Engels in Neue Rheinische Zeitung February 1849

More News of the Magyars

Source: MECW Volume 8, p. 430;
Written: by Engels about February 24, 1849;
First published: in the 2nd supplement to Neue Rheinische Zeitung No. 231, February 25, 1849.

No fresh news direct from the theatre of war. The Allgemeine Oder-Zeitung continues the “Reports of a Hungarian”; owing to lack of space we must hold it over until our next issue. How Görgey is proceeding in Kaschau and what fear he inspires in the Austrians is proved by a letter from Pest dated February 10:

“The news is now spreading that General Görgey has occupied the town of Kaschau. His first measure was to depose the entire Town Council, all the imperial customs officials and salt-office officials, and an enormous levy was imposed on the burghers. Early this morning a fully equipped brigade left the town, consisting of one battalion of fusiliers, two divisions of light cavalry, four battalions of infantry and two cavalry batteries, with all the necessary wagons of ammunition, powder and field-requisites, marching in the direction of Waitzen.”

Further we hear again from Transylvania from various sources of the Russians’ entry, while the official reports still remain silent about it. Thus reports of the 9th have arrived from Bucharest giving an account of the entry of the Russians at the request of the citizens of Hermannstadt and Kronstadt, adding that the advancing Russians had immediately encountered a unit of Szeklers and given them a sound beating. Yet the newly arrived courier sent by Lieutenant-Field Marshal Puchner from Hermannstadt on the 8th, who reports the destruction of Bem’s army at Salzburg, says nothing about the entry of the Russians, and even Puchner’s official report is silent on this point.

In Pressburg, J. Csenkly of Hetye in Hungary has been sentenced to four years prison for illegal possession of arms.

In Croatia the conflict between the nationalist Southern Slavs and the royal imperial authorities is becoming increasingly more violent. Thus the Constitutionelles Blatt aus Böhmen is informed from Agram, February 15:

“Bitterness against the Ministry is growing here from day to day. News comes in almost hourly showing all too clearly that the Government is not in earnest with its pledged to the Croats, indeed indicating on the contrary that it is eager to effect the restoration of the old system of Magyar oppression. The a 5 station caused by the recently mentioned Magyar official letter from Count Almásy had still not subsided when another Magyar order from the Ofen Board of Works arrived, enjoining the chief engineer in Croatia to apply henceforth to the Hungarian central authorities, as all the obstacles which had hitherto disrupted the old” (pre-March) “conduct of official business had been completely eliminated. This Magyar official order, which aroused irritation in all quarters, was followed by another, German, decree from the Vienna Ministry of Trade, whereby the chief engineer, Vauthier-Rauchefort, one of the keenest supporters of the Magyars, about whom there had been frequent complaints that he was in secret communication with Kossuth, was called to the office of the Ministry of Public Works and appointed ministerial adviser.”

In consequence of this, the Ban’s Council in Agram [i.e. the government of Croatia during the 1848-49 revolution] has now issued an official edict prohibiting all authorities from carrying out orders originating from “Magyar insolence” and instructing them instead to send such unlawful communications to the Ban’s Council, who will see to it that these are used as proof of the usurpation of its authority. At the same time this edict announces that not only is there no Magyar administration in the three united kingdoms [i.e. Croatia, Slavonia and Dalmatia] but that no interference from it in official business would ever be tolerated.

At the same time, refusal to be conscripted is on the increase in Bohemia. Today we hear:

The majority of the communities in the Prachin district of Bohemia are refusing to enforce conscription, since they have been informed that the decree in question originated from the Ministry and not from the Imperial Diet. It is to be feared that the peasant disturbances in this region may shortly spread to the whole country.

In short, despite all efforts, old Austria is disintegrating more and more every day. A revolutionary push from Italy or France, and it will belong to the past.