Page images
PDF
EPUB

gainly in appearance, ruder also, and possibly differed as much in language as a Yorkshireman did from a Londoner. The third division was the one he was now dealing with the Red Russian, sometimes called the Little Russian. The Ruthenians, or the Russians of Gallicia and Poland, belonged to the Red Russian, or the Little Russian division, and this division was one of some importance, differing a little in dialect, and a good deal in nationality, from the Great Russian. The Little Russian thought very little of St. Petersburg or Moscow, not more than a true Scotchman did of London. The Little Russians were the finest portion of the Russian population. The old Cossack Russian troops were originally Little Russians rather than Great Russians: the Cossacks of the Ukraine are Little Russians. Leaving the Slavonians of Austria, the lecturer came to the last and not the least interesting elements of the Austrian population.

The population I am now dealing with, bears the name of Magyar(pronounced Majiar by the lecturer; Magyar by Kossuth). We in England rarely use the word Magyar. We talk of the people of Hungary under the name of Hungarians. Now, the less we do this, the better our ethnology, and the safer our politics will be; for it is a great and a serious error to look upon the twelve million inhabitants of Hungary as anything like a homogeneous population. You see that they are not so. In the first place, they are the Slovaks of the northern frontier, who are Slavonians; you see they are not so, because they are the Croatians of the southern frontier, who are Slavonians also; you see they are not exclusively Magyar, or Hungarian, because they are the population of the Austrian frontier, who are Romanyo; you see it is a very heterogeneous population : and lastly, there is the population of the large towns, which is German, rather than aught else. So that

Hungary" is merely a political name. The true population characteristic of Hungary is Magyar, and that is what we call them. The history of the Mag. yars is this. Like the Turks, they are a population foreign to Europe, and intrusive in the countries which they now occupy.

Like the Turks, they are of Asiatic origin; their occupancy being within the historical period. They invaded Hungary somewhat earlier than the Turks invaded Constantinople and Greece, for the Magyar conquest of Hungary took place in the tenth century. Where did these Magpars come from? The exact locality from whence they came we do not know; we only know that they came from the north east; they came from some portion of the Ural range; they came from the banks of the Volga; that was their original locality, because as late as the thirteenth century, when Hungarians, of persons who knew the Hungarian language, travelled in southern Siberia, they found the language was the same.

We find, too, that the remains of their Pagan creed was the same in Hungary and Southern Siberia. We find, too, that their traditions point to these parts, and history brings them from that direction. This was their locality. They conquered Hungary; I camot tell how they conquered it;-a nation rude, though savage and warlike. They were not the only populations that had done so. Both before and after the Magyar invasion of Hungary, there were other invasions from the same direction; invasions frura Independent Tartary, from the east; so that at one time, Hungary was very nearly a Turk country, and in the present moment there are certain districts of Hungary, which are called the Comanian districts, because they were occupied by Comanian Turks. Í an inclined to think the original conquest of Hungary was a joint conquest-half Magyar and half Tnrk. Now, what are the ethnological relations of these Magyars? This is a very interesting question, ad the result of investigations, althougb pretty well known now, when first indicated was very startling indeed. Remember what I told you in the first lecture—[on the Native Races of Russia]-about the great Fin population, which I said there was reason to suppose occupied the whole of Russia. Now the Hungarian population, or the Magyars, are essentially Fin; and this was discovered in the last century by a comparison between the Magyar language and the Fin of Finland, and the Lap. There is no doubt whatever that language connects them; and their original Pagan superstitions connect them. And the physical form--where not modified by intermixture with the more southern populations of Europe -connects the Magyar with the Fins also. This fact is very instructive, as showing the amount of difference you may have within the range of one great family. The Hungarians are a strong, brave, civilized people; so are the Finlanders. But what are the Laps ? Although of the same stock, they are undersized, uncivilised, and in all respects a contrast to them; but you will remember the Magyars are Fins. The Magyars themselves do not like this alliance, and have tried very strongly and patriotically to get up what they think a better pedigree. But I think that the Fin pedigree is a very respectable one. They have tried, by investigations of language and the like, to make themselves of Circassian origin; and there are patriotic Magyars who think they came from Caucasus, and got their good looks from the Caucassians. They are neither Thibetian nor Circassian, but Fin, and as thoroughly intrusive in Europe as the Turk in Asia. You know what their nationality is from recent political circumstances. In respect to their language, they hold it with a great deal of zeal ; in my mind with more zeal than discretion. In the time of the Emperor Joseph, they rightly and patriotically prevented the extension of the German language into Hungary, and got permission, or took permission, to conduct their own national

They

matters in the Hungarian language, and to print newspapers in it. But the fact we must remember is this, that it is the language of a minority. Out of the twelve millions of Hungary there are not more than four millions who are Magyars; and I think the greatest political blunder in the Hungarian war for independence was this, that while fighting for their own nationality, they forgot the nationality of the Slavonians and the populations about them. wanted to rid themselves of Austrian influence, but they would impress Magyar influence upon the Slavonians, the Croatians, the Transylvanians, the Germanis, and the other heterogeneous populations. It is the old story of people fighting for their own independence, and not caring for the independence of others. You will remember that Hungary does mean Magyar, and that the Magyars are a minority in Hungary itself. What is Hungary, politically speaking? It is really more Slavonic than aught else; numerically, it is decidedly Slavonic: in other matters, in civilisation possibly, the Slavonians are the lowest of the three populations, but numerically they are the majority.

A great ethnological fact is the magnitude of the Slavonic family; and another practical point is, that Austria is essentially a Slavonic country, rather than a German one. The present tendencies of the Slavonic population, whether in Russia, in Austria, in Poland, are important political elements. I will state what I believe to be the feeling of the Slavonic family, en masse, in respect to what they call the Slavonic nationality. The whole number of Slavonians of different divisions-Russian, Polish, Austrian, and the like -amounts to as near as can be eighty millions; a population larger by far than that of the Germans; larger by far than that of France; and, I incline to think, larger than that speaking the English language, England and America being included. The people who speak the Slavonic language, and hold Slavonio sentiments, is not quite the largest family in the world, for the Chinese is spoken hy more, and the Arabic possibly, and some Indian tongues by nearly as many; but in Europe the Slavonian population is an enormous ethnological element; think of eighty millions! The next point to observe is, how the nationalities of these eighty millions are distributed. In Russia alone you have fifty-two millions of Slavonians having a common nationalty, and, with few exceptions, a common creed, the Greek Church. I leave you to judge what is the power of this “Slavonism,"'--for that is the word we must coin. The next branch in importance is the Polish—about ten millions,-hardly a fifth of what Russia gives. In civilisation the Poles are higher than the Russians. I am inclined to think, in strength of national character, physique, and warlike energy, they are stronger and more important; they have certainly had a more glorious history, though at present that history is in a decline. The Poles are Roman Catholics. Poland is spread at present over three large dominions. The bulk of it is in Russia, the next section in Austria, and the third in Prussia, where the Duchy of Posen is exclusively Polish. The third division is the Bohemian or Czekhs, who may be put in the way of literature and civilisation on the same high level as the Poles. I confess I sympathise strongly with the patriots of Bohemia in their attempt to give a national literature and civilisation to 50,000,000 people in Europe. The Germans, of course, do not like it, nor do the French; for whatever is added to the Slavonian element of Austria, subtracts from the German. There are, however, some awkward complications in the movement, for though the language is the same, the modes of writing it are different.

« EelmineJätka »