Supported by the influence of Louis Batthyany, after a keenly fought struggle he was elected member for Budapest in the new Diet.
Batthyany, Szechenyi, Szemere, Eotvos, his rivals, saw how his intense personal ambition and egoism led him always to assume the chief place, and to use his parliamentary position to establish himself as leader of the nation; but before his eloquence and energy all apprehensions were useless.
Batthyany, who formed the first responsible ministry, could not refuse to admit Kossuth, but he gave him the ministry of finance, probably because that seemed to open to him fewest prospects of engrossing popularity.
When Batthyany resigned he was appointed with Szemere to carry on the government provisionally, and at the end of September he was made President of the Committee of National Defence.
Count Casimir Batthyany attacked him in The Times, and Szemere, who had been prime minister under him, published a bitter criticism of his acts and character, accusing him of arrogance, cowardice and duplicity.
Near the cathedral is the episcopal palace, and in the same part of the town is the Batthyaneum, founded by Bishop Count Batthyany in 1794.
The diet of 1839 refused to proceed to business till the political prisoners had been released, and, while in the Lower Chamber the reforming majority was larger than ever, a Liberal party was now also formed in the Upper House under the brilliant leadership of Count Louis Batthyany and Baron Joseph EdtvOs.
The moderates, alarmed not so much by the motion itself as by its tone, again tried to intervene; but on the 13th of March the Vienna revolution broke out, and the king, yielding to pressure or panic, appointed Count Louis Batthyany premier of the first Hungarian responsible ministry, which included Kossuth, Szechenyi and Deak.
The emperor and his ministers hoped that, having conceded the demands of the Magyars, they would receive the help of the Hungarian government in crushing the revolution elsewhere, a hope that seemed to be justified by the readiness with which Batthyany consented to send a contingent to the assistance of the imperialists in Italy.
Under pressure from the palatine of Batthyany an imperial edict was issued, on the 7th day of May, ordering the ban to desist from his separatist plans and take his orders from Pest.
Once more, at the instance of Batthyany, the emperor intervened; and on the 10th an imperial edict stripped Jellachich of all his offices.
Unhappily, however, when Lamberg arrived in Pest, Batthyany had not yet returned; the diet, on Kossuth's motion, called on the army not to obey the new commander-in-chief, on the ground that his commission had not been countersigned by a minister at Pest.
This made war inevitable; though Batthyany hurried to Vienna to try and arrange a settlement.
3), had foundered on the uncompromising attitude of the Austrian commander, who demanded unconditional submission; whereupon the moderates, including Deak and Batthyany, retired into private life, leaving Kossuth to carry on the struggle with the support of the enthusiastic extremists who constituted the rump of the diet at Debreczen.
On the same day Count Louis Batthyany, who had taken no part in the war and had done his utmost to restrain his countrymen within the bounds of legality, was shot at Pest.
He never ceased to urge moderation in those stormy days, holding rather with &StvOs and Batthyany than with Kossuth, and he went more than once to Vienna to endeavour to effect a compromise between the Radicals and the court.
But when the ill-will of the Vienna government became patent, and the sentiments of the king doubtful, he resigned together with Batthyany, but without ceasing to be a member of the diet.