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a proposal of the government to teach Slowenian in grammar schools in Styria, and by formally withdrawing from the coalition forced the cabinet to resign. Windischgrätz was succeeded by Count Kielmansegg, who formed a ministry of affairs without any distinct party coloring, but remained in office less than four months, when he was replaced by Count Badeni, the Polish governor of Galicia. Badeni announced that he should stand above parties, and lead instead of being led; that his policy would comprise the appeasement and settlement of race antagonisms, but that the priority of the Germans would be respected. Before he had been long in power he took a step of a decidedly liberal character, by forbidding the reckless confiscation of newspapers for criticising the conduct of officials. The two great political questions, however, with which he was called upon to deal, were the renewal of the treaties with Hungary and the electoral reform. The first of these is not expected to present any insuperable obstacles, and in regard to the latter Badeni has been more successful than his predecessors, for he has prevailed upon the Reichsrath to create a fifth or general class of voters broad enough to include the workingmen.
The last three cabinets could hardly have been ex pected to make any great advance in the soluicy meant a tion of the race question. Count Taaffe, on the other hand, was appointed with a view of creating a better feeling among the different nationalities, but he achieved little or no permanent results of this kind, and at his fall the racial passions
ment, not a solution.
seemed to be at least as violent and deep-seated as ever. Except for the unsuccessful attempt at a compromise in Bohemia, his policy during his long tenure of office really meant an indefinite prolongation of the status quo and a postponement of the final solution of the race question to a future day; but although this policy was conducted with consummate skill, it may be doubted whether in the end it will prove to have been a wise one. The political problem in Austria is extremely difficult. Two methods of dealing with it can Difficulties be imagined. One of them is the creation of of the politia centralized government, in which the Ger- in Austria. mans, like the Magyars in Hungary, should play the part of the dominant race and force the rest of the people to adopt their language, their habits and traditions. Such a solution might, perhaps, have been possible at one time if the Germans had possessed the vigor and tenacity of the Magyars, if they had stood solidly together, and if they had been consistently supported by the crown. But an attempt to carry out this policy would probably be hopeless now, for owing to the influence of the priesthood which dislikes their rationalistic tendency, and to the readiness with which in Austria they lose their national characteristics as compared with the other races, the Germans have been steadily declining of late both in numbers and influence.1 The other method of dealing with the problem is that of breaking up the Empire into a confederation based upon the different nationalities. But if this were seriously attempted it would be like trying
1 Cf Sidney Whitman, The Realm of the Habsburgs, p. 25 et seq.
to divide a cake among several children, one of whom wanted the whole of it, while another claimed a half, and three or four more were crying for a quarter apiece. There are other grave difficulties in the way. The position of Austria as a European power appears to demand a centralized government with an effective army; and for this reason it is said that the Emperor would prefer to rule with the aid of the Germans, who are opposed to provincial autonomy, if they did not make themselves obnoxious by insisting too much on having their own way. Moreover, the Magyars would object strongly to parceling political power in Austria among the races, both because they want the monarchy to remain a great power, and because the grant of national rights to the Slavs in Austria would provoke an agitation for similar privileges on the part of their kinsfolk in Hungary. Whether any middle course between these extremes can be successful, it is hard to say; but whatever policy is pursued, it is clear that no durable solution of the problem can X be reached until the people have learned to regard it as permanent and legitimate. This sounds tautologous, but is really important.
1 In the second chapter on France, the necessity of a consensus as the foundation of political life was discussed, and in each of the states so
Lack of a political
far considered we have found a certain number of irreconcilables who do not accept the consensus. In France, there are the Monarchists; in Italy, the Clericals; in Germany the Guelphs, the Alsatians, and perhaps we may add the Socialists. In all these
countries the people who repudiate the fundamental institutions of the land form a minority, and usually a small minority, of the nation; but in Austria it is hardly too much to say that everybody is irreconcilable. Almost the only people who really admit the legality of the existing constitution, or at least who do not want it radically changed, are the German Liberals, and almost all the time since Taafe came to power they have been heartily opposed to the government. The task of the ministers, therefore, has been hard. It has resembled that of an Esquimaux trying to drive a team of dogs, all of which want to break loose from the sledge, except the biggest and strongest, which pulls the wrong way. Austria will never be free from danger until a majority at least of her people have reached a consensus on the rights of the several races. Now, for the creation of a consensus two things are requisite, - an unbroken continuation of the same system of government for a considerable period, and a belief that it is permanent and final. But Austria has not had these things. During the first part of the period that has passed since the constitution was established, the Emperor vacillated between the centralizing views of the German Liberals and the nationalist policy of Count Hohenwart, so that at times the people hardly knew what to expect on the morrow. During the last half of this period, on the other hand, there have been few sudden changes of policy, but everything has been provisional and temporary, and apart from the dynasty it is hard to point to any institution that is generally expected to prove lasting.
It is not surprising, therefore, that the national question has not been set at rest, and that the various races retain their hopes and fears. This lack of a settled policy is the more surprising because the Emperor has shown a great fixity of purpose in his dealings with the other half of the monarchy. He made up his mind just how far he would yield to the demands of the Magyars, and he has never swerved from that determination.
Futility of any attempt to forecast
Any attempt to foresee the destiny of Austria seems to be hopeless. The factors in the problem are so complicated, and the play of forces so her destiny. intricate, that it is impossible to tell what a single decade may produce. The recent history of the country has been a bundle of contradictions. She has * almost always been defeated on the field of battle, and yet she has gained more territory than she has lost. She is filled with explosives, and at one moment appeared to have been blown to pieces, but the fragments were reunited and have managed to stick together. Among her people socialism and its counterpart, anti-semitism, are perhaps more prevalent and more dangerous than anywhere else; yet her finances, which were in a deplorable condition, have become prosperous. Her fate in the future must depend a great deal upon the personal character of the Emperor, and the next coronation may bring a great deal of good or evil on the state. Of one thing we may feel sure. Apart from wars and social convulsions, upon which no calculation can be based, the hostility between the nationalities is not likely to abate at present, for throughout Europe