Mór Jókai, a Professional Politician?
Mór Jókai (1825–1904) was the most widely known Hungarian writer in the second half of the 19th century, but he also worked as a journalist and, for 32 years, as a member of parliament. This short paper analyzes the latter, his participation in public life from the perspective of the emergence of modern politics and the professional politician (M. Weber). The main sources the study relies on are his political speeches, letters and photographs. According to the author, Jókai belonged to the “archaic” type of professional politicians, who devoted himself to politics, instead of earning a living from it, as the documents related to his finances also show. Jókai was a devoted politician who served the “sacred causes” of public life (while being indifferent to the petty interests) and was even willing to make financial sacrifices for the success of these. He was one of the few long-serving representatives in the National Assembly, who did understand how modern politics worked and learned how to make use of its tools. For example, he used photographs to shape his public image and consciously resorted to various campaign tricks during the elections, even utilized his popularity as a writer for the benefit of his party.
The Lost Letter and the Lost Travel Warrant, or Why Did Jókai Go into Hiding in 1849?
In a revolutionary Vienna in October 1848, several cartoons depicting in an unambiguous situation Archduchess Sophie, the wife of the heir apparent, Archduke Franz Karl, and Jelačić, the Ban of Croatia, were published. Even though the March revolution had eroded the prudish general taste of the Biedermeier period, the publication of these satirical drawings could still be considered unusual. What can explain the fact that the member of the ruling house so popular in the spring of 1848 became the target of such public hatred by October 1848 in the imperial city? How were these cartoons related to Jókai’s hiding in 1849? The paper examines these questions. In the spring of 1848, Archduchess Sophie, the wife of the heir apparent, Archduke Franz Karl, was very popular in Hungary as she was reported to have played a part in overthrowing State Chancellor Metternich. However, this popularity quickly turned into unpopularity after June 1848. The reason was that, even though he had been dismissed by the Hungarian government, the Ban of Croatia, Josip Jelačić got an ostentatiously warm welcome from the archduchess in Innsbruck. At the end of September 1848, news was spreading that among Jelačić’s intercepted letters there was one written to the archduchess. (At the current state of research this cannot be excluded.) All this led to the publication of the above-mentioned obscene cartoons. The story was even versified in a satirical epic poem by Mór Jókai. This may have been one of the reasons why, at the end of August 1849, he thought he had better go into hiding. He only returned to Budapest when the first waves of retaliation had abated. One of the most beautiful pieces of his self-created legends is related to his hiding. According to this, he could return to the capital city only because his wife, Róza Laborfalvy got him a travel warrant, a so called Geleitschein, issued to the members of the castle guard of Komárom. However, Jókai’s description is so confused that we can be certain that he never possessed, probably never even seen, such a travel warrant.
Lajos Kazinczy’s Life before 1848
Lajos Kazinczy was one of the leading military officers in the 1848–1849 Hungarian war of independence who rose to a leadership position during the revolution, after serving in the army for a long time, and about whose pre-1848 life and military career we know very little. The paper attempts to fill this gap. Lajos Kazinczy was born at Széphalom on 20 October 1820 as the youngest child of Ferenc Kazinczy (1759–1831), the neologist and the known and renowned writer of the era, and Zsófia Török (1780–1842). By the time, the Calvinist noble family from Upper Hungary had been reduced to poverty, and the Kazinczy parents were struggling to provide for the upbringing of their seven children. After studying at Széphalom, Sárospatak and Sátoraljaújhely, Lajos Kazinczy was admitted to the school of military engineering of Tulln at the age of 15, through the intervention of Count József Teleki (1790–1855), the treasurer of the Reformed College of Sárospatak. He studied there between 1835 and 1839, then served as a hussar officer in the 9th (Miklós) hussar regiment. It was after a long delay that he was promoted to 2nd lieutenant in the autumn of 1841. In his letters from 1840–41 written to his mother he discusses in detail his lifestyle and his yearning for becoming a lieutenant. It is striking how ambitious and aspiring a cadet Lajos Kazinczy was. For him, being recognized by his fellow officers was very important, just like being the life and soul of the party. As a young man, he was fond of having a good time, going to balls and enjoying the company of women. He was a good dancer, his companions liked his jolly manner, while he was reliable in service. However, as a result of his abovementioned activities, his active participation in social life, he was constantly in financial difficulties, and it seems that gambling was not alien to his nature either. Kazinczy quit the army after more than eleven years of service, not long after his promotion to first lieutenant, when he served as an adjutant to a vice-marshal. His position could hardly explain why he left. In the paper, we have managed to clarify the circumstances of his resignation, which was not planned, and was a result of an unfortunate case of forgery. The letters discussing the circumstances of why he left the army are published here for the first time, in the appendix to the paper in Hungarian translation.
Imperial Road Map and National Independence – A National Grievance from 1835
Our paper describes a less known episode of the National Assembly of 1832–1836: it examines how it became a national grievance that in the summer of 1835 the Governor’s Council sent a map, made in Vienna and depicting the road network of the Habsburg Monarchy, to the counties. The estates disapproved of the fact that the map presented Hungary as one of the Monarchy’s territories, and they thought that both the memorandum of the Governor’s Council and the map’s drawing and its labeling were insulting to the country’s independence. As a result, the National Assembly demanded that the map be recalled and destroyed. The case is interesting because the representation of the empire as shown on the map cannot explain the indignation in itself because, on the basis of our investigation, it did not contain anything unusual compared to other maps of the Habsburg Monarchy published in Vienna at the time. The fact that it was the Governor’s Council to send the map to the counties undoubtedly played a part in the indignation, but the real reasons are rather to be found in the political climate of the time. At the time of the publication of the map, a debate was ongoing about the proper title of the newly elected emperor, Ferdinand, which was essentially about Hungary’s constitutional status and the recognition of the country’s independence. Moreover, previously the government took several measures which were against the law (the dissolution of the Transylvanian diet, taking legal action against Miklós Wesselényi and other cases), so the opposition could attempt to add any such steps on the part of the government, no matter how insignificant they may have seemed, to its “grievance discourse”. At the same time, the case illustrates that the estates realized how important cartographic representations could be in political processes, thus it can provide additions to a better understanding of the map usage habits in the Reform Era.
On the Centralists’ Concept of Local Government in the Villages in the Reform Era
There have been several papers written on the views of the pre-1848 Hungarian reformed opposition party, the Centralists, about the introduction of the parliamentary constitutional system and, to this end, the limitation of the role of the counties. However, a detailed analysis of their ideas to introduce local governments on the village (község) level has not been performed yet. In this respect, the analysts restrict themselves to summarizing Antal Csengery’s article series, considering its content typical of the entire movement and clearly pioneering. By re-reading and collating the centralist authors’ relevant texts, the paper examines their views on the status as well as the administrative and municipal role of villages. On the other hand, it collides the picture we get from these texts with the views of the majority of the reformed opposition as expressed in parliamentary speeches and documents. It was mostly when they were criticizing the county system that the Centralists touched the question of villages, which they regarded as secondary to parliamentary constitutionalism. They failed to make their views related to local governments, and especially to their sphere of authority and their role as a mediator of state administration, clear or to come up with a unified opinion about these matters. It was only Antal Csengery who published a detailed concept, which differs in many ways from that of other Centralists, but mostly agrees with the content and direction of the parliamentary bills proposed in 1844 by the majority of the reformed opposition. But the Centralists were more open proponents of equity, which for them meant the abolition of the isolation of the noble estate and their incorporation into the village. Due to tactical reasons, this was less emphasized by the reformed majority. In this respect, the Centralists dared to represent views hardly acceptable in an estate system, and thus they contributed to making the public more receptive to liberal views.
Elmélet és módszer