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In 1222 the Hungarian Diet wrung from a weak king the Bulla Aurea, or Golden Bull, which-in close resemblance to the Magna Charta of England, which preceded it only hy a few years--is a fundamental charter of Hungarian liberty and one of the proofs of the great political capacity of the Hungarian race.
After the extinction of the male line of this house of Arpád (1308) the country was ruled for 200 years by kings from various dynasties, among whom Louis, the Angevine, surnamed the Great, whose dominion extended from the Black Sea to the Baltic, and Matthias Corvinus, surnamed the Just, son of John Hunyady, the Turk beater, were the most noteworthy.
The fight against the growing power of the Ottoman Empire had begun, and the lion's share of defending Christianity against the onslaught of Moslemism fell to Hungary. It retarded her own progress but facilitated the development of civilization in the West of Europe. In 1526, after the fateful Battle of Mohacs, the country was divided into three parts, to be reunited only after the final expulsion of the Turks at the beginning of the eighteenth century. One-third of the country fell under the sway of the Turks, Transylvania, (southeastern Hungary) was ruled by Hungarian princes, and the rest was under the rule of the Hapsburgs.
Until 1867 the policy of the Hapsburgs had heen twofold: To Germanize and Romanize Hungary, and, acting on their motto “divide ut imperes," to play off one race against the other. In the latter they succeeded only too well, but their other efforts failed against the indomitable spirit of the Hungarians in defending their nationality and religious freedom. There is only one absorbent civilization in Hungary, the Hungarian; and, while more than one-half of the people belong to the Catholic Church, Hungary is still the easternmost bulwark of Protestantism. The uprisings in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, led by Bocskay, Bethlen, and Rákóczi, were made just as much in the defense of religious liberty as of national independence.
In 1848 the Hungarians rose again against the autocracy of the Hapsburgs under the leadership of Louis Kossuth, the champion of European democracy.
The interest of the American people in the gallant struggle of Hungary was so great that President Taylor, in June, 1849, sent a “special and confidential agent” to Hungary in the person of Ambrose Dudley Mann, of Virginia, who, however, arrived ton late, for Russia, the greatest military power of the age, had intervened in favor of the Hapsburgs, with Great Britain and Fran re looking on without a word of protesto (See Mann's report in Appendix A.)
In 1851 Kossuth, who had been freed from internment mainly through the efforts of Daniel Webster, was invited to the United States as the guest of the nation, and met with an enthusiastic reception, to which only that given to Lafayette may be compared. His tour of the United States failed in its principal object of securing American support for the next uprising of the Hungarians, and is now remarkable mainly for the fact that he was the first to advocate in America the very principles which President Wilson had been propounding, viz, the right of self-determination, a league of nations to protect it, the partaking of America in the affairs of the Old World, and the abolition of secret diplomacy as the root of all international intrigue.
It may be noted here, for its bearing on American history, that between three and four thousand of Kossuth's compatriots found an asylum in the United States, and when the proposition of a “government of the people, for the people, and by the people,” was on trial, nearly 1,000 of them enlisted in the Union Army, a proportion not equaled by any other race. Their military prowess, intelligence, and devotion was proved by the fact that out of this handful of Hungarians two reached the rank of major general and five became brigadier generals.
In 1859 Louis Kossuth arrived at an understanding with Cavour and Napoleon the Third to carry the Austro-Italian Warinto Hungary, whereupon the Hungarians would rise again to expel the Hapsburgs. But Napoleon, getting frightened by his own success, broke his word, and concluded the premature peace of Villafranca, thereby shattering all hopes of the Hungarians.
Having been forsaken by the western powers three times, in 1849, 1852, and 1859, is it to be wondered at that Hungary finally consented to the compromise of 1867 with Austria and the Hapsburgs, which restored-at least on paper-her constitution?
Hungary's unfortunate connection with the Hapsburgs, forced upon her by the attitude of the western powers and the threatening Russian peril, led inevitably to the alliance with Germany. That the Russian or Slavic peril to Hungary was not imaginary has been proved by recent events.
In the condemnation of Hungary for having entered the German alliance these facts must not be lost sight of. It should also not be forgotten that under the political arrangement between Austria and Hungary, known as Dualism, Hungary had no control of her foreign policy and of her army.
Of the four claimants to Hungarian territory two, viz Serbia and German Austria, have-as far as is known to us—not based their claims on historical grounds.
The Bohemians, or Czechs, have made some allusion to the semimythical Moravian Empire of Svatopluk, which is alleged to have extended over parts of northern Hurgary and been disrupted by the incursion of the Hungarians in the 9th century. The Slovaks, it is alleged, are the descendants of Svatopluk's Moravians.
The Roumanians have advanced a more definite claim to priority of occupation in the theory of their descent from the Daco-Romans, who had lived in Transylvania before the migration of the nations. The Roumanian claims are treated more fully in Appendix B.
Both of these theories have been proved by historical research to be false. But even if they were not false the principle of priority of occupation has never been defined in the law of nations. How many years of occupation is required to establish a valid title to a country? One hundred years, or 500 years, or more? If occupation for a thousand years is not acknowledged to be a valid title to a country, then we may be called upon some day to relinquish our title to Texas, and California, and other parts of the United States in favor of Mexico, or Spain, or the Indians, and the whole map of Europe may have to be made over, too. And it is certainly the height of absurdity to go back for a title to a country to a period before the migration of the nations, even if the continuity of the race dispossessed by several subsequent conquerors could be proved.
At the time of the conquest of Hungary by the Hungarians, or Magyars, the country was sparsely settled, and the non-Magyar races were speedily absorbed by them. All the non-Magyar races now living in Hungary are later immigrants. The Magyars have built up and maintained the State for a thousand years and have stamped their civilization on the whole country.
On historical grounds, therefore, only the Hungarians, and no one else, have any right to Hungarian territory.
II. THE RACIAL OR ETHNOGRAPHICAL ASPECT.
Hungary proper covers a territory of 109,216 square miles with a total population of 18,264,533
Racially the Hungarian, or Magyar, race predominates, making up 54.5 per cent, i. e., more than one-half, of the population and being numerically more than three times as strong as the next race in numbers, the Roumanians. Of the urban population fully 76 per cent are Magyars. But it is not numbers alone that count, and the Magyars—to use the words of Daniel Webster—"stand out from it above their neighbors in all that respects free institutions, constitutional government, and a hereditary love of liberty." (See Appendix A.)
The central plains of Hungary are populated almost wholly by the Magyars. Toward the peripheries their numbers diminish, although right on the Hungarian-Roumanian border there are three counties almost entirely Magyar. But they are present everywhere, and in the peripheries the various races are so intermingled that it is impossible to cut out large territories on a racial basis without incorporating large minorities of other races, which of course object to such incorporation.
The dismemberment of Hungary has been proposed in order to secure the right of self-determination of small nations. The perusal of the statistical table and map attached hereto will easily convince everybody open to conviction that the claims put forward by the imperialistic neighbors of Hungary, and apparently approved at Paris, can not be justified on the basis of that principle. On the contrary, those claims are direct denials of the right of self-determination, for in each of the sections claimed by the four neighboring countries the particular race claiming it is in the minority. Neither is it in accord with the facts that by the proposed dismemberment of Hungary the Magyar race would be confined to its ethnic limits, for in the territories to be wrested from Hungary the Magyars would have a very large plurality and, together with the German element, would form a majority. The ethnic limits of the Magyar race are hard to define; they certainly reach beyond the boundaries of Hungary into Roumania and Croatia.
Claimed by Roumania ...
Pat Number. cent. Number. cent. Number. cent. 16,841,379 2,429, 446 35.5 742, 655 10.8 127,038 1.8
4,079, 515 1,577, 015 38.7 468, 796 11.5 1,653, 341 140.5 2,950, 457 1, 220, 560 41.6 680, 644 23.0 50,248
574,343 367, 746 64.0 144, 708 25.2 1,364 100, 243 (14, 445, 694 5,594,767 .2, 236, 803 ...... 1,831, 991
The Roumanians claim nearly one-half of the territory of Hungary, 26 counties out of 63, with a total population of nearly 7,000,000, out of which not quite 3,000,000, or 43 per cent, are Roumanians, and many of them are disinclined to be ruled by the boyars, as the junkers of Roumania are called. In the 15 counties of Transylvania (southeastern Hungary) alone the Roumanians have indeed a bare majority, but it is right there on the southeastern border that large contiguous territories are peopled by Székely Magyars and Saxon settlers.
'In practically all the towns of 10,000 and over the Magyars are in the majority, and in the few instances in which they are not, the majority is German. Yet the Roumanians claim such important Magyar cities as Maros-Vasarhely, Nagyvarad, Szatmar, Arad, and-last but not least, Kolozsvar, the capital of Transylvania. Kolozsvar, the Precious (Kincses Kolozsvar), as the Hungarians love to call it, is a beautiful city full of historical associations dear to the hearts of all Hungarians; it has a university, several colleges, museums, and libraries, it is the center of the Unitarian Church in Hungary, and a commercial emporium as well. All that has been created by the Magyars through the work of centuries. The Roumanians have had no part in it, constituting only 12 per cent of the population.
It is an admitted fact that the Roumanian people of Hungary are on a much higher level of civilization both as to literacy and to wealth than their brethren in the King. dom of Roumania, where they surely can not complain of racial oppression. The same applies, even in a higher degree, to the Serbian people of Hungary as compared with the people in the Serbian Kingdom,
The claims of Serbia to Hungarian territory rest on a still more slender basis than those of Roumania. Apart from the fact that the Serbians of Hungary are descendants of refugees who had found there an asylum against Turkish oppression, they form only a small minority of the population of the regions claimed. Their claim embraces 15,829 square miles with a population of nearly 3,000,000, of whom only 427,876, or 14.5 per cent, are Serbians, and 113,822, or 3.8 per cent, are Croatians. Even if we suppose all the smaller races collected in the census under the heading of "others" to be Shokatses, Bunyevatses, and Slovenes, races kindred to the Serbians, the total of all Jugo-Slavs in the regions claimed would be less than 25 per cent.
It is worthy of note that in the territory which both Serbia and Roumania claim, the so-called Banat, neither the Jugo-Slavs nor the Roumanians have even a plurality. According to newspaper reports, in this region the city of Temesvar has been awarded to Roumania and the city of Versecz to Serbia. In the former the Roumanians consti. tute only 10.4 per cent, in the latter the Serbians constitute only 31.4 per cent of the population.
The Czech claims, as originally formulated, were based on the principle of race, and comprised only that part of northern Hungary in which the Slovak people were numerically predominating. Even that was contrary to the right of self-determination, for the majority of the Slovak people of Hungary want no union with the Czechs. They said so openly in their national meeting held at Kassa in December last, declaring that the Slovaks are a nation free and independent from both Bohemia and Hungary, but recognizing the force of economical laws they would be willing to enter into a federation with the rest of Hungary.
Later, however, the Czechs threw the ethnic principle overboard and increased their demands so as to join hands in the northeast with the Roumanians, and in the west, by setting up a “corridor” with the Jugo-Slavs, no matter what foreign races they would have to incorporate in their new empire. Thus the remainder of Hungary would be surrounded by an iron ring of Slavs and Roumanians, and cut off from direct communication with western Europe. The Czechs claim from Hungary now a territory of 25,540 square miles with a total population of over 4,000,000, of whom only 1,653,341, or 40.5 per cent, are Slovaks, hardly more than the Magyars in the same regions.
They, too, want to incorporate in their new empire a number of important Magyar cities, such as Pozsony and Kassa, for instance, both being Hungarian university towns and the centers of culture and trade for large regions. These two cities are also rich in historical associations, the former having been the seat of the Hungarian Diet for centuries, where many kings of Hungary had been crowned, and the latter having been prominently connected with the war of liberation led by Francis Rákóczi, whose earthly remains rest there in the beautiful old cathedral. The Slovak element in these and many other towns is almost negligible.
It is worthy of note that in Bohemia the Czechs insist on the historical principle in order to keep German Bohemia within their country. In Hungary, however, they refuse to acknowledge the historical principle, for on the historical principle the territorial integrity of Hungary would, of course, remain intact.
The "corridor" in the west of Hungary coveted by the Czechs is claimed also by German Austria, and, according to newspaper reports, will be awarded to the latter. This territory covers 3,434 square miles, with a population of 574,343, of which only 144,708, or 25.2 per cent, are Germans, while 367,746, or 64 per cent, are Magyars.
Should all the claims be satisfied, there would remain to Hungary only 24,605 square miles (out of 109,216) with a population of 5,509,168 (out of 18,264,533). Less than one-half (4,925,971) of the Magyars would belong to this “New Hungary," while the larger half of the race (5,018,656) would have to live in foreign countries or be forced to emigrate from what had been their homes for many centuries.
The statistical data used here were compiled from the Ilungarian census of 1910, there being no later figures to go by. Since the charge has repeatedly been madewithout producing any proof-that the Hungarian statistics is unreliable, and that the returns as to the mother tongue, or nationality, had been falsified to favor the Magyar race, some authentic information on the subject is submitted in Appendix C.
In an attempt to justify the partition of Hungary the argument has been advanced at the minor races (or, rather, some of the minor races) of Hungary have to be liberted” from the oppression by the Hungarians. The charge of racial oppression by the Hungarians, however, is not borne out by the facts, for whatever oppression there had been in Hungary, had been on class lines and not on racial lines. The masses of the Hungarians, or Magyars, had to suffer from it just as much as had the masses of the non-Magyars; and whosoever managed to rise above the masses, belonged to the ruling classes without regard to race or creed.
The attitude of the Hungarian Government toward the non-Magyars (who are immigrants or the descendants of immigrants) had been the same as that of our own government toward the non-English-speaking immigrants. Perfect equality before the law, but no recognition as racial groups or states within the state. What is right if done by the American Government in America, surely can not be wrong if done by the Hungarian Government in Hungary.
As a matter of fact, the Hungarian Government had gone a great deal further in its liberalism, for it granted considerable subsidies for the maintenance of the ecclesiastical and educational establishments of the non-Magyar races. There were thousands of schools in which the language of instruction was other than Hungarian, it being stipulated only that the Hungarian language be also taught as a subject of instruction three hours a week.
In 1917 the Roumanians of Hungary had 5 theological seminaries, 6 preparatory schools, 4 colleges, 1 high school, 1 commercial high school, 1 manual-training school, and more than 3,000 elementary schools, for the support of which they received 7,767,765 crowns from the Hungarian Government, which in the same year paid them also 7,746,533 crowns for the support of their ecclesiastical establishments, or altogether about 15,000,000 crowns ($3,000,000), while an equal number of Calvinists, or Presbyterians--an almost purely Magyar community-received only 11,000,000 crowns.
If we take further into consideration that the Roumanian churches of Hungary enjoyed complete autonomy and that the Roumanians in Hungary had also a chain of prosperous banks, used to a considerable extent for illegitimate political propaganda, it must be evident to everyone that the story of racial oppression in Hungary is a malicious falsehood.
This had been also the prevalent opinion in the English-speaking countries up to the conclusion of the entente cordiale between Great Britain and France, or the change of British foreign policy from anti-Slavism to philo-Slavism. About that time, as if by a hini from Downing Street, a series of attacks were launched against Hungary by Scotus Viator (Mr. Seton Watson) and his followers, casting the shadow of the coming world war before it.
A vindication of the Hungarians from the charge of racial oppression has come recently from an entirely unexpected quarter, the supreme council of the principal allied and associated powers. It is demanding certain guaranties from the new States for the protection of racial and religious minorities, embodied in articles 7, 8, and 9 of the treaty with Poland, as published in the newspapers. Anyone familiar with that most troublesome of questions, the nationality question of Eastern Europe,” will see at once that those articles are but an extract from the Hungarian Act 44 of 1868, commonly known as the nationality law. Their essence is: “Cultural autonomy" for the minor races, but only one State and one State language. Roumania refused to subscribe to those articles. Evidently she does not intend to give her new Hungarian subjects the same rights which the Roumanians have enjoyed in Hungary.
But even if the charge of racial oppression were true, as it is not, the principle that immigrants have the right to invoke the assistance of the country whence they had immigrated against their country of adoption, could hardly be recognized by our Government. On that principle the Germans of Missouri and Wisconsin, in which States they were, and perhaps still are, in the majority, could have invoked the help of the Kaiser for the annexation of those States to Germany, or at least for their “liberation” from American rule.
It is also to be noted that each of the four neighboring countries of Hungary is strenuously opposed to submit its claim to the verdict of a plebiscite under fair conditions, thus admitting the weakness of its case. Each wants the right of self-determination to be applied cr!y to its own race to the exclusion of the Magyars and of other races of Hungary, whereas President Wilson, in his address to Congress of February 11, 1918, distinctly declared that “Peoples and Provinces are not to be bartered about from sovereignty to sovereignty as if they were mere chattels and pawns in a game."
And in his speech to the Diplomatic Corps on the 4th of July of last year President Wilson solemnly announced that one of the four ends for which the associated peoples of the world were fighting was “the settlement of every question, whether of territory, of sovereignty, of economic arrangement, or of political relationship, upon the basis of the free acceptance of that settlement by the people immediately concerned, and not upon the basis of material interest or advantage of any other nation or people which may desire a different settlement for the sake of its own exterior influence or mastery.