From the Theatre of War, March 11, 1849

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There is no news at all from the theatre of war today. The only interesting item concerning the most recent Austrian war operations is another article today in the Augsburg Allgemeine Zeitung, the martial-law paper, which proves above all how low our contemporary journalists have sunk. The K√∂lnische Zeitung is full of enthusiasm for Windischgr√§tz and goes no further than expressing regret that he is a poor writer of German--as if his intentionally inept style were not ten times more adept than the language of the most profoundly conceived leading articles of the K√∂lnische Zeitung! If Windischgr√§tz is "confused" and "obscure" in his reports that is only because he has intentionally made them confused and obscure, whether it be to conceal defeats or to make insignificant "advantages", which the Magyars granted him of their own accord, appear to be outstanding victories. But the K√∂lnische Zeitung is not so stupid as it looks. It finds Windischgr√§tz's reports contradictory or obscure and confused. And what does it conclude from that? Not that Windischgr√§tz is bad commander-in-chief but rather bad‚ÄĒstylist!

Whether the Kölnische Zeitung is in the pay of Austria we do not know. But we do know that the Augsburger Zeitung is in Austria's pay. And yet the Augsburger Zeitung is a thousand times more honest than the Kölnische Zeitung.

Compare, for instance, yesterday's article in that steadfast newspaper with the following lines taken from the Augsburg paper, whose lack of principles is well known:

"The complications in the Hungarian revolutionary war are unfortunately continuously growing. Until a few days ago, when he moved his headquarters to Gyöngyös, Field Marshal Prince Windischgrätz remained on the defensive with the main body of the army, whilst the rebels were able to throw all their forces against the weakest points of our line, harass our detached units and often expose them to considerable danger. Whilst the rest of the army stands still, the Serbs, instead of operating concentrically with it, are conquering the Voivodina for themselves and somewhat more besides. Exposed to the bold operations of Bem in the strategically completely neglected Transylvania, Puchner has in his final moment of extreme need to seek Russian help in order to protect the Saxon towns, which alone in Transylvania have remained loyal to the Emperor, and all the victories of the ageing warrior, all the valour of his troops will not suffice to expel the rebel chief, who hour by hour can call upon the spare units of insurgents in Hungary as reinforcements, from the borderlands of that unfortunate country."

The extent to which the Magyar reports boil down to nothing more than "ridiculous exaggerations" is shown by the following fact. The Magyars announced that they had captured Erbach, the Austrians prudently kept quiet about the matter. Now the Deutsche Zeitung in Frankfurt writes on March 6:

"Count Erbach, who, accompanied by only one dragoon, had been sent by General Schlick to Field Marshal Windischgrätz, was attacked by a unit of Magyar insurgents and taken prisoner. He was taken off to Debreczin and has written several letters here from there. He has been treated very well, numerous old comrades received him warmly, and his letters are apt to give us a more favourable idea of the Magyars activity than one usually deduces from indirect reports."

The remaining news from Hungary is summarised in the following report from Vienna, which the Deutsche Allgemeine Zeitung publishes:

"The leaders of the Jewish community in Pest had gone to the camp of the Field Marshal to complain that payment of the arrears of the toleration tax [1] amounting to 110,000 florins had been demanded in cash in twenty-florin coins, and that all Hungarian Jewish communities had been made collectively responsible for treasonable crimes of individuals. The Prince dismissed the complaints in very ungracious terms, and particularly strong words are said to have fallen about delegates Fischhof and Goldmark.‚ÄĒThe army, which has been brought up to a strength of 700,000 men and has been put on a war footing, costs so much that one could easily be accused of exaggerating when working out the figure; but it certainly costs far more than can be afforded on the basis of the resources of the country without resorting to extraordinary efforts. And only the peasants, who have been released from the personal obligations and land taxes, appear to be in a healthy state, all other classes without exception being sick and infirm. Having new taxes imposed on him would make an illusion of the letters patent of September 7, 1848 [2] as far as the peasant is concerned, consequently for the time being the only expedients left are loans and, according to the signs so far, to an even greater extent paper money. The big bankers are constantly buying gold and silver, in the former particular preference being given to ring ducats and gold sovereigns. The Hungarian banknote crisis has by no means rendered this paper worthless, on the contrary, transactions are said to have been completed in Vienna and Pressburg yesterday in 5-florin and 100-florin notes at 86 and 90. That is why an announcement in Pest (see below) had a soothing effect and revived trading in agricultural products, which was transacted almost exclusively in Hungarian banknotes; since no check has, as yet, been carried through on the banknotes already issued this leaves, so to speak, a loophole open for Kossuth's banknote production. This much seems certain: there must be sound reasons for Prince Windischgr√§tz to show such forbearance and restraint in Hungary in contrast to the procedure adopted in the Austrian provinces."

Incidentally, it is now even more widely acknowledged than ever that the noble Windischgrätz is hand in glove with the Magyar aristocrats such as the Josikas, the Szechenyis, the Esterhazys. These are the "sound reasons" that he has. And just a fortnight ago the Kölnische Zeitung was looking for the "higher nobility" in the Debreczin camp. Voila ce qui s'appelle des savants serieux!

From the new royal imperial model state, which goes under the name of Serbska Voivodina, we hear the following news:

"Semlin, February 24. At a general meeting held at Temesvar on the 15th of this month the internal administration of the Serbian Voivodina was organised in the following way: administrator and president of the Voivodina: Patriarch Josef Rajachich; vice-presidents: Joseph Rudics, Basil Fogarassy and Stretko Michailovich; heads of sections: 1. matters concerning the church: S. Kacanski, abbot, with four advisers; 2. ecclesiastical affairs and education: Eugen Gjurkovich with four advisers; 3. diplomatic affairs: Jacob Zivanovich with four advisers; 4. political questions: Marcus Fopovich with five advisers; 5. economic and financial matters: Johann Suplikac with five advisers; 6. administration of the law: Thodor Radosavljevic with three advisers.‚ÄĒNational secretary and director of the administrative office Johann Stankovich; secretary of the Voivodina Alex Stojackovic.‚ÄĒSupreme Court: chairman Carl Latinovich; vice-president Joseph Mathich with twelve members. Economic and financial department: chairman Georg Warsan; Joseph Iovanovich, treasurer; Franz, vice-controller; Kolarovich, keeper of accounts with four advisers. First national commissioner Michael Krestic. Agents Kosta Iovanovich, Svetozazhulitich.

"From this impartial election one can see that the Serbian deputies, worthy representatives of their constituents; having eliminated every trace of national hatred and religious differences‚ÄĒfor Rudics, Fogarassy, Stein, Stminger and Wachtler are not Serbs and are adherents of the Catholic faith‚ÄĒbore strictly in mind only the elected people's qualifications to hold the offices entrusted to them, and that they are intent on establishing equality of status of every nationality in the Voivodina. In addition to the heads of the sections mentioned, the deputies of every Serb community have also been summoned to Kikinda, where 'sub Praesidio Patriarchae' they are laying the foundation of the constitution of the Serbian Voivodina and outlining its basic rights, and they will present this for approval to the Austrian Government" (Lloyd).

"Agram. To our great astonishment we have read a report from Constantinople in a Belgrade newspaper published in Serbian according to which the Austrian internuncio, Count St√ľrmer, had a conference with the Forte Minister for External Affairs on February 7 and asked him: 'What position does the Forte intend to adopt should the Austrian Slavs rise in revolt against the imperial Government?' The answer was that the Forte would remain neutral. However the question raises much more far-reaching considerations in our minds than the answer does. Is it possible that the masses of Russian troops in the Danube principalities are also connected with a similar question of the royal imperial Government?"

  1. ‚ÜĎ The toleration tax was levied on the Jewish population of the Kingdom of Hungary in 1749. The arrears grew from year to year, and the 1840s witnessed the intensified struggle for the abolition of this humiliating tax. In June 1846 it was repealed on condition that all the arrears, which amounted to 1,200,000 florins, were paid off during the next five years This measure was a certain step towards the emancipation of the country's Jews.
  2. ‚ÜĎ On September 7, 1848 the Emperor sanctioned the law drawn up by the Austrian Imperial Diet (Reichstag) repealing the personal bondage of the peasants and making labour and other services connected with land tenure subject to redemption. The redemption sum was fixed at twenty times the amount of the peasants' annual duties. Two-thirds of this was to be paid by the peasants and one-third by the state (from taxes). Despite the halfway nature of this agrarian reform, which did not satisfy the peasants who continued to fight for the abolition of feudal obligations without redemption, it nevertheless opened the way for the development of capitalist relations in agriculture