Many Jews have been members of the Reichsrath, some have risen to the rank of general in the army, and Austrian Jews have contributed their quota to learning, the arts and literature.
26, 1861), which proposed to convert the Reichsrath into a constitutional representative assembly, with two chambers, to which all the provinces of the empire February were to send deputies.
3 This Reichsrath was a purely consultative body, the ultimate control of all important affairs being reserved to the emperor.
Count May, in January 19,94, proposed in the chamber of the Bavarian Reichsrath that the clergy should be deprived of the suffrage.
Writs were issued in Bohemia for the election to the Austrian Reichsrath; and when, on the 10th of July, this assembled, the Slav deputies were found to be in a majority.
Meanwhile, of the Reichsrath, the members of the Right and the Slav majority had left Vienna and announced a meeting of the diet at Briinn for the 10th of October; all that remained in the capital was a rump of German radicals, impotent in the hands of the proletariat and the students.
While the Reichsrath, transferred to Kremsier, was discussing " fundamental rights " and the difficult question of how to reconcile the theoretical unity with the actual dualism of the empire, the knot was being cut by the sword on the plains of Hungary.
On the aoth 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.
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 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.
Despite the fact that the Austrian Army bill had been voted by the Reichsrath (February 19), the crown consented to withdraw the bills and thus compelled the Austrian parliament to repeal, at the dictation of the Hungarian obstructionists, what it regarded as a patriotic measure.
Shortly afterwards Magyar resentment of an army order issued from the cavalry manoeuvres at Chlopy in Galicia - in which the monarch declared that he would " hold fast to the existing and well-tried organization of the army " and would never " relinquish the rights and privileges guaranteed to its highest war-lord "; and of a provocative utterance of the Austrian premier Korber in the Reichsrath led to the overthrow of the Khuen-Hedervary cabinet (September 30) by an immense majority.
This concession of form having been made to the Magyars without the knowledge of the Austrian government, Prince Konrad Hohenlohe, the Austrian premier, resigned office; and his successor, Baron Beck, eventually (July 6) withdrew from the table of the Reichsrath the whole Szell-Korber compact, declaring that the only remaining economic ties between the two countries were freedom of trade, the commercial treaties with foreign countries, the joint state bank and the management of excise.
Since that year the empire had been the subject of numerous experiments in government; by the last, which began in 1860, Landtage or diets have been instituted in each of the territories on a nearly uniform system and with nearly identical powers, and by the constitution published in February 1861 (the February Constitution, as it is called), which is still the ultimate basis for the government, there was instituted a Reichsrath or parliament for the whole empire; it consisted of a House of Lords (Herren- haus), in which sat the archbishops and prince bishops, members of the imperial family, and other members appointed for life, besides some hereditary members, and a Chamber of Deputies.
The latter claimed that the new constitution must be made by agreement with the territories; the former maintained that the constitution of 1861 was still valid, and demanded that in accordance with it the Reichsrath should be summoned and a " constitutional " government restored.
Belcredi, who had come into power in 1865 as a Federalist, and had suspended the constitution of 1861 on the 2nd of January 1867, ordered new elections for the diets, which were then to elect deputies to an extraordinary Reichsrath which should consider the Ausgleich, or compact with Hungary.
Introducedbya regular Reichsrath summoned in accord ance with it, protested against the decree, and, in some cases, threatened not to take part in the elections.
As the Federalists were all opposed to the Ausgleich, it was clear that a Reichsrath chosen in these circumstances would refuse to ratify it, and this was probably Belcredi's intention.
As the existence of the empire would thereby be endangered, Beust interfered; Belcredi was dismissed, Beust himself became minister-president on the 7th of February 1867, and a new edict was issued from Vienna ordering the diets to elect a Reichsrath, according to the constitution, which was now said to be completely valid.
In the elections which followed in Bohemia the influence of the government was sufficient to secure a German majority among the landed proprietors; the Czechs, who were therefore in a minority, declared the elections invalid, refused to take any part in electing deputies for the Reichsrath, and seceded altogether from the diet.
Had the example of the Czechs been followed by the other Slav races it would still have been difficult to get together a Reichsrath to pass the Ausgleich.
When the Reichsrath met, the government had a large majority; and in the House, in which all the races except the Czechs were represented, the Ausgleich was ratified The con- almost unanimously.
Hence the German Liberals were prevented from introducing direct elections to the Reichsrath, and the functions of the Reichsrath were slightly less extensive than they had hitherto been.
In Galicia the extreme party, ism in Oa- headed by Smolka, had always desired to imitate the licia and Czechs and not attend at Vienna; they were outvoted, Bohemia, but all parties agreed on a declaration in which the final demands of the Poles were drawn up;' they asked that the powers of the Galician diet should be much increased, and that the members from Galicia should cease to attend the Reichsrath on the discussion of those matters with which the Galician diet should be qualified to deal.
By Beust, probably with the sympathy of the emperor; the others determined to cripple the opposition by taking away the elections for the Reichsrath from the diets.
The Reichsrath and all the diets were dissolved.
When the Reichsrath met there were present only 130 out of 203 members, for the whole Bohemian contingent was absent; the government then, under a law of 1868, ordered that as the Bohemian diet had sent no delegates, they were to be chosen directly from the people.
By the help of the Clericals they won enough seats to put the Liberals in a minority in the Reichsrath, and it would be possible to revise the constitution if the Czechs consented to come.
The measure transferred the right of electing members of the Reichsrath from the diets to the direct vote of the people, the result being to deprive the Federalists of their chief weapon; it was no longer possible to take a formal vote of the legal representatives in any territory refusing to appoint deputies, and if a Czech or Slovene member did not take his seat the only result was that a single constituency was unrepresented, and the opposition weakened.
A petition with 250,000 names was presented from Bohemia; and the Poles withdrew from the Reichsrath when the law was introduced.
The German members of the government resigned, their place was taken by Clericals, Poles and Czechs, Smolka was elected president of the Lower House of the Reichsrath, and the German Liberals found themselves in a minority opposed by the " iron ring " of these three parties, and helpless in the parliament of their own creation.
In consequence of a motion by the Slovene members of the Reichsrath and a resolution of the diet of Carniola, the government also declared Slovenian to be a recognized language for the whole of Carniola, for the district of Cilli in Styria, and for the Slovene and mixed districts in the south of Carinthia, and determined that in Laibach a Slovene gymnasium should be maintained as well as the German one.
In the Reichsrath a motion was introduced, supported by all the German Liberal parties, demanding that German should be declared the language of state and regulating the conditions under which the other idioms could be recognized; it was referred to a committee from which it never emerged, and a bill to the same effect, introduced in 1886, met a similar fate.
There were altogether 200 German members of the Reichsrath, but they were divided into eight parties, and nowhere did there seem to be the elements on which a government could be built up.
He consented to do so; but, after the election of 1897 had given him so many followers in the Reichsrath, Badeni advised that his election as burgomaster should be confirmed.
There was violent antipathy between the Christain Socialists and the German Nationalists, and the transference of their quarrels from the Viennese Council Chamber to the Reichsrath was very detrimental to the orderly conduct of debate.
The emperor insisted that the Reichsrath should again be summoned to pass the necessary measures for the agreement with Hungary; scenes then took place which have no parallel in parliamentary history.
The Reichsrath was again summoned, and the meetings were less disturbed than in the former year, but the Germans still prevented any business from being done.
Paragraph 14 of the Constitutional law of 1867 provided that, in cases of pressing necessity, orders for which the assent of the Reichsrath was required might, if the Reichsrath were not in session, be proclaimed by the emperor; they had to be signed by the whole ministry, and if they were not laid before the Reichsrath within four months of its meeting, or if they did not receive the approval of both Houses, they ceased to be valid.
The Reichsrath was immediately dissolved, the emperor having determined to make a final attempt to get together a parliament with which it would be possible to govern.