תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

EXPRESSION OF PUBLIC OPINION.

41

revenue of Hungary may be estimated at three millions sterling, of which probably not a twentieth part is clear profit to the Austrian government.

Many towns are said to belong to the king; but this is only a nominal possession; they are called Civitates liberæ et regiæ, because under an entire exemption from taxes. In Hungary and Croatia there are fifty such villes franches; in Transylvania five; but none in Sclavonia. No noble has any authority or right in these privileged boroughs; and all that the citizens acquire they may regard as their own; though, unless of high descent, they cannot possess lands. They elect their own magistrates annually, and send deputies to the diet.

A great restraint is placed on the expression of public opinion throughout the Austrian dominions, but more successfully in Austria proper than in Hungary. Here politics are freely discussed ; not so there. At Vienna, an Englishman in a café was speaking to a friend about his partiality for tea, and observed, in the language of the country, “ Ich liebe thee,” or “ I am fond of tea.” One of the undress police, catching indistinctly the last three syllables, immediately accosted him, saying, “ Sir, Liberté

VOL. I.

с

[blocks in formation]

is a word not to be uttered in Austria !" In fact, as Napoleon decreed impossible to be excluded from the French language, so liberty is declared not to be Austrian. The above anecdote is current at Vienna ; but the authenticity of it rests on an on dit.

43

CHAPTER II.

VOYAGE ON THE DANUBE.

FROM PRESBURG

TO PEST.

Steam navigation of the Danube.—Difficulties of under

taking.—Embark at Presburg.--Hungarian gentlemen.Latin spoken.—Pronunciation.—Introduction into Hungary.--Hungarian linguists.-Carlsburg.-Insula Cituorum.—Sifting gold-dust. — Comorn.-Neudorf.—Gran.Royal tombs. — Archbishop. — Cathedral. — Vessigrad. Castle.-Numerous branches of Danube.- Aspect of country. -Water-mills. Watzen. — Cupolas.

Arrival at Pest.-Hungarian nobles.- Patriotism.----Union of Hungary with Austria. - Pragmatic sanction. -- Monarchy hereafter elective. Indifference of emperor.

- Metternich's policy.—Existing matters of dispute.- Population of Austrian states. — Lutheran church. —Its parishes, clergy, and discipline. - Reformed church. - Roman Catholics.Dignitaries. - Royal perquisites. - Emperor's guard. Word Hussar. Punishment of deserters. Origin of Hungarians. – Magyar and Török.-Wines.-Meat and poultry.--Coins.—Ducat.–First view of Pest.—Buda.Roman relics.-Alt Buda.-Aquincum.-View.—Plain of Rokos.-Attila -Hot springs.- Turkish baths.—Palace of palatine.-Hand of king Stephen.-His crown.- Cabinet of antiques.--Coins.-Luther's cup.- French standard.

44

DIFFICULTIES OF

Description of Buda.-Jew's quarter-Reitzenstadt.-Tobacco. — Carts.-Oxen.-Inscriptions on houses.-Pest. University.—Manufacture of pipe-bowls.- Projected iron bridge. — Tax to be levied on nobles.—Levelling system. - Society for cultivation of Hungarian tongue.- Count Szechenyi. – First promoters of steam navigation of Danube.

It was with feelings of no ordinary interest and with some misgivings that we prepared to commence a voyage on the Danube, hitherto regarded as an unknown sea. The communication by steam between Upper Hungary and the principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia had been opened only the previous summer, when the vessel, after striking repeatedly on shoals, met with such disasters that she was obliged to land her passengers, who pursued their respective courses on terra firma, having accomplished only a portion of the voyage. None of our own countrymen but one, as we were informed,* had made the excursion ; and even the officials in the bureau at Vienna, whose interests are connected with it, represented the undertaking as not free from risk. Still, we were inclined to believe that the difficulties were gradually diminishing, and that

* Mr. Quin, whose “Steam Voyage down the Danube" made its appearance in England about the time the writer embarked at Presburg, in the autumn of 1835.

STEAM NAVIGATION OF THE DANUBE.

45

the dangers were exaggerated. Our plans led us to Constantinople; the reputed beauty of the scenery on the banks of the Danube attracted us towards its waters as a medium of conveyance; and an opportunity was not likely to occur twice in a life of seeing Hungary, Servia, Bulgaria, Wallachia, and Moldavia, through which that noble river flows. At the same time, we were unprepared for what we had to encounter at the conclusion of the voyage; when, landed in one of the least civilized countries of Europe, we found ourselves without the common comforts of life, and lamented, when too late, that accurate information had not suggested the purchase of mattresses and other luxuries while we were yet in a land where they could be procured.

It was on a warm and clear morning that we embarked from the quay on the steamer destined to convey us to Pest, which disputes with Presburg the honor of being the modern capital of Hungary and is far more popular among the natives than that triste metropolis. The proprietors of the vessel refused to convey more than one carriage as far as Pest, and a limited number beyond that town. These places were already secured ; so that other passengers were denied permission to take their

« הקודםהמשך »