossuth's wildly enthusiastic reception in New York was only the prelude to his triumphal tour throughout the States where he was feted by banquets, torchlight parades, and celebrations of every sort. The wearing of the "Kossuth hat," sporting a feather, became a national fashion. In railway stations and street corners Kossuth pictures, Kossuth biographies and other paraphernalia sold quickly, and "Friends of Hungary" societies mushroomed in his wake.

The greatest honor accorded him, however, was the invitation to appear before the United States Congress on January 7, following a reception at the White House given for him by President Filmore the previous day. Prior to Kossuth, the only foreigner to receive such an invitation had been Lafayette. The galleries and lobbies were crowded, mostly with women, and as Kossuth entered, the members of Congress all rose. After Kossuth spoke briefly, the session was adjourned in order that all present might be introduced to the illustrious guest.

At a congressional banquet that evening, Kossuth delivered an address saying in part: "We Hungarians will live free or die like men; but should my people be doomed to die... it will be recorded as a martyrdom for the world... Now matters stand thus: that either the continent has no future at all, or its future is American republicanism."

At the same banquet, Secretary of State Daniel Webster denounced Austrian rule in Hungary and reasoned that Hungary had met all the essential requirements for an independent nation because "Hungary stands out above her neighbors in all that respects free institutions, constitutional government and a hereditary love of liberty."

At another important banquet in Washington, at which Army and Navy spokesmen declared their adherence to Kossuth's principles, the guest of honor on his part extolled American democracy and republicanism: "Your fundamental principles have conquered more in seventy-five years than Rome by arms in centuries Your principles will conquer the world."

During his sojourn of six month in America,


Kossuth delivered 500 speeches, 80 of which were orations of considerable length, and each contained a new element, or some new subject.

He openly urged the intervention of the United States and England in cases where the freedom of a smaller nation was endangered by an absolutist power. This principle was labeled as the policy of "intervention for non-intervention." "1 came to the United States," said Kossuth in Columbus, Ohio, "relying upon the fundamental principles of your great Republic, to claim the protection and maintenance of the law of nations against the armed intervention of Russia.

His appeal did not sit well with the strong non-interventionist segment of Congress and the press. The United States was not a strong military power in those days; they possessed only 69 vessels to England's 667 ships and 2029 guns as compared to England's 17,330 guns. In vessels and guns, Russia outnumbered the Americans almost three to one, not to mention its superior troop strength. An Anglo-American alliance would have had to be a precondition of any armed intervention.

Kossuth's courtship of the British also alienated the Irish in America, because they considered Ireland to be as much a victim of Britain as was Hungary of Austria. Pro-Irish and pro-Habsburg Catholic clergymen were also among those who opposed Kossuth's crusade.

Kossuth's steadfast refusal to comment on the slavery question which he considered a "domestic affair" made him "a man in the middle". Of his predicament he wrote:

"Being charged by one side with being in the hands of the abolitionists, and by the other side with being in the hands of slaveholders, I indeed am at a loss over what course to take..."

It was because of the slavery question that his reception in the South was only luke-warm. His reception in Boston, however, was warm indeed; it was surpassed in enthusiasm only by his welcome in New York. The State House was extensively decorated with banners and slogans, including "Washington and Kossuth - The Occident and the Orient," and "Washington, the Friend of Liberty; Kossuth, the Foe of Despotism." An arch bore a quotation from one of Kossuth's speeches, "Remember there is a Community in the Destiny of Humanity." Fifty thousand spectators filled the Commons when Kossuth reviewed a parade of the volunteer militia.

On May 1 in Faneuil Hall Kossuth delivered one of the most brilliant speeches of his tour, beginning his oration with these words:

Freedom has never been given to nations as a gift but only as a reward. bravely earned by one's own exertions, own sacrifices, and own toil; and it never will, never shall be attained otherwise...

As the months of his American journey went by, Kossuth realized that despite the unprecedented enthusiasm his visit evoked, his main goal of America's "intervention for non-intervention" in Hungary was out of the question. Neither could he raise sufficient funds to prepare an exile military force for the revolution in Hungary he planned to engineer.

Although in these respects his tour of the United States was a disappointment, from a moral point of view it was an unprecedented success. His goals were acclaimed, his speeches cheered and sympathy for the Hungarian cause recorded for posterity in several hundred books and in thousands of articles and poems. Authors such as Matthew Arnold, Elizabeth Browning, Garrison, Griscom, Lowell, Massey, Swinburn, Whittier and a host of lesser American and English poets were inspired by his patriotism and his oratory. Bryant and Longfellow often referred to him in their prose. The editorials of Horace Greely on Kossuth, appearing in the New York Tribune, are masterpieces of American journalism.

Although Kossuth left America without fanfare in 1852, half a century later his memory lived on, as so touchingly expressed by Theodore Roosevelt before a Hungarian gathering in 1899:

If you bring into American life the spirit of the heroes of Hungary, you have done your share. There is nothing this country needs more than that there shall be put before its men and its future men - its boys and girls, too - the story of such lives as that of Kossuth.

Forty-two More Years of Exile

When Kossuth left America he was only fifty years old. He was to live forty-two more years. During the decades to come he played an important role in European politics. In England, he was instrumental in bringing about the fall of Derby's government. In France, Emperor Napoleon II personally sought his alliance against Austria, as did the Italian revolutionaries Mazzini and Cavour, not to speak of the lesser lights among the émigrés from the Habsburg Empire. Poles, Czechs, Croats, Serbs and Rumanians. The concept of a Danubian Confederation, which he had developed in exile, became a hotly debated subject among these émigrés.

Throughout these international activities, Kossuth never lost sight of his goal to free his homeland from Austrian rule. He pursued this goal with the phenomenal perseverance of a dreamer, and while the realization of his dream eluded his grasp more than once, his hopeless hopefulness was not in vain.


From abroad his spirit lingered over Hungary, his very name became a flag around which the people would rally. Although in 1850 he was hanged in effigy by the Austrians, several districts elected him to the National Assembly "in absentia." Kossuth's crusade helped change an epoch of despotism into the era of reconciliation that brought Hungary back from despair to greatness on the eve of her Millennium.

His final refuge was in Turin, Italy, which became a kind of holy place to which hundreds from Hungary and other countries would go on pilgrimage year after year to pay their homage to the great "Hermit of Turin." (A turini remete).

In retrospect, Kossuth was the only Hungarian statesman who made an indelible mark on the world. His rank in history was established in 1851 by Horace Greely with these words:

He may be called to die in a palace or a dungeon, in his prime or in decrepitude, amid tears or execrations, but his place in history is already fixed and can not be changed. Among orators, patriots, statesmen, exiles, he has, living or dead, no superior.

Kossuth's own image of himself is revealed in his last note, written on March 20, 1894, the day he died:

"The hand of the watch does not determine the course of time it only marks it. My name is only a hand, hut it shows the time that will come."

(In 1958 the United States Government issued a postage stamp honoring Kossuth.}


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