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THE next period of Hungarian history, that covered by the remainder of Charles' reign and by the reign of his daughter, Maria Theresa, is one on which Hungarian commentators of later days have passed singularly various judgments. For some of them have seen it as an age of sorely-needed rest and successful recuperation; others, as one of stagnation and even of national decadence. In fact, it contained features which would support either view, and these call for description in some detail; for short and uneventful, on, the surface, as the period was, it yet produced the formation and alignment of the forces of whose conflict, after it had closed, the modern Hungary was born.

The supreme blessing enjoyed by Hungary during this half-century was that of peace; first and foremost, peace between the nation and its rulers. When, a few years after the Peace of Szatmár, war broke out again between Austria and the Porte, Rákóczi, from his Turkish exile, tried to raise again the old standard, but no one listened to him. For a time, it is true, the peace was still uncordial and suspicious. When, in the last years of his reign, Charles embarked on another Turkish war, and this proved both expensive and inglorious in its ending, discontent was rife again; so much so that when Maria Theresa had to meet the Diet after her father's death, there was a very real possibility that pent-up discontents might find explosive outlet. At the best the malcontents might take advantage of her difficulties to demand inordinate concessions; at the worst they might ally themselves with the King of Prussia. As is well known, the scene, one of the most famous in Hungarian history, passed differently. When the lovely young queen appeared before the Diet, her babe on her arm, it voted by acclamation 'vitam et sanguinem pro rege nostro, Maria Theresa', i.e., a substantial force of enlisted men beside the noble levée itself. But it had been a narrow squeak. The famous shout had not been nearly so spontaneous as was represented. Hard bargaining behind the scenes had preceded it, and rumour whispered that the Diet had added under its collective breath: 'sed non avenam'.

But the crisis had been weathered, however narrowly, and it was followed by a period during which the relationship was, up to a point, really cordial. Maria Theresa was genuinely grateful to the Hungarians for their response, which, if it did not materialise on quite the scale promised, yet undoubtedly saved the existence of the Habsburg monarchy as a Great Power. She regarded them as 'fundamentally a good people, with whom one can do anything if one takes them the right way', and set herself, not merely to keep them from rebelling, as her father had done, but to awaken in them a positive loyalty towards her throne. She admitted the magnates to posts at her court and in the central services, diplomatic and military, of the monarchy, encouraged them to send their sons to the Theresianum, the famous academy founded by her in Vienna for the sons of the aristocracy, and not infrequently paid their all too prevalent debts, or at least advanced them money to tide them over their crises. For the lesser nobles she founded the Royal Hungarian Bodyguard, to which each county sent two youths of noble birth. She succeeded in fact in generating, at least in the circles reached by her benevolence, a real attachment to the dynasty, and in the country at large, a sincere acceptance of the indissoluble nature of its link with the monarchy.

Charles' first Turkish war brought the recovery of the remaining corner of Hungary, evacuated by the Turks in 1718. His second was fought in the Balkans, and Maria Theresa's wars in the west. Thus Hungary saw no hostile armies during the period. She contributed towards Maria Theresa's wars not inconsiderable forces, some of which earned much distinction, but her sacrifices in blood were small, and in money, moderate. The contributio (war-tax) was fixed in 1724 at just over 2,100,000 florins. This was raised to 2,500,000 in 1728, to 3,200,000 in 1751 and to 3,900,000 in 1765, plus certain further sums from newly reincorporated areas.

This prolonged peace of course made possible a very real recovery in many directions. The population increased very rapidly, large-scale immigration reinforcing the effects of a high rate of natural increase. By Joseph II's reign it had risen to a total of about 9+ millions (just under 6 millions in Inner Hungary, nearly 1,500,000 in Transylvania, 650,000 in civilian Croatia and 700,000 in the Frontier). The growth was, of course, especially fast in the areas which had been the chief sufferers under the previous devastation: in the county of Bács-Bodrog, the population rose from 31,000 to 227,000; in the Bánát, from 45,000 to 774,000. The increase was almost pure gain for the country, which could absorb it easily; it was only in a few areas of the north, and in Transylvania, that rural congestion began to show itself, and migration down to the plains drained off most of these local surpluses. In spite of the growth of allodial farming, the taxable area of the country, i.e., that contained in 'urbarial' peasant holdings, multiplied fivefold. In many of the former devastated areas, especially where German colonists were settled, the whole face of the countryside was changed. Swamps were drained, forests cleared, land brought under the plough. Where no sign of human habitation had broken the solitude, unless the hovel of a gypsy or a Vlach herdsman, neat villages now stood amid fields of smiling corn. In the north and west, where foundations had survived on which to build, there was evidence of prosperity and even of luxury. Some of the great landlords here disposed of enormous rent-rolls and other resources. The annual income of Prince Esterházy, the richest of them, was estimated at over 700,000 florins; that of Count Batthyány at 450,000. Two other magnates had incomes of over 300,000 florins, four more at over 150,000, and there were many fortunes of 50-60,000 florins. The wealth of the roman Catholic church could vie with that of the lay magnates: the net income of the Primate-Archbishop was put at 360,000 florins, that of the Bishop of Eger at 80,000 and of Nagyvárad at 70,000.

The chief outward and visible sign of this was constituted by the great mansions which began to dot the countryside almost in profusion. That built by Prince Esterházy at Esterháza (one of several owned by him) contained 200 rooms and stabling for 200 horses, and cost 12 million gulden to erect. If this was the most magnificent of them all, those of the Grassalkoviches, Batthyánys, Festetiches and not a few others could bear comparison with those of the leading aristocracy of most European countries. Well over 200 great palaces were built in Maria Theresa's reign alone, with a large number of smaller manor-houses, while the town residences of the magnates, comfortable homes of burgesses, and many new churches and other public buildings, adorned Pozsony and Buda.

In the palaces of the magnates and the new churches, the baroque culture of the central Europe of the day was at home, sometimes magnificently expressed. Prince Esterházy supported a private theatre in which nightly performances were held, opera, German comedy and Italian opéra bouffe alternating under the direction of Haydn. The ceilings of the great palaces and churches were adorned with frescoes by fashionable painters. In 1723 the Crown had claimed the control of education, and Maria Theresa showed real interest in this subject. She had the University

of Nagyszombat transferred to Buda-Pest, and patronised the foundation of many other schools, both secondary and elementary. Under the Ratio Educationis, issued in 1777, the whole country was divided into nine districts, each of which was to be covered by a network of educational establishments of all grades. The Hungarian clergy, too, spent much of their revenues on educational purposes.

The shadows in the picture were, however, not inconsiderable. The malignant political persecution had ceased, but its cessation had not given the country back its real independence. Through her concurrence in the Pragmatic Sanction Hungary was now by her own admission, and indeed more firmly than ever, relegated to the status of a component of a larger complex with multiple extra-Hungarian interests. She had still no means of influencing the international relations of that polity, for she was not represented on the court chancellery, through which they were conducted, and when the new Hofrat was established as the supreme advisory organ to the monarch on matters of general policy, it, again, at first contained no Hungarian member; later, a Hungarian Referent was appointed to it, but rather as an expert on Hungarian affairs than a representative of Hungarian interests. The whole field of the nation's defence had slipped definitely out of its hands with the institution of the standing army, which made the effective national defence force (for the noble levée had now become & recognised last resort) a mere component of a larger body, mainly non-Hungarian in composition and entirely so in respect of control over it, for the promise that Hungary should be represented on the Hofkriegsrat was never fulfilled. Indeed, the standing army developed into a permanent and powerful instrument for the enforcement of the monarch's will in any case in which it conflicted with that of the nation.

The Crown was almost equally free in the exercise its financial prerogatives, which extended not only to the management and enjoyment of the revenues from the Crown estates, but to the minting of money, and the levying of customs, excise and indirect taxation in general. Even while recognising the 'independence' of the Hungarian camera, Charles had announced that he would give it its orders 'through the Hofkammer'. In practice, and after a time, officially, the camera again became a mere department of the Hofkammer, and Hungary had no control either over its operations or over the disposal of the money passing through its hands. Half its net revenues went to the upkeep of the court in Vienna.

Still, foreign affairs, defence and cameral finance had always been royal prerogatives, and the first two of these, at least, were bound to rank as central services of the Gesammtmonarchie. All other fields of public life were interna, to which Charles' promise applied that Hungary should be governed only through her own laws. But as the business of government grew more complex, the Crown regularly claimed as falling within its own competence every subject on which no earlier law specifically entitled the Diet to be consulted; thus in succession it claimed education, 'colonisation', religious questions, industrial legislation, and, finally, the regulation of the peasants' obligations, to constitute politica, i.e. questions which the Crown had power to regulate by rescript, without consultation with the Diets. It is true that it passed its orders in these fields through the Hungarian court chancellery, and that that body remained nominally independent of any authority except the monarch, but they were none the less orders, and the Consilium, by which they were executed, was, again, responsible to the chancellery, not the Diet. And Charles, again, left the office of Palatine vacant when its holder, Miklós Pálfy, died in 1734, appointing instead another Viceroy.

The powers of the Diet were, in fact, practically confined to voting (or refusing) extraordinary or increased supplies of money or recruits, and after he had got his way over the succession, Charles convoked it only once more, in 1734, when he asked the nobles to renounce their exemption from taxation. When they refused to do this, he did not again consult them. Maria Theresa was no less autocratic. When Charles died in 1740 she had to convoke the Diet for her coronation, and in her extremity she had to supplicate it for help against her enemies. In return for this help, besides confirming 'for ever' the nobles' liberties, she appointed a new Palatine and dismissed some of the previous Viceroy's foreign advisers. But after this, she, too, convoked only two more Diets (in 1751 and 1765) and when the second body rejected her proposals to improve the peasants' conditions, she dismissed it and enacted her reforms by rescript. She too, left the office of Palatine unfilled after 1764.

All this means that except in a few respects, Hungary was being governed exactly like any Austrian or Bohemian Land, and most of the differences were created only through the non-extension to Hungary of the reforms introduced in Austria in 1748-9 and thereafter. Then, indeed, the differences became important. The Hungarian court chancellery was not merged in the new AustroBohemian Directorium. The new system of bureaucratic control was not extended downward, as it was in Austria through the Kreisämter: the counties retained their old autonomy and organisation. Finally, when the nobles of Austria and Bohemia renounced their exemption from taxation, those of Hungary retained theirs, and with it a bargaining power much greater than possessed by their western colleagues after they had consented to the institution of decennial 'recesses'. The Diet could not, indeed, in practice refuse the contributio once fixed, nor get it reduced, but the Crown could not get it raised, nor call out the noble levée, without the Diet's consent.

A particular grievance under which Hungary suffered was the continued dismemberment of the country. When Michael Apafi II died in 1713, Charles simply took the title of Prince of Transylvania. The only change introduced by Maria Theresa (except that she formally admitted her title to derive from the Holy Crown) was to promote Transylvania to the rank of a 'Grand Principality'. It had its separate court chancellery, Gubernium and Thesauriat. When the last corner of Hungary was recovered from the Turks in 1718, the area, baptised the Bánát Temesvár, was kept as a separate crownland, administered, like the Military Frontier, from Vienna; it was only in 1779 that it was liquidated, its southern fringe being attached to the frontier, while the remainder was organised in counties. The civilian counties between the lower Save and Drave, now known as 'Slavonia', were placed for administrative purposes under the Ban of Croatia, although still ranking as parts of Hungary proper for purposes of taxation and sending representatives to both Diets.

The system of government in these areas was as autocratic as in Inner Hungary. The Transylvanian Diet was, indeed, convoked regularly, but it was so packed with ex officio members as to forfeit any claim to represent the people. The military administration in the Bánát and the Military Frontier was purely authoritarian.

The economic progress which the country was making looked, as we have said, remarkable, and was so in certain fields, but it was uneven, and in other fields even laggard. In the latter part of the period it was not of Hungary's advance that men were speaking, but of its backwardness. The whole economic picture was dominated by the appalling state of the communications, especially in the Plains. Here the roads were mere tracks, impassable for heavy traffic during much of the year; the rivers were often blocked by shoals or fallen tree-trunks. It was only on estates belonging to enlightened landlords, and where the geographical situations were exceptionally favourable, that arable farming for profit was possible, and only on these, and in some of the newly-established German colonies, that agricultural methods reached even the central European standards of the day. Even these had not usually got beyond the threefold rotation of crops. In the Magyar parts of the ex-Turkish areas, the twofold rotation of crop and fallow was still usual, while the Serbs and Roumanians merely scratched each year a different patch of the expanses on which they pastured their herds. Only vineyards were manured; otherwise, dung was used for fuel, to make walls, or to fill in potholes in the roads. The fabulous harvests which had dazzled early travellers had been the response to cultivation of soil which had lain virgin for two centuries; they were already dwindling as these primitive methods exhausted the stored-up fertility. Threshing was done by teams of horses or of oxen treading out the corn, and crops were commonly stored in underground pits (a device originally adopted to conceal them from marauders), where often they rotted. It was no uncommon thing for a year of super-abundance, in which much of the harvest had not even been gathered, to be followed by one of dearth, sometimes of actual famine.

Nearly all the farming was in fact for subsistence, for the modest needs of the local market. Cattle, driven on the hoof into Austria, and wine were more important as agricultural exports. But most of the Hungarian cattle were still kept in the open all the year round, an existence which proved too hard for a high proportion of the calves. The survivors were lean, stringy beasts, which the importers bought cheap before fattening them for slaughter. Wine was still exported in large quantities up to the middle of the century, but the best market for it, Silesia, was lost after Frederick the Great seized that province, and the Austrian Government started a tariff war with Prussia.

Thus the rewards even of agriculture were meagre, at any rate from the point of view of the national finances. And yet agriculture was the source from which fully 90 per cent of the population still derived its living even at the end of the period. The census of 1787, the first to enter into much detail, gave 18,487 priests (many of them monks) and only 5,001 professional civil servants and members of the free professions combined. To this figure may be added some 10,000 lower grade civil servants, who were not listed separately, and 5,000 or so teachers. Most of these were at least half farmers. There were 48 Royal free and 16 other boroughs in Inner Hungary, 9 in Transylvania and 8 in Croatia. The largest of these, Debrecen, had a population of just under 30,000; of the rest, only Pozsony, Buda, Pest and Szabadka topped the 20,000 mark; several had under 2,000. It is true that there existed also some considerable agglomerations which did not possess urban charters; these included Kecskemét, which in population ranked next below Pest. But these memorials to khas life under the Turkish rule were really just enormous villages, or collections of villages, counted administratively as one, and the same was true of some of the titular towns, Szabadka, Szeged and Debrecen itself. Their inhabitants were simply farmers, and the cottages which lined their streets were inhabited in the months when field-work was possible only by the economically inactive members of each family; its able-bodied members were camping out on their fields, perhaps many miles away.

The chief occupation of many other towns, Tokaj, Gyöngyös, Ruszt, even Buda, was viticulture. In 1777 the towns contained only 30,921 persons listed as employed in industry, nearly all of it on the smallest scale: there were 13,394 independent master-craftsmen, 12,316 journeymen and 4,671 apprentices. Most of the peasants' simple needs hardly required the services even of a craftsman: they were supplied by their own women folk.

The gold and silver mines were nearing exhaustion and the first coal-mines only just opening.

Most internal trade was equally primitive.

And this backwardness was, in part, thrust upon Hungary from Vienna, of deliberate policy. In part only, for the first cause lay in the devastation which the country had suffered under the Turks and in the wars of liberation, and the slow pace of its recovery up to the middle of the century had been due to its own inability to overcome this damnosa hereditas. Among the handicaps there must indeed be counted that of the national psychology. Centuries of history had rendered the Hungarian noble, great or small, quite incapable of counting industry or trade as a career fit to rank with landowning or soldiering. And the peasants were no more enterprising than their masters. They were not easily persuaded to supplement their incomes by housework, even when the opportunity offered. Travellers noted that 'the abundant blessings of nature made them dull and lazy. If they had bread and bacon to last them the year, and a warm coat, their needs and their monetary ambitions were satisfied.'

As a consequence, most of such trade and industry as existed was in non-Magyar hands. The members of the guilds - who, however, had become as narrowly restrictive as imagination could conceive - were still mostly Germans. The trading class and pioneers of capitalist development in Hungary were Serbs, or the class collectively known as 'Greeks', a term which included not only true Greeks, but Kutzovlachs and other Balkan elements. These were not only the shopkeepers but the industrial entrepreneurs, who travelled round the country and bought up the products of the peasant craftsmen.

The Austrian repressive policy developed out of what were quite reasonable initial considerations. The planned economic development of the Monarchy was originally undertaken on a serious scale to make good the loss of Silesia, and it was natural enough to site the new factories in Bohemia and round Vienna, in proximity to the main markets and where the populations had an old tradition of skill, assigning to Hungary, which in any case was suffering from a shortage of labour even for agriculture, the role of producer of raw materials. This division of functions was in any case only meant to last until conditions in Hungary changed. Maria Theresa specifically forbade any discrimination against Hungary, where she personally founded several factories (including the famous Herend porcelain works, still in production today). But she herself agreed that the state should not found or subsidise factories in Hungary which competed with Austrian enterprises, and the Austrian and Bohemian magnates whose interests were bound up with the new developments (and who dominated the economic council which was in charge of the new planning) found ways of getting this ruling to apply to almost any state enterprise in Hungary. A suggestion that private individuals should be prohibited from founding factories was not adopted, but the economic council, through whose hands applications for privileges, subsidies and other facilities passed, saw to it that these were never, or hardly ever, granted to Hungarians. Where, nevertheless, such establishments came into being, their products, and those of the guilds (which did not come under the authority of the council) were handicapped by an internal tariff which allowed Austrian manufactures to enter Hungary free, except for payment of a small fiscal duty, while Hungarian exports to Austria were made prohibitively expensive by over-valuation of them on the frontier. The internal market for Hungarian manufactures was further restricted by the facts that no court (the chief consumer of luxury goods) resided there, and that all the requirements of the army were produced in Austria except the food, which was supplied locally, often at under the cost of production.

Hungary's industrial subjection to Austria was made almost complete by the institution (first in 1754) of a high tariff wall, applying both to exports and imports, round the whole Monarchy. Articles which Austria could not produce, and which were therefore allowed to enter the Monarchy, had to be bought from Austrian middle-men.

Worst of all, the discrimination came to be extended to agriculture. In the early stages, some government money was spent on agricultural improvements in Hungary, some of them useful: the cultivation of the silkworm in the Bánát is an example. But if the Austrian cereal harvest was poor, Hungary was sometimes forbidden to export hers elsewhere than to Austria, while if the Austrian harvest was good, the Hungarian was excluded. Even Hungarian wine could not be sent abroad unless accompanied by an equal quantity of Austrian wine. The only export which was almost entirely unrestricted was that of cattle.

The discrimination was regularly justified by the argument that as the Hungarian nobles had retained their freedom from taxation after the Austrian had renounced theirs, they would, given equal treatment, undercut Austria; and further, that Hungary's contribution to the common exchequer in direct taxation was unduly light. It is true that the 'war tax' was not raised pari passu with the growth of the population, and thus came to be much lighter than that paid per capita in Bohemia or the Netherlands; yet an Austrian expert, Count Zinzendorf, calculated that if a complete balance-sheet had been drawn up, including the Crown's revenues from the camera, the cost of maintaining the army, etc., Hungary would have been found to be paying more than her quota. The weight of the taxation was, moreover, greatly increased by the extreme shortage of currency among the peasants, on whose shoulders the payment fell.

There was much that was unsatisfactory also in the cultural field. The fine flower of the baroque culture was savoured chiefly by a small privileged circle. During most of the period, Catholic education was chiefly in the hands of the Jesuits, and was directed primarily to the propagation of the faith, and as means to this end, to the training of missionary priests. The weight of it was laid on theology and the humanities, and it was essentially aristocratic in spirit. It produced elegant courtiers and learned and subtle bishops, who were themselves often the scions of the highest families in the land, but it did not penetrate to the masses. The intellectual level of the parish priests was low, as their stipends, too, were meagre. The Piarists, who were the Jesuits' main rivals and succeeded to their position when the Jesuit Order was dissolved in 1773, were much more democratic and their curriculum less restricted, but they had much leeway to make up. In the 1775 only 4,145 of Inner Hungary's 8,742 communes had schools at all (an average of 7.5 schools to every 10,000 of the population) and in 3,883 of these only one teacher was registered; the exceptions were in areas of mixed population.

And all the facilities and favours in this field were for the Catholics. The question of the Protestants' status, left in 1722 for agreement between the parties, was settled by Charles in 1731, after the parties had reached deadlock, by the Carolina Resolutio. This upheld the restrictions imposed by Leopold. Protestant services could be held only in a few specially designated places, outside which only private worship was allowed. Conversion to Protestantism was forbidden. Protestants had to observe Catholic festivals and their clergy were subject to the visitations of Catholic prelates. A Catholic oath was required from all persons entering the public services, which were thus practically closed to Protestants. For a while, Protestant students were forbidden to attend foreign universities.

In this respect Maria Theresa, being herself a devout Catholic, was less tolerant than her father, who took his personal religion more lightly. Moreover, her name inspired Catholic zealots to press the theory that Hungary was the 'regnum Marianum', a country peculiarly dedicated to the service of the Mother of God. For the Protestants, on the other hand, her reign was 'the Babylonian captivity'. They were subjected to many further grievous restrictions. Their colleges actually declined in number and wealth. That they survived at all, and even maintained a high level of learning, was a tribute to the courage and solidarity of the population; it was achieved in the face of strong governmental opposition, and at the cost of painful sacrifice.

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