(W. A. P.; A. Hl.)
The war of 1866 began a new era in the history of the Austrian empire. By the treaty of Prague (August 23, 1866) the emperor surrendered the position in Germany which his ancestors had held for so many centuries; Austria and Tirol, Bohemia and Salzburg, ceased to be German, and eight million Germans were cut off from all political union with their fellow-countrymen. At the Establishment of the dual monarchy. same time the surrender of Venetia completed the work of 1859, and the last remnant of the old-established Habsburg domination in Italy ceased. The war was immediately followed by a reorganization of the government. The Magyar nation, as well as the Czechs, had refused to recognize the validity of the constitution of 1861 which had established a common parliament for the whole empire; they demanded that the independence of the kingdom of Hungary should be restored. Even before the war the necessity of coming to terms with the Hungarians had been recognized. In June 1865 the emperor Francis Joseph visited Pest and replaced the chancellors of Transylvania and Hungary, Counts Francis Zichy and Nadásdy, supporters of the February constitution, by Count Majláth, a leader of the old conservative magnates.
This was at once followed by the resignation of Schmerling, who was succeeded by Count Richard Belcredi. On the 20th of September the Reichsrath was prorogued, which was equivalent to the suspension of the constitution; and in December the emperor opened the Hungarian diet in person, with a speech from the throne that recognized the validity of the laws of 1848. Before any definite arrangement as to their re-introduction could be made, however, the war broke out; and after the defeats on the field of battle the Hungarian diet was able to make its own terms. They recognized no union between their country and the other parts of the monarchy except that which was based on the Pragmatic Sanction. All recent innovations, all attempts made during the last hundred years to absorb Hungary in a greater Austria, were revoked. An agreement was made by which the emperor was to be crowned at Pest and take the ancient oath to the Golden Bull; Hungary (including Transylvania and Croatia) was to have its own parliament and its own ministry; Magyar was to be the official language; the emperor was to rule as king; there was to be complete separation of the finances; not even a common nationality was recognized between the Hungarians and the other subjects of the emperor; a Hungarian was to be a foreigner in Vienna, an Austrian a foreigner in Budapest. A large party wished indeed that nothing should be left but a purely personal union similar to that between England and Hanover. Deák and the majority agreed, however, that there should be certain institutions common to Hungary and the rest of the monarchy; these were - (1) foreign affairs, including the diplomatic and consular service; (2) the army and navy; (3) the control of the expenses required for these branches of the public service.
Recognizing in a declaratory act the legal existence of these common institutions, they also determined the method by which they should be administered. In doing so they carried out with great exactitude the principle of dualism, establishing in form a complete parity between Hungary on one side and the other territories of the king on the other. They made it a condition Delegations. that there should be constitutional government in the rest of the monarchy as well as in Hungary, and a parliament in which all the other territories should be represented. From both the Hungarian and the Austrian parliament there was to be elected a Delegation, consisting of sixty members; to these Delegations the common ministers were to be responsible, and to them the estimates for the joint services were to be submitted. The annual meetings were to be held alternately in Vienna and in Pest. They were very careful that these Delegations should not overshadow the parliaments by which they were appointed. The Delegations were not to sit together; each was to meet separately; they were to communicate by writing, every document being accompanied by a translation in Magyar or German, as the case might be; only if after three times exchanging notes they failed to agree was there to be a common session; in that case there would be no discussion, and they were to vote in silence; a simple majority was sufficient.
There were to be three ministers for common purposes - (1) for foreign affairs; (2) for war; (3) for finance; these ministers were responsible to the Delegations, but the Delegations were really given no legislative power. The minister of war controlled the common army, but even the laws determining the method by which the army was to be recruited had to be voted separately in each of the parliaments. The minister of finance had to lay before them the common budget, but they could not raise money or vote taxes; after they had passed the budget the money required had to be provided by the separate parliaments. Even the determination of the proportion which each half of the monarchy was to contribute was not left to the Delegations. It was to be fixed once every ten years by separate committees chosen for that purpose from the Austrian Reichsrath and the Hungarian parliament, the so-called Quota-Deputations. In addition to these "common affairs" the Hungarians, indeed, recognized that there were certain other matters which it was desirable should be managed on identical principles in the two halves of the monarchy - namely, customs and excise currency; the army and common railways.
For these, however, no common institutions were created; they must be arranged by agreement; the ministers must confer and then introduce identical acts in the Hungarian and the Austrian parliaments.
The main principles of this agreement were decided during Financial settlement. the spring of 1867; but during this period the Austrians were not really consulted at all. The negotiations on behalf of the court of Vienna were entrusted to Beust, whom the emperor appointed chancellor of the empire and also minister-president of Austria. He had no previous experience of Austrian affairs, and was only anxious at once to bring about a settlement which would enable the empire to take a strong position in international politics. In the summer of 1867, however (the Austrian Reichsrath having met), the two parliaments each elected a deputation of fifteen members to arrange the financial settlement. The first matter was the debt, amounting to over 3000 million gulden, in addition to the floating debt, which had been contracted during recent years. The Hungarians laid down the principle that they were in no way responsible for debts contracted during a time when they had been deprived of their constitutional liberties; they consented, however, to pay each year 29&FRAC12; million gulden towards the interest.